How to Automatically Turn Trade Show Prospects into Customers Using Their Smartphones

Everyone loves a trade show for prospecting – it’s a customer gold mine if you are good at following up! That’s why event organizers know they can charge an arm and a leg for booth and sponsorship space, and why companies spend thousands on displays, beautiful promotional items and well designed collateral.

At a trade show, it’s all about connecting with people at the show who are qualified buyers of your products and services. But once you go home, all of those connections are usually nothing more than a Ziploc bag full of business cards, or if you are lucky, a neat spreadsheet from the event organizer.

Often these leads go untouched – effectively ruining any chance of earning a return on the investment at the event. If a sales team is tenacious, they may follow up with each prospect scheduling conference calls or meetings or sharing show specials and asking for orders. This tedious process costs thousands more in labor as the contacts are slowly qualified and advanced in the sales funnel.

There is a far easier way to turn trade show prospects into customers though… it just takes a little ingenuity and your prospects’ own cell phone or a computer, tablet or kiosk at your trade show.

There are many ways to capture contact information easily on site at a trade show.

  1. You should set up an incentive to have people enter their information. Usually, the information is given for a chance to win a prize package tightly linked to your products and services.
  2. The link is key because you want qualified buyers who are interested in what you have to offer.

Here’s how you can set up one or more methods of data collection

  1. Kiosk/Computer/Tablet – Have the prospect enter their name, email and mobile number to enter
  2. Text data collection – Have the prospect text a keyword to a short code and then reply with their name and email to complete their entry
  3. QR Code data collection – Have the prospect scan a QR code that opens a short form on their phone for collecting email and phone number.
  4. Website data collection – You can always have an opt-in form on your website for ongoing data collection

Event organizer promotion:

  1. Often, an event organizer or partner will have a multi-booth promotion which will produce a list of participating attendees for you. This list can be imported into your cross-channel marketing system for follow up.
  2. Next, you should have a series of communications programmed into your contact management system that will send your key messages to the prospect in different communications channels.
  3. Many companies send email blasts, but text and voicemail can capture an even stronger response.
  4. When these techniques are combined, you have a powerful arsenal to surround your prospect with your message, impress them and encourage them to engage with you in the future.

Your follow up messages should cover:

Immediately: Text message
Thanks for connecting with us at the trade show – check your email for special information

1-2 days – Email
Share compelling product information or other trust building content, invite them to connect on social media

3-7 days: Voicemail and email
A show special that has an urgent deadline or limited quantity

Every 4-6 weeks: Voicemail, text or email
Trust building info or sales to drive traffic back to your website or drive calls to your representatives.

Social media posts

Using a cross channel marketing platform to schedule these messages can save you countless hours of follow up and will drive the serious leads to respond more quickly. Not only that, you’ll be staying in touch throughout the year and will be able to ask for sales any time. Next year, you’ll be able to ask who wants to meet at the tradeshow where bigger deals can be sealed.

A budget friendly tool that allows you to collect, manage and communicate with contacts through mobile, email, social media and voicemail is the Roving Fans website. Here, we can connect you to mobile marketing experts who can help you craft and manage professional campaigns. You can also learn more about mobile marketing here.

This article was written by Tatiana Mulry of DDX Media and presented here for your education, inspiration and enjoyment by:

This article is published by Will Sherwood | The Sherwood Group |Website Design | Graphic Design | Marketing Communications: The Sherwood Group has over 30 years of experience working with all sorts of companies, small and large. Our clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 firms, in nearly every business sector, from across the street to around the world (and yes, even Europe, China, and South America). Our goal is to create advertising,  graphic design, website design, and marketing communication that still looks fresh and relevant 10-15 years later. Our mission is to stir your imagination and leave your competition shaken and wondering,  Now what do we do?”  We are located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

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