Trade shows are gold mines when it comes to lead retrieval.
Not only are you able to build brand awareness, but, more importantly, you're able to shake hands with key decision makers and influencers in your industry - which is definitely worth its weight in gold.
Surveys conducted by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) show the following* to be true of trade show attendees:
- 92% of trade show attendees say they are looking for new products (Source: CEIR: The Role and Value of Face to Face).
- 81% percent of trade show attendees have buying authority (Source: CEIR: The Spend Decision: Analyzing How Exhibits Fit Into The Overall Marketing Budget)
- 46% of tradeshow attendees are in executive or upper management roles (Source: CEIR: The Role and Value of Face to Face).
*Extracted directly from the Trade Show News Network.
With that said, it's easy to see why mastering the art of trade show lead retrieval is vital to building your business. In order to ensure that you get your money's worth at any trade show, here are three strategic methods for collecting leads.
1. The Old Fashioned Way: Collecting Business Cards
Just because we live in an extremely high-tech digital age, doesn't mean that conventional means of collecting business cards is a thing of the past.
In fact, if you were handed a business card, that means you had an opportunity to meet that particular person and make a lasting first impression (or so you hope).
This option is probably the most economical way of collecting prospects, and it also allows for the opportunity for an in-person dialogue to take place.
However, there are a few downfalls...
Collecting business cards the old-fashioned way means that you also have to input the cards the old-fashioned way.
Lest you forget, a stack of untouched business cards on your desk isn’t going to magically turn into leads by themselves.
Sadly, this is where the opportunity to convert potential leads into clients falls flat, because the last thing someone returning from a trade show wants to do is organize and input hundreds of business cards into a CRM.
Nonetheless, this is a viable, effective way to collect leads at a trade show, if you're willing to put in the effort it takes to make the information worthwhile.
2. Trade Show Badge Scanners
Nowadays, trade shows have gone digital in their lead retrieval tools, with many trade shows offering exhibitors fancy digital scanners to capture data from attendees with a simple click of a button.
What's nice about mixing technology with lead retrieval is that you truly get the best of both worlds and way less work for you after the show.
As we discussed earlier, following up with leads is the most important part of attending a trade show, but it's also one of the most neglected parts too. This is why using modern data retrieval technology is crucial to your overall lead generation strategy at any trade show.
Not only is it pretty awesome to have a gadget that scans someone's badge and captures their data, but scanners will save you loads of monotonous work of scanning, proofing, editing, and organizing the hundreds of business cards you collected at the show.
Do yourself a huge favor and get technology on your side.
3. Use a Mobile or Tablet App
There are apps for nearly everything nowadays - and, yes, you guessed it, there are even apps for capturing leads at trade shows.
Just as with digital scanners, apps serve as an economical and a streamlined way of lead retrieval at trade shows.
Here are a few apps we think you should consider:
This app is made for more than just jotting down business card information, it's designed to be a mini customized survey you can present on a table/kiosk at your booth to potential leads.
What's more, you don't even need Internet access and it integrates with third-party companies to make exporting data to your CRM a synch.
Probably one of the most beautifully designed mobile lead capturing apps, Zuant is packed with features that make lead retrieval convenient and fun.
Not only can Zuant work offline, but it has a live reporting, badge scanning, and business card capture capabilities that make capturing data a no-brainer Zuant also integrates with third-party companies for integration ease.
If your objective is to gain email subscribers and social media followers, then OnSpot Social is the one for you.
OnSpot Social has a simple, yet inviting interface that makes it extremely easy for capturing trade show leads to enter their email or like your social media pages. OnSpot Social can also be used for capturing prospect data at trade shows, too.
If you don't get a customer out of the deal, at least you gained a follower on social media - they may become a customer later on down the road, thanks to your social media campaigns.
Technological advances have made it extremely easy, convenient and nearly foolproof for you to collect leads at trade shows and import them into your CRM with the click of a few buttons.
However, if the old-school way of collecting paper business cards and conducting individual follow-ups after the show works for you, then, by all means, do what works best for you.
Regardless of which option(s) you choose, if you don't follow up with your leads in a timely manner after the show, your efforts were good for nothing.
Therefore, ensure that you implement a lead retrieval strategy that works for you and fits into your overall trade show marketing plan.
In case we forgot to mention, DON'T FORGET TO FOLLOW UP!