Ditch The Fishbowl! Boost Trade Show ROI with this Amazing Technique

Ditchthe Trade Show FishbowlIf you are like me, you are a trade show veteran. You’ve walked the shows. You’ve manned the booths. You might have been self-conscious about being the only female who was not a “booth babe” at the conference. You’ve been on the speaking circuit.

Now that you are running a company or heading marketing for your company, you have to reevaluate the costs and effort associated with every marketing activity. It is no secret that business gets done at trade shows. But is it enough to warrant the expense?

What is Holding You Back?

Are you reluctant to spend a ton of money on tradeshows ($800-$5000+ per show), because you don’t have a great system to follow up? If you are in this situation, you might as well go out in the parking lot and have a cash bonfire. That pile of business cards you’ve collected isn’t going to magically turn into customers without a little effort. Likewise, the bundles of business cards and literature you print and distribute at shows will likely remain in someone’s expo bag or go right into the circular file.

Most brands decide to exhibit at tradeshows for positive brand exposure, and possibly product sales. What you really need to differentiate your company at trade shows and to build your prospect and customer lists is a robust and automated way of recontacting these new prospects while your brand is fresh in their mind.

Engaging Attendees with Automated Contests and Multi-Channel Follow Up Improve Trade Show ROI

People are normally very protective of their personal and professional information unless they are convinced that there is value being exchanged for their information. The way to rapidly break through this barrier and attract attention, you need some type of giveaway. You won’t get a great response by saying – “Hey, sign up for my newsletter!” That’s just not alluring enough anymore.

Contests can be administered manually by printing out little slips or collecting business cards in a fishbowl. However, by the time you process all the little slips of paper and business cards and determine how and when you can follow up with them, they’ve long forgotten about you and your product.

There’s Trade Show Magic in Every Pocket

Instead, promote a simple contest that can be entered by using the best direct response channel on the planet – the ubiquitous mobile phone!

The steps are pretty simple –

1. Create and display signs at your booth promoting the prize and the means of entry

2. Try to convince the conference organizers or other complimentary booths to display your signs at other prominent areas of the show. You can also go wild by placing signs on buses, bicycle messengers, cute girls, you name it! The more places you can promote your contest, the better!

3. The signage should have a strong and simple call to action:

Win a {Prize} from {Brand}

Text Your Name and Email to {Number}

4. Also, it is wise to show a picture of the phone with the way to format the message on the phone.

This simple approach generates a huge buzz! If you aren’t at a tech tradeshow, you may want to be prepared to have helpers to enter using a prospect’s phone.
When you also have social media analysis tools in place, you can also identify most influential entrants and ask them to share the contest on their Facebook or Twitter feed along with the conference hashtag so everyone following the show on social media has a chance to enter too!

Using this simple technique which may cost the same or less than your trade show exhibitor or attendee badge, you’ll be able to gather 100s to 1000s of qualified, warm leads from a single show. The magic is not that these leads are easily collected, it is that your follow up is swift, impressive and fully automated!

After the Trade Show – Keep Communicating!

You can set up your nurture sequence to reply to each contact with a warm introductory text message, email and voice mail providing all of your contact information and links to presentation material, a video, your website or brochures. You can also automatically follow up in a week and a month to see if there is anything further that you can do to help them.

How Much Lead Time Is Required?

This type of campaign can be planned, configured and tested rapidly, but will yield so much more from your efforts at the tradeshow. At the end of the campaign, you’ll receive full reporting on opt-ins and contacts as well. Allow about 3-4 weeks of leadtime to allow for professional printing and shipping of signage.

Encourage other trade show vendors to opt-in and experience this technique in person to get new clients for this program! Sharing this insight with them can help you build relationships within your industry that can lead to valuable joint ventures and other business collaborations.

Once you’ve drawn the winner of your prize, you need to announce it to everyone. The best way to do this is to post the winner(s) on your blog and send out a link to everyone who entered. This is a great way to get lots of leads to visit your website immediately after a tradeshow. You should also have links to your marketing literature and a special offer for tradeshow attendees on that page.

The number one piece of advice I can give is to use your new list! Don’t give up on this once you pack your displays and literature and fly home. It is just as important to plan a continuity program to keep these people active and engaged with your brands.

Are You Ready to Dominate Your Next Tradeshow?

With a decade of mobile marketing experience, our team can help you with configuring this campaign with text and QR code options, creating effective signage, conducting social media analysis, and effective nurture campaigns to make the most of this effort.

Would you like to find a tradeshow in your industry or area to try this? Check out http://www.biztradeshows.com/

Tania Mulry, is a mobile marketing expert and the creator of edRover, an award-winning, location-aware mobile application for school fundraising and local business growth. 

Contact her to find out more about how to run this effective multi-channel trade show mastery campaign. She will give you a free 15 minute consultation when you mention Project Eve.

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