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Digitally Track Your Trade Show

For marketers, the hustle and bustle of a trade show is a crazy-chaotic-lots-of-work and very expensive effort. We’ve helped many clients produce amazing content and experiences on the trade show floor; and equally important, we work toward making sure our clients don’t leave “amazing” at the event. But for most, that’s not true.

Only six percent of marketers believe their company converts trade show leads, but 51 percent of attendees request follow up. The opportunity is there, but many are not digitally tracking their leads and creating an actionable plan around what to do with customer and prospect data.

So, how do we make sure we are capturing all that great data happening at events?

Below, we take the old school fish bowl of business cards and turn it into three actionable marketing automation tactics to increase your trade show conversation rates.

  1. Leverage the Badge Scan in Real Time

Ask if the show has an open API to their badge scan technology. If you’ve been to a trade show lately, you’ve noticed that most vendors do a badge scan when you come to their booth. Later, they’re able to collect the data about who came to their booth. If that technology is built on an open API, there is a chance that the badge scan data can be imported directly in to your marketing automation system or CRM in real time. That means your marketing team back at the office can begin follow-up immediately, while they are there. This can immensely increase the relevancy, improving the likelihood to covert. Once these leads close, you can have a true ROI for the money spent on that event.

  1. Entice People with Good Intent and Qualify Leads

Have a way for people to opt out of follow-up and opt-in to a sales call. Many booths entice people with an interactive game or good swag. If your brand is new to the marketplace, or your goal for the trade show is awareness about a new product – this may be a viable strategy. However, if this is the case make sure you have a way for people to say they are “just looking.” By doing this, you can easily sift out the leads that are not worthy of follow up. If leads are marked as “hot” or “ready” it’s just as easy now to distribute those out to a salesperson for immediate follow up.

  1. Think Beyond the Booth

Events should be more than just showing up to a booth. Just like any other campaign, there is logic and power to be found in your marketing automation system for lead generation. Don’t forget about the potential to market to attendees both pre and post show. Wouldn’t your sales team love it if you sent WARM leads to the trade show floor? Or, created a 1:1 appointment with a decision maker in their greenfield sales territory? Time spent at the trade show now becomes more efficient too. Pre and post-event campaigns can include email, educational webinars, geo-targeting mobile ads during the event and so much more.

PRO-TIP: When planning your investment in a trade show, make sure to sit down ahead of time and think through what an email campaign flow could look like. Here’s a sample to get you started.


Trade Show Emails


Although an email flow like the one above can help you convert leads from your trade show, do not discount personal contact. Ultimately, people buy from people. But you can help foster those conversations with marketing automation to ensure you are not losing hot leads.

For the amount of time and money you’re already investing in an event, isn’t it worth it?

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