Trade shows can be a valuable networking opportunity to meet business contacts and potential new customers. An estimated 99 percent of marketers say that they find unique value from attending trade shows that cannot be replicated elsewhere, such as meeting face-to-face with new prospects. This immediately helps to take B2B marketing to the next level.
As you start to get ready for your next trade show, there are a few things that you can do to maximize your event networking potential. Here are three best practices to keep in mind.
Collect information from people in an interactive way
Once you’ve attracted visitors to your trade show booth with intriguing and inviting signage and displays, you can then offer videos and contests in exchange for prospective customer registrations that include important data. You can also invite people to sign up for product demonstrations. When visitors arrive at your booth, engage them as often as possible in conversation and learn more about their pain points and what they want to gain from your product or service. Offer them engaging, well-organized handouts that present your brand value front and center. Take notes about what they say and use the information to follow up with them after the event.
Monitor social media throughout the event
Social media dominates much of the modern social landscape. More than a quarter of the time people are online, they are on social media. If the event is particularly crowded, everyone interested in your booth and brand might not have the opportunity to speak directly with you. To avoid missing these new potential contacts, make sure that someone on your team is monitoring social media throughout the event. Watch the hashtags related to your brand and the trade show as well as the comments on your brand page. When new connections reach out to engage with you, respond and begin to form the basis of your relationship.
Social media is a fantastic platform for continuing engagement with new connections. You can share relevant content, address questions and keep people engaged with the brand.
Follow up with contacts quickly after event
An estimated 80 percent of people never follow up with the contacts or leads that they meet at trade shows. At the same time, 81 percent of attendees have buying authority for their businesses. This means brands who neglect to follow up with their new connections will be missing out on potentially very valuable clients.
Before you go to an event, have a plan in place for keeping in touch with new connections. Make sure everyone walks away from your booth with relevant handouts to remind them of your organization, then initiate contact within a few days after the event. A triggered email, for example, can be a great initial contact that helps to keep the conversation going and to make sure that the brand name stays on the mind of the new customer. Leads can go cold quickly, even those from very interested parties who engaged thoroughly at a trade show. Following up can be a great way to build the relationships you begin at the event and nurture it until it becomes a productive sale.
Review your event networking practices and see if your brand is ready to form valuable relationships with those you meet at the event. If you need help building a successful booth, reach out to Allegra for help.