10 Successful Ways to Gather Leads at Events
You must have attended or conducted hundreds of trade shows and events if you are a business owner, and this could range from small regional shows to huge super shows spanning acres of space and attended by people from all over the world. Though experience in conducting an event is a positive aspect, it is not easy to collect leads because that is a major move.
According to the Centre for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), 81% of the trade show attendees show buying authority. It means that about 4 in 5 people attending the events turn out to be potential customers for exhibitors.
Generating high-quality leads is no small task, you need to strategize carefully so people who attend will be motivated to hand over their contact information. Here are some sure-fire ways in which you can collect leads at events.
1. Attract the right attendees
One of the crucial points while preparing the logistics of the event is the target segment - Who are the people attending the event? What is their age group, demographics, preferences, lifestyle, etc.? What are their hangout places? When you have a firm understanding of your event requirement, you will be able to channel it to the right audience. This calls for heavy research where you need to learn about your attendees. After this, customize the content based on people’s level of understanding. If you are targeting CEOs, you don’t want the content to be talking about marketing strategies or tactical strategies.
2. Creating an event app
Event apps are accepted packages in an event because almost all events held these days have their own event apps to promote their event. This is because conference apps have multiple purposes. And one of them is to attract more leads. You get information about all the people attending the event, so you get that many numbers of leads. Even if you are just an exhibitor in an event, you can capture leads through their badge scanner or QR code scanner. QR code scanner is the best of them all because you get thousands of business cards manually loaded into the CRM system. This is a huge time and money saver and with good management software, your team gets the maximum leads in the shortest time.
3. Mapping a lead generation plan
Creating a lead generation plan just before the show would be a very good idea. The plan should also define success as how you see it. What’s your success parameter? Better sales leads? Product feedback? Employee recruitment? More sales? Along with those primary goals, you can have secondary goals of meeting potential partners for investments or integrations. You can generate leads through all this, and then reach a conclusion on whether your event was 100% successful, and whether you need to repeat the same strategies next year.
4. Have a simple way to capture the leads
The basic thing to remember is to have a simple way to capture the leads. If you have big forms for audiences to fill, that’s going to bore them, not to speak of the blank spaces they are going to leave behind. If you are assigning reps to fill out the forms, they will have to concentrate intently while filling the form, rather than speaking to the person in front of them. You can capture leads digitally, and depending on the prospects, different forms will come up. This would be a great move because they can focus on talking to the audiences rather than doing the paperwork.
5. A badge scanner can help you collect leads
A badge scanner is an intelligent technology that would help you collect people’s contact details, and not just their basic details. But the catch is the badge scanner is more suitable for huge events. Small and medium table top events usually go through the physical process of collecting information about each visitor and then feeding the same into their CRM system. A badge scanner makes the job much easier because you can organize the captured data into different groups, tag and categorize them.
6. Understand that context is so very important
Do not conduct an event with the sole purpose of collecting leads. That would give you hundreds of names with no faces attached to them. And you may not even know what their interests are and where their challenges lie. Give importance to the context while connecting with them, especially when it comes to focusing on those areas of your company’s offering that they might be interested in. This would help you connect personally with them, and would be a good opening when you want to do a follow-up conversation.
7. Merging the event activities with sales and marketing
Events need not be compartmentalized as separate occurrences. You can integrate the lead collection lists with Market Automation tools and CRM. This would help the team to follow up potential leads. It would also give you a good opportunity to speak face to face with prospects.
8. When there are tire kickers
Every event will have plenty of tire kickers around. They are in for a free ride, and to capture leads for their own business. You cannot ignore them, nor can you turn them away. But learn to spot a tire kicker, and don’t waste time selling your stuff to them. They are not your leads, but you don’t have to be very obliging to them and give away free t-shirts or coffee mugs. Give that to the genuine leads. Identifying a tire kicker calls for a little bit of experience, but it is a definite way to sift the real leads.
9. Attendees need takeaways
You have only very few seconds to make an impression on the prospects. Adjust your pitch so they don’t get bored. Don’t let them feel that that they are attending an event for which they have no takeaways. They can collect all the basic information about your event and your product through the conference apps.
10. Have a simple registration process
Having a digital registration process is good. You can do that in the event app, but don’t build apps with long page loading times. That’s going to make you lose qualified customers. Configure the registration process, so the form contains only relevant information from them. Asking too many questions can turn away people, so ask only for the most important ones, and you can search for others (like age, location, preferences, etc.) through web analytics.
To ensure that you have collected valuable leads that are worth following up, track results. Look at the number of quality leads you’ve generated as opposed to the money you’ve spent on the event.
Track results for a series of events, and you will be able to gauge which tactics work best and which do not. You can improvise as you go along.
And of course, fast follow up is so important. What’s the point in collecting all the leads, if you wait to follow them up. The follow-up strategy must be developed before the event, and sync the same with your sales team so they are aware of the potential value of the attendees. Keeping the connection fresh is important.