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We touched on trade shows and how they’re still worth it way back in Episode 3 last August. In short, they’re worth it if you’re prepared with a database in place.
“The month after your trade show is prime time for converting these lukewarm leads into a sale. Since they handed over their contact information, odds are they still remember you, which leaves the door open to connect… Generating trade show leads is hard work. If you don’t follow up, you fail.”
Brian Sun of AutoPilot
Here are four steps you should follow to prepare your marketing department before any trade show.
- Prepare some sort of marketing CRM.
- Simplify data entry.
- Automate what you can.
- Track everything.
1. PREPARE SOME SORT OF MARKETING CRM
Decide how you want to collect the information at the show. That’s going to determine how you follow up after the show. And whatever you choose, make sure you know where those leads are going to collect afterwards.
Whether it’s just an Excel spreadsheet or Hubspot or Salesforce, HAVE A DIGITAL DATABASE READY.
If you know certain people are going to be there, plug their information into it beforehand.
You need a trade show database to organize your contacts and your sign-up or follow-up process. If you don’t invest time in it beforehand, you’ll lose time and valuable leads afterwards.
2. SIMPLIFY DATA ENTRY
Lots of marketing CRMs can automate the process of adding a new lead; take advantage of this!
Many even have a Kiosk mode designed specifically with trade shows in mind! Visitors can fill out a form, hit ‘Enter,’ then pass the form to the next person.
3. AUTOMATE WHAT YOU CAN
If it’s not already, connect your marketing CRM to some sort of email or messaging system, and have a drip campaign ready before you even get to the trade show. That way when people sign up, they can automatically receive a “thanks for signing up” email from you, and then they’ll begin a journey right then, without you even having to take their business card out of your pocket.
4. TRACK EVERYTHING
Try to use an email system that can track opens and clicks; everything from MailChimp to Pardot can help with this. This helps you keep track of hot leads – and the more automated your system is, the more you can categorize people who click through without even lifting a finger!
If you’re a fan of results, use video content within your marketing emails, and use analytics to track those views and see who’s really watching and interested. Video-tracking analytics and automated marketing exists out there, so take advantage of it.
Whatever methods you decide to run with… the point is to be proactive.
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