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Our startup just spent $20K to attend a trade show. How do we acquire leads?

Our startup just spend 20K to attend a trade show / conference this year, and as a marketer, I am looking for exciting and new ways to engage our audience and acquire leads from the event.

What has worked really well for you? or what have you read that sounded like a high yielding opportunity? alternatively, as an attendee of the event just walking around, what was your favorite booth doing?

Thanks in advance for all of your creative suggestions!

22 Replies

Peter Kestenbaum
0
0
Peter Kestenbaum Entrepreneur
Advisor, Investor, Mentor to Emerging firms
Leads at trade Shows

- give aways or raffles (ipad or similar)
- White papers (hence you need them to supply an email address)
- Most shows have magnetic swipe systems

There are lots of people who do these routinely who can give you a few hours... if you spent 20,000 all ready get one of them for a few hours ( a few hundred dollar consult ).. if you need references email me directly

pk
Alistair Davidson
4
0
Eclicktick Consulting
Most people make the following mistakes:

1. Failure to solicit people before the show.
2. Failing to followup quickly after the show.
3. Accepting contact information without understanding the client need and recording it as they visit.

Plus they wear really uncomfortable shoes.

Alistair
Shingai Samudzi
4
0
Shingai Samudzi Entrepreneur
Founder & CEO at ProjectVision
Throw a very memorable party one of the nights during the event. Thened events work well. Find a hot venue nearby, and see if you can get a deal to pay a set amount per head (say $20). Invite a limited number of leads, and you can use your booth to do this. Give out 2 or 3 drink tickets (they can only get free drinks with one) and then have walk the floor with more drink tix. People have to talk to you to get more drinks, so you'll get more intimate face time than at the trade show itself. If done well, it's a great way to make a positive impression and generate more solid leads than just collecting business cards at a booth. I'm assuming that if you have 20k to attend the show that 5 or 6k to host the party is not a hardship. Especially if you are selling b2b where one sale could return all of your sunk cost.
Craig Richardson
0
0
Founder/CEO at Just Rivals
lisa try going to justrivals.com the embed feature allows you to create and place rivalries in emails, FB,m websites etc..and get leads and engagement at an astounding rate due to the social sharing components and data aggregation capabilitieshappy too discuss if you likecreate and post a few and see what you think btw, its a free widget so not a bad line item in your budget :)
Robert Tolmach
3
0
Robert Tolmach Entrepreneur
Entrepreneur and Social Entrepreneur
Half the people I see manning booths at trade shows are totally unengaged: playing on their phone, working on a notebook, taking to their colleague, passively waiting for someone to come to them, and not even making eye contact--much less talking with--folks who stroll by.

Make sure that whoever mans your both is energetically working to engage everyone who walks within 50 yards.
Steve Everhard
5
0
Steve Everhard Advisor
All Things Startup
The problem with trade shows is separating the valuable contacts from the tire kickers. Handout attract tire kickers. Parties attract tire kickers. Afterwards you will congratulate yourselves on a busy show but attempts at follow ups - you did get contact details, didn't you? - will be frustrating. So instead on pulling people to the stand look at pulling the right people and that means a clear message about what you do and what you can do for them. Demo's are good but miked up demo's where you are a barker pulling people to the stand will make you unpopular with the folks around you and attract people who just want to lean in. Think less about stunts and more about your target audience.

I agree with Alistair that the work happens before the show, using the guide to target people that you are interested in. Try to make contact and book times for meetings on your booth or nearby. Draw them to you with targeted messaging and not freebies - unless merchandising is your business. I'm assuming you're a B2B business as this is a trade show. Structure your stand so you are folks off the stand dealing with people pausing but not coming onto the stand or with those folks who are interested but who might not be able to get onto a busy stand. Try and book people in for a meeting later after qualifying them. Respecting folks time will win your more friends than another trade show stunt.
Dawn Fotopulos
0
2
Dawn Fotopulos Entrepreneur
HiddenProfitProphet.com - I help small businesses find hidden existing profits | Award-Winning Business Author
Hi Lisa, I answered your questions here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/new-exciting-ways-engage-trade-show-visitors-dawn-fotopulos Best of luck! Dawn F. www.hiddenprofitprophet.com Find 50% More Profits for Your Business Dawn Fotopulos Founder, Best Small Biz Help.com
Morgan Brown
5
0
Morgan Brown Advisor
Growth Oriented Chief Operating Officer
Spend $200 more and get one of these for your booth.

http://www.amazon.com/ChargeTech-Charging-Universal-Customize-business/dp/B00JQOQYHO/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=[removed to protect privacy]&sr=8-10&keywords=chargetech

You'll double any lead volume you would get otherwise. It's simple, inexpensive, and works.
Alex Eckelberry
0
0
Alex Eckelberry Advisor
CEO at Meros.io
The simple stuff works: Have constant live demos of your product. I actually have a guy I hire who does this professionally, and it's worth it (PM me if you want his contact). Use every possible way to get leads. I'm not that concerned about qualified leads, because I'd rather have leads than be too preselective. A low-quality lead can be put into a content marketing system (newsletters, etc.) if they aren't immediately productive. No one at the booth is allowed to sit: While they're there, they are on their feet and working. Be outgoing, get people into the booth with "Would you like a free t-shirt (or whatever)?" and then give them a demo.

The awful booths are the ones that are empty, with the staffers sitting around, on their phones.

Purpose of a show is to a) build impactful awareness about your product and b) drive leads. Anything that doesn't contribute to this is thrown out.

I am not a fan of parties. I did one once when I had no budget for an actual show -- we just invited people to come to our suite. But generally, I think you can save the parties for when you have real money to spend.
Karl Schulmeisters
0
0
Karl Schulmeisters Entrepreneur
CTO ClearRoadmap

What Steve said above about tire-kickers is important. What I've found works for raffles is to require actual product experience to enter the raffle. One way some folks do this is to give the answer to the raffle question in the course of a presentation that is done in the booth.

Another way - if you have a self-guided demo, is to print the instructions to the demo on the raffle entry form with a space for a handwritten answer. So that in going through a 1-2 minute demo, they get to the answer.

For such raffle entries, getting them "cut" so that the entrant can stick their business card in rather than handwriting in personal contact info makes it easier to get "clean" entries (hand written stuff requires data transcription with associated errors whereas biz cards can get scanned)

If you can't do a hands-on demo, nor a formal presentation, then having a looped video of a demo, and questions on the raffle card that you have to watch the demo loop to answer works.


Also tiered raffles work: ie daily draw is for say something like a $20 value spare battery with your corporate logo on it.

And then a Grand prize drawing at the end of the show.

You can even go with an hourly drawing, with the winners being the ones eligible for the end of show draw. So the hourly prize is something like $10 Starbucks Cards, Must Be Present to Win. Then the grandprize - say you have 20 hours of show floor time - is something like an Air Charge kit http://www.air-charge.com/products/wireless-charging-accessories/iphone-6-charging-casethat has your logo on the case.

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