3 Steps to Trade Show Booth Success

We’re (finally) just one week out from the world’s largest cloud computing event: Dreamforce 2014. And if you’re among the sponsors that will be putting the finishing touches on your booth next week at this time, there’s one thing you should know: no matter how long you’ve been planning and preparing for this event, once the Dreamforce madness beings, the week will be over before you can blink.

This is true of most trade shows: you have a short amount of time to collect a lot of information from a lot of people. So let’s take a look at three steps to make sure your presence during the event is optimized — and consider how marketing automation can help take the load off your shoulders.

Be Irresistible

Trade shows are competitive; the bigger the trade show, the more competition you face. A number of companies are seeking the attention of the same prospects, which means that you need something that will set you apart. Sure, colorful booth displays and ideal booth positioning can help, but it’s also smart to include some sort of offer to rope prospects in (think, “Chance to win a free iPad just for stopping by!”). Other possible giveaways are a Starbucks gift card (who couldn’t use a caffeine boost at a trade show?) or a free white paper or case study that’s specifically tailored to the needs of attendees. Make sure to schedule out social postings with your booth number beforehand so that you don’t have to worry about it during the event, and get your booth visitors to promote for you by rewarding their shares (“Tweet about your visit for a free t-shirt!”).

Finally, make sure that your visitors are having a valuable experience once they get there. Encourage engagement by having product demos set up for prospects to interact with. The more engaged the crowd around your booth is, the more likely others are to come see for themselves what the hype is about.

Have a Landing Page Ready

Although many trade shows rely on a scanning method to collect information from leads, having a dedicated landing page set up on a computer or iPad to collect information from leads is still an important best practice. With marketing automation, there’s no longer a need to manually input information from handwritten forms or collect pockets full of business cards (although exchanging business cards is still a good practice). Having a landing page where leads can input their information allows you to collect more information, more quickly. Here are a few fields you should think about including on your form (remember, keep it short — we recommend keeping it to about four form fields):

• First Name

• Last Name

• Company

• Job Title

• Email Address

With marketing automation, you can put any forms you use for trade shows into Kiosk/Data Entry mode to capture form data without applying a cookie to the prospect browser. This will solve the problem of prospects sharing activities because of multiple submissions from the same browser.

Automate Immediate Follow-up

Don’t wait until the trade show is over to connect with your prospects online! Set up an autoresponder email that will deploy as soon as a prospect submits a form. Use the autoresponder to thank your prospects for stopping by, then provide them with some extra content to keep them interested. For example, including a white paper focused on industry trends will show that you’re willing to become a helpful resource for prospects, and that you’re not just interested in the sale. Furthermore, connecting with the prospect right away will help refresh their memory of your conversation and offer.

Once the trade show is over, your work isn’t quite done. You still need to import all of the leads you’ve collected into your marketing automation system, assign them out to sales reps for follow up, set up drip campaigns to nurture your prospects over time, and record and evaluate your ROI for future reference. But not to worry! Marketing automation can help you do all of these — quickly and efficiently.

Looking for more tips and best practices for using marketing automation? Check out our free e-book, 9 Ways to Leverage Marketing Automation at Events. See you October 13th!