Trade shows, business conventions, consumer goods fairs – all these public events can be a valuable source of leads for your small business. Think about it: if people take the time to go to such an event, then they are interested in the products and services exhibited there. In fact, various exit surveys conducted at such events indicate that 81% of the attendees have buying authority – whether for their family, for their own business or for the company they work for.
This means that by setting up a booth you open a door to potential customers – not just fishing out in the dark, hoping that your ads reach the right people. However, if you want to be successful, you need to prepare. We have put together in this article a simple and actionable checklist which will teach you how to plan and conduct your event participations in order to get the most potential leads.
- Choose Your Booth Location Carefully
The first thing you need to consider is where you will place your booth. Since all the good spots are leased early, you need to have a few ideas of how people act in various areas of an event venue.
At the entrance, they are most likely to look forward to what is deeper inside the venue. At the exit, they are already tired after browsing around. Therefore, you should avoid these locations. Instead, try to obtain a spot close to the food court. Everyone gravitates towards that area and, once their hunger is appeased, will look around with rekindled interest.
- Create Polls, Contests and Other Interactive Activities to Capture Data
When people attend a fair, they want to be entertained as much as they want to discover useful products and services. This is why booths which organise contests with prizes, have a children’s corner and offer other such small interactive activities have queues of visitors.
These activities will not only ensure a steady flow of visitors – they also give you the legitimate opportunity to collect the visitors’ contact data (name and email address).
- Take The Time to Chat With People
Do not be salesy all the way. Before you start talking about the benefits of your product, spend some time chatting with visitors to your stand. A simple exchange of generalities, such as how their day is, and what a great (or foul) weather there is outside will get your visitors to relax, become friendly with you and listen more carefully to your product pitch.
After all, attending an event is all about networking and direct interactions with others. The sales will come as a natural result of your friendly and open attitude.
- Offer Promotional Materials to Qualified Leads
As a small business owner, you probably cannot afford to order a large quantity of promotional materials. This is why you need to be careful about how you give them away. Beware of the freebie hunters – those people who attend fairs and events only for the promotional materials they can get, without any interest in purchasing anything.
Giving away your promotional materials indiscriminately will put you in the position of not having anything to offer to potential customers who visit your booth later.
- Always Follow Up
The event is over. You gave the prize to the contest winner, you gave away all the freebies and you came back to your office with a list of email addresses. Now what? Now you prepare a thoughtful Thank You message for all the visitors who left their contact details, and you invite them to browse your website and subscribe to your newsletter.
Under no circumstances should you add these email addresses to your mailing list directly. Also, do not wait more than 24 hours after the end of the fair to send the Thank You message.