Online Marketing Lead Retrieval Best Practices While at a Trade Show

Online marketing is the “new” marketing. Along with this new form of marketing comes new ways to collect leads. One of these ways to merge an “old” form of marketing – tradeshows – with a new form – using technology to gather and store leads.

At trade shows, attendees usually have a badge with their name and a barcode on it. Booth exhibitors can scan this barcode with a lead retrieval device to store the person’s information (see what a lead retrieval device looks like). Once you have all this information, you can email or contact the customer with information about your product, hopefully making a sale.

Like anything else, the more people do it and the more popular it becomes, the harder it is to navigate best practices. This can become true for trade show lead retrieval, as well. If you’re unsure about your lead retrieval tactics, read and follow these suggestions to make sure you’re approaching leads correctly and using their information both efficiently and ethically.

Forget about Quantity

One way to amass a large amount of leads is to give something away. Create a drawing – say, an iPad – and include everybody who lets you scan their information.

According to New Leads, only about 20 percent of those leads will actually be any good to you, so the practice is a waste of time. Additionally, the time your team spends talking to people who aren’t interested in your product, and who just want to enter for the prize, will distract your team from those leads who truly are interested in what you have to offer.

Confirm Before You Swipe

People actually do want to give you their information – if they care enough about your company or product. As mentioned above, about 20 percent of the people at a trade show will actually care about your product. Your job is to find those people and education them to such a point that they want to hear more.

You’ll know that a lead is ready by confirming with them. Say something like, “Can I swipe your barcode so I can’t get you more information? We’ll contact you via email.” Now you not only have the lead’s information, but you have their desire to receive an email from your company.

Use a Secure Database

This should go without saying: Don’t take all the information and dump it into a Google Spreadsheet. Private? Yes. Secure? Not really. If you’re using some sort of email marketing software or a company database to store information you’re probably in the clear. This section mostly applies to the startup or lone entrepreneur.

Don’t Spam; be Helpful

Remember that you made a promise (see “Confirm Before You Swipe”). When you contact the lead, make sure you do so in a way they expect. In other words, don’t subscribe them to the company newsletter unless that’s what the lead agreed to. Instead, send them the information they asked for and keep further communication to a minimum. If you want, you can give the lead the option to sign up for more services (such as the company newsletter) when you contact them after the trade show.

Final Word

Online marketing is great. It allows you to reach people both cost-effectively and efficiently. But make sure you don’t neglect best practices. Maintaining this ethical and professional approach with your leads will give you an advantage over your competition. And in today’s market, any advantage could be the difference between failure and success.

Dan Palma is a business expert who writes about small business and conferencing technology. He currently writes for SmartSource Rentals, a company that offers trade show displays and other technologies for rent. He considers himself a coffee connoisseur.

Filed in: Event Marketing, Marketing
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