Expos: 9 Practical Ways to Turn Leads Into Sales

When you attend a trade show, one of your main objectives for attending is to generate quality leads for your sales team. However, did you know that just 6% of marketers believe their company converts trade show leads into customer business extremely well? For how much time, thought, and effort goes into planning booths and exhibits at trade shows, that number is extremely low for the confidence that marketers have in converting leads into sales.

Having worked with thousands of events, we have noticed firsthand that exhibitors struggle with converting leads into sales. We have a few proven techniques that will help you optimize your leads at your next trade show event.

This solution will work, but it will require work and effort on your part to implement these strategies into your own work.

Before the event:

1. Have a clear objective in mind

Know your goal before you show up at the expo. It doesn’t matter what your goal is, but know that you should have one clear, concise goal that each member of your team attending the show can repeat from memory.

2. Create an email drip campaign

Surprised to see this on the list in the “Before the event” section? You shouldn’t be. Before you take off for the expo, create an email drip campaign that aligns with your goal. If you write the content before you go, you can simply plug in the leads that you gather and have consistent messaging across the whole trade show experience.

3. Create free content of value

As a part of your trade show planning meeting, decide on a valuable offering that you can send your leads for free.

First of all, this will help you collect their contact information in the first place since you have an enticing offer for them. Secondly, it will help you build rapport and goodwill with prospective clients since people love receiving content of value for free. And finally, it is a natural way to follow up with your leads. You can start your conversation up where you left it and check in to make sure the info you sent them makes sense.

Once again, this content should align with your main objective. You may already have some content like this built out that you can use, or if you don’t you can take the time to build compelling content. This could be an ebook, industry-specific calendar, report, scorecard, industry comparison, or any other content that makes sense for your audience. At the event:

4. Collect digital info

We live in a world where physical paper sheets are a seriously endangered species. Many people still carry business cards around with them at trade shows, but you will find that many of the attendees don’t carry business cards anymore.

If possible, use the QR codes from their name badges to simple scan onto your phone. All you need is a QR code scanning app and you can collect their information. When the event is over, you can simply upload the excel sheet into your email system and start emailing your new leads.

Not only will this help you capture more leads, but it will save you a lot of time and help you reach your contacts fast. If the event you are exhibiting at doesn’t use QR codes, reach out to the event producer and ask them to include this functionality at future events so you can easily capture and contact leads.

5. Set up a call on the spot

Don’t wait until after the show to send an email asking when your new lead can talk. Instead, set up calls on the spot. This is easier if you have the right tools in place. You can use tools like Calendly, Doodle, or Cirrus Insight to easily set appointments on the spot.

The meeting should automatically be added to their calendar with any of these tools and will help you keep appointments better. Have one of your team members there to walk them through the process and correctly set up a date and time when they can meet.

6. Email contacts that night

If you aren’t able to schedule a call on the spot, reach out to your contacts that very same day. The longer you wait to reach out to your contacts, the less likely they will be to respond to your outreach.

As you get more sales calls scheduled, you’ll see a greater ROI from trade shows.

After the event:

7. Make your trade show leads a priority

Make it clear to your sales and marketing teams that the leads you collected from the tradeshow take priority over other leads coming in. Set the expectation that they will be contacting these leads and building relationships with them.

8. Send out a care package

Determine the top leads that you would like to close and send them a package in the mail. People enjoy getting mail and a clever, yet useful package will help keep you top of mind.

9. Warm cold leads

Sometimes leads don’t convert right away. It’s a fact of life. But just because a lead doesn’t convert right now, doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in your product. To make sure you are getting the most out of your leads, immediately add them to your drip campaign to keep constant contact with them.

You can also enlist the services of companies like Aktify to warm your cold leads. They will help you find the leads that are still interested in your product and help you close the leads that you thought were lost.

If you follow these nine steps, you will see more leads turn into sales from your expo lead gen list.

20 Powerful Stats on the Value of Trade Shows and Expos

In 2018 the value of expos and tradeshows is still strong. In fact, 99% of exhibitors find unique value delivered by trade shows which are not provided by other marketing channels. Trade shows give exhibitors and attendees the chance to talk face-to-face, an increasingly difficult struggle in the era of video communication, emails, and text messages. Trade shows and expos lead to more conversations, more leads, and more sales than other marketing events. Because of that, we wanted to share with you some powerful stats that help you visualize the impact of your events.

We’ve compiled a list of 21 powerful stats that you can use to plan your upcoming expo while also convincing exhibitors and attendees of the importance of attending your next expo.

Why exhibitors attend trade shows and expos:

1. 88% participate in trade shows to raise awareness of the company and its brand.

Trade shows and expos provide a great way to get your name out and let a very niche audience know about your brand.

2. 72% participate to get leads from new buyers and prospects.

Exhibitors expect to meet new clients and get sales by attending an expo.

3. 65% attend to see current clients – it is harder to get face to face time with clients.

Exhibitors are having a harder time getting face-to-face time with their clients, and trade shows provide a way to reestablish the relationship.

4. The top 3 sales-related objectives at trade shows are related to relationship management and engagement.

Above all else, exhibitors want to meet with existing customers, key customers, and prospective customers.

Value of Trade Shows:

5. The cost of a face-to-face meeting with a prospect at a tradeshow is $142. The cost of a face-to-face meeting at a prospect’s office is $259.

By displaying at an expo, you find a much more cost effective way to have face-to-face conversations with potential prospects.

6. 92% of tradeshow attendees come to see and learn about what’s new in products and services.

Expos and trade shows are a perfect opportunity to highlight the new products, services, or technology you offer. And by doing so, you will meet your attendees expectations at the expo.

7. 77% of executive decision makers found at least one new supplier at the last show they attended.

Expos do create new business opportunities for exhibitors. If you are sitting on the fence about attending an expo because you’re not sure if it is worth it, remember that your competitors will be closing the deals that you could have been closing.

8. 45% of attendees visit only one exhibition per year.

When you exhibit at a show, you will find new prospects that you wouldn’t find at any other show.

9. 51% of trade show attendees requested that a sales representative visit their company after the show.

People are finding valuable solutions by attending trade shows and if you aren’t attending, you are missing opportunities of closing big deals.

10. 87% of exhibitors rate exhibitions as highly valuable for achieving business sector promotions.

Exhibitors are having overall positive experiences at trade shows.

Prospect Building:

11. 90% of expo attendees have not met face-to-face with any companies exhibiting at the show in the 12 months prior to the event.

Trade shows provide a great opportunity to network and build relationships with current clients and potential prospects.

12. Over 50% of the expo attendees are there for the first time.

With so many new people are attending expos each year, it is worth attending trade shows every year to meet prospective clients who did not attend last years show.

13. 67% of all attendees represent a new prospect and potential customer for exhibiting companies.

2 of 3 attendees don’t currently use the product or service of the exhibiting company.

14. 81% of trade show attendees have buying authority.

4 out of 5 people walking through the show are potential customers for exhibitors.

15. The average attendee spends 8.3 hours viewing trade show exhibits at an exhibition.

You have plenty of time to network and make connections at the event. Attract attendees to your booth that will attract attendees to your booth such as visual representations.

Trade Show Concerns:

16. Just 6% of marketers believe their company converts trade show leads, contacts and conversations into customer business extremely well.

Plan networking opportunities into your expo outside of the show floor to increase the chance for building relationships. Use event software that digitally tracks leads through QR codes instead of risking losing paper business cards.

Attendee Experience:

17. The #1 reason for attending (not exhibiting) trade shows is to see new products. 92% of trade show attendees say they are looking for new products.

This has been the number one reason to attend expos and trade shows for over 25 years.

18. Only 34% of attendees said they were very satisfied with their experience at exhibitions they visited.

Attendees provide value for exhibitors and vice versa. Plan activities outside of the exhibitor floor time that provide extra value to attendees. Also provide them with contact information for all exhibitors so they can research the exhibitors they didn’t get a chance to meet in person.

19. Leading reasons why marketers felt disappointed with attending major trade shows worldwide as of May 2017:

45% Cost of attendance

45% Not getting the right spot on the conference floor

36% Low-value leads

36% Wrong speaking slots

27% Company booth was overshadowed by bigger players

20. 56% of trade show attendees travel more than 400 miles to attend an exhibition.

Transportation costs are important to both exhibitors transporting their booths to trade shows, and attendees traveling to meeting sites. If you can help them reduce their travel costs by getting a hotel discount, you can help increase the attendance at your expo.

 

Sources:

Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR)

BizActions

CEIR: The Spend Decision: Analyzing How Exhibits Fit Into The Overall Marketing Budget

CEIR Report ACRR 1152.12

Skyline Exhibits market research

CMO Council & E2MA, 2013

Exhibit Surveys, Inc.

CEIR Changing Environment Study

CEIR: The Role and Value of Face to Face

11 Event Industry Stats Every Event Prof Needs to Know

The event industry is constantly evolving and as an event prof, we know you like to stay up on the latest trends and technology. That is why we’ve compiled a list of relevant event industry stats that will help you plan successful events for the upcoming year. From effective event marketing to what attendees really think about events, we’ve got the latest.

Here are 11 stats with a break down of how you can utilize each of them for your events moving forward:

1. 60% of marketers who organize conferences or networking events use event management software. (Bizzabo, 2017). Event management software has grown increasingly popular among event profs. Gone are the days of spreadsheets and notebooks thanks to event management software, which digitally manages all aspects of your event. As events grow, they need a platform that can not only manage all of the details, but also capture valuable attendee data that can be utilized by event profs and sponsors.

2. The reach of organic social media posts is between 2-20%. (Bizzabo, 2017). Organic posts are regular posts you make on social media that are free. If you’re using social media to market your event, you’re off to a good start. However, organic posts do not reach as many people as paid posts. Paid posts can include paying to boost your event on Facebook or paying for digital ads (PPC) to run on Google or Facebook. Event marketing is crucial to the success of your event and you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your social platforms. To learn more about event marketing, click here.

3. 48% of event planners typically start planning for their event 6-12 months in advance. (Bizzabo, 2016). Almost half of all event planners start planning for the success of their event early on. This is crucial because an event needs time to have awareness and interest created around it. Many attendees take a good amount of time to research an event and then find people to go with before they actually purchase tickets. The last thing you want to do is try getting people interested in your event a week before it starts. With this in mind, we recommend running awareness and marketing campaigns 2-3 months in advance of your event. We manage digital ad campaigns for clients daily and the most successful ones we’ve seen start early.

4. 75% of event professionals who don’t use event apps intend to adopt them. (Event MB, 2017). Events are progressing and event technology needs to as well. Event apps are a key player in event tech right now and more and more event profs are beginning to use them. They aren’t going anywhere and it’s important to jump on board and get to know how they can help optimize your event. Change can be scary, but event apps are made with user experience in mind and most are easy to navigate.

5. 36% of event marketers said that their biggest challenge is increasing event registration. (Bizzabo, 2017). Every event prof wants more people to attend their event, it’s no secret. So how do we have our cake and eat it too? Here are a few tips to optimize event registration. Make it simple for attendees to register, have a clear and attractive landing page, and provide seamless ticketing.

6. 36% of event planners spend most of their budget on the venue, 34% on catering and only 10% on marketing. (Bizzabo, 2016). We understand that no two events are the same and neither are their budgets, so if you only have 10% to spend on marketing then make it the best marketing it can be. Here are some free marketing tips you can use so that you don’t have to break the bank: Make sure you have social media platorms set up for your event like FB, Twitter, and Insta. Establish your event hashtag and identify who your event influencers are and engage with them.

7. 60% of smartphone users are using their devices at social gatherings and events. (Event MB, 2017). Smartphones are great for capturing the attendee experience, they want to post pictures, videos, and their thoughts about their event experience. This is because smartphones are very interactive, which is why people like using them. This means that you want to make sure you have various interactive experiences available at your event. Whether it’s a selfie background or a fun social media contest, make your experience memorable. Make attendees want to post about it, it’s free exposure for you!

8. 30% of marketers believe that live streaming will impact events the most. (Bizzabo, 2017). Live streaming is the term used that describes the process of broadcasting real-time, live video footage or video feed to an audience accessing the video stream over the internet. It’s an effective way to have an event with thousands of potential attendees without the hassle of buying enough food, space, etc. To learn how to live stream your event, click here.

9. 35% of marketers look at revenue generated to measure event success. (Bizzabo, 2017). Event revenue is important, but it’s not the only measurement you should be using to determine an event’s success. A successful event should create loyal attendees and give them memorable experiences that they’ll continue to carry with them. You could have a high revenue event this year with no traction next year if you aren’t able to give attendees a reason to keep coming back. Memorable events earn attendees!

10. 50% of marketers say their primary reason for events are lead generation/sales and community building. (Bizzabo, 2017). Events really are an effective way to gain leads, but you want to be cautious about how you get that information. The last thing you want to do is be hounding your attendees to fill out forms or give their personal info. That is why the best way to get lead info is through the registration process. Event management software will not only help attendees register for an event but will also capture valuable data that can be passed along to vendors and sponsors. SpinGo’s event management software, Event Master, was recently used at Silicon Slopes Tech Summit and was able to not only provide seamless registration but also captured lists of attendee data that vendors were able to analyze and use for lead gen.

11. 91% of event professionals stated that increasing engagement at their events was an important priority for their organization. (Event MB, 2016). With audiences being bombarded by information and entertainment at all angles, boosting event engagement has become a high priority for many event planners. Attendee engagement is all about promoting meaningful interactions. This means doing things like engaging with influencers, using live polls, providing a mobile app, etc. To learn more, click here.

Event Safety: How to Ensure Your Attendees Feel Safe At Your Event

Recently, SpinGo conducted a new survey revealing how U.S. event attendees feel about their personal safety at live events and how their safety perceptions have changed after the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. The data poignantly revealed that recent attacks at live events impact attendees feelings of safety, with nearly 33 percent feeling worried that a violent attack may happen to them at a live event. Additionally, 33 percent feel they cannot rely on facility staffers to resolve a safety concern if one were to come up. Despite their concerns, the large majority (76 percent) still feel that live events are safe.

As event planners, you know that creating the right environment for your audience is essential to putting on a successful event. Part of creating that perfect setting comes for ensuring that your attendees feel safe, especially if they have never attended an event you’ve put on before. While it’s great that 76 percent of people feel safe as they go to events, what the data really says is that one in four people don’t feel safe. This means that people will potentially opt out from attending your event because they don’t feel comfortable for whatever reason. While the law of statistics says that you will never be able to make everybody feel safe, you can still make great strides towards improving the sense of security surrounding your event. Based on the data from our survey, we have a few suggestions to improve the feeling of safety at your event.

To harbor safety – security, location matter.

More than half of those surveyed (54 percent) feel there is a need to increase security measures at live events following the terrorist attacks in Paris. To alleviate those concerns, roughly one third surveyed said that seeing security personnel provides them with the greatest sense of security. At your event, see if it is possible to have a form of security at the entrance of your event. This doesn’t mean you have to have a police officer in uniform staring everybody down as they enter, but depending on what type of event you are running, that might not be a bad option. Larger events should have security personnel at the entrance, while smaller events can simply get away with a bouncer. If your event is small enough, a simple ticket check, or check in at the front should suffice.

Attending an event in a good area provides the second highest sense of security to your event attendees. When you are choosing a venue for your event, see what you can do to find a venue in a neighborhood with a good reputation. The survey also revealed that one of the factors that make attendees feel the most unsafe at an event is if they are unfamiliar with area where the event is taking place. Research is going to be of critical importance to you as you select where to host your event. Even if your attendees have never been to the venue you select before, if the venue is located in an area with a good reputation, they will feel better about attending your event.

Take me out to the…play.

When it comes to hosting your event, the type of venue you select matters greatly. The study revealed over 33 percent of people feel the safest when attending an event at a performing arts theater, followed closely by events held at small concert venues (26.83 percent). However, nearly 25 percent of event attendees have safety concerns when attending events at sports arenas/stadiums. So how do you solve this? Obviously, some types of events require certain venues such as major sporting events. However, some types of events are flexible for their location, such as concerts, conferences, lectures, etc. If your event is flexible, see if you can choose a type of venue where people will feel safest. If you have an outdoor event, your venue choice will be limited, but try and be creative to see how you can improve the location of your event if you feel safety is a concern for some of your potential attendees.

These are a couple of tips we have come up with based on the research we conducted, but we know there are other ways to improve the sense of security around your event. Below is an infographic with other data from the survey. See how the information can help you shape your event for the better and make your event a safe haven for all, so that your attendees minds can be focused on the reasons why they went to your event in the first place; to have fun, make memories, and have a once-in-a-lifetime experience.