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18 Ways to Capture Leads at Trade Shows in 2024
Trade shows have always been a pivotal place for businesses to showcase their products, network with industry peers, and connect with potential customers.
However, capturing leads demands a fresh and innovative approach since digital transformation and changing consumer behaviors have reshaped the trade show experience.
But fear not - we’re about to show you the most effective strategies to excel at lead generation during trade shows.
Let's dive in to see how to capture leads at trade shows and stand out.
What are Trade Shows?
A trade show or a trade expo is an event where businesses from a specific industry or sector gather to display their products, services, and innovations to a targeted audience.
Trade shows are typically organized for B2B purposes, although some also cater to B2C.
In general, they provide a platform for companies to:
- promote their offerings,
- network with industry peers, and
- engage with potential customers, partners, and stakeholders.
What are The 10 Key Benefits of Attending a Trade Show?
Although the reasons for attending a trade show vary from company to company, some key benefits are universal:
✅ Targeted Audience
Attract a specific audience relevant to the industry or sector, including industry professionals, buyers, suppliers, investors, etc.
✅ Networking Opportunities
Having industry professionals, potential customers, suppliers, and partners under one roof is a great chance to network, build relationships, and establish valuable contacts.
✅ Lead Generation
Generate leads by collecting contact information from attendees who express interest in your products or services when visiting your booth.
✅ Product Exposure
Showcase your products or services, introduce new offerings, demonstrate product features, and generate buzz around your brand.
✅ Product Testing and Feedback
Receive real-time feedback on your products or services from attendees to refine your offerings and make necessary improvements.
✅ Market Research
Gain insights into market trends, competitor strategies, and customer preferences to make informed business decisions and strategies.
✅ Education and Learning
Attend seminars, workshops, and keynote presentations to expand your knowledge and stay updated on the latest industry trends and best practices.
✅ Innovation Showcase
Showcase your cutting-edge technologies and innovations.
✅ Partnerships and Collaborations
Explore partnership opportunities with other businesses in your industry to open up new revenue streams and expand your reach.
✅ Sales Opportunities
Offering special discounts or promotions during the event can lead to immediate sales and business deals.
While attending trade shows can offer numerous benefits, planning and executing your participation effectively to maximize these advantages is essential.
How to Capture Leads at Trade Shows in 18 Effective Ways?
Capturing leads at trade shows will likely involve a combination of traditional and digital strategies to boost your success.
Although the main part of lead capture will happen during the trade show, you shouldn’t underestimate the proper preparation and a well-thought-out follow-up strategy.
1. Pre-Trade Show Activities to Make You Ready for The Event
1.1 Choose The Right Trade Show
Lead capture starts even before the actual trade show - to attract the target audience, you must research the types of trade shows you want to attend.
There is no point in attending trade shows that don’t cater to your audience.
1.2. Set the Goals
Make your goals measurable and attainable:
- Do you want to make sales and create leads?
- Increase brand awareness?
- Launch a new product or service?
- Form a new partnership?
Setting the goals while making them trackable and realistic will not only help reach them but will also provide valuable metrics to measure the event’s success.
1.3. Pre-Trade Show Promotion
Build anticipation by promoting your booth and participation in the trade show through social media, email marketing, and your website.
In addition, you can also create a designated landing page for the event with a sign-up form to schedule appointments or request more information in advance.
💡 Note: With digital solutions, such as Tapni, you can use a custom link that sends attendees to a profile or an event landing page you wish them to see.
2. Activities to Capture Leads DuringTrade Shows
2.1 Go For an Interactive Booth Design
An interactive booth can attract more visitors, keep them engaged, and leave a lasting impression.
Still, you’d be surprised how many exhibitors cramp too many things in their booths, go crazy with colors, etc.
Unfortunately, they all fall into the same trap - not thinking through their goals and not thinking about their target audience.
Therefore, tailor your interactive elements to appeal to the interests and needs of the attendees, and let your trade show objectives guide your design.
2.2 Choose Interactive Technologies
A. Lead Capture Apps
These apps let you easily collect attendees' contact information and other crucial data. In addition, they are multifunctional and can help you:
- Set up lead capture forms.
- Automatically send data to your CRM system and marketing automation software.
- Engage the audience by providing quizzes, polls, surveys, etc.
- Collect and measure real-time data for future reference.
💡ProTip: Did you know that Tapni’s Lead Capture Forms have a rapid autofill option to be even more time-efficient?
B. Badge Scanners
Badge scanners are electronic devices that efficiently capture attendee information from their event badges or badges with barcodes, QR codes, RFID tags, etc.
Unlike lead capture apps, they don’t have more functions, and if the expo organizers provide them, you need to wait a while to get the data.
C. Business Card Scanning
Scanning digital business cards is another efficient way to access necessary information.
What makes this option particularly valuable is that you can quickly access more than just basic info but also find out more about a person.
And vice versa - if you display your digital profile’s QR code as the background, attendees can easily find information about you, too.
For example, Tapni’s latest product, Tapni Custom Standee, lets attendees follow you on social media, learn more about your business, sign up, leave reviews, etc.
You just need to place it on your trade show booth, and the attendees can access all the info with a simple tap or scan.
2.3. Gamify Your Booth
Besides the above methods of capturing leads, you can also add a dash of fun and games to retrieve contact or other valuable info.
A. Contest and Giveaways
You can host contests or giveaways that require attendees to provide their contact information to enter.
For example, you can turn your digital profile’s QR code into a gamification tool - whoever scans it first and provides some info from your profile gets a small reward.
Simple yet effective, right?
B. Games to Engage Your Visitors
Your booth will be the talk of the trade show if you can engage your visitors and make it about them.
In other words, help them get mutually connected and network to create a bubbly and buzzing atmosphere at your booth.
Trivia games, quizzes, bingo, scavenger hunts, mini basketball, etc., are just some of the ways you can pique interest in your booth and catch people’s attention.
For more event ideas, jump to our blog, 30 Best Networking Event Ideas - Offline Icebreakers to Try in 2023 to get inspired.
C. Interactive Demos and Presentations
You can offer live demonstrations or presentations of your services or products at your booth and turn it into a bit of competition.
The first team who answers correctly to the questions after the presentation gets a small reward or incentive.
💡Pro Tip: Incorporate the QR code in your event page, post downloadable material, useful links, etc., on your Tapni profile, and provide useful resources for visitors.
3. Train Your Staff
Besides your booth layout, your staff is the first point of contact with your brand, making it a very important aspect of capturing leads.
Therefore, your staff should be knowledgeable about your products and ready to engage visitors in meaningful conversations.
In addition, train your booth staff to operate and assist attendees with interactive elements.
4. Post-Trade Show Activities To Nurture Your New Leads
4.1 Do The Follow-Up
One of the exhibitors' most common mistakes is letting leads turn cold instead of striking while the iron is hot.
All the data you’ve collected will now be helpful because you can segment your email list based on attendee interests or engagement levels for more targeted follow-ups.
Thus, don’t lose momentum to reach out to new contacts, but send personalized follow-up emails shortly after the trade show to express your gratitude for their visit.
You can also provide additional information about your products or services.
What’s more, follow-up doesn’t have to be bound only to email outreach - You can reach your leads via phone, social media, etc.
💡Pro Tip: When you connect a Tapni Business profile to your CRM, you’ll get notifications to follow up on a lead.
4.2 Benefit from Event Metrics
Although analytics and metrics after the trade show won’t immediately land you leads, they will pinpoint which strategies worked and didn’t and which need improving.
Mastering the art of lead capture at trade shows is crucial to maximizing your event ROI and establishing meaningful connections with potential customers.
Moreover, digital solutions can be your greatest ally in capturing leads because they provide efficient and quick ways to enhance your presence at the event.
One such solution is Tapni.
How Can Tapni Help You Capture Leads?
Tapni is an all-in-one digital solution focused on boosting networking in innovative and easy ways.
Not only does Tapni help you leave the first great impression with its fully customizable digital business cards, but it also opens the door to versatile networking possibilities:
✨Create custom links to send your visitors to a profile or an event landing page of your choice.
✨Create direct links to direct your contacts to the social media channel of your choice.
✨Organize your contacts, filter and tag them, and move them back and forth in your digital address book.
✨ Schedule follow-up messages to nurture leads further.
✨ Automate lead generation by sending your contacts directly to your CRM.
✨ Share your info in multiple ways, by a scan, tap, via links, text, etc.
✨ Get valuable event metrics showing you ROI, top performers, etc.
✨ and so much more.
Interested to see how Tapni can transform your networking game?
Download the Tapni app today and embrace cutting-edge solutions that will attract attention and convert prospects into valuable leads.
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