Upgrade Your Trade Show Skills For a Profitable New Year

Some organizations spend thousands on trade shows every year. And yet many have a hard time justifying the expense. A trade show can mean more than just good publicity; it can fill your sales pipeline. To capture the potential, you’ll need organizing skills and up-to-date tools. Here’s a rundown.

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Think about business cards for a moment. It’s hard to imagine a more outdated way of presenting yourself.

First of all, there’s the expense. Does your card really need embossed gold lettering on a parchment finish?

Worse, the business card concept starts with the assumption that everyone needs the same information. Sure, everyone needs your contact data, but if that’s all they get, you’ve wasted an opportunity to connect on a deeper level.

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Here are some techniques that won’t cost you a bundle but do require that you think about your message and who it’s going to.

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1. One size fits … nobody.

If you’ve been around GetResponse for a while, you know we advocate segmentation – breaking your contact list into tightly targeted subgroups.

A trade show isn’t a steady stream of robots (although it may begin to feel that way after a few hours). Each visitor has individual desires, preferences and goals. So at a bare minimum, you need to anticipate the kinds people you’ll meet.

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Customer behavior

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For example, some are potential customers who need what you sell. Others might be suppliers who can add value to your business.

A third type are influencers – people who will never be your customers and don’t want to sell you anything but have the ability to recommend you to others. Valuable contacts indeed.

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Now there could be many subgroups within those three basic types, but at a bare minimum, you need to devise a way to identify these three types and decide what you want to communicate to each.

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2. Encourage self-sorting.

Business cards may be the most outdated tool, but a close second is brochures. Do people really take them home on the plane? Doubtful.

A more up-to-date idea is QR codes (short for Quick Response). Attendees can scan the code with their smartphone and be directed to detailed information online.

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QR Code

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I know what you’re thinking: everybody doesn’t have a smartphone. True, but what’s the trend – more smartphones or fewer smartphones? The smart money is betting on more smartphones.

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3. Give ‘em what they want.

Uh-oh, did you redirect that QR code to the home page of your website? Big mistake. You took an interested prospect and left them to hunt for relevant info.

Instead, create a unique landing page for each featured item. Got 10 QR codes? Create 10 landing pages, each with detailed, specific information about what they just scanned. You don’t even need help from your Webmaster. With Landing Page Creator, you can knock them out in minutes.

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4. Grab ‘em while they’re hot.

Here’s a test question. Now that you’ve gotten this far, what do you put in a prominent place on each landing page?

If you’re an experienced Internet marketer, you already know the answer: a sign-up form.

In fact, each sign-up form can add a source field to the new contact record. That way, you’ll know that John Smith at ABC trade show was interested in XYZ product.

Good to know.

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5. Spend time with them … after the show.

You can even create a series of autoresponders (as many as you like) for each item of interest.

And by continuing to watch which installments your new contacts open, and which links they click, you’ll soon detect which are red-hot prospects and which need to be warmed up over time.

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Calendar

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Note: Make sure you set up a rule that transfers each subscriber to a new campaign when the initial one ends.

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6. What about late adopters?

Let’s get back to those attendees who don’t have smartphones yet. Are they out of luck?

Not at all. Just grab the Forms on the Go app (free) and install it on your pad. You’ll find that when you’re chatting with a new contact, it’s perfectly natural to take out your pad and ask them to enter their contact information.

It not only captures their data, it also adds them to your mailing list.

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7. Get and give feedback.

Here’s one more quick idea for staying in touch. Use the Online Survey tool to gather opinions about the trade show. Then share those opinions (anonymously of course) with new contacts and longtime subscribers as well.

This will also help you decide whether to participate in the same trade shows in the future.

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Wrapping up

Well, you’ll probably need those business cards after all. If you don’t have them, people may think you’re new to the business.

But now you’ve got a new set of trade show communication ideas that position you way ahead of your competitors.

And that’s a very good place to be.

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Got questions? Let’s discuss them in the comments. Or feel free to reach out to our Customer Success Team by phone, chat or email. They’ll be happy to help with anything in this article.