2. Events and Trade Shows – Boosting Leads with More than Fishbowls
Events and trade shows can be the most expensive lead sources you can have. But there are many reasons to bite the bullet and spend money and time on attending and having a booth at a few critical shows per year. Some important considerations are:
- Will their competition be there? If so, will your client’s absence be notable?
- Would sales reps have the opportunity to meet their clients, as well as prospects, at the event?
- Is there an announcement (data / product / service / executive appointment) you might leverage at the event?
Any one of those considerations could make the case to spend the money. And once your client has committed, you as their agency can help boost leads at the event.
My favorite way to make a big impression at an event is to look big before, during, and after the event via social media and thoughtful content (Point 2, above).
Pre- Event Activities
If you’re targeting a number of accounts who’ll be at the event, and want to advertise your presence at the event so they’ll know before they go that you’ll be there, you can deploy ads targeting their attendees in LinkedIn.
If you follow the ideas I outlined above, you could target, for example, either job-level or skills-based employees – using the right rail and impression-based pricing. That way, your target might see your ad, announcing you’ll be at the upcoming show, never click on it, but know – and anticipate – that you’ll be there.
If you can arrange for a special announcement – news of your products, a release of data important to your market, even a Customer of the Year Award – that might coincide with the event, consider building momentum for your client through Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook posts encouraging followers (using the event hashtag) to watch for the announcement.
The more you share your news and anticipation of the event (sprinkled in with your educational content around your market), the bigger presence you’ll develop and deliver. The organizers will notice (and appreciate) too (‘cause of the hashtag).
During the Event:
During the event, be sure to have someone from your team who’s practiced in social media sharing live post key points and photos during key event speakers and sessions. Again, using the event hashtag and other relevant hashtags, your brand will be associated with thought leadership from inside the event itself, and will reach an additional audience of those who aren’t attending the event, but are interested in following news of – and from – the event.
Have them share like a roving reporter, and as a bonus for your brand and those who follow it, end-of-day wrap-ups where you post about the highlights – and your thoughts on them – will boost your readership, thought leadership, and leads.
Every sales rep will follow up on the event leads you’ve paid to collect. Where you can do your client a boost in service is to package a special post-event content summary (Scenes from the Event) with observations from their executives that would be another valuable piece of educational (and entertaining) content that they can use once they get back to the office. These could be blog posts and/or newsletter content.
Your thoughtful, post-event content delivered right to their email inbox will go a long way to ease a content into a sales call when the time is right.