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3 Tips for Success at the Virtual Trade Show You’re Attending
Attending virtual trade shows is a new reality for most of us as we navigate this “new normal.” The playbook on this topic hasn’t been written yet. Most of us are figuring it out as we go.
The year 2020 has brought along many new challenges & hurdles that we have had to navigate through. For those of us in the event marketing space, virtual trade shows rank fairly high on that list of challenging experiences. These events are nothing short of intimidating to setup & oftentimes difficult to wade through as each event has varying rules & regulations. In the article below, we will attempt to answer the big question everyone is asking: What does it take to be successful at the virtual trade shows you’re attending?
The main takeaway from this article is that,
“a virtual trade show is still a trade show.”
You must prepare for this with the same passion, dedication & discipline that you would apply to an in-person trade show. Even though it is hosted virtually, you still have the valuable opportunity to gather qualified leads from around the world & create meaningful connections.
1: Think strategically about the reps you choose to “send” to the show
In the same way that you would plan for face-to-face trade shows, you must first analyze the expected audience and decide on which products or services you would like to highlight. From there, you can make knowledgeable decisions about which sales reps to “staff” your booth. While the standard qualifications for a qualified rep would include things such as advanced product knowledge and charisma, you also need to account for the reps that have the highest level of comfort with digital communication channels such as chat, email & video conferencing.
2: Have reps capture leads consistently in one place
Similar to F2F events, it is vital that your sales reps are capturing leads in a consistent manner and that all leads can flow into one location that is easily accessible. You also want to make sure that your Marketing Team is receiving leads in real-time so that follow-up can be done immediately while your brand is still top-of-mind for your potential client.
Lead Liaison makes this seamless by offering an easy-to-setup Lead Capture Form & native integrations with major CRMs & Marketing Automation Platforms such as Eloqua, Salesforce & more.
3: Invest in your virtual booth
Many virtual trade shows that we have attended recently feel slightly…boring… at times. You want to make sure that your booth stands out from the crowd. Find something that attracts, captures attention & ultimately converts your lead to a customer. Lead Liaison has recently launched an innovative way of accomplishing the goal listed above. The answer is simple: GAMES & GIVEAWAYS! Just as we’ve seen with traditional events, attendees are looking for different. They’re looking for swag. They’re looking for an incentive. We have over 20 fun & exciting games like whack-a-mole, spin-to-win & blackjack. These not only grab attention & create buzz about your brand, but they also capture lead contact information to help your sales reps and marketing team in their followup. All of these games are completely customizable & can fit your brand personality. Contact us to learn more.
It is our hope that the ideas listed above will spark your creativity & help your next virtual event to be a success. Keep in mind that, as with in-person trade shows, a virtual trade show doesn’t end when reps “leave” the show. Meet with your team. Get their feedback about what worked well, and what didn’t. Ask what they’ve heard from chatting with prospects or what they’ve seen in other booths. Any and all feedback will help you add to and refine your virtual trade show playbook.
The Last Thing Anybody Needs is Another Boring Virtual Event
This September of 2020, about 6 months into the COVID-19 pandemic, we here at Lead Liaison noticed an interesting comment on LinkedIn from Katherine M. describing the 3 factors that entice her into engaging with a virtual event:
“For me it’s either
1) I learn something EXTREMELY valuable;
2) I get to connect with awesome people; or,
3) it’s super fun and/or entertaining”
We agree 100%!
Virtual events absolutely demand one of these 3 elements (and preferably all 3!) to avoid coming across as flat, boring, useless agents of overhype.
Let’s start with #1 – Educating and bringing extreme value to your audience
First and foremost, you must understand the wants and needs of your audience going into the event. Pre-event polling regarding potential topics on a scale of 1 to 10 will help your team to evaluate and further facilitate the presentations that will help bring in more attendees and keep them involved over the course of your online event.
Be sure to make the best use of imagery! Look to create fascinating and quick informational videos with colorful images, interactive elements and photography that commands attention.
Keep educational portions concise. Provide links to additional resources on your company site if your participants would like to learn more. The last thing you want to do is have your event drone on like a requirement that attendees must sit through in order to benefit, because trust us – home distractions, email inboxes waiting to be cleaned, and a treasure trove of other online diversions are readily available and waiting to steal your thunder.
Think strategically about how your team can interject sales initiatives, sponsors, and other business strategies along with vital education that will help your virtual event attendees find value in the time they invest.
Moving along to #2 – Helping produce authentic connections with inspiring like-minded people
Your event must allow time for participants to network and create friendships and new connections. Live chats and Q&A’s in sessions are wonderful, but encourage your team to think deeper about how they can help facilitate introductions and lasting relationships between audience members.
Breakout rooms, well thought out roundtables with attendees who are pre-determined to benefit each other from dedicated discussions, and ease of use connecting via social media during the event can add a next-level feel to your virtual event.
There is even software that provides online cocktail happy hours designed to allow for 5 minute discussions (much like speed dating). Use the premise of connecting with others over a drink as a tool to keep people at your event engaged and curious about what’s coming next. The opportunity to unwind, connect and discuss hot topics after a full day of learning together is a welcome conclusion.
Finally, and perhaps most important, we arrive at #3 – Bring the fun and entertainment!
We’re all living through unprecedented times that few have previously encountered. The wide spread use of masks, physical distancing and navigating a climate of ever changing politics and science has instilled an elevated desire for fun, captivating and thrilling experiences.
Gamify your event with classic trade show games such as Spin to Win (similar to Wheel of Fortune), Pick a Winner (akin to drawing a business card from a bowl), or online Scratch-Offs. Set probabilities of winning and automate gift cards to be emailed to the winners.
Perhaps your team is more interested in hosting a casino night with marketing gamification fun including Blackjack, Slot Machines or Roulette with real-time leaderboards. Competition amongst attendees promotes participation and guarantees engagement!
Think about the event from an attendee’s perspective. If your team was taking part in the virtual event instead of running it, what would THEY want to include to make the experience appealing and enjoyable throughout the course of the sessions?
The stellar news is that by integrating game dynamics before, during and after your event, you can assist in converting passive attendees into ENGAGED participants.
Lead Liaison’s gamification features are self-service and integration is inexpensive, simple and most importantly – FUN!
Don’t hesitate to reach out with ideas on how we can help liven up your next event!
The advantages of targeted emails, personalization and list cleaning
“One thing I often see companies doing is emailing to the same list, day after day, week after week without any idea if the emails are being looked at or giving the ROI they desire.”- Mike Pauer
If you’ve had an email address for any amount of time, and used it to sign up for accounts, I’m sure you will have seen the same emails you never open mentioning a flash sale or special offer for the hundredth time.
When you send out the right email, to the right person, it should feel more personal like it’s coming from a friend, rather than a mass marketing message trying to sell something.
Use personalization in the email and segment your list towards who is most likely to be interested.
An email subject that mentions the person by name and how it relates to their interests has a much higher chance of being opened or clicked.
As a personal example from my own inbox: within the last few days I received emails with the subjects, “Massive 8×10 Live auction tonight!”, “Flash Sale—up to 60% off bedding, bath and more” and “Spark some happiness in your home from $4!” all of which just immediately went into the trash because I had no real interest.
On the other hand, email’s with the subjects “Michael, open this e-mail to load your offers!”, “Great escapes close to Toronto” and “Extra Discount on A Deal You Viewed” were all opened. Why? Because they were personalized for me and sparked my interest. The more interest the recipient has, the more chance they will open, read, and click the email.
When crafting your email, the other thing to keep in mind is the pre-header. It can be just as important as the subject. A brief description of just what’s inside the email and why it’s important to the recipient can go a long way towards increasing your opens.
Something to consider when bulk sending: How clean is the list you’re sending to?
Have you been sending to the same list of people for 5 years without any statistics on engagement? This can lead to very poor open rates, or even to having a spam trap in a worst case scenario. When it comes to list maintenance, the best practice is to always remove anyone that bounces, and consider pruning anyone that has not opened or clicked the email for a period of time.
What if you are concerned about cutting prospective clients?
Run a campaign directly to them! Segment the list to those who have never opened an email in the past year, then send a campaign asking if they still want to receive emails, or offer a special discount. If you go with the first option then as people confirm they do still want your emails you can move them back into the main sending list. With the second option, you can see which email addresses are alive, and may still be interested in your product or services. Overall you are reducing the number of emails you send out, helping to increase your list quality and sender reputation.
Qualifying Leads by Lifecycle Stage
Defining Marketing Qualified Lead, or MQL, can be a slippery process because companies, departments and individuals can have very different viewpoints as to what really makes a prospect and MQL.
At Lead Liaison, we let Marketing and Sales define the stages together, so everyone owns and clearly understands what is taking place inside the sales funnel. Here’s how we’ve defined lifecycle stages, including MQL and SQL. We hope this is a helpful resource for your company as well:
Lifecycle Stage Definitions
People progress through Lifecycle Stages at Lead Liaison as we sell and market to them. Lifecycle Stages represent the different phases of a person as they evolve from a lead to a Prospect and ultimately into a customer.Our CRM, called OneFocus, tracks and reports on people in their Lifecycle Stage. Marketers can pull reports on the three Vs of marketing, the Velocity (how quickly people move into and out of stages), Viscosity (where people are getting stuck), and Volume (how many leads they have) of their leads. Depending on the stage, statuses change automatically, manually, or by customized business rules defined in the system. A critical function of Lifecycle Stages is that a person can never go backwards in their lifecycle. They only move forward. Lifecycle Stages are:
Suspect > Engaged > Marketing Qualified > Sales Qualified > Opportunity > Customer > Evangelist > Disqualified > Other
Behavior: Automatically updated
When a new person is loaded into the system who we have never interacted with they become a Suspect. A Suspect has no idea who we are either. This is the first status for any net-new person in the system. This status is set automatically.
Behavior: Automatically updated
This status is set automatically. Prospects move from Suspect to Engaged whenever they generate inbound activity with us. For example, clicking through on a link in an email campaign, visiting a website, submitting a form, playing a game, etc.
Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)
Behavior: Updated by automated rules.
Prospects will be considered a MQL when any of the following happens:
- Prospect completes a form, or sends correspondence indicating interest in Lead Liaison solution(s) AND has submitted contact information pursuant to. This includes phone and/or email.
- Phone / Email Validity: Can be verified as a phone number or email where the prospect can be reached. Email should contain the company URL (no personal email domains), and if not, then verified by a response from the prospect which indicates ongoing interest in Lead Liaison solution(s).
- Prospect indicates current or future interest in doing business with Lead Liaison.
- Prospect can be considered a new MQL every 12 months. In other words, if the Prospect indicated interest in 2019, but fell off, and expressed renewed interest after 12 months, then the MQL will be counted as a new MQL.
- Prospect completes a process or form to receive a downloadable asset from a Lead Liaison website, landing page, social media platform or the like.
- Prospect replies to an outbound email campaign indicating interest.
- Prospect replies to an outbound social media communication indicating interest, and provides contact information pursuant to follow-up communications regarding Lead Liaison solution(s).
- Inbound Prospect reaches out to Lead Liaison via a website form inquiry, lead capture form inquiry of any kind in any Lead Liaison lead management platform.
Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)
Behavior: Manually updated
Sales Managers have 10 calendar days to disposition a lead from MQL status before an alert is sent out to management, marketing, and the Sales Manager. The Sales Manager has three choices when dispositioning a lead:
- Move to SQL
- Move to Disqualified
- Keep as MQL
Prospects will be considered an SQL using the following criteria:
- Prospect’s company has budgeted for our Services,
- Prospect has authority (or is closely connected to someone with authority AND awareness of the project) to purchase our Services,
- Prospect has a need to purchase our Services,
- Prospect has a clear timeline for purchasing our Services within six (6) months from becoming a MQL.
Behavior: Automatically updated
When a Prospect is associated with a Deal (Opportunity) then the system will automatically move their Lifecycle Stage to Opportunity.
Behavior: Automatically updated
When a Prospect is associated with a Deal (Opportunity) and the Deal moves to Closed-Won then the system will automatically move their Lifecycle Stage to Customer.
Evangelist / Disqualified
Behavior: Manually updated
Move Prospects to this status as you see fit.
Behavior: Manually updated
The Other Lifecycle Stage can contain any statuses you wish. We use Former Customer under Other to better track who our former clients are.
For additional information about Lead Liaison solutions, visit https://leadliaison.com or complete a demo request for a personalized walkthrough.
* Updated on January 13, 2020
As a business owner you should be well aware about leads and how to generate them as well. Such knowledge comes with selecting the most suitable applications to serve this purpose. The following is a list of apps that you can make use of when capturing leads.
With Captello, you can easily capture leads with any device and record voice notes about your conversation on the fly (notes quickly get transcribed for you while you focus on building connections), then communicate seamlessly and automatically with handwritten letters and postcards, text messages and emails, all before you leave the exhibit floor.
Workflow automation and tools like customizable forms and branding make Captello a game changer in the lead capture software market and help exhibitors become first movers on warm leads, which makes all the difference!
Captello also includes powerful new gamifications called Activations, which help attract new booth traffic and engage visitors in new and captivating ways, all while capturing quality leads!
2. On Spot Social
This is a great iPad app that captures leads in the field. It is also very suitable for individuals who are not tech-savvy as a result of its interface which is very user friendly. On Spot Social also works whether you are online or offline. Therefore, you can still attend an event as you capture your leads then upload them to your database as soon as you go online.
Lead Liaison’s GoCapture!™ is a fully integrated event lead capture solution for B2B companies. What makes GoCapture!™ different can be summed up in two words: unlimited and comprehensive. GoCapture!™ offers unlimited front end users with unlimited devices, unlimited back end users, and unlimited forms. It’s completely customizable, so you can tailor it to fit your specific business needs. And, it is backed by a powerful back-end system, providing a fully-integrated end-to-end solution with all leading CRM and marketing automation platforms.
4. Validar Universal Lead Capture
This app can be personalized to be used at whichever event you attend and works with various hardware such as magnetic stripes, barcodes among others. According to the questions answered by leads, this app can assign scores to your leads. It is a very simple application whose major strength is its customization properties. Another fascinating aspect about it is that it alerts you when the perfectly lead is in the vicinity.
QuickTapSurvey is another application that allows you to capture leads without necessarily being online. It can be utilized as a kiosk and is also very easy to set up.
The app allows you to:
- Customize your design by choosing from a variety of templates, themes, logos and background pictures
- Capture unlimited leads with full contact details
- Capture leads using a customized contest entry or prize giveaway splash screen
- Encrypt data and keep it safely on your iPad or Android tablets
- Use more than 15 qualification questions to qualify your leads
- Use integrations or API to send lead data to your CRM
Those are just some of the lead capture apps you can opt to use when you attend an event. Before you settle for one, make sure that the app satisfies all your needs and works in line with your business objectives.
What are the best methods of post-event follow up?
- Email correspondence as soon as possible after collecting the lead.
- Handwritten letters or cards with additional information about your products / services.
- Telephone follow-up no within one week after the event.
Following a simple process will help you connect with far more of your leads.
Step 1: Get Serious About Lead Retrieval
You will ideally be using a full featured event lead capture solution. As part of a customized automated process, Captello Lead Retrieval App enables you to capture leads with any mobile device and follow up with prospects immediately and automatically with personalized email. Ideally, the prospect walks away from an amazing conversation at your exhibit, then checks their phone, where they will discover your email or SMS message.
Step 2: Add a Personal Touch
Handwritten letters and notes are a great touch that everyone appreciates. Going old school in this way communicates that you spent time considering this prospect and their needs. Including a brochure or collateral that you discussed at the booth reminds them about how your product or service provides a solution to their felt needs.
Writing handwritten letters at scale is not something most marketing teams/salespeople have the time to do, so Captello provides this service as a value add feature to their flexible suite of solutions.
Step 3: Phone Follow Up
After an email and a personal handwritten letter from you, most prospects are familiar enough with your to take your phone call. Make sure they don’t slip through the cracks by adding a call task within your CRM.
Captello’s native integration with all major CRM and Marketing Automation platforms makes it easy to integrate with your CRM and create a task or sequence of tasks and that work for you. Imagine the possibilities if every lead from every trade show was part of an intentional and full-proof follow-up plan with emails, call tasks and handwritten letters or postcards!
So much planning goes into the execution of an event, but follow-up is the most important. Make it the most effective part of the process with powerful and intuitive lead capture software and automated workflow.
As always, please feel free to contact your Lead Liaison Representative with any questions about the enhancements below. Not yet a client? Schedule a demo here!
Important: To take advantage of the new mobile app features, you must upgrade to the newest version of GoCapture!™ from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. There is no need to uninstall and reinstall; simply update the app in the appropriate store.
Customize your event lead capture experience like never before!
With the release of Version 3.0, you can change font colors and add cover images. Combined with our existing Custom Content features, you can create a form branded perfectly for your organization.
Kiosk forms get an all new feature in this release: screensavers.
From displaying images to cycling through promotions, screensavers grab attention and increase engagement.
For longer forms, sections are a game changer.
Sections group fields together, making it easier for end users to navigate your form.
You can use sections to make whole groups of fields appear or disappear based on the same visibility rule.
Search and Filter
Forget scrolling past hundreds of leads just to add notes.
With Version 3.0, you can search and filter submissions to find exactly who you are looking for.
Retrieve Authentication Code
- Pause/resume audio support for audio recording
- Multi-column separator support for tablets
- Camera rotation to use front camera during capture
- Bulk Invites
- Scheduled follow up actions
- General sync enhancements.
Interested in the solutions you see here?
If you are already a Lead Liaison customer, contact your Account Manager with any questions and we’ll be happy to assist.
- Enhancement Round-Up Q3 2020 October 7, 2020
- 3 Tips for Success at the Virtual Trade Show You’re Attending October 5, 2020
- Lead Liaison Announces Free Lead Generation Tool Dubbed Website Visitor Converter September 28, 2020
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