How to utilize marketing automation from pre to post tradeshow

By Ashlea Cartee on October 29th, 2015

Attending tradeshows serves as a way for healthcare companies to accelerate and put themselves ahead of other industry-leading companies. Although other media channels have plenty of advantages for B2B marketers, nothing compares to the face-to-face contact at tradeshows that helps build direct relationships with current clients and prospects. However, tradeshows can be expensive and require extra time, making it imperative to generate leads and show ROI. The key to tradeshow success is utilizing a robust marketing automation tool throughout the process along with other integrated efforts.

From increased efficiency in information collection, to consistent lead nurturing and accurate ROI, marketing automation can yield dramatic results for trade show exhibitors. With proper strategizing and planning, your tradeshow efforts can get the desired buzz and results through marketing automation. Here are tips on how to use marketing automation to its fullest potential during the three key stages of a tradeshow.

Pre-show. When it comes to tradeshows, preparation is key. If you want clients and prospects to know that you are going to be at an event, you need to inform them. Develop an email campaign leveraging targeted email blasts that have a dedicated landing page with a form that will encourage attendees to register for an event or sign up for an appointment at the show. Be sure you’re targeting your outreach by segmenting prospects and customers, and providing relevant content to each group. In an effort to execute an integrated campaign, tie in other elements like a direct mail, social media and your company’s blog and ensure your corporate collateral is up-to-date and ready for distribution at the show.

Showtime. Nothing beats facetime with prospects, giving you the chance to really showcase your product or solution and industry knowledge. With marketing automation, there’s no longer a need to manually input information from each booth visitor or rely on a sales rep to keep track of business cards and input them in the CRM. Instead, you can employ a landing page in kiosk mode on a tablet where leads can input their information directly to your marketing automation tool which allows you to quickly collect prospect details for post-show follow-up . Enhance your social media presence leading up to and during the tradeshow. During the tradeshow, use the event hashtag or even create your own to participate in conversations through channels like twitter. Make sure to connect with prospects and clients on social media platforms to show them their importance to you and the business.

Post-show. Following up with attendees is one of the most important steps. First, look at your marketing automation system to segment leads and decide which prospects are most important. After creating a list of hot leads, assign sales ready leads to reps for individual follow up emails to thank them for stopping by and provide them with valuable content to keep them interested. The rest of the leads can be put in a thought leadership/educational campaign to keep your company top-of-mind. These drip campaigns should feed prospects best practices and include relevant content, such as a recap blog or key takeaways, to remind them of your expertise and offerings.

Overall, attending tradeshows is an opportunity to create personal relationships and promote your brand in a positive light. After putting time into planning your presence at the event, marketing automation can make it easier for you to track, measure and report on your event’s performance. At the next event you decide to attend, make sure to utilize a marketing automation tool to promote your presence before, during and after the event and gain the most value from your experience.

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