capture leads at trade shows

So, your company is sponsoring a trade show — that’s awesome!

Chances are, you’ve probably been thinking about how you’ll be capturing leads at your booth — and how to follow up without wasting too much time.

After all, you’ll likely be talking to hundreds, if not thousands, of people.

Many of us are (much to our dismay) familiar with the old practice of collecting contact information, manually adding that data to a CRM and then reaching out to individuals one-on-one. This is consuming and, well, more than just a little annoying. And it doesn’t make a lot of sense when there are better, more productive ways to automate the process.

Here’s how you can capture leads quickly and efficiently using web forms at trade shows:

1. Provide real value

If you were at a conference and someone asked you to fill out an intake form but provided no real reason why, would you feel compelled to fill it out?

Probably not.

What if you were offered you a free eBook on a hot topic you had just been discussing with someone?

And what about giveaways: Would you fill out a brief form to enter an interesting giveaway?

The best sales teams know that in order to have a meaningful discussion with a prospect, the focus needs to be on what you can do for them — how your service can change their lives.

Interactions at conferences are no exception. Many companies will scan or ask prospects to fill out a form, but what they fail to do is provide value to the prospect.

So, with quick interactions, how can you provide value?

You can provide value by offering something that can truly help their business — and offering it for free. This might be in the form of a free resource like an eBook, a giveaway item that may help them become more efficient, or even in-depth whitepapers. The possibilities are really quite endless!

When you collect something like an email address from a prospect, it’s always good to give them something of value back (aside from simply a follow-up email). It shows you’re invested!

2. Let them know how long it will take to complete

Let people know that your form is quick. Why? Well, you don’t want them to assume the worst. Even if your form only has a few fields — if you don’t say it’s brief, people may wonder if you want them to fill out a long, time-consuming survey.

Put yourself in their shoes for a second. If you were asked these questions, which one would get the most positive reaction from you?

Option A: We’re sending people free eBooks — if you fill out your email real quick right here, it only takes a second.

Option B: We’re sending people free eBooks — all you need to do is fill out a form.

If only an email is required and it just takes a second, let people know that they won’t have to sacrifice their day to fill it out.

3. Make sure the form is straightforward and well-designed

Let’s face it: Nobody wants to fill out a web form that’s outdated, clunky and confusing. That just doesn’t sound like any fun at all.

As silly as it may sound, think of a form as an extension of your company. If you’re a tech company, go with a modern, minimalist design.

Here’s an example of a form we recently used at Dreamforce 2015. As you can see, we had a few different things going on: A giveaway, a free eBook download, and the option to signup for an extended trial. All the visitor had to do was fill out two fields: One for their name, and the other was for their work email.

Design-wise, it was important to us that the form itself was clean, user-friendly and welcoming. We wanted to ensure the design was consistent with our company’s branding and overall vibe.

lead capture trade shows

The checklist worked out well, as we knew that what might benefit one visitor may be different from the next. So, we gave people choices and the ability to select what extra(s) they wanted to receive.

4. Push that data to your CRM

OK, so now that you have that sweet data, you need to make sure to keep it organized for later, right?

And there’s no reason you should have to manually enter every piece of data into your CRM. That’s just tedious, and you’ve got better things to do!

Instead of doing it all manually, you can export your form’s data or use a handy integration (for example, you might use FormAssembly’s Salesforce connector) to automatically transfer that information over to your CRM. This will help you automate the process so that everything’s ready to go.

Which brings me to the next step…

5. Follow up with your contacts

After that data is all transferred over, it’s a good idea to stay top of mind by following up with prospects.

Pro Tip: As tempting as it may be, try to avoid following up the day after everyone gets back. Chances are, every other company will be doing the same thing and it’ll be tough to stand out.

And besides, if you attended a conference and were out of town for a few days, would you enjoy sifting through a pile of emails? I seriously doubt that you would. 🙂

Now, it’s good to be clear that I’m not saying you shouldn’t follow up at all — of course not! There’s no doubt that following up within a timely manner is important. Just make sure that your email isn’t the day after the conference, as that’s when every person is sending their follow-ups as well.

Conclusion & over to you

Now that you’ve learned how to capture leads at trade shows by offering them something of value, collecting their contact information, and then push that data to your CRM seamlessly, we want to know: Do you have any other tips to add to this list? We would love to hear what you have to say! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below, or tweet with us anytime @FormAssembly!

Hannah lives in Alaska and is a Digital Marketing Specialist at FormAssembly. She enjoys hiking mountains with her husband and reading.

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