January 30, 2011
Making your trade show presence a “hybrid” (with a virtual component) can significantly augment your reach. For folks who are unable to attend the physical event, your virtual booth allows you to connect with prospects you otherwise would have missed. In this posting, however, I’d like to explore methods for leveraging a virtual booth to follow up with leads from your physical booth.
The “greening” of booth collateral
With a virtual booth to complement your physical booth, you can print less (paper) collateral to bring to your next trade show. Visitors are invited to peruse your printed collateral and if they want to take a copy, they can access your virtual booth (from a display at your physical booth) to place the requested documents into their virtual briefcase.
When they return to the office, they’ll receive an email with a link to take them back into the virtual booth – and from there, they can download the PDF’s from their virtual briefcase. The email follow-up and virtual briefcase lend themselves well to lead qualification, as you’ll be able to track whether prospects responded to the email (i.e. logged into the virtual booth) – and, review which documents they viewed and downloaded.
Nurturing the less qualified leads
You’re bound to have some booth visitors who did not take printed documents – and, did not interact with your on-site virtual booth. All you have is their business card, or their business profile (from scanning their badges). These prospects showed interest by visiting your booth and they can be valuable leads.
Try nurturing these leads by inviting them to visit your virtual booth. Include an image of your virtual booth in the email offer and make it easy for them to respond. Since you already have their basic business profile (e.g. name, title, company, email address, etc.), pre-register them for your virtual booth and ensure that a single click brings them directly in.
Once there, provide them with access to a “personalized briefcase“, with content tailored to their particular interests or needs. The beauty of the virtual booth is that it now acts as a mini marketing automation system, allowing you to track which content is viewed by the prospect. Then, feed this data back into your “real” marketing automation system and CRM system, so that Sales is armed with new intelligence on this potential buyer.
Engage with Prospects in Real-Time
If you’re successful in getting prospects to respond to your virtual booth offers, then add staffers to your booth to match the amount of traffic you’re getting. Initially, you’ll probably see intermittent traffic, as a visitor (or a few) enter your booth at random times during the day. But view this as an opportunity to re-engage with prospects.
When they enter the virtual booth, ensure they know who’s there and provide clear calls-to-action on how they can engage with your staffers. Visitors to your virtual booth are raising their hands and signaling to you that they have a further interest. Make sure you deliver to them what they came to receive.
Virtual booths can be a great way to augment the reach of your physical booth. Think about using them as the foundation of your post-event follow-up as well. They can be a great vehicle for moving the prospect down the sales funnel.
5 Comments | Lead Generation, Virtual Events | Tagged: B-to-B, booth collateral, CRM, email follow-up, exhibitor, hybrid booths, hybrid events, lead follow-up, lead nurturing, lead qualification, leads, marketing automation, PDF, prospects, sales leads, sales prospects, trade shows, virtual booths, virtual briefcase, Virtual Events, virtual tradeshows | Permalink
Posted by Dennis Shiao
October 16, 2010
You purchased a booth sponsorship at a recent virtual event and generated a bucket of leads. Now it’s time to follow up with those leads, further qualify them and guide them down the sales funnel. Here’s a five step guide on how to follow up with your leads via email.
Step 1: Make it Personal
When a child writes a letter to Santa Claus, it’s personal. When you send a follow-up email to prospects, make them feel like you typed it out by hand (even though we all know you didn’t). Tactics include use of the prospect’s first name (e.g. “Dear Adam”) and company name (e.g. “I’m sure we have plenty of solutions for Acme, Corp”).
If you can create the perception that you wrote out the email by hand, you increase the likelihood that the prospect will respond. For instance, when I receive printed mail with an envelope that appears hand-written, I pay attention to it and open it up for a quick read.
Step 2: Make it relevant
Prospects attend a virtual event for a reason – they’re interested in the topic. Be sure to assert your relevancy up front – if the virtual event was on social gaming, then start your email by demonstrating why your company (and your product) is relevant to social gaming. I see far too many follow-up emails that jump too quickly to a solution, before describing why the solution is relevant.
Step 3: Include a Call To Action
Sure, prospects can always hit “reply” on the email to start a dialog with you, but give them more opportunities to take action. Include a link, a document or an explicit “email us” address, so that prospects know how to take the next step. If your follow-up email provides information, but no call to action, then you’re simply “hoping for the best.”
Step 4: Personalize content offers based on past activity
A little trickier to implement in an automated fashion, but the upside is significant. Consider pairing your content assets – for instance, a document describing your technology is paired with a follow-on document about how to justify its cost to your boss. You place the first document in your virtual booth, but not the second.
For visitors who downloaded the first document, include the second document in your follow-up email. If you do a good job pairing the right documents together, then prospects will feel that you’re highly tuned in to their needs.
Step 5: Keep it focused
Keep your email brief and keep your content offers and calls-to-action to a handful. If presented with too much information or too many choices, prospects may feel overwhelmed and skip your email entirely. Give them a small set of offers and let them choose one.
Email is a common means for following up with virtual event leads, but few exhibitors do it really well. Try out this five step approach and let me know how it goes. Alternatively, leave a comment below to let us know your top tactics.
2 Comments | Virtual Events | Tagged: best practices, call to action, email follow-up, email marketing, exhibitor, lead generation, personalized content, sales funnel, sales pipeline, sales prospects, virtual booth, Virtual Events, virtual tradeshows | Permalink
Posted by Dennis Shiao