It’s coming up to exhibition season. Companies, large and small, use exhibitions as a key part of their B2B sales lead generation strategy. Event organisers promise the earth. They claim the most robust, targeted audience that hits the business development sweet-spot. Whether the delegate or attendee list actually measures up to the promise is one thing, But, companies that invest in these kinds of events, also need to do their bit in terms of maximising their effectiveness.
In this blog, we look at the crucial role of telemarketing for exhibitions in terms of delivering the best results for your investment.
How to Maximise Exhibition Investment
Whilst exhibiting at events is hard work, especially for those managing them for your business, they are exciting. Having run The Cannes Duty Free show for Dunhill, The Motor Show for Porsche and many other events during my corporate life, I know that it can be a slog. And, managing both the leads that come from the activity, and the people gathering the leads, can be a pain.
Yet, events and exhibitions can play a pivotal role in connecting companies with prospects, current clients, potential resellers, and partners. Assuming that your target audience, or at least a proportion, attends, it presents a unique opportunity to engage and do business.
With the advent of digital, and event portals or platforms, some may argue that event telemarketing has lost its significance. However, it can play an important role before and after, and it can complement and enhance your overall exhibition marketing efforts.
Check out our video on How to Maximise Exhibition Investment
The Value in Pre-Exhibition Telemarketing
Preparation is the key to success in any marketing activity, and events and exhibitions are no exception. Pre-event telemarketing involves reaching out to customers, partners, and prospects before the event takes place. A personalised approach can generate interest and excitement about what you’re offering on your stand. If you’re launching something new, it can significantly boost attendance rates, when they may otherwise not make it to your stand.
There is an added benefit of pre-event calling. Not everyone will be able to visit a show. If that’s the case, a call to invite decision-makers may not result in an appointment at the event itself. But, the call may culminate in an opportunity at another time that further builds your pipeline. After all, exhibiting or attending an event is a good reason to engage with someone in the industry you are targeting whether they attend or not.
Don’t Wait for Visitors to Come to You
Depending on the size of the show, and the amount of time prospects may devote to attending, they may or may not stop by your stand. Therefore, telemarketing allows you to:
- Target Specific Visitors: According to a study by DMA, targeted telemarketing campaigns can increase response rates by up to 50%, as event prospects are more likely to engage following a call.
- Promote Special Offers: If you’re planning something special, flagging this ahead of time will encourage relevant attendees to head to your stand.
- Answer Queries: A report by Bizzabo states that 82% of attendees are more likely to visit if they receive quick and helpful responses to their queries.Telemarketers can address issues promptly, providing reassurance and encouraging attendance.
Leveraging Telemarketing During the Event
The usefulness of telemarketing doesn’t diminish once the event starts. In fact, it can be a valuable tool for keeping targeted attendees engaged and ensuring the event runs smoothly for your business. Inevitably, you won’t reach everyone ahead of time. So, a timely call may prompt a visit. Equally, during the event, telemarketers can:
- Confirm Appointments: According to the Harvard Business Review, confirming appointments through telemarketing can increase the likelihood of keeping those appointments by 70%.
- Announce Sessions and Workshops: A survey by Event Manager Blog found that 60% of event attendees appreciate timely reminders about sessions and workshops.
The Power of Post-Exhibition Telemarketing
Perhaps the most essential part of lead generation for events is how you follow-up the activity. The event may have ended, but your marketing efforts should not. Post-event telemarketing is a key step in nurturing relationships and maximising the benefits of your participation. It prevents leads from going cold. The longer you leave it, the weaker the leads will become. During the show, prospects have a habit of seemingly getting excited about your solutions, only for that perceived enthusiasm to dissipate quickly afterwards.
With post-event telemarketing, you can:
- Optimise Hot Leads: According to MarketingSherpa, immediate follow-ups on leads through telemarketing can increase lead conversion rates by 72%.
- Build the Pipeline: Not everyone will convert, and not everyone is in buying mode, so a timely call can identify real buying timings to drive top of funnel leads.
- Express Gratitude: A study by Experian found that making a post-event follow-up call can result in a 20% increase in customer retention.
- Gather Insights: A report by Eventsforce states that 86% of event planners believe that post-event surveys are essential for gathering insights and feedback.
Integrating Telemarketing with Digital Throughout
Telemarketing should very much be seen as an integral part of your overall marketing strategy. Combining telemarketing with digital strategies can yield impressive results. Some of the integrated methods include:
- Personalised Follow-ups: A survey by Salesforce found that personalised follow-up emails have a 29% higher open rate and a 41% higher click-through rate compared to generic emails.
- Social Media Amplification: According to Hootsuite, integrating telemarketing with social media efforts can lead to a 60% increase in brand loyalty and customer engagement.
- Email Campaigns: The Direct Marketing Association reported that telemarketing followed by email marketing results in a 10% increase in response rates compared to standalone email campaigns.
Exhibiting, or running events is a significant investment. Yet, it can yield enormous benefits and produce a robust sales pipeline. However, it’s essential to avoid wasting that investment. One way to do that, is to upweight your engagement with potential customers, clients, resellers, partners, and even suppliers, by engaging on the phone as part of your outreach strategy.
From building excitement before the event to nurturing relationships afterwards, telemarketing complements digital strategies and provides a personal touch that no other method can replicate. By leveraging the power of pre-exhibition, during-event, and post-exhibition telemarketing, you can maximise your return on investment and establish meaningful connections with your target audience.