What is the best way to get qualified leads other than paying for ads, content, webinars and the likes?
Talking to people in person at trade shows.
I’m not talking about simply going to a trade show and visiting booths. My point is investing to rent a booth and show off your products.
Now, exhibiting at a trade show is not for the faint hearted. Booking a booth is expensive and time-consuming. However, many nutraceuticals manufacturers rely on exhibiting and say it’s definitely worth it.
Want our best advice for nutraceuticals marketing?
- Trade show visitors are mostly pre-qualified as customers. They come at the show in order to find stuff to buy. The question is whether they will buy from you or not.
- Trade show leads are already warm. Most leads will respond favorably and book a meeting with you at the trade show. Your chances of closing a deal are much higher when you meet in person.
- Trade show visitors have a higher life-time value. Whilst this is from our experience, the LTV of trade show visitors that become customers tends to be higher than customers found through other channels.
Exhibiting at trade shows is a great way to increase revenue, despite of what people say. It all comes down to how you handle the lead end-to-end.
Having said that, there is good news and bad news about exhibiting at trade shows:
The bad news: The majority of nutraceutical manufacturers and suppliers exhibit in a way that’s NOT optimised in making sales. They go old-school and treat the whole thing like it was in the 80’s, with no planning of what happens before, during and after the show, and proclaim that “conferences suck and are a waste of money, but we have to show up anyway”.
The good news:
There is an alternative way to fix these problems.
This blog post will show you 5 key things all nutraceuticals and supplements manufacturers must do in order to see success on the showroom floor.
Some of these might sound a bit simple (because they are).
But you’d be surprised just how many exhibitors get it wrong.
Tip #1: Have a Benefit-Oriented “Headline” on Your Trade Booth.
A show like Vitafoods, for example, can have hundreds of booths.
Visitors are in a hurry to see as many trade show booths as possible.
Therefore, they are attracted to the ones that appear to be the most interesting. What this means, in layman’s terms, is that you need to make sure your booth stands out and attract attention.
Now, I’m not saying that you should spend all your budget in making the most amazing booth in the exhibition (although that would be nice, if you have unlimited budgets) with extravagant flashy lights. At the end of the day, you do not need your booth to look like a TV Show – you are selling nutraceuticals here.
In fact, I am a huge advocate of simple, elegant things. If your booth shows more minimalist elements, you will see that this attracts more the eye rather than screaming “booth girls” or plasma screens.
Well, think of it this way:
Most exhibitors display their logo with some sort of tagline below it.
Something like, “NutraScience: The Innovative, Leading Nutraceutical Manufacturer”, or something like that.
Well, as a marketer, I am here to tell you that taglines like these mean absolutely nothing. No one will understand what your business really does because this is just meaningless.
What’s your alternative then?
Well, if you had to build a landing page, what would be the first you would do?
You would start working on crafting your copy. More specifically, your headline.
So think your booth as your landing page. Its that simple.
So, if your think your booth as your landing page, what happens to visitors when your headline is not really interesting? They leave. The same goes for your booth.
Your task is to get visitors’ attention by telling them in one concise phrase what your nutraceuticals manufacturing business does and how it can help them. It should attract eyeballs and get your potential visitor emotionally excited to hear more about your nutraceuticals products, just like the headline on your landing page.
Tip #2: Stand Up and Care
When you are at your booth, you must be standing up, at all times.
You’d be amazed at the number of people who just sit at their booth, lean back in a chair and just wait for things to happen.
Well, guess what. If you are not interested, no one is going to be interested in you or what you sell.
So if you invest anywhere between €5,000 to €20,000 to exhibit at a conference, the very LEAST you can do is stand up and look like you want to talk to people.
Approach them as they pass by. Develop with your marketing team a question to ask them while they pass by your booth ad depending on the answer, invite them in. Always remember, that out of the thousands of visitors, only a percentage will be interested in what you sell. So not everyone is qualified.
Tip #3: Engage People Who Stop and Look
Ιf you follow tip #1 (“have a compelling headline”), people will naturally be attracted to your booth.
However, don’t expect that everyone will beat a path to your booth and ask more info about your product.
See if the following make sense:
- Assuming you have an intriguing headline already, visitors walk by your booth and stop.
- They stand 10 meters away from your booth and stare at you.
- They try to get as much visual confirmation, but 10 seconds later they walk away… IF you don’t engage them.
So what do you do?
Get out from behind your booth and go talk to them. Be elegant, courteous, and ask them this one question we talked about in tip #3.
Here is a simple script you can use:
“Hi! Did you know that Vitamin D3 surpasses in sales all other vitamins?”
They will answer no.
Then you will say “Well, what are you currently looking for to increase your revenues?”
They will respond. Now is the time to engage them properly.
Get them talking about their problems. Figure out how your product can help their business.
Simple but effective.
Yet, do you know what’s even better than telling people about your product/service?
Tip #4: Have a Few Big Screens
People don’t have the time during a show visit to read a flyer or hear you talk about your product. Sure, they will scan your flyer or if they are really interested in your product they will patiently listen to you. But you and I know that there are different conversations that take place inside their head.
There are two key things people respond to MUCH better:
- Seeing your product in action
- Interacting with your product
You can satisfy these two desires with one simple item: a computer screen.
We notice a difference in engagement between booths that have computer screens and those that don’t.
Also, people really prefer to interact with your product.
Having a computer screen shows off your product and its packaging, but they’re unable to interact with it.
Here’s what I’d recommend instead:
Set up 1 or 2 computer monitors on a table in front of your booth.
Because people cannot interact with supplements and vitamins, all you have to do is have a keyboard and mouse set up so your customers can come up and experiment with the one thing that they care: future sales.
With a simple excel, masked as an application, you can have them enter information and the excel will calculate earnings. For example, say that you sell Vitamin K2.
Visitors enter their company details, and they indicate points of sale, distribution etc. Then your excel simply show them their profit potential if it is placed in these locations. They can have a print out as well, with your logo on it.
Other ideas is to show extra features, graphically illustrating your catalog etc.
The point is to get your prospects involved.
Screens tend to be the best at getting the job done.
Tip #5: Forget About Bags, Stress Balls & Pens
Now, for THREE days, I was thinking whether I should write this tip.
Because, to be honest, when I go to an exhibition, I just love to walk around and collect all the useless promotional junk exhibitors give out.
However, as we run a digital marketing agency for nutraceuticals, and we are not selling supplements, I’m not the target customer for these businesses. And most visitors are not the exact customer audience too.
Every time I take another pen or bag, it means that another Euro or Pound of theirs goes down the toilet. They know this. I know this. Yet, people continue to give out these things, thinking they will be top of mind.
What’s the bottom line?
The bottom line is, all this promotional junk attracts the wrong people. Most people just love taking free stuff.
However, do you know what’s even worse than wasting your hard earned money?
Wasting your time.
Because here’s what happens:
John Marketer comes up to your booth.
John says “hello” and takes one of your bags. He is thanking you for wasting your money on him, and leaves.
However, Joanna Buyer is more polite.
Joanna takes one of your bags and starts asking you questions about your vitamins even though she couldn’t care less.
“So… what do you guys make?” “Oh, is it Maka?”
Joanna then feels that she has to listen to your sales pitch because she took one of your bags – she has to put somewhere all the other useless stuff from the rest of the booths she will collect, after all.
In about 10 seconds, you notice Joanna’s eyes start to look around. She is not interested anymore. She already looking for a way out.
Joanna doesn’t want to listen to you. Joanna doesn’t want your product. She just doesn’t want to seem like someone who took something from you for free.
DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME talking to people who have zero interest in your business.
This tends to be a lot of people who walk around grabbing swag bags.
Spend more time & money outfitting your booth, train your sales people to be more effective, work with your marketing to develop a more compelling approach, and less on bags and pens.
There’s no better place than a trade show to meet and talk with current and potential customers. Follow the tips above and make your exhibiting worth your time and money. Most of all — have the fun of your life! Go to after parties, drink with colleagues and see the city. That’s the additional benefit of attending a trade show.