How to attract customers at live events

Reaching out to new customers is THE way for most business to grow.

However, today’s consumers are smarter, more skeptical and more wary of advertising and marketing done by companies.

Plus, you’d probably agree that it is getting difficult to capture the attention of your market and to convince them that you can help them solve their problems.

crowded-spaceIn this article, we’ll highlight a quick and simple 4 steps system that will allow you to stand out from your competitors and attract customers to your business through the use of live events.

Here’s what to expect (click on section to skip to it):

But before that, let’s make sure we’re on the same page:

The #1 difference between the successful and the mediocre

To stand out from the noise, every business is striving to do something different.

From hiring copywriters, shooting entertaining videos and creating tons of content, businesses are doing their best to stay abreast of the evolving marketing scene.

Try as they might, some will succeed and see tremendous growth in their business while others fail and continue to struggle against their competitors.

Note this. There is only one difference between those who succeed and those who fail.

And this is it:

Successful businesses have mastered the process of both attracting and proactively reaching out to their Ideal Customer, while the struggling businesses are well…still struggling to do so.

Have you heard of…Push and Pull Marketing?

Two opposing views of marketing, Push and Pull marketing each have their own camps of supporters and success stories.

What is Push Marketing?

Presenting or bringing (aka ‘pushing’) your product/service to your customer.

Some examples include:

  • Road Shows,
  • Flyer Distribution / Direct Mails,
  • Direct selling / Face to face selling,
  • Cold Calling
  • Pop up advertisements

Advantages and Disadvantages of Push Marketing:

Advantages Disadvantages
Allows you to reach out to potential clients who have never heard of your brand previously Might have to fight against a lack of immediate interest during campaign. i.e. difficult to hit clients at the exact moment when they need your services.
You have better control over when and how your brand appears to your potential clients Need a sales team to consistently push your brand to your target audience for continual growth
You have the ability to push your brand to specifically targeted audiences If done wrongly, you might repel potential clients. Think ‘pushy salesmen’.

 

pull-marketing

What is Pull Marketing?

Attracting (aka ‘pulling’) your customer to your business.

Some examples include:

  • Content Marketing,
  • Inbound Marketing
  • (most) Advertising,
  • Word of Mouth / Referrals

Advantages and Disadvantages of Pull Marketing:

Advantages Disadvantages
Be Top of mind when clients need your services Less control over when clients will actually find you
Trust and Authority has already been nurtured even before clients contact you Longer lead maturation process
Might give you a competitive advantage in your industry Need a team to create content and structure for pull marketing to work

 

Don’t choose 1, go for the best of both worlds

Although there is a emphasis on pull marketing today, I’d argue that both pull and push marketing should be used in tandem for the best possible results.

You can use pull marketing to associate your brand with the solution or service that you provide.

This will keep you top of mind among your potential clients who’ll immediately think of you when they need your services.

You should also be using push marketing as a platform to reach out to potential clients who:

  1. Didn’t know that there is a solution to their problem,
  2. Haven’t come into contact with your brand for solution before,
  3. Might need your services in the near future.

By combining both Pull and Push marketing, you can position your business to capture both types of clients.

 

AllianceCoffee_Metalex2016

What are ‘Live Events’?

Just to be clear, ‘live events’ here refer to MICE: Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions.

Every industry will organise a form of these MICE events where industry players can gather, network and even close deals.

You can browse a list of MICE events in Singapore at visitsingapore.com

Are ‘Live Events’ push or pull marketing?

I’d argue that it has both elements in play.

Attendees of live events, especially if its industry specific, are likely to be attracted to the event by the opportunity to connect with people in the industry or look for solutions in the industry.

At the same time, within such events there are usually tons of booths selling a wide range of solutions, specific to the industry.

You could have hired help to distribute flyers [push marketing], or you could provide something of value to your potential clients to draw them to your booth [pull marketing].

Why Should I Go To Live Events?

A regular customer acquisition route involves 3 general stages;

  1. Getting Traffic or Buying a list of potential client contacts
  2. Reaching out to those in step 1
  3. Close the deal

There are many ways to get traffic or access to potential clients, positioning yourself at your industry’s conventions or exhibitions is one traffic channel you can consider.

Here are the pros and cons of attending and exhibiting at live events to grow your customer base:

 

Pros Cons
  • No need to worry about traffic because the exhibition or convention organisers will draw attendees in
  • You can focus solely on lead generation during the event
  • Build brand equity and mindshare even among clients who are not ready to purchase or do not need your product / service yet
  • You get to network with industry players too
  • You’ll need to follow up with the leads after the event
  • Might be costly to execute: there will be exhibitors cost, booth design cost, manpower cost, etc
  • You’ll need to compete with the rest of the exhibitors to grab the attention of your potential clients.

If your company is data driven, you can compare the cost of lead acquisition between your lead generation channels using our tool: Lead Generation ROI Comparison Tool

Shameless plug; Alliance Coffee have been helping our clients to attract potential customers at events such as:

  • Metalex (ASEAN’s largest international machine tool and metalworking technology trade exhibition and conference),
  • Interpol World
  • and several others

 

4 steps system to attracting customers at live events

Now that we have a common understanding of how pull and push marketing works, here’s the 4 steps system that combines the best of both Push and Pull marketing.

 

1. Identify Your Ideal Customer

customer

“Sell to everyone and you’ll end up selling to no one“. 

You’ve probably heard of this age old marketing advice.

 

Before you start any form of marketing, advertising and even branding, you’ll need to identify your ideal customer.

There are exercises that will take you through creating your customer avatar, but that is beyond the scope of this article.

Instead we’ll focus on the objectives of knowing your ideal customer.

You should take some time to research and get to know your idea customer because having their portfolio in mind will give you and your company:

  • guidelines to craft your future marketing materials in terms of the tone, design, message, etc.
  • an idea of where to locate your ideal customers
  • an idea of how they make purchasing decisions so that you can position your brand strategically.

3 thought exercises to identifying your ideal customer

While you research and narrow down your ideal customer, you may find these 3 thought exercises helpful in keeping you on track:

  1. Who will be using my product / service?
  2. Are these users also the purchasers or decision makers? If no, who are the ones making the decisions to use my product / services?
  3. Where do I expect to find these users / decision makers?

Knowing who you are selling to is akin to having a map.

Now all you have to do is to get to the ‘X‘ on the map.

And the next 3 steps will take you there.

2. Attract the attention of Your Ideal Customer

pull-marketing

Now that you know who you are selling to, it’s time to capture the attention of your ideal customer.

Live events do provide you with the right traffic, but it’s up to you to capture the attention of your ideal customer during the event.

If your brand is already established in your industry, putting out word that you’ll be at an event might be sufficient.

However, if you are still working to establish your brand, you will need to put in the extra effort.

 

Here are some key considerations you need to take when you are formulating your strategy to attract the attention of your ideal customer:

  • Location: where your booth is located will determine when attendees will see you and their state of mind. Of course, better booth locations will cost more, you’ll need to find a balance between cost and location.
  • Design of your booth: from the graphics to the layout, will your booth be able to capture the attention of your ideal customer?
  • Crowd-drawing mechanism: what could possible capture the attention of your potential client and motivate them to step into your booth instead of heading to a competitor’s?
  • First Impressions: does your booth look intimidating with hordes of sales people waiting to devour potential clients? or does it look inviting and safe for a potential lead to discover if they can trust you to solve their problem?
  • Experience: once your potential client steps into your booth, you’ll need to think about their experience. Will they get the answer that they are searching for or will they be bombarded with hard selling sale pitches?

For more, read my breakdown of Creative technology’s booth strategy here.

huawei-interpolworld-2017And oh, serving coffee at your booth also helps to pull the crowd in 😉

All you need to do is to position your well trained sales team to approach them, strike a conversation, find out their needs and maybe book them for a follow up session to help solve their problems.

And that is where you…

3. Gather Your Ideal Customer

Now that you have the attention of your ideal customer, it’s time to start gathering their information so that you can follow up with them or reach out to them again in the future.

There are many ways you can do this, here are some suggestions:

  • Equip your sales teams with forms to capture customer data
  • Organise a talk or workshop to solve the needs of your potential clients at your booth
  • Drop a namecard to redeem a cup of coffee

Some exhibitions like the Food and Hotel Asia even provide an app for attendees to reach out to the exhibitors directly.

You can check if your exhibition organiser are willing to share access to their database of attendee.

 

4. Impress Your Ideal Customer

thumbs-up

Now that you’ve got the means to contact your potential customer, its up to you to close the deal.

Impress your ideal customer by using the knowledge you have from step #1 and provide them with a solution that will solve their problem, scratch their itch and alleviate their pain!

 

Conclusion

You would have learnt a little about taking advantage of live events to reach out and gain new customers.

We’ve given you the difference between pull and push marketing, as well as dive into a 4 steps system to using live events to gain new customers.

Have you tapped into industry specific exhibitions to grow your customer base?

How has your experience been? Let us know in the comments below!