AuthorSamuel J. Smith

Faster Trade Show Lead Follow Up: 6 Tips For Better Results

faster trade show lead follow up

Why should you follow up on your trade show leads fast? Because if you don’t, your chances of winning the sale plummet drastically. According to InsideSales.com, 35–50% of sales go to the vendor that responds to leads first!

That means if you contact your leads second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth or later, you are fighting over 50 to 65% of the pie with all the other potential vendors – except for the first responder!

So, what can you do to ensure you have fast trade show lead follow up?

Fulfill trade show leads fast!

Here are some planning ideas to implement so your trade show leads receive the fulfillment they asked for right after the show:

  1. Using paper (business cards or lead cards) to take leads? Scan those leads at the show site and send a pdf to your data entry team back at the office each day. You can also overnight deliver them, or bring them back with you on the plane. Have a team ready to data enter them, even hiring one or more temps to get them into your database quicker.
  2. If you gathered leads digitally at the show, with the show’s app or another app, export your leads quickly and import that file into your CRM. Our interactive trade show games and our Lead Manager App let you quickly download the leads into an Excel file. You can download them after each day of the show, or when the show is over, right from the cloud, and then import them into your CRM system.
  3. Have your fulfillment letters and packets prepared before you leave for the show, so that doesn’t slow you down after the show. With our recently upgraded Lead Manager App (which comes free with our games), you can even load in your lead fulfillment letters, and have your booth staffers email lead fulfillment (both a letter and digital documents like brochures) from the booth right after talking to each lead.

Get your sales people their trade show leads fast!

  1. Choose qualifying questions on your lead form (digital or paper) that match what your sales reps want to know and what data fields you have in your sales and marketing database. That way your sales reps will be motivated to follow up, and you will get your trade show leads into your database easier. The surveys in our games and the forms in our Lead Manager app are all customizable to capture answers to whatever questions you want to ask prospects.
  2. Qualify your leads at the show based on which are the most valuable, and rank them. Send the best leads to your sales team right away (even from the show floor), then send your intermediate leads out a week or two later, and then send your lowest quality leads last – or just put them into your marketing database to develop until they are ready for a sales person. Our Lead Manager App lets you instantly rank leads from one to 5 stars. And surveys in our games let attendees self-qualify their own level of follow up.
  3. Make sure you know ahead of time who gets which kinds of leads. You don’t want a delay because of territory or vertical market issues preventing you from forwarding hot trade show leads off to the proper sales person.

You’ve invested thousands of dollars on that pile of trade show leads. Keep up the effort to ensure they get their requested info fast, and that your sales team is prepared to call or email them as soon as possible. Challenge yourself to measure and shorten the amount of time that takes. It’s so worth it!

If you’d like to see more about how you can drive more booth traffic and get more qualified leads with our interactive trade show games, or see how our Lead Manager app integrates with our games, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate excitement, crowds, and leads.

How to Prepare Speakers to Use Audience Response Apps for Greater Attendee Engagement

Preparing speakers and presenters to use Audience Response Systems and event technolgy for greater attendee engagement

The greatest advantage of event apps and audience response apps is to give your attendees a voice.

Instead of passing around microphones in a large audience of 1,000 attendees, an event app or audience response app can be used to capture hundreds of questions instantly from curious attendees.

Equally important – activities such as brainstorming can be scaled up to hundreds and thousands of participants with the same rich participation that you get from groups of 8 to 10 people. While these technologies are loaded with capabilities – it’s very likely that most of these technologies will be new to your speakers. This post provides a guide to help you prepare your presenters to use these tools in their presentations and workshops.

To give their event session audiences a voice, more event producers are asking their speakers, facilitators and panel moderators to use interactive technology, such as audience response systems.  But are speakers prepared to use them?

Step 1: Create a case for change

Most speakers gravitate to the PowerPoint lecture-style presentation, because that’s the content delivery format that they know. If they are in a large corporation they are probably used to creating PowerPoint documents that double as informational documents that are shared via email as well as in presentations to small groups.

But in today’s world, event speakers need to do more than just lecture to keep people engaged and connected to their content and ideas.

Research shows that attendees stop paying attention after 10 minutes in the average conference session. And, it’s worse online! Online attendees are 1 click away from doing anything else on the Internet…like watching cat videos. How can you compete with cat videos?

When attendees spend 4-6 hours per day in conference sessions sitting and listening, most attendees are going to be lucky to remember three key messages from a speaker. So all of those detailed slides with secondary messages and supporting arguments will easily be forgotten.

Interactive meeting technologies such as audience response apps and event apps help with retention because they engage your attendees in a conversation. When you ask them a poll question or open-ended question they become participants in a conversation. The more that you can get attendees to participate the more likely they will be to retain the speakers key messages.

Related – What is Audience Engagement?

Step 2: understand how much time you should allocate for attendee engagement

Most speakers plan for a 50 minute presentation and 10 minutes of Q&A. Inevitably they go over time and leave only 2-3 minutes for Q&A. That’s bad.

We recommend that your speakers plan for 20 minutes of interactive time for every 40 minutes of lecture time.

Step 3: Share common attendee engagement tools for creating conversations

Above I mentioned that your speakers are most likely not familiar with all of the tools available to them or how they work. I recommend that you provide them with a list of the audience response system (ARS) capabilities in your event app or audience response app.

Here is a list of the most common conversation tools that you should expect in your audience response app:

  • Live Polls
  • Interactive Q&A
  • Discussion Topics
  • Idea Voting
  • Word clouds
  • Voting
  • Photo Captions

Regardless of your vendor you should have access to most of these conversation tools. Each one will work a little differently and all of them can be used to help your speaker’s achieve their conversation goals.

You may want to share examples of each with your speakers. So they can see how they work.

Related – 10 Ways to Visualize User Generated Content

Related –  Part 2: 10 Ways to Increase Event Attendee Engagement with Interactive Technology

Step 4: Recommend conversation templates that give speakers a roadmap for planning their attendee engagement activities

Here are 10 examples of conversation templates that might help.

Reveal Research: Before showing the results in the room, have the attendee’s answer the same questions to see where they stand. Review the answers after each question.

Pick a Path Case Study: Let attendees make key decisions in a case study presentation and see if they would have been successful. This can be executed with a combination of polling and idea generation. Present attendees with scenarios and let them make a decision about how they would proceed. Then, reveal what happened in the case study. And suggest a best course of action.

Comparison Word Cloud: The goal here is to get attendees to see how language changes from the start of a presentation to the end. Start by getting them to share the first few words that come to mind when they think of a topic. At the end of the presentation, repeat the exercise and see how the word clouds have changed. The second word cloud should reflect the language that you want people to use after they leave the room.

Compare and Contrast: Let attendees discover similarities and differences between two like seemingly similar things. These best way to execute this is through a series of poll questions. Give attendees three options: Option A, Option B or Both. Then through your questions allow them to share their opinions – while the speaker reveals the best answer. This could be used to compare two technology platforms (IOS and Android) or doing business in the US vs South America or comparing two different patient treatment methods.

Evaluate Projects: Let project teams present their project ideas (or results) for the audience to evaluate. Let audience members evaluate back-to-back pitches and proposals from their mobile device. This is commonly done with a series of surveys that are pushed to attendee’s phones. These surveys usually ask the audience to rate 2-3 different characteristics. Optionally – you can just have one live poll at the end to pick a winner.

Put Panelists in the Hot Seat: Turn up the heat on panelists by getting them to address hard questions from the audience. Audience Response Apps give you the opportunity to collect hundreds of questions. Your moderators can use this technology to filter through lots of similar questions and find the best-worded questions. This is particularly useful for organizations that are closing plants or merging operations. (Read more on interactive q&a)

Brainstorming: It’s easy to generate ideas and pick the best option with just 10 people, but with audience response apps you can do it with hundreds of people. Brainstorming is a process of capturing ideas, developing a evaluation criteria, rating the choices and picking a solution. By combining, idea generation, idea voting and live polling you can take an audience through all of these steps via the audience response app on their phone.

Simple, Fun Ice-Breakers: Using a word cloud or Caption This (Show people a photo and let them think up captions) is a fun way to get people thinking and active.

Massive Idea Collection: Create a series of topics around a problem you want to solve. Ask the attendees to share ideas around each topic. Then assign groups of people the responsibility for generating ideas around each topic. Present the ideas on the big screen. Optionally – you can have the audience vote for all of the ideas.

Sign up to Help: Many speakers are great at inspiring attendees – but they forget to convert that inspiration into action. Don’t waste all of that energy – prompt attendees with a signup form to capture a lead, volunteer for a project or signup to help.

Step 5: Help speakers craft meaningful discussion topics and questions

When it comes to open ended questions – you can ask any question via audience response apps and event apps to get a dialog going with your audience. But to get a dialog that helps you stimulate thinking, I recommend structuring questions with this formula:

“Discuss a _______ that __________.”

Here are some examples:

  • Discuss a leader that inspires you
  • Discuss a technology that you admire
  • Discuss an innovation that changed the world
  • Discuss a technology that you almost forgot
  • Discuss an innovation that you can’t stop thinking about

If you really want to create a dialog that will drive business change, here are 10 questions you can ask.

Step 6: Inform speakers how to integrate the audience response app and event app into their presentation

Here’s an example:

  • Before the event, a tech support person or team needs to setup your questions in the system and have them staged in order to support your presentation flow.
  • Add the questions to your slide deck to prompt you and the tech team. Then, the tech team will push the questions to the audience.
  • During your presentation, you should have a tech support person in the room with you who is either an employee of the event organizer, or someone from their hired audio-visual company.
  • If yours is the first session they are attending with the ARS, the audience will need some coaching on how to use it. After a few sessions, they should need less and less help. Ask to see how many do.
  • Attendees will be able to respond right away to your questions. Now you have dialog, and a better chance of keeping their attention.
  • When you are ready to see question results, ask the tech team to show the results. The results will be pushed to the attendees and to a confidence monitor for you to see as well. You can ask the tech team to send all questions, or choose only the most interesting questions.
  • Now you answer the questions or react to whatever content (idea voting, Word Cloud, discussion topics) your audience supplies.

Step 7: Provide speakers a task list for preparing for attendee engagement

To prevent your speakers from being overwhelmed, here is a short task list that will help.

  • Plan your session to have 10-20 minutes of engagement activities, including 5 minutes of Q&A.
  • Find out what ARS system and tech support your event organizer will have.
  • Select the engagement activity you will employ during your presentation. If you need ideas, use one of the conversation templates above, if your event’s ARS will support it.
  • Add questions to your slides (as a prompt) for the audience engagement.
  • Share your discussion questions, surveys, polls, etc with your event organizer.
  • If possible, practice using the ARS system before your session.
  • Arrive early to make sure that everything is setup as you expect.

Wrap up

If you made it this far, I hope this article will help you give your speakers the tools to engage your attendees and retain their attention by effectively integrating the available technology tools into your sessions.

If you’d like to see more about how you increase audience and attendee engagement in your events and trade show booths with our interactive games and event apps, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate more fun, excitement, and results.

Realistic and Improved Lead Capture for Small Trade Shows Staffed By Field Sales Reps

improved lead capture for small trade shows combines game with lead retrieval app

We’ve had very similar discussions recently with several exhibitors who have big trade show programs with big booths, but also lots of smaller shows with 10 x 10 booths that they, as the trade show manager, never get to.  Those small shows are staffed by field sales people or channel partners who have no face-to-face contact with the trade show manager.

And while it doesn’t happen every time, far too often the sales people staffing the booth don’t send the leads back to the home office.

These shows may be so small the show producer does not provide a badge scanner or lead retrieval app.  And the reality is, even if they did, the booth staffers may not use it, preferring to tuck business cards into their pocket.

So, the marketing department pays for the show, the trade show manager manages the show, and they get nothing to show for it.

Don’t get me wrong, there may have been value created at that show, including leads that turned into sales.  It’s just the marketing department has no way to track the leads to sales. If they have a program with a dozen small shows like this, they have no way to determine which shows are worth keeping, and which to drop, so they can then experiment with other potentially viable shows.

So, to recap – are you in this same situation:

  • You have a big program with booths ranging from small to large spaces
  • You have many small shows where:
    • There may not be a show-supplied lead retrieval app or machine
    • Your company does not have a trade show manager or marketer on-site
    • The field sales people are reluctant to provide leads back to the home office
    • You have no way to record any leads or prove a viable ROI for these shows

Exhibitors in this situation are looking for a super easy lead capture app, one that their field sales people or channel partners will use with minimal training.  Unfortunately, these kind of booth staffers tend to be the most tech-adverse, and simply don’t use any solution provided.

We have a solution that solves this problem from a different angle. Rather than try to force your reluctant booth staffers to use a lead capture app, and be totally lost if they don’t, start with an easy interactive game that can also do all or most of the lead capture.

Our interactive trade show games record much of the contact and qualifying lead info, because the attendees enter their own data in order to play our games.  Then our games save your lead data to the cloud so it always comes back to you. Plus, our games also generate more leads by attracting more people into your booth.  So, you get (formerly lost) lead capture and even more leads!

GET EVEN MORE LEAD DATA: Once your booth visitors give their email address to play our fun digital games, our Lead Manager app synchs with the cloud to get their photo, their social media profiles, and their company contact and profile information.  Your booth staffers don’t have to do anything for that great info.

And, when you do have good booth staffers in the booth, our games also come with a free, ad-on Lead Manager app that lets them record even more info about the lead, such as rating them 1 to 5 stars, take pictures of their business card, complete custom lead forms, and even send a fulfillment email from the booth, with links to requested digital documents.

We have also added our simplest game yet, called the Digital Fishbowl, that makes it even easier on your field sales to set up and run a digital game on site.

So, if you have field reps unwilling to use a traditional lead capture app, they can set up our games and have fun, active booths with more attendees and engagement.  And you get the leads automatically sent to you via the cloud.

If you’d like to see more about how you can drive more booth traffic and get more qualified leads with our interactive trade show games like the Digital Fishbowl, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate excitement, crowds, and leads.

What Is Audience and Attendee Engagement? That Depends On Who’s Asking

Attendee engagement at events and business meetings

Audience and attendee engagement have become the gateway to success for events.

If your meeting or event has a prayer of justifying its costs, you can’t settle for passive audience participation – your attendees must be fully engaged so they emotionally bond with your company, group, or message, and retain that memorable positive experience after they leave.

But as I work to increase audience engagement with our clients, I’ve found that there are three distinct groups of stakeholders, who have different viewpoints on what is audience and attendee engagement.  And that matters because these three groups are joined at the hip, and thus need to better understand their different viewpoints, to enable better collaboration.

The three different groups are event producers, presenters, and exhibitors.

Event Producers’ View of Audience and Attendee Engagement

Attendee engagement at meetings and events

An event producer gathers attendees for a meeting, event, or conference, with an audience of anywhere from a few dozen to over 100,000 people. To differentiate from still-growing digital media, event producers want their attendees to feel welcome, part of the group, understood, and involved in the event activities.  They don’t want them bored and checked out.

However, with attendee’s attention spans now shorter than ever (due to higher work load and increased expectations for stimulation from their smartphones), event producers have to up their game.  They look at multiple ways to improve their attendees’ experience, be it the facility, food, keynotes, presentations, entertainment, show hall (if their event has one), gifts, technology, and more.  The hope is with each improvement, their event audience will be more engaged, and will go home as happy advocates.

Presenters’ View of Audience and Attendee Engagement

Audience engagement for an event presenter or speaker

Presenters are one of the most important parts of many events, because the majority of time attendees spend at events is sitting in presentations. Presentations are traditionally keynote events by one person or a panel, presented by celebrities or industry senior executive, and breakout presentations about important or emerging topics by subject matter experts (mostly doers or vendors).

Event producers have been experimenting with new presentation formats to increase attendee engagement, with more planned interactivity, new layouts, and new technology.

These new formats require presenters to shift and adapt their lecture-style presentations to more of a dialog that often integrates with new audience engagement technology. They may have to throw their slide deck out the window and start over. They need more communication and training from their event producers, especially if the event producer has chosen an event technology they expect all their presenters to use.

(Read – How to Prepare Speakers to use Audience Response Apps for Greater Attendee Engagement)

Exhibitors’ View of Audience and Attendee Engagement

trade show attendee engagement ideas

Trade show exhibitors used to be able to set up their displays and stand by the aisle with a smile in order to succeed.  But the same tech evolution that has forced event producers to up their game has also driven exhibitors to do more in order to get attendees to cross from the aisle carpet into their booth.

Exhibitors have to create a more compelling experience in their booth to capture and retain attendees’ attention, as attendees now have greater control of the buying process (thanks to the power of Google searches to find potential vendors).

Insightful exhibitors know that their booth visitors will likely visit 20 or more other exhibitors, so they have to do more to engage them, be it with an experience, their senses, or technology, so that attendees remember them after the show, above all other exhibitors they talked to.

If exhibitors do a better job at audience engagement, the event producer benefits from happier attendees.  Thus, it’s in the interest of show organizers to provide training and tools to help exhibitors increase attendee engagement.

Increasing Audience and Attendee Engagement

While event producers have many, many ways to increase audience engagement, two of the most substantial methods rely on increasing attendee engagement via their presenters and exhibitors.  For presenters, they can either try to increase audience engagement on their own, or partner with the event producer to use tools provided for all presenters. And exhibitors motivated to generate leads, sales, and positive ROI from trade shows are increasingly focusing on attendee engagement as a stepping stone to meeting their marketing and business goals.

If you’d like to see more about how you increase audience and attendee engagement in your events and trade show booths with our interactive games and event apps, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate more fun, excitement, and results.

Fun Trade Show Games Ideas with Your Logo to Play in Your Booth

trade show games

Trade show games are a proven, yet dramatically underused activity to get more potential customers into your booth.  After hundreds of client game implementations, we know games attract a crowd and get attendees engaged with your booth staffers.

But, if using games in your booth is a new idea for you, you understandably need more info.  So, in this article, I will share with you several kinds of games and game aspects to consider in your decision.

Fun Games to Play To Attract Customers

fun trade show games to attract customers

The first factor is that your game must be fun!  You want people to be magnetically drawn into your booth because you are hosting a game that looks like fun, that their friends have told them is fun, and that they can see people already enjoying to play. And, not just any people, but your target customers.  Be mindful that what you think would be fun as a 25-year old man may not be fun to your target audience of 45-year old women – or vice versa. Make it fun for your customers, not you.

Games with your Logo

trade show games with your logo

Your booth visitors will pay attention to your game while they play it, not your booth.  And this may be the most engaged they are during their visit.  So, ensure that your game has your logo in it, and even better, the look and feel of any graphics match your company brand. That way you get the maximum branding value and post-show memorability.

Giveaway & Prize Games

Trade show game prize winner with prize and prize shown on screens

A game can be fun to play just to play, yet playing for a prize or giveaway is twice as fun!  Chances are you are putting money aside for promotional giveaways in your booth anyhow.  Now, pool that money into attractive prizes and fun giveaways that people are motivated to win. You can give everyone a prize, only give some people a prize (and they know right away), or only give some people a prize, and they don’t find out until the end of the day or the show. People can win the prize by spinning a wheel, with an instant win game, and other game choices. You can make the prizes fun or imprinted you’re your logo.  Here are some ideas on how to choose prizes for your game.

Easy Trade Show Games

Easy trade show games

Perhaps you may think this goes without saying, but it’s better to say it just in case: make your trade show game easy! Not necessarily easy to score or get correct answers, but easy to understand how to play.  It should be so simple that your booth visitors walk up and intuitively know how to play, or learn how to play in 30 seconds or less.  They don’t have time for complicated games, and will walk out of your booth frustrated.

Trivia Contest Games

Trivia game for trade show booths

Trivia games are surprisingly popular, because they give attendees a chance to prove their knowledge, compete against friends, and learn.  Plus, trivia games give you as an exhibitor the valuable opportunity to teach booth visitors about your products and services.  Trivia games can also keep attendees in your booth longer, and when they get uber-competitive, they even return to your booth, and bring friends with them.

Games of Skill Versus Games of Chance

Trivia game for trade shows are a game of skill that increase attendee engagement

Games of skill give attendees a better chance to win if they can think or play with greater talent, such as a trivia game or a putting green.  Many games choose winners by random chance, such as a prize wheel or plinko prize drop games. Some games of skill are derived from sports, like pop a shot basketball or a miniature putting green.  Few sports translate to good trade show games – you don’t see exhibitors encouraging booth visitors with a chance to win at wrestling or pole vaulting! Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide, do you want to reward your booth visitors for skill (which creates competition that drives more visits), or just give prizes randomly so people are less afraid to try.

Interactive Digital Games Versus Analog Games

interactive digital trade show games for your booth

Technology continues to expand its influence in marketing, and trade shows are no exception. Trade show games have evolved to include many interactive games, to compete with many old-fashioned analog games. Analog games are tangible and usually cheaper, although they do require shipping and drayage.  Interactive digital games present a more modern image, and can improve your ability to capture meaningful data about your leads.  You can read other advantages of digital games here.

Games are a great activity to attract and engage trade show booth visitors. Trade show games that are fun, easy, branded with your company logo and colors, and offer a chance to win prizes are even better. Take the leap and add a trade show game to your booth, and see how a fun activity can have a serious positive effect on your trade show ROI!

If you’d like to see more about how you can drive more booth traffic and get more qualified leads with our interactive trade show games, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate excitement, crowds, and leads.

Continue Reading

Digital Fishbowl: New, Entry-Level Trade Show Game Made Powerful With Improved Lead Capture App

Digital Fishbowl enter to win screen on kiosk for trade show lead capture

SocialPoint has added a new interactive game to its suite of trade show games.  The Digital Fishbowl provides exhibitors another fun way to digitally collect leads at a trade show.  Attendees enter in their own data because they want to win a prize.  Attendees also fill out digital surveys and declare their interest level, helping qualify leads.

While the Digital Fishbowl joins our product suite as the lowest-priced game (at only $1,000 for first use and set up, and $500 a game after), it still includes the advantages of our other interactive games:

  • Increase booth traffic with fun interactives for exhibitor’s flat screen monitors and iPads
  • Look awesome with innovative visualizations
  • Capture more leads and help exhibitors follow up leads faster
  • Get leads entered by game-motivated booth visitors, including lead data and qualifying information
  • Measure performance with real-time analytics
  • Are configured, not custom programmed, so they set up fast and are reliable at-show

Click here to request a demo of our new Digital Fishbowl game.

What makes Digital Fishbowl even more powerful is that we are simultaneously launching an exponential improvement to our Lead Manager app, that comes free with our games.  Here’s the story on that:

Lead Manager App Now So Good, You Don’t Need a Badge Scanner Anymore!

Lead Manager App Improved by Instantly Synching to Attendee Social Media Profiles, Plus Email Lead Fulfilment Right from the Booth!

Lead Manager app to capture qualify and fulfill trade show leads

For several months we’ve offered a companion Lead Manager app, that comes free with our interactive trade show games, to give booth staffers a way to see and expand upon the lead data entered by game players in their booth.

Now, we’ve taken that tool to a whole new level, giving exhibitors, especially smaller exhibitors, a complete trade show lead generation, capture, and fulfillment system.

Right from your booth staffers’ mobile devices, they can instantly see photos of the attendees who play their games, get links to the attendee’s social media profiles, and get qualifying info about the attendees’ company, such as industry and company size. 

That’s because our new Lead Manager app instantly syncs that data from the cloud when the attendee enters their email address to play a SocialPoint game. It looks like magic, and for your booth staffers, it is.

Then, you can immediately fulfill your trade show leads, because our Lead Manager app tees up to send a fulfillment email for each lead your staffers talk with, complete with links to product documents requested by attendees.

Click here to set up a demo of our improved Lead Manager app, which also works with our popular Challenge Bar Trivia and Virtual Prize Wheel games.

We are also offering the Digital Fishbowl for an unlimited annual use (unlimited shows, unlimited booth staffers) with one configuration for $2,500.  Exhibitors will be able to re-set the lead counting for each show within the analytics.  When the Digital Fishbowl is combined with the new & improved Lead Manager app, you no longer need a badge scanner at each show – so the game can pay for itself!

If you’d like to see more about how you can drive more booth traffic and get more qualified leads with our interactive trade show games like the Digital Fishbowl, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate excitement, crowds, and leads.

How the CompTIA “ChannelCon” Hybrid Event Keeps Growing 4 Years In A Row

CompTIA ChannelCon Hybrid Event Studio

Four years ago, CompTIA contacted Interactive Meeting Technology/SocialPoint to help them deliver their first online event. The goal was to deliver an online, educational event to at least 100 attendees and have them remain online for at least two sessions.

CompTIA had nearly 1,000 registrants and over 300 attendees that first year.  Four years later, their attendee numbers have skyrocketed to well over 4,000.

This is how we did it, through a strong collaboration between us, the vendor, and an engaged and motivated client team.

Two Audience Profiles Sparks Two Online Channels

The first thing IMT/SocialPoint did was ask CompTIA who their attendees were, what they wanted from education and what was important to them. CompTIA needed to deliver two full days of content, on one platform, with two channels playing simultaneously and to distinctly different audiences: business attendees and technical attendees.

Online Experience Keeps Attendees Engaged

ChannelCon Online had four key engagement components:

  1. Engagement Tools: We provided a mix of tools for speakers to use to engage both online and onsite attendees.  Speakers had the option of offering session polls and surveys with real time responses displayed for both audiences. We also encouraged speakers to submit at least 3 discussion questions to increase audience interaction. The engagement tools offered speakers a way to connect with 1,000’s of attendees from across the globe. The trivia game focused on hot industry topics and content delivered in the educational sessions. Not only was this entertaining but it reinforced the main educational concepts we wanted to highlight.  We also displayed a Leaderboard with the top 20 winners worldwide which provided friendly competition. The mix of tools ascertained we were not just recruiting attendees but retaining them year after year.
  2. Continuous Programming: One of the main goals is for attendees to remain interested and logged in long-term. To accomplish this, we delivered content based on attendee profiles. When one session ended, another one began immediately. We had a back-up in place for sessions that ended early.  We had short videos or triggered the trivia game to provide a constant flow of information and entertainment, ensuring an optimal viewing and learning experience.
  3. Exclusive Content. We created a studio program which included exclusive content with a host that guided attendees through both days. The host provided commentary on keynote sessions and conducted interviews with executive staff and presenters after the educational sessions.  Having a “familiar” face deliver constant information, explanation and conversation keeps the audience updated and energized for what’s coming next. CompTIA also developed pre-recorded, commercial-type videos and slide shows that played during the breaks and between sessions to ensure a smooth delivery of consistent information, without static or blank screens for the online viewers.
  4. Content Channels: The content was organized into two channels based on the attendee profiles. When one session ended, a feedback form was prompted while we loaded the next session behind the scenes. This prevented potential frustration from attendees having to search for what session to watch and where to access it. There was a technical track and a business track, making it simple for attendees to find what they were looking for.

Defined Team Roles Drives Success

Pulling off a successful online event takes a village. Integrating it into your organization requires obtaining buy-in at all levels of your organization: Education, Meeting Logistics and Marketing take on the most important roles in successful online event execution.

Education

Content is planned around the interests of audience profiles. Educational topics are confirmed months in advance and then the studio show and exclusive content are built around the educational sessions. Continuing Education Credits (CEU) proved to be a large draw for getting people to log on. However, the educational sessions had to remain intriguing or people would not stay. During the sessions, we have staff that monitor discussion forums and continuously add topics that encourage interaction. he greatest number of responses come from questions that hit attendees’ frustration, fear or bragging buttons. Attendees build positive camaraderie when they have a forum where peers post recommendations for common problems and share solutions with each other.

Meeting Logistics:

    1. Support CompTIA has phone and email support staff who manage inquiries from registrants and attendees. CompTIA prepares for the influx of questions that revolve around two main areas: technical support (browser issues, slow connectivity, log-in issues) and CEU-related questions (what sessions qualify, how to apply credits online, etc.).  There are two CompTIA staff dedicated to responding to 1000’s of questions that come in those two days.  FAQ sheets and standard response emails are created for them to send rapid replies.  Creating a plan to handle large amounts of questions ensures a great customer experience and is key to high satisfaction scores in post event surveys.
    2. Q&A Moderators Each room has an assigned moderator with an iPad queued for each session. The moderator is responsible for capturing the online audience questions and asking them in the room for the onsite speaker and audience to hear. There are between 300 and 400 questions asked each year. A webinar-based training session is delivered a week prior to the live event for all speakers and the staff moderating Q/A so everyone knows how to use the tools most efficiently.
    3. Technical Operations CompTIA uses Mediasite and SocialPoint to deliver their livestream. Mediasite is used for content capture and livestreaming. The SocialPoint platform wraps the Mediasite player in a branded portal that delivers content, manages log-ins, measures audience engagement (speaker Q&A, polling, discussion, and trivia game) and tracks CEU eligibility and credits.

Marketing

Marketing provides the platform branding and graphics. The event marketing plan includes the creation and deployment of event invitations inclusive of instructions for logging in, where to go for assistance, CEU (continuing education units) information, highlights of the agenda, sessions and speakers.  It also includes subsequent reminder emails for potential and current registrants.  The final reminder right before the event begins is crucial as it previous reminders often get lost or buried. The final reminder includes the link and log in details in the beginning of the email. This ensures anyone who wants to get on quickly has everything need right in front of them. It is also beneficial to attach an FAQ page with tips for avoiding browser issues, details on using engagement tools such as discussion questions, polling, the trivia game (include information on prizes), etc. The social media plan is also imperative for pushing out key messaging before the event, posting live footage and quotes during the event and providing information on how to access archives and resources post event.

The Results: A Hybrid Event That Keeps Getting Better and Better

ChannelCon Online attendance has grown considerably since it first began. The event started with 300 attendees and has soared to over 4,000 attendees in just 4 years. Each year we add something new so the platform remains fresh and engages attendees that are new or returning year after year.

This year, the new feature we added was an online trivia game that could be played during breaks.  It also served as our Plan B. If sessions ran shorter than expected, we triggered the game to play, keeping attendees informed and entertained. The onsite attendees were also able to play on iPads displayed in prominent areas (near registration and designated member areas). Over 1,500 attendees played more than 3,500 SocialPoint games and answered over 55,000 questions!

Processes That Lead to Success

If your online event is not getting the results you expected, review some of the processes here. Make sure you have the proper staff in place and plan months in advance.  Here are some of the top ways to prepare and execute a successful online event:

  • Profile your audience
  • Develop content around your key profiles
  • Establish a marketing plan inclusive of a strong social media campaign.
  • Integrate audience engagement activities such as discussion questions, polling and a trivia game.
  • Create incentives for people to register and stay online (CEUs, prizes, etc.)
  • Assign Q&A moderators onsite
  • Provide training to speakers and internal teams on platform and tools
  • Make sure educational sessions are recorded, edited and made available on-demand
  • Create a survey for event feedback
  • Analyze processes post event and document ideas and improvements for the future

Praise from the CompTIA Client Team: 

We are highly satisfied with our relationship with IMT/SocialPoint. The service and tools they provide are exceptional. The IMT/SocialPoint team is with us in the early event planning stages, they are with us on site and are instrumental in providing easy-to-understand, thorough analytics for us to use post-event.  The production, the platform and the engagement tools are of highest quality to ensure we deliver a state-of-the-art experience for online attendees.”

Blythe Girnus, Senior Manager, Education, CompTIA

“IMT/SocialPoint becomes part of our event team for our online event and takes the responsibility to ensure a seamless and entertaining audience experience as seriously as our own team does. They accommodate the unique needs and challenges our Association faces.  They go out of their way to learn about the audiences we serve and make recommendations that are impactful and easy to implement.”

Lien-Anh Van Wagener, Senior Director, Events and Education, CompTIA

“Working with IMT/SocialPoint is a collaborative effort that brings together several of our internal departments for several months to deliver one of the largest virtual events in the IT industry. Our attendee numbers increase substantially year after year, and our ideas for new tools and requirements are always met with a positive and rewarding solution to continue making things better.”

Kelly Ricker, EVP, Events and Education, CompTIA

If you’d like to see how you can create more engaging and interactive content using the wide variety of choices within our SocialPoint Audience Engagement System, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate greater attendee engagement at your events.

10 More Ways To Increase Event Attendee Engagement With Event Technology

10 more ways to engage event attendees with event technology

Last March, I shared 10 ways you can use event technology beyond polling to create more attendee engagement.  Recently I gave a webinar on attendee engagement and came up with 10 more ways, which is good, because your event audiences continue to expect more engagement!  Here they are:

1. Display and Accelerate Social Conversations

Display and accelerate social media conversations at events

At a large event, you can accelerate the social conversation by putting attendee social media posts on big visual displays. When you showcase social media messages on a big screen, attendees will naturally be more motivated to share more of their own social posts, because they want to see their own message up on the big screen, too!  The more they post, the more brand reach your event. You need big screens to make this happen.

 

2. Blend Comments from Live & Virtual Attendees

Blend Comments from Live and Virtual Event Attendees

In a hybrid meeting (a face-to-face meeting with an online audience as well) you can integrate the responses from the virtual and the face-to-face attendees into a cohesive experience. You can combine live and virtual attendee comments and poll results so that your speaker who’s there on stage can weave all that together, and better engage both audiences in real time.

 

3. Blend Social Messages with Brand Messages

Blend Event Social Messages with Brand Messages

In a lounge – turn social media into décor to tell your event’s social media story. In a social media lounge you can let attendees visualize social conversations alongside your brand conversations.  And frame up both the social and brand messages in a beautiful environment so your event is elevated and your brand is too.

 

4. Capture Shareable Attendee Moments

Capture sharable attendee moments at events

At your experiential event – capture customer experiences for attendees to share with friends.  This is like the photos snapped of roller coaster riders – they are too engaged with a special activity to take a picture. So, help them out, take the pictures, capture the moment, and then make it easy for them to share those fun pictures, with their comments (and your event name) on social media.

 

5. Create a Private Social Media Hub to Receive & Rank Ideas via Touchscreen

At Sales Meetings and Events - Create a Private Social Media Hub to Receive and Rank Ideas via Touchscreen

At your sales conference – create a “private” social media hub to share ideas and content among employees.  This is especially useful for highly regulated industries such as healthcare and finance.  You can have employees share their ideas via messages that look like social media messages, but are kept private to your event.  Other attendees can view them on big touch screens and vote on ideas they like best.

 

6. Select Employees for Questions with Virtual Prize Wheel

At Company Meetings - Select Employees for Questions with Virtual Prize Wheel

At an all-employee meeting – use a virtual prize wheel to get attendees to “Come on down” to the front of the room to answer questions.  Instead of putting prizes on the wheel, you put employee names.  It creates some drama and fun, and they get excited when their name pops up.

 

7. Welcome Attendees with Social Content on Massive Video Wall

Welcome Attendees with Social Content on Massive Video Wall

At a big conference or convention, use a massive video wall to welcome attendees. It’s important to them.  We have lots of events where attendees take selfies or have a friend take a picture of them on the social media wall.  They say, “I want a picture of me that I can tweet of me on the social wall!” Your attendees like to be seen as special and you’re satisfying that need.

 

8. Turn Event Social Media Posts into a Contest with Leaderboards

Turn Event Social Media Posts into a Contest with Leaderboards

Social media leaderboards are another powerful way to drive greater social engagement during your event.  You can rank people based on who has the most posts or shared photos or retweets or several other metrics.  Make your attendees a winner and they will love that and you get your event content spreading further.

 

9. Digital Document Delivery at Company Expo

Digital Document Delivery at Company Expo

In a company expo – encourage exhibitors to share digital documents, rather than paper brochures.  This will save you money on printing costs and supporting your CSR initiatives. Those digital documents won’t end up in the hotel room trash cans, either.

 

10. Promote Messages to Customers with Digital Games

Promote Messages to Customers with Digital Games

In a customer event – reinforce key messages by connecting attendees to content through games.  One client asked attendees to play a trivia game about industry trends during an opening reception.  They discovered the attendees only knew about the old, fading trends, not the new transformative trends.  So the vice president referred to that contradiction in their general session. They learned from the audience and created a massive conversation.

 

Increasing audience engagement at your events is achievable, especially when you combine great ideas with proven event technology. I hope you put one of these 10 ideas to good use at your next event!

If you’d like to see how you can create more engaging and interactive content using the wide variety of choices within our SocialPoint Audience Engagement System, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate greater attendee engagement at your events.

MEA Quickly Adapts To New Marketing Strategy With Easy SocialPoint Trade Show Game Platform

Interactive trade show game for MEA with happy team and great exhibit signage

New Marketing Goals Prompts Desire for New Interactive Trade Show Game

When Midwest Energy Association (MEA), a consortium of energy delivery industry organizations, decided in 2017 to completely change their go-to-market strategy, they decided to retain SocialPoint games – but with a different SocialPoint game to fit their new goals.

“We had success in 2015 and 2016 using SocialPoint’s Challenge Bar Trivia game,” said Lindsay Robertson, MEA Marketing and Communications Director. “The Trivia game worked well to attract and retain attendees, when our goal was to present everything we offer.  But, in 2017, we made a strategic shift at trade shows, so we needed a different approach.”

MEA narrowed their marketing strategy to focus on their leadership training offerings, as there is such a huge demand to train new leaders because of the massive retiring of the Baby Boomers.

“Our goal this year was to more quickly profile and qualify our booth visitors, to enable discussions with the most qualified visitors, and to facilitate reaching out post-show with new leads from the show,” said Robertson.  “We asked SocialPoint for a game that would achieve those goals, and they delivered.”

SocialPoint offered an “Instant Win” version of their Virtual Prize Wheel game where, rather than spin a virtual wheel to reveal their prize, instead their prize award pops up on the screen.  MEA’s game was called “Try Your Luck To Unlock The Truck.”

To promote the game, MEA displayed two iPad kiosks, plus “a large graphic of the tailgate view of a truck, the common place our clients have ‘tailgate meetings’ in the field,” said Robertson.  The graphic attracted booth traffic, and signaled to attendees that MEA understood how they worked.

Interactive trade show game for Midwest Energy Association

Easy Digital Interactive Game Helps Booth Staffers Prioritize Time For Higher Quality Leads

The game has been very successful at doing exactly what we wanted from it,” said Mark Bechtel, MEA Training & Tradeshow Coordinator.  “We get attendees into our booth, get all their info at the show, and then we can easily reach out later via email to contact leads after the show.”

Added Robertson, “Our booth staffers really like how simple the Instant Win game is, because they don’t need to babysit someone to show them how to use it – attendees just walk up and start playing.  Attendees were happy to win our prizes, and some came back to play again.

“Best of all, while the game boosts MEA awareness and gathers lead data from all booth visitors, our booth staffers are freed up to have longer conversations with more qualified leads who already shown interest in our new leadership training offerings.”

Trade show attendees playing interactive trade show game in the MEA booth

SocialPoint Platform Allows MEA to Make Changes, Market to Leads Post-Show

Bechtel is pleased with the control the SocialPoint game platform gives him. “I have enjoyed working with SocialPoint’s game platform.  It lets us handle logistics with minor changes easily without any issues. I find it easy for me to make quick changes to the on-screen verbiage and the ratio of winning players. The app is great to play around with and to have that control myself.

 “We have used the ‘Try Your Luck’ game at 6 events so far, and will likely use it for 3 more,” said Bechtel. “The game has been great to use in different events – we use it at any time, at any purpose event, wherever we are.  We can try it out with any type of audience or booth.  And since this game costs less than the Challenge Bar Trivia game, we can afford to use it, even at events with only a couple hundred people.”

“Plus, the game allows me to easily be prepared for post-show success.  I can export a spreadsheet of all my trade show leads so far.  And, I can easily add on another unexpected trade show, with some simple changes on the app, so post-show I can separate out those new attendees. It’s really easy.”

Added Bechtel, “Due to our long sales cycle, it’s still too early to calculate our ROI, but with the improved leads and engagement using this game, we are confident we did well.”

A new marketing strategy didn’t mean MEA had to get a completely new digital interactive vendor.  “It was a blessing to work with SocialPoint,” concludes Robertson.  “We came to them with some out-there ideas, yet still needing an affordable solution. They helped us find a great, customized solution in a very short amount of time.”

If you’d like to see more about how you can drive more booth traffic and get more qualified leads with our interactive trade show games, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate excitement, crowds, and leads.

Continue Reading

How To Combine Gamification with Content and Experiential Marketing

Gamification Content Marketing and Experiential Marketing Combined For Trade Shows and Events

Pardon the sports metaphor, but our interactive trade show games are a marketing buzz word triple play!

If your marketing department has plans to implement Gamification, Content Marketing, or Experiential Marketing, 3 of the hottest trends in B2B marketing today, you can get the benefits of all three at once with our interactive games.

Let’s look at how our digital games are at the convergence of all 3 trends:

1. Gamification

According to Wikipedia, “Gamification is the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts …. to improve user engagement …”

Improve user engagement? What trade show and event marketer wouldn’t want that!

And according to trade show industry research from CEIR, gamification is a powerful, yet underused tactic for exhibitors to drive traffic and increase engagement.

Games are best when, like ours, they allow attendees to walk up and start playing intuitively.  And play they do! They get pulled into friendly competition, with their friends, colleagues, and surprisingly often, against their expectations of themselves.

Our games motivate them to enter your booth and stay rooted to the spot, providing lead and contact info about themselves and their company needs, in exchange for the opportunity to win a prize or demonstrate their level of expertise.

That’s awesome gamification: attendees are so motivated to play, they enter in their own lead data!

Plus, our games provide feedback while attendees are playing about how well they are doing, so when they are in jeopardy of losing, they reach out to your booth staffers to get help – and start a conversation that gets you closer to another trade show lead. This happens much more than you would think.

You can even make a competitive game out of attendees’ social media engagement at the trade show, and give your company a more modern image at the same time.

So, our games allow you to win at the Gamification of your trade show program!

2. Content Marketing

Content Marketing is arguably the fastest-growing B2B marketing method today, with 35 times more marketers planning to produce more content than less, according to a 2017 survey by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs.

A key part of Content Marketing is that you teach prospects with content that is valuable and relevant to them.

Most trade show visitors don’t realize before they enter your booth how relevant and valuable your company can be to their success.  But that all changes when they try to win prizes and beat their friends while playing our Challenge Bar Trivia Game, and in the process answer dozens of questions about the advantages of your company and products.

Your booth visitors get immersed in learning about your company, and it’s your content that makes the magic happen.  Your attendees are motivated to learn what makes you better, and in the process, advance further in the buying cycle.

It’s Content Marketing at its best.

3. Experiential Marketing

According to legend, in the good old days, trade show exhibitors only had to pop up a display, stand by the aisle, and a parade of buyers would march into their booth.

It was never really that easy.  But it is true that, thanks to their ability to find product info easier on the Internet, today’s trade show attendees are more in control of the buying process.  And they know it.

So, to get attendees out of the aisle and into your booth, then get them to stay there longer, and then to remember what they learned there, you now need to create an experience.  Something that engages more of their senses and emotions. Something with an element of interactivity that requires them to participate, not watch passively.

This is exactly what happens when exhibitors use our interactive trade show games.

Attendees get pulled into your booth because they see our innovative game visuals and the prizes they could win. Once in your booth, they are fully engaged while playing, sometimes enjoying it so much they return multiple times. They become emotionally involved with their performance, feeling joy, envy, frustration, greed, and more.

Some attendees get so motivated to succeed, we’ve heard of some going back to their hotel rooms to study!

So, our games create an experience that attendees will remember when your sales people follow up on their leads after the show.

Gamification, Content Marketing, and Experiential Marketing are all growing marketing strategies for getting more engagement with your target audience.  You don’t have to choose just one to pursue at your next trade show – with SocialPoint’s interactive trade show games, you get the benefits of all three!

If you’d like to see more about how you can drive more booth traffic and get more qualified leads with our interactive trade show games, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate excitement, crowds, and leads.

Continue Reading