The following is a guest blog post by Nicole Wojno, Director of Marketing at Dodge Communications.
Attending tradeshows serves as a one-of-a-kind experience for healthcare companies to accelerate and position themselves ahead of competitors in the industry. In this fast-paced industry, nothing compares to the face-to-face contact at tradeshows that helps build direct relationships with current clients and prospects. However, tradeshows can be expensive and require extra time, making it imperative to generate leads and show ROI.
The key to tradeshow success is utilizing a robust marketing automation tool throughout the process along with other integrated efforts. With HIMSS around the corner to kick off the busy tradeshow season, now is the time to make sure you have developed a marketing automation strategy for pre, during and post show to capture and nurture leads.
Pre-show. When it comes to tradeshows, preparation is key. If you want clients and prospects to know that you are going to be at an event, you need to inform them. Develop an email campaign and have a dedicated landing page with a form that will offer attendees some sort of incentive to schedule a demo to see your solution or invite them to a case study presentation at your booth.
Be sure you’re segmenting prospects and customers accordingly, and providing relevant content to each group. If you’ve developed new content such as a bylined article for a healthcare IT trade publication or a new data sheet, use that information in your current campaigns or link to it on your website as a download. In an effort to execute an integrated campaign, tie in other elements like direct mail, social media and your company’s blog and ensure your corporate collateral is up-to-date and ready for distribution at the show.
Showtime. Nothing beats facetime with prospects, giving you the chance to really showcase your product or solution and industry knowledge. Be sure to create a learning environment within your booth – there is a direct correlation between learning and inclination to buy, and the more interaction you deliver, the more memorable the event.
With marketing automation, there’s no longer a need to manually input information from each booth visitor or rely on a sales rep to keep track of business cards and input them in the CRM. Instead, you can employ a landing page in kiosk mode on a tablet where leads can input their information directly to your marketing automation tool which allows you to quickly collect prospect details and demographics for post-show follow-up. If your team has meetings lined up with prospects, don’t pitch to them. Be personal and provide ways your business can help solve their problems and help them grow.
Lastly, enhance your social media presence leading up to and during the tradeshow. During the tradeshow, use the event hashtag, healthcare IT-specific hashtags or even create your own to participate in conversations through channels like twitter. Aligning hashtags with upcoming tradeshows such as #HIMSS16 and #RSNA16 will create more visibility for clients before, during and after tradeshows. Hashtags can also be used to support campaigns and increase engagement among your audience when discussing a certain industry issue. Lastly, make sure to connect with prospects and clients on social media platforms to show them their importance to you and the business.
Post-show. Following up with attendees is one of the most important steps. First, look at your marketing automation system to segment leads and decide which prospects are most important. After creating a list of hot leads, assign sales ready leads to reps for individual follow up emails to thank them for stopping by and provide them with valuable content to keep them interested. The rest of the leads can be put in a thought leadership/educational campaign to keep your company top-of-mind. These drip campaigns should include relevant content, such as a recap blog or key conference takeaways, to remind prospects of your industry expertise. Whether your company offers patient engagement services, medical billing or workflow management systems, be sure to distribute content that highlights how you’re helping solve industry issues and prospect pain points.
Within a marketing automation system, prospects are attached to campaigns, making it easy to attribute revenue to its source and judge the ROI of your tradeshow presence. Use marketing automation to find out the metrics that your C-suite cares about and succinctly report on that data. Once you have knowledge of your tradeshow ROI, you will be able to precisely budget your time and resources for future tradeshows and events. Moreover, you will have a better understanding on what strategies are working and which ones are not, allowing you to make necessary changes for better success at the next tradeshow.
Overall, attending tradeshows is an opportunity to create personal relationships and position yourself as a leader in the complex, healthcare market. After putting time into planning your presence at the event, marketing automation can make it easier for you to track, measure and report on your event’s performance. At the next event you decide to attend, harness the power of a marketing automation tool and promote your presence before, during and after the event and gain the most value from your experience.
Dodge Communications is a proud sponsor of the Health IT Marketing and PR Conference and a leading integrated communications agency focused solely on the healthcare sector. More than 250 healthcare companies have accelerated their growth through the agency’s PR, marketing and digital services. Dodge strengthens brand awareness, enhances thought leadership and drives sales through strategic, integrated campaigns that are tied to key business objectives. For more information, visit www.dodgecommunications.com or call (770) 998-0500.