Attending events and trade shows presents an excellent opportunity to connect with your target audience and cultivate new business leads. However, the manual process, especially when resources are limited, can be daunting. That’s where a robust marketing technology (MarTech) stack can help – it can automate and streamline many lead-capture processes that would otherwise require a lot of time and manpower.  

Events and tradeshows provide great opportunities for lead generation, but capturing and following up on those leads after the event is crucial. Using MarTech, companies can implement effective strategies to optimize their post-event lead-capturing process. Don’t worry, we have a recipe for successful event marketing: 

  1. Convey your brand's value propositions - When preparing for events, understand your audience first to effectively communicate your business's unique value across branded physical and digital assets that drive traffic to your website and convert leads.
  2. UTM usage with a CRM - A CRM system with the ability to create Urchin Tracking Modules (UTMs) provides the crucial foundation to optimize events by tracking every touchpoint from initial outreach through post-event analysis.
  3. QR codes on physical assets - Incorporating QR codes on event materials bridges offline and online interactions by leading attendees to customized landing pages, enabling tracking through UTM parameters to optimize future events.
  4. Connect in-person interactions to digital interactions - Bridging in-person interactions at events to your digital channels through follow-ups enables crucial tracking to optimize future lead conversion.
  5. Event analytics - Utilizing UTMs to track event assets and channels simplifies generating performance reports to gain insights on what is working in order to optimize future efforts and improve overall marketing results. 

Conveying Your Brand Value Propositions

When preparing for an event/tradeshow, the first step is making sure you understand your audience. This will allow you to be able to communicate your business's unique selling points (USPs) to engage event/tradeshow attendees. From there, creating assets curated to your target audience is a great way to start engagement. This includes banners, flyers, business cards, and swag, amongst other physical touchpoints. It is important to use the same messaging and branding across all touchpoints. This creates a clear message to visitors about your brand. The use of consistent branding and messaging across these physical assets directs traffic to your digital channels and assets before, during, and after the event. For example, a banner stand with an attached URL can drive traffic to your website. This allows a reusable banner that can be repurposed, all while continuously directing visitors from various events to your website. Another great practice is a tabletop flyer with a QR code that drives people to customized landing pages to download assets, sign up for newsletters, or even request demos. Other things like business cards, digital business cards, and swag can also include CTAs to drive digital conversions. Having clearly branded assets both on-site and online creates a cohesive experience and more opportunities to capture leads.  

Utilizing UTMs Through Your CRM 

A customer relationship management (CRM) system is the core piece of any MarTech stack and provides a way to track and optimize your events and tradeshows. Within certain CRMs, like HubSpot or GA4, you can configure and utilize Urchin Tracking Modules (UTMs) - which are unique text parameters added to URLs - to gain valuable insights. UTMs enable deeper tracking of visitor behavior during the event itself. By adding UTM codes to links on event signage, banners, flyers, and business cards, you can better trace engagement and clicks. UTMs or Urchin Tracking Modules allow you to tag links so each click can be tracked back to the specific marketing source. For example, if a visitor scans a QR code on a booth banner and lands on a product page, that activity is tracked thanks to the embedded UTM parameters in the QR code link. The link might contain UTMs like: 

  • utm_source=eventbooth  
  • utm_medium=qrcode  
  • utm_campaign=growlconnex2023 

Having event-specific UTMs for all materials allows you to identify and analyze the highest-performing promotional items, offers, and call-to-actions for generating booth traffic and leads. Leveraging UTMs also provides useful insight into lead source details that help with attribution reporting. The UTMs provide the crucial analytics to optimize your initiatives for future events. Just remember to structure UTMs consistently and appropriately tag each piece of marketing material so the data is accurate when assessing performance post-event. 

Post-event, the UTMs continue providing transparency in your event-oriented assets. You can see which specific events led to demo requests, purchases, or other conversions. Analyzing this UTM data gives you clear insights into your best-performing channels and assets. Configuring UTMs in your CRM provides the foundation to track event performance from initial outreach through post-event follow-up. The visibility UTMs enable is hugely impactful for continually optimizing your events and tradeshow strategy.  

Using QR Codes on Swag

Much like the use of UTMs, QR codes on event/tradeshow materials simplify the process of reinforcing your call to action and connecting with customers. Even utilizing promotional items like pens, magnets, or custom stickers from Sticker Mule with a QR code on them is beneficial. When attendees scan the code, they’re sent to your landing page immediately.   

Incorporating QR codes on physical materials serves as a bridge between offline and online interactions. When attendees scan the QR codes on items, it leads attendees to customized landing pages with relevant offers, downloads, or signup forms. This approach provides a seamless experience between physical and digital touchpoints, which can be monitored with ease within your CRM. The key is to ensure the QR codes are linked to the right UTM parameters so each scan can be traced. This level of tracking provides valuable data on engagement and conversions, enabling you to identify which materials and calls to action resonated most with your target audience. These insights are invaluable for optimizing future events and guiding follow-up leads captured on-site. With strategic omnichannel implementation, QR codes facilitate post-interaction engagement for visitors.   

Connect In-Person Interactions with Digital

Linking your in-person interactions at events to your digital channels is the most important. This is where all the marketing analytic magic happens. For instance, when collecting business cards, take note of the specific asset the person engaged with. You also can have your sales team include the UTMs in their follow-up, enabling you to track conversions post-event. Implementing personalized follow-ups and relating them back to previous interactions can increase the chances of converting leads.   

Here are several strategies to seamlessly connect in-person event interactions with your digital efforts:  

  • Capture attendee info like emails or business cards, noting which specific assets or touchpoints they engaged with (banners, demos, etc.) 
  • Include UTM parameters or QR code info in follow-up emails to track clicks and conversions.   
  • Create customized landing pages for each event, accessible through QR codes or short URLs.Send a customized email recap of the event, including links to gated content, promos, or info on your product/services. 
  • Offer exclusive post-event discounts or trials to incentivize conversions after the initial interactions.   

Following up with relevant, personalized content and offers is key to converting leads generated from live events. Including digital tracking allows you to optimize these efforts over time.   

Analyze Your Event Analytics

Lastly, utilizing UTMs simplifies the process of generating reports to assess the performance of event assets and channels. This insight allows you to see exactly what’s working and optimize it for future events. Looking at the key metrics like cost per lead, ROI, total conversions, and conversion rate is important for analyzing your lead generation. The ability to track UTM and QR codes from physical assets at events back to digital channels is crucial. When you have tangible items directing people to visit specific landing pages and URLs, you can attribute those digital interactions back to those specific assets. This level of tracking yields data on which physical touchpoints are driving the most online traffic, engagement, and conversions. These insights empower you to fine-tune the utilization of physical and digital assets in future marketing efforts, leading to improved results.    

Attending events and trade shows can be a game-changer for your business, offering a unique opportunity to connect with your target audience and generate valuable leads. However, the manual lead-capture process can be overwhelming, especially when resources are limited. Fortunately, leveraging your MarTech stack can simplify and enhance this process. By utilizing Urchin Tracking Modules (UTMs) and incorporating QR codes on physical materials, you create a seamless bridge between offline and online interactions. Then, analyze the collected data on engagement and conversions and continually optimize your events and trade show strategy for future success. In the world of marketing, where data and efficiency are key, MarTech empowers you to make the most of your in-person interactions and transform them into digital success stories. So, when preparing for your next event, remember the power of technology in turning attendees into leads and leads into loyal customers.  

Want to learn more about how to improve your marketing? Download our MarTech Stack Analysis Guide! 

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