How Mobile Apps Directly Benefit Exhibitors at Trade Shows

June 7, 2015

Rob Cartagine

Rob Cartagine is the co-founder and lead software developer of AppBurst (]]>appburst.com]]>), a mobile application development and internet marketing company headquartered in Florida's Palm Beach County.

Trade shows are in many ways unique to other conferences and events. The goals of attendees and exhibitors alike often revolve around lead generation, research and the sale of a product and service, while industry education and other event favorites are less a priority.

Understanding the benefits of a mobile app from the unique viewpoint of a trade show helps everyone involved maximize an event’s potential.  

Lead Generation

Trade shows represent a prime resource for generating qualified leads from attendees who are willing to justify registration and travel costs for a chance to interact with exhibitors.

Yet, most attendees want to gather new information for a future decision after discussing research and notes with colleagues. Using a mobile app to effectively gather leads is therefore a must for exhibitors.

Event apps enable exhibitors and attendees to view each other’s information and send emails back and forth without leaving the mobile experience. In generating qualified leads - or other big-picture goals like brand development, researching influential attendees in advance helps target important people worth prioritizing and even contacting before the event begins.

Share product brochures with potential or existing booth visitors and bookmark their contact information in the mobile app’s attendee directory to quickly access details at a later date for follow-up inquiries via phone, email or social media.

Event apps with attendee directories not only provide contact information, but also show personal details like biographies and head-shots, as well as linking speakers to sessions to better determine who might be a perfect fit for an exhibitor’s product or service.

While bios or pictures of attendees might seem unnecessary at first glance, many people at an event are meeting for the first time and recognizing an important potential customer or client in advance is a great benefit. 

Many event apps also include interactive surveys and can be coordinated with event planners to serve as an additional source of lead generation and more advanced metrics like understanding demographics.

Marketing & Advertising

Lead generation is always easier with a coordinated marketing effort. Event planners armed with a mobile event app are able to provide interactive, targeted sponsorship features aimed at reaching more attendees than traditional print programs.

Exhibitor maps with highlighted booths and other options for increased visibility such as logos and PDF attachments showcased in individual exhibitor listings help companies stand out from the crowd. 

Many event apps also offer secondary branded splash screens as images or even a video to entice attendees as the app launches with product highlights or a call to action for visiting specific booths.

Coordinate with event planners to send timely event app push notifications and let attendees know about demonstrations, contests, or giveaways.

Utilizing Social Media

Working in tandem with lead generation and marketing efforts, social media integration in a mobile event app harnesses the power Facebook, Twitter and other powerful platforms to engage attendees and promote specific brands during the event.

Consider a trade show with a designated hashtag across all mediums and posts updated in real time across the event app. Exhibitors are able to generate witty ways to engage attendees, generate re-tweets, and draw visitors to a booth at specific times throughout the day.

A real world example is offering free snacks to people a few hours before lunch to incentivize attendees needing a mid-morning energy boost. Post a picture of the snacks with the official event hashtag and hand out surveys to gather leads or launch a demonstration as attendance numbers grow at the booth.

A mobile event app considered the go-to event resource for attendees simply carries a lot of weight for marketing or promotional efforts with social media integration in place.

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