Conference Lead Generation Best Practices

December 14, 2023
5 min

Your pallets are wrapped. Your product launch brochures are back from the printer. And your team is getting hyped for the veterinary show season! You’re gearing up for the upcoming conferences like a boss. Now, it’s time to ensure all your hard work pays off. Use these lead-generation best practices to score fresh leads this conference season.

Download our 2024 Veterinary Marketer Calendar to keep up with live events, key industry happenings, and media booking deadlines.

Tactics to Increase Booth Traffic

The best way to generate high-quality leads is to drive traffic to your booth. Many vendors are vying for attendee attention at these large conferences, so you’ll want to go beyond a beautiful booth to draw attention to your product. Use these tips to create and prepare for a high-traffic experience at your conference booth.

Give them a reason to stop by—and tell them about it.

Conferences are great for flexing your creative muscles on the ways you can keep conference-goers interested in your booth. Some ideas include running a contest or hosting a game with prizes, such as corporate swag. These work best when the giveaway is something veterinarians know and want. (If you need to explain why your item is a great giveaway, you probably won’t be generating many leads.) 

Another crowd-pleaser is inviting a special guest to appear at your booth. For example, one year, a VMX sponsor hosted a sloth at their booth, which became the selfie sensation of the conference. And no one will forget the sponsor who hosted the mechanical bull riding competition! The lucky rider who stayed on the longest could then donate their prize money to the charitable organization of their choice. The result of these extra special appearances? Long lines of excited conference attendees. 

Get the word out.

The “build it, and they will come” approach does not hold for conferences. 

You want to share what you are doing before and during the conference for these events. It’s tempting to keep your product launch, booth promotion, or special guest a secret until the show. But if you wait, you risk attendees not knowing where to find you, what you’re doing, and why they should connect with you. So, pre-promotion is essential. Use these tactics to promote your important conference announcements before the big day arrives:

  • Media Emails: Send emails through media partners a week or two before the live event to share what you’ll be doing and to give conference-goers a reason to stop by. If you want to generate leads before the event, allow veterinarians to pre-register for your promotion. The VetMedux team can help you deploy targeted pre-show communications.
  • SMS: If you have cell phone opt-ins, use SMS to communicate your show promotions a few days before the conference starts. Text messaging is also perfect for driving instant traffic on the show floor. If you don’t have SMS opt-ins, use your show promotions to collect mobile numbers and opt-ins for the next time.
  • Paid Social Media Ads: Social media is an inexpensive way to spread your conference news. Like email, social allows you to accept pre-registrations for show promotions. If you need help reaching your ideal target audience, contact the VetMedux team.

Use Education to Drive Leads

Veterinarians often attend conferences to help fulfill their annual CE hours. If you have the budget to sponsor a key opinion leader podium talk, you can use this to drive those looking for CE to your booth.

The content presented on the podium has to be non-promotional, but you can provide a value-adding piece of content such as a book, handout, or in-depth guide to encourage an in-person visit to your booth. This builds in a great way to spark conversations with veterinarians interested in your products or services.

If you try this strategy, ensure your booth is adequately staffed as soon as the session ends. Also, be mindful of exhibit hall hours and plan your session when the hall is open.

4 Pro Tips for Maximizing Lead Generation 

Now that you know how to drive traffic to the booth, wondering how to convert traffic into leads? 

We’ve got 4 big tips.

1. Pre-Show Lead Generation 

Accepting registrations for your show promotions before the show begins gives you flexibility with at-show communications. You can email (or text if you collect SMS opt-ins) veterinarians who have registered for your promotion to drive real-time action (“Visit our booth now for a flash sale!” for example) or to communicate about other show events, such as educational talks.

2. Know Before You Go 

If you plan to generate leads from sponsored educational sessions, ensure you know exactly what data you will receive about attendees. Counting on an educational session for lead generation can be disappointing when you discover that the session attendance data doesn’t include email addresses, for example. When you can’t gather the data you want from sponsored session attendee lists (like email addresses), a prompt from the key opinion leader on the podium can encourage attendees to follow up at your booth so you can capture the data you need. 

3. Lead Scanners 

Don’t skip the lead scanner if lead generation is an integral part of your show strategy. Some conferences allow you to customize the questions in the lead scanner to capture the data most important to you.

4. QR Codes 

Self-serve kiosks with QR codes have become very popular at conferences. You can also use QR codes to allow visitors to register for promotions via mobile devices to keep the booth workflow moving.

Align the Team

A pre-show meeting can help rally the team and get them all on the same page for the big event. And since the devil is in the details when it comes to successful conference lead generation, you’ll want to go over:

  • Educational Sessions: Ensure they know the session times, who is speaking, and the plan for driving attendees back to the booth. Equip your team with a flier promoting the session for distribution to interested booth visitors.
  • At-Booth Promotions: Walk through your conference promotions and how and when to use them, including lead generation promotions, closing tools, show specials, etc.
  • Set and Share Conference Goals: Share goals and monitor your progress each day to motivate the team. You can also create healthy competition by offering special incentives for top-performing reps.
  • Booth Captain: Assign a team member to be the booth captain. They’ll be responsible for keeping the booth tidy and managing staffing. Nothing is worse than having the entire conference break for lunch, and your booth left short-staffed.

Are you launching a product at the conference? Don’t skip these resources: A Step-by-Step Product Launch Checklist for B2B Veterinary Marketers and 5 Pro Tips for Product Launch Content Creation.

Poise for Post-Show Success

As with all leads, a quick follow-up is essential. After the show, add your leads to your CRM as soon as possible. Create your follow-up campaigns BEFORE the conference so you can hit send as soon as your leads are uploaded.

For leads that don’t convert quickly into sales or demos, here are 8 tips for following up and keeping those hard-earned leads in your nurturing funnel for future conversion. If you need support crafting a nurture sequence, the VetMedux team can help!

Don’t forget that your conference content usually has more life in it! Find creative ways to make the most out of your conference content after the show is over.

Are you ready to make your next conference a lead-generation success? Contact VetMedux today to craft the perfect lead-generation campaign.