Maximize Trade Show Sales Leads With E-Mail

So your tradeshow booth isn’t a monster destination that dominates your industry’s events? Don’t despair. When it comes to sales, it’s not about how much traffic you get, rather how many qualified leads you net.

The Broadmoor Hotel, a five-star resort in Colorado Springs, CO, used online capture and email communications to leverage a modest booth at the Meeting Planners International (MPI) show into sales and leads that far exceeded its objectives. The case study is excerpted with permission from Trade Show and Exhibit Marketing by Ruth Stevens, which I reviewed in a previous column.

Broadmoor’s marketing department set a clear objective: 25 qualified leads, resulting in five sales calls after the tradeshow. To capture leads, it used a proprietary online technology, Get Feedback, which also conducted follow-up communications and tracked sales results.

Two laptops with the Get Feedback software installed were stationed in the 10 ft. x 10 ft. booth. Visitors’ badges were swiped, populating a profile page on the laptop with the visitor’s name, company, and contact information. Visitors were asked to edit the information and add their email addresses, if missing. The profile also pulled up a customized set of seven survey questions for prospects. After they answered, the booth staff could make additional notes on the system.

The marketing department used the collected information to later send three email messages.

E-Mail 1: Instant Follow Up With a Unique Incentive

The system generated an instant follow-up HTML message thanking the visitor for stopping by the booth. It also resold the Broadmoor’s benefits to meeting planners and reminded the prospect of an upcoming drawing for a digital camera. Laurie Meacham, Broadmoor’s director of national sales, noted the decision to give away a digital camera proved a powerful incentive. “In the meeting industry, everyone gives away hotel rooms. Our offer was unique to that show.”

The email featured a photo of the Broadmoor’s splendid façade, considered one of the more dramatic hotel images in the business. It also invited recipients to take a streaming-video tour of the hotel’s spa, meeting rooms, and golf courses. This option later proved valuable to the sales force, who tailored follow-up contact by referring to the facility area the prospect had visited.

E-Mail 2: Are You a Winner?

A week later, a second email was generated. This one was signed by the sales rep assigned to the account. It invited the prospect to click through to see who won the digital camera. For prospects who didn’t win, the landing page contained a pre-populated contact form, with a submit button.

E-Mail 3: Drawing for a Dream Vacation

Three weeks after the show, a third email was sent to trade show contacts as well as the larger prospect database. It offered a drawing for a four-day “dream vacation” at the Broadmoor. Recipients entering the drawing clicked through to a registration form and a contact form.

Of the 3,100 email messages sent in the third round, Meacham received 350 contact requests. “We sort of overwhelmed the sales force,” she noted ruefully. “This campaign educated us at the Broadmoor to the value of email marketing. We now do everything we can to capture email addresses from customers and prospects.”


Three months after the trade show, the campaign generated 58 new leads and five closed sales. The campaign cost $15,000 and generated $245,000 in revenue. Cost per lead was $259; and cost per sale $3,000. The return on investment (ROI) was $30 for each dollar spent.

Not bad, especially considering the original objective was 25 leads and five sales calls. Plus, Meacham’s detailed reporting served as justification for additional funding from senior management for business event investments.

Want better leads? Forget the bigger booth. Instead, invest in a better lead capture and email program.

Want more email marketing information? ClickZ E-Mail Reference is an archive of all our email columns, organized by topic.

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