How Chatbots Can Help Qualify and Nurture Leads at Your Next Event or Trade Show

May 31, 2023

Kelsey Raymond

Kelsey Raymond is the co-founder and CEO of Influence & Co., a content marketing agency that offers comprehensive services in strategizing, creating, publishing and distributing goal-oriented content for diverse clients, including venture-backed startups and Fortune 500 brands. 

Advances in natural language understanding (NLU) have made chatbots more than a stopgap for customer service alone. The increased flexibility in their application has allowed organizations to implement AI-powered technology by channel and by purpose to provide intelligent guidance and contextual support for a myriad of business processes and workflows. In the event marketing space, chatbots have now become essential for promoting and even assisting in the management of an event. However, these “virtual agents” offer many advantages beyond a few basic touch points within the customer journey. 

Lead generation, in particular, can benefit from the technology, improving response time and filtering out individuals who don’t match your ideal customer profile. It’s all about leveraging the technology based on the rules you define. If, for example, you want to engage visitors who’ve been on the event page for more than 30 seconds, you can deploy bots to offer prompts like “let us know if you have any questions.” Should the visitor respond, bots can provide answers and ask further questions to collect qualification details. When the information is applied to data enrichment tools, you can segment prospects, if not instantly qualify leads, who could be sent directly to sales.  

Using Chatbots on the Trade Show Floor

As the use of chatbots becomes more popular in the trade show industry, companies can consider partnering with a content marketing agency to ensure their bot is equipped with valuable information and engaging conversation to provide attendees with a memorable experience.

Let’s take chatbots to the event site. At a trade show, bots can be built right into the event app. The technology can be a great way to provide additional customer service during the show, providing attendees with maps, timetables, alerts and directions to must-see booths. But you can also integrate the technology with QR codes positioned strategically around the floor. If someone were to scan a code, bots could deliver content marketing with additional context-sensitive details or offer up the opportunity for a free demo.  

The bot could go so far as to identify those most in need of human interaction and then either connect them with a sales representative or allow people to schedule an appointment. It’s just a matter of deciding when and where bots should appear before the event, during the event and after the event is done. Start by answering a few simple questions:  

1.     What kind of leads do you want to reach?

You probably don’t want to message everyone at the event. So, will you target a certain segment of attendees based on qualification details captured before the event? Or will you use a QR code or a request for certain information to qualify and nurture leads? 

2.     When will the lead most likely be receptive to messaging

If it’s your first event, you can’t use past events to inform this decision, though that information is helpful. Consider how people have interacted with past content on your website, social media, paid ads, etc. This can give you some idea of the timing. 

3.     Which activities at the event will signal interest

Naturally, scanning a QR code would be a sign of interest, but what other activities before, during or after the event would be good indicators? Signing up for a specific event at the show? More than one activation at a booth? Signing up for a free trial? A request for additional information? Determine what activities indicate where prospects might be within the sales funnel. 

4.     How will you handle post-event marketing?

Though this goes without saying, the event doesn’t end at the end of the event. What are your plans to continue nurturing leads? Perhaps a post-event survey is to capture qualification details. Maybe an analysis of the most requested information or guided pathways can give you a better idea of the individuals most likely to convert, thereby requiring a follow-up from either a chatbot or human support.

Then, it all comes down to creating the necessary bots and crafting the precise messaging and prompts that will allow you to capture attendee details and qualify leads before routing those most likely to convert to the next step in the sales process. Start by answering those questions to provide direction on leveraging chatbots to qualify the lead.

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Partner Voices
Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact