Trade show cancellations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have already put a big dent in this year’s lead generation and sales for many medical device and medical software companies.
It doesn't have to be that way.
Through inbound marketing, healthcare tech companies can shift trade show marketing efforts toward another reliable, lead-generating pipeline -- one that’s not as easily impacted by world events and is always working.
The Healthcare Technology Trade Show Reimagined
With more than 13,000 held annually, trade shows are a big part of how B2B companies generate leads. They’re also big business themselves -- in 2019, trade shows were valued at $16.8 billion.
With B2B ecommerce outpacing projections for 2020, healthcare technology trade show organizers are rethinking their events. In the immediate future, trade shows are shaping up to be full-fledged digital events.
By adopting an inbound marketing strategy now, healthcare technology companies can be prepared for this shift and start engaging prospects in almost the same way as they would at a medical technology trade show.
Stepping into Inbound Marketing
Before diving head first into developing an inbound marketing strategy, pause for a moment. This isn’t something to just do on a whim quickly. It’s going to take some research and planning.
Any inbound marketing strategy worth its salt starts with a buyer persona, or your ideal prospect. Without one, you're basically flying blind.
By identifying your ideal prospect, you can create your inbound marketing strategy and cultivate content to engage the right prospects at each stage of their buyer’s journey.
Adapting Trade Show Marketing to the Digital Realm
Traditional trade show marketing elements for lead generation easily transition into the digital world with the right point of view.
Trade Show Booth = Your Website
The downside to a trade show booth is that it closes at the end of each day. What’s more, your trade show team can miss talking to viable prospects when things get busy.
Your company’s website meets both of these issues and acts as a 24/7 trade show booth. It’s always open and can host countless visitors.
Just like a good trade show booth, your website should:
- Welcome visitors and encourage them to stay a while
- Provide obvious opportunities for conversation
- Give visitors a reason to come back
Booth Visitors = Web Traffic
Healthcare technology trade shows attract plenty of attendees. The bigger ones, such as BIOMEDevice Boston, host thousands each day.
With your website acting as a virtual trade show booth, its visitors are no different than those at a trade show. Visitors look to your website as a resource just as they do with your trade show team.
Does your website encourage visitors to:
- Engage with content?
- Take something -- such as a downloadable resource -- with them?
- Start a conversation with a member of your sales team?
Trade Show Handouts = Digital Content
Trade show booths are often packed with plenty of information and resources to get attendees to stop by for a few minutes.
The same materials you’d have at your trade show booth can easily be repurposed for the digital world. They probably already exist in a digital format and can be quickly posted.
Fresh, optimized content -- such as blogs and ebooks -- draw visitors to your website as they conduct online searches looking for solutions to pain points.
Does your content:
- Answer common questions asked by trade show attendees?
- Leave the reader better educated?
- Provide ways to capture contact information -- such as providing an email address to download an ebook?
Trade Show Swag = Special Digital Offers
It’s hard to leave a trade show empty handed. Most vendors have some small tchotchke or offer they give to attendees. Your website should be no exception to giving visitors something to take with them.
Digital swag includes:
- Downloadable resources, such as an ebook or guide
- A free trial or product demo
- A free consultation or needs assessment
Face-to-Face Interactions = Personalized Videos
The hallmark of trade shows are the opportunities for 1-on-1 interactions with potential leads. With trade shows canceled or postponed, personalized videos are the next best thing for individualized prospect engagement.
Web-based technology has made creating videos remarkably easy, too -- in other words, you don’t need to be a Spielberg to start recording and editing your own videos.
- Build trust
- Encourage more interactions
- Efficiently move leads down the sale funnel
Post Trade Show Follow-ups = Automated Email Lead Nurturing
A great conversation with a promising prospect deserves a follow-up. So do prospects who engage with content on your website.
Through email automation, you can effortlessly guide a prospect to become a sales qualified lead. Once a prospect has taken a triggering action on your website, such as signing up for a newsletter or downloading a resource, a series of well-timed emails can be sent to them. Automated emails are another tool to nurture prospects into leads, providing them with additional content or opportunities to engage on a 1-on-1 level with your company.
Doubling Up on Lead Generation
Trade shows will return one day.
Until then, an inbound marketing strategy can bridge lead generation gaps created in the wake of canceled or postponed trade shows. And when trade shows start back up, there’s no reason to scuttle your inbound marketing plan -- especially if it’s paying dividends.
What’s better than having 1 marketing strategy that generates leads?
Having 2 simultaneously.
Ready to learn more about what an inbound marketing strategy can do for your healthcare technology company?
Take a deep dive into developing an inbound marketing strategy: