CES, Photonics West, and other industry trade shows are just around the corner. Deciding how you will collect and manage leads is an important part of trade show planning, but the methods of lead capture vary. The most foolproof method of lead collection is using the official scanner provided at the event; however, due to the cost, many professionals are now relying on their phones to collect leads. Just be sure to test out any app you plan on using to work out any technical issues and make sure it will serve your needs.
Here are five smartphone apps to try at your next trade show:
iCapture works offline and can be used to scan information from a trade show badge or business card. Rather than relying on optical character recognition (OCR) to pull text from business cards, the app sends the business card image to a real person that transcribes and verifies the data. iCapture organizes all lead data into a spreadsheet that you can access on their website, and it can automatically sync data with your CRM or marketing automation software such as Salesforce, Pardot, HubSpot, etc.
XPress Connect from Convention Data Services allows you to capture leads by scanning the barcode or QR code on an attendee's badge with your phone camera. If you don't want to use your own phone, you can rent one of CDS's Android phones or upgrade to the desktop version. After collecting the data, you can add notes, answer qualifying questions, conduct surveys, rate leads, or schedule follow-up appointments through the app. XPress Connect also works offline.
The LeadPod app from Expo Mobile is a spin-off of their original hand-held barcode scanner, LeadKey. The app captures lead information in real-time, showing it immediately on your device as well as storing it in a password-protected portal where you can download it after the show. You can also add notes and actions to the contact record through the app.
Preparing for your next conference? Download our Trade Show Planner.
Keep Track of Collateral
While not specifically designed for lead capture, the next two apps can also help you keep track of your trade show connections and collateral. We suggest using an app like these to scan brochures or other print materials you receive that might get thrown away later.
4. Genius Scan
Genius Scan by The Grizzly Labs is one of our favorites. The free app lets you scan just about any document from your phone or tablet, save it as a PDF or JPG, then send it in an email. It has a host of image-enhancing features such as automatic perspective correction and color detection. For $7.99, the Genius Scan+ version lets you export to cloud services such as Google Drive and Dropbox, among other features.
Like Genius Scan, this app lets you scan a business card, brochure, or other document and convert it to a PDF. If the lighting in the conference center or your hotel room fails you, you can adjust the color and contrast on your scanned images. Additionally, you can organize and label the documents in the app and then share them with your colleagues via email or the cloud.
Bonus: You might be surprised to learn that the tools you already use have document capture features or compatible apps. For example:
- Google Drive (technically Android-only, but you can take photos via Drive on iPhones)
- Evernote Scannable (Apple devices)
- Microsoft Office Lens (uses OCR to create editable Word docs)
- Adobe Scan (uses OCR to create searchable PDFs)
Want to discuss your trade show lead generation or lead follow-up tactics? Give us a call.
Editor's Note: This article post was originally published in February 2016 and has been updated for freshness.