25 Event Lead Capture Ideas for You to Experiment With

Event marketing can seem like an arms race between who has the craziest booth, the most colorful digital signage, or the biggest bowl of candy. The truth is that none of these attributes matters if you aren’t able to capture leads at events. With attention spans getting shorter and the number of exhibiting companies rivalling the number of attendees themselves, successful event lead capture can seem like a monumental task. Fortunately, with the right strategy, and the right event lead capture tools, successfully capturing leads at events isn’t so scary. In this article, we will review 25 creative event lead capture ideas to help you cut through the noise and make your next event, your best event.

At your next conference, trade show, or industry event, give one of these event lead capture ideas a try:

Before you begin…

1. OnSpot Social

To start, you will need an event lead capture platform you can trust. Choose a user-friendly app like OnSpot Social. Set up an iPad at your conference booth, download the app, and empower customers to express their interest in your company with a few clicks of a button. After the event, you can export all of your captured leads to Microsoft Excel or transfer your leads to your CRM in order to instantly add to your marketing automation funnel. The best part is that OnSpot Social can be used on its own or in conjunction with any of the other lead capture ideas on this list.



2. Lottery Giveaway

Who doesn’t love getting something for free? Ask event attendees to drop off a business card or submit their contact information through OnSpot Social for a chance to win a prize from your company. If you do use OnSpot Social, one nice feature is the ‘Random Winner Picker’. With the click of a button, the app will go through all of the leads captured at the event and randomly select a winner for you. Using giveaways works particularly well with retailers who sell physical items. Put the prize prominently on display to better capture leads at events.

3. Swag

Some conferences put together “swag bags” in exchange for attendees opting in to receive emails from event sponsors. If your budget allows, bring company swag for inclusion in the conference bag and provide the swag bag to all attendees who sign up.

4. Offer a free trial or discount

Appeal to the power of the purse by offering free trials and steep discounts for your products or services during the event. The catch? Attendees need to provide you with their name and email address in order to receive an online code. When using OnSpot Social for event lead capture you can leverage the auto-responder feature which allows you to send a text message with the coupon code directly to your leads mobile phone in the moment. This means they’ll have the code before they even leave your booth.


5. Digital Games

Set up an iPad at your booth and open it to a game related to your product. Maybe it’s Hangman or riddles, or a scratch-and-win game. Winners receive a prize (after they enter their name and email address).

lead capture banner blog post


6. Trivia

Use a tablet or a whiteboard to share trivia related to your product or industry. The trick is to find questions that aren’t easily searchable on a smartphone or to find questions that have a tricky answer. This will increase the amount of time a visitor spends at your booth as they try to figure it out. Winners can redeem a prize after (you guessed it) filling out the event lead capture form.

7. Quizzes

Personality quizzes are a fun way to engage an audience, and questions can be subtly directed toward learning more about your target personas. For example, even a Buzzfeed-style “Which Disney Princess Are You?” quiz can point to certain characteristics based on the questions that are asked (e.g., “Would you prefer to spend a Saturday afternoon inside or outdoors?”, “Which of these adjectives best describe you?”). The final screen should include an event lead capture form to convert players into leads for your business.

8. Spin the Wheel

Play Pat Sajak and bring a prize wheel to your event booth. Give attendees the opportunity to spin the wheel and get a prize, such as a small giveaway (a small sample of your product, a branded notebook, etc.) or a coupon for your store.

9. Branded Photo Booth

If you have the real estate, consider a branded photo booth with fun props and a background related to your product. Ask visitors to fill out the event lead capture form before or after using the photo booth. You should also encourage visitors to share their photos on social media using the conference hashtag and tagging your company.

Product Testing

10. Product test drive

Give potential buyers the opportunity to try your product before purchasing it for themselves. Ask them to sign up to learn more if they enjoyed their “test drive.” This event lead capture option works best for smaller items (free samples of food, small accessories, etc.).

11. Virtual Reality

Sometimes it’s impossible to bring in your product due to its size. In those instances, virtual reality can be your best friend. VR provides another opportunity to “test drive” products, such as driving a car or trying on a new outfit. You can also use VR to introduce consumers to a location outside of the venue (a restaurant, a hotel, a school, etc.). You can either invest in a headset or create an experience that can take place on a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet, such as a product demo.

Value-Added Content

12. Whitepapers

Maybe your product isn’t tangible, or you offer a service like consulting or education. In these instances, offer content related to your service or industry. Reports and whitepapers are an excellent incentive for event attendees to submit their contact information.

13. Case studies or infographics based on a study

If your company recently conducted a survey or compiled industry research, create a downloadable piece of digital content such as an infographic or case study for distribution to event attendees who opt-in to receive your emails.

14. Webinars or podcasts

Continuing with the trend of providing value-added content, capture leads at events using other popular forms of media that show off your company’s industry knowledge. If you are a marketing agency, conduct a webinar about new industry trends. Or host a visionary in your field for an interview on a podcast. This also keeps the conversation going after the event and stays in the potential customer’s mind.

15. Email courses

Websites like Teachable, Udemy, and Highbrow thrive on the short email course model. Topics for these sites can range from negotiation skills to productivity, to health & wellness. Find a topic that fits well with your company’s product or service, and with your target audience’s interest, and offer a free email course for those who sign up after the conference. Email courses are usually a series of three to five emails sent out one day after the next. When the series is complete, you can funnel those leads into your overall email pool and CRM.

Exclusive benefits for conference attendees

16. Previews of a new product or service

Have a new product launching? Make event attendees feel special and offer a free first look if they sign up for your email list on the spot. To be timely, you will need to make sure your product launch is set for shortly after the conference.

17. Early-bird registration or access

If your company offers a time-sensitive service, such as leadership courses with a registration deadline, offer event attendees an early access code when they fill out your event lead capture form.

Digital Channels

18. QR codes

If you thought QR codes were dead in the US, think again. Recently both Apple and Google built QR Code Scanners into their camera app. Now anyone with a new model android device or iPhone can simply open their camera app, point it at the QR code and the phone will scan the code, unlocking your digital content instantly. Drive event attendees directly to your website with a QR code connected to a UTM link. The best part is that QR codes will drive consumers to your website on their mobile phones.

19. Website links

In addition to using a QR code, you can create a specific landing page with a vanity URL, such as abccompany.com/startup-conference, to track web traffic directly from the event. The landing page might include a place to sign up for your organization’s e-newsletter or to receive promotional offers.

20. Social media hashtags

Ask your staff and other attendees to use a social media hashtag at the event. Most conferences will have one that they will share at the beginning of the event. Have a few of your staff members post pictures from the event on your social channels like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, and ask anyone who visits your booth to use a hashtag and tag your company.

21. Social media lead ads

Not all event lead capture has to be done on-site. Leverage social media advertising and the spirit of the event to expand your reach even further. For professional conferences, use LinkedIn lead ads (and if relevant, Facebook and Instagram) for a multichannel approach. Use targeting capabilities to increase the likelihood of event attendees seeing your lead ad, as well as, capturing audience segments that would have been interested in the conference but could not go.

22. Banner Ads

Before attending the conference, see what digital advertising options are available. You might be able to run a banner ad on the show’s website driving to your UTM link or vanity URL. This will reach not only event attendees looking at the event website but also professionals who researched the event but were unable to attend.

Other Event Lead Capture Opportunities

23. Event promotion through event sponsorship

Many conferences offer different “sponsorship” levels, such as silver, gold, and platinum. See what your company budget allows, and where possible, find an additional promotional opportunity. You might choose to sponsor a happy hour or a meal at a higher sponsorship level or provide enough monetary support that your company name and logo appear on the show program and website. In recent years, it has also been popular to sponsor the wifi, and you can sometimes make the wifi password your company name. Sponsoring an activity at an event is a great event lead capture opportunity for your business.

24. Event workshops

Even more engaging than a company booth on the expo floor, hosting a valuable workshop on a topic related to the conference and your company provides a great opportunity to capture leads at events. Have attendees sign up in advance for the workshop and opt-in to receive additional information from your organization.

25. Free consultations

If your product works best with a demonstration or a one-on-one consultation, offer appointments on the spot or shortly after the event for attendees who put their name on a request list.

With any of these ideas, once you have captured leads at the event simply upload the leads you’ve captured into your email funnel through your CRM after the event, tagged with information about the conference or show. Of course, once you have your leads, carry on the excitement from the event and follow up! Which of these event lead capture ideas has worked for you?

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