The months of planning for your biggest trade show of the year are behind you. You have nursed your sore feet and turned in your expenses from the big show. Now comes the real work of closing business, nurturing leads and following up with those leads.
Having a key post show plan is as important as getting ready to go to the show. I have seen client’s exhibit and materials return only to find the fish bowl full of business cards or the lead machine printouts. You might not know who your team was talking to when they visited your exhibit. Luckily, most lead machines are now sending these leads to the cloud for you to pull down later.
Consider this: 46% of tradeshow attendees are in executive or upper management positions (1). And 49% of trade show visitors plan to buy exhibited products or services within 12 months (2). Will this be your product or your competitor’s products?
Post show planning comes into play 6 – 10 months prior to exhibiting at your event. This typically includes review of goals for pre show, at show and post show.
Here is a checklist to consider when developing your post show strategy:
- Follow up with a thank you email: Make this personalized to each contact. Send them to a specific landing page with pictures from show, product, and social media connections. Have an email ready to go out thanking people for visiting your booth. This should be written, designed and ready to go once you upload your show list. This simple step can convince a prospect to call you. Make sure the information is relevant and helpful.
- Content Experts: Develop content in conjunction with your trade show efforts. This will help with other marketing campaigns, build thought leadership, and create leads that are further along the sales funnel. Along with building credibility, quality content also improves search engine optimization. This content should be developed well before you attend the trade show.
- Segment your leads and have a key plan for these contacts: Make sure contacts get the information they requested. Remember, your competition is also sending them information. Segments can include: hot leads, normal leads, information follow up, or disqualified.
- Continue with social media: At a minimum, industry news media is following you, so keep social media posting active and develop stories through each of your channels that include images, video and written content. Not only do your followers appreciate this, your sales team can utilize the constant stream of content.
- Post show team survey: Send out a survey to your team to determine what went well, what was missing, and what should be done next year. Do this early while it is still fresh. If you work with an agency or exhibit house, include them in this survey. The survey can include questions like:
- What “crisis” items did we experience?
- Can they be avoided?
- Did we meet the right people?
- Could we have met more of the right people?
- Where did the right people go in the exhibit?
- What did we learn about our competitors?
- What were the top three benefits of the trade show?
- What were the disadvantages?
Don’t be the company that gets back from a week in Las Vegas and suddenly becomes too busy to follow up with leads or do a post show review. These tips will help your trade show and event efforts be more successful.
(1) CEIR: The Role and Value of Face to Face
(2) Exhibitor Magazine