We’re back again with the next edition of our trade show blog series, so you can make the most of your experience at the upcoming IMEX America trade show for the incentive travel, meetings and events industry (we’ll be there too!), or anywhere else you’re exhibiting.
If you haven’t already, check out our über-useful blogs, Exploring the Ultimate Trade Show Engagement at IMEX in Frankfurt and Good Boothmanship: Trade Show Etiquette Rules.
Now, let’s tackle trade show follow-up strategies.
You’ve already put in lots of hours and effort and a chunk of your budget. You’re tired, losing your voice. And boy, are your feet sore. But post-show is not the moment to pull back on your trade show marketing, get lost in the shuffle and end up forgotten.
For the most ROI, follow up soon after the trade show closes. After all, what good is generating business leads, communing with colleagues or forging friendships if you don’t capitalize on those connections?
Keep the momentum going, long after the last booth clears.
Here are some of the top trade show follow-up best practices we recommend following:
- Before you go, have your trade show follow-up plan in place. Prepare as many of your materials as you can in advance—branded emails, messages, posts, articles, etc.—so you’re ready to rock and mine those new and revitalized contacts as soon as you return.
- Once back in the office, organize your leads and notes ASAP. Deal with those business cards and that contact info you’ve collected. Add the details to your database, including the trade show where you met each prospect and any distinctive details about him/her and your conversation that can help you reconnect later, in a personalized manner.
- Email all leads quickly after the trade show. We say within a week is fine, but later than that and you risk losing steam, their attention…and business. A branded, customized email with a friendly reminder about who you are and a strong call to action will entice them to remain engaged. Great offers and free downloads and demos can spice it up.
- Go ahead and give your best leads a buzz. Build on your most promising relationships—and your biggest opportunities—by making an honest-to-goodness phone call to the cream of the crop. Make plans to stay in touch and, when possible, see each other in person again.
- Integrate trade show social media marketing. Reach out on LinkedIn and other social media networks. Correspond regularly with contacts and their organizations. Be visible by commenting on and liking their posts.
Flip side? Toot your own horn too. On your own channels, post or send out any meaningful content or videos handed out or created during the show. Recap your experience in a blog post. Likewise, consider further topics surrounding things you learned, session themes, fun anecdotes and common or thought-provoking questions you fielded.
Remind your contacts (politely) to follow you back. That way, they can continue to be apprised of your organization’s latest news and insights.
- Evaluate for your next trade show. Take note of what worked and what didn’t. Recalibrate to improve and refine your trade show marketing for subsequent events.
Tying up loose ends on your trade show follow-up campaign?
We can help. Email Lynn Kaniper at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 609.466.9187 ext. 117 for details.
And remember to find our team in Las Vegas, working away for our client, IMEX America. We’ll be there on September 9 for Smart Monday, a full day of free education and networking, and staying through the trade show, September 10-12. Hope to see you there!