So, your trade show is over. You’ve unfolded your work table, popped all the promotional balloons, and packed away your pop-up displays.
Eighty-one percent оf trаdе ѕhоw attendees hаvе buуіng аuthоrіtу. This means they are potential customers, interested in your products and services.
Typically, these prospects make a purchase after a trade show is over — not during the main event. Post-show is the most critical part of your trade show marketing cycle — the time when you convert leads into bona fide customers and increase revenue.
Here’s how to create a trade show follow-up campaign that really works:
Show Your Gratitude
Don’t underestimate the power of gratitude when creating your trade show follow-up campaign Research shows that thanking customers can provide you with a massive return on your investment.
This is because receiving “thanks” feels good, and trade show visitors are more likely to engage with your company because of this emotional response.
Giving thanks to visitors might seem unnecessary — your product should sell itself, right? — but it could prevent them from visiting your rivals. In fact, 68 percent of companies have lost customers because they were indifferent toward them.
“That’s not because of price or dissatisfaction with the product or service,” says Inkpact. “Its because they simply don’t think that your business cares about them. Here, the ROI of thank you notes is a matter of customer churn or retention.
Soon after your trade show comes to a close, send a quick thank-you message to all the names you collected on your mailing list. Thank visitors for coming to your trade show booth. Or for showing interest in your product. It’s as simple as that. Email marketing programs will automate this entire process, so you don’t have to do much at all.
You could even include a special offer in your thank-you message to entice prospects to stay in touch. A coupon code, for example, will boost engagement and brand loyalty and move leads through your sales funnel.
Use the latest digital marketing software to track your email campaigns. This way, you can discover which visitors open your messages and which emails end up in the Trash folder. You can also check out click-through and conversion ratios.
Sort Out Your Leads
Not all trade show visitors are the same. Each of these customers will approach your product or service from a completely different headspace. Some will have more money to spend than others; some will be further down the marketing funnel.
After collecting leads at trade shows, it’s time to nurture them. Use software to sort out visitors based on demographic information, such as age and location. This will make it easier to personalize your campaigns. Then, study each lead and customize marketing based on their individual needs. A ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to trade show sales won’t work here.
The days and weeks after your trade show are the most important. During this time, all those leads you collected are still “warm.” Trade show visitors will fondly remember your product and service. At this point, many of them will need little convincing to make a purchase.
The longer you leave lead nurturing, however, the harder it will be to close deals. This is why you should organize your leads straight after your trade show. If you’re tired — trade shows can take weeks, sometimes months, to prepare — you still need to act quickly. Otherwise, you could jeopardize potential sales.
If you have a small team of staff (or you just prospect sales on your own), you should prioritize the leads that will provide you with the biggest return. These are your “high value” prospects — the ones who are the most likely to make a purchase. Work on these leads first before moving on to the rest. As mentioned before, it might take several touch points to turn prospects into customers, so time is essential.
You can organize your time with the latest productivity apps. This will make it easy to manage your workflows in the weeks and months after your event.
Pick Up the Phone
Once you have sorted out your leads, you can use telephone marketing to convince trade show visitors to make a purchase or sign up to your service. You can do this alongside your email campaign and make phone calls in-between emails.
Schedule follow-up calls with prospects after a trade show. Then, send out personalized emails. This one-two punch will let you engage with customers long after your show has come to an end.
You might need to make repeat calls in order to seal the deal. Research shows that 80 percent of sales require at least five (yes, five!) follow-up phone calls. However, 44 percent of salespeople give up after just one call.
Don’t throw in the towel. You could be close to securing a lucrative deal.
“So why is it we tend to quit, especially after the third call? We don’t want to ‘bother them.’ We don’t want to be a nuisance. We get busy and forget. They must not want us. And on and on and on,” says Kathy Burrows, Chief Energy Officer at Sold Out Seating.
Be More Social
Nearly 3 billion people now use social media networks worldwide, making social media marketing essential for trade show follow-ups. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, use social media to nurture your trade show prospects and turn them into repeat customers.
At this point, it’s all about making connections. Engage with those “warm” prospects in the days after your trade show with creative, click-worthy content. Post photos of your event. Ask followers what they thought of your product or service. Address any feedback or complaints from potential customers.
In the initial days after your trade show, update your social media pages regularly. This will keep you in the mind of customers as they decide whether to make a purchase. Don’t forget to include links back to your product pages in every social post and use marketing software to track your social campaigns. The latest programs provide you with real-time insights into your follow-up marketing drives, and you can access valuable customer intelligence that will fuel future live events.
“Social media is a good no-pressure platform to slowly nurture you new connections,” says HubSpot. “If you met someone but didn’t make any real plans to follow up, this may be the best place to start.”
Aside from the conventional social platforms, you can use LinkedIn to establish relationships with your trade show visitors. This is particularly effective if you are running a B2B campaign. LinkedIn allows industry influencers and other authority figures to find out more about your company and contact you directly. You can also follow clients you networked with at your trade show.
“LinkedIn is by far most the important social network to reach out to business buyers and connect with professionals in general and thus one of the major platforms in B2B social media (and increasingly in content marketing),” says i-SCOOP.
“The network allows you to build relationships, establish thought leadership, generate leads, gain insights, conduct market research, improve reputation and build online communities.”
Trade show prospecting can take time. Remember, it’s likely that many people wouldn’t have even heard about your company before they attended your show. Although they showed interest in your product or service, they wouldn’t have been ready to make a purchase.
The days and weeks after your show will be stressful but, if you’re persistent, you can convince a lot of your trade show visitors to part with their cash.
Different customers respond to different communication methods, so use a combination of phone calls, emails, and social media. You want to reach as many of your trade show visitors as possible after the event. This is your time to put your marketing skills into action. The latest software automates many of these processes, but you will still need to manage your campaigns for explosive results.
Trade show marketing is one of the most effective ways to increase awareness about your brand, capture leads, and boost revenue. However, for many marketers, the hard work starts after the event has finished. At this point, you should use the latest technology to nurture those leads you generated at your trade show and move them through your funnels.
A proper post-trade show marketing strategy is crucial if you want to target lucrative prospects. Follow the trade show follow-up strategies above for bigger business growth.