Fewer than 70 percent of exhibitors have any formalized plan or process in place for how leads are followed up after the show.
Not following up after a trade show could be the worst mistake to make during this whole three part process!
If you are just now catching up, this is the final part of the three part series regarding how to supercharge your trade show marketing tactics.
Here are the 5 vital steps for your trade show marketing plan:
- Choose your trade shows for the year
- Put together your pre-trade show marketing plan
- Design your in-event marketing plan
- Create your post-trade show marketing plan
- Repeat steps 2-4 for all planned trade shows
Part 1 we covered the first and seconds steps of trade show marketing: 1. How to choose your trade show and 2. How to market your company pre-trade show.
In Part 2, we covered step 3: The in-event marketing plan!
At this point, you have already completed months and months of marketing schedules, promotions, and executions. It’s time to complete the process and get ready for the next event!
So, grab another cup of coffee, put your feet back in that warm bubbly foot bath, and let’s get started on your post-trade show marketing plan!
Step 4: Post-trade Show Marketing Plan
Collect Your Leads
“Generating trade show leads is hard work. If you don’t follow up, you fail.”
If not following up doesn’t hurt your company enough, what about what others think?
214 out of 337 respondents from a trade show said that they had a negative reaction or a very negative reaction to an exhibitor if they failed to follow up.
Don’t go through all the hard work of exhibiting just to let your leads fade off into the wind!
Create an Excel and list your leads there. Name, email, and phone number are suggested, but if possible add more information like the company, job title, address, and website.
Don’t let the input of information get in the way of your follow up calls. If you have a stack of business cards, input the minimum information first and add more information when you can.
Organise your leads into three categories: cold, warm, and hot, based on the likelihood that they will buy from you.
Contact your leads
This should be done within 1-2 weeks after the show.
Since 59% of all the attendees buy goods after the show is over, contact your “hot leads” first!
The sooner you contact them the better, but remember that they are also following up after the show. Don’t contact them so soon that your email will become tagged to follow up later.
The top two ways of contacting follow-ups are through personal email and phone call, with automated email and post-show mailer methods trailing behind.
Take the time to personally reach out to your leads! It will make the difference of whether they buy from you or not.
Here is a good example of a personal email by Velocify:
Also, think of ways to stand out!
How many emails are you receiving post-trade show? Remember that your leads are experiencing the same.
Include a link to the photo album from the event, a video, or a relevant blog post.
This will separate you from other emails.
Plus, your lead will appreciate you giving them alternative content, so they don’t have to read email after email.
Blog about your trade show experience
What better way to sum up an event than with a blog?
Whenever a blog opportunity arises, take advantage of it! Blogs are a great way to share your experiences and knowledge and it’s great content for your marketing channels.
Here are some ideas to include in your blog:
- What the company goal was and how your company contributed to the event
- Which industry professionals were there (don’t forget to link to them!)
- What networking events occurred and conference topics that were discussed
On top of that you can also include:
- Interviews and videos
- Other relevant articles, white papers, and blogs
Thank everyone who had contributed and attended the event! This message is always appreciated.
Don’t forget to share your blog through all possible media channels!
Share your photos and messages on social media
As we discussed in Part 2 of this series, photo albums on social media are key to trade show marketing!
Since you already started the photo album during your in-event marketing, you should only be adding extra photos that you haven’t had a chance to upload yet.
Was there a special dinner held on the last evening of the event? Or a last evening mixer?
Make sure you include those pictures!
Don’t forget to tag companies, use the event hashtag, and add your company logo to the photos.
Feel free to also contact companies and people that are in your photos. Let them know that you have pictures of them on social media that they can like and share.
And most importantly, if you haven’t done it already in Part 2 of this series, thank everyone for contributing to the event!
Like Greater Public did here, they posted a great visual, used the event hashtag, and included two very important messages.
One, thank you for attending the event and two, that they will be at the next one!
Post this via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and all other relevant social platforms.
This is a great way to show appreciation and to keep the excitement of the trade show flowing.
Send out your final promotional products
Let’s hope that you didn’t run out of promotional products when you were at the event, but just in case you did, let’s run by the options of making up for it.
It’s never too late to send someone a promotional product, although it is much more expensive to do this after the event then during.
If you had a really hot promotional item that was gone too quick, with AnyPromo.com you have the option of re-ordering the exact same order.
Send out your re-ordered promotional products to your hot and warm leads that didn’t have a chance to grab one at the event before they were gone.
This will be an easy task of racking up high shipping costs, but is also a great way to grab your lead’s attention again.
You can also order personalized stationery to send out “Thank you” notes.
Promotional envelopes start at only $0.60 per piece and adds a personal message if you are looking to send your leads notes via post.
Some envelopes are large enough to hold promotional products inside!
Here are some ideas for envelope stuffers:
- Packs of instant coffee
- Tea bags in sleeve
- Jelly Bellies in sleeve
- Pistachios in sleeve
- Chocolate bar in sleeve (with “Thank You” imprinted on the chocolate bar!)
Sending these thank you cards and gifts via post is an effective way of getting your lead’s attention.
Plus, they will surely know who you are as they will recognize your logo on the gifts!
Analyze your goals and ROI
In Part 1, we discussed how to make sure your team is prepared and aware of the company goals.
Some trade show goals could be:
- Establishing company awareness and credentials
- Promote a specific message
- Introduce a new product
- Generate X amount of cold, warm, and hot leads
- Generate X amount of revenue in sales
- Identify and recruit new partners
- Get press or publicity
Meet with your teammates and discuss which specific goals you had as a whole and how you have met them so far.
If the show is a success, there should be plenty of goals reached at the event itself.
But following up with your hot and warm leads will take time and will not be able to add to your contribution so fast.
Which is why these goals should not only be analyzed directly after the event, but also weeks after.
As trade shows are so expensive, you will want to give as much time as possible to build your ROI.
Analyze the event and talk about things that were done well and things that could be done better.
Because we know, things can always be done better!
Even ideas that you think are going to be a total seller, sometimes will fall flat.
But no worries! Just analyze what happened and plan how to to execute them in a different, more effective way.
This will also be the moment when you decide whether you will attend the next event!
I remember something that a fellow exhibitor told me during an exhibition.
He said that there was a company that exhibited at the same event for years, and just one year, they didn’t show up.
He said that it brought all types of thoughts and ideas to why they weren’t there: the company was going under, they are leaving the market, they are focusing on other products and services.
Exhibiting is expensive, so if you didn’t meet your goals and you didn’t find it worthwhile for your company, then try a different trade show.
But, if you find that the next one could be better if you execute your strategies better, then it could be worth it to exhibit again, and build on your exhibition reputation!
Step 5: Repeat steps 2-4 for all trade shows
I think this step is pretty much self-explanatory, but I want to encourage you to take this serious.
This marketing adventure for this one trade show takes up a lot of time, planning, and energy. If you exhibit 2-3 times a year, this could be excessive.
But the importance of making sure you have a plan and a goal and that you will effectively strategize and market them, is just the beginning to making sure your trade show is a success.
I’m telling you, there is nothing worse then sending out a marketing message at the last minute because you forgot, and then not being able to entice your audience to visit because they didn’t have enough time to plan.
Carefully plan out your marketing strategy for every trade show, and make sure you don’t miss any important steps.
You have made it! You have completed all of your steps to supercharge your trade show marketing tactics!
You deserve a cake. Or maybe a whole bakery!
So, let’s recap.
The largest chunk of your trade show marketing plan will be your pre-trade show marketing.
Remember, you want to focus on your frequency and messaging through this process.
Don’t forget to utilize all channels! Email, social media, and even print advertisements!
You will want to prepare early for the show, order all your promotional products and giveaways well in advance. And remember, order enough promotional products so you don’t run out!
Your in-event marketing plan will help you glide through your days at the exhibition.
Be involved in networking mixers and host one, if possible!
Utilize all advertising and marketing strategies at the trade show, from ads on exhibition TV screens to sponsoring charging stations to sponsoring the entire event.
Always stay active and “live” on social media during the exhibition. This will be the best way to market and brand your company with the most exposure.
Don’t forget to follow-up during your post-event marketing plan! Too many people skip this process, where this could be the ultimate ROI for your efforts. Focus on your hot and warm leads first.
Make sure your social media photo albums have all your pictures uploaded. The best exposure is during the event and right after while it’s still fresh in their mind.
Think of creative ways to say “thank you” to the people that you have met and networked with at the event!
Send stuffed envelopes with chocolates or coffee to set you apart from the original follow-up emails.
And lastly, analyze your goals and ROI! What did you achieve the most at the event? What could you do better?
Keep this 3-part series of blogs at your desk to help guide you through your marketing strategies.
It’s always better to be over-prepared, the under-prepared!
What do you find most time-consuming about trade show marketing?