As you saw in last month’s blog, it’s tricky to get a good return on investment from a trade show. Good post-show follow up helps. Here are my recommendations on how to improve on the usual “Thanks for coming by the booth” emails.
- As always, planning before you go to the show makes all the difference. Figure out your follow up strategy as part of your pre-show planning. That means you can map back to your show objectives and you can tie in the experience at the show. It also means you don’t have to scramble to get follow ups out on the fly and that you have time to develop excellent copy.
- Be practical about what you have. Every name from a trade show is not a “lead”. It’s a name of someone who let you scan their badge. Your follow up goal should be to shake out the interested and qualified leads, remove anyone that isn’t worth your time and then ripen the rest.
- If you set up things up right at the show, you should be able to segment hot from cold leads. Hot leads should get a personal contact from their sales rep to start the qualifying and selling process. Cold leads should get an offer that will enable them to raise their hand if they are interested in learning more. If someone responds, you know to put them at the top of the follow up pile.
- Timing is tricky, so test what works for your audience. If you send an email too quickly after the show, it will be buried in clutter. If you send it too late, no one will remember you. I’d say test a blast Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning the week after the show versus later that week to find your sweet spot.
- Make the email attention getting. Your prospects have probably had their badge scanned by a lot of companies. If you did something attention getting in your booth, call attention to that. Mention your hot cookies, scratch off prize card or the neon sign. Something to call attention to the fact you had a connection. If you didn’t – see point number one and next time set up your show plan with the follow up in mind.
- Test offers to see what brings in the best leads. An offer like a free trial or a demo may not bring in a big number of responses, but maybe you would rather focus on just a handful of really qualified prospects. Alternately, offer whitepapers, case studies or videos to get prospects engaged enough to start the conversation and get a higher volume of response.
- Be respectful of permission. When someone let you scan their badge, they didn’t expressly opt in to your weekly newsletter or daily emails. Give them a chance to show their interest or engage with your firm, rather than just dumping their email into regular contact.
- Track, learn and get ready for next time. Make sure that you take the time to read results so that you can not only run an ROI analysis on the whole show, but so that you’re armed with knowledge for your next one.
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