Post-Show Activities

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Following up trade show leads – what to know

Following Up Trade Show Leads – What To Know

Following up trade show leads the right way often means the difference between trade show success and failure. You’ve attended a quality trade show, you’ve met amazing people, and you’ve done a good job at engaging exhibit booth visitors – but what now? Is the relationship supposed to end there? Of course not! Your ultimate goal at every trade show should be to build long lasting relationships with each person who visits your booth. With that being said, we’re going to show you a few strategies for following up trade show leads that offer the highest chances of success.

Approaching Lead Follow Up in a New and More Efficient Manner 

The days of gathering business cards and handing them out at trade show events are over. This strategy alone isn’t going to do a good job at reminding past visitors of who you are and what you represent. To succeed in trade show marketing today, you need to utilize newer, more effective ways for following up trade show leads with whom you engaged at your booth.

Follow Up Tool #1: Social Media 

Social media can serve as a reliable, no-pressure platform for allowing you to slowly nurture the relationships you’ve established with visitors. For example, if you met someone, but didn’t make any solid plans of following up, this might be the perfect place to start. Connect with them on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and most importantly, LinkedIn.

When inviting to “connect” on LinkedIn, a good tip to keep in mind is to send a personalized invitation that includes when and how you met. Make it a proactive habit to interact with leads on social media sites like these, and then share your company’s information (when applicable) so that you can let them know what’s going on.

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Measuring trade show success

Measuring Trade Show Success By The Numbers…For Starters

Is your trade show exhibit and attendance delivering a desirable return on investment? When measuring trade show success it’s tempting to only consider by the number of business cards you collect, quality must be emphasized over quantity. Sure, visitors will gladly part with their business card if it means they’re entered in a draw for a tropical vacation. But all those business cards indicate is their desire for a tropical vacation. In fact, there are many other meaningful ways of measuring trade show success.

The most obvious indicator of trade show success is the number of leads generated, and those leads that result in final sales. There are several lead-tracking and sales management software packages that can assist you with this endeavour. Although revenue generation is always foremost in your mind, consider these other important methods of measuring trade show success:

  • Meeting with existing customers, which is an excellent way to reinforce your relationship. Contact customers who plan to attend, or cannot attend, and make arrangements to meet with them before, during or after the show. Build your existing relationships through individual attention to help increase your sales.
  • Did you sell products/services, or take any orders? Leads are the key measure of success, but at-show sales and orders must also be included. The same can be said for contracts, since trade shows are an excellent place to lay the groundwork for future contracts.
  • Count the number of visitors who stopped at your booth, or attended your presentations and/or demonstrations. These numbers are an indication of raised awareness of your company and what you have to offer. How does their attendance compare to other years?
  • Use trade shows to conduct your own market research. Solicit opinions and suggestions from your booth visitors. Take advantage of this captive and well-informed audience to learn what people really want in today’s marketplace.
  • Identify strategic partners. Trade shows are an ideal opportunity to meet prospective partners, and you can even conduct preliminary interviews. And remember to give some thought to the recruiting potential of individuals you meet at the show.

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Trade show follow-up tips

Trade Show Follow-Up The Morning After The Day Before

Trade show success depends on well-planned and timely follow-up on leads your company generates at a show. By the time the event is over, company staff are exhausted and grateful they survived. While it’s tempting to take a week’s vacation to recuperate, or return to the office and idly browse through 500 email messages, your trade show performance isn’t yet finished. So brush the cobwebs off your desk and get serious about your trade show follow-up. Email, that pile of work on your desk, and other distractions can wait.

Begin by organizing your trade show leads. Ideally, lead organization is completed while at the show, whereby lead contact information is entered in a contact management system or spreadsheet. Organize your leads in terms of product or service category, and/or by “temperature”: hot, warm and cool, depending on the degree of rapport and interest you established at the show.

It’s imperative to have a creative and thoughtful marketing communications for your trade show follow-up plan. Direct mail, phone calls with sample scripts, face-to-face meetings, product demonstrations, email messages, or e-newsletters are all effective communication methods. Whatever methods you choose, be certain to include your targeted message, company branding, contact information, and your call to action. Also give some thought to special pricing or value-added offers to encourage your prospects to take action.

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