Trade shows can be the best! You get to meet your customers face to face, spy on what the competition are doing, and get sneak peek of where the industry is headed, all in one place! Little wonder why trade shows make a great place to spend some of your marketing dollars. However, if you are not making the most of the time after you have returned from the office, you may be failing to properly leverage your time spent at the trade show. Here are some great tips from marketers which will help you make the most of the post-show period.
Decide on How You’re Going to Get Contacts to Put in Your Database
Before you ever set foot in any trade show you should have a clear idea on how you intend to capture contacts you’re going to follow up later. Your method could be as sophisticated as a name badge scanner or as basic as a fishbowl where prospects can drop their business cards--just have a pre-planned method. Merely capturing these contacts is not enough though; you also need a solid plan for how you are going to export these new contacts and their wants into your marketing database.
Decide on a Call-to-Action
You want to establish a call-to-action to encourage your audience to take a desired action. You can start with the end in mind so that you craft a compelling campaign that leads to your desired conclusion (For example, the customer placing an order or asking for a demo). You can kick things off with a quick email once you get to the office, followed by a custom printed letter. Wrapping things up with a phone call or a postcard a few weeks after the show will convince your audience that you are committed to satisfying the expectations.
Sort and Assign the Leads
Once you return from the show you can sort your leads into hot, warm, and cold. You want to work on the hot leads immediately; if you can assign a team member to working on them that would be ideal. Timing is everything--most people take a day or two to regroup after a trade show: call too soon and you may run smack into a voice message; call too late and your lead may have forgotten all about you. This is one of the reasons why deciding early enough on a branded, high-quality print piece is so important. If you start your follow up project early enough, your materials can be on your prospect’s desk by the time they get back to their offices.
Nurture Your Prospects and Leads
You want to establish a communication strategy that allows you to keep talking with your various prospects. After all, some people may be highly interested in your offering but do not yet have the right budget for it; while others may be lukewarm, but you can clearly see the value which they gain from you. Strive to tailor each message to the relevant audience so that you convert as many leads as possible into customers.
Now that we’ve covered the basics of how you can make the most of the period following trade shows, you are ready to hit the road. You are likely to see many benefits of growing your audience and communicating with them in the way that is we have outlined.