From booth design and setup to long days on the exhibit hall floor, participating in a trade show is a significant effort. However, your work is far from finished when the event concludes.

What you do with your list of leads following a marketing event will determine your success and your ROI. With effective follow-up, you’ll turn your new contacts into customers by continuing to nurture the relationship.

Here are five ways to make the most of your trade show leads after an event:

 

1. Reach out promptly

Your first follow-up attempt needs to hit that “goldilocks” zone. Reach out too soon, and your message may be buried by pressing matters that have piled up as your contact traveled to and from the event. Reach out too late, and you will have missed your opportunity to keep your leads warm.

Allow a few days for your leads to recoup from the trade show, then begin your follow-up within a week. Ideally, your lead will be settled back into their workday routine with fresh memories from the busy event.

 

2. Nurture leads with an automated email sequence

Any productive partnership begins with an opt-in. Without it, you run the risk of being sent straight to the spam folder.

Securing an opt-in is best done at the trade show itself, while you’re in front of your lead establishing a connection.

The opt-in process should be as easy as possible for your contact. For example, you could create a QR code that opts your lead into marketing messages with a quick scan.

Most importantly, you’ll want to offer your prospects something of value in exchange for their opt-in. Make it clear that you’ll be sending communications that benefit them, such as industry insights, online event invitations, special pricing, etc.

The email sequence you create should be specifically tailored to your trade show leads. Avoid tossing these leads into a generic email marketing campaign.

You can begin by recapping activities, workshops, or memorable moments from the event, since the trade show is what connects you to your lead. From there, focus on valuable content centered around your unique offerings and the challenges you can solve for your clients.

 

3. Send an open-ended email for their response

Sending a personalized email ahead of your email marketing sequence is a great way to make your client feel valued.

In many cases, marketers will push for a sales call too early. Instead, ask an open-ended question that begins a conversation. From this conversation, you can learn more about your prospect’s needs and find opportunities to serve them.

Social media is another opportunity to make a personal connection. If your leads are active on LinkedIn or Twitter in a professional capacity, your sales representatives can also potentially connect on those platforms to communicate.

 

4. Track follow-up in a CRM

A cohesive follow-up strategy depends upon your CRM.

Use your CRM to log contacts and communications. Add notes about specific conversations so that your team members stay on the same page, and to allow for more tailored marketing outreach.

Don’t forget to add notes from the trade show into your CRM. For example, if one of your booth representatives had a key conversation about business needs with a lead, those details should be included in your CRM. This ensures a smooth marketing-to-sales handoff.

 

5. Set a time limit for cold leads

As Kenny Rogers once sang, you gotta know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.

Establish a cutoff date to cease communications with cold leads. For example, if a lead has not engaged with any of your follow-up attempts for 3 months, it’s probably time to move on.

 

Getting ready for an upcoming trade show?

Exhibit Options is your partner, every step of the way. You deserve an exhibit house that understands the trade show process from booth design to lead follow-up and beyond.

Reach out to our team with your trade show needs and questions.