Wednesday May 25th, 2016

Trade Show Marketing (Part 4)

Congratulations! You’ve made it to Part 4 of our 5-Part series on Trade Show Marketing! If you haven’t yet had a chance to catch up on the previous three posts, you can find them here: Part 1 (Phases), Part 2 (Pre-Show), Part 3 (At the Show).

Today, we are discussing the Post-Show phase. This is a very important piece of your trade show marketing mix because consistent communication after the show is the very best way to extend the life of your trade show investment.

However, while we know this to be true, a staggering 65% of B2B marketers have not established lead nurturing. [Source: MarketingSherpa]

We also know that research shows that 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first. [Source: InsideSales.com]

So, what should we gather from this?

Not only do we need to have a solid post-show communications plan, but it needs to be executed in a timely manner if we want our investment to be successful. Luckily, you’ve already put together a strategy for success prior to the show that includes your goals, objectives, tactics and lead tracking plans. Now it’s time to put them to work!

1. Follow up

After the show you’ll want to follow up with two key groups – your leads and your trade show team.

Lead follow-up. Remember those great conversations that were started at the show? Keep them going, especially while they are still fresh in your prospect’s mind. Sincerely thank them for attending and express appreciation in meeting them as well as your interest to continue the conversation and to keep in touch. Here are a few follow-up ideas you may consider (mix n’ match!)

  • Handwritten card
  • Personal email
  • LinkedIn invite to connect with personal message
  • Social media posts, tags, follows, likes
  • Email newsletter campaign
  • Direct mail campaign
  • Custom gift

Team follow-up. Get together with your team following the completion of the trade show while the event is still fresh in their minds. Conduct a de-brief. Talk about what they felt went well and what areas they think could be improved. This post-show communication is crucial to creating the very best trade show experience for everyone involved – so don’t skip it!

2. Add value

Always, always, always add value. Don’t just follow up to “check in” or “touch base.” This is a waste of your time and your prospect’s time. It’s also very likely that your competitors are just “following up,” so be different. As marketers, you can help your sales team bring value at every touchpoint.

A few ideas:

  • Answer questions. Create valuable content by using the questions you were asked about your product or service at the show. Not only will this help you understand what’s most important to your prospects, it will help you to become a trusted thought leader and problem solver. This will draw your prospects closer to you.
  • Share work. Send your prospects project work examples that you think they would find valuable and that may spark some ideas and excitement to potentially solve their problems as well. Even if it’s not your work, share something that you know they would find valuable and you’ll become a trusted, valued resource to them as well.
  • Connect them. We all have our networks. We all want to connect with people that we value and who can help us grow our business and enrich our lives. So, be a connector.  You’ll be helping them and yourself at the same time. Again, provide value.

3. Be patiently persistent

We know that good things come to those who wait. However, you can’t just sit back and expect these leads to come to you. Your sales team needs to be proactive in keeping in touch with their trade show leads. But, there is a fine line between exercising “polite persistence” and being so aggressive and relentless that you damage the very relationship you were trying to build.

Consider this:

Have a follow-up plan in place that includes your sales team contacting each trade show prospect around 6-8 times within a period of say...six  months or so following the event and make sure that they are adding value in every communication. Patient persistence in your sales and marketing communications will result in growing your business – it’s all just a matter of time.

Well, that does it for Part 4. Be sure to come back next week for the fifth and final piece of this series on Trade Show Marketing!

P.S. This series has been gaining momentum in the Marketing Communications group on LinkedIn with great conversation surrounding it. I’d encourage you to check out the discussions (Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3) and share your thoughts as well!

All the best,

Cory Earl,

Director, New Business Development

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