By Robert Lyons
So you planned for your trade show and hopefully got some tips from our first article in this series on how to create pre-show buzz. Then during the show you connected with industry colleagues and potential clients and maybe even took a few pointers from our second article in this series on how to keep the momentum going during the show.
Now that the trade show is over, you are exhausted. Considering all the pre-show planning and preparation, and then the fact that you probably pulled a cheek muscle from all the smiling during the show… No doubt you’re ready to climb into bed and hide under the covers until it’s time to get ready for your next trade show.
But wait! This is where you get to capitalize on all of your pre- and during-show efforts. This is where the fun starts. And by fun we mean following up with all the amazing people you connected with at the show.
Go through all those business cards
How many business cards did you collect during the show? 50? 150? 300? Regardless, right after the show is a great time to go through your newly acquired collection of business cards and connect with these people on LinkedIn. We say “right after the show” because the key here is to reach out while they still remember you.
Send out an email blast
The important thing about an email blast is to keep it personal. We recommend starting with a template and personalizing as you go. This is a no-brainer, but we’ll mention it anyway: address each recipient by name. Of course, starting with a simple “hello” will save minutes from this task but referring to each person on your list by name will help to draw them into the email. (We all love to see our name in print!)
Also, while you were collecting emails during the show, did you have a chance to write quick notes on their business cards? (“Wore a red scarf.”) Why not mention this somewhere at the beginning of your email.
It was great connecting with you during the show. (And BTW, loved your scarf!)
Have an objective
While following up with an email blast is post-trade show marketing 101, you’d be surprised at how many people neglect to do this. Not only that, but often people reach out without an objective.
So what’s your objective for your email blast? Is it to set up a conference call or meeting? To remind recipients of your product launch? How about an invitation to an upcoming event where you’re a keynote speaker?
Include a call to action
We’ve noticed that there’s an overwhelming number of people who neglect to end their emails with a call to action. Maybe it’s because they don’t want to appear aggressive or worse, desperate. But let’s face it, business is business. And while you want to be friendly, you must also be results driven if you want to be successful.
Keep the photos coming
These days, taking pictures is easier than ever and hopefully you took plenty of them during the show. We call this a recyclable asset. You can include them in your email blast and keep the momentum going by posting photos on your social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. (And don’t forget the important and strategic use of #hashtags!)
Also, keeping in mind that attendees were bombarded by hundreds of other companies and sales reps during the show, a photo of your booth will help remind everyone on your list exactly who your company is.
The most important thing to remember during your post-show follow-ups is to make sure that you don’t let too much time lapse. Reaching out within the week after the show is ideal. Wait a month later or longer and you’ll have already missed out on the opportunities and very reason you attended the show in the first place.
If you enjoyed this series of articles on pre-, during- and post-trade show tactics for a successful trade show experience, we’d love for you to share them with your networks.
And if you have other suggestions, we welcome you to share them in the comments below!
About the author:
As a client-recognized industry leader, veteran and Media Mixologist, Robert Lyons has spent the last 25 years creatively and strategically planning and executing his customer’s marketing endeavors. From trade shows to rebranding companies, he continues to devote his time and skill set to go above and beyond both client and team expectations.
Some of Robert’s most lengthy professional relationships are with clients from the restaurant industry, most specifically, trade shows. With a vested interest and extensive experience in the trade show industry, he not only seeks to improve his client’s experience at the show, but enhance the overall experience that exhibiting at a trade show can have for a company and the trade show itself.