When you attend a trade show, one of your goals should be to generate leads in the form of emails and phone numbers. While everyone is networking and collecting information, it might be surprising that only 7% of trade show exhibitors believe that they are able to follow up and convert their trade show leads extremely well. Trade Show leads are also far more cost effective than cold calling.
One study showed that trade show leads cost 38% less to convert than similar calls to the same industries. Use this to your advantage and create those connections that help build your business. The better that you’re able to convert these leads, the more business you’re able to do and the more profitable each trade show will be.
Choosing Software to Help You Follow Up
There are several programs and tools that will directly assist you in your marketing efforts. You’ll be able to find one of many very affordable Customer Relationship Management (CRM) options depending on your needs and preferences. HubSpot, Zoho, Insightly, or Salesforce are all highly rated CRMs that allow great reporting and tracking. You’re even able to use specifically email marketing systems like MailChimp, Marketing360, or Constant Contact.
All of these choices will save you an amazing amount of time and stress by letting you easily manage your customer relationship emails. One easy mistake that new marketers tend to make is to treat every lead as though they’re the same. It’s extremely important to add some customization because people will know if they’re being sent a mass email with only their name changed. You should be able to write a few different templates that apply to the person you’re writing to.
Making Your Email Lists
No matter which method you choose to send out and track your emails, you will need to segment your marketing list between different categories. A few of these different lists may be:
- Direct potential customers
- Other networked contacts
For every list, you’ll want to create a different template that will be personalized to that group. After a trade show, people receive several new contacts and keeping track of who’s who is the first step to building a good relationship with them. Further, you shouldn’t delay following up with them too long after the show because the more time that passes the more likely it is that they’ll remember less about you.
Knowing Your Goals for Each List
According to a recent study, it’s far more cost effective to follow up on trade show leads than it is by just cold calling. Just because you have a list of valuable names, you still need to know what to do with it to make the most out of it that you can.
Pre-Planning Based on Your Trade Show Goals
Imagine that you have a list of five potential distributors, three potential suppliers, and twenty potential new customers. What your first steps are will depend primarily on your current businesses needs and goals. Also keep in mind that different people will likely be able to handle the different aspects here, so unless you’re a one-man company then all of this responsibility won’t be on you!
With new suppliers, you’ll want to let them compete for your business. Setting the groundwork for a great deal later will involve starting a good relationship early that shows them that you’re both interested and knowledgeable about running your affairs. Let them know that they may be needed, and you’ll stay closer in their mind as a high priority lead.
With potential new distributors, these can become extremely profitable long-term relationships. Confidence about your product or services is a given, but a lot of times the extra boost that a distributor will need is knowing that they’re working safely with someone reliable. This means don’t wait five months to follow up because no one wants a relationship with a supplier who is unable to communicate. Be able to provide specific lists of products, prices, and be ready to follow up immediately with any other details that they’ll need about your company. If you write your templates well enough, your audience will consider it to be a personalized email and will expect to be replied to quickly just like they may reply to you quickly.
For new customers, you may want to begin by adding them to your current promotional mailing lists and then provide some trade show specific deals or emails reminding them of your products that they had seen at your exhibit. You should also try to keep track of the larger potential customers since sometimes one person will bring you more revenue than a handful of small purchases.
Put Yourself Back Into Their Minds
With any of your emails, you may even want to send along an image of your booth from the show to give them a direct reminder of who you were and how you looked at the trade show. While you may have formed a quick connection at the show, giving someone that confirmation that they remember who is following up can be a game changer.
This is another reason to have a great trade show display at the exhibit. You’ll be able to reinforce their positive first impressions, and you'll get to remind them that you’re who they’ll want to work with in the near future.
We hope we've helped get you started into your follow up strategy. Be creative and there's so much that you're able to do with the connections you formed at the trade show! If you need any help with your next trade show display, feel welcome to contact our designers for recommendations or to help look over your current trade show plans.