Whether you’ve been to many a trade show, or this is your first, it’s important to have a plan in place for following up with all the great leads you’ll meet at live events.
Planning ahead will ultimately save you a lot of time and energy—and it will have a positive effect on your bottom line!
Today we’re sharing some easy tips that’ll help you turn new prospects into customers (and keep your contacts thinking and talking about your brand long after the show is over!).
1. Have a strategy in place before the show opens
Weeks before the exhibit hall even opens, you should be thinking about how you will collect and organize lead information at the show. Will you scan attendees’ badges, collect business cards, or use another method? Whatever tactic you choose, be sure to have a technique for making notes about any particular contacts who require personalized follow up.
2. Follow up quickly
Based on research by Harvard Business Review, when companies follow up within an hour of receiving an online query, they are almost seven times more likely to qualify a lead than those who contact prospects later. With trade shows, there is a bit more wiggle room—but the point is that time is money!
You should aim to email your new leads within 48 hours after the exhibit hall closes. Your marketing team can help you craft a message that includes some of the shareable content you generated during the show—and you should also include links that make it easy for people to follow your company online. After this initial email, you might add these new leads to a particular campaign.
And, for those leads with whom you had a substantive discussion—or to whom you owe an answer about a specific inquiry—it’s well worth your time to prepare an additional, personalized response. You might even include a piece of content (e.g. a white paper, article, or video) that could be useful and relevant to them, based on your conversation. A customized follow up goes a long way in building a new relationship.
3. Leverage social media
Keep up the momentum that you’ve built on social media over the course of the event. If you see that any contacts you met at the event become new followers of your brand, follow them back—and try to engage in an online dialogue.
It also makes sense to send LinkedIn invites to potential customers with whom you had a conversation. When you send an invite, remind the person of how you met, and encourage them to reach out with any questions about your company’s capabilities. LinkedIn is a great way to get connected and stay in touch.
4. Don’t forget about the phone
Social media is great, but there is enormous value to picking up the phone and having a real-time conversation. If you collect phone numbers for the leads you met, plan to give these people call a week or so after the event. This is an easy way to pick up on a conversation that you didn’t have time to finish onsite. It also reminds your new contact who you are and shows that you are being proactive.
If you happen to live in the same area as your top leads (or will be traveling to their locale), you could even suggest a coffee or lunch meet-up to further discuss the possibilities of working together.
Whatever methods you choose, the name of the game is following up quickly and personalizing your outreach as appropriate.
We hope you’ll find these tips useful as you plan to meet lots of great leads at WasteExpo 2017 in New Orleans!
Anything you would add to this list? Please let me know in the comments.