A quick guide on how to make your next trade show count.
How to follow up conversations from your trade stand
You have had the trade show booked for months. You have your strategy in place. You have rehearsed and practiced every line of your sales pitch. You have time, effort, nervous energy and money on the upcoming event.
Everything is prepared. From high quality signage from Colour Graphics, to looking your best on the stand. Your product have been tested.
The trade show itself
Full of competing companies with friendly rivalry, you worked hard every minute to bring customers to your stand. You’ve talked and collected business cards; you have handed out leaflet after leaflet.
You ran a successful promotional campaign and despite the exhaustion, you can be congratulated on making the trade show an unremitting success story.
What happens now?
In many cases, nothing. Zilch. Zero. End of.
But, the time has come to get the upper hand on less savvy competitors and realise that a trade show is NOT a stand-alone event. There is so much more you can get out of a trade show.
In fact, creating a post-show strategy is just as important as creating one for the show or exhibition itself. What is the point of networking, collecting contact information if you have no intention of doing anything with it?
Ride the crest of a wave
If you have a decent strategy in place, with clear, realistic goals, then you will end a trade show on a high. With a bag full of contacts, you need to ring as much from the exhibition as you can, and here are just 4 suggestions (you could think of more after trade show campaigns) as to how to start conversations after a show.
And it is conversation, contact, networking etc. that you are aiming to carry on and thus, it pays to have a strategy about what to do after you have been to the show.
Do you have something else to offer them? Maybe a discount on a product or service? Or maybe you are having a showcasing event in a few week and you would like them to attend?
Think outside the box a little, and the rewards could be great
Email – an incredibly powerful medium and, if you have made a concerted effort to snaffle contact details from people then you need to have a post-trade show ‘shout out’ newsletter ready.
Make sure it has a nice conversational piece – ‘great to meet so many fantastic new people at X’ – but also have something to offer them.
Again, a limited time discount deal is great and why not also ask or cajole people in to following you on your social media platforms?
Top tip – have a clear strategy for email newsletters for the 3 months after a trade show for making contacting with customers and clients you met there. Make sure you have vibrant, interesting content with meaning.
Call – there is nothing quite like another conversation with new people you have met, and clearing your diary to sit on the phone and chat is a great way to spend a day or two after a trade show.
However, take care with this as ‘phoning for a chat’ is not quite what this means… you need a strategy for this too. What are you offering them? Why?
Social media – social media is incredibly powerful and, as well as inviting people to join you there, you also need to market yourself on it. And the trade show has given you weeks of fantastic material to Tweet and post.
Your trade show strategy could include an hour or two walking round and taking photographs, especially of your stand. Why not ask potential customers to ‘pose’ with you and gain their permission to use the photos on social media?
Clearly, with any update or post etc. tag that person or company in it and you will find that your online conversations and interactions could bear fruit.
The essence of a trade show that so many companies miss is that the conversations between you and customers is one of the most important success factors there is but maintaining this conversation is also important too.
Press – don’t forget printed media too. Any appearance at any trade show should be seen as a rip roaring success and getting this story out there in your local or regional press is important.
Don’t forget this type of material can be tweeted and posted across your social media platforms, as well as used in your email newsletters.
Trade shows are worth every single penny you spend at them but only if you make the most of your time at the show, and after. How will you follow up leads and contacts?
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