Crowd signing in to a trade show. From, "What you should do after a trade show"

What to Do After a Trade Show – 7 Tips for Success

It’s no secret that the primary purposes of a trade show are to generate leads and build relationships for your business. These interactions often come at the expense of traveling, sleeping on that cement pad the hotel claims is a mattress and spending hours upon hours talking to strangers. Not to mention, all those weeks spent preparing a booth and a game plan. However, just as important as preparation and the trade show itself is what you do after a trade show.

It’s important to capitalize on the connections made at the trade show while they are fresh on your mind and on the mind of those you had conversations with. The phrase, “Strike while the iron is hot,” is the perfect example of how you should approach your tactics with leads after a trade show. If you let your leads cool down, you’ll have more trouble getting the outcomes you’d like.

7 Tips To Have More Success After A Trade Show

1. Update Database With New Leads

Take the time to add your new leads to your existing database after a trade show. The more detailed you include when describing the lead, the more likely you are to have higher quality interactions in the future. Each lead should include personal contact information and the trade show that you interacted at. Any more detail that you can include is just more ammo to use for better, personalized interactions. You may also consider ranking leads on how sales-ready you believe they are while they’re still fresh on your mind. This can be helpful when deciding how you will communicate with them going forward.

Also, one thing that is often overlooked during this process is checking your database for duplicates. Maybe you’ve met this individual at a trade show or event before. Reviewing your database will help it stay organized and clean while possibly helping you gain more insight on leads from previous interactions.

2. Connect On Social Media

Social media is a great way to help leads become familiar and comfortable with you and your company. With the information gathered at the trade show, you can find booth visitors’ respective social media pages.  Sometimes it may be helpful to include a small personal message reminding him/her of how you met when you’re trying to connect.

However, relationships and trust are not established through the connection alone. Take time to find ways to interact with your new connections sooner rather than later. Like the content they share and looks for ways to make genuine comments on posts that don’t send the vibe that you are simply copying and pasting a generic response. This doesn’t mean you should comment on every single piece of content or go back 18 months liking all of their old posts. Be normal. Don’t overdo it.

When it comes to what social media page to connect on, there is no right or wrong answer. LinkedIn is obviously the platform more suited for the type of business relationship that you already have, but don’t be afraid to also follow your leads on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. Find whatever platform they are the most active on and that should definitely be one you should try to connect on. The more he/she posts on a specific platform presents more opportunities to interact with him/her.

3. Email

Reaching out after a trade show to those you interacted with is a must and an email is a great way to do that with the number of contacts you gathered. Consider sending a “Thank you!” themed email to those that stopped by your booth or those you met when you made your own rounds. Include questions that encourage responses and a call to action. Possibilities could be to visit your website, take advantage of a demo, information in the form of a blog or even a survey about their experience at your booth with the opportunity to win a prize. Having a photo of you, your team and/or your booth with the email is a good way to remind the email recipient of who you and your company are.

Another way you can use email effectively after a trade show is by trying to get an attendee list from the event and sending an email to those that you didn’t get a chance to interact with. This provides an opportunity to give some information about your company to those that you couldn’t talk to.

No matter how you decide to tackle your email list, make sure to make each email as personalized as possible. Including the individual’s name and the trade show you met him/her at goes a long way. If you want to be even more genuine, look for ways to include something personal about the conversation you had with them at the trade show or their company. It may not turn every contact into an immediate sale, but it will definitely do better at building relationships than the impersonal automated email that was obviously blasted out to everyone.

RELATED: How To Have A Successful Trade Show

4. Follow-up Campaign

Every company should have some free marketing piece to offer leads that gives more information about your services while causing them to engage with you. Whether it is a personalized demo, sample kit, marketing kit or something else, one of the best times to start pushing these pieces out is after a trade show.

Building a post-trade show campaign around your marketing item allows you multiple opportunities to advertise it, give more information about it and your company, and for more engagement.

Tektured has its award-winning sample kit that it offers to send to potential clients, specifically after a trade show. The kit is redesigned every year to showcase the various capabilities offered. Updating its kit on an annual basis gives Tektured the opportunity to display its new capabilities while having more reasons to send out information on the new kit to existing leads.

5. Answer Questions

If you didn’t track frequently asked questions at your last trade show, make plans to do so in the future. These questions are how you can learn to improve your pitches and website while also providing you specific content to put out on social media and blogs that is meaningful to your target public. Another benefit is that these questions being asked are likely the exact same questions someone will search online, giving you a great opportunity to capitalize on SEO.

After a trade show, make a plan of how to answer these questions. This can be with new content or updating the info on your website.

6. Evaluation

Evaluating whether you accomplished your goals at the trade show is key to ensuring your next event is even better. While determining the number of leads gathered is important, there are opportunities to analyze your efforts even further. As mentioned, consider sending a survey to booth visitors to see what they liked or thought you could do better. Also, think about the booths of other companies that you saw. Was there anything special or unique that made you remember them? Learn from your own experience as well as those you met and then make plans to improve for next time.

7. Ask For Referrals

Asking leads for referrals shouldn’t be a your primary strategy after a trade show, but it should definitely be included. It shouldn’t be aggressive, awkward or take up any time either. As you close out a phone call or an email, look for the opportunity to ask if they know anyone that might benefit from your services/products. At worst, he/she will say that no one comes to mind. At best, you gain more fresh leads that you also have a mutual connection with.

It can feel intimidating to implicate these seven tips while also trying to handle your day-to-day responsibilities. However, making the time to do so will keep leads from forgetting you and capitalize on your trade show efforts.

RELATED: Takeaways: A Trade Show Must

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