Bringing The Expo Home: How to Follow Up with Attendees After The Show

November 12, 2015 Megan Stoeckel

Research has demonstrated that most of the leads generated at a trade show or expo never really get a proper follow-up by the company’s representative. A study that was done shows that fewer than 70 percent of exhibitors have any formalized plan or process designed for how they will follow up with their leads after the show. In a generation of automated lead cultivating, the circumstances may be improving to a certain degree, but merely having access to technology with which you blast every expo lead with the same, boring email message immediately upon returning to the office doesn’t mean it’s the correct route to take.

Here are some excellent ideas for crafting an operative Event Planner Expo follow-up campaign. Mental note: these strategies are based on the assumption that you gathered some hot leads – the prospects who explicitly requested follow-up or were otherwise categorized as “high priority” on the expo floor, get quick response straight from sales. A useful follow-up campaign would be one that is designed to address the other 90 percent of expo leads, including the show attendees who didn’t made it to your booth, and to make sure that no other qualified leads fall through the cracks.

1. Rapid response to expo leads is crucial. Have the campaign calculated and ready to take off so that response emails can go out directly upon leads coming into the system. A swift, professional, personalized reply is an excellent way to make your business stand out from your competitors who might take a few days or even weeks to respond.

2. Most expo leads are commonly ignored by sales. The best practice for a follow-up campaign is qualifying your leads by proposing a range of choices for further engagement. Any reply (e.g. a white paper download, a demo request) can help you reveal hot leads that may otherwise be missed, or at the very least can assist your sales team prioritize which leads are worth being called first.

3. Utilizing the same subsequent email to each show is the surest approach to getting your message overlooked. Make sure to consistently identify the particular show, by name, in the title of your email, and in the introductory paragraph, at the very least.

4. Make sure that your call to action is precise. Never say, "if you want to learn more" or "for more info." Instead, give the prospect particular, substantial choices for engaging with your organization: "download our free white paper," "ask for a customized demo," "watch our 5-minute overview media clip."

5. Using email messages to follow-up are an awesome way to help the prospect remember statements you made at the show. In any case, don't try too hard. The exact opposite thing a candidate needs to be reading is a repeated press release. Make it a point to make sure that your email is intended to drive activity, not just spread the gospel about your new service or products.

6. Typically, marketing advice suggests that your email contains at least one offer and one call to action. Expo follow-up emails are the exemption to that rule. E.g., if the only choice you offer attendees is to ask for a demo, you will only hear back from a small subgroup of leads. Offer about 2-3 different options that will appeal to a range of prospects at a number of stages of the selling cycle, for instance: request a demo, download a white paper, or subscribe to our newsletter.

7. Customize each email with the name of the appointed rep for that lead, and make sure you include the representative’s phone number and personal email at the end of the email. Someone who’s attended an expo may be ready to contact sales directly. Make it easy to do so.

8. Incorporating a photo of your booth, crowded with enthusiastic, and interested leads, can help remind the attendees who you are amid the hundreds they spoke to at the show. Just keep the photo relatively small so that it doesn’t force more valuable selling copy down the page.

9. One essential email template can do double duty and cover both show leads (those prospects who registered at your booth) and also any larger list of show attendees (provided to you as an exhibitor). Design, key message and calls to action can be the same; just change the introduction and any other associated language from “thank for your visiting our booth” to “sorry we missed you.”

10. Have a particular, personalized plan for ongoing nurturing to follow your initial follow-up email. Don’t just dump show leads into your marketing database or sign them up for your monthly newsletter indiscriminately. At the very least, point leads into an email track tailored for their specific product interest or vertical market. Consider a triggered program of 2-3 emails in the days following the show (offering varying types of informational content) so that prospects don’t wait weeks until they next hear from you.

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