Here are 4 “don’ts” to maximize your trade show investment
Planning for the perfect trade show is not for the faint of heart – setting up the right marketing plan, rallying your sales team, setting meetings and perfecting your booth. Then, at the show, your sales team exhaustively works to make new contacts to build your sales pipeline. And, after the show, you analyze if the show was a success, and identify which things went well and which didn’t. But, then what? Do you stay in touch with these new leads, or are you letting conversations fall by the wayside?
Letting trade show leads expire is one of the most common issues companies run into post-show. In order to maximize your trade show investment long after you take down your booth, it’s vital to address these “don’ts” and seize the critical opportunity for growth these trade show leads represent.
- Don’t Abandon Your Leads, Nurture Them
As you know, trade shows are a great way to generate new leads – but you can’t expect sales to happen overnight. Especially in industries with long sales cycles, post-show lead nurturing is critical to making the most of these leads. Establishing the right lead nurturing program – like integrating an email drip campaign with other strategic sales outreach programs – is the best way to continue driving leads through the sales funnel. This will allow you to keep warm leads warm, warm up those leads that start cold, and begin converting more prospects into identifiable, marketing qualified leads (MQLs).
- Don’t Give up on Email
Between badge scanners and business cards, it’s likely that you’ve acquired quite the post-trade show database. An easy, efficient and effective way to leverage this database is through an email marketing program. Start with a simple follow up email that you can easily distribute through your preferred email marketing platform. The insights gained from this email will set the stage for other ongoing communications by helping you identify which leads are still interested, what their interests are and how you can segment your database moving forward. This information will allow you to stay engaged with these prospects, providing more personalized information that will better move them through the sales funnel.
- Don’t Overlook Social Media
You don’t need to be an online guru to stand out on social media. It’s easy to connect directly with trade show leads thanks to paid social media capabilities. Both Facebook and LinkedIn offer the opportunity to upload a database of emails directly into the platform, allowing you to target ads specifically to those contacts. This is a great opportunity to build upon your trade show message to keep your company top-of-mind and continue conversations. As one of the best channels to increase brand awareness and brand loyalty, social media is an important part of further nurturing leads through your sales funnel.
- Don’t Forget to Retarget
Like paid social media, Google Display ads can help you drive brand awareness, which is critical as you’re looking to convert leads into customers. Designing and implementing the right retargeting strategy – based on individuals who visit your website during and after the trade show – can help you stay in front of prospects in an automated, efficient way. Simply placing a retargeting code on your website will enable Google to display your ads to those who have visited your website on the pages that they frequently visit. Providing these additional touch points will help you continue to occupy mind share for your audience.
The trade show is over, but your sales opportunities are just beginning. Take advantage of the myriad of channels to continue to connect with your leads – in addition to your post-show organic social media posts, media relations efforts, and more. Doing so will help you extend the value of your trade show dollars and turn your investment into transactions.