You made it through your trade show! All your preparation and planning over the last year has paid off and you had a great few days. Everything went smoothly, you accomplished your predetermined goal for the show and you’re leaving with a big stack of brand new leads! Now what? How do you turn those new leads into customers? The answer: Inbound Marketing.
Many times people gain quite a few new leads from a trade show, but don’t have a plan in place to follow up with the leads after the trade show has ended. If you worked hard and planned out your marketing strategy a year in advance, you shouldn’t let all that work go to waste by not continuing to nurture and follow up with your new leads!
If you created a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy leading up to your trade show and used these techniques to gain new leads at the show, you should be set up to continue to interact with your leads after the show is over to guide them down the path towards becoming customers.
A content calendar is essential for planning post-show blogs, emails, and content offers. Download your free Content Calendar template here!
Timeline for Post-Show Lead Nurturing
1-2 days out
Enter All Leads Into Your CRM Program
We mentioned before that part of your preparation for the show should include a specific landing page with a form to gather contact information from new leads. This form should directly populate your current CRM program with this contact information.
However, there is still the possibility that you collected some names, numbers, or business cards that were not entered into your CRM program. Be sure to add these stray names and numbers to your CRM if they didn't sign up directly on a form.
Use Your CRM to Create a List of Trade Show Leads
After you have entered all your leads into your CRM program, we recommend putting all these contacts into their own list. This will allow you to keep all your trade show leads in one place and easily access them for future communication.
This list can then be used for personalized drip campaigns for nurturing or just a smaller group of people to search through if you need to specifically contact one lead from the show.
Engage with Leads on Social Media
After the show, you can add leads on social media if applicable. You should be using your social media to share photos from the trade show or to share blog posts you created before, during, and after the show with details from the event. You could invite leads to like your business page and tag themselves in any photos from the event.
Try to add connections on LinkedIn, Facebook, or other social media accounts by including a personal message reminding the contact of where they met you and telling them it was great connecting with them at the trade show.
Be sure they know you are not a random business or person trying to connect; you know them from a specific event you attended together.
2-3 days out
Begin to Interact with Leads Through Email
During the next few days after the trade show, you should begin to send follow-up emails to your new leads. These emails should remind your leads of where they met you and what you spoke about during the trade show.
At this time, you should also include additional helpful or valuable information that builds on the information you provided for your leads at the trade show. This could include a blog article or a content offer that will help guide your leads through the buyer’s journey so they can progress from leads to customers.
Email Engagement Tips
While it may be intimidating to reach out to leads through email, especially if you aren’t typically a salesperson, it is worth it to try.
Companies often generate leads from trade shows but then do not follow up with the leads. It is important to reach out to these leads to help them continue their journey from lead to customer since they most likely will not do it on their own.
Some tips for engagement in your initial email include:
- Personalization - Include their name, your name, your company, and the trade show you connected at
- Anecdotes - Try including a personal messages or stories to stand out and trigger their memory on how they know you
- Provide Value - Don’t just email to say hello; try referencing a conversation you had at the trade show and provide them with information pertaining to that conversation so you have a purpose for reaching out.
4-5 days out
Pick Up the Phone and Say Hello
If you were able to obtain a phone number from leads who seemed especially interested, try giving them a call a few days after your initial email.
Ask them if they had any questions on the additional information you provided them in your email and see if they would like to continue the conversation.
Use Nurturing Campaigns to Stay in Touch with Your Leads
If you have leads who you didn’t feel were interested enough in what you were offering to warrant a phone call, another option is to enter them into a drip campaign. This nurturing campaign will still allow them to receive valuable information from you in a less intimidating way.
Blog posts that follow up on information presented at a trade show are great ways to keep in touch with these contacts who may not be ready for more personal engagement yet.
Include these posts in your email nurturing campaigns to remind them of what you have to offer. Use photos you took at the trade show to capture their attention. Remember to add a strong CTA in your blog to encourage engagement from your leads.
Continuing Weeks and Months Out
The biggest thing to remember is to continue to stay in contact with trade show leads if they are engaged with your content. Continue to nurture the lead until you lose the sale or close them as a customer. Don't give up and let all your hard trade show prep and work go to waste.
Your work does not stop once the trade show is over! Remember the goals you set during your trade show preparation. You may have accomplished that goal, but now you need to continue your work.
By guiding your new leads through the buyer’s journey with inbound marketing techniques, you will help them complete the process of transitioning from a lead to a new customer.
The best way to turn trade show leads into customers is by creating goals for your show. Download our free Goal Sheet template to get started developing your own SMART trade show goals.