Companies invest many thousands of dollars on B2B tradeshows & events every year, but without proper pre and post activities, the return on investment is minimized. In your search for better outcomes, attend your next event with high expectations and make the effort to reach your prospects. You have to put yourself out there if you want to seize the interest of attendees, gain new leads, and sell to the audience.
Tradeshows & Conferences are what you make of them. Reach out to your contacts beforehand and set up appointments to grab an early breakfast together before, lunch or coffee during, or refreshments after the conference. Encourage each person to invite 1-2 people that they deeply respect, thus broadening the potential of the meeting.
Keep your contacts informed of the different sessions, speakers and activities which will be available to them, particularly those where your team will have a strong presence. It will drive better attendance at your sponsored sessions and help your customers & prospects plan out their agenda within the event itself. Develop a blog post to share your participation in the event. Promote that blog via email and social channels to help drive engagement.
Most conferences give vendors in the expo hall an advance list of attendees. Rather than sending a postcard asking them to stop by to register to win an iPad, take the time to research the attendees so you know which of your key prospects will be there. Make sure you know something about the companies you are targeting so you can demonstrate your knowledge and speak directly to them about relevant topics.
Studies show that most trade show leads are never re-contacted or activated, which wastes the time and money you spent gathering them. Show follow-up should happen within five to ten days after the show, not several weeks later when the contact is cold. Thanking a prospect for attending, gathering their thoughts about event, and following up on any interests; shows great customer service, gives you feedback on what was liked and where there is room for improvement and more sales.
Most conference conversations end with a business card exchange. You’re then left with tons of cards and little time to sort through them and prioritize. It is important after every conference to review your notes and sort through business cards and transfer everything into your CRM and Marketing Automation tools for further follow up.
Do write up a blog summary of the event. Look for common threads and topics from the conference and the dialog you’ve had with prospects and customers. What are their key concerns for the upcoming year? What are their objectives? How are they looking to grow and evolve as a business? This kind of post event summary is a great topic to include to your wider audience, providing insight to prospects and customers who were unable to attend the event.
Once you’ve made all of these new contacts, what do you do with them? We suggest you nurture your leads in a smarter way by optimizing customer behaviors, interests, and preferences to create an optimal sequence of touches. Start with the event summary we discuss above, use it as a simple touchpoint and recap. What you learn from the conference should help drive your content planning for coming months. When you are able to use targeted messages, you will almost certainly see your conversion rate go up. Yes, you may be sending out fewer emails overall, but those emails will be targeted, which will make them more effective and a better return on your investment of time and money.