How to Efficiently Follow Up Trade Show Leads for Maximum Impact

Trade shows – the rush, the adrenaline, the leads! Oh, how many leads, and you somehow have to follow them all up.

I’ve been there, you spend months getting ready, making sure everything is just right. You’re at the show, chatting to prospects, collecting info, exchanging business cards, handing out candy. It’s an exciting and exhausting couple of days. By the end of it you just want to crawl in bed and do nothing. But alas, life isn’t fair. You have leads to follow up and hot prospects to close.

Here’s the truth, and the truth hurts: 80% of trade show leads don’t get followed up.

I’ve been there – you start out with good intentions to follow up everyone you spoke to. But you come back to the office and get distracted by your work. There’s nothing particularly wrong about this, it happens to the best of us. It’s just a shame to let all your hard work preparing for the show go to waste.

I could write a guide about blocking out time for follow up calls etc. But I’m sure you already know about this. Instead I’d rather focus on something less known which has the potential to transform your trade show follow up: Email Automation.

Perhaps you’re not sure what this term means, even though it’s been around for a few years now it’s still not as widely known as its founders expected. The funny thing is that the name is self-explanatory. Email automation is a set of emails which are automated to go out at set times. They can either go out on a particular day, similar to a newsletter. Or they can be set up to go out a number of days after you add an email to the sequence. They can of course be much more complex, but I won’t bore you with this.

All you need to know now is that email automation can be set up so your leads are followed up after, and potentially during, a trade show. You might balk at the thought of automatic emails. Here’s the beauty of email automation: these emails can be VERY personalised. The whole idea is for them to work, so if they’re too generic they simply won’t work. If this means you need five different chains of emails, so be it. But these five chains will convert better than if you had just one generic one.

This is a point of difference between email marketing and email automation. Email marketing aims to send generic emails to masses of people, hoping some will convert. Email automation aims to send personalised emails to a smaller group of leads, nurturing them along the buyer’s journey.

The more you delve into email automation, the more complex you will want to make it. Our suggestion is to start out modestly and build it out from there. And a trade show is a perfect excuse to start as you’ll see the enormous benefits very quickly.

Here’s some ideas for email automation specific to trade shows:

  1. Don’t wait till after the trade show, follow up during it.
    1. Think of what you can do to attract your prospects back to your stand. Maybe you can offer free food or drinks the day after you connect. Or maybe you have a live business card draw and you invite them to that.
      At the very least you can say thank you for the connection, and at the end wish them safe travels home and suggest you’ll connect shortly.
  2. Follow up hot leads by phone immediately, for everyone else – email
  3. Don’t leave leads in the email sequence – call them eventually to connect personally.
    1. Email automation should take the pressure off connecting within the first week or two. But if you really want to convert these leads into customers, you’ll need to give them a ring and qualify them. So, use the emails as an interim solution, but don’t wait too long.
  4. Use the emails for your non-trade show prospects too!
    1. You’ve put in the effort, why waste it? You’ll only need to make slight adjustments to the emails and then they can help follow up any prospect!
  5. Don’t forget to set up some emails to invite your current customers to visit you at the trade show
    1. This is a great way to reconnect with customers if you haven’t spoken in a while.
  6. While you’re having a look at email automation, consider reviewing your newsletter. Once the sequence ends for prospects it’s an excellent idea to stay in touch long term. A cold lead today can turn into a hot lead in a years’ time, all because you stayed in touch and they didn’t forget about you.

Hopefully that gives you some good ideas. However, you might be too busy to implement them, and perhaps choose to put it off till next year. I’d suggest against this, next year will turn into never.

Instead, engage our team to help with this. Our service Set’n’Prosper is designed for busy people just like you. We take the hassle out of email automation. After getting all the info from you, we’ll go and create the emails. Then all you need to do is approve them. The process can take as little as a few weeks from start to finish. Learn more in this short 6 min video.

When you need a hand – reach out.

Help is here and our consultants love learning about new businesses like yours to suggest a solution that works. Imagine staying in touch up with the 80% of leads you would otherwise never talk to and selling more to them with little effort thanks to automated follow up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *