There are 5 things every business must do at the end of each trade show, conference, expo, or event – whether virtual or live. Leaving any of these out and you are leaving money on the table for this or future events!
1. Follow up
o This seems like a no-brainer, but it's all about following up the right way. You should have your follow-up plan determined before the show so afterward you can just focus on executing!
o So have your follow-up emails and calls scripted and ready to go. Just be sure to not start the follow-ups too soon. I have been at many shows over the years where I start getting follow-up emails while the show is still going on! This is way too soon and more annoying than helpful. Give your contacts time to get back to the office – or home office before you start communicating with them.
o One other thing with the follow-up – have your attendees segmented and use different scripts for each. So for example, if you had an in-depth conversation with an attendee, don’t send them a generic email that says “Thanks for stopping by our booth. We hope you found our products interesting.” You may have just irritated the person who’s thinking didn’t they remember we had a great conversation? And on the flip side, if I just dropped my business card in to win a prize, don’t send me one that says, “It was great talking to you.” Be real – don’t be fake.
2. Post-show Marketing
o Just like the follow-up, you should have your post-show marketing ready to go in advance of your show. Mention specifics about your event and include a picture of your team and your display to jog the memory of those who attended, and to give a visual for those who didn’t.
3. Hold a post-show recap meeting with your team
o One of the best uses of your time is to gather your team and talk through everything that happened at the show. What worked, what didn’t, what new things to incorporate next time, whether or not you should do the same show again, what you each saw at the show that was special our outstanding, and general comments. Be sure to have this meeting scheduled within a few days after the end of the show – the sooner the better! And don’t make it more than a week after because memories fade quickly!
4. Survey customers/attendees
o Don’t just get info from your team about how the show went. Survey people who came to your booth. Ask them what they liked, didn’t, what was missing, and anything that stood out to them. You will get good, honest answers that will include some amazing hidden gems, and also maybe some negative things you don’t want to hear. But outsider perspectives are valuable so be sure to do a survey of attendees.
o You just got through a trade show – this is a big undertaking, so celebrate with your team! Not enough businesses do this and it's so important. One great idea is to do your post-show team meeting together over dinner. Celebrate and get great info at the same time. But no matter what, show your team members how much they are appreciated for the hard work they put into the event.
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About the author, Jim Jim Cermak has over 25 years of marketing, consulting, and training experience, and has planned and worked hundreds of Trade Shows. He gets a little overly excited about Trade Shows, and puts that passion into helping companies get better results!