THE REAL WORK STARTS AFTER THE SHOW.
Follow up is the most important part of a trade show, according to industry research, as many as 80% of exhibitors do not follow up after a trade show! Incredible! The chart below starts at 50% follow up which a best case scenario.
Some exhibitors may spend a lot of money and time to make a "presence" at a trade show to let attendees know they are still around in the industry. They see attendance as a PR move rather than a fantastic opportunity to increase business. Chances are, depending on the size of the show, attendees will not remember most of the exhibitors without printed material, promotional items and the most important aspect, follow up.
To achieve Top of Mind Awareness (T.O.M.A.), you should plan on contacting prospects 6-8 times in first six weeks after initial contact. Contact should be made 1-3 times a month following to maintain awareness. By your 12th contact you have achieved your T.O.M.A. goal but it is a good idea to continue contacting them on a more infrequent regular basis.
What qualifies as a contact? Some examples of effective follow up:
- Phone call
- Thank you note, handwritten makes a positive impression
- Letter - Include a magnet for an extra lasting impression
- Mail a catalog
- Social media - friend, follow, buzz, tweet, link...
- Send a promotional item to increase brand recognition
- Press release - showcase new products or services, philanthropies, success stories...
- Meet them in person at their place of business or networking event, this could be geographically improbable, Skype could work.
Organization is the key to success.
- Enter your contacts into Outlook, CRM, Excel or whatever your preferred system might be immediately.
- Keep thank you notes and stamps with you at the trade show, in your down time write a simple note "Thank you for taking the time to visit GTS Marketing (use your company name) at the XYZ show. I look forward to following up with you." Address, stamp and mail the same day.
- Send an email to everyone you meet featuring your company website
- Develop a follow up plan that is automatic and can be replicated for the entire sales staff to implement.