What you do after an exhibition or trade show in terms of lead follow-up, marketing and PR will largely help determine whether your attendance at the show was a success or failure.
Research shows that 90% of business gained from events and trade shows comes from the follow-up work and not the event itself. It’s an amount of trade you do not want to lose out on! Work too slow, post-show and those competitors you were positioned next to at the event will be all too quick to steal those that you thought were going to be your latest customers.
The trick is to plan your campaign from the outset and include a mixture of PR, marketing, and sales activities within it. Missing just one of these elements could hinder a potentially fantastic ROI from coming to the fore!
Measure your success and plan for future events
You should always measure the effectiveness of everything you do to ensure you know what works and what doesn’t. That includes measuring your activities pre-show, during the show and post-show. This could be leads, actual sales, number of visitors to your stand. Any measurable metric could help you decide if the return matches the outlay.
It is worth considering that some exhibition leads may take as long as a year to pay off, others may be significantly quicker. It all depends on the buying cycle of your product. And it is this, that can change how you decide to measure things.
You don’t want to be left waiting, unsure as to whether the particular event is worth attending again, so the initial measure of success that you can judge will only be able to come via results gained at the show itself.
By achieving your lead targets, you can begin to formulate a plan for the next show and reserve a prominent space at it. This then gives you time to decide if attending the next event Is worthwhile. If the leads eventually convert and solidify your belief that attendance is worthwhile you can put down that next exhibition deposit.
If the leads are not converting you may need to address your PR methods, your show content or your lead generation strategies.
If the leads did not come at all then perhaps that trade show isn’t for you, so instead, look to another one for the next crack at the market.
Analysis of your trade show performance
Once the show is completed, an analysis is 100% necessary to discover areas of success and areas to improve. Without breaking down what went well and what didn’t, how can you construct a marketing plan to make the next event even better?
• Were your pre-show and during-show marketing efforts sufficient? Did they match or exceed competitors? Have you spotted things that didn’t work? Was your social media engaging, were emails opened and your other channels seeing success?
• Did you run promotions to encourage leads? Were they relevant? Did they work at all? If not, how can they be developed or are promotions just not working for your brand?
• Study feedback from the team, visitors and social media. Were there negatives, positives, or none at all?
• Hold a team meeting bringing together all of the teams that had something to do with the event and its end goals. Gain feedback, both positive and negative and then work together to make a change for the next show. If it was a success, ensure people are fully briefed on the next steps to keep moving forward!
Trade show marketing tips
The below tips stand to put you in a good position both during the show and post-show.
• Sales efforts need to be backed up by a marketing campaign. This campaign should then be measurable through a set of goals. It is estimated that 71% of exhibitors at an event have no pre-set goals! Make them realistic, specific, measurable, and understood. This way both during the show and in the post-show process, you can realistically assess what worked and what didn’t as well as understand where problems may have arisen.
• Show the team any marketing materials in advance so they know what is being sent to prospects. If your team can promote product and brand knowledge at the event, when information hits the desks or mailboxes of your leads, it is more likely to be remembered. This may sound obvious but if your sales team can reference the next steps, not only will it give some authority to the process but will help prospects understand how you could be of benefit to them.
• If you have an internal resource in your company then fulfil leads during the show, if not then immediately after the show. The most important thing is to get there before your competitors do.
Follow up on your trade show leads
A follow-up plan should be in place before the event takes place. You could be inundated with leads and knowing how to handle them will be key to converting them into a sale. Recent stats showed that as many as 70% of leads were not followed up upon. That is a huge amount of custom you stand to lose and someone else stands to gain! As we mentioned in the previous paragraph if you can fulfil leads during the show then great! If not, get to it as soon as it is finished!
• Plan a sequence and variety of follow-ups using the guide below:
|Before the show||Agree what you will send|
|Week of the show||Send information requested|
|Week 1||Call to confirm they received the information|
|Week 2||Send an email with promotional info/offer|
|Week 3||Second follow-up cal|
|Week 4||Send monthly newsetter|
Essential trade show Follow Up techniques as above will be carried out by your competitors so get in there first!
PR Tips for pre and post trade show
Executing the correct PR can keep your brand at the forefront of people’s minds, both before, during and after an event. At times it can be costly, but the results can far outweigh the expense when executed correctly.
Allocate a budget to spend on PR and get a professional agency to do it for you. Give them an objective and target to achieve so you can measure their effectiveness i.e., the number of articles in the press, the number of leads etc. In addition, you can ask them to do the following, or should the budget not allow, you could investigate these options yourself:
• Create ‘a story’ to tell before, during and after the show. This can drive engagement and interaction both on social media and in the press.
• Celebrate the launch of a new product or service. If your attendance at the show was gearing up towards it, the news of its launch as the show ends will keep those leads interested.
• Announce winning a big order or prestigious client from your event attendance. This can be a huge driving force in securing new custom.
• Shout about an exciting or interesting feature or activity on your stand
• If you haven’t got a ‘newsworthy’ story, consider running a competition with an unusual or valuable prize or conducting market research at the show so you can publish the results and create an angle to focus on.
• Prepare several press releases to appeal to your different audiences.
• Select the press you want to target and find out if they have any forth-coming features that might be appropriate.
• Take lots of good exhibition photos of your stand at the show. A newsworthy story with a good photo has more chance of getting published.
• Press releases can be posted on your website and sent by email to your prospects in ‘newsletter’ emails.
• Look at what your competitors are doing to give you ideas for future shows.
Executing the correct strategy for a trade show is a key part of exhibition planning and an excellent exhibition stand design can go some way to helping reach your goals. Speak to the team at Nomadic Display and see how we can help you transform any event you attend into a success.