Trade Shows are a great way to expose your business to thousands of potential customers in a short amount of time. It’s great to have personal interaction with your audience, when so much of our daily communication has gone digital. But what happens after the trade show is over? Are you making the most of those connections you made? Are you maximizing the return on your investment of both time and money? It’s always great to call everyone that stopped by your booth, but how else can we engage with that same audience? Here are my top 5 digital marketing tips on how to make sure your trade show is a success!

  1. Segment Those Leads
    The first thing you should do after a trade show is separate your leads into categories. We typically separate leads into three categories: hot, warm and “just wanted free stuff”. Once your leads are separated, you should develop messaging for each category. The hot leads would have a personal message referencing a discussion you had with them at the show, with specifics around what they were most interested in. The warm leads would have a more generic message focused on the value of your products or services, and the “just wanted free stuff” leads should end up on a more mass produced piece such as a monthly email newsletter. After emailing the hot leads, we typically follow-up with a phone call with 48 hours.
  2. Send a “Thank You” message
    The personal one-to-one emails are a great way to reference why you’re reaching out, but they should be short and direct. A “Thank You” email should be designed more like a newsletter (using a tool like Constant Contact, Mailchimp, etc) and can have several “Calls to Action” or CTA’s. The main message of your email could be a “thank you for stopping by” with a mention of your raffle winner, and can include CTA’s such as an extension of the show special, a link to download some valuable information, links to your social networks, and even another contest.
  3. Go Social
    Often, we see businesses talk about trade shows before the event on Facebook, Instagram, etc., however, we tend to see less business talk about the show after. This is a great opportunity to showcase photos of your staff from the show, engaging with attendees, while also building more brand awareness for your company. You could even revisit the show photos several weeks after the show using a #TBT (or Throw Back Thursday) to give more life to show photos. From your emails and website, you can link to a Facebook album of show photos, helping to encourage social engagement.
  4. Blog About It
    Digital Marketing is all about the personal experiences we share with our clients. It’s a great way to showcase the personal side of our brand. What better way to share your experience at a trade show than to blog about it? A short 350-400 word blog on your website can talk about the great time you had at the show, highlight photos of your booth and key staff members, as well as talk about the contests or offers you ran and encourage people to reach out if they still have questions. Blogs give you great social media and email material, and also make a strong impact on your search engine rankings with Google.
  5. Study the Data
    While it’s important to send emails, write blogs and post on social, what good is it if we don’t know who is engaging with our content? From email reports, to website traffic and social media analytics, it’s important to understand how people are engaging, when they are engaging, and most importantly WHO is engaging with our content. This will help to identify prospects that are most interested in our products or services, which can lead to another phone call or personal email.

So remember, while promoting your involvement in a trade show is a great start to marketing to your audience, it’s the post-event followup that helps to maximize your ROI!