7 Ways to Master the Follow Up after your Conference Exhibit
Industry statistics indicate that approximately 80 percent of leads are left un-followed. Most exhibitors know that follow-up is a thing that should happen, but many have an issue with finding the discipline to simply do it. And, if done, as with all things there is always room for improvement for an even better ROI. There are 3 parts to a tradeshow or conference: the preparation, the tradeshow itself and post-conference aka the follow up. One part is not more important than another; if each part is consistently improved upon, a company will see continued ROI.
Wait 3 – 4 business days to follow up with attendees. Why? Because not everyone flies back to their home/office the last day of the event. Typically, they tend to have a laundry list of to-do items and need some time to get ahead in order to move forward on the newest topics. No one else will say this, I am saying, slow your roll.
2. Step away from the shitty, canned email with zero personalization
Do NOT (I repeat), do NOT send a canned email to everyone. Especially the kind with the templates and pretty pictures. Thats so 2008 . . . I mean, really. Most companies will do this, in fact 95% of companies will do just this. If you and your company are going to invest thousands of dollars in travel, product, marketing collateral, and the exhibitor booth itself consider hiring a temp worker, student or a worker of the like who can spend one week responding personally to each person. What if you spent an additional $600 – $700 on this follow up campaign BUT each email was created as a custom response with research conducted on who your company was following up with. Currently, I have 20 emails with catalog attachments of wholesale prices. I am not a retailer and with the push of a button, they completely lost the relationship with me. Those emails go straight to the trash because they went in for a close like a 16-year old boy.
Your email goes to a human. A human.
Click to tweet this –> I commit to scaling the unscaleable
3. Buy stationery
Since we are on the topic of correspondence, what if we moved away from email altogether. Consider the hand written note. Consider the impact a hand-written note could make on your target. Don’t have the address? With a computer and Google, you can find it.
4. Google Alerts
Setting up a Google Alert is an easy and effective way to keep track of online publication and mentions of names, company names, keywords, phrases, topics and other information one might desire for any number of reasons. For instance, one term I have set up for a Google alert is “chocolate” this alert will return, via e-mail, a list of press releases, news articles and other Web-based content related to CHOCOLATE. Use multiple alerts to let you know where the conversations are happening and then jump into them. I would love for a company to do this, jump into my blog comment section after a review and engage with chocolate fans.
5. Pictures/Social Proof
Upload all of the pictures you and your team captured during the show and create a blog post or youtube video that can be leveraged and shared through all of your social networks. Besides the obvious, why else would this matter? When potential exhibitors/attendees are researching the possibility of attending a new show they will hit up our friend Google and maybe even Pinterest to see what past shows look like. They are looking for the visual confirmation that they should go. And then they come upon your fun pictures.
Always remember in your follow ups that the person on the other side of the correspondence in only wondering, whats in it for them. This popular phrase WIIFM means Whats In It For Me.
One of the first emails I received the day the 2014 Summer Fancy Food Show ended was from an Ice product who blasted out an email that went something like me, me, me, me, me then offered her wholesale price catalog. And I pushed Delete. When I attend InfoComm or TCEA or ISTE I receive emails with the final sales pitch. Delete.
What if there was just one or two sentences in the email that stated -
a. Why did you attend the show?
b. Were you able to taste test our ice cubes?
c. How could we work together? How can we help your efforts? Can we schedule a call this date or this date for 10 minutes?
d. And again, how can we help your efforts?
I have had the opportunity to land both newspaper and TV coverage because I have told them exactly how I will help their efforts (not mine). Do I want to help me? Of course!! And I do help me when I lead with helping the other organization first.
While I am chatting about correspondence, I emailed 2 chocolate makers that I brought their chocolates onto TV and not a peep – that would be you Pura Delizia and Two Friends Chocolate Company. LOL. What the what? Its not one thing that will get you on the map these days, its many parts of a whole.
7. Give, give, give
Hopefully you have not just scanned badges without any context. Keep small notepads handy that will allow you to take name, company, why they are interested and then get those social channels. Context is king. Once you have a good database on each booth visitor you can become more personal with each person. And heck yes, that takes a lot of time. Would you rather have quantity or quality? And of course we want both. Once you have more info on each person you can:
a. Decide if this is a good lead or not, some people might be coming by just to eat a slice of pizza
b. Send personal thank you cards to your best leads
c. Follow up with your hottest leads first. Priorities, right?
d. Follow them on Facebook, connect on LinkedIn, share their tweets, LinkedIn statuses, pin pictures from their blog articles. Give, give, give. Its the same principle as Gary Vaynerchuk’s Jab, Jab, Jab Right Hook
e. Combine traditional marketing + marketing tactics for the FREAKIN YEAR YOU LIVE IN. Again, your best source for getting up to speed is understanding social and listening to Gary V
My companies win when I ask others “How can I help you?”
Remembering that business is personal can go a long way. At the end of every correspondence is a living breathing human. Human to Human connection is NOT scaleable or leverageable but the return absolutely is.
I want you to do well; I am ridiculously passionate about this stuff. I mean, ridiculously. I consult, I write about tradeshows, I let people pick my brain during scheduled consultation appointments, I create digital programs on things like this. Perhaps not all of these strategies make sense to you or will even work for you but I strongly urge you to A/B test the shit out of all of it. In my opinion, I think conferences are antiquated BUT there are still relationships to be made there AND for the love of god if you are going to invest an abundance of time and money into a tradeshow add more value at every turn.
Now, tell me below what tip you will implement right away OR what you are currently doing right now to add value to your conferences. What’s working? What’s not?
P.S. Want to know what to do prior to the conference check out this for another niche industry
P.P.S. Are you a business that would like to grow your online presence? I’d love to chat, go here
Oh . . . and one more thing, I have to give mad props to the only personalized follow up I received from the Summer Fancy Food Show #sffs14 this year –> Maryanne Keeney Public Relations on behalf of Harbor Sweets. Holy hell fire! Just one person and I think she’s kind of awesome for taking the damn time. If I were you, its who I would hire. Here’s her site www.mkpr.net and tweet her up on the webs (and no, she has no idea I am writing this but I bet you she’ll respond in the twittersphere because she gets it)
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”