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Trade Show Event and Follow-Up: Part Two

You have prepared for the trade show, and the big day has arrived.

What happens now?

Optimizing traffic and capturing leads are two essential goals you want to achieve on trade show day. You have a short time to grab the attention of the attendees, so you want to attract and engage with them effectively and help them to have an "experience" at your booth.

Step Nine: Attract and Engage

To engage with others, you must first attract attendees to your booth. You want to show your unique strengths and create memorable exhibits that repeatedly bring your brand to mind. You want to utilize actionable ways to stand out and draw attendees to your booth.

Utilize these actions in your booth to help attract potential leads:

Implement various elements in your booth

  • Interactive media

  • In-booth presentation

  • Product demos

  • Game or contest

  • Prize wheel

  • Guided booth tours

  • Charging stations

  • Refreshment lounge

Show a variety of videos in your booth

  • Testimonials

  • Information about your product/service

  • Company Overview

  • Promotions

Provide educational sessions

  • Schedule educational sessions for attendees to come and learn more about your brand/product

  • Leave attendees with at least three new pieces of information they didn't have before attending the show

Prepare and inform booth staff throughout the show

  • Go over the schedule at the beginning of each day

  • Give staff ample opportunities for breaks throughout the show

  • Provide food and snacks to keep the staff hydrated and energized

  • Hold end-of-the-day meetings with staff to talk about the day and go over any questions or concerns

Give away freebies

  • Draw people into your booth so you can engage with them further about your products and services

  • Give attendees something they will use and something that will help them remember your brand

  • Distribute freebies that make an impression

  • Give away unique and exciting prizes that people want

  • Include a business card with the freebies so they know how to contact you in the future

Utilize social media throughout the trade show

  • Take photos throughout the show and post them on your social media sites, using hashtags that are trending in your market

  • Take pictures of yourself with supporters and fans for future social media use

  • Determine if there will be media at the trade show so you can get into a well-read industry publication

  • Share photos and videos of what is happening in your booth and behind the scenes

  • Engage with your attendees and vendors' social content, asking or answering questions to keep social media communication flowing

Once attendees enter your booth, you need to establish a relationship. Engaging with attendees is vital to making connections, resulting in business leads. Consider the following as you determine the best way to connect with trade show attendees:

Have conversations with people in your industry and those interested in your brand

  • Form relationships with industry leaders to gain words of wisdom

  • Find opportunities to get time with your current and potential customers

  • Check out the competition to collect any tips on how they set up their booth and what they are promoting

Be attentive to everything happening throughout the trade show

  • Stand up and look approachable, people will be more likely to approach you

  • Give eye contact and smile at attendees walking in and around your booth

  • Shake hands and be ready and willing to meet new people, which will help them be attracted to meeting you

  • Be friendly and eager to talk to attendees

  • Be prepared to make sales with potential customers

Request feedback from attendees

  • Set up stations where attendees can leave their thoughts

  • Craft questions that will gather the information you need

  • Provide a way for attendees to leave their contact information

  • As you attract and engage with trade show attendees, consider how you will collect those leads

The top three ways to capture leads at a trade show are:

  • Lead capture apps

  • Badge scanners provided by organizers

  • Business card scanning

The technique you decide to use for collecting leads needs to be:

  • Convenient

  • Clear

  • Accurate

  • Speedy

  • Easily connected to your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system

Step Ten: Post-show Evaluation and Follow-up

The trade show has ended, and you must implement your follow-up plan. One of the first things you want to do is have a post-show debriefing with your team. Ensure you get input from everyone on your team because each has something helpful to contribute. Discuss what worked, what didn't work, and how you can improve at your next trade show.

Once you have debriefed with your team you need to organize and prioritize the leads you collected. Consider these elements as you organize:

  • Create specific parameters for what makes a good lead for your company

  • Rank leads by readiness: hot, warm, and cold

  • Categorize by industry, location, and business size

Here are several options for communicating with your leads after the trade show is over:

  • Email

  • Phone call

  • Social media

  • In-person meeting

Emails are one of the most effective ways to connect with your leads and are vital to a successful follow-up plan. Consider these suggestions as you prepare your email marketing campaign:

Email drip campaigns give you time to nurture leads. These automated campaigns allow you to stay connected to your leads while building the relationship. Consider this example as you create your follow-up email marketing campaign:

Email One:

  • Send quickly after the trade show ends

  • Thank the lead for visiting your booth

  • Send a photo or video to remind them of the experience

  • Give them a gift or special discount

Email Two:

  • Scheduled one to two days after sending email one

  • Include a clear Call to Action

  • Don't sell anything to the leads

  • Continue to provide relevant, quality content

  • Consider what type of challenges they are facing and how your company can solve them

Email Three:

  • Provide quality content with a clear call to action

  • Send weekly or monthly to keep your company top of mind

You can incorporate other types of communication with leads in conjunction with your email marketing campaign. Consider these creative suggestions:

  • Send a video message

  • Create a quiz or survey

  • Share a testimonial

  • Send a handwritten note

  • Host a virtual event

  • Start a conversation through a social media site

If you have been considering getting involved in a trade show but are still deciding because it feels too big of a task, MLC Expert Consulting is here to help you through the process. We can also help you with your follow-up campaign. Call us today at 843.819.0102 or contact us on our website to discuss further. Don’t forget to read part two of the trade show companion piece with extra tips for the event and follow-up process.


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