After months of planning and countless hours of preparation, the big show is finally behind you. With an impressive list of trade show leads in your hand, you’ve got one last question to consider: Now what?
What you do with leads after the show is just as important as what you did with prospects while at your booth.
For many businesses, the bulk of their trade show planning centers on everything that happens before and during the show. While using smart trade show marketing tactics leading up to the show is important, these efforts are wasted if your brand doesn’t have a strategy for nurturing new leads.
Converting Leads Takes Time & Patience
Although your sales team likely has a follow-up protocol for your new trade show leads, your post-show efforts shouldn’t stop there. You’ll have some leads that are hot and ready to convert immediately, but this is usually a small fraction of your total leads.
That’s why patience and consistency are key to converting. Lead nurturing takes time, especially for B2B organizations that have long cycle times and complex sales processes. It’s not at all unusual for leads to wait a few months until they’re ready to do business.
With this in mind, add these lead nurturing tactics to your trade show strategy to foster more conversions.
How to Nurture Your Trade Show Leads
1) Email More than a “Thank You”
Everyone is busy the week after a trade show trying to catch up on all of the work missed during the show. That’s why a “thanks for visiting us” email simply isn’t enough. In fact, it’s likely they won’t even bother opening it amidst all their other priorities.
While a quick follow-up email is better than nothing, aim to do better. At the very least, your email can share some of the biggest takeaways from the show. Or, share videos and materials from presentations at the show that your audience may have missed. This type of content is both timely and relevant, giving your new leads interesting and helpful content after likely experiencing information overload at the tradeshow or conference.
This initial follow-up email is essential for fostering continued engagement. Use it as an opportunity to invite them to stay in touch with your brand, whether that be to subscribe to newsletters or follow on social.
Pro-tip: Be sure to demonstrate the value your leads will get from staying in touch with your brand. Highlight some of the benefits they’ll get, like insights from experts in the industry, special offers and upcoming social media promotions.
After your initial follow-up email, plan to continue delivering engaging content through a regular newsletter. If getting ideas for a continued newsletter seems overwhelming, get some inspiration from your trade show experience. What kinds of questions were people asking at your booth, and what products seemed to be the most popular? Use these questions as a starting point for your email content strategy.
2) Keep Your Social Profiles Fresh & Active
During trade shows, people aren’t only using social media to share their photos and experiences – they’re also checking out some of their favorite brands from the show.
It’s not uncommon to see a boost in followers during a trade show, but these new followers aren’t very valuable if you aren’t keeping them engaged with good social content. If you used a social media contest or advertising campaign to drive traffic to your booth, then you have an added reason to keep your social profiles active.
3) Target Advertising to New Leads
Social ads can be used to do more than just get traffic to your booth. You can easily set your targeting parameters to deliver social ads directly to your new list of leads. This strategy is a great way to ensure leads see your brand on multiple platforms.
In addition to using your list of trade show leads for direct targeting, you can also build lookalike audiences based on your email list. Lookalike audiences allow you to target people with similar demographics as your customer base to help you deliver content to new, relevant audiences.
Pro-tip: Use social advertising as a way to highlight your branded content. People engage with educational content on certain social platforms, so advertising a relevant blog post or white paper is more likely to perform well when done on the right channel. Plus, people are more likely to follow your page if they know you’re sharing interesting and helpful content.
Continued engagement is the key to nurturing your trade show leads through the sales funnel. Using these digital tactics will help improve ROI of your trade show efforts and build momentum for the next show.