The Key to Post-Trade Show Marketing: Strike While the Iron is HotJuly 19, 2018
You come back to work after a trade show marketing event. You’ve been gone for three days and, unlike the renewed sense of energy you might feel after a vacation, you’re exhausted. You’ve got hundreds of emails to sort through; your current customers have left you a ton of voicemails. And now, a stack of new business cards sits on your desk.
If so, we suggest you link back to one of our earlier blog posts, Winning the race before it begins, because the key to avoiding that overwhelming feeling we just described is to prepare your post-trade show marketing strategy before the event takes place.
Just like fruit, all of the contacts that you make at trade shows are perishable. If you don’t follow up well or quickly, that fruit will essentially go bad. The opportunity won’t necessarily be gone, but the value of those contacts diminishes greatly over time. You can always fall on the sword and follow up a year later to say “I’m so sorry…” but recall that you identified people who have a need, adequate resources, and a sense of urgency such that your solution is precisely what they are looking for. If you don’t follow up quickly, they’re going to find another solution. So strike while the iron is hot.
At MEET, we assure that our clients have a strong methodology for nurturing, converting, and tracking prospects in the post-trade show marketing period. One of our tools the marketing funnel. Like a sales funnel or buying process that customers are led through when purchasing products or services, a marketing funnel is focused on how to identify and capture high-quality leads and deliver them to the sales process. The goal is to identify different modes of marketing that when integrated, will seamlessly be delivered to new prospects and convert them from your marketing to sales funnel and eventually to long-term customers. We want your sales team’s day to be filled meeting with prospects that have the most value and highest likelihood to close.
At the top of your marketing funnel are the marketing activities you do to identify high-quality prospects. The goal is to build awareness in a way that has each prospect self-identify their need and opt-into your follow-up and funnel. These are people that meet your team at trade shows and events, come to your blog, visit your website through SEO or SEM, or respond to your ads on social media. That is the top of the funnel.
Through exposure to these marketing modes, your prospect moves down the funnel from awareness to more intimacy with your services. Through executive briefings, hospitality events, regular association event attendance, webinars, whitepapers, e-news briefs, prospects move from intimacy to trust. When prospects trust you, they are ready to agree to a meeting to discuss and be candid about their needs. At the point of 1-on-1 meeting agreement, the prospect transitions to the sales funnel.
Following up on trade show marketing with prospects requires looking at how to utilize early-stage modes of marketing to move these high-quality candidates to the next level of the funnel. Moving down the funnel will require several interactions, conversions, or intimacy building events before many prospects are willing to agree to a sales meeting. The key is to make sure that all your marketing efforts are driving these high-quality prospects to the middle of the funnel, and from the middle to the bottom.
Each mode in a marketing funnel is measurable. You can easily track how many people participate in your webinars, how many agree to sales meetings, etc. and putting these metrics to work will help you determine which marketing strategies generate the greatest number of conversions to sales meetings and ultimately to becoming new customers.
Returning from a trade show doesn’t have to be exhausting. Depositing your prospects into a marketing funnel that immediately engages them through pre-drafted follow-up emails, an attendee survey, or scheduled webinars will ensure that every trade show marketing minute was time well spent.
MEET (meetroi.com) helps B2B growth companies and pavilion hosts effectively leverage at trade shows and in-person events. MEET’s processes help its clients ramp-up sales quickly and maintain a steady stream of high-quality prospects going forward. Contact Bill Kenney at MEET today for a free trade show participation assessment firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 (860) 573-4821.