Trade show plan

Congratulations, exhibitor! You nailed your pre-show marketing. You drove tons of traffic to your booth. You engaged many show attendees. And you generated leads and business from the trade show floor.

But your work isn’t done, yet!

You should have your post-show plan in place well before the show begins. Create a timeline of follow-up activities and get all artwork needs in place beforehand, so the post-show marketing efforts are smooth sailing after the show.

After a trade show, your sales and marketing alignment will be put to the test. It’s all about teamwork. When the leads are collected and entered into the customer relationship marketing (CRM) tool, they should be assigned to a sales team dedicated to trade show follow-up. Leads with the highest interest should be labeled as such – “hot”, “A,” “top,” etc. Those should be reached out to first.

Note that some of your trade show leads can still be relatively cold. Many may need transitioned into a lead nurturing program to move them through your sales cycle quickly.

Often, a personal phone call to every lead can keep the human-to-human connection going following a trade show. Use a phone call followed up with email to reach the most leads. If the in-booth team are in your sales department, they should follow up with the leads they personally met at the show.

Sales follow-up should begin within days of the show, sometimes before the show even ends. Timing is really important. An attendee just met you – and likely your competitors – at the show, and the first person to contact them back will typically earn the business. Strike when the iron is hot, as they say.

Marketing needs to provide sales with a clear action plan and any materials or follow-up collateral necessary to make the follow-up process as efficient and effective as possible.

Trade shows are about establishing personal connections. So don’t forgo the personal touches in your post-show marketing strategy. A handwritten note goes a far way with your top priority leads, thanking them for stopping by and reminding them of any exclusive show offers.

Most exhibitors will also receive an attendee mailing list. If this offered to you, either free or paid, take advantage of the offer. Just expect that few show mailing lists include email addresses due to the CAN SPAM laws. A well-designed direct mail piece can help reinforce your brand message following a trade show.

When using direct mail, consider the call-to-action. You may encourage someone to visit another channel – a QR code to a landing page sign-up form or a social media activity to further engage with each lead. Find a creative way to keep the attendee experience interactive into their post-show journey with you.

From a marketing perspective, leverage your trade show participation for content, content, content! When anyone from my team attends a show, I require them to bring back blog article topics and session notes, photos of just about everything and even audio recordings I can use for future content. Publishing show-related content afterward is a great way to stay connected online with the show audience.

Put yourself in the attendee’s shoes. How would you like to be reached out to following a show? What would motivate you to stay in touch with an exhibitor? Never forget the human factor as you are planning your trade show marketing efforts.

Let’s chat about taking your trade show marketing to an experiential level. Plus, don’t miss our free trade show exhibitor guide below.

Trade Show Exhibitor Guide

Trade Show Exhibitor Guide

This free download is chock-full of tips for your next trade show – logistics, marketing, consumer engagements!

Download. It’s Free!