8 Creative Trade Show Ideas for Following Up with Leads

Creative Trade Show Ideas


You had some great creative trade show ideas, you prepared for it ,and you went.  You engaged with people at your booth and on social media. You gathered a whole slew of emails, and now it’s over. As your trade show season is coming to a close, it’s time for the real work to begin. Many of you probably came home with a long list of new leads, and the challenge facing you now is following up with all of them. If you’re struggling with your follow-up strategy, know that you are not alone. Implementing a few of these steps will get you well on your way to making sure your show was worth the time and money.

Plan Ahead

The number one way to create a successful follow up strategy is to plan ahead. No matter what your follow up campaign looks like, have it ready to launch before you even step foot into the trade show. You’re going to want to do everything you can to have the upper hand over your competition and a  prompt and professional response can help your company stand out. Aim at starting your email marketing campaign within the first two weeks after the trade show. Then send out a relevant email once every week. Gradually decrease the number of emails over five to six months. Track who opens and who clicks on your emails, and follow up with those that are most interested.


Segment Your Contacts

If you already have all your content prepared, all you’ll have to worry about when you get back from the trade show is segmenting your list. You’ll need to do this right away. Segment your leads into three to five general categories according to what is most important to you. Is it important that all your contacts be in one specific area? Create a list that is segmented by geographical location. Or you could segment your list based on their interactions with you at the show. Did they stop at your booth? Did they make an appointment? Were they just a general show attendee? You’ll want to create a different email for each of these groups because they’re all expecting something different from you.


Track Everything

As mentioned above, it’s important for you to track the people who engage with your emails or content. You may very well come home with a list of thousands of new leads, and unless you’re a big corporation with a full time telemarketing staff, there’s no way you can possibly follow up with every single one of them. Tracking who opens and clicks on your emails can help you narrow that list down to those people who are really interested in your company. Aim your most intense follow up at this group.


Thank Them

If you’re not sure how to start your email marketing campaign, try starting with a thank you email.  Sending a thank you email gets the conversation started. Is there a big event that happened during the show you want to mention? By bringing attention to a shared experience, you automatically make a connection with your audience. One of our clients once left a large show during a major storm. We made sure to mention the storm and how we hoped everyone made it home safely in our first email..


Traditional Mail

We’re an inbound marketing agency, so we’re really into email marketing. Another way to augment your trade show follow up campaign is with a mail out campaign, as in traditional snail mail. This is a great way to reach out to your customers without having to worry about being labeled as spam. Prepare this before you go to the show. Then once you’ve collected your all your contact information, mail it out to your leads one to two weeks after the event.


Phone Calls

We mentioned above, unless you have a massive telemarketing department, following up with thousands of people can be an impossible task. Go back to your segmented list and notes you made during the show and make phone calls to your top prospects. Write a script for the phone call with a clear goal in mind. Your goal may be to find out more information or to schedule a demo. Keep your goal in mind, make it simple and make the phone calls.


Create Content

What questions did you hear repeated over and over during the event? How can you answer those questions through social media, a blog post, a whitepaper or a webinar? Set out to create content based on the needs of the customers you met during the show. Include links to this content in your schedule of follow up emails. You may also mention it in your direct mail pieces or phone call follow ups. Make sure your website is a place where your leads can follow up and learn more.


Review. Review. Review.

Conduct a debriefing of your staff immediately after the show. Talk about the good and bad. Does your booth need improvement? What about your marketing materials? Is this really the market of people you want to reach? Come back again in six weeks and review your follow up process. Are you any closer to closing any deals? Why or why not? Finally, as you approach the time to commit to this show again, do a final review. What was your close rate on leads from this show? What was your total income vs cost? Does it make sense to attend this show again?


The trade show gave you the opportunity to meet new people and to get your company out there. Now, it’s time to reap the benefits. We know from experience that these steps work. Use them to create a follow up strategy that will let you help you find those highly qualified leads and make the most out of your time at the show.

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