Part 4 – Follow up continues the momentum gained at the show
As a team, do a post mortem on the show as soon as possible. What worked? What didn’t work? Were there things that you could have been better prepared for? Did you discover things that need to be a part of next year’s plan? Get it down now. Document the thoughts right away so you don’t forget and have the information handy when pre-conference planning begins next year.
Follow up with every person with whom you spoke. If you used an information card to gather prospect data, you have their email and address. Send them a letter or postcard thanking them for stopping by, asking if there is anything you can do for them, and invite them to contact you if they need anything. Send an email as well.
Segment those leads information cards. Obviously, take a look at the hottest opportunities and get that process in place. Get the warm leads added to your nurture database. Take the unqualified leads and look through to see if there is an alliance or referral partner who could help them. This is “giving to get” – don’t give mindlessly, but as you go through the cards and see a need that can be addressed by someone in your referral network, then certainly give all parties a heads up.
Speaking of alliance partners, don’t forget to follow up with potential alliance partners that you met with at the show. If good ideas were discussed on how to work together going forward – don’t let that creativity and enthusiasm wither on the vine – look to get started quickly, don’t lose the momentum.
Part of your plan was to speak to writers and press people covering the show. Is there any follow-up that you promised them? Take care of it. Map out a plan to stay in touch with these very important influencers and build on the relationship you began at the show.
If you attended any breakout sessions or learned any valuable tips and information that would be of interest to your customers, be sure to start outlining the newsletter articles and blog posts that will include this information. Then get writing; your newsletter and blog need the content and your customers will appreciate that you are looking out for them.
Following these steps will dramatically raise your visibility at the trade show and keep your brand memorable long after the conference has ended and will increase the ROI associated with the show. Nothing beats face to face interaction and a conference provides a great setting in which to begin or strengthen relationships. Work all phases to make your next conference your most productive conference.