2022 trade shows are going to be about taking all of the things we’ve learned during the pandemic, like the acceleration of digital, and bringing it all together for can’t-miss experiences.

Downsized trade shows will come in many forms—some will turn toward creating more exclusive, tiered offerings, while others will take their shows on the road for increasingly distributed and localized versions and communities.

If you have attended any trade shows recently, you might start getting promotion emails following up on your visit.

As an exhibitor, this is the easiest way to keep in the mind of the visitor while he/she is still looking for a product or service.

However, you mustn’t confuse Trade Show to be Instant Engagement.

Just because someone attends a trade show does not mean that every organization in attendance is relevant to her, or that she is eager to receive newsletters, the latest product updates or a sales call.

Too many companies wrongly assume trade show attendance equals instant engagement.

5 Steps to follow up with tradeshow leads
If you don’t want to be banished to the spam file or voicemail, use these five steps when following up with trade show prospects:

1. Invite or welcome them to your email list.
Explain how you attained their names, make it personal and connect back to their motivation. Example: “I hope you enjoyed the conference as much as I did. We really believe in (core event values).”

If they chatted with a sales professional, reference that conversation. Do what you can to show what you have in common (primarily, the event) and why they should engage with your company.

2. Create event-related content.
Again, the event is what connects you. Write articles and blogs about it. Interview the event’s subject matter experts.

Bring along a reporter. Demonstrate your value to attendees by providing a fresh perspective and helping them assimilate even more knowledge.

After all, that’s why they attend conferences and trade shows. Use this content as part of a nurturing campaign, as outlined below.

3. Nurture first, Don’t sell
Only 5% to 15% of inquiries are ready to speak to Sales, so the rest require nurturing until they fit your universal lead definition (ULD). (Don’t have one? Make one. Find out how here: “Universal Lead Definition: Why 61% of B2B marketers are wasting resources and how they can stop.”)

Develop a lead-nurturing campaign to guide prospects through the marketing funnel until they’re ready to speak to Sales.

Find out how to do that here: “Lead Nurturing: You could be losing as much as 80% of your sales; here’s how you keep them.”

4. Encourage your salespeople to make personal connections.
Make sure your sales professionals individually follow up with the people they spoke with, whether that’s through sending an email, connecting on LinkedIn, or following them on Twitter. People build relationships with people, not companies.

5. Keep them engaged, even if they’re never going to be a customer.
Don’t discard attendees who are not a fit; they could become a champion of your brand, or possibly a partner or collaborator.

Engage them by developing a nurturing campaign that will keep them abreast of what’s happening in your organization. Invite them to subscribe to an online newsletter, attend online events, or connect via social media.

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