4 Crucial Steps to Trade Show Follow-up

How much time do you spend preparing to sponsor a trade show event?

If you’re in marketing, this question is probably a no-brainer: a lot. Preparing booth signage, finding session speakers, ensuring you have sufficient staff and that everyone is where you need them to be can mean a number of late nights (and maybe a few sleepless ones as well).

How much time do you spend on an event after it’s over?

If your answer to this question is a little less definite, keep reading. Post-event reporting and follow-up is as crucial a part of event marketing success as any of your pre-event preparations. If this sounds like very bad news to your tired brain, here’s the good news: marketing automation can greatly simplify this process. Let’s take a look at the following four steps for post-event follow-up with marketing automation.

Step 1: Import Leads

Remember all those great connections you made with potential prospects? Make sure you get all their information into your system. There are two ways that leads get added to your marketing automation system at trade shows: through landing pages or through a scanner.

If you’re relying solely on landing pages for data collection, leads will automatically be added to your database and attached to a campaign (in this case, “trade show XYZ”) once the form has been submitted — which means (good news) no manual import is needed post-event. For trade shows that use a scanning system for data collection, leads will need to be imported after the trade show ends. The information obtained from leads is stored by the company providing the scanners, and will either be sent to you post-trade show or will need to be retrieved by logging into the company’s system. Once you have the spreadsheet of lead data, it can be imported into your marketing automation system and attached to a campaign. Attaching leads to a campaign allows you to associate them with their point of origin, making it easier to attribute ROI (and making step four a cinch).

Step 2: Assign Leads

You’ve started the conversation—don’t let it die here! Once leads are imported, you can assign them to your sales reps for follow up. To assign leads, first check any notes that were made when the leads were imported or scanned into your system. Leads who spoke to specific sales reps at the trade show should be assigned out to the same sales rep to continue the relationship building process. Once those leads have been taken care of, the remaining leads can be distributed among your sales team.

Step 3: Set Up Drip Campaigns

Once you’ve assigned out all of the leads you collected at the trade show, you’re ready to start nurturing leads with relevant post-conference information via drip campaigns. Start with a short introductory email that reinforces how great it was to meet them at the conference. Restate your value proposition and tie it to some of the key takeaways from the trade show (maybe something you heard from one of the keynote speakers). Provide links to supporting materials like product demo videos and data sheets, and finally leave them with the offer to touch base if they’re interested in learning more. From there, drip valuable content (think blog posts, case studies, webinar recordings, etc.) to your prospects over time to keep your business top-of-mind, and keep topics as relevant to their specific interests and needs as possible.

Step 4: Record ROI

Because prospects are attached to campaigns within a marketing automation system, it’s easy to attribute revenue to its source. With this insight, you can see how many trade show-generated leads were converted to customers. You can use this information to calculate the ROI of your event presence and forecast future event attendance and budgets.

Looking for more tips for getting more out of events with marketing automation? Check out our free white paper, 9 Ways to Leverage Marketing Automation at Events!