Want to Reap the Most Trade Show Benefits? Adopt These 7 Email Follow-Up Tips

Marketers responsible for all aspects of trade shows often say the process reminds them of planning a wedding. Pre-show planning takes months as booths are refurbished, collateral is developed, promotional plans are set in stone and then there’s that last minute rush to make sure product or services showcased at the event are ready to go. Dare we add set-up, drayage company hassles and getting staff housed and transported?

Given this daunting process, it can be easy to put much focus on post-show communications on a back burner. But leads developed during the show are even more important than the way the exhibit and associated activities come together. Yet about
90 percent of exhibiting companies falter, at least to some degree, when it comes to following up.” say analysts at Exhibitor Online.

By putting into place a standard corporate protocol that begins with debriefing staff after shows end, you won’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you take your show on the road. These 7 tips can help you formulate your company’s strategy. Play your cards right and you not only make contact with folks stopping at your booth, but those who didn’t.


1. Design an all-purpose Email template…

… that can be updated to meet the goals you set for each show. Like press releases, having boiler-plate copy as the standard bearer allows you to leave in place the essentials: design, logo, call-to-action and color palette. You fill in the blanks to insert the proper marketing message.

All-purpose “thanks for visiting our booth” copy starts the ball rolling. Need help composing your Email? Find templates here: https://www.sales-i.com/11-sales-email-templates-boost-prospecting, and borrow ideas so you don’t have to start from scratch.


2. Don’t lollygag

The world moves at the speed of light. If you put off post-show contact too long, recipients could mutter, “Who are these people?” before hitting the delete button. Mention the name of the show early in your email. Tell those who missed stopping at your booth what they missed and why they’re still on your radar.

If you took notes, use a discussion you had with a prospect to immediately connect you to their reason for visiting. See a couple of great examples here if you need inspiration: https://www.copper.com/blog/trade-show-follow-up-emails. Expect your email to stand out if you beat your competitors to the follow-up punch.


3. Personalize your Email

You did capture the names of the people who came to your trade show booth, right? Your job is to make it easy for them to respond once you’ve caught their attention by using their names in prominent places within the email.

A great way to do that is to remind the recipient of something she saw so a connection is made. At the end of your message, add the name of the rep staffing the booth and his personal phone number.


4. What’s in it for me?

It’s the question that forms the foundation of any effort to turn a show attendee into a client or customer. What will you give responders if they contact you following your initial email probe that will intrigue or interest them?

This “Time” magazine article isn’t new, but it’s as relevant today as it was in 2013: What’s the psychology behind promises of free stuff that push potential customers to respond? Read this short, to-the-point piece to find out: https://business.time.com/2013/06/24/5-ways-companies-win-by-giving-stuff-away/.


5. Respect the recipient’s time

Nothing turns off a busy person more than an email message that’s closer to a dissertation than it is to a marketing pitch. Marketer Neil Patel recommends techniques that grab attention without wasting time. Get to the point fast using dynamic words, short sentences and logic.

What do you think about this lead sentence written by Patel? “I will sacrifice one hour of my time to give you a free plan to double your income or give you 100 dollars.” As Patel reminds his faithful followers, brains want answers. Your job is to provide them!


6. Don’t bite off more than you can chew!

A successful trade show does more than attract new clients, hype sales and introduce your brand. It can also pump up the egos of sales professionals, so they return to home base euphoric. But this temporary state of elation could trigger the creation of a first-contact email that’s over the top. It happens.

Instead, the email should include a single offer and a single call-to-action. If you overdo it and clutter up the email with too many options, your prospect could be overwhelmed.

Dr. Liraz Bargalit, writing for “Psychology Today,” states that too many choices overwhelm the brain to such a degree, it may be impossible to make a decision (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/behind-online-behavior/201410/the-psychology-choice). Keep that in mind.


7. And, don’t be annoying

Just in case you haven’t discovered this by now, email follow-up can be a delicate dance. Get too clever and it’s easy to shoot yourself in the foot. Send something bland and recipients could nod off. Some of the common mistakes made by marketers when they send out follow up emails after trade shows are:

  • Don’t offer a perk that is so convoluted, the recipient has to work hard for that reward.
  • Cut generic, boring phraseology. “Just following up” in the subject line has been known to sabotage deals.
  • No stalking, please. Recipients ignoring a first attempt won’t be any more receptive if you resend the email.
  • Aretha Franklin wasn’t the only person demanding respect. Give plenty of it to the recipients of your emails.
  • No pushy or aggressive moves either. Ditto passive-aggressive emails. Not sure what constitutes these tricky phrases? Read this Inc. article and strike them from your post-show emails: https://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/18-passive-aggressive-email-phrases-heres-what-they-really-mean.html.
  • Ditch “Friendly Reminder” lingo, say Fast Company marketers. They’re neither friendly nor do they work as reminders (https://www.fastcompany.com/40434562/everyone-secretly-hates-your-friendly-reminder-email).
  • No copycats. When you copy everyone under the sun for no reason other than to grab the attention of those other than your email target, you do nothing more than clog mailboxes and lessen your chance of response.


Now, go forth and vanquish that lead list, using all 7 tools to increase your chance of turning leads into loyal customers.