Scenario: You’ve spent the past three days at a trade show. You were really good about not answering emails on your phone while on the exhibition floor. You ran a lead generation promotion that brought in double the leads over last year.
But now it’s Monday. You’re back in the office and your inbox is overflowing. You’ve downloaded the lead list, but there isn’t possibly enough time to do lead qualification research on all of them—and certainly not enough time to make calls. How will you ensure consistent lead follow-up?
Hopefully you’ve already developed an automated lead nurture program designed to move any new prospects through the sales funnel. If so, you can use the format you have already created and the only step you need to take upon returning from the show is entering your leads into your CRM. If you haven’t constructed a lead nurture program for trade show leads, here’s what one might include:
- A few days after the show, send an email thanking the prospect for stopping by your booth. Remind him or her of a product featured at the booth, and include a photo.
- After another week has passed, offer your first piece of content – something small, like a tip sheet or infographic.
- If, in a few days, the prospect hasn’t opened that email (#2), resend it under a different subject line.
- If the prospect downloads that piece of content, send an email a week later with a link to a blog post; that blog post should include a CTA to download a more substantive piece of content such as an eBook.
- If the prospect does not download the second piece of content, send an email summarizing and linking directly to that free download.
- Send two additional emails offering blog posts of interest over the next month.
- After a month, send an invitation to download a white paper.
- Prospects who download the white paper are most likely ready to engage your sales team—even if they aren’t quite ready to buy. Call these prospects if you haven’t already.*
- Beyond this point, consider sending these prospects your regular email newsletter.
*The right time to call your prospects is going to be different for each. A lead from a company you’ve been chasing should be called approximately 10 days after the show. If a lead has yet to be qualified and has not downloaded any content from your emails, you may want to wait six weeks to call, depending on your availability and corporate sales processes. But whether you’re chasing a whale or a minnow, one call is never enough. Research shows it takes an average of 8-10 touches to reach a new prospect. A combination of emails, voicemails and multiple call attempts at different times is ideal.
By using an automated lead nurture program as part of your trade show follow-up strategy, you can keep prospects engaged until they’re ready to buy. For more tips, read our blog post on succeeding with an inbound marketing approach.
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