Whether you attend one trade show a year or ride the wave of many print-related events, it’s important to capture details while they are fresh. Over my years as a magazine publisher and marketing strategist, I’ve expanded my post-show arsenal to the three must-do activities below.
I hope these tips make the process quicker, more meaningful, and more fun!
Common knowledge: Write notes on people’s business cards to remember information about the individual.
Publisher’s tip: Take a photo of the person holding their business card. This is an amazingly simple way to put the face with the name. Next year, when show season rolls around, you can review the photos and remind yourself of people you might see.
Strategist’s tip: Take a video of the business card and narrate everything you can remember about the person. Tag it with keywords. Also, look the person up on LinkedIn and send a personalized invitation to connect. Set a date in your CRM or calendar to follow up within 60 days — sooner if they are a prospect.
Common knowledge: After the event, send a card or email. Only after you generously offer to help them in some way should you diplomatically let the person know you are open to doing business (no spam!).
Publisher’s tip: Include an expert article or resource that follows up on a conversation you had. It’s extra special if you print it out (always include attribution) and mail it, along with a cheerful note and your contact info. Don’t send an article that has been around the block. Send something with a new angle, or with lots of helpful information in one place (like a resource list). There are so many smart, fresh people in our industry. Find one of the new expert voices instead of the same-old, same-old.
Marketer’s tip: Make a coffee date with individuals in your area to have a mutual debriefing session. This is really fun, and it doubles the amount of info you each come away with. Prepare something cool they can put in their company report about the show. Depending on the person, I might assemble a slideshow of trade show photos, write a one-page executive summary, or do a bulleted list of equipment from the event that caught my eye. If the person had to stay in their booth throughout the show, your insight from the show floor will be appreciated.
Common knowledge: Go through your trade show takeaways when you return to work.
Publisher’s tip: Sort literature and trade show souvenirs before you leave the event. Recycle anything that’s not going home with you. Set up three bags: Sales and networking opportunities go in the first bag, so you can follow up within a few days of the event. Items and info to be passed to your salespeople or production department go in the second bag. Cool things to look at in a leisurely manner, in the third bag. You will appreciate this step when you return. You’ll be able to open the first bag and process it (enter into CRM, connect on social media, make appointments, etc.) right away without getting dazed and confused.
Strategist’s tip: Share the knowledge! Write a report to your higher-ups and let them know what you found interesting at the show. Mention that you debriefed with other attendees and exhibitors. List names and titles of influential and impressive people. This really helps when you put in a request to attend future events. You will show you are a person who can connect with useful industry colleagues and return with high-quality, high-value information that the entire company can benefit from.
In addition, if the production folks in your company did not attend the event, share information about new technology, trends, new ways to do old things, price points, running speeds and special features, equipment literature, industry reports, and video links.
It’s true that managing the pile of information after a trade show or event is daunting. I’ve learned to keep it simple, get it done efficiently, and share what I learn. Having a plan makes it faster and fun!
Sandy Hubbard is a Marketing Strategist who helps printers take their businesses to the next level. She builds customized print marketing programs that help your company grow. Her philosophy is that any program needs to be sustainable over the long haul, with clear and calm guidance, reliable support, affordable tools, your own team of trained employees…and NO stress!
Find @sandyhubbard on Twitter every Wednesday at 4 PM ET, co-hosting #PrintChat with host Deborah Corn of @PrintMediaCentr — Everyone is invited to this lively online discussion for printers and those who love print!