Aftershow: Why the First 48 Hours After a Trade Show Are the Most Important
Everyone has their own reasons for participating in a trade show, expo, conference, or similar special event. It all comes down to money. But that is an oversimplification. At a show like CES, the organizers want to make money from booth sales. Some of the participants want to make quick sales to attendees.
Others are playing a longer game by searching for large buyers who will get their product in front of a broader audience. Still, others simply want to network and expand their Rolodex of potential customers and partners down the road. Many vendors are only after press coverage to get the news of their product out into the world.
But there is one thing that is common for all events and all participants. The first 48 hours after the event is over are the most crucial to your overall success. There are some very good reasons for this, and a few ways to take full advantage of that window. Here are three:
Crucial Details About Your Company and Product Are Lost
We humans suffer from short attention spans and poor memories for details. Contact information, for example, is full of exactly the kinds of details we are most prone to forget.
There are names, random numbers, addresses, and now email addresses and URLs. By the time a person is ready to get more information after seeing your product at a trade show, they have already forgotten almost everything that would allow them to find your website.
This is where a good PPC manager comes in. It makes it much easier for your target market to find you. Perhaps a person only remembers a few keywords about your product or service. The right PPC campaign immediately following your appearance at the conference will not only help them find you while they still remember enough to look for you, but it will give you instant credibility.
Your Event Has to Be a Part of a Continuing Conversation
If you think of the conference as something that ends on the final day, you are missing the real benefit of having gone.
You should start calling the leads you got from the conference immediately. That is when they have the most interest in your product or service that they are likely to have. In 72 hours, they have already corresponded with at least one of your competitors. You may not even be in the top three by that point.
Before you leave the conference, you should be writing thank you texts to the people who visited your booth and took a few minutes to talk to you. By the next business day, your contacts should have already received a personalized email providing more information, with an offer to answer more questions as they arise. The conference is not the end of the process, it is the beginning. The real work begins when the exhibit hall empties out.
Your Competitors Are Not Waiting
People who go to trade shows and conferences are looking to do business. You have a narrow window of opportunity to make sure they do business with you, and not the person who managed the booth next to yours. This from the Harvard Business Review:
"Firms that tried to contact potential customers within an hour of receiving a query were nearly seven times as likely to qualify the lead (which we defined as having a meaningful conversation with a key decision maker) as those that tried to contact the customer even an hour later—and more than 60 times as likely as companies that waited 24 hours or longer."
You don’t have 48 hours to get started. Leads start going cold within the hour. At least some of your competitors are smiling and dialing while you are taking a load off and recovering from the event. Do that, and you will have been better off staying at home.
In the first 48 hours, get your PPC campaign going. Continue the dialog. And be the first to get back to them.
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