With a well-earned sigh of relief, you leave the exhibit floor of the annual B2B tech tradeshow. Was it CES, Automate, Embedded World, SIAT, PackExpo, ProMat, AI Expo, Mobile World Congress or RSA? Despite post-show exhaustion, mixed with a bit of relief, you can’t help but ask: what about the leads? They are full of potential, gleaned from hours of demos and pitches. But chances are, they now reside in digital limbo in your CRM―or worse in your pockets. Your company’s sales pipeline depends on what your marketing and sales teams do next ―and what you did pre-show to prepare.
Technical buyers have complex sales journeys that can span a year or more. Handshakes and one-on-one chats are a good start, but how can you keep your company top of mind while you help each lead learn more about your product?
The following seven steps help you build your post-show lead nurturing campaign on a foundation of valuable content, not AI-generated word salad. Along the way, this process ensures you nurture the right people at the right time with the right messaging. It lets you reach out, use multiple channels and not be afraid to take a hyper-personalized approach. And you can measure your results so you can do better next time.
Let’s take a closer look at this almost magic process:
- Develop content. It all starts with preparing in advance high-quality thought-leadership content that show off your products. Videos, images, blog posts and case studies have the highest ROI, followed by podcasts and infographics, according to HubSpot State of Marketing Trends 2023. Less common types of types of content, such as self-assessments and calculators, also engage leads and gather valuable data about the needs of their business. In addition to post-show lead nurturing, this content contributes to organic search visibility and non-tradeshow lead generation—a blog or landing page optimized for an SEO keyword increases site traffic and attracts the right leads.
- Segment leads. Your lead list contains distinct audiences, each with different needs. Segment the post-show leads, so the content you deliver through B2B lead nurturing emails is relevant to their interests and timeframes. Are you selling to engineers or executives? Influencers or buyers? Do some of these people in specific markets have unique needs? Tailor your messages for each group, and they will see themselves in your content.
- Hit them while they remember you. Reach out right away, ideally within 3-5 days of the tradeshow for the hottest leads and media opportunities—or even the same day if you made a strong personal connection. Don’t wait. If you promised anything specific to any of your leads, deliver what you promised, quickly.
- Use multi-channel messaging. Craft messages and stories that differentiate your company and resonate with your buyers and segmented audiences. Repurposing your content across multiple channels maximizes your ROI. But always consider your audience: Engineers are a tough bunch to sell to. In all your communications with potential B2B tech buyers, focus on collaboration and compassion, which means you must always deliver value, not fluff.
- Keep the thunder rolling. Lead nurturing is a marathon, not a sprint. Use multiple channels across multiple weeks to reinforce a consistent message as part of an overall conversation. Spread out the touchpoints over several months to increase your ability to stay top-of-mind and build a rapport. Channels can include organic LinkedIn, sponsored LinkedIn posts, display ads, email messages, YouTube videos, technology PR outreach, and more. An HCI integrated marketing campaign—which included media outreach as well as paid search and social media advertising—helped the A3 industry trade association exceed ambitious conference registration goals to achieve the most attendees ever at the A3 Robotic Grinding and Finishing Conference.
- Use an unconventional touch. Feel free to go beyond email blasts and get creative, putting in more effort with warmer leads. Do you perk up when you see a personalized email? Dig into your lead notes, consider their pain points and personalize content accordingly. Refer to any human-to-human moments you shared—you know, when your drink spilled and you had to mop your shirt—and follow through in an unexpected way via a private message on LinkedIn, an email written from the heart, or even a video message. At HCI, for instance, we even send hand-written thank you notes and Starbuck cards. Others mail trinkets (crazy, right?) or pick up the phone for high-potential leads.
- Count your hard numbers. Lead qualification and metrics demand measurement. Lead scoring identifies high-potential leads based on behavior, so marketing can qualify leads before handing them over to sales. Tracking and measuring your campaign’s performance helps you analyze what worked—and what didn’t—so you can perform better next time. Focus on the metrics, such as content downloads and product page visits, that indicate your contact has deeper interest and buying intent.
Perhaps most importantly, as you sift through your post-tradeshow leads, have compassion for your buyers. Their needs must be at the center of every lead nurturing campaign. HCI Marketing and Communications can help you. We come alongside our B2B tech clients to collaboratively uncover buyer motivators, plan strategically, and execute consistently. Together we can build your brand awareness, establish credibility, and generate and nurture your leads.
When is your next tradeshow? It’s good to start brainstorming and creating content at least a few months ahead of when you head to the show. Reach out to us to get more value out of your next tradeshow.