The article, written by Molly McCormack Moody, goes over tips on how to leverage connections made in trade shows with our CEO Sarunas Budrikas. Read the full article below or in the original publication in FabShop Direct magazine.
Whether attending industry conferences brings you joy or dread, you can guarantee that you’ll walk away with at least a few new sales leads and networking contacts. Making sure you have a well-organized follow-up plan before you even walk into the conference hall can make a world of difference in the return on investment from these often costly events.
Sarunas Budrikas, CEO of digital marketing and web development company Angle 180, breaks down the best ways to utilize digital and traditional marketing mediums to help you get the most out of your conference efforts.
First, Budrikas suggests asking your digital team to create an event-specific landing page.
“Include a special offer only for those individuals that attended the event, something like a discount for a free evaluation or product demonstration,” he suggests. “Create urgency by making it a limited time offer and showcase only a particular set of services that will interest your new contact.”
You’ll be able to leverage this landing page for all forms of post-event follow up. Once you’ve organized all your contacts into specific areas of interest, start to reach out.
“Don’t just send them a robo letter,” Budrikas adds. “Write a personalized message and include useful data with relevant information. Offer to help first and then ask for a favor. Even if you know that the person is not interested, it’s a great opportunity to ask for referrals.”
For something a little more personal, tap into your LinkedIn network. If it looks like your contact is active on the platform, connect with them via LinkedIn’s InMail feature. Scroll through their profile beforehand so you can personalize the message by referencing a conversation you had at the conference, highlighting any mutual business contacts you may share, or noting common interests or scholastic similarities.
Budrikas also recommends a quick Google search. This is a great way to see if your contact is published, recently in the news, or participating in the same organizations as you or in ones you are thinking of joining. Keep things social by following them and their company on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. By connecting through social media platforms, you’ll get up-to-date information about what’s important to them and their business, allowing you to have more opportunities to connect on a personal level.
Utilize your company’s marketing efforts, like blog and social media posts or newsletters, to help push the relationship to the next level.
“Write a blog post on your site that mentions the people you meet and promote them,” Budrikas suggests. “They will promote you back by sharing the content with their audiences.”“Don’t just send them a robo letter,” Budrikas adds. “Write a personalized message and include useful data with relevant information. Offer to help first and then ask for a favor. Even if you know that the person is not interested, it’s a great opportunity to ask for referrals.”
Taking it offline
Budrikas suggests that sometimes the most impactful form of follow up is a handwritten thank-you note or a simple and quick phone call. “This will definitely grab your prospect’s attention,” he adds.
Don’t start the phone conversation with a hard pitch. Instead, try inviting the person to a networking event you’re attending or introducing them to someone that will be beneficial to their business. By connecting them to someone that will help them succeed, you’ll leave a lasting impression and most individuals will feel compelled to support you in the same manor.
The major takeaway when embarking on a new business relationship is to not add too much salesmanship upfront. It’s a lot of give and take.
“Don't push your sales tactics right away - make some friends. When the timing is right, they will remember you and you'll have your opportunity,” Budrikas says.