How to send the perfect event follow up email

Exhibiting at trade shows and events provides you with an introduction to a large number of potential customers. But it’s just the start of your relationship with each contact: once the trade show comes to an end, it’s essential that you capitalise on the positive first impression you made at the booth, by following up in a timely, personal manner. We’re looking at the essential components of the perfect event follow up email, to help you and your events team master the art of the post-event email.

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1) Timing

In 2015, Exhibitor Online found that 38% of event exhibitors took longer than six days to follow up with their event leads – and a further 40% took between three and five days.

But when should you send your event follow up email? In short: the sooner, the better.

According to InsideSales, 50% of buyers choose the vendor that responds first – so it’s clear that the speed of your follow up email is crucial. The longer you wait to follow up with a new contact, the less likely you are to ever hear from that person again. You want to get your email into their inbox while the trade show is still fresh in their mind.

2) Content

What are you sending in your follow up email? Many companies rely on a very generic email, that doesn’t say much at all: a link to their product catalogue, or a simple ‘Hi there, we met at [insert trade show name here]’.

Sending a generic follow up email essentially re-starts your relationship with that prospect. While they may have had an interesting, insightful conversation with a rep on your stand, a generic follow up ignores all that.

Instead, you should aim to make your follow up email a continuation of your conversation on the stand. Maybe they expressed interest in a specific product – if so, send them the information on that product, not your whole catalogue (or at least point them in the direction of the page that’s most relevant to them).

3) Personalisation

Hopefully it goes without saying, but personalising your follow up emails is essential. With all the technology available to us, it’s no longer acceptable to send a generic, anonymous email to a prospect – someone you hope will turn into a paying customer. They deserve better than just ‘Hi there’.

In fact, personalising your follow up emails after an event should go further than just the recipient’s name and company. During your conversation on the stand, you should have collected additional context about your prospects, so you can add more details into your email.

4) Sender

Who sends your event follow up emails? In an ideal world, each prospect would receive a follow up email from the person they spoke with on your stand. If your team on the stand aren’t the right people to do your follow up – for example, if your event leads get handed over to a dedicated sales team – then it’s important that they mention that when speaking to prospects during the event, to set expectations.

Whoever sends your follow up emails, at the very least you should avoid sending from a generic ‘info’ or ‘marketing’ email address: it’s too impersonal.

The perfect event follow up email

When your organisation invests a huge amount of time and budget exhibiting at events, make sure your follow up is up to scratch.

Done well, your event follow up email is the natural next stage of your conversation with a prospect, that started on the show floor. Done poorly, it brings that conversation to a screeching halt, and makes it clear that prospect is just one of hundreds receiving that exact same email.

For more on perfecting your event follow up, check out our recent podcast: