Foolproof Follow-Up: Keep your eyes on the road ahead!
Every ambitious business owner knows it can be tricky to keep your eyes on the road ahead – especially when a day in the life of a startup can be time-consuming enough to begin with. Between building brand awareness wherever you can and keeping your business running like a well-oiled machine, it’s no surprise that many startups are too preoccupied to chase leads the way they’d like to.
Event marketing offers startups a chance to release their business into the wild, exhibiting alongside like-minded companies and creating serendipity with any number of key contacts. This unique opportunity to engage with both attendees and fellow exhibitors makes finding leads easier than it’s ever been before. But once the day of the event is over, leads need to be followed up or they’ll be lost – so how do you execute an effective follow-up strategy?
Today we’re giving you all the tools you’ll need to transform promising new connections into lucrative leads.
Tip #1: Debrief your team
Keeping your team in the loop offers a welcome safety net when it comes to follow-up time. Providing a comprehensive breakdown of the event experience to those who didn’t attend, and assessing how your business was represented with those who did, will guarantee no information is lost from one phase to the next.
Top of the agenda should be an examination of any leads gathered during the event, exploring any benefits they may bring going forward and creating a plan of action for making the next, pivotal means of contact. Ensure that anyone who’ll be involved in this part of the process is filled in on any leads generated at the event, as well as the nature of your initial conversation with them and the particular value you see in maintaining a relationship. That way, you can count on informed and targeted follow-up whoever takes responsibility for making contact.
Tip #2: Choose your weapon
There’s no such thing as ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to post-event follow-up – and to successfully convert connections into clients, you’ll need to make sure each lead is approached in the most appropriate way. With traditional outreach channels like phone and email now making way for new-age alternatives such as Twitter and LinkedIn, you might want to trade a lengthy marketing email for a snappy and succinct tweet, or start with a request to connect. Make sure there’s some rationale behind whichever channel you choose and, more importantly, that the message fits the format.
- Phone: the ultimate no-nonsense approach. For bonus follow-up points, try their mobile straight off rather than leaving a message with the receptionist.
- Email: your best bet if your first message will be a lengthier one. Keep your subject line explicit and the email itself as succinct and straight-to-the-point as possible.
- Twitter: an absolute failsafe. Follow their personal account, send a friendly tweet to remind them you exist and build momentum until it’s time to move to direct messages.
- LinkedIn: the ideal starting point for a professional relationship. Start by requesting to connect, then send them a ‘smart casual’ LinkedIn message to stay on their radar.
Tip #3: Make it count
Late and lacklustre follow-up attempts are destined to crash and burn – so the key is to move quickly and make a powerful impression. 3-4 days after the event is the standard time window, since sooner can seem overly eager and later looks like an afterthought. Follow-up isn’t an exact science, though – and to some extent, your decision needs to be based on what feels right.
The act of following up is not, in itself, a win. Guaranteeing that your leads are treated on an individual basis is essential, as this will show prospective clients that they’re more than just the next name on your follow-up list. Make a specific reference to your last conversation and ask them a relevant question if the opportunity is there – this may not be the ultimate goal of the exchange but it’s an ideal way to maintain common ground and get them talking. From there, the relationship is yours to define.
Ready for the great chase? By combining tried and tested communicative strategies with good old-fashioned TLC, any startup can use follow-up best practices to nurture their leads the right way.