Email Marketing to Trade Show Attendees

One of the most enduring ways to reach new customers is through trade show marketing. Unlike print and direct mail marketing, spending on trade shows continues to increase. For a marketer, visitors to your booth can potentially be a gold mine. However, keep in mind that the vast majority of attendees will only show mild interest in what you’re selling; few will be highly engaged in your product. As a result, only those few will be open to engaging with your business. So, after the trade show is over, it’s important to continue the relationship with the customers that did show interest in your products or services.

Most email service providers, including ReachMail, require that you have permission from your email subscribers before sending an email. This opt-in permission prevents spamming and allows businesses to grow a list of customers that are actually interested in their company. Furthermore, opt-in email lists are significantly more effective in reaching a company’s target customer.

Receiving a business card at a trade show booth is not nearly as strong of a permission as a customer personally entering his or her email address online. However, if an attende at a trade show offers up his or her business card, it is likely that he or she is interested in your business and would like more information. Therefore, it is reasonable to believe that receiving a business card is permissive and constitutes a valid opt-in, albeit provisional.

Here are some best practices to incorporate into your email campaign strategy following a trade show:



  • Prepare drafted content for outreach follow-up that features a call-to-action offering engagement opportunities. If you’re launching an email campaign, consider a tool like ReachMail which allows you to create and send free email marketing campaigns.


One Week After

  • Make contact soon after the tradeshow. If you wait longer than a few weeks, the customer’s memory might fade and/or interest is lost.


  • Keep the email content related to your interaction with the customer. For example, if a vendor expressed interest in a particular solution, a general email will annoy them.


  • Segregate top prospects and contact them with a personalized email directly from a sales contact referencing their particular challenge, and emphasize how your solution can help.


  • For more general contacts, tighten up and finalize the rough draft that you prepared prior to the trade show. Again, the emphasis is on engaging the customer with tactics such as webinars, surveys, personalized product demos etc.


  • In all emails, offer an opt-out option so you don’t continue to contact any disinterested customers.


One Month After

  • Send the attendees a sample email newsletter and ask them to formally subscribe.


  • Download and export any emails that engaged with either of your email campaigns, as these recipients are safe for you to continue your outreach. For those emails that have not engaged in your campaigns, take them off of your subscription list. Further contact could generate spam complaints that will compromise your deliverability.


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