Sales Tips

The Keys to Writing Trade Show Follow-Up Emails That Stand Out (with Templates)

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Dann Albright

Picture this:

You’ve just finished a few days at a trade show (as an attendee, not a rep).

You saw dozens of product demos and chatted with more sales reps than you can remember. You get home, bleary-eyed, and check your email.

Your inbox is overflowing with sales pitches. There’s at least one from every sales rep you talked to. And several from reps you’ve never heard of.

But then you see one email that stands out. “Oh yeah, I remember her!”, you think. You open the email, and it’s not a sales pitch. It’s just a friendly invitation for a call.

Now think.

As a sales rep, wouldn’t you rather send that last email than be part of the first barrage?

Trade show follow-up emails can be very effective in setting up a conversation with a lead. But they’re also easy to get wrong.

Here’s how you can stand out from the crowd with great follow-ups:

Start preparing for follow-ups before the show ends.

Your trade show follow-up process should start during the show; your emails will be more effective if you collect the right pieces of information while you’re talking to prospects.

Here’s the best thing you can do:

Take notes during the show. Those notes will help your follow-up email stand out.

You might like to think that you’re very memorable. But if you’ve been to a trade show, you know that people are constantly bombarded. So you’ll need to help them remember you.

And it’s going to be easier if you’ve jotted down a few notes.

Let’s say you attended the same presentation as the person you’re emailing. Make a note to ask what they thought about it. Or if they told you about a particular problem that they’re trying to solve for their company, jot down what they said.

Anything that will help your lead remember meeting and talking with you will be helpful.

The important thing here is to take these notes as soon as possible. You’re not going to remember them at the end.

If you’re using a CRM to track your trade-show leads, make a note in the notes field.

copper crm allows you to make notes under each lead's profile
CRMs should have various fields for you to record different types of information about your prospects.

Or carry a notebook. Use a note-taking app. Do whatever you need to record quick notes about people you meet.

These notes can also help you stay organized and prioritize your follow-ups.

If you met several hundred people, tackling the trade show follow-up email process can be intimidating. Having notes and categories streamlines the process.

Now let’s take a look at how you can use that information to craft a great trade show follow-up email:

Write subject lines that get opened.

Your lead won’t remember you if they don’t open your email.

If you’ve ever done email prospecting, you know how difficult it can be to get people to click on your email.

The art and science of writing great subject lines could fill a full book. So we won’t go over all of it here (check out our guide to writing sales email subject lines for an introduction).

Your goal for a trade show follow-up subject line is simple: get your prospect to click.

Take a look at these “from” names and subject lines:

Darrius from JeffTech | Following up after the Teletech trade show

Jefferson Technologies | Can we schedule a quick call?

Which would you be more likely to open? The first immediately ties your name to an event that the recipient has been to. The other one looks like an unsolicited sales email.

Short subject lines that get right to the point win every time. The sweet spot is 6–10 words, according to a study by Retention Science. (And using your real name in the From field is always the right choice.)

Send your follow-up emails at the right time.

In addition to using an attention-grabbing subject line, it’s a good idea to think about the timing of your email.

Many less-savvy sales reps send emails immediately after the trade show, which means your prospect is going to be getting hit hard with a lot of pitches.

Wait a few days before you send your follow-up email. It gives your lead a chance to travel back home, get resituated, and give some thought to what they learned at the show.

It’s the perfect time for reaching out.

Keep your emails short and to the point.

It’s tempting to throw out a reminder of who you are, pitch your products, talk about the problems that you can solve, and try to set up a phone call.

Resist that temptation.

You’ll get much better response rates if you keep your emails short. You might use something like this:

trade show follow-up email sample template

It’s short, to-the-point, and easy to read. It’s not just a pitch.

This kind of email gets responses.

If your lead opens the message and sees a wall of text, they might hit Delete without reading it. And that doesn’t do you any good.

Let’s look at some of the other parts of crafting a great trade show follow-up email:

Remind your lead who you are.

I’ve mentioned this a couple times now, but it’s worth reiterating. Make sure that your lead says “Oh yeah, I remember you!” when they read your email.

If they don’t, they’ll feel like they’re getting a cold pitch. And that’s much harder to do well.

Again, it doesn’t have to be anything that you made a soul-searching connection over. Just something that will jog their memory and remind them of the conversation you had.

If you had a very brief interaction, you might have to get a little creative:

trade show follow-up creative sales email sample template

This way, even if your prospect doesn’t remember you, they’ll understand why you remember them. It’s a more personal way to say “You might not remember me, but . . .”

You might also consider creating an email signature that includes a small headshot to remind people of what you look like.

Give your prospects an irresistible offer.

There’s no better way to grab someone’s attention than by offering something for free.

In our example email above, we included a free ebook. That’s a great way to build goodwill with your prospect.

And while your freebie shouldn’t just be information about your company (who wants to read that?), it might get your prospect back to your website.

If the resource also has a link to a page where your lead can request information or set up a call, even better.

Just remember not to be pushy about getting them to download it.

How should you follow up with cold leads after a trade show?

There will probably be times when you get someone’s email address even though they didn’t give it to you. Maybe a colleague grabbed it or the organizer of the trade show gave it to you.

Should you email that person?

In most cases, it’s better not to. It’s difficult to send a trade show follow-up that stands out if you’ve never met the person.

Of course, there are exceptions. If you know enough about the person to be confident that they’ll want to talk to you, it’s worth a shot.

Just be open about how you got their contact information and what you expect from them.

trade show follow-up email sample template for cold leads

Think about how you’d want to be emailed after a trade show.

Like any other form of sales, the best way to write a trade show follow-up email is to think about how you’d want someone else to write one to you.

Would you like to be assaulted with pitches immediately? No.

How about receiving a novel-length list of features and services? Certainly not.

You want a message from a real person. And that’s exactly what you should aim to send to your trade show prospects.

Once you’ve had an interaction or two, then you can start switching to sales mode. Here are a few tips for sales follow-up emails that get conversions.