Trade Show Marketing: How to Run a Successful Trade Show from Pre-Planning to the End Game

Around 49% of those that attend trade shows are actively looking to spend money. Thus, if you can get yourself in front of these people, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to make some money.

But if you have little experience with trade shows, you may not know how to market your business at these kinds of events. How do you get people to visit your booth? Is there a way you can get people to leave their contact details?

Here are some trade show marketing tips that’ll guide you towards trade show success. If your trade show skills are currently non-existent, these tips should help turn you into a trade show superstar.

Let’s begin!

Set Clear and Actionable Goals

If you want to achieve success with trade shows, you first need to set some clear goals. Now, the goals you have for the trade show are going to vary, depending on the kind of company you run.

For some businesses, their goal might be to generate product sales at the trade show. Other companies, though, might want to secure the phone numbers of executives they can call at a later date.

Once you’ve defined a goal, you can then think about the kinds of actions that’ll help you achieve it. 

Let’s go with the example of securing the contact information of relevant executives. If this is your goal, you might need to adjust your trade show booth so that it speaks directly to this demographic.

You might also need to print out some documentation that this demographic will find relevant. You may also need to create a ‘pitch’ which convinces executives that they should give you their contact information.

All these steps make it easier to for you to achieve your goal. But you can only define these steps, once you know what you want to achieve in the first place. 

Get Everyone on the Same Page

Once you’ve defined your goals, you then need to make sure everyone is on the same page. You can do this by holding a series of meetings before the trade show takes place.

In these meetings, you should make some presentations that highlight your trade show goals. 

You may also want to provide team members with relevant documentation that outline the trade show goals. The documentation might even include a phone number or email that people can use, should they have any questions.

If you want to improve your odds of success, it might also be worth holding a Q&A session. This session might help you stumble upon some ideas that’ll help you meet your trade show goals.

Be sure to hold a call/meeting right before the trade show too. In doing so, you can make sure everyone is aware of what they need to do, before the big event.

Go to the Right Trade Show

The trade show you visit can have a significant impact on whether you meet your goals or not. You’ll tend to find that trade shows can be split into two categories. The first relates to trade shows that attract your target audience.

So, if your target audience is ‘executives’ you might attend a trade show that’s designed for this specific demographic.

The other option is trade shows related to your industry. Therefore, if you’re business belongs to the enterprise software industry, you’d attend a trade show that caters to this niche.

It’s hard to say which option is going to provide you with the best results. 

To help eliminate some of the confusion, read about the results other people achieved, as a result of attending a specific trade show.

If their results are in alignment with your goals, it might be worth visiting the same trade show to see if you can experience similar benefits.

Create an Engaging Booth

You need to make sure your display represents the colors of your company. This’ll help create a strong association with your brand and will make it easier for people to find/remember your trade booth.

If you want to take things up a notch, you might want to give your booth a great backdrop. This’ll help you catch the attention of people that are walking by.

You might even want to invest in a unique trade booth display.

Again, if the shape of the display is unique, it’ll help draw more attention. If you’re interested, here are some of the options on offer, when it comes to the design of your trade booth.

Boost Engagement During the Event

During the event, you want to do everything that’s in your power to boost engagement.

Ideally, you want to make sure you have your top salespeople with you. You want to ensure they’re aware of who they need to talk to and what the outcome of their conversations should be. 

You might also do some ‘fun’ things to help boost the number of people that engage with your trade booth. This might mean you offer a freebie, such as a keychain, in exchange for a business card.

You could also do a prize draw, wherein people can enter by giving you their business card.

At the end of the event, you can select a business card at random and notify the person that they’ve won something. This approach works well because, at the end of it, you’re left with a list of people you can reach out to. 

If you’re trying to generate sales you might want to offer a discount, should people buy on the day of the trade show.

Follow up After the Event

Once the event is over, it’s critical you follow up with all the connections made during the trade show. 

If you find you’re dealing with a lot of contact information, it might be worth entering it all into a CRM suite. You can then methodically work through the list of people, over the coming weeks.

That said, it’s vital that you prioritize your leads.

If there was someone at the trade show that seemed intensely interested in your offering, be sure to reach out to them as soon as possible. This’ll allow you to close a sale before the lead turns ‘cold.’

Do You Understand Trade Show Marketing?

A trade show can deliver incredible benefits for your business. But you’ll only be able to experience these benefits if you understand the fundamentals of trade show marketing.

Of course, even though a lot of companies find success at trade shows, you may still struggle to see results during your first show. If this happens, try to seek feedback from the prospects you spoke to during the trade show. If they didn’t do business with you, there’s probably a reason why.

Using their insight, you can adjust your future trade show tactics, and hopefully, develop a winning strategy for the next time around.

Want even more tips on how you can experience trade show success? Read this post to discover five ideas that’ll help you achieve trade show success.