Trade Show Marketing Tips

How to Achieve Powerful Trade Show Marketing in 8 Strategic Steps

Oct 21, 2022

Are you prepping for a trade show? Getting your business in front of other decision-makers is a great way to spread brand awareness and pick up new leads. But trade shows can be expensive—wasting precious budget if you aren’t ready to rock.

Audience expectations and evolving technology are changing how brands approach trade shows. Preparing new marketing strategies for your booth helps you take full advantage of the opportunity in front of you. Here are eight tips for improving your trade show impact.

1. Define Success

Before you even start planning for the show, it’s important to establish your goals and key performance indicators (KPIs). Having a way to measure your work helps you evaluate your strategy and adjust for future events. Showing how you meet those KPIs helps build a case for the value of attending trade show events.

Plus, you want to be prepared to give your higher-ups and key stakeholders answers to questions like:

  • What were our goals, and how did we meet them?
  • What kind of leads did we get in our pipeline?
  • How many meetings were held with each representative at the show?
  • What is the estimated return on investment (ROI)?

2. Hype the Event

Get your audience excited and ready for your event by promoting your booth early and often. Send out emails to your regular audience and ask your contacts if they plan to attend the show. Pre-schedule appointments to ensure you have people to talk to throughout, making the most of your presence at the event.

Establish a marketing timeline to help keep your pre-show outreach on track:

  • Schedule emails, ads, postcards, mailers, social media posts and other promotional content to increase awareness.
  • Consider building a landing page with information about the event and a scheduling tool to book appointments.
  • Ideally, you could even use your trade show appearance to launch a new product or service.

3. Plan Your Space

How will your booth attract the right audience? Consider what focal point and design will draw in the company leaders you want to target. Break-out rooms or consultation sections are one way to encourage event meetings.

Event swag can be a huge draw for many attendees. Bring cool promotional items that are useful and attractive so your audience will want to use them. Top items could include tote bags, sticky notes, pens and flash drives.

4. Dress for Success

You want to meet the energy of the event with your office casual or business attire—don’t look stuffy by overdressing, and don’t look sloppy by underdressing. No matter what you wear, make sure you are wearing your brand.

All reps at the show should wear the same apparel for uniformity and brand cohesiveness. T-shirts, polo shirts or dress shirts could all be ordered in your company colors and sporting your business logo.

5. Host a Giveaway

Offer a gift card or higher-value item to increase the number of leads you capture at your event. A giveaway encourages people to visit your booth and increases your marketing clout.

Consider offering a free service or major discount to help convert interested leads into customers. Or choose a high-value promotional item with your logo on it to increase brand awareness. Of course, gift cards are popular because they are attractive to everyone and easy to get to the winner after the event.

6. Streamline Lead Captures

You want to gather consistent and accurate information for your CRM without slowing people down at your booth. One way of proving event ROI is to collect and manage relevant leads from the show.

Prepare to instantly capture leads by using smartphones to scan business cards and enter information directly into your CRM. Make sure every rep at the show knows what information they need to gather so your records are consistent and valuable to your sales team.

7. Create Engaging Content

Engage with your audience throughout the event, keeping them updated on what you are doing and seeing at the show. Before the event, plan out interactions and create a content calendar to make sure everything is ready to go. Harness the momentum of the event with thought-provoking and supportive content:

  • Blog posts can be pre-scheduled to go live with content surrounding the event.
  • Set up slideshow presentations or pitch decks to support your reps during the show.
  • Post social media updates and behind-the-scenes content to gain additional traction.

It’s a great idea to create a simple—yet memorable—hashtag that encourages visitors to interact with your booth. You can even start to hype the next trade show if there is one on the horizon.

8. Follow Up with Leads

Finally, you want to touch base with leads you met during the event. Have an email nurture campaign ready to go out as soon as the event is over—connecting with leads while they are still warm and remember your trade show interactions.

  • Send out LinkedIn requests for some of your top leads to capitalize on your connections.
  • Send out a thank-you message to anyone who scheduled an appointment or met with a rep.
  • If you held a giveaway, make sure you update attendees on when your winner was drawn.

During the event, segment your leads so they can be put into email nurture campaigns that fit their needs or position in the sales funnel. The more you know your audience, the better you can target outreach and attract their business.

Want help getting the most out of your next trade show? Contact Jonathan Ebenstein at to get started!New call-to-action