Gearing up for a trade show is like putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle. Pieces can come up missing, but companies should do their best in advance to make sure it all fits together to their advantage.” – Susan Friedmann, “The Tradeshow Coach”


Most companies spend the bulk of their budget on travel expenses and purchasing the display items needed for the physical experience. However, there are so many cost-efficient tactics that can be employed to optimize your brand’s presence. It’s time to think bigger than TV screen presentations and free t-shirt giveaways — and it’s time to get qualified sales leads to use after the show.


Think about your overall strategy. When your company starts planning for upcoming trade shows, it can be easy to focus on checking off your to-do list instead of the overall strategy of what you want to accomplish at each event. Redirect your planning purpose by asking yourself questions like:

  • How will we generate leads?
  • What will the booth experience be like?
  • What action do we want people to take when they visit our booth?


Focus on cultivating leads and following up later. Speaking of leads, trade shows are a great place to connect and bring qualified leads to your sales team. Consider doing more than just scanning a badge. Consider a giveaway in the booth where attendees need to provide their information to enter. After the trade show, follow up by sending attendees an email to download your latest white paper or follow up with information on a product demonstration.


Promote your trade show experience before the show for a two-fold strategy. By sending a pre-show email you can benefit by 1) opening the door for remarketing tactics to take advantage of their interest during and after the show and 2) boosting foot traffic during the event. For example: Send out an email with a form — let’s say it’s for a trade show raffle prize. Then send a confirmation email stating that bringing their ticket number to the booth will earn them three more tickets for the raffle prize.


Even if they don’t fill out the form, if they click with the email on other promotions, you can retarget them later using Google or Facebook remarketing (you know, the ads that follow you around after you’ve visited a site). You might not love these ad tactics personally, but the data shows they can be super drivers of conversions, especially with an offer attached.


Keep your audience engaged on and off-site. An integrated approach can reach and engage your audience before, during and after the show. Set your trade show strategy apart by engaging your offsite audience and making them feel like they were at the show, too. Think about options like Facebook and Instagram Live.


Find ways to integrate technology within your booth. As technology continues to evolve, there is a great opportunity to create an experience in your booth using things like augmented reality (AR) and touch screens. For example, some LF clients have brought their products to life at trade shows by using AR that demonstrates how their equipment or product works. We’ve also seen clients showcase videos in their booth with touch screens to create an interactive experience. It makes a big difference when someone has an experience in your booth that drives them to want to learn more. Make sure your booth is staffed with appropriate sales and product team members to have the right discussion with potential customers. If they are a qualified lead, consider offering additional incentives if they share their information or sign up for additional experiences.


Do you like some of these ideas? Well this is just the tip of the iceberg! Connect with our team at LF for help with a strategic plan for an upcoming trade show or other creative ideas. We’re always ready and willing to help!