Trade shows are a huge opportunity to emboss your brand with a vast number of people in a very short time. But how do you ensure you get true success out of that big investment?
The key to a great Return-on-Investment (ROI) for your trade show experience is planning all three stages:
    1. Pre-event opportunities
    2. Day-of event experience
    3. Post-event follow up
We talked about spray-and-pray marketing on our Facebook page a little while back. No, that’s not in Webster’s dictionary, but it is in ours. Spray-and-Pray marketing is unfortunately what we often see clients tell us they’re doing: posting here, branding there, sending this message over there and showing up to this event over here. But none of these are connected. What would your business look like if you had a strategic plan for something like a trade show, a way to measure your success and a clean system to get the results you want?


Our strategic partners at ActionCOACH of Wisconsin talk a lot about how to get the most out of a Trade Show during their workshop series. Below you’ll find a culmination of both theirs & our best tips to make your trade show marketing memorable.

Focus on what your attendees should know, do and feel

Every marketing initiative should have a clean goal. When someone thinks about your brand, what do you want them to know? Some brands will focus on conveying their Unique Sales Proposition (USP) here, what makes you different. What do you want them to do? Sign up for an email newsletter? Schedule a one-on-one with you? And lastly, what do you want them to feel? This is most important, because people don’t buy stuff, they buy how you make them feel. Do you want them to feel safe? Trusting? Energized? Use this opportunity to emotionally connect with your audience.

Run a giveaway

Running a giveaway is a great way to stand out in a room of many other trade show exhibitors. Many will only pass out business cards or brochures, what can you pass out that will stand out? Promo product trends are already showing for 2020 that the name of the game is quality. Most companies are finding huge success focusing on fewer, better giveaways, creating a stronger sense of attachment to the brand. It’s about inspiring action, emotion or loyalty…  not just another paper fan that goes to the toddlers.

    • Try blue light glasses for tired eyes, logo socks or reusable metal straws that are all the rage.

Engage with attendees

Draw people in beyond swag. Again, people buy experiences. Will they remember that paper fan in their gift bag? Or will they remember how much they laughed trying to win at some kind of game? Try an experience like one of these:

    • Device charging station
    • Noise is a great attractant. Use a plink-o game, spinning wheel or other noise making game.

Have fun & make it a competition!

As an attendee, how often have you walked right past a booth because someone was too engaged with their phone and never made eye contact with you? Thumbing through their brochure or playing with the layout of their business cards? Don’t be THAT guy or gal! Keep track of how many people you DO engage with and see  if you can outplay your teammates, or the booth next door! Make friends, create a contest based on engagement and enjoy the day!

Follow up

You generated all this great energy. The trade show is over. So you’re done, right? Wrong! Now is the time that’s even more important than the shaking hands and kissing babies you did the day of. Follow up! 100% of the people you spoke to are possible customers or strategic partners. So plan out a solid follow up process. This could look like:

      • Email drip campaigns
      • Coffee meetings to get to know
      • Social connections

Avoid follow up, and book NOW!

Why wait for the follow-up work when you can book right on the spot? Alice Heiman, co-founder of TradeShow Makeover, talked about this in a recent Forbes article about trade show success.

“The key to success with any event is preparation and yet, it’s where people spend the least time and effort,” Heiman said. We love this idea because everyone is walking around with their phones, and usually they’re on them. So use that to your advantage and ask right away to schedule that 15-minute intro call!

Trade shows are a huge opportunity to make a massive impact in a very small window of time compared to many other marketing initiatives. So plan for all three stages of your show and shoot us a message. We’re always excited to help brainstorm ways to help you make a bigger wave!