Trade shows in the United States are one of the most profitable traditional marketing strategies with nearly $2.16 billion in revenue in 2016. Yes. Billion. That means that people come to trade shows to see what’s new in the market, but they also come to spend. If you’re looking to get some attention in the crowded arena at an upcoming trade show, there’s a lot you should know before walking in when it comes to getting your business noticed. There are event marketing strategies that you can do pre-show, during, and after that will boost your profit from the trade show event. Below are some of our go-to trade show marketing ideas to make your booth look and feel like one of the most popular places to be.

Marketing and Sales Before the Trade Show

Before you even begin planning your booth design and set-up, you have to create a little buzz around your business that will get people excited to see you and the products or services you offer when they get there. Being on the trade show floor can be an overwhelming experience for trade show attendees, and it’s important that they enter the front door already knowing yours is a booth that can’t be missed.

You can make the crowd excited by doing the following:

Build the anticipation

Use social media platforms to show your audience where you’ll be and why they should come to see you. Use hashtags (many shows have probably already advertised the hashtags they’re using - use those, too!). Provide sneak peeks of what you’ll be showing through photographs or videos. Show what your trade show booth will actually look like with people who will be manning it so they know what to keep an eye out for.

Reach out to people beforehand

Contact your current clients and leads and start scheduling times they can meet with you at your booth. Send an email out to them that will get them excited about seeing what you have to offer that day. In the email, provide a link to a landing page that will give them further information about who and what will be there along with the opportunity to sign up for a meeting time with a representative.

Make booth visitors lucky winners

Everyone loves free stuff. Give your visitors a chance to win something amazing and promote that giveaway on social media. Boost the post then remarket with an ad promoting the great prize they can win if they stop by the booth and say hi.

TIP: Make sure your giveaway is relevant to your trade show attendees such as offering free services or an extremely large discount. If you give away an Amazon Gift Card orYeti Cooler, for example, you may just be getting people that may not be interested in your business at all.

Exhibiting at the Trade Show

Once your booth is up and running and people are flocking in, keep the excitement going about your presence there-by continuing your marketing campaign even while on your feet. To get the traffic flowing to your booth and to keep it flowing, try some of the following:

Show the fun on social media

Social media engagement is HUGE at trade shows, and this is a great way for you to flex your muscles. Post updates on how the show is going including pictures and video on your social media platforms. While you are at it, encourage your people at your booth to do the same on their accounts using special hashtags that will help you be found on social media.

Be an active participant

While you’re posting on social media, check out what other people are saying about the show by following hashtags for the events. Once you’ve found other posts from the venue or the sponsors, participate in the conversation to let people know you’re there, engaged, and ready for them to stop by.

Always be looking for leads

One of the best parts of a trade show is that it opens doors to qualified leads who come to you - you don’t have to search for them! When you have them there, make sure you get their information so you can reach them for later promotions or information. Getting this information can be as easy as having an iPad or two accessible where they can enter to win a chance for an offer in exchange for their contact information. Once you have their email address, set up an automated welcome email that will give them a better sense of for your company.

Keep a record

Through the whole event, make sure to keep taking photos and videos of your experiences at your booth. You will want to share a lot on social media, yes. However, save a little bit for later. After the show, you’re going to be glad you did!

Follow-Ups after the Trade Show

Don’t be a stranger

Just because you’re packed up and heading to the next destination doesn’t mean your work is done. Continue posting on social media about the great time you had meeting the people who came to your booth. Announce the winner of any grand prize giveaway you offered. Let everyone know where they can see you again at the next show. Create a recap video that will let people relive the trade show. In short, keep your target audience interested in your business long after the booth has been packed away.

Follow up

Your days in the booth hopefully led to a lot of qualified leads in your pipeline. Now it’s time to let them know more about your company to keep the momentum going. Let them know that you’re happy you got to meet them and that you hope to do business with them soon.

Final Thoughts

Trade shows are not only profitable, but they are also one of the best ways to get face-to-face time with prospective clients. You know you’ve had a successful trade show when you leave armed with an arsenal of new leads and happy clients eager to continue their relationship with your business. Trade show marketing for your business can be as easy as the steps above to create the same excitement you have about your business in other people.

If you need help getting your marketing ramped up, sign up for a free marketing strategy session to learn how we can help make your next trade show your most successful yet.

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About April Edwards

Hello! I'm AE Design Co's lead Digital Strategist & Creative Director. For over 15 years, I've been helping busy businesses get a grip on their marketing to increase profits year-over-year.

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