Benefiting from Trade Shows: How to Make the Most of them During and After the Show Ends



benefiting from trade shows

Wondering how to benefit from trade shows? Trade shows are an excellent opportunity to find new customers, to meet new business partners and build new relationships. So much work goes into planning and preparing for a trade show. You need to make sure your booth is interesting, informative, fun, and staffed with team members with the right skills and personality to represent your whole company.

Trade shows can cost a lot of money. In addition to the price you pay for your trade show booth space; there are often travel expenses involved, as well as the cost of designing and building the booth itself.

However, your investments of time and money will be worth it if you exhibit properly. You need to figure out how to keep benefiting from trade shows and how to keep your trade show booth “alive” even after the show is over. Below are some tips and guiding principles to make sure you are maximizing the effect of your trade show booth.

Diversify Your Engagement Strategy

Trade shows are buzzing with activity, and every attendee has a different preference for engagement. While some might be interested in live demos, others might lean towards informative brochures or Q&A sessions with your team.

Consider hosting mini-seminars at regular intervals at your booth, or perhaps incorporate VR technology for attendees to have an immersive experience of your products or services. Such varied strategies ensure that you’re catering to the diverse crowd, thereby benefiting from trade shows to the fullest.

Highlight Case Studies and Success Stories

There’s no better way to prove the effectiveness of your products or services than showcasing real-world success stories. Have a dedicated section of your booth or a digital display rotating through impactful case studies relevant to the audience of the trade show.

Attendees often relate better to real-world scenarios and will appreciate tangible evidence of what you can achieve.

Harness the Power of User-Generated Content

Encourage attendees to share their experiences at your booth on their social media. This could be through a selfie station, hashtag campaigns, or a contest. User-generated content provides authentic endorsements and can significantly amplify your brand’s reach beyond the confines of the trade show.

Key benefits and strategies of encouraging attendees to share their experiences:

  • Authenticity: User-generated content brings a genuine touch that resonates with audiences more than traditional advertising.
  • Extended Reach: When attendees share their experiences, they introduce your brand to their entire network, exponentially increasing your brand’s visibility.
  • Increased Engagement: Interactive features like selfie stations or hashtag campaigns can boost engagement levels, making attendees more invested in your brand.
  • Memorable Branding: Unique and fun social sharing opportunities can make your booth the most talked about, ensuring attendees remember you long after the event.
  • Instant Feedback: By monitoring shares and hashtags related to your booth, you gain immediate insight into attendees’ impressions and can make real-time adjustments if needed.
  • Cost-Effective Marketing: User-generated content acts as free marketing for your brand, helping you get the most bang for your buck from the trade show.

Benefiting from a Trade Show During the Event

Trade shows are more than just an opportunity to showcase your products or services; they are a powerful platform for networking, brand positioning, and generating immediate interest.

While post-event strategies are vital for sustained engagement, tapping into the real-time dynamics during the event can provide an edge over competitors and ensure your brand stands out. Let’s delve into how to optimize your presence and make the most of every moment at the trade show while it’s happening.

Make Sure You Are Prepared

Before the trade show even begins, ensure you’re well-equipped. This doesn’t just mean having enough promotional materials, but also being mentally and strategically prepared.

Train your team on the products or services they’re presenting, equip them with answers to potential questions, and set clear objectives for the show. Pre-show meetings can be effective in setting goals and aligning the team.

Familiarize yourself with the venue layout, know your neighboring booths, and understand the attendee demographics. Your proactive preparation ensures that when attendees visit, they are met with a confident, knowledgeable, and approachable representative, which can leave a lasting impression long after the trade show ends.

 

Have an Eye-Catching Display

benefiting from trade shows

This seems like it should go without saying, but if you want people to remember your booth after the conference has ended, you need to make sure your display is memorable on a number of levels. First, all the basics must be done right. Proper lighting, an open entry space and a visually attractive display are absolutely necessary. Next, you need to get creative to draw attendees into your booth space.

What about an interactive visual display? Or host a contest in your booth with prizes that get people wanting to participate? Make sure your freebies are creative and are convenient to carry. Instead of handing out pens like the majority of other booths are doing at the show, why not something a little more interesting?  A memorable booth is the first step to making sure the people you meet at the show will remember you.

Benefiting from Trade Shows After the Show Has Ended

The curtain may have dropped on the trade show, but the real act of capitalizing on the event is only beginning. The post-show phase is as crucial as the event itself, offering a goldmine of opportunities to nurture leads, solidify relationships, and further enhance brand presence.

The ripple effects of a well-executed trade show can be felt long after the booths are packed away. Here, we’ll explore strategies to keep the momentum going, ensuring that the benefits of the trade show continue to flow in, long after the lights have dimmed.

Network Beyond Your Booth

Trade shows aren’t just about staying put at your booth. Allocate some time for your team to wander the floor, attend sessions, or network during break periods. Engage with other exhibitors, understand industry trends, and identify potential collaborations. By doing this, you’re not just benefiting from those who come to your booth but from a wider cross-section of the trade show attendees and exhibitors.

Stay Updated on Competitors

Your competitors can indirectly help you in benefiting from trade shows. Observe their booth setups, interactions, and the type of products or solutions they showcase. By doing this, you can gain insights into market trends, understand what’s resonating with attendees, and identify areas where your offerings might have an edge.

Leverage Trade Show Analytics

Most trade shows offer analytics on attendees. This data can give insights into the type of visitors, their interests, time spent at different booths, and more. By diving deep into this data, you can understand what worked, what didn’t, and how to approach future trade shows more strategically.

By integrating these additions, your strategy for benefiting from trade shows will be holistic, leveraging both the immediate opportunities at the event and the long-term connections and insights gathered.

Craft a Digital Lookbook of Your Products

Post-trade show, design a digital lookbook that showcases your products or services in detail. Embed videos, testimonials, and interactive links. Share this with attendees and on your website. A dynamic, visual presentation can be a refreshing reminder of what you offer, enticing leads to convert.

Offer Limited-Time Discounts to Attendees

As a token of appreciation for their interest at the trade show, give attendees an exclusive, time-sensitive discount. This creates urgency and can drive sales post-event. Promote this through email campaigns, ensuring the attendees know their exclusive status and the value they’re receiving.

Include Your Social Media Information in Your Materials

benefiting from trade shows

No matter what you are handing out at your trade show booth, make sure that whatever you are hoping your attendee is bringing back to the office has more than just your basic contact information. It is possible that your potential customer wants to get to know you better before committing to making a purchase or putting in an order. Give your social media information — your Facebook page, your Twitter handle, etc. — so that your customer can get to know you comfortably.

Make Your Social Media Interesting and Fun!

Now that you are bringing people to your social media pages, make sure they will stay there and hopefully visit again, or possibly even share the page with friends. To do this, consider posting photos from the trade show booth and ask thoughtful questions that will elicit more than one word answers. Here are five ways social media can make your trade show a success.

Link to Photos of Your Booth on Your Website

Make sure that you are actively photographing your booth and the activity happening inside of it.

Get pictures of people showing interest in your goods and/or services, asking questions, and of you listening to their responses. On your website, add a link from your homepage to a new page with these photos and other interesting information about the booth.

Consider a tagline including how many people stopped by, how many giveaways were taken, or how many new customers signed up.

Ask People If They’d Like to Receive Your Newsletter or Other Free Information

benefiting from trade shows

One of the best ways to keep your trade show booth alive is to stay in touch with the people who came by to check it out. Ask people to sign up for your newsletter or do a lottery drawing of business cards for a prize giveaway.

Make sure people know why you want their email address and then they will be more likely to share it. Your company has spent a lot of money on marketing at the trade show. Make the most of the opportunities to stay in the minds of the people who’ve visited your booth.

Continue the Conversation on Platforms Like LinkedIn

If you’ve established some good rapport with potential clients or partners at the trade show, take the relationship to a professional social media platform like LinkedIn. By connecting with them, you can continue the dialogue, share relevant content, and offer personalized solutions. It’s a great way to keep the conversation going and stay top-of-mind.

Offer Exclusive Post-Trade Show Webinars

benefiting from trade shows

Sometimes, attendees might not have had the chance to discuss things in-depth at your booth. By offering exclusive post-trade show webinars, you can delve deeper into your products or services. It’s a value-added proposition that can convert interested leads into loyal customers.

Create a Post-Trade Show Recap Video

People appreciate engaging visual content. Consider creating a video that recaps your trade show experience. Highlight your products, showcase testimonials from attendees, and thank everyone for their time and interest. Share this video on your website, social media channels, and even in emails.

Host Follow-Up Events

benefiting from trade shows

Organize an exclusive event for the leads you gathered at the trade show. This can be a workshop, product demonstration, or even a casual get-together. The aim is to foster the relationship and provide an environment where they can learn more about your offerings without the hustle and bustle of a trade show setting.

Summary Table: Maximizing Your Trade Show Experience

H3 HeadingsShort Description
Diversify Your Engagement StrategyAdopt multiple approaches to cater to varied attendee preferences, from live demos to VR experiences.
Highlight Case Studies and Success StoriesPresent real-world examples and testimonials to demonstrate product effectiveness and relevance.
Harness the Power of User-Generated ContentEncourage attendees to interact with and promote your brand on social media, thereby extending reach and gaining authentic endorsements.
Benefiting from a Trade Show During the EventFocus on proactive preparations and real-time engagements to maximize brand presence and attract attendees.
Make Sure You Are PreparedEquip your team with product knowledge, familiarize yourself with the venue, and set clear objectives to offer a confident and approachable experience for attendees.
Have an Eye-Catching DisplayMake your booth memorable with the right basics and creative additions like interactive displays and unique giveaways.
Benefiting from Trade Shows After the Show Has EndedLeverage post-show strategies to nurture leads, solidify relationships, and maintain brand presence even after the event.
Network Beyond Your BoothEngage with a wider cross-section of the trade show, from other exhibitors to industry trends, maximizing learning and networking opportunities.
Stay Updated on CompetitorsMonitor and learn from competitor activities, gaining insights into market trends and identifying your brand's unique selling points.
Leverage Trade Show AnalyticsUtilize provided data to understand visitor demographics, their interests, and their interactions, refining strategies for future events.
Craft a Digital Lookbook of Your ProductsDevelop a detailed digital showcase of your offerings, enriched with videos and testimonials, to engage leads post-event.
Offer Limited-Time Discounts to AttendeesProvide exclusive post-event offers to attendees to drive urgency in sales.
Include Your Social Media Information in Your MaterialsEmbed all promotional materials with your social media details to foster deeper connections and long-term engagement.
Make Your Social Media Interesting and Fun!Foster active engagement on social platforms with engaging posts, booth pictures, and interactive content.
Link to Photos of Your Booth on Your WebsiteCreate a dedicated page on your website to showcase booth activities and experiences, giving visitors a comprehensive view of your trade show participation.
Ask People If They'd Like to Receive Your Newsletter or Other Free InformationCultivate longer-term relationships by collecting contact details for newsletters or further information, ensuring continuous touchpoints with attendees post-event.
Continue the Conversation on Platforms Like LinkedInTransition trade show connections to professional social networks like LinkedIn, allowing for continued conversations and relationship building.
Offer Exclusive Post-Trade Show WebinarsDive deeper into product or service discussions, offering a more detailed perspective and continued engagement opportunities for interested attendees.
Create a Post-Trade Show Recap VideoDevelop a visual summary of the trade show experience, emphasizing key products, testimonials, and thank-yous, then share on multiple platforms for maximum reach.
Host Follow-Up EventsOrganize exclusive events for leads to foster deeper connections and offer a more detailed look at your offerings outside the bustling trade show environment.

More Great Strategies to Keep Benefitting from Trade Shows

Maximize Digital Interactions

After the show, it’s crucial to maintain the momentum through digital channels. Leverage email marketing, social media interactions, and your website to keep engaging with the leads you’ve acquired. This can involve:

  • Email Follow-Ups: Send personalized emails to the contacts you’ve made, providing additional information or setting up meetings.
  • Social Media Engagement: Keep the conversation going on platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram. Share post-event insights, photos, and engage in discussions related to the trade show themes.

Utilize Content Marketing

Develop content around the key insights, trends, and experiences from the trade show. This can include:

  • Blog Posts: Write about your learnings, experiences, and trends observed at the event.
  • Videos and Podcasts: Share interviews or discussions held during the trade show, providing value to those who couldn’t attend.

Leverage CRM Tools

Utilize Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools to organize and follow up on leads efficiently. These tools can help you:

  • Track Interactions: Keep a record of all the interactions with each lead and plan follow-up actions.
  • Segment Leads: Categorize leads based on interest level, industry, or potential value to tailor your follow-up strategies.

Analyze Trade Show Performance

Conduct a thorough analysis of your trade show performance. This includes evaluating:

  • ROI Analysis: Assess the return on investment from the trade show, considering leads generated, deals closed, and overall exposure.
  • Feedback Collection: Gather feedback from your team and attendees about what worked and what didn’t, to improve future trade show strategies.

Build Long-Term Relationships

Focus on nurturing long-term relationships rather than just immediate sales. This includes:

  • Regular Updates: Keep leads informed about your latest products, services, and company news.
  • Value-Added Communication: Offer insights, whitepapers, or webinars that can add value to your prospects.

Collaborate with Industry Partners

Post-event collaborations with industry partners or co-exhibitors can lead to mutually beneficial relationships. Consider:

  • Joint Ventures: Collaborate on projects or marketing initiatives that were discussed during the trade show.
  • Referral Programs: Set up referral arrangements with complementary service providers met at the event.

Plan for Future Trade Shows

Use the experience to better prepare for future trade shows. This involves:

  • Early Planning: Start planning for the next trade show early, based on the learnings and contacts made.
  • Continuous Engagement: Keep engaging with the trade show community throughout the year to stay visible and relevant.

By implementing these strategies, you can extend the life of your trade show investment, turning fleeting interactions into lasting business opportunities.

Trade Show Photo via Shutterstock


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Timothy Carter Industry veteran Timothy Carter is the Chief Revenue Officer for SEO.co. Tim leads all revenue for the company and oversees all customer-facing teams including sales, marketing & customer success.

6 Reactions
  1. I agree. It is not enough to refer people to your social pages. Your pages must be interesting and must be socially engaging to get people to follow them.

  2. I know we are in an age of social media, however I find the best and most remembered follow-up from a trade show or event is using more traditional media. Before allowing them to depart your exhibit make sure, if they are qualified, that you have an agreed upon plan for what will happen after the show. (1) send a postcard with a handwritten note thanking the vistior for coming to your exhibit. (You can have the body preprinted, but a short note referring to your conversation and a signature goes along way to showing how much you value them.) (2) call them the week after they get back from the show. Give them the first week to clear their desk, then call them to follow-up. (3) send them the information they requested via email. (4) put them on your mailing list for your newsletter. (get them to opt in either in the exhibit or during the follow-up call. A mix of traditional and digital keeps you interesting to them so they will remember you when the time comes to buy.

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