5 Ways for Exhibitors to be Successful at Any Tradeshow

Written by Adrian Raso
on September 24, 2019

Being successful at a tradeshow doesn't have to be difficult. With the right planning and execution, you can increase your brand awareness, create strategic partnerships and most importantly, sell your product. Whether you're exhibiting a                    tradeshow with 100 people, or 10,000 people, follow these 5 simple steps for success.  

#5 Design a Booth that Stands Out

The first step to being successful at a tradeshow is to have a booth that stands out and attracts your target audience. While this is easier said than done, we have 3 tricks you can use to develop a booth that will help drive traffic at any tradeshow. 

Keep Your Booth Design Simple

At tradeshows, first impressions are crucial. According to Graphi Color, the average trade show attendee only takes three seconds to determine whether or not they are interested in visiting your booth. Because you only have 3 seconds to catch the attention of your audience, it is essential not to overwhelm the attendees with tons of visuals and value props. When designing your booth, you should keep it as simple as possible. Create a nicely branded backdrop with your logo on top so attendees can see it even if you have multiple people at your booth. Remember, the purpose of your booth is to get people over and talking with you, not about selling. With over 700+ exhibitors at this year's show, your booth must provide enough information about your company at a glance to get people talking with you. 

Make Sure Your Booth Easily Explains What You Do

The best way to make sure your booth easily explains what you do is to incorporate the right set of value props. A value prop is something that tells prospects what your brand offers and describes how your product solves a common issue better than your competitors. A good set of value props will capture what you do and attract the right audience to your booth. Value props should be short, simple, and should easily explain to your audience what your company does. It's essential to keep your value props as specific as possible to prevent the wrong audience from visiting your booth and taking up your time. Not sure how to craft the right value prop? See what other companies are doing. 

Make Your Booth Inviting

The easiest way to lose a prospect's interest is by making your space uninviting. It doesn't matter if your product solves what the person is looking for, if they feel like they can't approach you at the booth, they will go elsewhere. Every situation is different, but here are a few things you can do to make your booth more inviting:

  • Ditch the chairs. Nobody likes approaching people who are sitting down.
  • Add some light; it's a tradeshow booth, not a haunted house. 
  • Stand in front of your booth and initiate the conversation. There's a lot to be distracted by at the show, make sure you're the distraction. 

#4 Start Marketing Before the Show

It's never too early to start marketing for a tradeshow. While you may think it's enough to attend, the real ROI comes from the work you put in before the show. Pre-show marketing can help you gauge interest in your product, build brand awareness, and allows you to interact with existing customers at the show. Here are 3 pre-show marketing strategies you should be executing on:

Create Blog Content Around the Show

Creating blog content around a tradeshow can provide tremendous SEO value for your company and will help establish you as an industry professional. Tradeshows do the heavy lifting for you – all you have to do is use branded keywords and create content around the show that provides value to your audience. Your blog content should be used to build awareness about your presence at the show, give value to potential prospects, and promote your products. If you're curious about what keywords you should be using, check out MOZ. It will help you see things like monthly search volume and related keywords to help you start writing. 

Post About the Show on Social Media

Posting on social media is a cost-effective way to help generate brand awareness, engagement, and lead generation for your company. Most tradeshows create a hashtag to help people stay up to date and start conversations around the show (e.g., #GIEEXPO). Take advantage of this by ending every post with the tradeshow’s hashtag and follow the conversations that are taking place. Using the show's hashtag will help you build better content, start conversations, and generate positive brand awareness. 

Build an Email Drip for Your Existing Contacts 

Pre-show email drips are a great way to engage with your existing contacts and get them to visit your booth. According to Lawn and Landscape, existing customers spend 67% more on products than new ones. This means that engaging with existing contacts via email prior to the show has the potential to increase your trade show’s ROI. Your email drips should be tailored to your target audience and preview what they can expect at the show. Find out what pre-show emails other companies are sending.

#3 Have a Giveaway at Your Booth

Being memorable as a tradeshow exhibitor is extremely important for a successful show, and the best way to do it is to have a product giveaway at your booth. Not only does this increase your booth traffic, but it also allows your prospects to engage with your products. Here are 2 ways having a giveaway at your booth can help you at any tradeshow.

Lead Gathering 

Easily one of the most significant benefits of having a giveaway at your booth is all of the information you can collect around your target audience. When giving away products at a tradeshow, make sure people provide their contact and general company information when entering to win. The more information you collect, the better your ROI will be on post-show nurturing campaigns. It's no secret that people like free stuff, and with the right giveaway, you can come out on top with MQL's that turn into sales. 

Brand Awareness

The most important thing for any exhibitor, especially newer ones, is to have people know about your brand. Brand recognition can be hard when you are competing in a crowded market, but having a product giveaway is an excellent way for your target audience to engage with you. When you give somebody products that they will use, you can increase brand exposure for your company through word-of-mouth marketing. Word-of-mouth marketing is important because customers are 83% more likely to purchase a product if they have received a verbal recommendation from a friend or family member. 

#2 Have Your Strategy Ready Before the Show 

Exhibiting requires a considerable investment of time and money but can yield excellent results if the proper planning is done before the show. While you may think "winging it" is the best approach, having a booth engagement strategy before the show will increase your ROI and booth traffic. Here are 3 strategies you need to have in place to have a successful outing as an exhibitor.

Establish Who Will be at the Booth and Who Will be Walking the Floor

Divvying up responsibility is essential to having a successful outing at a tradeshow. When there are tons of attendees, it's not enough to stay at your booth. It would help if you had people who can walk the floor and mingle with other attendees to cast the widest net and build a strong network.  The goals of the people who are running the booth are different from those who will be walking the floor. The main objective for people at the booth will be to drive traffic and engage with as many attendees as possible. Whereas, the goal of people walking the floor is to build a network of connections with attendees and exhibitors. Deciding who does what before the show will ensure proper planning and strategy to maximize your ROI. 

Fine Tune Your Elevator Pitch 

We've all been in conversations where someone rambles on about what their business does, and by the end, you're bored and regretful that you asked the question. Don't be the boring person who rambles– not only will you lose the interest of your prospects, but you come off as untrustworthy. Instead, it would help if you crafted and fine-tuned an elevator pitch that explains who you are, what your business does, and what value you provide, all in 30 seconds or less. A good elevator pitch will spark the interest of your prospects and leave them wanting more.  Want to know more about crafting an elevator pitch? Check out HubSpot and start building your elevator pitch that will help you engage with your prospects at tradeshows this year. 

Figure Out How You're Going to Collect Information 

There are lots of ways you can go about collecting your prospects’ information, but it's all dependent on what your budget and goals are. If you have a larger budget, you can use the show’s electronic lead gathering system. With an electronic lead gathering system, all you have to do is scan attendee badges with your phone to collect their information, and it will automatically save to your CRM. While this is an easy way to collect and manage your prospects information, it can be expensive, and the quality of leads you get might suffer. However, if your goal is quantity of leads over quality and the expense isn't an issue, this is the right option for you. 


On the other hand, if your company has a smaller budget to work with, it's best to use traditional methods of gathering contact information. Using surveys, collecting business cards, or having a form filled out on your landing page are all great ways to collect information at trade shows. Not to mention, it's a great way to qualify your leads, so your sales team doesn't waste time contacting poor leads. However, the downside to using traditional methods is that you have to enter contact information into a CRM manually. While it's not a huge deal, it can be time consuming and information can fall through the cracks. 

#1 Establish Partnerships With Other Industry Professionals

Tradeshows are a great place to build relationships with other businesses that can help you achieve success in new markets or verticals. In today's business environment, it's essential to partner with other industry professionals to help grow your business. The right partnership can expose you to a new audience, build positive brand awareness, and better products for your customers. While this doesn't happen overnight, pre-show planning can help you land a partnership that is right for your business and customers.


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