Trade Show Success: 4 Tips You NEED to Know

You and your marketing team have worked tirelessly to promote and build your company to where it is today.


You have a great customer base, a loyal social media following, and you may have even been featured in a news publication a couple of times.


You might think that you have done everything within your power to effectively market your company.


But, if you are looking for another way to expand your brand’s influence, a trade show exhibition may be the most viable option.


You may be wondering how you could use a trade show exhibit to expand your marketing efforts. When done correctly, a trade show exhibit can help:


4 Key Areas a Trade Show Booth Can Help Your Brand

  1. Capture High-Quality, Qualified Customers

  2. a) Highly Motivated and Interested Attendees
    b) Purchasing Power

  3. You Learn What Marketing Strategies Are Working (And What Isn't)

  4. a) What are Your Competitors Doing?
    b) Customer Response

  5. Develop and Strengthen Your Brand

  6. a) Product Testing and Face Time
    b) Media Exposure
    c) Exploring New Markets and Territories

  7. Close Sales Without Resentment

  8. a) Easier Follow-ups
    b) In-Show Sales and Returning Customers

With these four strategies, you can outperform your competition and create the best trade show experience possible for your customers.



Capture High-Quality, Qualified Customers


Highly Motivated and Interested Attendees


After you have carefully chosen which trade show you should attend, the chances that people will be interested in what your company has to offer goes up significantly.

Careful planning and creating an engaging exhibit helps drive interaction and interest in your company.

Most people who attend the trade show you are at are highly motivated and interested in what the companies there have to offer. Since these customers are usually motivated, they are more likely to talk to sales representatives from your company and generate leads.


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Make sure you bring business cards!


Capitalizing on these opportunities helps you increase your brand’s reach and worth in only a few hours.

Using social media during the trade show (especially Twitter) can also drive engagement with your brand during the show. If your content goes viral, you’ll get an endless flow of free leads and exposure for your company!


Purchasing Power


Trade show attendees participating at the event tend to purchase the products they are shown by companies that are effective in their event marketing.

In fact, according to a 2015 study done by the Event Marketing Institute, “A significant 98% of the respondents said that, assuming the product or service promoted was one they were interested in, participating at the event or experience made them more inclined to purchase.”

It was also found that 70% of event participants are more likely to become regular customers after purchasing.


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If you are at the right trade show, your clients are 70% more likely to buy your products!


Make sure that if you have a physical product, you give your booth visitors either the opportunity to buy or pre-order your product.

This will allow you to make more sales and the opportunity for your new customers to show off your product to other attendees.



Learn What's Working
(And What Isn't)


What Are Your Competitors Doing?


It is always a good idea to know what your competitors are up to.

Trade shows provide a perfect opportunity to review competitor products and services and to see how they use their booth to market themselves.

Identifying what is working (and not working) for them can provide cues as to how to take your booth to the next level going forward. 

The idea is not to copy what they are doing, but to improve upon it.

Customer Response


At trade shows, you can see how your customers respond to your company and others in your field.

You may be getting a steady stream of customers and potential clients coming into your booth while your competitors are struggling.

In this case, keep doing what you’re doing!

But, if you find that you are struggling to interact with attendees while your competitors are excelling, you need to look at your marketing tactics, exhibit, and possibly your company image.


Customer Response.png

When your staff is unapproachable, it is impossible to engage prospects.


It is important that your exhibit is open and welcoming in its appearance.  If your booth is cluttered, or if you have counters that act like barriers between you and the people you want to meet, your booth traffic will suffer.

Your booth staff must be dressed appropriately and have a positive, approachable attitude. They should never be seated, drinking, eating, reading, or joking around with other booth attendees.


If you can’t attract people who are interested in what you are selling face to face, you are going to have a hard time encouraging new buyers and sales.

Trade shows can immediately point out any weaknesses in your marketing and help your team implement new strategies to drive engagement and leads for your brand.



Developing and Strengthening Your Brand


Product Testing and Face Time


One of the best reasons for attending a trade show is to strengthen your brand and create trustworthiness between your company and your customers.

Trade shows encourage face time between your sales reps and potential clients, which is one of the fastest and most effective ways to market your product.


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78% of attendees that try out a product first are inclined to purchase, compared to 49% of attendees buying because of a discount coupon.


The Event Marketing Institute stated that in 2015, “Sixty-five percent of consumers purchase the product or service promoted at the event or visit.

This finding is up significantly from the 54% found in the 2014 survey. Males are more likely to buy at events and experiences than women, according to the cross-tabulated survey findings.

The age range most likely to buy on-site are those between the ages of 25 and 35.”


Also, giving the client an opportunity to try out the product increases the likelihood of buying the product.

Using demonstrations for your products can also significantly boost your sales at the trade show.


Media Exposure


Large trade show events are usually covered by the media; especially well established trade shows like CES or FIME.

If you can be featured by the trade show or by the media, you are automatically assumed to be trustworthy and an authority in your field.

If you can get a representative from your company to be a keynote speaker, that pushes your credibility even higher.


Media coverage of your booth and staff can drive sales because you are deemed as authoritative.


If you are fortunate to get this exposure, capitalize on the opportunity through social media.

This will help drive traffic to your social media channels, your website, and eventually your products. Using this opportunity can turn your previous leads into customers.

The combination of coverage and exposure your brand receives also increases the equity of your brand.


A study at Columbia University found that, “the level of post-event brand equity is significantly higher than the level of pre-event brand equity.”

This means brands that market well at trade shows tend to be viewed as more trustworthy, authoritative, and valuable after a successful show.


Exploring New Markets and Territories


Another way to increase your brand’s equity and reach is to delve into a new market or territory.

Looking to break into the Greater Boston Area golfing market?

Find a trade show like NGEB (National Golf Expo Boston) that’s related to that market.

This will help you scope out the key players, talk with potential clients, and showcase new products that will help establish you as a legitimate brand in that industry.


If you find that you need to expand your employee base within that market, you can also use these trade shows as an effective recruiting tool.

Often you will find that people interested in your products have experience in that field and may be good candidates for employment.

They could direct you to qualified candidates.

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Doing market research at a trade show helps you identify key competitors and new customers.

If you do decide to venture into a new market, be sure to do your research before creating a trade show exhibit.

If you lack experience in the new market, you are more likely to make mistakes and have a sub-par show.


Make sure you know what your target demographic is and consult with trusted experts in that field so you can create an effective strategy in approaching your new market.



Closing Sales Without Resentment


Easier Follow-ups


Following up with a lead or new client after meeting face to face at a trade show is much easier than cold-calling a new client.

If you have distributed literature, business cards, and giveaways, some of your clients may even end up calling you if they had an exceptional experience.

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Calling a client when the trade show is still fresh in their minds will be one of the easiest sales calls you will make.


Make sure you write down any features of the people you talk to and what you talked about.

This will make them much more likely to buy since you’ve already established a relationship with them, and they’ll feel much more comfortable talking with you since they know you were listening to them.

In-Show Sales and Returning Customers


When possible you want to have products on hand to sell to show attendees.

If you cannot have products available, or if you sell a service, you should provide attendees with the opportunity to place an order on the show floor.


Closing sales in a high-energy environment gives your customer an experience like no other as they often come to shows actively looking to buy.


By creating a buzz through purchases made on the show floor you can also immediately expand your business by having your customer share their experience through your social media outlets.

You can even offer incentives on future purchases if they share their experience immediately with colleagues/friends.

Creating engagement with your brand and seeing your brand again on their social media encourages repeat purchases, and hopefully a lifetime customer.






Hopefully this article has helped you realize (or reminded you) that trade shows can be much more relevant to your marketing strategy than you previously thought.

Creating an attractive exhibit and providing an engaging booth experience can help your marketing efforts immensely!


At ExhibitSense, we have the experience and tools necessary to help you maximize your trade show marketing efforts.


In addition to designing and producing an exhibit and booth experience that reflects your image and customer engagement strategy, we take away your show related headaches by providing exhibit shipping, show service coordination and exhibit install and dismantle services. 

We can also help with promotional products and will store/service your exhibit and all related components in our facility at very competitive rates.


We want your trade show program to be as effective as possible and for everything to go smoothly for your team.  We encourage you to contact us to see how we can help.


That Makes… ExhibitSense!

Tom Potosnak



Created by Bradley Bator

Edited by Bradley Bator and Tom Potosnak

Tom PotosnakComment