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The Beginner’s Guide to Successful Trade Show and Conference Marketing

As a business, you need to get your name out there. There are a number of options, and you’ll probably try several of them. You may have seen an increase in sales in billboards, television ads, or cold calling businesses, but it’s time to try a trade show. Marketing at a trade show puts you in a position to really grow your business and take it to the next level. Here’s everything you need to know.

What is Trade Show Marketing

Trade show marketing is setting up a booth with your product at a trade show. Trade shows are made to bring people from a certain industry together, so you are sure to put yourself in a position to make great contacts and a lot of sales.

5 Benefits to Trade Show Marketing

There are a number of reasons you should set up a booth at the next relevant trade show. Here are just some of the benefits.

Sales Sales Sales

The whole point of a trade show is to bring decision makers together to learn about new products that can help take their business to the next level. A lot of people come to trade shows to buy. At the end of the day, you can accumulate a lot more sales than on another day.

Direct Marketing

At a trade show, you get to talk to your potential customers face to face. This gives you the opportunity to answer any questions and use your personal sales skills to explain how amazing your product truly is. You can’t provide this personal touch with other type of marketing campaigns.

Gather Leads

Even if people don’t buy right then at the trade show, you have the opportunity to develop a bunch of leads. You can follow up with these leads after the trade show to generate sales.


A lot of marketing options, such as television advertisements or billboards, are extremely expensive. Trade show marketing is relatively inexpensive. You don’t have to worry about the competition, either. You are all at about the same level behind your booths. The best product will win as opposed to the most flashy advertisement.

Learning Opportunities

Going to a trade show gives you the opportunity to increase sales, but it also gives you the opportunity to learn a lot about the competition and the new items coming out in your industry. This can give you ideas on how to transform your product to make it more competitive. There may even be seminars and speakers who can teach you the way.

10 Stats Proving the Value of Trade Show Marketing

The proof is in the numbers. Here are some amazing statistics that will get you to set up a booth at the next local trade show.

1. A personal meeting with a single client generally costs $259. The cost of meetings with clients at a trade show is generally $142

Not only is it cheaper to meet with people at a trade show, but you are going to meet A LOT more prospects.

2. 77% of business owners or representatives made a change in their supplier at a trade show

This just goes to show that people go to trade shows to buy. Take the opportunity to have them make the change to you!

3. 56% of people who visit a trade show have travelled over 400 miles

This gives you the opportunity to reach people from all over the country, expanding your prospects (and your brand).

4. 51% of decision makers at trade shows request a follow up with a sales person

Even if you don’t make sales at the trade show, you are sure to get hot leads and plenty of sales in the upcoming months after the trade show.

5. 45% of people who go to trade shows only go annually

Some people think they will see the exact same players at every trade show, but it’s not true. Most attendees only go to one trade show annually. You’ll see new people at every show.

6.57% of companies who marketed at a trade show said their employees gained sales experience

Great sales people allow a company to thrive. The more training, the better. Trade shows are fast-paced, so sales people learn how to handle a crowd. They learn to prioritize the people they talk to, pitch to multiple people at once, and stay organized during multiple sales. They also perfect their closing. Trade show attendees often buy on the spot, and this will give your sales people more confidence to get a close immediately.

7. In 2017, 13.2 billion dollars of revenue was generated at trade shows

People are buying, and there is money to be made at these shows.

8. There was a 1.8% increase in sales in the first quarter of 2019

Trade show sales are not slowing down. In fact, they are only increasing.

9. For companies with an event budget between $50 – 100 million, 75% saw a 500% return on investment (ROI)

It costs money to make money. Spending money to sell your product at trade shows is a great investment. How can you deny the return?

10. 79% of people in marketing include trade shows as a part of their marketing strategy

There’s a big reason that people use this method. Join everyone else, and see how beneficial it can be for you and your company.

5 Strategies to Increase Trade Show Booth Engagement

Going to a trade show isn’t enough. You need to make the most of it. Here are 5 strategies to help increase your trade show engagement.

Create an Eye-catching Display

People are drawn to attractive and/or striking things. You have the ability to make your booth design look however you want, so it’s imperative to do something that will generate attention. Try using bright colors, catchy slogans, and something that appeals to the senses. Have fun and create a Jones effect that will have everyone wanting to know what’s gong on at your booth.

Bring Your Best Sales People

A trade show is not a time to teach newbies who just joined the team. It’s a time to show your potential clients your best. Bring the people on your team with the best track records of success. They are the ones who will be able to make the sales and get the hot leads to generate sales when you get back to the office. They’ll also be the ones who have the people skills to get people to your booth.


Research the trade show. You need to know who will be there so that you can plan accordingly. Be prepared to attract certain customers and face any questions about how you are better than competition that is also at the trade show. You should also pay attention to the schedule and use it to your advantage. Don’t try to compete for attention with a main attraction. It’s best to do any presentations before or after the most popular ones.

Be Everywhere

Don’t just stand behind your booth. You or one of your employees should be representing your company throughout the entire show. Wear your company’s merchandise and get out there! Go to different seiners, network with people, and be seen. You can convince people to go learn more.

Branch Out

Many people want to stick to local trade shows. Remember, that a growing company will start to take business from other areas of the country. If you want to go national (or global), you can’t be afraid to travel and put yourself out there in unknown markets. Just be ready to be able to handle the sales!

Guide to Setting Up Your Trade Show Marketing Campaign

You want to get to the show and set up early to be ready for the early arrivers. You also want to make your booth interesting without being offensive. Don’t be afraid to do something fun and unique to get people interested. It’s a good idea to go to a trade show before you exhibit to see what other exhibitors are doing. If you see something that strikes you as a good idea, don’t be afraid to use it. Ultimately, though, the most important part of your booth is the people. Bring colorful characters with you who will be able to communicate with the people at the show.

If you have a great product, you need to share it with the world. Of course you wanna reach the people who most need your product. That’s why you want to go to a trade show. A trade show is specifically designed to get an entire industry together to show them new products. People are at the show to learn more and buy. Don’t miss out because you are afraid of the investment. Just look at the numbers- it’s worth it.

Thanks for reading "The Beginner’s Guide to Successful Trade Show and Conference Marketing", by the Linchpin Team in Chicago, Raleigh, and Wake Forest.

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