Improve Your Trade Show ROI: A Marketing Guide

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Improve Your Trade Show ROI: A Marketing Guide

Trade show booths are the mainstay of any marketing campaign, yet many businesses need to realize the ROI their trade show spending produces. Trade shows are a way to generate leads and test your product or service in front of potential customers to generate sales. 

To make trade shows work, you must evaluate all facets of your budgeting process and determine where you can best use your resources. That being said, only some companies are cut out for trade shows, and there are many things to consider before deciding on an exhibition as your next channel of marketing investment.

This article aims to provide an overview and insider tips on how marketers can improve their ROI at a trade show – digital or physical.

Tips to Improve Trade Show ROI

Develop a Pre-Show Content Strategy:

To maximize ROI, a strong pre-show content strategy is essential. More than having a fantastic booth is needed; you must create anticipation in advance.

However, simply producing more content will have little impact on your ROI. It would help if you become more targeted; create content that highlights the event’s value and the value prospects will receive from stopping by your booth.

To get your pre-event content marketing flow, consider these suggestions:

    • First, promote your booth: Market your booth in advance. Prospects will want to know where they’ll find you. Publish a text ad or promoted post on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Set up a landing page to collect email information and upload a video of your exhibit space. 
    • Leverage social media: Create a Facebook page and Twitter account for your trade show and start sharing the content you create to engage with your customers. A social media presence is an integral part of the pre-show campaign – it will enhance the overall ROI if you have a solid social media strategy.
    • Tailor content to the event’s theme: If you’re exhibiting at a specific event or industry trade show, plan to create content based on that theme. For example, if you’re exhibiting at the Salesforce conference, plan to use the event to inspire your content. 
    • Target influencers: Create content for influential people in the industry and include it in your pre-show social media content strategy. The goal is to get a reaction from these influencers (and possibly gain their trust and endorsement) – which will result in an amplified ROI.

At the trade show, generate media coverage:

News coverage is one of the best ways to improve your trade show ROI. You can expect media coverage at a significant event because of the number of attendees and the content available at the Expo. Optimizing your social media presence will also lead to media coverage (and can help generate pre-show interest). It would help if you also considered planning an interview, which will invite more press to your booth.

If you want to maximize media coverage, here are a few tips:

    • First, create unique content: Don’t just pitch your press release. Instead, use unique content (and tell a story) – because this will be what reporters remember.
    • Maintain a high level of professionalism: This is key. It will increase your trust in reporters, making them more likely to report on your event and provide media coverage. 
    • Advertise during press conferences: If you are on the speaker panel, email invites at least 24 hours before the conference to promote your presence and their chance to meet you. This will increase your company – and hopefully, media coverage.

Post-Show Follow-Up:

After the show, follow up with the press who attended your booth and send them a survey or email. You’ll want to collect their contact information and make sure they learn more about your company. That is also an excellent opportunity to invite those attendees who requested an interview to follow up by email. 

If you plan to set up a booth at an upcoming event, collect contact information and use it to promote the next event. Remember to thank the media who covered your show and mention any press coverage in your follow-up emails. If you get a mention, share it with your followers on social media – prompting them to share it with their networks.

Optimize Your Trade Show Booth:

The goal of your trade show booth is to bring in as many leads as possible, so your efforts should focus on optimizing the booth experience. But, as anyone who has set up a trade show booth knows, that can be challenging.

Here are some tips for optimizing your trade show ROI (and increasing the likelihood that attendees will want to stay at your booth):

    • Highlight your products: Most of the attention at a trade show will go to the large booths, so you should focus on improving your booth’s visibility. Highlight the value of your products and services using high-quality signage, lighting, and a professional appearance.
    • Use giveaways to boost conversions: Giveaways boost sales for most products, but you can also use them to hype your trade show booth. For example, Marketing Agency In Phoenix, uses a giveaway to engage with potential customers and invites them to visit their booth. 
    • Schedule post-show product demos: You can also use the post-show period to offer demonstrations and sales of your products or services. You can use a post-show questionnaire to collect leads and build relationships with attendees.

Measuring Trade Show ROI:

The next step to an effective and efficient trade show program is measuring your ROI. It would be best to determine how much money you are spending on the trade show, where your money is going, and what you are getting out of it – therefore, it’s essential to create a database to keep track of this.

It is also helpful to record detailed comments from visitors asking questions about specific products or services at the trade show booth; this will give you additional information about those visitors that your sales team can use for future follow-up activities.

Post-Show Analysis:

The last step in the analysis process is to review the data that you have accumulated post-show. For example, it would help if you determined how much money you spent, how many leads and prospects came in, and what the overall output was in terms of sales.

Was it worth it? What worked? What didn’t? What could be improved? Use this information to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of your trade show program. Also, use the data from the post-show analysis to improve your marketing tactics and strategies for the next trade show you participate in.

The Benefits of a Trade Show Booth

A trade show booth is an excellent opportunity to build your brand and generate leads and buyers. It’s an effective tool to create opportunities and provides a lot of visibility at an industry or event. However, trade shows offer many benefits that take more work to replicate. Here are just some of them:

Increase your branding exposure:

You’ll get to display the products and services you offer at the trade show, which is especially important for new or relatively unknown companies.

Build great relationships:

A trade show allows you to have direct contact with many prospects simultaneously – as opposed to just one individual. This opportunity is more potent than a presentation or phone call with a chance because you’re available and visibly present. 

Generate leads:

Trade shows are great for generating leads. You can use the information from a post-show survey or questionnaire to collect information about your on-site visitors and convert them into sales prospects.

Compete for attention:

The competition is fierce at a trade show. You must be more creative, determined, and aggressive than other companies. You have to stand out from the crowd; otherwise, it will be challenging to bring sales conversion.

Generate revenue:

The money you make from a trade show can reach into the thousands – from just one event. If your company participates in multiple events, it will allow you to build a solid client base through repeat sales and referrals.

Build brand awareness:

Brand awareness is essential for every business. Trade shows allow you to get that brand in front of many visitors, increasing your visibility and reputation. So, building that brand through media coverage, social media engagement, and customer testimonials is necessary. 

Become a thought leader:

Being at a trade show allows you to be a thought leader in your industry or field. That will increase interest in your products, services, and solutions from decision-makers who can make critical business decisions based on their reading of what you say and how you say it.

There are many ways to engage in trade show activities and increase engagement, including touring exhibits, networking, educational opportunities, and sales presentations. But a good trade show program can significantly boost your brand awareness, drive traffic to your booth or website, and increase sales and leads – thus improving the overall ROI of the event.


A well-planned trade show program will give you abundant leads, find more revenue and increase your social media presence. Optimizing this strategy also improves your ROI – based on the costs associated with putting on a successful trade show attraction campaign.

With a solid social media program and an effective booth, it is possible to increase your sales & attract new business without paying for advertising or other expensive marketing tactics.