5 Quick Tips for Better Trade Show Marketing

As we move further away from the height of the pandemic, trade shows continue to experience a resurgence in popularity. And for good reason – exhibiting at the right event can help you build brand awareness, nurture current customer relationships, generate highly-targeted leads, evaluate the competition, and stay on top of the latest developments in your industry. They prove to be particularly vital in B2B marketing or if your business falls within a niche industry.

However, standing out in a sea of competitors can be a challenge, and anyone inexperienced with participating in such events might not know how to best unlock their full marketing potential. So, in this week’s Baer Necessities article, we’re sharing a few tricks of the trade (see what we did there?) to ensure you maximize the benefits and leave a lasting impression at your next show.


Pre-show communication is a must.

Many businesses focus too much on the actual show and neglect the needed preparations beforehand. Just like when you’re planning a party, it’s crucial to send invites. Reach out over the phone or put together an attention-grabbing design to entice clients, potential customers, and business partners to check out your booth. You can even include special promotions or product giveaways that can only be redeemed during the event to make the invite even more compelling. Just be sure to give them enough time to plan for the trip!


Focus collateral on the audience.

Amid your planning for an upcoming trade show, it’s crucial to consider the materials you’ll need to create an informative and engaging presence. To ensure your collateral is on point, take the time to think about the needs and potential questions of the audience attending, and align your messaging and design work accordingly. Whether it’s name tags, business cards, brochures, sell sheets, folders, promotional products, catalogs or other supportive materials, work ahead so design and production can be completed well before the event.


Make a good first impression.

Seven seconds is all it takes to form a first impression of someone. The same holds true for a brand. In fact, if it’s a website, it takes just 50 milliseconds for a person to develop an opinion. Your trade show booth can be thought of as an in-person version of your website, and those first 50 milliseconds will determine whether they engage with your company – or continue walking. Make sure key messages are easily readable by designing them to be higher than three feet off the ground. The text should be brief and kept to two or three large headlines that can be read from a distance. Even with a tight budget, an experienced designer and a little dose of creativity can give you a big edge over the competition.


Sell ‘em with swag.

When it comes to promotional items, make sure you’re giving away practical products that have a better chance of being kept and used for a long time. Consider branded microfiber cloths, drawstring bags, phone accessories, water bottles, lip balm or other items people will find useful in their daily lives. Every time that item gets used, your brand will be top of mind, increasing the chances of making a future sale.


Follow up on leads and nurture connections.

After the event, your marketing team must prioritize following up with booth visitors using lead data collected during the show. Paper forms, physical business cards, scanned business cards, scanned badges, and attendee lists are all useful ways to get your “foot in the door” in making contact and securing new customers.

To get their attention and set yourself apart from competitors, consider sending handwritten notes to prospects thanking them for their time. Once the initial follow-up communication is sent, add the new contacts to a drip marketing campaign that will help nurture the new relationships, further educate them about your offerings, and continue the conversation efficiently in the digital realm.


Analyze the effort.

Evaluating the success of your trade show strategy doesn’t end with the event itself. Post-show analysis is crucial to measuring the effectiveness of your efforts. What worked well? What missed the mark? What did you see working for other exhibitors? Did you achieve the specific, measurable goals created before the event? Apply the lessons learned to improve your next event. Keep in mind that there’s no one-size-fits-all formula for success, so tracking and refining your strategy over time is essential.


Need help sharpening your tactical tools for trade shows? The team at Baer Performance Marketing is here to help. With a focus on boosting brand awareness and attracting leads, our designers, marketing experts, and product solutions team stand at the ready to help you maximize the ROI of your next event. Reach out to set up a consultation today!