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Boost the Booth: 6 Ways to Achieve Better ROI from Trade Shows

Trade shows are a great place to connect with your current customers and even engage some new ones, all while absorbing some valuable industry know-how.

But before you invest any time or money into exhibiting, you need a plan.

Here are some ways to WOW attendees and make the most of your exhibitor experience, from beginning to end.

1. Identify which shows are best for you.

There is no shortage of industry shows out there to choose from, but pick wisely - you don’t have to be at all of them. Try sending a survey to your most valuable customers to see what shows they will be attending. Ask sales reps and industry peers on their opinions and definitely reach out to conference organizers to get all the information. What are the exhibitor hours? Are there events to draw crowds to the floor? Will your target audience be well represented?

Create a simple spreadsheet to weigh cost and all of the above to help make the decision easier.

2. Set goals.

Participating in trade shows can be costly, so take some time to figure out what will make it a success. Think SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. Do you want to generate sales leads, meet a certain number of qualified prospects, research competitors, or just boost your name recognition? Goals will help determine how to use your time at the show.

3. Communicate early.

Exhibitors will usually receive an attendee list prior to the event or at least have the opportunity to have a presence in pre-show promotions. Think about the best way to introduce yourself and what you’ll have to offer at the show.

If you’re looking for media attention, give press a good reason to stop by your booth, attend your press conference, or show up at your cocktail party. This is your chance to present story ideas and establish ongoing relationships.

And, don’t forget promotions. Make sure your booth or event is listed on your website as well as the conference website and app. Mention your show presence everywhere including e-newsletters and social media.

4. Creating a journey.

Everything you do at a trade show is a representation of your company and your brand. Design a booth that reflects your message and allows serious buyers and important customers connect.

Be engaging when working — answer questions and listen to customers’ needs. The atmosphere should be fun and interactive, but don’t forget to create a space for sitting down with prospects or scheduled sales appointments.

Ensure your collateral is quick with a specific call to action, and make sure visitors walk away with branded merchandise that leaves a lasting impression.

5. Think outside the booth.

Plan to make yourself known at the conference. Complete a speaker or panelist application well before the show, and plan to participate in user groups and networking events.

Leverage social media, especially Twitter (most conferences have a specific hashtag you can track), to contribute to discussions and hot topics at the conference.

6. Follow up.

As the show wraps up, conduct a post-show analysis and figure out how well you did. Did you meet your goals? Knowing what went well and what didn’t work will be crucial for other shows.

Once you’re back at the office, share your knowledge with the rest of your team and begin to follow up on leads. Within a week you should be sending thank you emails and reaching out to prospects you met at the show.

Learn how ZOOM! Branding Group can help you with these initiatives and many more.


ZOOM! Branding Group, powered by American Solutions for Business, is a one-stop branding solution provider with tremendous access and buying power. In fact, we have more than 3,500 national resources we can use to design a simple, sustainable and results-oriented brand presence for any business, minus the hefty agency price tag.

Check out our idea center. Or contact us at 440.343.3362 or email and we'll work with you to find the perfect solution to make a big impression.

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