Love 'em or hate 'em Trade Shows and Conferences can be a huge part of your marketing program. Like most people, I started out not liking them a whole bunch until I figured out how to really make them work for our business. So many of our clients also attend trade shows and conferences and we've heard what works and what doesn't work for them too. 

So here are my "TOP 5 Keys to Trade Show Success":

1 - Get "THE LIST"

Most trade show organizers have a list of the show attendees and their e-mail addresses that they will make available after the show. But don't just go the traditional route of spamming the attendees after the show. (Though if you have an amazing offer or a real reason why they should opt-in to your mailing list then go for it!) You can actually use that list to create a custom audience and deploy a retargeting campaign on Facebook and Instagram. I'll do a future blog post on that in January (click here to be reminded of that post).

2 - Market BEFORE the show

Use the time leading up to the show to cross-promote your brand or company on social media. Use the event hashtags. If you have a relationship with any of the other vendors or exhibitors, tag them in your post as well. And if you don't have a relationship with any of your co-exhibitors – this is a great way to get noticed and start building industry relationships.

3 - Network With the Other Exhibitors

I can't say this enough - take the time to network with the other exhibitors and leverage their network. Even if they are friendly competitors in the same space. Odds are you have a different speciality anyway, so why not share some social capital with your co-exhibitors.

4 - Be Social (But Not Too Much!)

A full day or days standing at a trade show or conference with your happy face is hard enough on its own. It's even harder to do when you are hungry, dehydrated or even hungover! (Trust me on that last one, lol).

If your event has an afterparty or reception by all means do it (or even sponsor it) and use the opportunity to build a real personal relationship with potential customers and industry peers off the trade show floor. But don't over do it!

5 - Keep it Simple. Keep it Light.

Nothing is worse hauling tons of materials and countless hours of set-up and tear-down. For me, I use our ZIP TUBE DISPLAY. It's super light and sets up in under 10 minutes. I can't tell you how many times I've sold this same display system to other exhibitors who wanted something lightweight and quick to set up. (Yes, I'm talking to you Chad Barry)

If it's a smaller show or if I don't have a large booth but still want a branded graphic, I'll use one of our retractable or roll up displays. Like these that we did for Chatham-Kent.

6 - Have Fun

I know I said 5 Keys to Trade Show Success - but consider this a bonus tip: HAVE FUN! If you are not having fun or you are looking tired and miserable the visitors will pick up on it right away. Stay positive, stay friendly and have fun!


If you don't mind the occasional e-mail from me, sign up here and I'll let you in on a few more trade show and digital marketing secrets!