Trade show participation: here's how to connect with your potential customer

5 min read
Apr 29, 2024 12:07:33 PM
THE FAIR. An eye-catching booth, new product manuals (all languages), maybe even shipping machines, some airfare here, some hotel stays there. At the moment suprême, it's "fingers crossed" on a good outcome. Keep those leads coming.... With marketing, you can make a significant impact on the success of the next trade show!


THE FAIR. An eye-catching booth, new product manuals (all languages), maybe even shipping machines, some airfare here, some hotel stays there. At the moment suprême, it's "fingers crossed" for a good outcome. Keep those leads coming.... With marketing, you can have a significant influence on the success of the next trade show!

With targeted actions before, during and after the trade show, you make a concrete contribution to bringing in new leads and keeping (customer) relations warm. Moreover, you send your sales colleagues on their way (even better) prepared.

Formulate goals

Define goals that determine the success of your trade show participation. For example: with how many visitors to the booth, qualified leads and customers do you speak of a 'successful' trade show? Tip: hook up with a sales colleague.

Effective actions before, during and after the trade show

Before, during and after the trade show, you have the opportunity to add value for your target group by meeting their need for knowledge. Here are some examples that have proven to work well for our customers.

1. Pre-exhibition actions

You want to make sure that as many prospects as possible visit your booth and start a conversation with your representatives. Pre-exhibition activation helps enormously.

  • Book your free ticket for trade show X now
    Why wait for people to come to you, when you can take care of this yourself? Buy entrance tickets for the trade show and invite leads, customers and/or dealers on a personal basis from one of your representatives. As an organization, you show that you want to stay up-to-date with each other on the latest innovations and developments in your industry. You lift each other to a higher level. If that doesn't create a favor factor...

Blog 21.1

Siemens makes it possible to order a free ticket for Hannover Messe from them.

  • Plan your visit to our booth and speak with a specialist
    Your intended target group has a certain knowledge need regarding your product or service. However, your sales colleagues are busy and can't speak to everyone. It would be a shame if your colleagues didn't get to speak to important prospects or customers due to peak traffic.

    Opening up the agenda of one of your representatives before the trade show can prevent this. Make sure your sales colleagues are available on certain days + parts of the day for a substantive conversation or a personal tour or demonstration. This way you distribute booth visits evenly and also let your target audience see that you value personal attention.

Hannover Messe

IBM makes it possible to make an appointment in advance regarding a specific Showcase or Demo.

  • We will keep a chair free for you during Keynote Innovation X by Specialist Y
    The trade show is of course an excellent opportunity to show your expertise to the world. When one of your colleagues plays a special role during the fair in the form of a keynote or demonstration, it can be very interesting to personally invite your target group to this. Apart from the practical aspects, there is no doubt about it; this way you definitely make the connection on content!

In addition to blogs, social and your website, consider:

  • Invite via Mail
  • Include announcements in your e-mail newsletter

2. Actions during the trade show

Not everyone has the time or manpower to visit every trade show. Certainly not when travel time and hotel stays are involved. But why deprive your valuable contacts 'at home' of the innovations, the stories and the 'vibe' of the trade show? Activation during the trade show is a great opportunity to present your organization as a forerunner in your industry.

  • Brochure/leaflet: Discover the latest Trends/Innovations from Trade Show X
    Often your organization uses that one big trade show to launch a new innovation or product with a big bang. That makes sense: this is the time when the key players in the market all come together in one place. Also collect these innovations on paper (reinforced with striking images) and distribute them over relevant channels during the trade show: fresh off the press.

    PS: You've put a lot of time and energy into the new Product Manuals, consider launching them during the trade show!

You can activate the above Offers excellently through the following Marketing channels.

  • Social Media: Tweet, Post, Write about what you are experiencing at the trade show. Get in touch with prospects and contacts real-life.

Hannover Messe Beurs

This company creates a live chat during the fair.
  • A (live) Blog: write a report every day that stimulates the senses and introduce in each blog a different learning / innovation of that day.
  • Video: the same can of course be cast in a Vlog. Is a tad more labor intensive though.

Campagne beursactivatie

Dieseko Group published a report every day during Bauma 2016 via their blog. That was a great success!

3. Actions after the trade show

Even after the trade show, you can provide great added value from marketing to your sales colleagues by supporting them in the follow-up of leads.

For example with:

  • A brochure/leaflet: discover the latest Trends/Innovations from Trade Show X
  • A brochure/leaflet of Innovation X, Y or Z
  • Contact: Talk further? Speak to an engineer
  • Find a dealer near you
  • Request an offer
Who do you send mailings to after the trade show?

Depending on who you did/did not speak to at the trade show, warm/cold leads, the number of personas you want to address, you decide how many mailings to send out and what offer to make per mailing. You can also approach the people you did not speak to at the trade show.

Don't forget: Set up landing pages to gather the right information about your target audience.

Set up simple but effective landing pages where you ask for data in exchange for the above actions. This helps you collect information in advance about the people your sales colleagues will meet at the trade show booth. It also puts the people who don't visit your trade show in your sights and you can follow up later with lead nurturing.

Brain teaser: measure, analyze and adjust

Measure and analyze the effect of your marketing (and sales) activities! Smart Marketing and Sales software like HubSpot, which ties all your sales tools together, gives you a 360-degree view of your customers. If you can demonstrate how Marketing contributed to more warm leads for Sales, you can not only start improving for the next trade show but also secure budget from your boss for future initiatives.


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