Engaging at Trade Shows | Exhibitors Tips and Tricks

Trade shows are a proven marketing activity that helps companies build brand awareness and discover new business opportunities. But the companies that exhibit the best, and maximize their return on investment (ROI), are those that realize that simply showing up isn’t enough. It’s the face-to-face interactions and connections made before, during and after the show that can take your show results to the next level.

Will consist of:

  • Introduction
  • Making your pre presence known to visitors
    • Your website news & blog feed
    • Social media
    • Organizers website directory
    • Email signature
    • Sponsorship of trade events
    • Customized material
  • Attracting visitors to your display stand
    • Your display stand design
  • Engaging with trade show attendees on your stand
    • Staff representatives & Communication
    • Marketing materials
    • Tracking attendees
    • Interactive methods
  • Post show engaging

Introduction: Engaging at Trade Show Exhibitions

According to a recent study, 81% of trade show attendees have buying authority. So, how do you engage with these high-level customers and prospects in order to get the most from your trade show participation?


Hard to say, though you only get one first impression. If you are unprepared and leave an unpleasant feeling from your potential clients, I’m sorry though you likely can say goodbye to those contracts for good.

Making your pre presence known

Prior the event is a stage exhibitors need to take into consideration, making their companies presence at the event known to potential attendees. This is great for international business relationships, as an exhibition display stand is basically a mobile office for companies around the world. Making your presence aware to target clients in the areas or country the event is taking place can guarantee a direct visit and introduction from key potential clients.


Some standard methods to try implement:

  • Your website news & blog feed
  • Social media
  • Organizers website directory
  • Email signature
  • Sponsorship of trade events
  • Customized material

Your website news & blog feed

Promote your attendance at the event on your website. Your website affords the opportunity for you to promote every aspect of your attendance & what you going to be marketing on the display stand. Including the opposition, interactive content and special offers. At the same time, you can use this tool to make your target audience aware you are going to be present in a certain country at their local event.

Social media

Social Media is an excellent way to get a message across. Writing content about your attendance and distributing it all over social media is another way to get more visitors to your stand. This allows general people to comment and share their involvements, the trick here is not to make the post all about your company, but by the event its self and the services or products that are going to be on display at the entire event.

Organisers website directory

Ensure you have access to the exhibitor part of the show website and complete your company profile. From here on you will also find many other marketing opportunities accessible to you on their site. So don’t forget to take advantage of every aspect there is. This is also a great way to be found from attendees who aren’t able to make the event or might have missed you, or hopefully not but ‘forgotten you’ after attending.

Email signature

In your email signature, easy thing to add, having all your trade shows you will be attending available to be seen, this shows your involvement and dedication to the markets.

Sponsorship of trade events

Events usually have sponsorship opportunities. Still even though this can be a costly exercise, it is often a great ‘on the day’ reminder of your brand for the visitors.

Customised material (Corporate Gifts)

Now for an innovative method of marketing. In the case you are exhibiting in a country you don’t have a permanent presence, making a bigger effort is vital, as clients building a business relationship with someone you haven’t met is a bit nerve racking. These clients are very difficult to gather if they have a service provider already, as they get comfortable and feel secure with your competitor.

Research your main target companies in the country you are exhibiting at, have an invitation letter & corporate gift packaged and couriered to the companies directly prior the event. This is a cheap method of a first interaction, and could increase your key accounts visits possibilities greatly.

Be innovative and imagine you were on the other side when doing these.

Attracting visitors to your display stand

How to actually attract visitors to your display stand. If you have done this before you know you will see many people just wonder past you and your team.


Not every one of your visitor engagement needs to be in the form of discussions with your stand team. Often, creative content and engaging tools can perform the hard work for you. They supply visitors a reason to approach your stand and present an initial talking point. It can take some of the strain off your team.

Your display stand

It should go without saying that your brand should be easily recognizable by your trade show display. If you have a ‘wow’ exhibition stand, its obvious everyone is going to look. Your goal is to getting your message across once they look as quickly as possible, what you do and your brand image. If these are integrated in your display stand design, this is an easy way to get everyone accustomed to you.

Engagement on your stand, having it appear as something exciting is happening on your stand is attractive, forcing people to come see. Something interactive that people will enjoy touching or watching can be highly beneficial at a busy event.

In the end, you want visitors to remember you above the competitors. Engagement tools can assist adding value to your conversation, whether it’s a game to offer a positive encounter or a virtual environment that guides the visitor visually through your presentation.

Engaging with trade show attendees on your stand

To make your stand memorable, you will need visitors to have a good time while visiting your stand. A great stand will ensure you keep your visitors entertained and your brand will be the one they remember at the end of the show and long after that. The goal is to turn visitors into buyers.

  • Staff representatives & Communication
  • Marketing materials
  • Tracking attendees
  • Interactive methods

Staff Representatives Engagement

A large percentage of the success of your stand is as a result of its staff.

Here are the obvious three points your staff must know:

  • Exactly why your company is presenting at the show
  • What is your advertising campaign message?
  • Who is the target audience?

Although you should discuss this information with stand staff before the event, it’s recommended that you refresh their memories with an on-stand briefing each morning of the event. Your staff can either highly benefit sales, or completely destroy opportunities.

Appropriately groomed representatives must have the ability to speak clearly, listen to attendees, exhibit positive energy and present the product effectively.

Representatives should always arrive early and prepared for the event. You certainly don’t want them to be too “sales-y”, so give them some keywords to message into conversations with attendees. Instruct them to engage with attendees as much as possible and to initially keep it light and conversational. Representatives should also be aware to keep aisles open and socialize with other staff members as little as possible. Remain focused on the attendees, not each other.

How the human mind is, they would feel more welcome to approach a representative standing alone then a bunch in a conversation

Take breaks and stay motivated

Even the most skilled staff member gets tired being on their feet for hours on end which is often accompanied by an apparent drop in motivation. Fatigue is a mood killer. It’s essential that your staff stay on top of their game as the last guest of the day might be the most important.

Frequent scheduled breaks. Ensure everyone working the stand gets a decent lunch break. Rewarding a well-earned break will do wonders for their engagement levels.

Exhibition Stands Marketing Materials

In addition to your display, offering attendees marketing materials is extremely important. If an attendee walks away from your booth without something in their hand, there’s a good chance it will be a forgotten experience. That’s why you need to hand them a business card (at minimum) or a brochure with contact information to keep the interactivity moving forward. Memorable marketing materials need to creatively capture the essence of your business in a unique manner.

Getting the attendee’s contact information is just as important as giving them marketing materials. The more contact information you can gain from attendees, the stronger your follow-up campaign will be.

Tracking Attendees

It can often be a good strategy to pre-qualify certain attendees, apply attributes, or take notes in regards to potential clients so you have a foundation to build upon when you follow up after the trade show.

There are innovative lead retrieval systems that have been created to assist exhibitors in the follow up process. This is arguably the most important step. What would be the point of going through all the effort of displaying and presenting your services if you don’t accumulate any clients, or if you can’t remember a certain managing directors name?

Interactive Methods

Interactive strategies are great to attract visitors to your stand

Trade Show Interactive Stand Ideas.   Click here for more information on interactive displays at trade shows.

Post Show Engaging

After the show is when you need to lock in those visitors you met, to turn them into clients.


Simple, methods:

  • Follow up emails (obvious)
  • If you in a country and met a potential huge client, go show face at their offices. Face to face interaction is possible at this stage and the best way to sell.

After all, it’s a sales people’s job to sell. If they are in a new area or country with potential clients, they should be going around presenting their services, which is easier as you have your mobile office & products at the event. don’t just rely on your clients finding you.

This is a topic that information is limitless. Though I hope you gathered some points here and amaze your client and your next trade show