Whether this is your first time at a trade show or you’re an expo veteran, exhibiting can be a daunting task. The costs associated with just being there mean you need to make sure that your efforts are successful. Fortunately, with some planning, streamlined messaging and a clear goal you can make your next trade show a success. Here are a few tips:

Define Success

Before designing your trade show booth first you must decide WHY you’re taking part in a particular trade show. Are you there to build brand awareness? Promoting a new product? Generating leads? All of the above? Defining success before you even begin to prepare will help give you guidance for not only what you want to showcase but also how to determine if your time was well spent.

Plan Ahead

Trade shows require A LOT of planning. Before even choosing whether or not your business should exhibit at a trade show you need to do a little research. Analyze your buyer personas to make sure you choose a trade show that they are likely to attend. We also recommend doing a little research on your competitors to see if they will be there as well.

You will need to have some idea of what you will be showcasing at the trade show. Having no agenda is a surefire way to make your trade show experience fail. You may be tempted to display your entire product line; however, most attendees will find that to be overwhelming. Most shows target a specific industry or market segment so narrow down your product selection by tailoring your displays to that specific buyer persona.

Develop a marketing plan at least six months in advance of a trade show. This gives you time to design the booth, create education materials and giveaways, and develop and schedule any marketing around your presence at the show. In addition to announcing your presence, use this as an opportunity to tease any topics you may be covering or new products you’ll be showcasing. Trade shows make for an excellent opportunity to unveil a brand new product in front of a large audience and generate buzz.

Streamline Your Message

To be successful at a trade show you need to make sure that there is thought behind every banner you display, product you showcase and handout that you offer. First, you should make sure that all of your displays are not only sized appropriately for your booth but provide the right information in a way that is clear and easy to read. Remember, you don’t have to list every bit of information about your company or products, give them a reason to come talk to you!

Next, you need to ensure that all giveaways, one-pagers and brochures are branded. This means all takeaway items are made with the same font, letterhead, logo, color scheme, etc. so that it all has a consistent message and cohesive look. Once you’ve designed your materials and giveaways, be sure to get them to your printer with plenty of turnaround time. Leave yourself a day or two to go through your items to make sure they’re correct and organized for travel.

Track Your Leads

Don’t get so hung up on planning for the show that you forget about what comes after. You want to have a plan for following up with your newly acquired leads BEFORE you even set foot in your booth. This way you can turn around your follow up messaging quickly.

Send a personalized email or phone call within a day or two of the closing of the show to reach your leads while you’re still fresh in their mind. Reaching out via Twitter or LinkedIn is also a great way to keep in touch. Chances are your leads met with a lot of exhibitors while walking the show so be sure to reference the trade show in your correspondence so they remember exactly where they met you.

Once you’re back to the office, don’t just dump your leads into your CRM platform and call it a day. Be sure you organize them into proper segments of the sales funnel so that they continue to receive applicable information to help them convert as soon as they’re ready.

If you’re still overwhelmed about preparing for your next trade show, we’re here to help! Our B2B marketing experts can work with you on an integrated strategy that will deliver the best return on your trade show investment.


In B2B tech marketing, tactics should be thought of as part of a larger whole, rather than separate pieces. By strategically integrating new and traditional marketing tactics, your marketing program become more effective and cost efficient. To learn more about how you can increase your lead generation and overall marketing, download our free eBook: Modern Integrated Digital Marketing—A Better Path for B2B Technology Marketers.

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Jackie Oberholtzer is a Digital Content Specialist at Schubert b2b. She received her B.A. in Communication Studies from West Chester University. When she’s not developing creative and engaging content for her clients, Jackie can be found practicing yoga or adventuring with her husband and son.