5 Ways to Effectively Use Trade Show Exhibits for Lead Generation

by Mat Summers:

How to create events and exhibitions that are remembered and visited (4).jpgEven in the digital world we live in, trade shows are still popular events attended by millions of people every year. For businesses that can master the art of presenting at trade show exhibits, the potential is as good or better than any other marketing medium. Let's discuss this more by highlighting 5 ways to effectively use trade show exhibits for lead generation.


#1. Planning Ahead

In order to make the most out of each trade show, trade fair, product exhibition, or event – businesses should plan ahead as much as possible. Although more cost-effective than a billboard or television advertisement, trade shows aren't cheap; due diligence should be conducted on: research, lodging, sales teams, display items, etc.

Booking lodging, paying for travel expenses, and reserving a booth at the trade show in advance will save money. This planning process also includes researching the various events in consideration, then choosing the best suited and most cost-effective ones.

#2. Developing Engagement Strategies

Once the events are chosen and the costs are know, businesses need to develop engagement strategies to accumulate enough leads and sales to earn a high ROI. These strategies will vary depending on the products and services being promoted.

Attracting attention from attendees and getting contact information from potential customers is the main goal. Engaging them for this purpose can be done through the: booth's design, sales pitch, products being promoted, and unique promotional ideas used.

For instance, visitors can be enticed to give contact information to win a prize, sales teams can give away samples, there can be interactive demos in place, short videos can be playing in the background with headsets available, discounts for attendees can be made available, etc.

The engagement strategies developed are key to making the event a success. The effectiveness of the: sales teams, booth's design, and engagement strategies, will determine how many contacts are gathered and sales made.

#3. Booth Design

The small space being rented has to be optimally designed for the best results. Businesses have to take into consideration how to get the display items to the event, how to set them up, and how much they cost. Display booths can be rented, bought and stored in the city traveling to, or brought with sales teams – depending on the distance and booth's design.

Banners, lights, display cases, and mats can many times be broken down and carried in luggage when flying, yet with larger display props, renting or storing them in the trade show's city or traveling by vehicle is the only option.

The design needs to look professional and in-line with the products and services being promoted. Logos, informational phrases, lighting, colors, and patterns – all work to engage and attract attention at trade shows.

Comfortable custom mats with brand logos or catchy phrases are cost-effective ways to attract and engage attendees; mats will cover the default flooring of the building, which may be the opposite of the booth's design.

#4. Outpost in Trade Show Cities

Companies may want to consider setting up an outpost in the cities holding the most trade shows or events related to their industry. For instance, according to an article on TSNN.com, called: “2010 TSNN Top 250 Trade Shows in the U.S. List Released”, Las Vegas, NV; Chicago, IL; and Orlando, FL – are the top three cities holding trade shows in the U.S.

Companies that really want to make trade shows part of their marketing campaign every year, should consider setting up remote outposts in top trade show cities in their countries and/or in the world. If the ROI is high enough, having a dedicated remote sales team to work multiple events yearly would cut down on travel expenses and streamline the process.

#5. Follow-Up Strategy

If all goes well at the trade show, there should be hundreds of potential clients to follow-up with. There needs to be an effective follow-up strategy in place even before the event begins. This strategy should specifically cater to each lead, according to the questions asked and interests shown. The more details gathered at the event about each lead, the more effective the follow-up will be to convert sales.

Companies have a great opportunity to close the deal with these leads, as they're already vertically minded and interested. Offering discounts, special bundled deals, and addressing their specific needs (learned at the events) will convert sales and lasting clients.


With the right mindset and strategy, companies can take advantage of trade shows. The potential these events have for lead generation is exceptional, especially, when companies have an effective booth design and sales strategy.

Although less expensive than billboards or television advertising, trade shows aren't cheap; therefor, businesses can use these 5 ways to effectively use their trade show exhibits for lead generation. Gathering hundreds of leads and converting a high percentage of sales from trade shows are the main objectives, and the potential for a high ROI is why they're still so popular in the digital age.

Mat Shop can help businesses effectively design their display booths with custom mats. From our wide selection of materials and types, businesses can choose the: designs, colors, patterns, and wording, to place on their custom mats. Having a custom mat will add to the effectiveness of a trade show exhibit.

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