​Trade shows are full of eager buyers. A high percentage of attendees want to make a purchase within the next 12 months, so it’s a great way to build up your lead list. Twelve months is a long time between hearing about your solution and making a purchase, though. How do you become the top option when they buy 6-12 months after the event?

Here are a few ideas to get started:

​Make Your Booth Fun and Different

​Trade shows are full of hundreds or thousands of vendors, and it’s difficult to hit every table. If someone is looking for your particular product type, you want to make it obvious what you sell. Unless you have the solution word in your name, such as software, it can be difficult to catch people’s attention.

Even if your product or company name makes it obvious what you sell, if you have a lot of foot traffic the name might be hidden from passersby. Promote what you sell in a fun way by bringing an activity to draw in the crowds.

For example, people like quizzes. Consider promoting a fun quiz related to your solution on a large sign at eye level at the back or side of your booth. When people pass the booth, encourage them to take the quiz and enter a drawing of some sort. Collect the answers on a tablet, along with the email addresses of attendees.

You learn about the top concerns for attendees and build a list of names for people interested in your product.

Other ideas to draw people in:

  • ​A cartoon character that represents your prospect
  • ​A fun bit of trivia that promotes questions
  • ​An open-ended question that draws people in for the answer

​You've brought many potential buyers to your booth. Now what?​ Check out this checklist ​to turn more conversations into sales.

Give Away Free Things

Everyone likes receiving free stuff. Take a moment, though, and consider what you usually get at a trade show. How many pens or cozies do you have from events? Do you know where any of them are? Were these useful?

When you’re searching for a pen to use, do you notice the company name, or do check if it has ink and then toss or use it accordingly?

While pens and cozies are cheap giveaways, they aren’t that memorable. Relate your giveaway to your product.

Let’s say you create Point-of-Sale software. What would be useful? A credit card holder with RFID protection relates to your product. POS systems read credit cards. These holders are relatively inexpensive and might get dedicated use from your potential buyers.

Get Permission to Keep in Touch

This may seem obvious, but is very important. A sign-up sheet asking for contact information from people who want to learn more is boring. Instead, use a new version of the sign-up sheet. You can hand out flyers promoting a free valuable giveaway with a specific link for attendees. You can track the link to see how effective the sign-up effort is. For those who have European clients, this will also help you document the permission to contact people.

Another option is a QR code or similar that links to an augmented reality experience. If they check out the code, they can receive instructions to get another resource or giveaway from your booth. The more interaction they have with you at the event, the more likely they are to remember you.

Then, a dedicated follow-up sequence​ allows you to continue the conversation seamlessly after the event.

Each of these makes the follow-up easier and gives them a reason to reach back out to you. Tease the contents of the giveaway and prompt them to download at a special page. Only give it out to attendees and then you can measure your conversion specifically from the conference.

Ready to take your next trade show by storm? Get in touch to plan out your follow-up strategy for the next twelve months after the show.

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