Trade shows are a great opportunity to get in front of a niche audience to grow your business. Not only are trade shows valuable for growing your audience and marketing your own business, but it’s a great way to scope out the competition and learn ways your business can improve.

Trade shows provide the opportunity for you to meet, face-to-face, with a large number of potential clients, key decision makers and quality buyers in your industry. Your business could see really powerful results and get hundreds of qualified leads from one event! But that doesn’t happen by just showing up, there’s a lot more work and planning involved to get your desired ROI. These are a few of our trade show do’s and don’ts to help make sure your next event is a massive success.


Do: Outline your goals.
What do you hope to gain from this event? Setting measurable goals early in your planning is vital. Everything you do from here on out should go back to the goals you have outlined. Stick to three or less solid goals.


Do: Choose a trade show that is right for your organization and meets your outlined goals.
And think about selecting an event that you will not only be an exhibitor, but also a speaker. Is this event right for your goals? Who will be attending? Is the audience YOUR audience? One show many of our real estate clients attend each year is ICSC’s Recon. This global convention for the shopping center industry provides networking, deal making and educational opportunities. Peebles Creative Group has created custom print and digital sales presentations for Nationwide Realty Investors that quickly and easily communicate the quality of their mixed-use developments and available opportunities.


Don’t: Just send anyone from the business.
Select the right staff members to represent your business. A group of friendly, well-spoken, knowledgeable, outgoing team members. Energetic and eager people who are excited to stop people and tell them about your business.


Do: Spread the word.
Promote the event, let everyone know you are going to be there and invite them to come. Send invitations, share on social media channels, set up appointments to meet at the tradeshow and get the word out.


Do: Prepare for the main event!
Select a good spot for your booth, location matters. Your graphics should look professional, be easy to read, grab attention quickly, stand out from the crowd and have your business name/logo large enough and easy to spot. Your table should be well organized and free of snacks and drinks from the staff. Overall your space should give an open and inviting vibe to all that pass by.


Don’t: Show up empty-handed.
You will need to have plenty of handouts and business cards ready. The message and content of the handouts should be determined by the goals you outlined early on. They should represent your brand well and be professionally produced. Another thing to consider is running a contest or giveaway. Contests, promotions, giveaways and other creative methods can also be used to help your company spread brand awareness, collect contact information or achieve other desired trade show goals.


Do: Capture and qualify leads.
You have a short window of time to speak to people, make it count. Get their contact information via business cards, forms, contest entries, or even just jot it down. Think of the questions you want to ask ahead of time and this will help you qualify leads. You can make note on the back of their business cards or find a way to keep record that works best for you.

Now that your event is over, the follow up needs to begin! Use your collected business cards and contact forms to generate a list of the most qualified leads and begin there. A handwritten thank you note, an email and a phone call are all great next steps for immediate follow up.

Take the final steps to debrief and evaluate the success of your event. Did you meet your goals? Did you get ROI? Ready for the next event?

If you have an upcoming trade show, reach out to Peebles Creative Group today! We’d be happy to help from the start with goal setting, all the way through execution and follow-up.