How to Maximize Your Trade Show ROI

Trade shows continue to be one of the most effective ways to market a business. They’re an opportunity to showcase your products and services to a targetted face-to-face audience that has specifically chosen to visit your booth. But if not executed properly, trade shows can also be a drain on your marketing budget with little to show for your efforts. Read on to learn how you can maximize your trade show return-on-investment (ROI) by increasing your traffic, leads and sales.

According to SpinGo Event Management, 72% of exhibitors participate in trade shows to get leads from new buyers and prospects. With that being the case, and given the exhibit, travel, staff time and other costs of being a vendor, it’s incredibly important to have a trade show strategy.  As part of your overall marketing strategy, your trade show strategy is something you should develop and fine tune so that it becomes a high converting, high ROI experience for your business.

Maximizing your trade show investment has many challenges:

    1. How do you attract the attention of visitors so they stop at your booth?
    2. How do you qualify prospects and avoid wasting time with tire-kickers?
    3. How do you keep visitors engaged and develop good conversations?
    4. What are the best giveaways and how do you avoid wasting money on them?
    5. What are lead magnets and how do you make the most of them?
    6. How do you create a high performing team in your booth?

Like your website, you have precious little time to grab a visitor’s attention and keep it, especially with so much vendor competition just steps away. So you want to make sure you have a well laid out booth that attracts visitors and holds their attention once they stop by.

As a guest business speaker at trade shows, I help exhibitors address these challenges and make the most of their time at the show. One of the things I encourage them to do is review their pop-up banners and other display materials with a critical and objective eye. I also provide exhibitor audits while I’m at the show (very popular with vendors).

One of my favourite trade show stories is about a vendor who attended my talk and asked me to audit his exhibitor booth, and his banners in particular. I gave him several suggestions for improving his banner so it would attract more visitors to stop at his booth. He contacted his sign designer that morning and had a new – and improved – banner by the afternoon. He told me he noticed a marked improvement in his traffic numbers at his booth with the new banner. 

Less is more with banners. Use an attention grabbing headline and bright colours.  The question I ask at the top of my banner is a great conversation starter with visitors to my booth.


I created Trade Show Profits to help businesses dramatically increase the traffic, leads and sales they generate from exhibiting at trade shows. Check out my course and grab the free trial at Trade Show Profits.  The course comes with the optional Trade Show Profits Certification.

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