Making the most of a trade show experience

With a solid marketing plan in place, businesses can leverage trade show attendance to help fill the sales funnel and increase revenue. To deliver a strong return on investment in attending trade shows, businesses should develop short-term lead generation campaigns to help attract and convert prospects into new customers/clients.


An example of a trade show attendee’s journey to becoming a happy customer and advocate of your business.


To prepare for your next trade show, the following components should be in place prior to beginning a lead generation campaign:

  • A CRM tool to enter and track leads
  • Appropriate website content to which to direct leads
  • A communications strategy and timeline

The goal of these short-term campaigns is to implement multiple touch points to maximize brand exposure and generate new leads leading up to, during and after the event. Following are a few tips to help fill the sales funnel for your next big trade show:


  • Register for the event and obtain the pre-event attendee list.
  • Develop a touchpoint (i.e. direct mail piece) that includes your booth number and a booth-draw (i.e. how you want to draw people to your booth) that is relevant to the demographics of attendees.
  • Outside of a dedicated booth space, consider sponsoring the event and/or hosting an offsite networking event to further increase visibility.
  • Identify if any of your top prospects will be in attendance.
  • Send the direct mail piece to all event attendees and personally follow up with top prospects inviting them to your booth.
  • Obtain the media list for the event and set up meetings with appropriate contacts. 


  • Attend all networking events. These are most often free and are more of a relaxed mix and mingle environment.
  • Host an offsite networking event or set up one-on-one meetings, if possible.
  • Exhibit with the intent to talk to as many attendees as possible.
  • Gather business cards from as many attendees as you can. Make notes on the cards to jog your memory and craft a personalized follow up when you get back.
  • Facilitate meet and greet meetings with any media in attendance to help position your organization as a thought leader.


  • Follow-up with all individuals you spoke with via email and phone. Depending on the number of contacts, select which ones should receive phone calls and which ones should receive an email.
  • Obtain the post-event attendee list and send an e-blast or mailer for one final touch point.
  • Add the final attendee list to your CRM to include in other outreach efforts.

There are many steps to take to get the best ROI from trade show attendance. To help maximize the time and money spent on your next trade show, contact Chartwell Agency to develop a customized lead generation campaign that will help generate more booth visits, new leads and ultimately more revenue.