26 Oct 2022

Best Practices for Trade Shows 

Best Practices for Trade Shows 

Trade show participation might have dwindled for the past two years, but it’s on the rise once again. Making a good pitch at a trade show can help you to attract and inform members of your target audience both in person and in real time. 

We’ve created a list of some insider tricks to help you prepare for your next trade show or industry event. 

Start Planning Yesterday 

It’s truly never too early to start planning. At the very least, you’ll want to have a clear outline of what you want to do and what you need to prepare a few months out. You’ll need plenty of time to make sure that your booth, marketing materials, schwag, and overall sales pitch are prepped and ready to go. 

Be Aware of Your Surroundings 

Approximately 85% of exhibitors will upgrade to a larger space if there are a substantial amount of “quality attendees”. Keep in mind, if there are certain people that you absolutely know you want to meet after seeing the list of attendees, make a special effort to find them and connect. This will make following up with them post-show more natural and authentic. Again, it’s important to not think of this as an opportunity to sell, but an opportunity to socialize and start conversations. 

Now, back to the booth space itself. You can absolutely get away with a smaller, cheaper space if you use it correctly. Your experience (and that of the attendees) is what you make it. With the right plan, you can use creative visuals and experiences to create an environment that will set you apart from other exhibitors. 

At a trade show we recently attended, we created a makeshift movie theater and played classic movies like The Godfather and The Shining. It was a place where attendees could take a break, have some popcorn and get a free t-shirt with a favorite movie quote to take home. Keep in mind – this was all about starting a conversation, not converting a sale.

Utilize Social Media & Email Marketing 

More than 60% of businesses use social media to promote their attendance at upcoming trade shows. Your target consumers are likely using their social channels as a pseudo-search engine, engaging with brands they like and staying up-to-date on industry trends. In other words, people are probably more plugged in than you think they are. Because of this, it’s important to make sure someone on your team is tasked with handling updates to your different profiles throughout your trade show experience. 

It’s also a good idea to market to attendees prior to the show by sending emails promoting what you are giving away in terms of schwag or giving them a reason to stop by your booth. The catch here is that it has to be compelling. The most common strategy here is some sort of giveaway, but get creative! 

For instance, our t-shirt giveaway at the most recent trade show we attended wasn’t just branded with the encite colors and logo, it was on theme with the rest of our trade show experience. Yes, everyone can use a water bottle or a phone case – but you don’t want to spend money printing your logo on something that people will just forget about or throw away after the show is over. 

Trade shows give you a great opportunity to provide basic information about who you are, what you do, and the problems you can solve. Just remember to plan ahead, stay on strategy, and work to build relationships – not just fish for leads. 

To learn more about encite’s event marketing experience and service offerings, visit our website.


I’m Sophie Mann, and I work at encite branding + marketing + creative as Vice President of Strategy. My job entails a continuous study of business, marketing, data and culture, all in the name of driving strategy forward. I’m passionate about helping brands resonate more strongly with their consumers and communicate with their ideal clients. I’m also a proud graduate of the University of Kansas - Rock Chalk!