Fall has arrived and so has the tradeshow season. As social and digital marketing strategies continue dominating, don’t lose sight of the value in-person marketing brings and how to get the most of your event participation.

Solidify your goals early on

Before attending a tradeshow, clearly discuss and outline your “why” for attending. Is it lead generation or awareness building or both? What do you hope to gain from the event? If your goal is to sell more of your products, plan for a more interactive booth.

However you aim to prepare, start doing so early. The more time you have to prepare and brainstorm ideas, the better. Create a strategy and ensure everyone is on the same page.

Don’t forget to be social – online and in-person

Highlight the fact you’ll be in attendance across your social channels. Follow and retweet the tradeshow account, like posts from other attendees, and tweet at least once a week about your attendance leading up to the event. If the tradeshow has a hashtag, be sure to utilize it.

During the event, use this as an opportunity to share a picture of your employees at their booth, in their branded clothes. If it’s fitting for your brand, consider live-streaming different points of the event. Keynote speakers are an easy, effective part of the event to share. Note important quotes or phrases to live-tweet.

Have surveys at your booth for attendees to fill out. Short, informal surveys on a relevant topic are a great way to collect valuable information that you can later share with your team and repurpose the results as content across owned and earned media. Offer an incentive such as a giveaway for attendees to participate.

Stand out from the crowd

As you collect emails and contact information, engage attendees by asking more about them rather than selling yourself. Each interaction is a chance for you to represent your brand. People love sharing facts about themselves and their work; asking questions helps give the conversation a more natural flow.

While some booths may purely be competition, it’s a good idea to connect with ones that are not. You may be surprised with how many leads you acquire by talking with people at other booths.


Don’t take long to follow-up with any possible leads. Later that day, or the next day, follow people and companies you met on all your social media channels. If you’ve acquired a potential new client, reach out to them within a few days. During the event, take notes of your conversations with potential customers. That way, when you reach out later you have something specific to reference which adds a personal touch to your correspondence.

By Michele Landry, President at Tanis Communications