How to Generate Leads at Tradeshows

by Richard Overmyer

The trade show world is a marketing experience all on its own. Visit an expo, and you will quickly understand how this niche market differs from the rest.

While many businesses use trade shows as a great way of meeting like-minded professionals and increase opportunity, not everyone capitalises on the experience.

Do it right, and B2B trade show lead capture and nurturing could be the highly effective tactic you need to help your business boom.

Not only are trade shows full of prospects, but most people rank these in-person events as one of the best tactics for understanding whether a product works for them or not.

If you are ready to jump on the trade show bandwagon, wondering how you can generate leads at tradeshows, hold your horses and brush up on your strategy. Doing the trade show experience the right way is crucial if you hope to maximise your involvement.

Since trade shows are a long-proven platform for reaching a variety of markets, you will need to double your efforts to get the most out of the experience. Luckily, most vendors don’t capitalise on the opportunity as much as they could.

If you hope to beat out your competition, there are a variety of tried-and-true methods that will put you way ahead of the rest. We have collected a list of every trade show lead generation strategy a business needs to know before their next trade show and put it here for your success.

Prioritise Planning

Whether you are setting up a booth for the first time, or are a veteran at the platform, there are a few things you should do before, during, and after the trade show.

One thing you should do before is create a trade show lead management plan.

What you do before the event, matters just as much as what you do during it.

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Give interested leads proper notice of your involvement in the event. Let clients, current leads, and attendees know you will be attending the event.

You can use an outreach team to help in your promotional efforts. These services drive businesses to your booth and set-up appointments for those interested in your products, so you won’t need to waste any downtime during the event.

These efforts help increase the quality of the leads you’ll gather at the trade show by piquing interest beforehand.

Contacts will come to your booth already interested in your products and eager to learn how your business can help theirs.

Overall, by prioritising planning and performing outreach before the event, you will increase brand awareness, gain a competitive advantage, and increase productivity during the event.

Set Appointments with Key Players

As part of the planning strategy, you should also set appointments with all the key players in your field.

As you get prepared for a trade show, make sure you express the importance of appointment setting to the rest of your team. Identify people planning on attending the trade show and start outreach efforts.

After collecting a list of attendees, you should also identify business leaders in the noted market. Once you have a list, your team should look for viable leads ready to learn more.

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Through an appointment-setting process, you can typically find leads prepared to learn more. From there, set appointments with those interested in hearing more about your product.

You can follow these footsteps by focusing on gathering interest before the event.

Make it a goal to get traffic flowing towards your booth. You can send out emails, make phone calls, or communicate with prospective clients the importance of the event.

Try and make the most of your time by setting appointments with one of your employees at the show. You can then have another employee man the booth answering questions from those who come and visit on happenstance.

Lead, Teach, and Peak Interest During the Trade Show

Trade show marketing all leads up to the big event.

While planning and appointment-setting are welcomed strategies, they only work if you live up to expectations during the trade show. Focus on your clients. Show-off your product and make the most of your time.

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As Sean Turner writes in “9 Offline Strategies to Boost Your Digital Marketing Presence”:

“There’s a good chance your industry has trade shows or conventions popping up around the globe. Attending them is a great way to network and promote your brand. Shake hands, pass out business cards (or that cool swag I just talked about), and make an impression on your industry. This may lead to valuable online opportunities. Or even a future speaking gig at an upcoming show.”

All in all, try and make the most of your time. Get social. Answer questions thoughtfully and make notes of every lead you meet with at the event.

These notes can help you during the follow-up stage. Plus, they could help you close a lead when push comes to shove later in the buying process.

Finally, make sure you utilise a user-friendly tradeshow lead capture to help make sure no potential opportunities slip by.

Unfortunately, not every person interested in your services will stop and talk to you, but they may quickly fill out a form after hearing you talk to someone else.

An easy to use capture system will help cast the widest even possible at your event.

Always Follow-Up

Event marketers often put so much work into the execution of a live event that they forget to prioritise tradeshow follow up activities.

One recent study found that fewer than 70 percent of exhibitors have any formalised plan or process in place for how leads are followed up with after the show. You should do better by always following-up with leads after the event closes.

Fortunately, meeting with these leads in-person will provide you with crucial information on how you can better serve their business. Armed with knowledge and backed by an in-person connection, you can boost your chance of successfully capturing your most prominent leads.

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You can also understand which leads are worth pursuing, which need more nurturing, who is ready to buy, and who needs more attention. Then, use those details as you reach out for your after-trade-show-follow-up.

No matter what you do, make sure you reach out. Your prospective leads most likely met with hundreds of other businesses and are now making timely decisions on which companies they should use moving forward.

Don’t fall to the wayside by forgetting to follow-up. Stay top-of-mind in the days after a trade show event, and your efforts won’t be in vain.


Trade shows are an excellent opportunity for B2B marketing.

If you put planning and effort into the show, you can quickly maximise your marketing potential at an upcoming event and drive traffic to your business.

However, if you need help implementing these strategies or following up on leads, reach out to a lead generation company.

The best lead generation companies will help every step of the way for their clients, from planning, to lead capture, to nurturing.

More importantly, they have the experience and know-how to get trade show attendees into your sales pipeline.

Make sure you are ready for the next trade show, and all the opportunities it offers.

Want more marketing help, strategies and advice? Check out: 

Richard Overmyer is a copywriter for Launch Leads. Richard spends time finding ways of improving customer and brand relationships throughout the entire lifetime of a product. He helps develop strategies that businesses can implement immediately for real-time results. In his spare time, he enjoys skiing, hiking, and pretty much anything that gets him active in the mountains.

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