How To Effectively Network With Customers In A Trade Show


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If you are in the B2B segment, trade shows are an effective way to reach out to your target audience, gather leads and eventually make sales. The trouble however is that there are hundreds of other businesses like you who are out to target the same audience at a trade show. According to survey results published by Exhibit Surveys Inc., the average trade show attendee spends 8.3 hours viewing exhibits in a trade show. So given the sheer number of hours spent on networking and exploring exhibits, businesses need to have a proper strategy in place to effectively engage with the attendees. Here are a few tips to ensure you get maximum mileage out of a trade show.

Target SEO/SEM : According to a CEIR Report, 45% of trade show attendees visit only one exhibition per year. Depending on your industry, you will know that one particular event that brings in the highest number of attendees. Work on a comprehensive microsite that gives attendees complete information on all topics pertaining to the trade show. All attendees do significant research online about the event that they attend and by being the go-to website for such information, you can aim at brand awareness. Additionally, you may also build a list of attendees you can engage with through the duration of the trade show.

Be Active On Official Channels : Networking is the most important reason why people attend events. Most trade show organizers have their own official mobile apps or websites to enable networking among the attendees, exhibitors and speakers. Be extremely active on such official communication lines – by being active on these communication channels, you can ensure great visibility among attendees and this effectively translates to higher footfalls to your booth. If your event does not have an official networking app, you can make use of tools like DoubleDutch to create your own networking app for trade show events.

Be Different : Given the level of competition among exhibitors to be seen, trade show attendees are overwhelmed with promotional emails in the days leading to the event. Unless you are different from the rest of the group, your messages can often be lost in the tsunami of emails flooding the attendees’ inboxes. You need to hence be different in your marketing approach – be it in using postcards as opposed to emails, or using mascots or models to draw attention to your booth. The more different you are from the crowd, the higher is the likelihood of getting seen, and more importantly, remembered.

Post-Event Networking : This is the most important part of your trade show strategy. Regardless of how many leads you generate during the event, reconnecting with them once the event is over is extremely critical. Like in the earlier paragraph, here too, the deluge of post-event communication from various exhibitors and networks could potentially drown your messages. The trick is to identify the right channel, day and time to reconnect. Most businesses looking to reconnect post their emails the next business day asking for an opportunity to connect. Considering that the recipient is likely to receive similar emails from dozens of other businesses, it either makes sense to use an alternate channel like phone or email them at a later time when the recipients’ inbox is not deluged with similar emails.

Trade shows are an extremely important part of any B2B company’s marketing strategy. But unless you adopt the right strategy, it can be difficult to be seen or be able to connect to people attending the event. Through proper execution, you can not only ensure high visibility, but also be able to convert a higher number of leads through the event.


  1. Hey Anand,

    Just wondering, what are your opinions on marketing to exhibitors instead? The trade shows in my region mostly attracts exhibitors who are my target market.


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