5 Tips to Boost RIO at Your Trade Show (Some Good Stuff Here Folks)!

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Once every few weeks I’ll finally have that day where I just have enough of the ever-growing pile of magazines and articles stacking up on my desk and I’ll force myself to stop everything else and do nothing but thumb through the stack to see if there is anything that the visitors to our site might find some use in. Most of the time I come up with a giant ball of nothing, but this time I found a piece I thought could help all of my friends who are (smartly) using trade shows to bolster their marketing efforts.

From Author Alexander Kesler, and featured in the August issue of Successful Meetings, the article is called 3 Ways to Get More From a Trade Show (subtitled “Enhance your trade show ROI with these smart strategies”) and it’s aimed at the small businesses owners and marketing managers who are responsible for driving up the return on investment for their company’s trade shows, especially if they are already under the microscope for past trade shows that may not have put as much back in the coffers as expected.

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I’ll let you read the article by clicking the link above, but just to summarize, the three approaches to driving trade show revenue were:


  1. Use creative calls to action – This one SHOULD be a no brainer, but alas… It basically just comes down to making sure that every email, social media post, advertisement or  phone call leading up to your event needs to have some sort of attention grabbing “ask”. Ask them to pre-register to visit your booth, ask them to visit your microsite (See below), ask them to schedule a demo, etc.
  2. Create an event microsite – I’m a digital marketing geek so this speaks my language, but I am well aware that this is a bit of a foreign concepts to most people. It boils down to creating a miniature website (or even a “sub-page” on your current website, and build it with the attendees of your upcoming show in mind. Make it appeal to them and ONLY to them. Create imaging, text, and offers that are only meant to be seen by them and are likely to catch their interest
  3. Promote event-related social posts – This is one of those items that falls through the cracks because there IS a cost associated with it. That’s a shame, because the cost is tiny and the pay off can be huge. You can spend pennies per lead through Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn advertisements and have a very low-cost sales person driving people to your booth in the days/weeks before the show.


All three are great ideas for increasing your ROI at Trade Shows through a little strategic marketing legwork before the show of course, but what can you do during and after the show? Well, here are two of my own tested and proven ideas- I hope the Author doesn’t mind me adding a few ingredients to the soup:


  1. Use your CRM’s mobile app to immediately capture and tag new contacts– I’m going to get preachy for a second- if you aren’t using a CRM for your businesses already, you aren’t ready to be at a Trade Show. There are a ton of Customer Relationship Management Systems out there to help you to organize and stay in touch with your clients and prospects and half of them are free, so I am just going to assume you have one already and just advise you to use their official mobile app (all of the good CRM’s have one) to scan business cards and collect information from the visitors to your booth in real-time, and then to tag them and make notes on them as soon as they walk away. Then, while everyone else is waiting for their rented lead retrieval system to be harvested for contact information and then for the information to be sent, sorted, uploaded and tagged, you can already be well into your conversation and conversion sequences with your new contacts!
  2. Always Be One Show Ahead – The best time to hype your next trade show is at your current trade show! Ask each visitor to your both if they plan on attending the next relevant trade show that you are exhibiting at and invite them to visit you there as well. Make a note as to whom will be at the show and then send them a VIP invitation to not only visit your booth, but perhaps to join you for an after hours cocktail party or event.


I won’t waste your time by telling you that Trade Shows have proven to have excellent Marketing ROI because- honestly- there are already a thousand trade show exhibit dealers telling you the same thing on their sites and I’m pretty sure you have already heard this repeated ad nauseam. What I WILL mention however is that you have to do the legwork before and after the show itself or  you will get NOTHING out of your efforts.


Here at Zenith Lighting, we help companies look their best at their trade shows. We provide rental lighting, truss, and video walls to companies who want to stand out from the pack. If you have a trade show in your future that will require cool lighting, truss or LED video walls, let us know- we’d love to help!





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