According to data from the CMO Council, Fortune 2000 and large companies are much more effective in how they allocate resources and approach trade show lead generation through booth traffic.

  • Large and enterprise companies expect a 4:1 return on their trade show investment and typically spend as much as 17% of their annual lead gen budget on trade show and event marketing
  • Mid-sized companies typically only spend only 4% of their budget and attend multiple trade shows, with in show sales and brand awareness as their typical goal
  • Small businesses can spend up to 10% to 30% of their annual budget on one major show annually, with lead generation and new business as their primary measurement of return

However, according to Exhibitor Magazine, less than 60% of SMB companies have a plan to fill the booth traffic goals prior to the event. And 70% don’t have any systematic follow up strategy post-event. As a result, 70% of leads from the show are ignored.

As a sales outsourcing company we love helping our sales outsourcing clients get the most from every dollar they spend filling their sales pipeline. And over the past several years we have started to leverage trade shows and events to:

  • Fill the top of the sales funnel
  • Generate sales ready leads in the short term
  • To build long term databases of ideal target customers for marketing automation campaigns

This blog article is part 1 of a 2-part series and will specifically address how to drive more booth traffic at the show. Part 2 will address how to maximize your post show follow up to make every lead count. Both articles were abridged from a whitepaper that also discusses the competitive landscape you now face. You can download the full whitepaper by clicking the button below.

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Drive More Traffic to Your Booth – Trade show Marketing Pre-Show and In-Show Tips

The first step in a successful trade show lead gen campaign is to drive traffic to your booth prior to the event and during the event. Here are tips to help you achieve that trade show marketing goal.


Sales Outsourcing Tip #1: Build a Microsite Dedicated to the Event

Attendees are excited about the event. Help add to that excitement by creating a microsite that aggregates multiple landing pages, dedicated to highlighting reasons they should be excited to meet with you.

clipboardA quality, dedicated microsite makes it easy for the attendee to understand who you are and what problems you solve for customers. Your microsite can include the following features:

  • Highlight one or more solutions (remember 90% of attendees are there to find new solutions)
  • Social media connection options to capture social media followers
  • Booth information, location and details on how to schedule a face-to-face meeting
  • Break-out sessions or panels you will be participating in
  • Any special events you will be hosting at the event
  • Thought leadership content
  • Customer testimonials and case studies
Sales Outsourcing Tip #2: Build a 3 to 5 Part Pre-Show (and In-Show) Trade show Marketing Email Campaign for Any Known Attendees

If you have a marketing automation platform, run a dedicated trade show marketing campaign. Best practice is to start as early as 4-6 weeks prior to the event. You can also run an abridged version in the two weeks leading up to the show (if you get a last minute attendee list). With a well-built microsite you already have the offers you will need. Having tested many communication flows across a variety of clients and verticals, we recommend the following order for optimal results:


  • Share your microsite highlighting the problems you help companies solve
  • Share a thought leadership asset (and any panel you will be on)
  • Ask for a meeting prior to the event
  • Provide a reminder to visit the booth with a special offer or product highlight in the 48 hours prior to the start of the show


  • Share a reminder in-show to visit your booth the first day of the event
  • Share a reminder to engage in social media (ideally during the keynote)
  • Share a reminder to visit breakout or presentation sessions (optional)


Sales Outsourcing Tip #3: Run a 3 Part Campaign to a Rented Opt-in List of Any Potential Attendee Prior to the Show

You need to build awareness prior to the show. You also need to drive top of funnel leads and awareness every month and every quarter of the year. A trade show is a great “artificial” event to accomplish both (especially if the exhibitor is charging a lot for the list).

awarenesscampign20% to 30% Open Rates

Click Through Rates from 4.5% to 7.5%


We have had great results running campaigns to a rented, opt-in list of potential attendees (not necessarily registered attendees) that may be attending the show. Sending to this broad list of potential attendees we have seen the following results:

  • 3X to 5X the typical unique open-rates of a cold outbound email campaign
  • 2X to 4X of the typical click-through-rate
  • Depending on the show and size of the list, you can generate 3,000-10,000 new top of funnel leads for $1.00 to $2.00 per lead
  • In addition, emails are often forwarded to known attendees within the company by the original recipient
  • Inside reps are able to set meetings with buyers both at the show and buyers that are not even attending the show

Remember to use the name of the show in the subject line of at least 2 of the 3 emails in the campaign.

Why does this work? Even professionals not attending want to be in the know and remain relevant and helpful to their organizations. This includes the social aspect of engaging with superiors and peers that are attending. So, even if these email recipients aren’t attending the trade show, the content allows them to still reap a tangential benefit of the trade show by learning about a new offering or having the opportunity to connect with those in their industry. If they are interested in your solution they may recommend a peer stops by the booth. Dollar for dollar we have seen this approach produce some of the best results across clients and across verticals.

mailiconWe recommend the following flow for the event offer emails, to ensure the content is relevant for any buyer (not just attendees):

  • Share your show microsite and a thought leadership asset
  • Share the solution landing page and case studies
  • Share thought leadership landing page and panel info (if applicable)
Sales Outsourcing Tip #4: Score Your Content & Make Sure to Call the Most Engaged Buyers to Ask for a Meeting Prior to the Show

According to a joint study by Ascend2 and Marketo, one of the most under-utilized functions of a marketing automation platform is lead scoring (75% of companies are not fully utilizing). We highly recommend setting up a specific scoring campaign for your pre-show campaign to score your most interested leads. Some of the most predictive pieces of content may not even be on your trades how microsite:

  • Case Studies page
  • About Us page
  • Any touch of the scheduling page
  • Any touch of thought leadership and/or booth location

We have found that engagement with these pages shows buying propensity and interest. Since you have limited time (and bandwidth) and only about 10% of the calls you make will actually even be a connection we highly recommend calling these leads first prior to the event to ask for a meeting at the show.



In-Show eMails

Remember that trade show attendees will have multiple distractions once the show begins. To stay top of mind, we recommend that you:

  • Send an email reminder to visit your booth again; schedule deployment for 6AM (event time zone)
  • Push Twitter and social media landing pages; schedule to deploy during the initial keynote session
  • Send a reminder the day of your panel appearance; once again, schedule deployment for 6AM


Database Management

We highly recommend renting show scanners and prioritizing your leads at the end of every day. Taking this 15 minutes each day will make a huge difference when you get ready to execute your follow-up campaign after the show. Note your high priority leads immediately and designate second and third tier leads so you know who your inside reps should prioritize after the show. This simple step will save a great deal of guess work after the show.


Use Social Media Pre-Show and In-Show

88% of US marketers use social media to increase awareness about their events before and as they occur (FreemanXP). Do likewise, and if possible, run as much of the following through your automation platform for increased lead scoring. Prior to the show, we recommend sharing the same information you are using in your email campaigns across your social media channels, and during the show, we recommend leveraging Twitter to:


  • Comment on sessions you thought were cool
  • Provide your perspective on keynotes
  • Shout out your partnership relationships
  • Run a special offer for Twitter followers only
  • Mention after-show events
  • Mention other cool products/booths you have seen



Pre-Show Checklist 

With a little planning and a little extra effort you can double your next trade shows booth traffic. Here is what it takes:

  • Re-organizing content that already exists specifically for the trade show
  • Sharing that content:
    • With a nurturing campaign to past and present show lists and your existing database
    • An outbound email marketing campaign to a wider audience to generate new top of funnel leads
    • In your existing social media network
  • Finally score those leads with your automation platform to maximize 800 to 1600 calls prior to the show.


How We Can Help

Depending on the size of your show, your sales targets, and your lead generation goals, Gabriel Sales can provide turnkey solutions to support your trade  show events. Trade Show Event Packages start for as little as $4,000 for full service digital support, and can scale to 20K for a comprehensive large event support package that includes:

  • Best practices
  • Content production and curation
  • Email marketing and marketing automation support
  • Temporary calling support both pre- and post-show


Who We Are

Gabriel Sales is a full service sales and marketing consulting and execution firm that provides outsourced sales and marketing services. We combine sales strategy consulting, digital content marketing, marketing automation expertise and sales execution in order to produce self-sustaining, scalable, and measureable sales engines – all designed to put more sales qualified leads in your closers hands to generate revenue. Visit us at .


Visit Part 2 here.