International Business and Technology Blog

4 Strategies for Successful International Tradeshows

Posted by Tom Sadtler on Mon, Feb 08, 2016

Fotolia_84129079_XS.jpgIn my last blog I cover 3 strategies for optimizing your tradeshow preparation. In this blog I will cover 4 strategies for success during and after the tradeshow.

  1. Connect with prospects during the show to maximize your presence
  2. Qualify and prioritize your leads
  3. Follow up to convert leads into clients and build long term pipelines
  4. Measure return on investment and incorporate lessons learned


 Connect with prospects to maximize your presence throughout the show

Make your company stand out: Trade show organizers produce exhibitor guides, newsletters and social media feeds during the show –all excellent vehicles to maximize your corporate profile. Submit content about your experiences or industry specific information. All content can be revamped to fit the various social media channels.

Get known as an expert prior. Speak at seminars, panels and workshops during the show. These represent great speaking opportunities. This is a great chance to promote your business and meet new contacts.

Relevant content: During a trade show, new prospects are most likely to find you via social media. To ensure increased traffic to your booth, make use of a wide range of social media channels as different prospects use different channels. Always ensure your content is high quality, industry relevant and insightful.

Involve participants to get relevant content: During the show, relevant content includes concerns and challenges expressed by visitors to your booth. Address concerns from prospects in a general way through social media, positioning your company as a problem-solver.


Qualify and prioritize your leads 

Segment your leads into low to high priority groups. The highly qualified leads generated from trade shows should be a high priority.

One method to value qualified leads is to take the estimated possible sales that could be achieved longer term and divide it by the estimated chance of success. While subjective, this provides a benchmark to judge returns.

On average, an attendee’s target market represents 15% of a trade show audience ( A theoretic way to evaluate lead generation is to compare number of leads generated with total number of attendees. If it approaches 15% then you have done well.

Continue to assess the impact of your trade show for a few months after the event. If your marketing efforts are successful and you are following up with online outreach programs, you should continue to see direct benefits as prospects become clients. 


Follow up to convert leads into clients and build long term pipelines

Follow up with your leads within two weeks of the event is an ideal time frame. Having the face-to-face contact from the trade show is the bonus from the trade show and should be leveraged. Focus on your most highly qualified leads first.

Personalize your responses and marketing campaigns as much as possible. This is especially necessary for international markets where prospects need to feel reassured about your company’s commitment to their local market.

Follow up online

  • Collect feedback –Monitor comments about your presence on social media. Note which channels were most productive (YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn….). Collect constructive insights by emailing a survey or launching a poll question.
  • Network–Get in touch with the people who wrote about you, and thank them. Keep in touch with them even if they are not leads as they help generate brand awareness.
  • Ongoing interaction –Generate new content about the trade show. Take the opportunity to show off your knowledge of the industry but also your commitment to the local export market.
  • Maintain the buzz –Continue the conversation on social media. Monitor the hashtag. See if people are looking for answers to questions about your company. 



Here is a simple formula for ROI:  ROI (%) = (net program bendfits / program costs) *100

Although it is difficult to translate all trade show benefits into dollars, to the extent possible, it is important to evaluate the results of your trade shows in as many measurable ways as possible.

There is a range of trade show features that can be measured, notably:

  • New clients: number of leads / proposals generated
  • Relationship building: number of existing clients, partners and suppliers met
  • Brand awareness / profile rising: number of visitors, interaction with sponsors and multipliers, speaker events…
  • Industry knowledge: industry reports, new trends and technologies, analysis of competitors…

Online ROI

  • Certain objectives such as brand awareness or increased web traffic can all be measured by proxy through your website.
  • New leads - If you are using sophisticated marketing software, you should be able to tell what portion of your submissions is totally new to your system and where they have come from.
  • Brand awareness - One of the clearest ways to judge brand awareness is to monitor and measure the level of “web buzz”. One way to measure this metric is to look at your direct and organic traffic that is coming to your website. A trade show should impact both categories. As more people encounter your brand, you should see an increase in direct traffic and organic search to your website.

Trade show costs include:

  • Direct expenses (attendance, booth, facilities)
  • Logistics (travel, accommodation)
  • Marketing support (samples, brochures….)
  • Staff time
  • Web online support

Returns: Direct sales are the easiest return to calculate. For all other objectives, a theoretical monetary value should be assigned.


Download the ibt partners “International Trade shows” whitepaper. or sign up for our Webinar “Using Trade Shows in Your International Marketing Mix.”


Tags: All posts, International Online Marketing