Tips For Boosting Web Presence With Trade Shows

April 8, 2015


Trade shows are an oft-overlooked opportunity to enhance web presence.

Great content marketing, inbound marketing, backlinks, and social media all require establishing relationships with audience members. Without people who care about your brand or content, you don’t get shares, fans, links, long-term subscribers, repeat visits, or brand ambassadors (you just don’t get much of an audience).

Real relationships usually start face-to-face. And trade shows, expos, and conferences are a great way to get face-to-face with an influential, targeted audience. Take advantage the next time your company exhibits, and turn your offline trade show marketing in to online marketing gold. Here’s some tips on how.

Make Connections

That’s my #1 tip. Don’t be so focused on sales that your forget about the power of simply showing individuals that your brand doesn’t suck.

Don’t ignore attendees who aren’t sales prospects – opinions published online impact can your sales a heck of a lot. And that doesn’t mean you focus exclusively on the big-name speakers – good allies come in all shapes and sizes.

So keep your eyes open and win over those online allies. Be worth caring about. Don’t oversell. Listen, have fun, be cool, and win new friends one at a time.

Create An Outreach Prospect List

There are a lot of articles on trade shows on sponsorships, speaking, social media,  increasing booth traffic, and sales. There’s surprisingly little literature on connecting with key influencers, which is wild given how much this helps web outreach and PR 2.0.

It’s super easy to find them too. Start with the website of the expo or conference.

  • Look up the speakers. There’s always a list, and the bios usually have the speakers’ websites and social media URLs too.
  • Look up other exhibitors and sponsors. There’s always a list of them too, and many want to market their brand online as much as you too. See if there are any non-competitors that share your target audience and might want to be web buddies.
  • Find affiliated authors. Many shows are sponsored, hosted, or produced by a niche publisher or media company. When this is the case, it’s not too hard to find some authors that are going to be attending.
  • Monitor the official show hashtag with a social media tool in the days before the event. People who use that hashtag are probably attendees.
  • Don’t forget your friends. Take note of attending partners, fans, friends, and folks you’ve met before.


  • Follow some members of your prospect list on social. Like, retweet, and engage their posts as appropriate. Add some of them to your social media monitoring tool.
  • Monitor the official show hashtag and participate.
  • Score as many attendees’ Twitter handles and social media links as you can.
  • Just don’t be a creeper.
  • Exhibitor Magazine and Vivid Image have more social media tips for trade shows.

Prep Some Pitches

If an outreach opportunity arises, you need to be prepared to seize it. Start by brainstorming win-win scenarios that you can pitch, for example:

  • Interview key influencers for your blog or a video.
  • Ask bloggers to write for you.
  • Pitch a case study or article to an editor.
  • Try to score product reviews.
  • Offer free samples to influentials.

There’s no shortage of ideas. Knowing your prospects and having some ideas in your pocket makes it easier to pull off the perfect pitch.  Just don’t forget to play the long game – don’t rush the pitch; focus first on establishing relationships.

Go Beyond the Booth

Some of the best conversations will happen in the lobby, in the halls, at mixers, and at meals (get good seats). Figure out where you need to be and when.  Also, consider reaching out to a few prospects beforehand to see if they’d be interesting in you buying them a beer.

Follow Up

Don’t just follow-up with sales prospects. Go thru all the contact info you pick up. Follow your new friends and any Twitter rock stars on social media, and identify anyone who is a blogger or author. Then pitch as appropriate. Also, don’t forget to show love to your new friends.