Tips for a Successful Trade Show Participation

Even in the digital age, participating in a trade show provides an excellent opportunity to directly engage with potential customers or other businesses, and to introduce your company and its products to a wide audience, especially if your company is not yet well-known.

Zuletzt aktualisiert: 21.05.2024

To ensure your trade show participation is successful, good preparation is essential. A well-thought-out concept is crucial in the lead-up to the event.

Initial Considerations

First and foremost, you should determine whether participating in the trade show is likely to be successful. You can evaluate this in advance by considering the following:

  • Do the expected trade show visitors belong to your company’s target audience?
  • Will a new market be reached that can expand the existing customer base?
  • Is the company able to present its products or services in a way that stands out from the crowd?
  • Is the effort and cost for travel and booth expenses worthwhile, or would other marketing channels be more effective?

If you decide to participate in a trade show, here are some tips for you:

- Tasks for Trade Show Preparation

Among other things, you need to clarify the following in advance:

  • By what means will the goals be achieved? Is an information booth with flyers sufficient, or are display boards needed? Should the product be demonstrated live? Is there a video or internet presentation about the company and/or the product?
  • Is a quiet area needed for longer conversations or initial contract negotiations?
  • What should the booth setup look like? Will a booth be rented at the trade show, or does the company have its own presentation systems? What about power supply or internet access? What are the (additional) costs?
  • Where should the booth be located within the trade show?
  • How can you differentiate yourself from the competition?
  • Should employees be involved in planning and executing the trade show participation? Are they well-prepared for the event and able to adequately represent the company?

- Determine the Appropriate Booth Concept

The requirements for a trade show booth can vary greatly, mainly because it needs to fit the specific trade show and target audience. Therefore, a flexible trade show system is recommended, allowing for adaptable setups and equipment. This includes mobile presentation systems like roll-ups, promotional counters, brochure stands, trade show and display walls. These individual products can be recombined to create new designs for various trade shows.
Find out what you can possibly rent cheaply from the trade show organizer instead of purchasing expensive equipment. Regardless of the specific design, ensure there is a recognition effect—not only at the trade shows but also beyond!

- Don’t forget Promotional Gifts

Even in today’s digital world, promotional gifts are still a popular (and necessary) addition at trade shows. Besides traditional promotional items like pens or keychains, you can also distribute silicone bands, USB sticks, or small "souvenirs" from a 3D printer. These items can evoke positive emotions in trade show visitors and help keep your company in their minds after the event.

- Marketing Activities

You should not only try to attract attention during the trade show but also beforehand. You can announce your planned participation on your website, through press releases in newspapers or trade magazines, or by sending specific invitations to potential customers.
Often, trade show organizers offer opportunities to advertise your company within their own marketing campaigns. Therefore, inquire with the organizers about the types of advertising they initiate to attract a large audience and actively explore cooperation opportunities.

- Interactive Engagement at the Trade Show

Digital elements like terminals or screens displaying text, videos, or presentations can promote interactive engagement. This encourages visitors to interact, significantly increasing their interest in your company and products. If this is complemented by booth staff asking, "Can I help you?" or providing a brief explanation of the presentation, customer engagement is likely to be successful.

- Follow Up on Your Trade Show Participation

A trade show doesn't end with the last day of the exhibition. Often, the sales process only begins afterwards. Therefore, you should document all contacts made at the trade show promptly and thoroughly. Simply collecting business cards or noting phone numbers is not enough!
It is better to know exactly which products (potential) customers were particularly interested in, what questions they asked—whether there were any critical inquiries—and how you responded to these questions. Also, evaluate whether the communication was effective.
This helps you analyze the behavior of (potential) customers regarding your offerings and provides an opportunity to promptly follow up after the trade show, reactivating the interest expressed by visitors.

Finally, you can learn from your experiences and possibly promote your company even more effectively at the next trade show!


The state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern supports trade show participation for small and medium-sized enterprises in certain cases. Information can be found on the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state government website under "Foreign Trade and Trade Shows."