We hear from our clients all the time, “How do I get more qualified attendees to my booth?” Drawing qualified attendees to your exhibit can significantly impact your success at industry events. In this guide, we’ll delve into actionable steps to help you maximize the number of qualified visitors to your booth. We’ll then learn from the successes of others to gain valuable insights into strategies that work. Let’s dive in!

  1. Identify Your Target Audience

Before diving into any marketing efforts, and yes, trade shows are a critical yet often overlooked marketing endeavor, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of who your ideal attendees are. Consider factors such as industry, job roles, interests, and pain points. By pinpointing your target audience, you can tailor your messaging and outreach strategies more effectively.

A good place to look for inspiration? The show organizer’s list of attendees and exhibitors. Make sure that the show is marketing to those attendees you want to reach and that it’s the right trade show for your company. From that list, prioritize the types of attendees you would like to draw to your booth. They should be the decision makers and specifiers for your company’s deliverables. Other questions you can ask are: Are your competitors there? What percentage of attendees are the specific subset you’d like to reach? And does the show’s published attendance number also include exhibitors?

Example: National Fleet Services at NTEA’s Work Truck Show

National Fleet Services, a provider of post-production vehicle enhancements, clearly defined their target audience and matched it against the attendees of the National Truck Equipment Association’s Work Truck Week. Finding it to be a worthwhile investment the 2023, this year National Fleet Services used the same booth and in-booth marketing efforts but created a pre-show marketing campaign that helped drive traffic to their display and invested in a sponsorship that resulted in a 60% increase in qualified leads.

  1. Strategic Marketing

Once you’ve identified your target audience, it’s time to deploy strategic marketing tactics to reach them. This may involve utilizing a mix of channels such as:

– Industry-specific publications and websites

– Social media platforms (LinkedIn, X, etc.)

– Email newsletters and marketing campaigns

– Show sponsorships

– Digital advertising and geofencing

– Interactive experiences before, during, and after the event

Craft compelling messaging that highlights the unique value proposition of attending your exhibit. What is your objective for the show and what do you hope attendees will walk away with? Focus on addressing the needs and interests of your target audience to capture their attention effectively.

Example: Entegra Procurement Services at the National Restaurant Association Show

Entegra, one of the largest procurement organizations in the hospitality industry, exhibits at National Restaurant week attracting foodservice professionals, restaurant owners, chefs, and suppliers. Entegra strategically markets the event through various channels, including social media, email marketing, and content partnerships. They create exclusivity by establishing a reservation-only café within their exhibit. This café features chef demonstrations, tastings, and private offers, driving engagement and interest from their target audience.

  1. Partner with Industry Influencers

Influencers and thought leaders in your industry can be valuable allies in promoting your exhibit. Reach out to individuals or organizations with a significant following and offer them incentives to help spread the word about your booth. This could include providing exclusive access, discounts, or promotional materials. They might consider photo opportunities, demonstrations, and autograph signings as well as posting content on your behalf.

Example: Salesforce at Dreamforce

Salesforce, a cloud-based software company, hosts Dreamforce, one of the largest tech conferences globally, attracting attendees from diverse industries. Salesforce leverages partnerships with industry influencers, such as keynote speakers, sponsors, and session hosts, to amplify the event’s reach. By aligning with well-known thought leaders and experts, Salesforce increases credibility and attracts a broader audience interested in learning from and engaging with industry luminaries.

  1. Offer Valuable Content

Attendees are more likely to visit your exhibit if they perceive value in doing so. This is where the content in your exhibit can impact the attendee experience. Consider offering:

– Educational seminars or workshops on relevant topics

– Demonstrations or previews of new products or services

– Exclusive access to industry insights or resources

– Edutainment in the form of interactive experiences or hands-on learning labs

– Live podcasts or video booths

By providing valuable content in an interesting format, you can attract qualified attendees who are dedicated to learning and gaining insights relevant to their needs.

Example: Google at Google Cloud Next

Google Cloud Next is an annual conference focused on cloud computing and digital transformation. Google offers valuable content to attendees through a diverse range of sessions, workshops, and hands-on labs covering topics such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, and cloud infrastructure. By providing practical insights, case studies, and best practices, Google ensures that attendees gain tangible knowledge and skills they can apply in their businesses, attracting professionals seeking to stay ahead in a rapidly evolving industry.

Providing these engaging and pertinent learning activities outside the exhibit hall will also increase the chances that attendees will visit your booth during the show hours.

  1. Utilize Networking Opportunities

Industry events and conferences provide excellent networking opportunities to connect with potential attendees. Even as an exhibitor, you can elect to attend (usually for a fee) relevant networking sessions, engage in conversations, and build relationships with individuals and organizations that align with your target audience. Networking can help increase awareness of your exhibit and generate interest among qualified prospects.

Example: LinkedIn at LinkedIn Talent Connect

LinkedIn Talent Connect brings together talent acquisition professionals, recruiters, and HR leaders to network, learn, and share best practices for recruiting and hiring top talent. LinkedIn maximizes networking opportunities by hosting dedicated networking sessions, roundtable discussions, and social events where attendees can connect with peers, industry experts, and LinkedIn representatives. By facilitating meaningful interactions and relationship-building, LinkedIn fosters a sense of community and encourages continued engagement beyond the event.

  1. Optimize Your Exhibit Presence

Your exhibit booth serves as the focal point of your presence at industry events. Make sure it stands out and attracts attention by:

– Using eye-catching displays and signage

– Incorporating interactive elements or demonstrations

– Ensuring that booth staff is knowledgeable, friendly, and able to engage with visitors effectively

– Hiring team members like product specialists, presenters, and brand ambassadors that specialize in qualifying leads and passing them off to a sale team member.

Create an inviting environment that encourages interaction and facilitates meaningful conversations with attendees.

Example: SK at CES 2024

SK’s Wonderland Exhibit was the talk of the industry at this year’s Consumer Electronic Show. They created an amusement park themed booth that was eye-catching, magnetic, and jaw-dropping all at the same time. Featuring a small version of the Las Vegas sphere and a number of interactive displays within the exhibit, brand ambassadors dressed as amusement park workers handed out passports that attendees used to guide them through the booth. The booth was designed to “transport CES visitors to a world with less pollution, less waste, more green space and more clean air—all powered by technologies that reduce greenhouse gasses.

Created by SK Group

  1. Provide Incentives

Offering incentives can be a powerful way to entice qualified attendees to visit your exhibit. Consider:

– Providing discounts on products or services

– Hosting giveaways or contests with enticing prizes

– Offering exclusive access to special events or experiences

Incentives can create a sense of urgency and excitement, driving more qualified visitors to your booth.

Example: Health-Ade Kombucha at Natural Products Expo West

At Natural Products Expo West, one of the largest trade shows for the natural and organic products industry, Health-Ade Kombucha has an exhibit and sponsors a networking event called the “Happy Hour.” Health-Ade Kombucha is a leading producer of organic, small-batch kombucha beverages. During the show, the Health-Ade Kombucha booth featured a Kombucha Tasting Bar for attendees and distributed branded merchandise and giveaways such as reusable glass bottles, branded tote bags, and stickers. The company brought the tasting bar into their networking event and collaborated with mixologists to create specialty cocktails featuring kombucha as a key ingredient.

Booth created by Exhibit Partners

  1. Utilize Data Analytics

Finally, track the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and booth performance using data analytics. Monitor metrics such as website traffic, social media engagement, and booth attendance to identify which strategies are yielding the best results. Use this data to refine your approach and allocate resources more effectively in the future.

Example: Siemens Healthineers at RSNA

RSNA puts on the largest Radiology show every year in Chicago.  Siemens Healthineers uses data analytics to track attendee engagement, demo attendance, and feedback throughout the event. By analyzing this data in real-time, Siemens Healthineers gains insights into attendee preferences, trends, and areas for improvement, allowing them to make timely adjustments and enhancements to the event experience. This progressive approach ensures that Siemens Healthineers remains relevant, valuable, and impactful for attendees year after year.


Attracting more qualified attendees to your exhibit and maximizing your presence at industry events takes work, but it’s worth it. You can draw inspiration from these real-life examples to gain maximum exposure to the key attendees on the show floor. Remember to tailor your approach to align with the needs, preferences, and expectations of your target audience. Then, by continuously evaluating and refining your tactics, you can ensure that you bring the most qualified attendees to your trade show space and achieve ongoing success.

Christina Piedlow, TPG President and CEO

Related: How Immersive Experiences Make Lasting Impressions in Exhibitor Booths

At TPG we are immersed in tech and masters of surprise and delight. Our vast experience with new technologies and multimedia enables us to help you hone in on the right approach to attract and engage your target audience. Let’s start a conversation!