Trade shows and exhibitions can be an incredible marketing opportunity for businesses of all size. However, there are some common mistakes made by first timers and new business owners that come up time and time again.

In most cases, these issues can end in a lot of wasted time and effort – and potentially, a few disasters.

In today’s guide, we’re going to go through some of the common mistakes exhibitors make. Perhaps it will give you the answers as to why your last trade show exhibition was a failure – or how to make sure your next is a success.

You went to the wrong trade show

According to, there are thousands of trade events all over the world. And even when you break things down into different industries, there are dozens for almost every sector of business. But not all of them will be worth your while.

Hiring a stall at a trade show is expensive, and it’s imperative you get a return on your investment. You have to be careful to look at the opportunities available from each show before you book your pitch.

Sure, the biggest trade show in your industry is a wonderful chance to pitch yourself against the industry big guns. But there is also a real danger you will be blown out of the water by their budgets. Always attend trade shows that are within your means if you want the best results.

You don’t impact on your customers

You have to make a big noise to attract people to your stall – it’s not sufficient just to turn up. Make sure you and the team can explain what you do – and how you can help people – in the time it takes to speak a single sentence. You should also give people a reason to visit your stall.

Think about holding a show-wide competition, and advertise it on Twitter and Facebook in real time. If you can get people to your stall, there is every chance you will have an opportunity to talk to them in more detail.

It’s also worth giving people a reason to get back to you at a later date. You could, for example, sign them up for a discount for your service or discount. Or maybe you might offer them free membership to a loyalty program.

As point out, even simple branded cards can help. Not only do they reinforce your brand and make it memorable, but  it can also encourage loyalty in the future.

You didn’t follow up

Collecting leads is the name of the game at a trade show. Few people will be willing to buy anything short of their lunch. But once you have everyone’s details, what do you do with them? It is critical that you follow up on every lead.

The trade show environment gives you the opportunity to meet people the first time. But it’s the period after the show that you need to use to start developing relationships. If you don’t follow up, no one is going to get back to you.

So, make sure your list has everyone’s contact details, and get back to them, one by one. Avoid sending batch emails and make something a lot more personable. We hope these simple ideas prove useful for you – good luck!

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