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Three Ways to Attract Quality Event or Trade Show Leads

Three Ways to Attract Quality Event or Trade Show Leads

In the last post of our series, we discussed the first step to improving your event marketing ROI by attracting the right kind of people to your trade show booth or event space. We introduced the concept of the event attractor (what you use to draw people to your event space) and the importance of designing one that’s irresistible to your target market.

In this blog, we'll focus on the first of two symptoms identified in the last post of this series that suggest you may need to rework your attractor, which is targeting and focusing your event attractor to attract more qualified leads.

Why you're not attracting the right people to your event

Despite higher traffic levels, you find the people visiting your trade show booth or event area are showing little interest in your product or aren’t in the market you intended to appeal to. This may be because your attractor’s appeal may be too broad (i.e. too many people like it) or it isn’t aligned with your target market (i.e. the wrong people like it).

3 ways to attract more qualified attendees

  • Keep it product-focused
  • Be careful with free giveaways
  • Always keep your buyer persona in mind

Keep it product-focused

Don’t lose sight of the fact that the purpose of your event is to showcase and sell your product.

To ensure people who attend your event have a legitimate interest in buying your product, have the product/service be the key element of your attractor.

Be creative and engaging Some of the most common and effective tactics include product demos, displays and trials. But don’t be standard – get creative!

Take your demo one step further by incorporating a more engaging way for the crowd to get involved and learn about your product that stands out among your competitors.

Watch for some creative inspiration Check out “Don’t Be Lame”, one of our favorite videos from Teddy Goff, Digital Director, Obama for America 2012.

Be careful with free giveaways

We’ve already mentioned those people at events who seem to beeline for the free buffet and conveniently disappear as soon as the food runs out. That’s not to say we’re discouraging you to offer food, drinks and branded merchandise at your events – those are great!

What we’re saying is that you don’t want those to become the main attraction.

Offering incentives vs. freebies Remember when we discussed the power of words? FREE is one of those words. It instantly peaks people’s interest – the problem is that everyone likes free stuff.

So, avoid giving away your product for free. Giving it away will put it into the hands of anybody who is merely excited by the fact that it’s free.

Instead, offer an incentive that is focused on buyers lower in your sales funnel. These offerings will attract hot leads that are actually interested in buying your product.


  • Discounts
  • Free trials
  • Add-ons
  • Free content/courses/how tos
  • Training
  • Product-related experience
  • Complimentary items to your product

Case study

A sports retailer that sells top-of-the-line golf equipment gives away free popcorn as part of its event attractor. While the popcorn is a popular freebie, it attracts a wide range of attendees like teens, people in their mid-twenties and families with young children. This is outside of its intended target market of upper/upper-middle class retired males.

Sure, some of these people end up buying; however, the attractor isn’t bringing in people from its target market.

Ask yourself:

  • What’s motivating people to visit? Free salty snack food.
  • What would motivate target buyers? Relaxed, luxury atmosphere, opportunities to learn or improve their game.
  • What wards them off? Crowded loud spaces, filled with popcorn and children.

In this case the attractor is:

  • Too broad: Too many people love free food
  • Unaligned: Not only is this attractor too broad but it’s appealing to the wrong attendees while warding away target buyers.

How can the retailer choose an attractor that has the same impact on visitor traffic as the popcorn, but instead entices people in its target market? Let’s look at tip number three.

Always keep your buyer persona in mind

*Remember: don’t lose sight of your target market. If you lose focus, you will lose sales.*

In order to avoid this from happening keep these six questions in mind when you’re planning your event attractor:

  1. What motivates our target market?
  2. What type of needs, preferences, styles and expectations do they have?
  3. What social groups do they belong to?
  4. What do they value as status symbols?
  5. What motivates your target marketing to use our product?
  6. Why is a member of my target market motivated to attend this event?

With each decision you make ensure you can answer yes to the following question: Does this attractor align with my target market?

Revisiting the case study

The golf retailer’s buyer person is a retired, middle-aged man who plays golf about 3-4 times a week. As his main hobby, he spends a lot of money on golfing and a lot of time on the course with his friends who are upper-middle class middle-aged men and women. He enjoys showing off his new golf equipment, and is driven by competition.

With all of this in mind, instead of the popcorn, the retailer could offer attendees a free swing assessment and club recommendation based on their technique or problem zones. This will appeal to the avid golfers who are willing to spend money on their luxury products are driven by competition to improve.

It also follows our other attractor advice: it highlights the benefits of the retailer’s products in an interesting way, and offers an incentive that is specific to its core target market – not the general public.


We hope you’re feeling closer to understanding the key to a successful event attractor. The importance of knowing your target market’s interests, avoiding the wrong kind of giveaways and ensuring the focus is on your product, are all vital elements to attracting qualified buyers and optimizing trade show ROI.

Up Next Three Ideas for Using Experiential Marketing to Increasing Event Traffic.

This section in particular will be beneficial to marketers seeking to build brand awareness and get ideas for how to use experiential marketing.


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