There are many factors that go into making a tradeshow successful for your staffing firm. There is more to it than simply creating an attractive tradeshow booth for your next event. Two main differences between a good and bad tradeshow are first, the host of the event bringing in a strong audience and quality content, but then it is up to you and your team.

If you are attending a reputable tradeshow, you need to determine how to get people to your booth. If you don’t have a plan to attract an audience, then you will only reach a remnant of attendees. This article covers the planning of a successful tradeshow for you.

Have a Plan at the Tradeshow

First, select a booth in a prime location.  Next, create a plan to attract potential candidates and clients, turning leads into placements.

Start with these questions before you go to a tradeshow:

  • What recruiters are you sending to the tradeshow?
  • How can you collect contact information?
  • What giveaways will you bring to attract attendees?
  • What marketing materials will you bring?
  • Who of your clients or candidates will be attending?
  • What does your booth look like, and does it have a message?
  • What is your hook? How will you promote the fact that you are attending the show and how will you promote your hook?
  • How will you measure success?
  • What is the plan for follow-up?
  • What are your goals to walk out of the show with?

Answer these questions when creating a plan because showing up at a tradeshow and waiting for people to stop by is not a strategy.

Identify Your Prospects

Identify the type of companies or candidates you are trying to attract. It may be your standard audience, or it may be different based on the type of tradeshow. Many of the shows give you the list (not often), sell you the list (many times), or allow mailings and emails that you give to them and they send out on your behalf (sometimes).

Talk to the show coordinators about how to promote yourself to the audience you want. Blasting out emails to their entire database helps if you are only targeting a portion.

Additionally, email your own database to let them know that you are attending. Add the event attendance to your email signature. Social media is a powerful tool when it comes to letting your audience know you are attending an event. Create a social media plan by creating graphics and providing information about the upcoming tradeshow. Use the event hashtags, engage with the tradeshows social media pages, and share any updates from their socials to your audience.

Get Them to your Tradeshow Booth

Shakespeare once said that it is the play within the play. The play you are attending is a tradeshow, so what is the play within the tradeshow? Begin by deciding on a theme.S.J.Hemley Marketing

When you create a tradeshow booth theme, you want to think about how it engages your audience. You can have themes centered around Nascar, “Stress Relief”, ‘Get off the Staffing Roller Coaster”, “We Can Predict Your Future, and More”. Each of these creative tradeshow booth themes has the potential to pique the interest of attendees and attract new people to your tradeshow booth.

Think of creative selling points to draw your audience in. For the theme, “Get off the Staffing Roller Coaster”, bring a VR headset that is playing a virtual reality roller coaster for guests to test out. Or perhaps, hire a fortune teller to read fortunes to represent a “We Can Predict Your Future and More” theme. You may be thinking that these are big ticket items that require a bigger booth and a larger budget, but there are tons of creative activities to explore with a smaller booth and budget.

Create a task force with a small group of recruiters and ask for their ideas! Including recruiters in this process builds a strong team and welcomes fresh ideas.


The key to solid tracking is knowing the demographic of the tradeshow audience.  Do you want to track them simply by company, title, and name along with a code for hot, warm or cold leads or do you want to segment them by industry? The best tradeshow tracking comes from understanding your goals. Break it down to the easiest possible terms and from there, many options exist.

Create a QR code for attendees to easily scan and store contact information as well as easy access to job postings.

Most of the tradeshows offer lead tracking units that are rented for the show and cost less than $500 for rental. Having custom codes added to the units is a capability that also exists. When these units are not offered, the low-tech alternative is always available…business card drops and lead cards. If you go low-tech, then be sure to get these into a spreadsheet as quickly as possible (while still at the show). You cannot follow up on a ton of loose pieces of paper and expect success.

Follow Up

In your plan, you should have included what you are going to do with lead follow up. Are you going to contact everyone the day after or a few days after? When will the sales team start calling to attempt to set up meetings and gain traction? Leads that sit for any prolonged period are dead leads.

Have a plan on how to break up the leads into groupings that are followed up by the sales team. Make sure the sales team knows what you expect and create an easy way for them to track the calls, connects, meetings, opportunities and wins from the leads. Remember, follow up consistently. Inspect what you expect. If you don’t examine the follow-ups, then the sales team won’t do it.

Five Tradeshow Takeaways:

  1. Have a plan.
  2. Identify your prospects.
  3. Get them to the booth.
  4. Tracking the performance of your tradeshow booth.
  5. Follow Up with connections.

About S.J.Hemley Marketing

S.J.Hemley Marketing is a marketing and sales consulting firm focused on driving tangible results for professional services firms. Brand matters, but not without ROI. With over 20 years of sales and marketing experience within staffing and recruiting, we have helped to drive successful branding, sales training, lead generation activities as well as defining marketing strategy for top organizations.