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8 Unique Lead Gathering Ideas to Grow Your Trade Show ROI

February 13, 2020

Scanning attendees’ badges at trade shows has become a common and easy way to collect prospective buyers’ information when they enter a booth. Although this isn’t the most dependable way to collect ‘quality’ leads, it’s an efficient way to gather information quickly nonetheless. But what other options do you have when there are no codes to scan on attendee badges? Well… be sure to skip the fishbowl lead capturing method and read up on these eight very unique ideas that you can use to capture leads for your next trade show!


Incorporate an enticing game.

Incorporate an enticing game in your trade show booth that requires people to enter their information to play. People will have the opportunity to opt-out of entering their information if it’s not worth it to them to play your game. But if they are interested enough in the game you are offering, it may mean that they’re a higher quality lead than those who opt-out. 

Some fun ideas could be a prize wheel, plinko, trivia, bingo blower, corn hole, raffles or video games! 

Offer a giveaway.

Offer a giveaway in your booth that people can enter. Make your grand prize something that is relatable to your target audience, so you know they’ll be interested. For instance, if your company makes children's toys, don’t give away a furniture store gift card… pretty obvious. You’d want to give away a gift card for your store or even an actual product that you sell! 

Provide iPads for your booth staff so that attendee information can be gathered electronically as your staff has conversations with attendees. If the item you’re giving away is related to your business, you’ll know that the prospects who are interested are potential buyers. 

Once you get their contact information, let them know that the winner(s) will be contacted over email. Just always be sure that your giveaway has some relation to what your business does so that you know the leads you gather are high quality. 

Send a customized scratch off in the mail before the show.

Scratch offs are a fun method to get people intrigued. If you saw one in your mailbox, it would probably be pretty hard to toss it in the garbage without at least scratching to see if you had won something. 

With scratch offs, you have the option to make it whatever kind of experience you want! You could make every recipient of the scratch off a winner for a small prize that they can redeem in your booth. You could state on the scratch off that there will be x number of winners to receive a free pass to your trade show and they can call you to receive their free pass. You could even have your ‘winners’ of the scratch offs be entered into a drawing for a large prize that they must be present at the show to win. 

Mail your highest quality prospects a free pass to the show.

You’ve been working on creating relationships and networking with buyers over the last few months or years, and you have some great quality prospects who you want to come see you at your next trade show. Send a piece of direct mail that offers these prospects a free pass to the trade show. This shows how serious you are about wanting their business and will probably not only increase their likelihood of attending the show, but also visiting your booth to show appreciation. Be sure to include on the mail piece that for the prospect to obtain their pass, they must email you in advance. 

You likely already have these prospects on your list as ‘leads,’ however, if they come to the trade show to see you, you can probably determine them as an even higher quality lead than before.

Use a kiosk to incorporate a quiz. 

One popular way to get people interested in your brand is by offering a quiz that will give them insight. You’ll often see quizzes online that claim to tell the person more about themselves. One example you might have heard of from a famous entrepreneur is the quiz that tells you your ‘secret sauce.’

If your business sells food products in different flavors, for example, your quiz could tell attendees what flavor describes them best. As always, include a section for attendees to enter their information to receive their answer or in this case, you could offer them a discount on whatever flavor they end up being. This is a great way to get people engaging with your brand in a fun and unique way. 

Send digital photo strips from the photo booth in your exhibit. 

Offering a photo booth is a great engagement tactic, especially for millennials and Gen Z trade show attendees. To save on paper and increase your lead count at your trade show, require those who take advantage of your photo op to enter their email address to receive their free downloadable photo strip. 

Not only will you receive their email, they may even share the photo on social media. Be sure that your photo strip includes your business’s name and branding on it to take advantage of this free online publicity! 

Have a professional photographer capture your booth presence. 

If you have a professional photographer in your booth, they’ll be able to capture moments of attendees having a great time, enjoying what your exhibit experience had to offer them. Your photographer can also take photos of attendees and then speak with them to let them know that they could be featured on your website. Ask them if they’d like an email to notify them that their photo has been featured. This is a quick and easy way to grab emails which can be taken on an iPad that asks for permission to also send marketing emails. 

Have a banner on your website that invites prospects to let you know they’re coming. 

Create a graphic banner that goes across the top of your website reminding viewers of the upcoming trade show and then asking them if they’re coming. If they plan to attend, let them know that if they click to enter their email, they can claim a prize when they visit your booth at the show! 

You can let them know what the prize is, or you can keep it a secret that they’ll have to find out once they come to claim it. It’s all up to you. If you believe that whatever prize you’re offering them is worthwhile, it wouldn’t hurt to mention it in the banner. 


Even though there are many trade show events that offer badge scanning, there are those that do not. So, what do you do when you have to think outside of the box to gather quality lead information? Try implementing one of these ideas into your trade show marketing strategy! Reach out to Skyline Exhibits & Events to speak with a trade show expert today about maximizing your trade show ROI. 

attendee engagement, trade show roi, trade shows, lead gathering, exhibits
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