Geofencing? And other ways to target ads to trade show attendees without being there.

Heading out to trade shows and conferences are one of the best ways to generate leads. In  fact, research has proven this to be true.   Most industries have at least one key event that your prospects attend. Your competitors will likely be there, and you need to be too. However, trade shows are costly, and measuring ROI can be complicated.

So when you’re at a trade show, there are a number of tips to make you stand out and increase the capture prospects.

  • Invite prospects via personalized email to a pre or post show meeting.
  • If the event has a Facebook page, post some compelling content in order to begin branding yourself as a thought leader.
  • Send an email to your entire list, letting them know you are attending and to stop by to see you.
  • Have an engaging booth presence; interactive presentations, comfy chairs for interested prospects
  • Have a compelling media package ready for hand-outs; press kits, white papers, case studies, and contact info- with a trial offer if applicable.

There are many more ideas out there that you can find; but let’s focus on three ideas if you can’t be at the show:

What if you can’t be at that Trade Show or Conference?

Sometimes you may find that you may not be able to go to industry events; whether that is because of client conflicts, budgets, or other issues.  I have three other ways to target trade show audiences with advertising that may be worth testing.


Geofencing is a unique mobile advertising tactic where you can target prospects at locations of interest via mobile ads and mobile apps.  It is a location-based digital marketing process that lets marketers send messages to smartphone users in a defined geographic area.  Marketers can take the GPS capabilities to feed ads to people who are geographically ready to make buying decisions. For mobile geofencing the user must be within either an app or a mobile web browsing session. Imagine sending targeted mobile ads to attendees of Dreamforce in San Francisco. Some info:

  • We send a geo-fencing provider (we deal with a couple) addresses to target; custom shapes can be built.
  • Using latitude and longitude data and is more accurate than IP targeting on mobile
  • This is mobile retargeting at its finest; except instead of site retargeting, we are “location” retargeting.

The Dreamforce event is made up of multiple venues; yes, there would be some waste coverage, but the majority of attendees who use their mobile phones will be exposed to your ads within many of their favorite websites and apps, as ads are purchased programmatically via a number of mobile ad networks using the geo-fencing algorithms for pin-point ad placement. .

Example of a geofence.










Custom geofences can target people within these areas.


Twitter Hashtag Promoted Tweets

For tech and marketing audiences (and others of course), every show has its own hashtags that they promote.  Branded conference hashtag searches allow attendees to search for news and updates on their conferences they are attending, and also allow attendee conversion via the Twitter channel. Twitter’s promoted tweet program (like one of ours below), allows you to “sponsor” hashtags, and have promoted tweets appear on user timelines when they search or tweet about the conference using the hashtags.

Here’s a sample promoted tweet we used recently; sending this out to a marketing conference.

twitter ht ad








And here’s an example of the top tech conferences; and all come with event hashtags.

tech conferfences








Facebook Interest ads

Facebook has a number of ad tactics that can target specific audiences.  Mobile ads, newsfeed ads, lead generation ads, video ads, and more can target people who “like” conference Facebook pages, again like Dreamforce below.






Again the three suggestions above can be worth testing, with content and offer calls-to-action. Just make sure links are tagged so the campaigns can be tracked with your analytics program.  So next time you can’t market yourself at a trade show or conference, there are still some interesting ways to target those audiences anyway with lead generating messages.  Just have a plan, a budget, and a compelling offer. Think about it!

By the way, if you’d like some additional ways to optimized lead generation, feel free to download our ebook: Optimizing Lead Generation and Internet Marketing.











About Paul Mosenson

NuSpark Marketing Founder, Chief Lead Generation Strategist and Online Media Director An experienced B2B and B2C marketer, Paul has been helping clients generate leads and grow their businesses for over 25 years. Paul helps plan and optimize marketing and lead generation programs.