How to Upgrade Your Marketing with QR Codes at Trade Shows

Using QR Codes at trade shows connects industry experts to your product, service, or content with a single scan. Once they scan the code, you can track, build rapport, and get valuable feedback on the spot. 

If you’re looking to stay on top of your marketing game, add QR Codes to your strategy. It’s cost-effective, easy to set up, and highly interactive.  You only need a supply of QR Code solutions, an effective QR Code marketing strategy, and a show-stopping exhibiting booth that makes you look twice. 


Are you ready to showcase your product or service to the experts in your industry? We’ve got the tools to help you impress your target audience and build better connections with industry experts and potential customers — all the while generating leads like never before. Sift through our QR Code marketing library to update your knowledge of our 2-D barcodes.

What is a trade show?

Also known as trade fairs or expos, trade shows are exciting events held for specific industries to exhibit and demonstrate their products or services to prospective customers, suppliers, business associates, including the press. 

The marketing benefits of using QR Codes at trade shows

Preparing your booth for a trade show isn’t for the faint-hearted. It takes a large time and monetary commitment, not to mention, meticulous planning and flawless trade show marketing strategies. But when you have intelligent marketing software like QR Codes on board, you’ve got a complete toolbox to assist you from pre-event to post-event — you’re welcome. 

#1 Attract booth traffic

There’s little point in having an attractive booth that is empty and quiet. No one enjoys looking at an abandoned booth.  Your efforts would be for naught if you ended up with little foot traffic at your event. 

But when you publicize your stand before the trade show, you create a buzz before the event begins. There’s no need to shout it from the rooftops, there are two ways to promote your booth: creating a pre-trade show email campaign and using your active social media platforms. 

Update your followers that you’ll be setting up a booth for the trade show. Simply add an Event QR Code to your social media post or email. This way, your attendees can save the date directly onto the calendars and remember to find your booth! 

Or you could model what Missouri State University did at their Education Career Fair by spreading the word on Twitter. They used the QR Code as both a student check-in and to retrieve students’ email addresses. This is a brilliant way to generate leads. Read more about QR Code lead generation on our awesome blog! 

A Twitter advertisement of the Education Career Fair 2020 with information about the expo event, an image of a QR Code,  and 2 hands shaking.
Missouri State University makes use of QR Codes to enable students to check in at the Education Career Fair. Source: Twitter.

#2 Brand your stand 

Did you know that QR Codes can enhance your brand awareness and your brand aesthetic? That’s because you have a plethora of QR Code designs and QR Code frames at your disposal when you choose QR Code Generator Pro. 

Make your brand instantly recognizable with fully customizable features, such as adding your brand colors, logo, and a snappy call-to-action (CTA). Once attendees walk past your booth, there’s little chance they won’t recall your brand.

QR Code Generator dashboard with different frames, colors, logos, edges, and designs to customize and download your QR Code image.
With QR Code Generator Pro, you can customize your QR Code to fit your brand.

#3 Speedy offline to online experiences

Making your booth mobile-optimized is simple with QR Codes once you’ve selected your printing medium/s for your stand.  You can print your personalized pixelated square on any material from flyers, table tents, banners, stickers, to brochures. Don’t forget to check out QR Code printing tips to avoid any mishaps! 

Trade show attendees would have seen many other exhibiting booths before seeing yours. To ensure that your stand doesn’t fade into the background, you need an engagement tool to glean their interest swiftly. 

This makes QR Codes the perfect design — they’re called Quick Response Codes for a reason. Once attendees see square grids on any of your materials, they’re one scan away from interacting with you digitally. Engaging with your product or service through their digital devices makes your brand memorable

An academy brochure with a colorful QR Code image with a prompt to “scan me.”
Access more information about Glasmont Creative Academy when you scan the QR Code on their brochure.

#4 Track, tweak, and measure

Are your print materials worth every penny? With QR Code Generator, you can measure your printing ROI (return of investment) as well as track every single scan from your QR Code. 

You’ll make your exhibiting booth worth your investment when you opt for a Dynamic QR Code. This solution gives you access to edit and tweak your materials even after print. It’s flexible in comparison to Static QR Codes
Another perk of choosing the dynamic version is its ability to track scans in real-time. QR Code tracking enables you to track location, the operation system, scans over time, and total and unique scans on a detailed (and downloadable) report. This is trade show tracking made easy.

An overview of QR Code tracking metrics.
All the real-time data you can capture when users scan your QR Code.

5 smart ways of using QR Codes at trade shows 

Marketing your trade show booth with QR Codes isn’t rocket science. Once you have all your materials set up, you can rely on these smart marketing tools to engage attendees. Here are some trade show marketing strategies you can combine with QR Codes. 

#1 Allow attendees to test drive your product

Demonstrations are big drivers of engagement at trade shows. You wouldn’t buy a car without a test drive, would you? The thrilling part about these kinds of industry events is the element of novelty

Attendees get a face-to-face opportunity to establish a connection with your brand. It’s a huge deal. This is the time to outsmart your competitors by exhibiting the best features of your product. So give your attendees a taste of what your product or service can do. 

If you’re attending a gaming trade show, for example, amp up the fun with a demo of your game. Or you keep it simple by engaging your booth attendees with QR Codes. You could do one or the other depending on your budget, but you could also do both! 

In the image below, the target audience can both test-drive the product and scan the QR Code to order the game. This level of interactivity is both entertaining and cutting edge, so don’t be surprised if you have a long line of audience members who want to join in on the joy ride. 

Two arcade race car driving games with 2 QR Codes behind their seats.
Use a combo of gamification and QR Codes to entice your attendees.

If you have a smaller budget, you still have an opportunity to arouse interest. A good old-fashioned presentation is very much an effective way to grab the audience’s attention. Follow that up by giving your audience a free ebook in PDF format. 

This is easily achievable with the PDF QR Code, which you can display on any print material. We recommend printing your QR Codes on brochures. Once your presentation is over,  distribute it to your audience. 

Audacious Inquiry’s trade show booth is filled with maps, banners, signage, and QR Codes on a table.
Audacious Inquiry uses QR Codes to share more information at their booth. Source: Twitter

#2 Set up a trade show contest 

Gamification is an effective strategy to use at trade shows to attract attendees to your booth. To generate buzz, host a trade show contest or a  QR Code giveaway. The giveaway or reward can be anything from company merchandise to a free monthly subscription to your product. You could even print a QR Code on clothing to give away trendy branded tees. 

Ensure that all participants in your contest walk away from something that represents your brand. This will give them something to remember you by. But if you want to leave a lasting impression and capture more interest from your contestants to purchase your products, leave a Coupon QR Code on the item/s  you’re giving away for free. 

By doing this, you’re giving them an incentive to buy whatever you’re selling. Another bonus is that they’re more likely to recognize your brand because you created an experience for them — plus you’ll leave them with a QR Code that amplifies brand recall. 

A woman wearing blue jeans and black and white sneakers carries a green ONKY Cosmetics tote bag with scannable QR Code coupon.
Customized QR Codes on tote bags are fabulous giveaway options.

#3 Forge business connections 

Trade shows are also goldmines for networking with business associates within your industry. You also get to scope out your competition and learn from the experts in your field. Spend time mingling with business associates and sharing industry knowledge. You never know who’ll you meet and what invaluable information you can learn from them. 

You can also take your networking skills to the next level by exchanging your contact info on the spot. We suggest the vCard QR Code. Also known as a virtual contact card, it allows you to save contact information with a single scan. 

Place these solutions on a QR Code business card and distribute them to all the business connections you’ve made. You can also wear badges with QR Codes so passersby can identify who you are and scan your vCard QR Code. 

One man with an orange shirt talks to another man wearing a name badge with a QR Code on his navy blue blazer.
Use a Vcard QR Code to build connections with industry experts.

#4 Multiply your followers

If it’s not on social media, it didn’t happen, right? Generating a social media presence is just as important as setting up your trade show booth.  To pique interest, people need to know where to find you. 

Before the event, update your followers with live content. Tease your followers with sneak peeks of your booth, snippets of your product demos, or even a live stream of the event. 

At your booth, use a QR Code banner to exhibit your Social Media QR Code. Can’t choose which social media platform? No problem. With this particular QR Code, you’ll link all your accounts only using one code. 

This specular solution is the bridge between your in-person event and your social media platforms. The best part is that you’ll gain more followers from attendees within your industry. Don’t be surprised to find a flurry of followers post-show.

Brixton Business Consulting’s trade show booth has a banner with a QR Code image with a call to action to “scan me.”
Grow your following by connecting trade show attendees to your social media platforms.

#5 Collect feedback 

When you’re at a trade show, you’re surrounded by your competition. Intimidating huh? Well…it depends on how you look at it. This could be the most important learning curve for your business. 

Consulting industry experts could be the best way to test whether the product or service you’re offering needs improvement. Heck, it could even show you what you’re doing right. 

But the last thing attendees want to do during a bustling business event is to fill in a survey. That could take up too much time. You need something quick, efficient, and simple. Luckily, we have a solution for that: a Feedback QR Code

Collecting feedback doesn’t need to be a chore. Asking your attendees for feedback also doesn’t require a long list of questions. With our tool, you’ll gain feedback on your demo, product, or service chop-chop! 

Place a QR Code on packaging so your attendees can scan it in person or once they get home. A massive perk is that you’ll also generate a new lead for your business. Don’t forget to follow up with a thank-you note. 

Two purple and white Elle Boutique packaging bags with a QR Code image that is displayed on a gray cemented counter.
Collect feedback faster with Feedback QR Codes on the packaging.

Final thoughts

Using QR Codes at trade shows is a revolutionary way to up your marketing strategy. 

Build connections through scans, or generate leads through various solutions. We give you the marketing tools to upstage other vendors so you don’t get lost in the crowd. With flexible print mediums, you can display our pixelated square grid on your packaging to your banners with your logo so you never have to worry about branding.

Author
Robyn Albertyn

Robyn Albertyn is a content writer for Bitly from Cape Town, South Africa. She’s previously written about preventative health and wellness, and specializes in creative writing and copywriting. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her hiking up majestic mountains, or discovering the best coffee hotspots in her city. Feel free to say hi to her on LinkedIn.

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