What are some effective trade show marketing tips?

What are some marketing ideas you have used to increase traffic to your trade show booth?

Quora Answer by Jenna Hannon:

The best way to start brainstorming trade show tactics is to take a step back and think about the opportunities and channels available at a trade show before the show, throughout, and after. This gives you more structure for brainstorming for a wider range of campaigns and tactics that may be available to optimize a trade show — not just one-off ideas.

Here is the framework I use to get started.

1. Pre-Show

Brainstorm prompt: Do we have an exhibitor email list of attendees? If so, how can we develop a campaign that gets attendees to stop by our booth?

2. Show

Brainstorm prompt: What can we do at the show to drive traffic to the booth? How can we spend more time with prospects, leads, and customers at the show?

3. Post Show

Brainstorm prompt: Why should your attendee prospects hear from you after the show?

Once you have this framework on a page, you can start filling ideas in each of the 3 buckets.

1.    Pre Show

  • At one of our local shows where we knew attendees would be traveling from out of town, we sent a pre-show email the week before prompting them to come by the booth to grab a “city guide” featuring our favorite restaurants, bars, and sights to see while in town. Many people came by the booth to grab one and chat about our product.
  • Come by the booth for a $5 Starbucks gift card
  • Email letting attendees know about a contest you are having at the booth or raffle
  • Room drops – gifts dropped off by the hotel to all the attendees at the show staying at the hotel (organize with hotel before the show)

2.    Show


  • Charger station is always popular
  • Photo booth
  • “Secret” lounge behind your booth with a mini bar
  • Screens with product demos on loop


  • Host your own happy hour or late night event and invite prospects, leads, and customers to mingle
  • Have a lightening talk during one of the breaks that is educational (not an advertisement)

3.    Post show

  • Post show emails:
  • Contest – enter for a chance to win
  • Follow-up industry education content from lightening talk
  • Whitepapers or Ebooks relevant to the audience

The company I work with currently attends 70 trade shows a year and most are in completely different industry verticals, so this process is necessary. If you attend only a few trade shows a year and they are all in the same industry, you only have to do this once, but I recommend breaking it down even further and putting buckets in each of these 3 segments based on the show. For example, post show can be broken down into campaigns for business cards collected, general attendee prospects that were on the list but we don’t have a card for, current customers, etc.

What are some effective trade show marketing tips?

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