Drawing people to your exhibit

Pre-Event Marketing and Promotion

Published January 2019
Updated October 2021

Exhibiting in Trade Shows can be a complicated and complex task.

Keeping in mind your end-game desired results at all times will help you be effective and successful. That end-game result is typically increased sales and/or branding & awareness of your company and its offerings.

Trade shows are very much an effective form of marketing. Nothing beats face-to-face interaction to procure sales.

As exhibitors in a trade show you will want (and need) to incorporate your own promotions in addition to the actual event’s promotional efforts. Ensure you utilize all elements and takeaways that the event producers give you.

This should include promotional buttons for the event with location, dates/days/times/hours and any other relevant information of the event itself.

Post these items on all of your social media sites in addition to your own website. Don't forget to incorporate your company’s name into any ticket special sales to grab credit for those discounts!

Always include your booth space location so these customers find you once they arrive. Everything you do to enable people to attend the event and then meet with you there, will go a long way towards your success.

It is important that you get the word out to leads and customers and all those that you want to visit your exhibit at the event.

Here are 17 ways your company can ensure you obtain visitors to your exhibit space at your next event:

Create a Movie Trailer

Use last year’s event footage and testimonials to create a short video about your event and then share on social media or include in your next email newsletter. Seeing the action and including a clear call to action to buy tickets can encourage those considering purchasing a ticket to take the plunge.

Movie trailer of upcoming event

Themed Performances

If your event has a performance element or theme, have your staff dress up accordingly for a group picture and use this as an announcement. Post on social media with event information and your booth number.

dress up staff to promote your event

On Instagram—you can specifically use their marketing elements to spruce up this post and get noticed. Filters, hashtags, and creating movement in the post will cause you to stand out and gain attention.

Well-Known Mascot Characters

Does anyone in your company have a connection to a beloved mascot in your hometown? Invite the mascot to spend a few hours in your booth and then advertise that.
Pre-event you can have this character pose for photo opportunities and have your staff dress up to hand out event details.

Host a Free or Sponsored Webinar

For business related events or those that offer some sort of expertise, a webinar can give a preview of what to expect and entice them in. If you can give them valuable information for free in the webinar, they will imagine how much more they can get at the event.

Set Up A City Photo Booth

Photo booths are one of the most popular activities at events so use it as a promo opportunity in advance instead! It doesn’t have to be complicated, just a camera or phone, backdrop curtain with event dates and details and funky props to get people having fun.  Post all over social media with the dates and times of the event. 

use a photo booth to promote your event

Social Promises

Get everyone working together by sharing a common goal online to encourage engagement and promotion. It could be promising a giveaway, charitable donation, free tickets or VIP access if your social post gets a certain amount of likes/shares/interaction.

Animated Digital Invites to Your Top Customers or Leads

Make your digital invitations pop by using animations (GIF's) and cartoons that move when the attendee opens them. You could also include interactive elements that become live or animated when hovered over or clicked on. They are sure to remember this upcoming event!

rotating earth

Share Behind-the-Scenes Setup

Close to the Event take your audience on a journey giving them exclusive peeks behind the scenes, setting up your exhibit at your event, to build buzz. behind the scenes image

This could be setup photos, pre-event interviews on what to expect or even a live feed from the backstage area to grow their excitement. Don’t forget to include your booth number and a link where they can buy tickets and get show information!


Ask for Referrals

The highest converting type of promotion and most effective marketing tactic is often word of mouth or referrals. So get in contact with previous leads and customers, and industry professionals  that have worked with you in the past to encourage them to share the event details with others. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Many technology tools offer ways to freely generate invite codes and turn past connections into ambassadors. If they are happy with the work you’ve done for them, they will love to share.

Use Image Quotes From People You Met At Previous Events

Take a quote from someone you’ve met at a recent event and overlay it on an interesting background, such as an image from the event. Note their name, job title and organization. They'll be happy to share their experience while getting added exposure for their company. These are great to share on social networks, in blog posts or as stories.

promote with social media

Comp Passes

Give friends, family, past customers, and current leads free passes so they can use them or share them with their colleagues, friends and family. Encourage the favor to be returned by asking them to share widely on social and help to spread the word.

Find a Milestone

Milestone events such as a 25th anniversary are always popular because everyone wants to be part of something exciting. Find a milestone your company is currently celebrating and promote your celebration of it at the event. promote by celebrating a milestone

Donate Tickets to Charity

Donate tickets or a VIP package to a charity that is relevant to the products or services your company sells. It gets you in front of a ton of people to promote to, while also helping others to fundraise:  a win-win situation.

Give Great Deals

Probably the oldest trick in the book…offer deals, discounts and vouchers that can be gained only in your booth at the show. Deals tend to spread like wildfire and if people think they are getting a bargain they are more likely to share with others-not to mention enticing them to not only attend the event, but specifically visit your booth.

Attend Networking Events

There are networking events for a reason! Take event tickets along with your brochures, posters and business cards and spread news of your event strategically but also as far as you can. Perfect your elevator pitch so you can explain succinctly what your event is about and why they should visit you there. This can be another step in your sales funnel.

sales funnel

Email Signature

How many people do you converse with via email per day?! They are all potential customers or sharers of your event so put a non-intrusive mention and link for your event into your signature and let it do some passive promotion for you.


     Thank you for .....talk to you then....


     John Doe
     Visit us in booth #425 at the Event. 

Mailer Stuffing

How many people do you physically send an invoice to? A newsletter? Why not place 2 tickets to the event in each? Their appreciation will motivate them to find your booth!

Consider these and other ways to promote your company prior to exhibiting in an upcoming event-and watch your results grow. Take full advantage of this knowledge to make the most of every show you exhibit in. 

These ideas may have inspired even more relevant ideas that are specific to your company and are exciting to you and your staff. Please share those with us below!

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