< Back to Newsroom

Pre-Show Marketing Tactics to Catch Your Audience’s Attention


Have you been working hard to promote your exhibit presence at an upcoming trade show to bring in new prospects and hopefully turn leads into buyers? There are plenty of ways that you can help attract the right attendees and convince them to come your way on the show floor.

While there are an array of marketing strategies, finding the ones that hit the nail on the head can require a lot of trial and error. Here is a list of standout strategies that combined, can create a powerful pre-show marketing plan. Not only will these marketing tactics generate buzz around your business and brand, but they can also put you high on attendees’ lists of exhibitors to visit.

Using interactive ads.

There are plenty of ads that are scrolled right past in a world of instant gratification, endless information and high-quality content. However, interactive ads have been proven to heighten brand awareness and recall. According to Instapage, “A study by Magna, IPG Media Lab, and Tremor Video DSP found that interactive video ads can drive a 47% lift in time spent with the ad, compared to non-interactive video ads.” Interactive ads like videos are extremely effective because they give you the opportunity to catch the attention of a viewer within seconds and have them hooked into learning more.

Other interactive ads like audio and gifs are also a stand-out from static display ads. Don’t sit back and use the same ad you’ve used over and over simply because it’s already created. Instead consider stepping outside of your comfort zone and creating something new, entertaining, and interactive! Creating something that doesn’t feel like an ad, conveys your brand story, and feels more like the daily content that your audience is used to scrolling through and searching for is key.

Bring an entertainer or famous speaker to your event.

It’s hard not to get excited about the chance to hear from and see someone famous – or highly regarded in your industry – in person. Sharing this news about your exhibit in your pre-show marketing is a great way to excite and inform potential attendees about what they can expect in your booth space. Keep in mind this tactic will likely attract a very large net of attendees, not necessarily targeted ones. If quantity is key for your business, this is a sure crowd gatherer!

If this option is within your budget, remember to seek speakers and entertainers whose values align with your business. Having an interactive trade show exhibit with a speaker or entertainer will set you apart from many other exhibitors. Staying true to your brand will also speak volumes when their values align with yours.

Offer pre-event swag bags.

Swag bags will never get old, especially when the items that you include are fun and unique. Sending swag bags – or one, nicer promotional item – to key prospective buyers BEFORE your event is a great way to get them excited about your business and what else you might have to offer them when they visit you in person at the trade show. Keep your swag bag on-brand and use it to demonstrate the quality of your business. Swag bags can even include some type of incentive to visit you in person at your event such as a discount code that they can only use in your exhibit or ask them to follow you on social media for a chance to win a prize.

If it’s a tangible object, make sure it’s something that’s actually useful! Tech-related giveaways are a great idea that will more than likely be used. For example, you could give away branded USB flash drives or reusable screen wipes. Think about things that you and your own employees value and would actually utilize and chances are your attendees will feel the same way about it!

If you typically only give away swag AT your trade shows, consider sending out these goodies prior to your event. It will be a good way to sweeten key prospects up a little and have your business on their mind before the show even starts. Plus, this helps in cutting down on the spread of germs (you wouldn’t want multiple people handling your giveaway before it ended up on your desk would you??) Additional bonus: the attendee doesn’t have to lug it around for the duration of the show so the chances of it ending up in the trash are greatly reduced!

Host a pre-event get-together.

Did you know that you don’t have to wait until you’re on the trade show floor to meet high-quality prospects in person? Offering a pre-show event is a great way to get serious buyers in the same room as you and begin building trust with them. Any type of in-person communication is a chance to build on your relationship and grow your chances of making a sale with them.

Since you’ll be in the same city, why not take that time to offer the opportunity for additional face-to-face conversations? Promote this event opportunity on all of your social platforms, through email, postcards, and your website! Just remember to check with your show organizer first so that it doesn’t conflict with any show organized events. If your event is open to the public, the show organizer might even be able to help you promote it!

Use influencers to promote your event.

Is your brand targeted toward generation z or Millennials? Chances are they’re paying attention to what some influencers have to say. Promoting your event through influencers is another way to market to your key audience and excite them with information about what they can expect in your exhibit!

This can even gain you new exposure to an audience that hasn’t yet discovered you. Seeing that their favorite influencer trusts your brand will make them want to trust you too. Just as with the entertainers or speakers you would hire, be sure to do your research first so you are confident the influencer aligns with your business’ values before committing to anything with them.

Are you expanding your marketing strategy beyond just your typical social media posts or creating a banner on your website? Get your audience excited with marketing tactics that catch their attention and give them a reason to come and learn more about you and your products/services at your upcoming event.