How to Create a Winning Trade Show Marketing Plan

Trade show marketing plan - people walking around exhibit

Table of Contents

Trade show season is coming up!  Do you have a trade show marketing plan?

Hey, if you don’t, no biggie, few people do.  BUT, what you may not have realized is that coming up with an annual Trade show marketing plan is a great way to save yourself an absolute TON of time and money.

Today, I’m going to walk you through the process of developing a comprehensive trade show marketing plan so that you can make sure your business stands out from the competition.

trade show marketing plan - trade show floor

Table of Contents:

What is a Trade Show Marketing Plan?

A Trade Show Marketing Plan is a comprehensive document that outlines the strategies and tactics used to promote a business at trade shows. It includes goals, objectives, budgeting, promotional materials, presentations, copywriting and more.

It’s a lot like planning a party.

After all, trade shows can be a party of sorts because it’s that one time a year you get together with all your friends from the industry, and the purpose of the plan is to make sure that you see everyone you want to see, do as much competitive research as you can, and leave that show with new clients, customers, opportunities and ideas for new products and services for next year.

Definition of a Trade Show Marketing Plan

A Trade Show Marketing Plan is an organized plan for promoting your business at trade shows or events. It should include specific goals and objectives you want to achieve from attending the show as well as detailed strategies on how to reach those goals. The plan should also include information about budgeting for the event, creating promotional materials such as flyers or brochures, designing engaging presentations for potential customers or partners and writing compelling copy that will capture their attention.

With that academic definition out of the way, let me just say that you do NOT want it to be some document you write up and put on a shelf.

Nope.  In fact, what you want is to take the time to write out your goals, what you want out of the trade show, what offer you’re going to be making and what campaigns you want to run. Honestly, it’s a function of what YOU want and need from this unique event where your whole industry is going to be in one place.

Benefits of Having a Trade Show Marketing Plan

Look, trade shows create a ton of stress.  Imagine taking a vacation that’s going to cost you and your family $50,000 and then just winging it.  You’re just NOT going to do that!

The purpose of having a trade show marketing plan is to eliminate the need for last minute freak-outs, so that you can have fun making money.

Let’s be clear. A trade show marketing plan isn’t just about promoting — it’s about LEVERAGING the time and space and resources that a trade show provides to:

  1. Collect VALUABLE in-person market research on what your customers really want and why.
  2. Check out the competition and what they are focusing on.
  3. Talk to competitor’s customers to see what benefits they get from competing products and services.
  4. Build relationships with vendors.
  5. Learn about upcoming industry trends that you can use in your marketing next time.
  6. See what promotions are working and which ones flopped.

How To Create A Trade Show Marketing Plan

Creating an effective trade show marketing plan requires careful planning and research beforehand so that everything runs smoothly when it comes time for execution at the actual event itself.

Free Marketing Plan Templates

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Start by identifying your target audience, so you know who you are trying to reach with your message, then establish realistic objectives based on what results you hope to achieve from attending the show such as generating new leads or increasing brand awareness within certain markets etc.

Next determine what type of budget will be necessary in order to make sure all costs associated with attending are covered including travel expenses etc. Finally develop strategies both pre-show promotion (such as email campaigns), on-site activities (such as offering free samples) and post-show follow up (such as thank you emails).

Having a trade show marketing plan is essential for any business to maximize the return on their investment and increase visibility. Next, let’s discuss how to set goals for your trade show marketing plan.

Key Takeaway: A Trade Show Marketing Plan is a comprehensive document that outlines the strategies and tactics used to promote a business at trade shows. It should include: goals, objectives, budgeting, promotional materials, presentations and copywriting. Having an effective plan in place can help ensure success and generate leads for increased sales opportunities.

Setting Goals for Your Trade Show Marketing Plan

When setting goals for your trade show marketing plan, it is important to identify your target audience. Knowing who you are trying to reach and what their needs are will help you create a plan that resonates with them. Consider the demographics of the attendees, such as age, gender, income level, and interests. This information can be used to craft messages that appeal directly to them.

Establishing objectives is another key step in creating an effective trade show marketing plan. What do you want to accomplish? Do you want more leads or increased brand awareness? Are there specific products or services that need promotion? Having clear objectives will help ensure your efforts result in measurable success.

Determining a budget for your trade show marketing plan is also essential for its success. Consider all costs associated with attending the event, including travel expenses, booth space rental fees, promotional materials printing costs, and staffing expenses; and make sure they fit within your overall budget constraints. Additionally, look into any discounts or sponsorships available from the event organizers which may reduce some of these costs significantly.

Setting goals for your trade show marketing plan is essential to ensure that you achieve the desired results. Now, let’s look at how to develop strategies to help you meet those goals.

Developing Strategies for Your Trade Show Marketing Plan

A trade show marketing plan is a detailed strategy that outlines the steps you need to take in order to maximize your return on investment (ROI) at a trade show. It should include pre-show promotion strategies, on-site strategies, and post-show follow up strategies.

Pre-Show Promotion Strategies:

Pre-show promotion is key for any successful trade show experience. You want to create buzz around your booth and attract as many people as possible. Some of the most effective pre-show promotion strategies include creating social media campaigns, sending out email blasts, distributing flyers or brochures in advance of the event, and offering discounts or incentives for early registrations.

On-Site Strategies:

Once you’re at the event itself, it’s important to make sure that your booth stands out from all of the others in attendance. Consider investing in attractive signage and banners with eye catching graphics that will draw attention from passersby. Additionally, have staff members available who are knowledgeable about your product or service so they can answer questions quickly and effectively when potential customers approach them. Finally, consider giving away promotional items such as t shirts or mugs with your logo on them – this can be an effective way to increase brand recognition while also providing something tangible for attendees to remember you by after they leave the event.

Having a well-thought out plan for your trade show marketing is essential to ensure success. Now that you have developed strategies, it’s time to create content for your trade show marketing plan.

Key Takeaway: Key takeaway: Pre-show promotion, on-site strategies and post-show follow up are essential for a successful trade show experience. Strategies include: social media campaigns, email blasts, promotional items giveaways, attractive signage & banners with eye catching graphics.

Creating Content for Your Trade Show Marketing Plan

Designing promotional materials for your trade show marketing plan is an important part of the process. Promotional materials can include flyers, brochures, business cards, banners and other items that will help draw attention to your booth. When designing these materials, it’s important to make sure they are visually appealing and contain all the necessary information about your company or product. Make sure you use high-quality images and graphics that accurately represent what you’re offering.

Crafting engaging presentations is also essential when creating content for a trade show marketing plan. Presentations should be concise yet informative enough to capture the audience’s attention while providing them with valuable information about your company or product. Use visuals such as charts, graphs and photos whenever possible to keep people engaged in the presentation. Additionally, practice delivering the presentation beforehand so you feel confident during the actual event.

Writing compelling copy is another key element of any successful trade show marketing plan content creation strategy. Copywriting involves crafting short but powerful messages that grab people’s attention and motivate them to take action on something related to your company or product (e.g., attending a webinar). Keep sentences short and avoid using overly technical language; instead focus on conveying clear benefits in simple terms that everyone can understand easily without having prior knowledge of what you offer or sell

Key Takeaway: Key takeaway: Design attractive promotional materials, craft engaging presentations, and write compelling copy to create a successful trade show marketing plan. • Design promotional materials (flyers, brochures, business cards) • Craft informative presentations with visuals • Write short & powerful messages that motivate people to take action

FAQs in Relation to Trade Show Marketing Plan

What is trade show marketing strategy?

Trade show marketing strategy is a form of promotional activity used to generate interest in a business or product. It involves setting up an exhibit at a trade show, conference, or other event and engaging with potential customers through demonstrations, presentations, and conversations. Trade shows can be used to build brand awareness, introduce new products or services, create leads for sales teams, and more. They are often seen as an effective way for small businesses to reach large audiences without spending too much money on advertising.

How do you develop a tradeshow strategy?

Developing a tradeshow strategy requires careful planning and research. Start by researching the target audience, competition, and available resources. Next, determine what type of tradeshow best suits your needs and budget. Consider the size of the event, its location, cost to attend or exhibit, as well as any promotional opportunities associated with it. Finally, create an action plan that includes objectives for attendance and engagement goals such as generating leads or networking with potential customers. With a solid strategy in place you can maximize your return on investment from attending tradeshows.

How do you attract customers to a trade show?

Attracting customers to a trade show can be challenging for small businesses. To maximize your presence, create an eye-catching display that stands out from the competition. Utilize social media platforms to promote your booth before and during the event. Consider offering discounts or giveaways to incentivize people to visit your booth. Finally, consider partnering with other local businesses in order to increase foot traffic at the event and gain more exposure for both parties involved. With these low-cost marketing tools, tips, and strategies you can make sure that your business stands out at any trade show.

How do you attract people to your trade show booth?

Attracting people to your trade show booth is an important part of any successful event. Start by creating a visually appealing display that will draw attention from passersby. Include eye-catching graphics, interesting product samples, and other interactive elements like games or giveaways. Make sure to have staff on hand who are knowledgeable about the products you’re showcasing and can answer questions quickly and effectively. Additionally, consider offering discounts or promotional items for those who visit your booth in order to incentivize them to stop by. Finally, don’t forget to promote your presence at the event ahead of time through social media posts, email campaigns, or even traditional advertising methods such as radio spots or print ads. With these tips in mind you’ll be sure to attract plenty of visitors.


Creating a trade show marketing plan is essential for any entrepreneur looking to make the most of their trade show experience. A well-thought-out plan can help you maximize your return on investment and ensure that you get the best results from your efforts. By setting goals, developing strategies, and creating content tailored to your target audience, you can create an effective trade show marketing plan that will help you stand out from the competition. With some planning and preparation, you’ll be ready to make a big impression at your next trade show event with a successful trade show marketing plan.

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