Modern Tradeshow Marketing Ideas (That Work)

Man at his desk holding a light bulb

Tradeshows are very effective ways to reach a large audience and get some one-on-one time to really connect. But today’s tradeshow doesn’t begin the moment an attendee walks through the door, it begins well in advance. The companies that understand that are going to outpace others by a longshot.

If you think you’ve got it covered because you’re sending email blasts and doing social media updates to create hype around your next tradeshow event, think again. Your competition is also reaching out in advance to stir up a little excitement and draw attendees to their booth. So how do you step outside of the box and make a big splash? We’ve got some fresh tradeshow marketing ideas that you’ll want to consider. Why? Because this is tradeshow marketing that works!

Tablet with a virtual remote meeting on screen

Go Virtual

It might sound a bit out of place, why would you want to go virtual when people can actually go to the tradeshow. In fact, isn’t this a step backwards? Not at all!

During Covid, people became very familiar with virtual meetings and events and some people even prefer it. That’s right, you might get people to attend your virtual event who wouldn’t consider going to a crowded tradeshow.

Not only that, but sharing product demonstrations, interviews, testimonials, question and answer chats, and other information in a pre-tradeshow event gives you the chance to really create buzz. Clever marketing pushes the envelope and gives just a little tease of what’s to come at the tradeshow.


Creating a game, or gamification, is huge right now and it’s one of the best ways to instantly encourage engagement. Many companies have tapped into this idea and are using it with great success, you can take that a step further by beginning your game before the event and including a website visit as part of the game. Want to make it even more interesting, include all of your social media assets, including your app. This not only boosts the exposure potential customers have to your business, but it will begin to show results in their personal searches as your ads pop up more frequently.

Custom Gray Cap as one of the Tradeshow Marketing Ideas

Pre-Show Swag

Why only give gifts at the show? You can increase interest in your tradeshow through pre-show swag sent to your best customers. Along with a personal invitation to the tradeshow, make sure you invite them to participate in your virtual event because that can be just as beneficial as the real show.

Want to make your tradeshow even more successful? Send branded hats or t-shirts to folks who preregistered for the event. Encourage them to wear their new garment that advertises your company to the tradeshow by offering a giveaway for people decked out in company gear. Not only will you entice them to visit your booth, but you’re also getting free advertising on the floor when they wear your branded items.

Cell reading QR Code to download an app

Use an Event App

Event apps are still fairly new but they’re catching on quickly and gaining popularity because they allow for immediate and direct connections. Using one is a step in the right direction, mastering it is the key to tradeshow success. Connect with your key customers through the app and keep connecting. Encourage pre-tradeshow communication to see what they’re looking for from the event and your booth. Then follow-up with help and suggestions as much as possible.

By establishing this engaged and personal connection before the event, these potential customers are more apt to stop by your booth, spend time chatting with the real person behind the app, and continue that connection in the future. It’s another opportunity to create engagement and brand loyalty.

Who You Are

Let your potential customers get to know the people who will be at the tradeshow. Your best talkers and most personable people will be who you want at your booth, they’re the types of people others are drawn to and enjoy talking with. Take advantage of their natural social skills and turn them into mini-influencers for your company.

Prior to the event, have them take over your normal social media posts and share what they’re doing to make the tradeshow happen. Have them go live on TikTok, Facebook, and other social cites sharing the fun and excitement of a tradeshow. They can even share how tiring it can be to get a show up and running. What’s most important is that they make connections with others, so people want to visit in person and meet these influencers.

Example of diverse personalized gift and promotional products to giveaway on a tradeshow

Post-Show Swag

Keep a running list of people your team met at the tradeshow that you’d really like to pursue as future customers. Nurturing these relationships after a tradeshow is marketing 101 but you can take that a step further by curating a post-show swag list. This is where clever marketing comes into play – thank them for stopping by your booth with a special treat. Our team at rushIMPRINT can help you do that. Give us a call or pop online and chat so we can learn a bit more about your company and your typical customers and then help you find just the right thank you gift.

If you have your own creative tradeshow marketing ideas, run with it. This is a time to break free of old traditions and try something new, grab attention, and be the company that’s remembered. No matter which direction you go in, we’re here to help you along and give you the branded merchandise you need to get noticed and be remembered. From logo pens to customized gift baskets filled with treats – we’ve got you covered!