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10 Tips to Draw Traffic to Your Trade Show Booth

By September 1, 2017April 16th, 2019No Comments

Many companies focus a bulk of their attention and money securing an exhibit space, selecting and designing a booth, and preparing the logistics of getting people and equipment to the event.

While these steps are crucial, too little time is devoted to booth draw campaigns. Without a sound booth draw strategy, your company runs the risk of wasting money on the wrong kind of booth visitors.

Learn how you can attract the right visitors to your booth with strategic booth draw campaigns.

10 Tips for Booth Draw Campaigns

1. Define a theme and stick to it. Once you come up with an overall theme for the show, incorporate elements of that theme throughout all booth draw campaigns. Using the same theme, tagline and visuals in each element of your campaign creates a cohesive brand message and sets a consistent expectation for everyone who visits your booth. From in-booth handouts and videos to advertisements and giveaways, everything should play off the theme.

2. Advertise online where your audience spends time. Find the top online publications your target audience reads and inquire about their advertising packages. The cost will depend on the size of the ad, location on the website, and the length of time your ads run. Your ads will usually rotate with other advertisers, but some websites sell exclusive sponsorships where you are the only advertisers on a site or a section of it. Rates are always negotiable, so never accept the list price. Bonus Tip: Publications are more likely to give editorial coverage to their advertisers, so take advantage and inquire about editorial opportunities.

3. Syndicate content to targeted lists. Have a great white paper or executive brief? You can pay a publication to promote your content for you on their website and to their mailing lists. Not only will you get a guaranteed number of leads, but you will also increase brand awareness ahead of your event while providing great insights and thought leadership.

4. Meet potential booth visitors in their inboxes. If you’ve built a strong email list, utilize it to generate excitement for your event. Be sure to add value to each email rather than simply promoting your booth number. Offer a unique piece of content, promote an exciting giveaway or speaker, or offer tips for navigating the event venue or city.

5. Advertise on the show floor. While pre-show online advertising is effective for generating buzz and awareness before the event, at-show advertising can remind people to visit your booth, provide additional incentives, and direct traffic to your location. The large banner advertisements draped from columns or walls can get lost in the crowd, so familiarize yourself with the venue (or consult with someone who is) to choose the best opportunities. If the good locations are already taken, consider advertising in the various print programs and publications distributed at the show.

6. Bring customers into your booth. Before making a large purchase, prospects will want to hear directly from their peers how your product or service worked in the real world. Ask a few of your champion customers to spend an hour in your booth so visitors can ask questions. People are more comfortable asking honest questions to a peer rather than a salesperson and will be more receptive to their answers. Booth visitors will be eager to tap this resource.

7. Encourage social media engagement from your booth. In addition to promoting your attendance before the show, be sure to post social media updates from your booth. Help people find your booth, showcase your giveaway, and use the conference’s designated hashtag. Take it to the next level by encouraging booth visitors to share pictures and stories from your booth with a unique hashtag.

8. Be strategic with your giveaways. When it comes to giveaways and contests, avoid the traditional, overplayed ideas. Nobody wants another pen or coffee mug. Strive to be memorable and tie the giveaway to your theme. Giving away an experience (a trip, event tickets, etc.) is a good way to stand out. If you’re doing a smaller giveaway, avoid the grab-and-go. Be sure your giveaway draws people into your booth and gives you enough time to start a conversation.

9. Take notes and pictures. As you walk the show floor, take note of everything that grabs your attention. Is there an ad placement that caught your eye? Secure it for next year. A booth layout you liked? Show it to your trade show marketing agency. A unique giveaway? Save it for inspiration. Bring your ideas back to your team so you can incorporate similar ideas into your next show. Bonus Tip: Some vendors become extremely paranoid when you take a photo of something in their booth.  Ask permission first or be really careful when doing this.

10. Start planning early. The best way to ensure trade show success is to prepare early. Give your team enough time to brainstorm a creative theme, secure premium ad placements, create engaging content, and run promotion campaigns that will resonate with your target audience and make your booth a must-visit at the next show. For big shows, you have to start planning for the next year the week after the current one ends.

Booth Draw Examples


  • New theme for NextGen ONE 2015: Smarter, Faster, Easier EHR
  • Pre-show digital advertising
  • New trade show booth and design
  • Promotional email campaign
  • 2015: Doubled booth traffic from previous year
  • Giveaways include golf and spa trips, mountain bike

Mach7 Technologies

  • New theme for RSNA 2013: Unlock. Unleash. UnPAC.
  • New theme for RSNA 2015: Power Up
  • Marketing automation email campaigns
  • Pre-show digital advertising and at-show print advertising
  • Sponsored webinar
  • “Ask the Experts” booth draw campaign
  • Giveaways include limo and helicopter tours, VT food and drinks

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Brian Shilling

Author Brian Shilling

Brian is our Executive Vice President of Client Operations with experience leading diverse teams of marketers and designers in strategic marketing, content creation, and crafting comprehensive messaging and positioning platforms for our healthcare and tech clients. To learn more about Brian's experiences and qualifications, visit our leadership team page.

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