Your Ultimate Trade Show Advertisement Guide

If you’ve tried all kinds of marketing gimmicks, but sales are still not improving, a public exhibition of your products and services might be a suitable way to go. And if you’re going to make that investment, be sure to plan some targeted trade show advertisements too!

What is a Trade Show

Photo of a trade show; notice all the trade show advertisements.

A trade show involves an exhibition that showcases businesses to both prospective and long-term buyers. Because trade shows involve the display of multiple businesses and companies, it brings competitors together. It allows for a cross-fertilization of ideas and creates an excellent platform for learning the newest trends.

Trade shows allow a wide range of prospects to have a one-on-one feel of your products and services and are statistically one of the best platforms for those needing new services and goods. Because the prospects are face-to-face with you, you should have a better chance of winning them over.

Some marketers just don’t “get” trade shows. But those that do understand the big picture, understand that trade shows can be a goldmine. Through them, your business can attract new buyers while also retaining the ones you have. However, because many people don’t know how to go about it, they often make a mess of it. So, how do you make trade shows successful and improve your business?

Any trade show’s success depends heavily on how you campaign for that success through targeted trade show advertisements. Trade shows are themselves specialized events. Campaigning for the trade shows is also a very technical process. Your ad campaign and how you carry it out is the most critical factor in determining your trade show’s success. You’ll also need to know how to find your target audience, where to place your ads, and how much you need to spend.

Also, before any trade show can succeed, it must attract people. Until people know of your offers, they can’t even visit your stand at any trade show, no matter how well-packaged it is. We want to begin by outlining how important trade show advertisements and ad campaigns are to your trade show success.

Of course, not all trade shows will work for you. Be sure to pick the right shows.

How Will targeted Trade Show Advertisements Impact Your Success?

Advertising trade show

A trade show is itself a marketing campaign. So, does it make sense to market a marketing campaign? The answer lies in understanding that a trade show is not a regular marketing campaign, and holding one may require an ad campaign.

Will an ad campaign impact the success of a trade show? The answer is yes! The outcome of your trade show will be primarily influenced by the work you put in before the trade show itself, known as pre-trade show marketing, which is a series of campaigns aimed at attracting attention, raising awareness, and encouraging attendance at the trade show. Remember, in trade shows; it’s all down to attendance.

Pre-trade show marketing involves many activities to promote your participation at a trade show. Although the number of attendees may not translate to many new clients, it is impossible to win over new customers without first getting them to attend your exhibitions.

Still, we’ll limit our scope to what we consider the most important: trade show advertisements.

One of the greatest, well-known secrets of advertising is keeping a product in the consumer’s consciousness. Keep them talking about a product as often as possible; their curiosity will translate to gain. When you carry out ad campaigns ahead of an exhibition, especially if a new product is about to be displayed, you will generate more interest in the event before it starts.

When you have an exhibition ahead of you, you want to generate as much interest as possible. Depending on your budget, you need to develop an intelligent ad campaign that will make people look forward to it. And if you succeed with your trade show advertisement campaign, the difference will always be clear. The number of people who spend their money to purchase a good or service without having any positive information beforehand is very low.

So, without any doubt, to generate interest in your exhibitions, a deliberate attempt to attract your target audience is required. Remember, your campaign has to be directed at your target audience for maximum impact.

A trade show without an ad campaign is like a pregnant woman without a bump. But the bump announces to people what to expect and builds up the excitement! So, if you’re about to have an exhibition at a trade show and have yet to decide on an ad campaign, we can tell you for free that it is one of the best decisions you can make for a successful trade show.

We’ll talk about how to carry out this campaign, the kind of medium to use, and how much money to spend later. But first, how do you identify your target audience?

Finding Your Target Audience

Finding target audience

Finding your target audience is significant because if you don’t, you’ll be part of those who waste up to $37 billion yearly in ads targeted at the wrong age, wrong gender, wrong income, and wrong location. The essence of finding the right target audience is knowing in detail how to focus on that group.

There’s no product directed at everybody. Every exhibition targets a specific group of people. When you plan a trade show, you want only those that can become clients to pay attention to what you have to say. Because it is a trade show, you will likely attract many people. But what kind of people do you need? You need the very people the product is targeted at. When you know the people you aim to reach with a product, you can tailor your trade show advertisement campaign to them. Some adverts would achieve very little if they’re put in newspapers because kids don’t read newspapers. Some ad campaigns will fail if they’re not put in newspapers because many retirees read newspapers.

But first, how do you identify your target audience, and how do you attract them to your exhibition stand?

There’s one word that goes hand in hand with the phrase “target audience,” and it is “data.” You can’t make assumptions about your target audience without any research to back it up. If you sell goods online, it is easier to get data about the demographics of your customers. You can also conduct further customer research by asking specific questions from your frequent buyers, those who view but don’t make purchases, and those who seem uninterested in the product.

There are so many analytics tools that can be used to generate data on customers. You can also use analysis from competitors to know your exact target audience. If you are releasing a new product into the market, you should have identified the actual demography of your target audience.

Knowing your target audience is the only way to help you understand how to plan an effective ad campaign.

Here are some tips on knowing how to find your target audience.

Analyze your competitors

You can do this by reviewing the strategies of your major competitors. You can know much about your target audience by analyzing your competitors, especially if you’re showcasing a new product.

Interview your clients

If you already have a customer base, you may need to interview them to get more information to find the most relevant target audience.

Conduct research

You can also research your customers and your products. You can seek to know which demographic makes the most critical decisions affecting the sales of your products and that of your competitors.

Use Analytics

Target research

You can also use digital tools like Google Analytics to know more about your customers and the demography you should be targeting with your ads. For example, some products should target little children. Although they have no purchasing power, they wield considerable influence on the parents who make the purchase.

Now that you know your target audience, how do you target them for trade show ads?

Where to Advertise Trade Show

Trade shows are not regular marketing campaigns. They have a feel of fun and bring sellers face to face with potential clients. Your trade show’s success will depend heavily on how many people visit your stand. This will also depend on how you advertise your trade show.

Your trade show advertisement campaigns should contain all the information about the great freebies that await participants at your exhibition. You should not focus only on what you hope to make from them. Instead, you should highlight all that they stand to gain from being part of the show.

Let’s look at popular channels to help you advertise your trade show effectively.


Advertise over Internet

The internet is the cheapest way to reach most people. But you must know who you want to reach for you to have a successful ad campaign online. The internet is extensive, so you must know how to target your ads to your desired audience.

The pay-per-click ad format will work well if you are targeting a broader audience or if your products target a large number of people. We’ll talk about specialized websites next, but you should know that you cannot effectively reach prospects without advertising online.

Specialized Websites

Specialized websites are designed for technical products, and it will make perfect sense to reach audiences with websites that bear similarities with your products. For example, if you deal in electronics, websites are dedicated to such products, which can then be used to reach your target market.

The advantage of specialized websites is that it helps you solve the problem of getting the target audience. Whatever you sell, there are websites that you can use to reach more customers. To advertise a trade show on such a specialized website, you should start at least three weeks before the exhibition and ensure you let the audience know the goodies and freebies available for them.

Social Media

social media phone apps

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Tiktok are social media platforms that reach billions of users on a daily basis. Still, even if your company is on social media, you need to pay for ads or influencer marketing.

Using creative posts, you can also use your social media channels to promote your upcoming show. Because social media users have lots of things competing for their attention, your social media adverts must be catchy, exciting, and creative. Social media marketing cost varies, but your budget should determine how far you’re willing to go.

Google ads

Google ads are excellent as they provide resources while people search in the largest search engine. Google ads display your ads when people search for products or services similar to what you offer. The advantage of Google ads is that you only pay for the number of engagements you get from clients.

When you use Google ads, you also solve the target audience’s problem as only searches related to your business will be involved. Since you are advertising a trade show, you should have creative headlines that can attract users’ attention. One thing you must master in Google ads is keywords.

Specific keywords are related to your business. You must optimize keywords to be successful with Google ads. Several tools help you access relevant tools for your ad campaign. The more people click on your ad, the more they are informed about your show.


Adverise over TV shows

TV used to be the ultimate advertising channel because it reached many people. However, TV adverts are no longer as popular as they used to be because of the cost. But TV adverts are very effective as long as you can reach the target audience.

Lots of people watch TV in America and across the world. If you have an upcoming trade show, you should be able to use popular shows to promote it. As always, inform people of what they stand to gain and make it as welcoming as possible.

Because of the high cost of advertising on TV, you need a big budget to pull it off. However, you can be smart about it. Instead of advertising on broader channels, look for local broadcasters that cover the area where your exhibition is being held. Also, look for specialized shows that meet your needs instead of just advertising on TV.

Specialized TV Shows

Specialized TV shows are for those who want to maximize their advert reach. If there’s a popular car show on TV, you should advertise there if you have an exhibition for cars or car accessories. It would make sense to do that and then promote it on a news program.

Although the news program may reach more people, it may not match the target audience you want to attract. But a car show will do so. It is essential to look for shows whose audience is your target. Place adverts for your trade show on them and expect a greater response.


Radio also offers an essential medium for reaching your target audience. Interestingly, radio reaches a large number of people as well. However, like with television, you can solve the target audience’s problem by featuring on specialized radio programs.

Radio adverts must be recurrent, especially as it is also a very competitive medium. It is better to target radio stations local to the area where the exhibition is to take place rather than just any radio station. Also, be very creative and offer the listener creative details of what to expect ahead of the trade show.

Specialized Radio Program

A specialized radio program, just like a specialized TV program, will reach more target audiences than general radio programs, no matter how popular they are. When you place adverts on programs similar to what you offer, you will reach more prospective clients with much less. If possible, you can pay for special appearances where you can speak to audiences about your upcoming trade show.

You must sound very convincing and offer the listeners incentives to visit your stand at the show. Freebies, remember? Let them know they will be able to walk away with giveaways and purchase goods at special discounts designed for the performance.

You should look for radio programs that address your specialty and use this medium. For special appearances on the radio, you should target the same week of the show, especially a day or two before the event.

Specialized Magazines

Advertise magazines

Different types of specialized magazines can help you reach your target audience faster. They already have a loyal base of readers and subscribers who follow and enjoy reading magazines. Placing an advert for an upcoming event in such magazines is an intelligent way of reaching your audience.

You should target at least two editions before the trade show if it’s a weekly magazine. Inform the readers of exciting new products that await them at the program and explain what they’ll benefit from by being there. Specialized magazines also solve the problem of finding a target audience for your product. For instance, if you’re into kitchen products, you should target food, cooking, kitchen, and women’s lifestyle magazines.


Newspapers are trusted for their news. Millions of readers buy newspapers daily, and you can leverage this platform to spread your message. Newspapers cover almost everything, so placing your ads in the appropriate sections is better. Also, you need good graphics to ensure your ad is eye-catching. Nobody buys a newspaper to read adverts. But to compete for the newsreader’s attention, you must ensure that your message is unique and exciting.


Banners also work for those who need to keep the advert’s message in people’s minds for a long time. Banners can be strategically placed at points where they can be viewed by the most people and should contain all the necessary information. Banners should also be placed in places close to the trade show venue. Banners even work while the trade show is ongoing and can offer directions to your stand for those interested.

How Much to Spend on Advertisement

Cost of trade show advertising

Remember, the trade show itself costs money. The larger the space, the larger the budget. You’ll not be shocked to discover that due to costs related to the organization, booth, and venue, trade show budgets often have no allocation for ads. This is, indeed, wrong.

If we go by the general rule that the maximum you spend on advertising shouldn’t exceed 5% of your revenue, you should ensure that you limit your expenses to that range. Since trade shows are part of marketing campaigns, your trade show advertisement expenses should cover the budget for advertising your exhibitions.

Another general rule is to ensure that your budget for a trade show should be thrice the cost of your booth space. Also, your trade show budget is often dependent on your booth space. So if you spend about $10,000 on your booth space, you’re expected to spend $30,000 on the trade show. How much of that amount should go into advertising the program?

It depends on how much you intend to make from the exhibitions. If you can arrive at a figure, you should spend about 5% on advertising. But since the entire trade show is a form of an advert in itself, you may want to add more to it. Like with salt, it should be enough to add enough taste to the package but not too much to spoil it.


Trade shows are interesting to organize. They are fun and exciting. But the end justifies the means. If it leads to lots of sales, then it is worth it.

The process begins with getting enough people interested in the program. Too many organizers of trade shows focus only on the event and not on the pre-event marketing. Successful marketers understand that trade shows are a process, not a singular event. Ultimately, those who do a good job of targeted trade show advertisements make better sales than those who do not.

Getting your target audience interested in your event is the most crucial step ahead of your exhibitions. There’s no better way of doing that than by marketing your trade shows and we hope you learned a thing or two about it in this article.

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