How to Build An Effective Trade Show Marketing Strategy

Updated: April 12th, 2024


Lead Generation
Cost Details

What Is A Tradeshow?

Tradeshows refer to an exhibition where companies in a specific industry display and demonstrate their products or services.

Although this tactic may seem traditional, tradeshows remain an effective and important marketing strategy in business today.

With attending a tradeshow, startups can reach their target audienceand also attract new customers.

Tradeshow Key Takeaways

  • Tradeshows provide startups strong opportunities for networking and getting face time with prospective clients
  • It takes creativity and personalization for a startup to stand out from hundreds of exhibitors attending the tradeshow.
  • While attending the tradeshow, your team needs to focus on building relationships rather than slip into sales mode.

Understanding How Tradeshow Marketing Works

With digital marketing taking the world by storm, startups may overlook the importance of offline marketing alternatives.

A good example of offline marketing is attending a tradeshow.

With hundreds or even thousands of potential customers attending tradeshows, they give startups an opportunity to connect with customers interested in their products or services.

Tradeshows provide startups opportunities to earn greater media exposure, which is a great brand-building strategy.

Overall, the tradeshow is the right place to target the right audienceand even generate sales on site.

Therefore, startups present an effective offline marketing alternative for startups.

If you are a startup, think of tradeshows as an opportunity to improve sales and build solid relationships with potential long-term customers.

Real World Examples of Successful Companies That Market Through Tradeshows

1. Annex Products

Annex Products, an Australian company behind the popular smartphone mounting brand Quad Lock, has grown from a promising startup to a global brand.


Earlier in 2017, the company booked two big tradeshows in the US: Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City and Interbike in Las Vegas.


The core objective for attending the exhibitions was showcasing their products to potential customers.

According to Ben Taylor, international Sales Manager at Annex Products:

"These two key, US-based trade events offered us the opportunity to get in front of important retailers and industry contacts"

2. Canagan

Canagan, A British pet foods brand, is another example of companies that market by exhibiting at tradeshows.


At the 2020 Global pet show in Orlando, the British pet food company showed off its all-natural grain-free ingredients.


At the tradeshow, Canagan enjoyed a great opportunity to build relationships with existing global customers, while the company marketers got a chance to emphasize the origin and quality of their product line.

Getting Started with Tradeshows Marketing

  • Start by setting your goals so that you will something to measure the success of your tradeshow attendance
  • Research and find suitable tradeshow events you can exhibit in
  • Select products or services you wish to feature at the tradeshow
  • Prepare for the tradeshow by picking the right team and gathering the equipment you will need beforehand
  • During the tradeshow, focus on building relationships with potential customers
  • After the tradeshow, conduct a follow-up of leads collected by email, phone call and request for a virtual or face-to-face meeting

Tradeshows present a huge potential for meeting leads.

While attending a trade show, you may want to consider a lead capture tool, so you do not miss any sales or opportunities.

Potential lead capture tools include Cvent LeadCapture and iCapture.

You may also be interested in:

Leadfeeder contacts

Conveniently grab email addresses and other contact information for visitors of your website.

Businesses using Leadfeeder contacts:

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LeadLander reconciles anonymous website visitors, turning unknown visitor data into actionable sales & marketing intelligence

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Simple Lead Capture

Template based webpage building tool with two-step pop-up opt-in email capture functionality

Get Simple Lead Capture ➜

Attend a Tradeshow

Having an online presence is important, but showing face will always remain one of the most effective strategies for growing your business.

As traditional as it may be, tradeshows and conferences are a great way to get your product in front of your customers.

It all comes down to basic human interaction - prospects are much more likely to invest in your product if they've created some sort of relationship with you.

Alex Bricker, founder of ESL With Purpose discusses how attending conferences has and will continue to be a key strategy for acquiring new customers:

Case Study

"Meeting people in person at conferences yields results. It provides new networking opportunities where I can demonstrate the Phrase It™ brand to instructors in real life."

I attended an educator conference which resulted in $1300 in sales in just 2 days. I realized attending a conference like this in the future will continue to yield more results. I grew my most interested email sign-ups and subscribers while at the conference too.

Conferences provide opportunities for me to teach workshops and help educators understand how Phrase It™ can be used in practical and tangible ways. It is easier to go through Q&A sessions on the spot.


Alex Bricker, on starting ESL With Purpose ($1,500/month) full story ➜
meet the author
Pat Walls

I'm Pat Walls and I created Starter Story - a website dedicated to helping people start businesses. We interview entrepreneurs from around the world about how they started and grew their businesses.