The word ‘promotion’ gives headaches to marketing pros and businesses alike because to them, it usually means hard work and cost for an uncertain gain.

That, naturally, isn’t true.

True, if you run a promotion incorrectly, you’ll bang your head against the wall and develop an ulcer because you’ll fork over your cash without any guaranteed return. But, if you run a promotion the right way, you’ll have a powerful tool to attract visitors to your trade show booth.


It’s simple: People like prizes and free stuff.

Here’s how you can turbo-charge your trade show promotion.

Be Creative

Everyone offers raffles for giveaways. Even if you have a really cool toy, though, a boring raffle hardly gets anyone’s juices flowing.

Try something unique and different. Have a prize wheel.  Bake cookies. Do something that is creative, memorable, and engaging. Try to stand out and think of a promotion that you just don’t see very often – those are the true winners.

Start Early and Go Digital

Whatever promotion you choose, it’s important to start promoting your promotion early and often.

A trade show is scheduled months in advance. As soon as you know you will be there, you can start promoting your business gradually, ramping up the level of marketing as the event draws near. You want to try to occasionally lead with your promotion to drive up interest and make sure people visit your booth.

To increase your visibility, get the visitor to take some kind of action before they arrive. Give them a form to fill out. Ask them a trivia question and tell them to bring the answer with them. Opt into an email list that is a part of the promotion.

Also, go digital. Social media is a terrific way to drum up interest in your promo. Try and get some interest going through your social media network (you do have one, right?) well in advance.

Bring the Goods

Lastly, if you choose to award a prize, make sure it’s worth the effort. Go big or go home (with big not necessarily meaning huge).

Think of a nice prize as an investment. Give away an iPad. Offer a Google Nexus 7. Throw in free eBooks and white papers for those who just participate. Offering a nice main prize and valuable consolation prizes is a terrific way to attract attention – as well as making sure that everyone who participates gets something for their effort.

(And if you’re baking cookies, you’ll get delicious treats. See? You can’t go wrong! Just save a couple for me.)