12 Trade Show Tips for Startups


Participating in trade shows is a great strategy for startups and small businesses to build brand awareness. Apart from that, it’s an opportunity for businesses to interact with each other and build long-term relationships in the future. If you are planning to attend a trade show, then you’re leading your company down the right path.

However, if it’s your first time, preparing for such an event can be exhausting. This post intends to help you in your trade show endeavors to ensure everything goes smoothly. Check our list of trade show tips below!

  1. Check the Attendees’ List

Trade shows typically have a list of attendees on their websites. Research thoroughly so you can find out those who may be interested in your business. List their contact details and send them a brief opening email. Reach out to them and let them know you’re interested in meeting and encouraging them to check out your booth.

However, be careful not to send spam messages and sell them your products or services. Your initial contact with them should be light and introductory. If you need some help with email marketing, you’d want to learn the best email marketing services for startups and small businesses.

  1. Gather Your Best Team

The team you choose to participate in a trade show can have a significant effect on how the event will turn out for your company. You have two choices when choosing your team – either bring those from your company or work with an agency that specializes in working at trade show events. 

Source: Freepik

Whatever your decision is, remember that those working on your display booth represent your company. Therefore, it’s essential that your team is made of people who are professional, motivated, and friendly. Most importantly, they should be knowledgeable about what your company is offering.

  1. Orient Your Staff

People who attend trade shows will have a lot of questions. So, you and your team should be ready for that. To make sure that all of you are prepared, make a list of expected questions and the specifics of your business. Then, conduct a role-playing activity so you can see how your team will most likely perform in the actual event.

  1. Prepare Product Demos

People who become interested in what you are offering would love to try them out. Apart from the anticipated queries, prepare product demos, and train your team. It’s also a good idea to include this in your role-playing activity so you can see how your people will demonstrate your products.

  1. Be Prepared Physically and Mentally

Promoting your business, particularly at trade shows, can drain you physically and mentally. If you are a social person, you may not have any problems entertaining people. However, if you are the opposite, you might exhaust your energy before the event ends.

Source: Freepik

The night before the event, make sure you get enough sleep and that you are well-rested. During the event, it’s best to stay away from alcoholic drinks. However, in some cases, these may help you be more sociable so just make sure to drink moderately. Most of the time, you will be sitting and standing in your booth, so take a walk from time to time to relax and think properly.

  1. Provide a Lounge Space in Your Booth

People attending exhibition events also get tired from walking and checking each booth that interests them. Providing them a lounge space or some seats will invite them to check out your display. Not only that, but these seats will also allow you and your team to rest and stretch your legs from time to time.

  1. Give Away Freebies

Most attendees are driven to attend trade shows due to the free stuff they will get from the event. By doing so, you are attracting people to go to your booth and learn more from what your company offers. Don’t hesitate to give away freebies as this is a great method of letting potential customers explore your products. 

With this considered, make sure to hand out giveaways that are relevant to your products. Some great examples of promotional goods include lotion bottles, notebooks, and even freshly baked brownies! 

  1. Be a Good Speaker

Being a good speaker means you have to exert more effort and preparation. However, if done the right way, it can have a huge impact on the success of your company. Contact the organization handling the event and let them know you can offer them and the crown something valuable. Not only will your company get more visibility, but you are establishing yourself as a true leader in your company.

Source: Freepik

When you get to speak in the event, as much as possible, avoid promoting your company. This can go either way, but most likely will cause your company to lose its credibility. When speaking to the audience, stay focused on providing them valuable information. Then, invite them at the end so that they can talk to you personally.

  1. Bring Brochures and Business Cards

Everyone attending trade fairs anticipates exchanging brochures and business cards during the event. So, be sure to bring lots of them! These things are a great opportunity to converse with potential clients further. Moreover, they are great reminders for them to contact you in the future. Without brochures or business cards, people might forget about your company and focus on others.

  1. Make Your Display Stand Out

Remember that all companies participating in trade shows will go the extra mile in setting up their displays. You should do the same and in fact, more. Most people have a short attention span and will most likely focus on the display that catches their attention the most. 

Source: Freepik

For your display, focus more on pictures and only include the most important information. Not only that, make your booth really attractive by partnering with an acclaimed trade show booth builder. By doing so, all of your trade show efforts will be well-taken care of up to the end of the event.

  1. Follow Up

The end of the event does not mean your work ends there too. A lot of companies fail to see the importance of following up with potential clients. Don’t forget that the main goal of participating in trade shows is to achieve long-term partnerships with other businesses. So, reach out to them and do business according to the notes you’ve taken during the trade show.

  1. Be Active on Social Media

Trade shows are indeed effective tools to get more visibility for your company. Another way to increase brand awareness is by engaging in social media. Among the great social platforms for startups are Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Through these platforms, you can interact with your audience, provide them with helpful information, and most importantly, promote your products or services.

Source: Freepik


Indeed, preparing for such a huge event such as trade shows can be a headache. You need to prepare everything, from your staff to your display booth. To add, you need to ready yourself for all kinds of attendees that will visit your booth. However, exhibiting at trade shows is an effective marketing strategy to get your company on par with competitors.

So, plan well, ready yourself physically and mentally, and have fun! Maintain a positive outlook and if there are some drawbacks, learn from them and grow.