How to Use Print Marketing to Attract Trade Show Visitors

Investing in a trade show presence can drain a lot of your marketing budget. But if you prep attendees with pre-show printed marketing you can improve your ROI from the show.

Trade shows in the US generated more than $12.8 billion in 2016. Tapping into that potential revenue is worth investing in a pre-show print marketing campaign.

A well-crafted and planned print campaign in the lead up to the convention can generate buzz and interest in your company. A combination of print materials that draw attention and point recipients toward your show booth is worth your time and investment.

We’ve pulled together some of the best types of print marketing and suggested ways you can use them to attract booth visitors. Read on to learn everything you need to know to have a successful convention.


If you have a print advertising budget use it to highlight your trade show presence outside of the convention. 

Pick a media outlet that convention attendees pay attention to. Create a series of ads that highlight your brand and your presence at the trade show. Make sure you indicate that viewers of the ad should visit your booth.

If you don’t have an in-house creative team to make the ads consider working with an agency. You’ll get the benefit of their know-how and your ads will stand out and draw more attention.


Depending on your budget you can choose one of two catalog approaches to get trade show visitors. Either go for a one-off, high-production values showpiece or produce and send multiple cheaper, lower-quality catalogs in the weeks and months before the show.

In the first option look to get a beautifully designed, lavishly produced catalog into your potential trade-show visitors about a month ahead of the convention. That lead time will give them enough time to sit with your catalog for a while and learn more about your company and products. 

If you prefer the cheaper and more often approach, send a catalog to your customers every month for a few months leading up to the trade show. The repetition will get in your customers’ minds and they’ll be primed to come to see you at the show.

In either case, make sure your catalogs include incentives for recipients to visit your booth. 

You can combine a digital marketing tactic with your print marketing tactic in a catalog. Add URLs or direct people to your social platforms with hints at special offers they might get or insider content that is regularly updated.


Postcards are cheap and effective. They are cheap to produce and cheap to mail. They still work, too.

If you want to saturate an area with a high volume of potential convention attendees or customers use the USPS’s Every Door Direct Mail option. If you have a good traditional mailing list, target those people.

Your postcard should feature an incentive targeted directly to the recipient. A special offer or exclusive piece of swag is a great way to encourage people to visit your booth when they attend the convention. Make the postcard feel unique and individually targeted. 

Outdoor Advertising

If you have the budget, invest in outdoor advertising ahead of the convention. Print marketing for outdoor advertising comes in the form of billboards, posters, bus benches, car covers, outdoor signage, and more.

A combination of some of these forms of marketing will ensure that a broad range of local possible attendees will see your company in association with the convention. 

Use teaser campaigns on posters that you change out a couple of times in the lead up to the convention. Create a link between your company and the convention with name-association decals on a fleet of local cars.

Stick outdoor banners and flags near the convention center or around your business. Make sure they are bright and colorful and boldly feature your name and the convention’s name. 

Floor Stickers

Less typical print marketing materials such as floor stickers are effective because they aren’t seen often. Outdoor floor stickers are the equivalent of sidewalk chalk. They grab the eye because so many people walk with their heads down.

Put them in strategic places around a convention center in the last few days before it takes place.


Create flyers to promote your presence at the show. Use a team of street marketers to hand them out to attendees as they come to the convention.

Make sure the flyers are bold and eye-catching so that people don’t immediately dump them in the trash or ignore the people handing them out. Ninety-two percent of trade show attendees come to find out about new products so include information on the flyer about your new products or services.


If you have street marketers handing out flyers kit them out in branded t-shirts or other clothing. The team will be more recognizable. Your brand will be visible before people even grab a flyer. 

Spend a little more on quality merchandise so that your team doesn’t look cheap. You don’t want that association in the minds of attendees before they get to your booth.

Use a simple design on the merchandise. You can’t say a lot on a t-shirt. Big, bold, colorful and simple. Ideally, the design will be your company name or logo and that’s about it.

Print Marketing Can Draw Convention Attendees Before The Show Starts

If you use a combination of these print marketing pieces you will create a buzz about your presence at the trade show. Print marketing materials can be highly effective outside of the convention itself. Provide incentives to people to visit your booth in those print materials.

First impressions count. If you don’t have a creative team or you’re not sure how best to design print marketing work with a creative agency. The money you spend on the agency will be returned because of the look and content in your printed materials.

We have an incredible team of talented, creative marketers. We know how to make your printed marketing materials draw people to your convention booth. Get in touch with us to discuss your next trade-show campaign.