How to pick the best promotional items for a trade show

How to pick the best promotional items for a trade show

Due to the imminent arrival of trade show season, small business owners must develop their marketing strategies sooner rather than later. An industry expo is a huge opportunity for every independent entrepreneur, because few occasions allow these professionals to reach out to large volumes of potential clients and corporate partners. 

Promotional marketing products are a staple of most trade shows. Small gifts remind consumers about businesses that had a strong presence at the event. Additionally, branded items help small business owners open lines of communication with passersby who are visiting dozens of booths. 

Not all promotional items are created equal. Some tokens are best suited for attracting attention during the event, while others leave a lasting impression that help entrepreneurs capitalize on their trade show successes. Small business owners must evaluate their needs when choosing their promotional products.

Consider the following factors when deciding what branded items would work best for your company at a trade show. 

Fun or functional?
There are two primary types of promotional items – functional products and fun gifts. In most settings, the former is more effective for marketing than the latter. Consumers enjoy giveaways that fulfill a basic need. To capitalize on the popularity of functionality, small business owners can distribute unique promotional products that are useful during the trade shows or an everyday setting. 

For the events, branded water bottles and candy tins are some of the best possible gifts. Inc. Magazine notes that trade shows are usually hectic and that most attendees are thirsty and hungry. Businesses that hand out water bottles and small snacks will endear themselves to consumers who need nourishment. 

Other functional items can be geared more toward everyday life. For instance, promotional flash drives are great to have at work, so recipients would gladly hold on to the devices after an event. A small business owner can use items like pens, calendars and key chains to ensure that every attendee has a physical reminder of the establishment. 

Fun products help enterprises stand out from the competition. The gifts break up the sometimes monotonous nature of trade shows – consumers can grow weary after hearing dozens of sales pitches from representatives. 

Give away relevant items
Every trade show has a unifying message, and small business owners should tie their marketing strategies to these themes. Advertisements that are thematically relevant will be better received than their irrelevant counterparts. 

Promotional items can be used to help connect a company to a show's overall theme. For instance, reusable tote bags can be distributed at eco-friendly events. To develop a relevant marketing strategy, owners should research what other businesses have done in the past. Other entrepreneurs are valuable resources when it comes to learning how to succeed at a specific trade show. 

Alternatively, companies can distribute items that are relevant to their industries or services. The gifts act as small previews that help consumers understand what function an enterprise fulfills and why its products would be valuable assets. Employees can use the small presents to open their sales pitches, so attendees are willing to listen to the entire message. 

Include contact information
Consumers come from far and wide to attend trade shows, so businesses must emblazon their contact information on branded products. URLs for social networks, email addresses for employees and phone numbers should be printed on every promotional item. 

Contact information can also be used to generate interest during a trade show. Hashtags can be used to encourage attendees to tweet about a company. As more consumers notice the messages, they will be motivated to visit the business' booth to see what all the hype is about. 

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