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Attracting Visitors to your Trade Show booth with Effective Promotional Gifts

Five Tips for Getting Their Attention

Getting ready to participate in trade show? Trade shows offer excellent exposure for both new and well-established businesses. But, since you're competing with so many other businesses (including some of your direct competitors), how will you make your own booth jump out and draw in trade show visitors like a magnet?

One of the easiest and most effective ways to do this is by offering attractive promotional gifts. Everyone likes a free gift. People especially appreciate gifts that are practical, something they can use once they get home. Remember, most other booths at the trade show will also be handing out promotional gifts. Outdoing your competitors doesn't necessarily require out-spending them. Instead, it may simply call for out-thinking them.

When choosing promotional gifts for trade shows, take a little bit of time to evaluate your situation and your possibilities. Consider the five major factors that will influence your choice.

Your type of business

Try to purchase promotional gifts that are in line with your own company, its mission, objectives and/or philosophy.

I recommend: Products that reflect the nature of your company. For example, if your business is health care, choose promotional gifts that promote your mission. Health and wellness items like pill organizers, medicine droppers or bandage dispensers will help solidify your company's image in the minds of potential clients. If your business is bookkeeping, items such as portfolios, day planners, calculators or notepad holders would help visitors remember you.

The nature of the trade show.

Most trade shows have a theme.

I recommend: Choosing promotional gifts that reflect the theme of the trade show. Monogrammed golf balls would be an excellent choice for an outdoor recreation trade show. Visitors at a Home and Garden trade show would probably appreciate barbecue utensils or gardening tools.

Your budget.

Go big or go broke isn't always the best philosophy. Memorable promotional gifts range in price from a few cents per unit to twenty dollars or more per item. It's easy to stay within your advertising budget.

I recommend: Mouse pads for small budgets. They're economical and easy to transport and guaranteed to be put to use since they're more than just a key chain. Tool sets and flash drives make luxurious giveaways for companies with bigger advertising budgets.

Your competitors.

You need to stand out from your competitors and the other booths around you.

I recommend: Staying away from promotional items that are likely to be handed out by many other businesses at the same trade show. Look for more unusual items, like tote bags which are still economical but probably won't be duplicated by many others.

Size, shape and weight.

Don't choose something too unwieldy (i.e. heavy or awkward to carry.) Your visitors may reject it simply because they don't feel like carrying it around.

I recommend: Stick to smaller, more compact promotional gifts.

Tips & Tactics
Helpful advice for making the most of this Guide

  • Make sure that you order in plenty of time for your trade show. Check with your distributor for estimated delivery times, and plan for delays. A rule of thumb is to add ten percent to the estimated delivery time. In other words, if your distributor estimates a shipping time of three weeks, add two to three days. This may help you avoid disappointment from not having your promotional gifts arrive when you expected, perhaps not in time.
  • After the event, evaluate how well your promotional gifts went over with visitors. Were visitors receptive? Were most willing to take one? Were they willing to share their contact information with you in order to receive one? Were they as effective as you'd hoped? Answering these and other questions will help you determine what promotional gifts to use at your next trade show.
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