The Most Effective Promotional Products to Take to Trade Shows



Trade show season is a big time of the year for many businesses. If you operate within an industry that has product launches, noteworthy industry news, or massive exhibitions, chances are you’ll find yourself attending one or more trade shows throughout the latter part (Q4) of the year. And while you might be learning a lot about your industry happenings and competition, you should also be using these opportunities to market your business.

Invest in Custom Promotional Products

More than business cards or tri-fold brochures about your company, it’s important to consider the power of custom promotional products as a chief marketing tool for use at trade shows. Promotional products are far and away the best products to bring to any trade show for a wide variety of reasons:

  • Promo items are intriguing and often useful, making them less likely to be discarded
  • They’re a clever way to provide value, while also marketing your brand or company
  • They can instantly set you apart from competitors and make your booth a destination
  • Promo products can be repurposed across shows for a low-cost marketing solution

The list of benefits goes on. The chief idea to remember here is that promotional products give you the most bang for your marketing buck in a space that’s going to be convoluted with marketing collateral from a wide range of competitors and industry rivals.

The Best Possible Promo Products

There are two schools of thought when it comes to picking the best possible promo products. The first is simple: choose promo items that are relevant within your industry. For example, if your attending a convention for therapists or massage professionals, a simple branded stress ball might be an excellent investment in marketing collateral.

The second school of thought is to provide the most general value by generating promotional products that are universally applicable. This means providing promo products people are likely to see as valuable—shirts, water bottles, USB flash drives, earbuds and so on. The more “usable” your promo item is, the more it’s going to appeal to people. And, the more appeal you offer, the more exposure you’re going to generate at your trade shows.

Promo Product Ideas

Still not sure of what promo products will help you stand out at your next convention? Take a look at some of the most popular options that have proven successful at trade shows in the past:

  • T-shirts, hats, and other branded apparel items
  • Water bottles, coozies, water bottles, and other drink-inspired products
  • Desk items such as stress balls, USB flash drives, and more
  • General promo items like tote bags, keychains, pens, and golf balls
  • Edibles like branded candy, bottled water, or gourmet chocolates

The important thing to remember is balancing the appeal of a free promo item with the potential for grassroots advertising. Do people want what you have to offer? Will they relate the value they’re getting with your brand? Will these promo items make them further consider your brand, beyond the free item they’re getting?

If you need help understanding how to leverage promo items at your next trade show or industry convention, consult with the experts at AlphaGraphics Middleton today. We’ll help you narrow down what items may help you generate buzz for your company and help you make an appeal that stands out from the crowd!

How to Stand Out at Your Next Trade Show

Trade shows are a critical venue for your business to increase its visibility. Whether you’re new to the scene, pitching a new product, or simply keeping up with industry trends, it’s crucial to create an alluring, memorable trade show presence. And it all starts with your booth.

Your booth is your base of operations at any trade show. It’s also your home turf when you’re surrounded by competitors. And, most importantly, it’s a central destination for visitors who want to learn more about who you are and what you have to offer.

Preparing Your Trade Show Booth

Because your custom trade show booth plays such an integral role in your success at a trade show, it should be your first and foremost focus when planning. Think carefully about how you can optimize your limited space for maximum visibility:

  • Banners and table runners are a ground-level way to brand your booth. These iconic trade show staples need to boldly display your company name, brand concept, and contact information. Make sure banners and runners are free of any convoluting imagery—their sole purpose is to identify your booth to passersby.
  • Flags and pole signs are an optimal way to utilize the vertical space of a convention center. Vertical signage enables your booth to draw attention even when it’s not directly visible. These signs can also add to the branding of your booth and establish it as a landmark in a crowded convention space, continually drawing people back.
  • Backer signage within your book is a great way to complete the aesthetic and allure of your booth. It’s large enough to include powerful imagery, bold branding and captivating visuals that speak to passersby and attract them to your booth.

Gathering Tabletop Materials

Standing out at your next trade show means going beyond just putting together a cohesive booth presentation—it’s also about stocking it with takeaways and accessible information. Standing out means nothing if attendees don’t remember you after they walk away! Printed tabletop materials will ensure they have a tangible reminder of your booth and everything it had to offer:

  • Business cards are a must! Never attend a trade show without your business cards. This is going to be the easiest way for you to get into someone’s contact list and likewise for you to generate leads.
  • Brochures are the easiest, most organized, most cost-effective way to encapsulate information about your brand or product. Having brochures instantly available on your tabletop gives you a talking point and a takeaway, all in one.
  • Postcards are a great way to promote products, information, deals, contact information, etc. They’re simple, straightforward and easy to give out.
  • Nothing draws a crowd at a trade show like custom promotional products! Give people a reason to visit your booth and make sure they leave with something branded. From stickers and stress balls to pens, canvas bags, buttons and beyond, swag is easy to print and a cost-effective way to get your brand noticed.

Don’t Skimp on Trade Show Prep!

Trade shows are your chance to shine alongside other companies you might be competing with or at odds with. Taking the time to prep your booth and print up the right materials means giving yourself an edge and giving people a reason to choose your booth instead of someone else’s.

If you’re gearing up for a trade show in the near future, consult with your local trade show team at AlphaGraphics Middleton! We’ve helped businesses like yours win trade shows with exceptional print and promotional products, no matter the industry.