A trade show is one of the best opportunities your business has to make new connections, meet prospective clients, and generate buzz about your company. The tricky part is, however, that there are hundreds of other companies trying to do the same thing. You’re competing for attention, and you hope that you’ll get it on the merit of your business. But it doesn’t hurt to give out some really cool swag to help your efforts. While countless other booths give away pens and hand sanitizer, how do you come up with something truly memorable?
Make It Functional
The most important feature of your promotional merchandise is that it’s functional. People have to be able to use it in their everyday lives; you don’t want to give them something that they’re just going to throw away. The best functional merchandise, however, is also reusable. It’s not a one-time-only thing; it’s something that will stick around to remind them about you again.
Make It Unique
You really need to think outside of the box to come up with great promotional merchandise. Sometimes it’s hard to come up with something outside the realm of t-shirts and coffee mugs, but careful brainstorming can get you there. Think about the types of knick-knacks and gadgets that are useful, appealing, and not usually given at trade shows. Don’t limit yourself while brainstorming. Think as big as you can, and then scale down from there to something that’s possible for your budget. People would love for a computer software company to give them a laptop, but maybe a keychain USB flash drive or headphone earbuds would work.
You don’t want someone to get something really cool and think, “This is a memorable item! But who gave it to me?” Make sure that whatever you give can at least carry your company name, logo, and/or the most important thing you want people to know about you. Also try to come up with a product that relates to your business in some way. If you’re a company that designs hiking boots, why are you giving out notepads?
Make It Cool
An authentically cool promotional item is going to be remembered well. Green living is really cool right now, so think about items like reusable water bottles, shopping tote bags, and insulated travel coffee mugs (a much better choice than a ceramic mug for the kitchen). Sports are cool, so consider items like frisbees, golf balls, golf tees, and drawstring gym bags. Funny stuff is also really cool – as long as it’s actually funny. Something like a miniature bobble head doll is going to be remembered, and a t-shirt with a genuinely funny message is more likely to be remembered and worn than a t-shirt with your company’s logo splashed across the front.
Test It Out
Finally, if you’re not sure what type of merchandise is going to be your best pick, test it out in smaller waters before you dive into the trade show sea. Give samples out to your customers or at smaller venues, and see what kind of feedback you get.
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