Yep, trade show season is upon us and the next few months will be filled with all sorts of business shows and expos, large and small, highly specialized or extremely broad but one thing is true for all of them, if you are exhibiting at a show you must make it count.

This isn’t a blog about your booth or boothmanship although I could give you all sorts of pointers on those things as well, but rather, I’d like to discuss the importance of WHAT you distribute at the shows, the giveaways that are at your booth or that you hand out when making new contacts at the show.

Make no mistake about it, these items are important. They reinforce your brand image and help you to remain visible (AFTER the show!). And with the expenses associated with participating at a show (cost of the booth space, time away from the office, travel, etc.) making a snap decision on what to giveaway simply doesn’t make sense.

Here are some things to take into account BEFORE you make any decisions about your promotional product giveaways:

  • Think carefully about the show and the type of traffic that will be walking the show floor. If you expect a rather large crowd that will potentially include folks that are not prospective clients or referral sources then make certain to have 2 types of items at your disposal. The types of items that work for the “masses” are pens, mints, small memo pads and other items that are relatively inexpensive and have broad appeal. You should also have items that you keep for the attendees with whom you have a substantive conversation and who have more “sales potential.” These items might be more specific to your type of business or are more costly. (Important reminder: don’t leave these items on your booth table as they will be snatched up before you have an opportunity to “screen and qualify” the attendee.)
  • Place your giveaways in such a manner as the attendee has to engage with whomever is working the booth. Keeping the items on the very edge of the table so that people can simply go by and sweep the items into their hand or a bag negates any possibility that you will be offered an opportunity to meet and greet them. These “premium junkies” are known to troll free shows where they often take voluminous quantities of goodies with little or no interest in the company or its products.
  • Be careful with what you imprint on the items. Your company name and tagline are mandatory but equally as important are your telephone numbers and website. Don’t make people have to work hard to get in touch.
  • Just because an item is inexpensive doesn’t mean that it has to look or feel cheap. Working with a reputable promotional products company (blatant self-promotion!) means that you will be guided each step of the way and will avoid making costly mistakes that can come from making a purchase through an unknown website with little or no guidance on the part of a promotional products expert. (An expert like me—told you this was blatant self-promotion!).

When is your next show? Can we help you make the RIGHT decision?