Phillip Moorman

Summer is almost here, and for many industries, that means the start of trade show season.

You might think that as an e-commerce entrepreneur, you don’t have much reason to attend one of these more “traditional” marketing events. But in reality, showcasing your business at a trade show could be one of the best ways of spreading the word about your brand.

Even small companies have been able to benefit from trade show participation, either by establishing themselves as industry thought leaders, discovering new suppliers or landing media coverage.

Most important, however, is the potential for generating leads. When you attend the right trade shows, you gain access to some of the most highly engaged customers in your niche.

Even if you don’t make an immediate sale, you still have the chance to make a lasting impression. For many brands, ensuring that leads remember them in the weeks and months ahead comes down to giving out promotional items as part of their trade show presentation.

But which promotional items will actually make the best impression and help you build lasting customer relationships? Here are a few creative ideas that are sure to help you leave your mark.

1) Smartphone Wallets

Few promotional items will make quite the impression of a smartphone wallet.

These handy items offer immediate value, making it easy to store credit cards, IDs and more behind a user’s smartphone. This is a great way for frequent travelers to save space, ensuring that they don’t have to carry both a wallet and their phone.

Smartphone wallets are also very inexpensive, often costing as little as two cents per piece. With your own custom logo or imaging added to this lightweight and beneficial item, you’ll stick in attendees’ minds long after the trade show has ended.

2) USB Chargers

Though not as cheap to produce as a smartphone wallet, USB chargers share similar advantages in that they provide immediate value to trade show attendees.

After all, those who are constantly communicating with their home or office while at these events will quickly drain the batteries on their devices. Providing users with a portable USB charger ensures they won’t be stuck sitting around a power outlet.

Because USB chargers are such a popular item, giving away branded chargers is a great way to increase foot traffic to your own booth. Chances are, many of those people who come for a free USB charger will stick around to learn more about your products.

3) Breath Mints

Unusual? Yes. Helpful? Absolutely. Breath mints may not seem like a traditional trade show giveaway, but they are easy to share and help solve immediate needs for conference attendees.

After all, nobody wants to have bad breath when trying to network with a new supplier or potential customer. Breath mints solve this often overlooked trade show need, while also offering a small reminder of your brand each time someone pops a mint into their mouth.

4) Sunscreen

If you’re attending a summer trade show, it’s probably hot and sunny outside.

Small branded packets of sunscreen can be a great way to prove that you take the well-being of your potential customers to heart. This is especially true of outdoor events, where hours of sun exposure can ultimately result in health issues much worse than a sunburn.

5) Custom Buttons

Buttons are a staple of trade shows and other events, perhaps because there are few promotional giveaways that do as good a job of showcasing your brand’s personality. A funny or inspirational message or a unique design is sure to appeal to many of those who stop by your booth.

As they place your buttons on tote bags, backpacks or even their clothing, you’ll generate word of mouth marketing both during and after the event.

6) Lanyards

Most trade shows require that attendees wear a name badge or some other form of identification — but they don’t always provide a convenient solution for carrying and displaying these cards.

This makes custom lanyards and name badge holders an invaluable addition for many events, and one that will help spread recognition of your brand throughout the event floor.

For this type of giveaway, however, it’s generally best to find out what the trade show is providing first. You won’t give out many lanyards if the convention already supplies these to attendees.

7) Sunglasses

With summer sun, trade show attendees have more to worry about than protecting their skin — they also need to keep their eyes safe from ultraviolet rays.

Though convention-goers are unlikely to wear branded sunglasses while navigating indoor display areas, they’ll undoubtedly find these giveaways to be quite useful when they get back to their hotel pool.

8) Reusable Water Bottles

Even when walking around inside an air conditioned facility, trade show attendees are going to get thirsty. With reusable water bottles, you’ll help them meet an immediate need while also showcasing your brand’s desire to be eco-friendly.

While reusable water bottles will certainly be beneficial for attendees, they can be even better for your brand. These giveaways are often used for several months (or even years) after the trade show is over, creating long-term brand awareness.

9) Digital Downloads

Trade show attendees often feel overburdened with how much free swag they’re given during an event. Rather than add to their load, why not offer a digital gift?

This could include anything from a link to a free eBook or an exclusive discount code for when they shop at your store. When you offer scannable giveaways that get saved onto a user’s phone, you could generate new sales before the event even ends.

10) Tote Bags

Tote bags may be a trade show staple, but there’s no denying that they’ve achieved this status for a reason. After all, you won’t be the only presenter handing out free giveaways to those who stop by your booth. Trade show attendees don’t want to carry a stack of papers and promotional items in their hands.

By providing a tote bag, you offer a convenient solution for storing these giveaways, while also creating free walking advertisements. Best of all, tote bags can be manufactured at very low costs, helping you reduce your overhead expenses.

The Time to Make the Sale Is Now

With the right promotional items, you’ll be able to stick in potential customers’ memories long after the trade show has ended.

As you use these free giveaways to promote your business, you’ll enjoy lasting sales growth thanks to your great first impression.

Start producing your promotional items