Using Promotional Products for the Best ROI

Using Promotional Products for the Best ROI

If you have a trade show coming up soon, chances are you’ve been thinking about how to use promotional products effectively. Ensuring you choose the best products for the occasion can help increase your company’s ROI significantly. According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), 92% of trade show visitors attend the show to see what new products and services are available in their industries.  

Here’s the thing: These trade show visitors aren’t at the show because they’re hoping to collect all the different types of gift bags that they can.  

Event attendees are at the trade show because they are looking for products and services that are useful to them and their businesses. While they may not be there specifically to pick up one of your promotional bags, they might be interested in your company’s products or services. 

None of this means you shouldn’t bring your promotional bags, pens, and water bottles. These promotional products for small businesses at trade shows are magnets that attract would-be customers to your company's booth. 

 Relevant and Useful

So, how does this work?  

Follow this rule of thumb when you’re coming up with your unique swag ideas: Promotional products for small business trade shows must be relevant and useful to the person receiving them. 

Most promotional products for small businesses get thrown in the trash because the item only reflects the giver—that's you—and not the receiver as well. You want to give something that is useful to the customer, so they’ll stick around. 

You might be excited about different types of bells and whistles that your swag comes with. That doesn’t mean the recipient of this corporate gift will be. 

Trade show attendees are more likely to ask: “What’s in it for me?” when they’re trying to decide whether to keep the promo item or not. You might think a brochure that talks about your company is useful. However, unless it also talks about the benefits that the trade show attendee is going to get from working with your company, it’s going to end up being thrown in the trash.  

Remember, 92% of trade show attendees come to the show because they are looking for new and relevant products and services that will help them or their business.  

In light of this, you'll want to explore which promotional products for small business trade shows have a good return on investment. To help you figure out which items to hand out, we’ve got some examples.  

1. Umbrellas and Rain Slickers During the Rainy Season

Let’s say your trade show is held in the spring in Portland, Oregon. Chances of rain are high.  

Now, imagine that you’re a trade show attendee in a strange city. Let's say you need to walk to a restaurant down the street to eat lunch during the trade show’s midday break. If it’s raining cats and dogs and you don’t have an umbrella or a rain slicker, you might not be able to go out.  

Hmm….what promotional products could be relevant here? 

You might want to hand out something that saves the event attendees from showing up soaked. In this case, a branded umbrella would be extremely helpful to your potential customers.   

This corporate gift is both useful and relevant. 

Additionally, it’s likely that these attendees will continue to use this item after the trade show is over, because everyone appreciates an extra umbrella laying around.  

2. Custom Totes, Towels, and Water Bottles for a Fitness Trade Show

Here’s another scenario. Let’s say that you own a new gym in Boise, Idaho. As part of your marketing plan, you’ve decided that you’re going to have a booth at FitOne, a yearly fitness celebration for women that happens each September in the City of Trees.  

The expo attendees fit your target market, women (and men) who embrace fitness and a healthy lifestyle. That’s why you chose this event. That’s also why your competition chose the event. Therefore, when you’re kicking around your ideas for the types of gift bags and other unique swag items you’ll bring, think about being relevant and useful.  

Promotional products for small business expos of this sort should reflect this principle. Maybe you’ll give away water bottles with your company logo on them. You might also think about designing some custom-printed bags that event attendees can use as gym bags. Branded towels and apparel are another option for a fitness trade show or event.  

You can even take these ideas one step further by offering promo items up as raffle prizes to people who sign up for gym memberships. This is an excellent way to build your mailing list and to keep the costs of promotional products for this small business event reasonable. 

3. Beach Tote Bags for Destination Events 

Every year, there is a three-day concert/festival in Huntington Beach, California called the Coastal Country Jam. It brings together the biggest stars in country music in one place for three days of music. Needless to say, hotels and other area businesses want to cater to the people heading down to this music-on-the-beach celebration. These same hotels may also be trade show and expo venues where there would be plenty of promotional products for small business owners to offer as swag items.  

Let’s imagine that you’re organizing a booth that will be at a trade show near the event. What would you put in a swag bag knowing that this big three-day concert would be close by? Maybe you’d make a custom beach tote that included items like lip balm, beach towels, and sunglasses. A customized fan to help concert-goers keep cool while having fun in the sun could be another option. Naturally, this beach tote and all of the swag inside would be branded with your company logo.  

What’s great about this trade show beach bag is that it’s useful and relevant to the attendees of the trade show; it also capitalizes on a hot ticket event in the area. All promotional products for small business trade shows and expos should provide as much value to the recipient as this bag. 

4. A Trade Show for Food Bloggers

Promotional products for small business trade shows in the food industry are every foodie’s dream. They’re also some of the easiest items for you as a vendor to brand. What’s more, people can keep these promotional items and consume them. While there is always a chance that event attendees will throw their promotional bags away, it’s less likely in this case. 

So, what types of promotional products for small business owners would go in these bags? Try branded food items like snack bars, gourmet popcorn, soft drinks, and cookies. Put them in a custom tote along with kitchen-related gifts, like a grilling mitt, an insulated lunch box, a pizza cutter, or a bottle opener. 

Here’s a word of caution, though: if people have to fly to get to your trade show venue, be careful about giving corporate gifts that might be difficult to get through security. Make sure that event attendees can keep the gifts you give them.  

Final Thoughts

Learning how to use promotional products effectively can give your business’s bottom line a boost. Corporate event gift ideas should be both relevant and useful to the people receiving them.  

The best promotional products for small business trade shows encourage event attendees to keep these gifts long after the event has concluded.  

That’s why items like branded calendars, umbrellas, and custom tote bags have such good ROI. Most people attending a show will keep products like these for at least a year. This means that your name and your brand will be in front of their eyes for 12 months or more. If successful advertising requires seven exposures before a potential customer buys, then promo items like the ones above will give you the requisite number of exposures and then some to make the sale.  

Are you looking for ideas for promotional products for small business expos and trade shows? Reach out to us today to see how the right trade show bags and other promo products can help you achieve your marketing goals. 

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