Using promotional items at a trade show is always smart. But, it’s easy to run out of ideas as to how to present them. Should you hand something out to each person that walks by? Is it better to leave the items on your table for visitors to browse? Or should you reserve branded swag for your most qualified leads?

Below are a few ideas for effectively using promotional items at your trade show display. Let’s leave a lasting impression on new customers!

Choose Relevant Items

It’s easy to get into the habit of handing out promo products that are inexpensive such as keychains, lanyards, car decals, and pens. We see them so often, our brains are trained to know that they come from a particular brand. These items are also attractive for trade show events because they are cheap, easy to store, and can be passed out to many people.

However, we recommend sticking to products that are relevant to your audience. Not only will this distinguish your brand but also show customers that you understand them. For example, reusable water bottles are great for companies that have an eco-friendly focus. Stress balls are perfect for businesses that provide consulting services.

Consider Your Location

Another approach you can take with branded merchandise is based on your exhibit location. If you’re at the front of the event, consider a useful item that can be used at the start of the show. For example, tote bags work well because attendees can hold goodies in them. If you’re in the middle or back of the event, guests will have different needs. They may be thirsty and will appreciate a water bottle.

Include a Call to Action

Branded swag will get you some impressions, but your hope is that customers will take the next step to engage with your brand. Include a CTA with your items to guide customers to the thing you want them to do, whether it’s calling your business for a free estimate or following your brand on social media.

Engage with Everyone Who Takes an Item

It’s best to showcase your free items at the front of your exhibit where people can see them. You might get a few people who walk by, take an item and leave, but it’s not the worst thing in the world. They now have an item with your name on it.

That said, make it a goal to engage with everyone who takes something. You can use these couple of minutes to ask questions or share your company brochure. For added engagement, ask the person if they’d like to share their business card to be entered into a raffle.

Promotional products are a great addition to your trade show. Rather than automatically handing them out to everyone who walks by, use them to your advantage. These small, useful items can be effective at getting your foot in the door with the right customers!