Best Promotional Items for Trade Shows From The Experts

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Trade shows are a golden opportunity for your business to showcase products, reach new clients, and make connections. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of a trade show, encouraging people to visit your booth and helping them remember you is an important task. You’re in luck: by printing high-quality promo items, you can achieve this and make the trade show a success. 

In this article, we’ll explore the best promotional items for trade shows and share expert tips on how to select the perfect trade show giveaways for your next expo. 

The Impact of Promotional Items at Trade Shows

Bringing the right promotional items to trade shows makes a big impact, so these items are powerful tools. Your promo items demonstrate who your company is and what you value. Your promotional products are: 

  • Physical reminders of your brand. When people use them after the show, they’ll think of your business. 
  • Encouragement to visit your booth. Seeing that you offer promotional giveaways with unique swag can convince someone to stop by and learn more. 
  • Lead generators. The right item can work wonders and encourage sustained business relationships. 

To sum it up, what might seem like a simple object can be so much more. When you bring the right promotional items to trade shows, you build relationships that last. Therefore, it’s important to take a step back and determine which items are the best choice for your booth, as well as for specific shows. We’ll tackle this idea in the following section. 

Tips for Selecting Trade Show Promotional Items

As you’re considering what to bring to your next trade show, here’s what to keep in mind. 

1. Consider Your Ideal Customer and Their Needs

Understanding your potential customer is vital when deciding which trade show items to bring. If you’re trying to reach people in tech, consider handing out branded USB sticks or power banks. If you’re targeting eco-friendly consumers, distributing reusable bags makes a great impression. 

You can also think through the promo items you’ve received over the years and the best trade show giveaways you’ve seen. What have you found useful? What hasn’t been so helpful? Use these thoughts as you’re picking which items to pursue further. 

2. Consider Your Branding in Your Promo Design

Successful promotional items reflect your brand identity. Therefore, when you’re creating a design, make sure that you include your company’s logo, and use colors and fonts that are consistent with your branding. If your company has a branding and style guide, always adhere to it when designing and printing your trade show promotional products.

When you include your branding in all your items, you increase brand recognition, prove your professionalism, and demonstrate your attention to detail. High-quality branded items reinforce a positive image for everyone who stops by your booth, and they provide opportunities for recipients to remember your business after the show is over. 

3. Consider Where Your Budget is Best Spent 

Trade shows can include lots of expenses, so use your budget wisely. Think about which items provide the most bang for your buck. You might realize that bringing fewer, high-quality items is a smarter choice than bringing huge quantities of items that will break within a few weeks. 

Think about how useful your promotional items for trade shows are and how long they’ll last; if recipients use your products regularly, they’ll be seeing your branding for a longer period of time. 

Types of Trade Show Promotional Items

Let’s dig into the exciting part: which items to print. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, the following list provides some popular items for promotional trade show giveaways


If you’re looking for a practical option, stationery is always a good choice. Some giveaway ideas you might want to bring to your next trade show can include: 

  • Notepads. Lined notepads are handy all day, from writing shopping lists to jotting down meeting notes. Include your logo at the top of your notepad or as a watermark to make sure recipients remember you. 
  • Greeting cards. Greeting cards encourage people to reach out and build connections, which benefits both you and trade show attendees who take your cards home with them. 
  • Note cards. Note cards are versatile, and they’re always good to have on hand. 

You can complement these with non-stationery items such as sticky notes, branded pens, and calendars. These items work in tandem, and they’re suitable for both in-office and home use. 

Distributing stationery provides both a useful product and a great opportunity to get your name out there. Trade show attendees will use them regularly, maybe even daily, which ensures that your branding is present in their lives for a long time, which makes them great trade show giveaway items.

Branded Apparel

Apparel such as t-shirts, hats, and tote bags make excellent promo items for your next event. In a way, they turn recipients into walking advertisements for your organization. It doesn’t get much better than that! 

When deciding which types of branded apparel to print, consider your client base and pick clothes that would appeal to them. If they love to spend the weekend on the golf course, consider distributing branded polo shirts. If they’d rather spend the weekend on the beach or at the gym, t-shirts are an excellent choice. 

If you want to hand out apparel that everyone will use, you can never go wrong with a nice pair of socks. Pro tip: put your logo on the foot of the sock so that recipients will see your branding every time they wear them, while others will simply see a nice sock. This will encourage potential customers to wear them. 

When you’re choosing which products to print, consider style and quality. Distributing items that are stylish and hold up over a long time will encourage repeated use. 

Eco-Friendly Products

Climate-friendly products have become increasingly popular over recent years. You can demonstrate your commitment to sustainability at your next trade show by distributing items such as reusable shopping bags, branded travel coffee mugs, and cotton lanyards. 

When you hand out environmentally friendly items, you show attendees that you have our planet in mind. Climate-conscious attendees will appreciate these items, and they will enhance your brand’s reputation. 

Fun Items 

It’s fun to have fun! Trade shows can consist of long days, and providing a moment for attendees to relax and enjoy themselves will help them remember you fondly. 

Fun can take quite a few forms. Consider offering branded stress balls, fidget spinners, or games that give people the chance to relax. Hand out branded chocolates or candies as a sweet treat to everyone passing by your convention booth. 

You can even think outside the box and hand out bottle or wine openers, which recipients can use at the end of the day. 

Depending on the climate where the trade show is being held, branded ice scrapers, chapstick, or even handheld, battery-powered fans are great options that show recipients you care about them. By handing out fun items that cater to attendees’ interests, your booth will become the highlight of the expo.

Giveaways to Stand Out at Trade Shows

It takes planning and strategic thinking to stand out at a trade show. Here are some suggestions of what to offer in order to make your next giveaway a success. 

  • Experiential giveaways. Experiences are often more memorable than products. Add an experiential element to your giveaways, such as offering free trials, invitations to future events, or product discount codes, as this will inspire attendees to take action. 
  • Gamification. Have a prize wheel at your booth, and let visitors spin the wheel for a range of prizes. This will increase excitement about visiting your booth and encourage engagement. 
  • Unique gadgets. The more unique your giveaway is, the better people will remember you. If it’s in your budget, consider giving away cool gadgets such as Bluetooth speakers and wireless chargers that will impress people walking by. (These items could even be a prize when visitors spin the wheel that we mentioned above!)
  • Interactive giveaways. By adding participation to your giveaways, you increase visitor engagement and add an element of fun. Consider distributing scratch-off cards or displaying QR codes that lead to additional content or special offers. 

Come Prepared for Your Next Trade Show

In order to succeed at your next trade show, you need both careful planning and the right items. Balancing your budget, your audience’s preferences, and your branding can take some thought, but it pays off in increased engagement, new leads, and lasting business relationships. 

When you’re ready to print the best promotional items for trade shows, get in touch with The Print Authority. We print all the products that make trade shows a success, including exciting promotional items, informative marketing materials, and engaging signage. We specialize in helping businesses look great in print, and our team is happy to answer any of your questions about the printing process, from inspiration and design to technical printing information and delivery. 

To learn more about how The Print Authority can make your next trade show a success, contact us today!