Many small to medium size businesses are put-off exhibiting at large trade shows by the high costs involved. Nowadays, however, many smaller, local, networking events can create opportunities for table top displays, supported by branded table cloths, literature, promotional gifts and roller banners, so exhibiting opportunities are now available at much lower costs. This creates a great opportunity for business people to interact, exchange information and build relationships.

Promotional Items for Exhibitions

One of the most successful ways of getting visitors on to your exhibition stand, and creating an initial dialogue, is by using attractive promotional business gifts. Making that all important first impression is a great way of establishing an emotional connection and emotions are the key to planting memories in your client’s brain. Here are ten popular, promotional products that any business can consider, to leave a lasting reminder with every visitor. The branded product becomes a link between the meeting at an event or show and any subsequent need to buy.

The Promotional Pen

At a trade show, people will be making notes. “Have you got a pen?” How many times do you hear that question? What a great opportunity to start a business conversation. Hand over your pen and you can help someone out immediately, invite them to keep your pen and you can mention the branding and what you do. Print a low-cost ball pen with your contact details as a practical, long lasting and unique business card.

The Note Pad

If people are making notes, then a pad with your branding gets your name in their hands. Depending on your budget and your target audience, you could offer a simple, small, 50 sheet notepads. You can go a little more up-market with a Post-It type sticky page pad, or you can choose from a wide range covered notebooks available in a broad range of corporate colours. For key accounts you can also consider leading brands like Moleskin associating your company with a prestige product.

The Memory Stick

If you have a lot of information to pass to clients, then don’t burden them with huge catalogues to carry around, pop all your sales data onto a USB memory stick. From around £2 each these can be both cheaper, more interactive and have a greater life than a glossy brochure, as well as being more environmentally friendly. Many branding specialists, like Shout members, also offer free data loading as part of the printing service.

The Exhibition Bag

Want a billboard with your branding on it, carried around an event where you are side by side with competitors? Get some large bags prominently printed, offer them to heavily laden event visitors to start a conversation in the isles around your display. They will be both grateful and then willingly carry away image for all to see. Top tip – make sure it’s a large bag then any smaller bags at the show will get put inside yours!

The Ad Loop Keyring

Want a colourful, low cost gift so that you can give something to everyone? Want to put your message in your customers’ pockets? If you handle customers’ keys for servicing, maintenance or repairs, then hand them a fun and funky Ad Loop keyring on the bunch. This puts your contact details in prime position for future work and long lasting, repeat brand exposure. Clients will not forget you and they have your details in their hand for recommending or re-contacting you. Your key to more interaction with existing customers is branded Ad Loop key rings, manufactured here in the UK. You can try creating your own Ad Loop key ring design on line at

Branded Water Bottles

Want to refresh your clients at a busy show? You can get branded disposable bottles of spring water but if you want to be super cool, the eco-friendly thing to do is to fill and chill your own sports water bottles for customers to take away and use again and again. You can even put a water fountain on your stand so that they can come back for a refill. Many of the best value sports bottles are manufactured right here in the UK.

Brite-Mat Coasters

Carry a pocket full of UK made Brite-Mat coasters to hand out like business cards. These attractive gifts can be your billboards on your customers’ desks, putting your details under their nose when they go searching for services on their computer. Made in Lancashire from 100% recycled materials makes these a super eco-friendly item with no transport of the recycled matter and minimum green delivery miles for UK based customers. For important customers, you can also order the matching Brite-Mat mouse mat for even more desktop impact. Get your message right next to the computer, where buying decisions are made every day. Find out more about this range at

Stress Toys

Stress balls are a popular exhibition gift, teamed with slogans that show how your goods and services can take the strain away in day to day life. They are a fun item, particulary when offered in novelty shapes, to tie in with a marketing theme. Stress brains or owls for solicitors, accountants and IT wizards. Stress vans or trucks for logistics and transport services. Stress hard hats for construction industries. You could even commission your own custom stress shape for a unique gift idea.

Travel Mugs and Cups

Like the water bottle idea, travel mugs and refillable cups are a great, eco-friendly alternative to the disposable coffee cup. With major chains giving discounts when you bring your own cup to refill, now is a great time to give this type of gift and show your eco-credentials to prospective clients. There are many styles and a wide range of colours to choose from, to make your brand stand out in a client’s hand, every day.

The Promotional Pencil

The simple pencil is a versatile and super low cost promotional tool. Perfect for promoting to creative people, engineers and the education sector. They usually have a larger branding area than a printed pen and are lightweight and easy to distribute. Used imaginatively this is the write product to draw people’s attention and make a point! This is another product that you could easily print up with your contact details and give out as a novel business card when exhibiting or meeting clients. For very little outlay per pencil you can give a practical gift that will last for years. There is a simple but attractive range available

Whatever product you choose to make your business stand out at an exhibition, business gifts can be a great catalyst to future interaction. They create goodwill in the moment of giving, they hang around until a need for your service arises and you can highly target who you give them to, so there is little or no wastage of your precious marketing budget. Talk to an experienced business gift distributor. The professionals, like ourselves, are usually members of the British Promotional Merchandise Association.