042016_blogpostIt’s happened to businesses and marketers everywhere: you ordered stunning promotional products to make new friends and thank customers at your trade show or convention and find yourself leaving with boxes of leftover promos. You may find your hands (and closets) full of products that were meant to find customers and prospects, but now you’re stuck with them.

What’s a marketer to do?

1. Repurpose
One of the most popular ways to deal with your trade show giveaways is to find another way to use them to reach out to customers. A handwritten card mailed out with a company t-shirt or water bottle after a shipping snafu can make a huge difference in how customers perceive your brand.

Leftover promotional products are also a perfect way to encourage social media interaction (which can lead to sales and conversions!). Consider sending out leftover pens or other small items to new followers, anyone who tags your company in a post, or someone who leaves a positive review of your brand. You can also host social media contests – the grand prize might be a gift card, but you can thank other participants with other branded items.

Whether it’s prospecting, customer service, or team building, promotional products have proven to have worth outside of the trade shows they’re ordered for.

2. Donate
Tons of businesses get donation requests. Partnering with a nonprofit or other organization might be the perfect way to free up some space in your trade show storage area and give your branded items one last chance to get your brand some exposure. Here are some ideas:

  • Classrooms: Writing utensils, notebooks, or leftover office supplies with an outdated logo will definitely go a long way in a classroom. If you don’t have a local school in mind, you can find a school online with this search tool.
  • Nonprofits: Places like animal rescues and shelters regularly hold yard sales to raise money, or make gift baskets with high-end items and host silent auctions at annual galas to raise funds and support programs. Consider donating any useful, unique, or higher-end items to help these fundraising efforts.
  • Events: Some places– like charities that hold 5ks to support the research of a specific disease or disability, or organizations like community gardens – hold community events to get people involved in their efforts. Consider “sponsoring” a 5k or other community event– offer your valuable swag (like headphones, tote bags, car chargers, or water bottles) as raffle prizes or participation incentives.

3. Recycle
Recycling might be a last resort option because, as you can see, there are plenty of ways to reuse your trade show giveaways and keep the brand impressions going. But sometimes you’ve got a lot of leftover promos that were made for a very specific event and no way to donate them. The good news is that most promo products are pretty easy to recycle. Some, like plastic cups, can be easily recycled. Same goes for things like plastic water bottles, leftover notepads, flyers, and keychains – these can all head over to your recycling center. With a little bit of time and research, you can find a way to recycle just about any product or material and never worry about them ending up in a landfill.

Leftover promotional products don’t have to go to waste! There are plenty of ways to make sure you get some more brand exposure, do some good, or ensure your items get responsibly recycled. Next time you’re facing the possibility of having a lot of trade show goodies on your hands after the show is over, get creative with ways to find your branded products new homes.