Trade Show Giveaways and Unique Gifts

trade show giveaways

Attendees end up with bags full of trade show swag, but one person can only use so many magnets and pens. Handing out unique branded gifts and giveaway items makes you stand out among the throngs of overused trinkets. Not sure what to use or how to distribute the items? Check out these ideas for trade show giveaways.

Why You Should Hand Out Trade Show Gifts

Who can pass up on a freebie? At trade shows, it’s not uncommon for businesses to hand out assorted items displaying the company logo, but what’s the point? Sure, you have to invest a little money to get the gifts, but that investment pays off in the form of new leads.

Giveaways and Freebies Drive Traffic to Your Booth

Trade show giveaways and freebies can be powerful tools in attracting visitors to your trade show exhibit and getting your company name out there. Handing out something unique or useful generates buzz at the trade show. This buzz encourages more people to stop by and check out your cozy 10×10 booth or extravagant 20×20 booth, which in turn, gets your name in front of more attendees and gives you the chance to chat with potential customers.

To get even more from your show presence, consider using a media display that integrates TVs or tablets. The addition of multimedia elements can help turn your booth into an interactive show attraction. With these technology additions, you can incorporate trade show games where the prizes are your freebies – making the recipients more invested and attached to your branded gear since they worked to earn it.

Trade Show Giveaways Work Long After the Show Ends

The freebies also have longer lasting effects. When people attend trade shows, they stop at many booths, so they won’t necessarily remember every individual company. By handing out personalized items, you give guests a way to remember you. Your printed logo serves as a reminder of your company each time the recipient uses it, which may remind them to contact you down the road if they need your goods or services.

branded giveaways

Anyone who receives one of your trade show gifts may also do a little advertising for you. If their coworkers or acquaintances see them using your item, they also see your logo, which could generate more leads. That’s why it’s so important to give away something that’s unique and functional. The more it gets used, the more chances you have to spread the word about your company.

Importance of Branding Giveaways

If the goal of trade show gifts is to promote your company, it only makes sense that branding should be a big part of the design. Think of the items as a modern business card. Instead of handing out cards that inevitably get shoved in the back of a drawer, you’re giving people an item they might actually use with your business information printed on it.

When creating customized items, use your company’s logo to create consistent branding. People associate your logo, branding colors, fonts and images with your business, so using those elements on your freebie customization reinforces that connection. Each time recipients reach for the items you pass out, they get that visual that makes them think of your company.

Deciding What to Hand Out

Several factors go into choosing your giveaway items. Instead of just randomly picking something or going with the overused standards, put some thought into the decision by considering these factors.

trade show giveaways

Some things to consider include:

  • Budget: You don’t want to skimp with cheap, flimsy junk that people will throw away immediately, but the budget is a factor for many businesses. Determine how much money you have available for your trade show freebies. Estimate how many people might visit your booth. Divide the budget by the number of items you want to have on hand to determine the per-item price that works for you.
  • Functionality: No matter how much you spend, an item that is useful is more appealing to booth visitors than a trinket that doesn’t do much. Think about the needs of the attendees. They may be tired, thirsty or hungry at the event, so offering items that solve those issues is always a hit. You might also think long-term functionality, such as something the recipient can use at the office.
  • Relevance: Another factor to consider is the relevancy to your business. The items don’t have to be directly related to your line of work, but having some kind of connection makes the giveaways easier to brand. For example, if you’re an app developer or otherwise work in the mobile technology field, handing out cleaning cloths for phone screens is a relevant idea. If you’re representing a health-related company, a pedometer promotes your general field.
  • Size: Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to trade show swag. Not only do you increase your workload hauling in large freebies, but you also saddle attendees with large items that aren’t easy to carry around the venue. If you fly to the trade show, you may have to ship your display pieces and promotional items. Choosing a smaller item saves on those shipping costs. Do everyone a favor by sticking to something that is physically small.
  • Target audience preferences: You already know your target audience. Think about what they might find appealing or useful when choosing promotional items to distribute. If you’re not sure, an easy way is to do a little market research or do a survey to find out what is appealing.
  • Longevity: Investing in items that last gives you the most return on your investment. A tin of mints with your logo on it is useful and creative, but the mints won’t last forever. At that point, the tin goes in the trash, and its use as a marketing tool is over. Items that get reused long term are more useful and potentially earn you more exposure.
  • Customization potential: When choosing an item, you want it to be something you can personalize with your logo. Something that is too small or awkwardly shaped may make it difficult to add a legible imprint of your contact information and branding.
  • Goal: Promotional items offer several benefits, but it’s important to think about what specific outcome you want from your giveaway. If you want immediate attention at the show, choose something truly unique that stands out to get visitors talking. If you’re looking for a long-term promotion, opt for something that gets used regularly and lasts. If you want to draw potential customers into your custom display booth and keep them there, use a game-style approach to passing out the items. This extra time gives you a chance to work in a little info about your product while building rapport with potential customers.

While your needs and budget may vary, it’s important to consider the quality of the items you give out. Buying cheap items of poor quality just so you can hand them out to everyone may backfire. If your budget is limited, consider ordering a limited number of something higher quality, such as a portable speaker. Hold a contest, raffle or another type of giveaway to determine who receives those items.

Creative Handout Ideas

Coming up with creative handout ideas forces you to think beyond magnets and pens. You don’t always have to get too crazy with something that is unique to make an impression. Many times old standbys still work well, especially if they are functional. Keeping functionality and your business in mind, consider some of these creative trade show giveaway ideas:

unique gifts

When deciding what to hand out, think about what you would like to see if you were attending a trade show. What items would make you go out of your way to get to a booth? What items have you collected at previous trade shows that you used a lot? The things that you find appealing may also resonate well with your target audience.

Creative Ways to Hand Out Items

You have your branded items ready to hand out, but how do you distribute them? You can go about the process in many ways, but it’s important to get something back from the people who take those items. Just because they’re giveaways doesn’t mean you can’t get some information in return.

The easiest way to do this is to collect contact information from visitors in some way. One option is to take business cards in exchange for the promotional items. Another option is to have visitors fill out cards with contact information. This exchange gives you a pool of potential customers, so you can follow up after the show.

Here are some distribution ideas for your items:

  • Scavenger hunt: Set up a version of a treasure hunt before guests arrive by hiding pre-printed cards around the venue. The cards let finders know that they won a prize and should collect it at your booth. This method helps you attract more people to your booth and gives you a chance to chat a little more to the lucky finders.
  • Predetermined recipients: If you know certain prospects will be at the event, consider drumming up interest in your booth by sending a card ahead of time that is redeemable for a prize. This method increases the chances of those people actually stopping at your booth, which gives you a chance to talk to them in person and potentially push them closer to buying.
  • Care package: Incorporate several smaller items into a care package or trade show swag bag to make the giveaway seem special. The items don’t need to be expensive, but the idea of receiving multiple items in a bag adds value in the eyes of the recipient. One option is a trade show survival kit that includes pain reliever, bandages, a flash drive, a customized water bottle and a few snacks. Slip in a card or informational pamphlet about your company to round out the bag.
  • Contest or game: Have a little fun with the items by playing a game or holding a contest in your booth. Spinning wheels, plinko and trivia contests are easy options that people enjoy. If you have multiple items available, have each section of the wheel or plinko board marked with a different item. Each player gets whatever item the wheel or the chip lands on. If you opt for a trivia-style game, make the questions relate to your industry in general or to your brand specifically. This method gives you a chance to share knowledge about your products or services while gauging background knowledge and interest of the people who stop at your booth.
  • Drawing: If you have a few larger items, hold a drawing during the show. Have one grand prize or several smaller prizes. You might hold one drawing each hour to keep the excitement going all day with the largest prize as the final drawing of the night. The entries give you the contact information for all of the visitors, and you maintain the excitement surrounding your brand as people wait to see if they win.

If you have different types of items to hand out, you need to decide how to distribute those items. If all items have a similar perceived value, you may leave it up to visitors to decide what they want. When you have some items that have a much higher value, you may want to decide who gets those more expensive items. This method ensures the people who are the best prospects end up with the best items, giving you a greater return on your investment.

You can do this by sizing up each visitor. You can often tell who is serious about using your services or buying your products and who is just there for the free stuff. If you get the sense that someone is a hot prospect, hand over the good stuff. For people who could potentially become customers, give out the middle-of-the-road items. When you get the sense that someone is only checking out your booth to get the swag, pass out the lowest value item.

However, keep in mind that it’s not always easy to tell by first impressions whether or not someone could potentially become a customer. Even if you’re sure a person is just there for the free swag, engage with that person and give them information about your company. You could miss a major customer by making incorrect assumptions and missing the opportunity to build trust with that person.

Follow Up With a Pitch

Your unique swag may attract people to your booth, but it won’t close any deals on its own. You have to be prepared to engage booth visitors once they approach, so you can feel them out and give them an appropriate pitch. By connecting with those people and providing them with appropriate information, you plant the seeds for future purchases even if they are not ready to commit at the trade show.

engage visitors

Anyone who is working at the booth should have an understanding of what to do beyond simply handing out the freebies. Prepare everyone with conversation starters and questions that help them figure out what each visitor needs and how your products or services can meet those needs. Discuss how to use the giveaway items to drum up potential leads for the company.

Add Promotional Items to Your Order

How will you stand out at your next trade show? Our selection of trade show giveaway items lets you customize hand out items without blowing your entire budget. Simply adding giveaway items onto your display order helps you extend your reach while getting more value out of your event exhibit investment.

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