Trade show giveaways

6 steps to mastering the art of the trade show freebie

Exposure Group, Benjamin Feltham

Drawing people into your trade show booth with a giveaway is a tried-and-tested technique that can be very useful for promoting your brand – but only if you do it right. Everyone likes free things, but if you don't know how to use giveaways well, your plastic pen may just end up in the rubbish or buried under a pile of your competitor's monogrammed sports bags and phone cases.

With this in mind, here are six steps to help you utilise freebies effectively.

An item that people can actually use will be much more effective.

1. Make it useful

If you want to ensure attendees will appreciate your gift, try giving away something they will actually use. A tablet stylus, USB drive, or travel-sized bottle of hand sanitiser is going to be infinitely more welcomed by attendees than another keyring they don't need. By providing a useful gift, recipients will be more likely to remember your name as they use the item again and again, so be sure to invest in functional items that have a long lifespan.

2. Don't overspend

Giving out freebies is not going to be useful if you must break the bank to do so. Attendees may enjoy a custom briefcase or waterproof sports watch, but the point of giveaways is to see a return on investment. If the revenue you generate from new customers does not outweigh the cost of luxury gifts, you are spending too much. Instead, look for cost-effective freebies that will help spread awareness about your brand while still sticking to the budget.

Don't waste your investment, give attendees things they actually want.Don't waste your investment, give attendees things they actually want.

3. Use your branding effectively

Free items can be an effective marketing activation, but only if you know how to incorporate your brand well. Don't assume attendees will remember where they got specific gifts from; chances are they will visit so many booths during the trade show they won't even recall all the companies they encountered. This is why it is so important to have an exhibit that stands out and take additional measures to attract interest. 

A good freebie serves as a reminder of your organisation and the product or service it provides. This makes it more likely that people will recognise you long after the complimentary sweets have been eaten. With this in mind, be sure to incorporate your name and logo into anything you give away and consider providing items that reflect what you are as a business, such as a cap for a sports equipment vendor or a cleaning kit for a sunglasses company.

4. Target the right audience

An important part of determining the kind of item to giveaway is to know your target audience. A gift that will suit a tech-savvy teenager is going to be very different from one that will appeal to a mature business person. By thinking about what kind of item is going to interest the particular buyers of your product or service, the giveaway is going to be much more effective. 

An unusual gift will be much more memorable than a commonplace one.

5. Think outside the box

Promotional product supplier Quality Logo Products advises that it's a good idea to give a unique item to attendees. A more unusual gift is not only going to help you stand out from the commonplace gifts of competitors but will be more memorable and encourage attendees to recall your brand as a result. Some interesting examples include over-sized products and items that change colour. 

6. Bring your best game

Lastly, don't forget to make the most of your giveaway by taking advantage of the interest generated. Marketing insights company Lean Branding says that while free gifts are bound to draw crowds, the key to maximising on their potential is to have a great pitch to keep the attention of those who come over for the free stuff. 

Now that you know how to run a great giveaway, you have the perfect strategy for attracting attention to your custom exhibition stand and boosting your return on investment.