A Few Thoughts On Trade Show Giveaways
How to turn an expense into an investment
Giveaways, premiums or freebies, are a huge part of the trade show scene. In fact, some attendees seem to only attend shows for this reason. So how can we utilize giveaways as a beneficial tool that will increase the effectiveness of our exhibit?
We’re going to go over a few giveaway ideas and how you can use them to your advantage. If they’re not helping you achieve your trade show goals, then they’re simply a wasted expense. Let’s turn them into a powerful ROI, shall we?
Freebies aren’t really free, or at least they shouldn’t be. You’d be surprised at how much people will do to win a simple prize. I’ve performed magic shows on cruise ships for 16 plus years and have seen people, week after week, do extraordinarily embarrassing things just to win a 5 cent key chain. People just want FREE stuff. It's human nature.
What to Give?
What you give isn’t quite as important as how you give it, but let's look at some examples. The main idea for trade show premiums is to give something that they’ll actually want to have, and that they’ll actually use.
Whatever you choose to hand out, make sure to put your logo and contact information on it. Also, it’s helpful to choose an item that other people will see as well. A perfect example of this is a t-shirt. Pens, on the other hand, usually get shoved in one’s pocket where it’s hidden from the world.
You’ll want to try and tie your item into what your company is about. Unless you’re a popular name-brand company, simply putting your logo on the front of a shirt isn’t enough. Be sure to also include your company tagline on the shirt. That way, when people see it, they’ll know exactly how your company might benefit them.
If you do happen to give away t-shirts, you might want to turn it into a game where they can win a prize. Tell them that one of your staff will be wandering the trade show floor throughout the day and that they’ll randomly give prizes away to people wearing the company shirt.
If you want to take this a step further, you might consider printing your booth number on the back of the shirt to attract more traffic to the booth.
Involve All 5 Senses...If You Can
While most of what goes on a trade show are audial and visual, there are ways to involve the other senses. For touch, you could have a unique feeling product or perhaps a massage station.
For scent, you might consider having a popcorn stand or nut roasting station. What else can you think of that would create a pleasant aroma that would attract people in your direction?
Our sense of smell is the best at triggering a memory. How nice it would be if every time someone smelled roses they thought of your widget? I'm not suggesting roses, but you get the point.
Taste is easy. Food
When considering your giveaways, you might want to focus on things that people actually need. People want t-shirts, but they need things like coffee, water, and food.
If you'd like to include a sixth sense, you could always hire me to work at your booth since I'm a magician & mentalist. Yes, I know; Cheesy self-promotion, but it's true. 🙂
Giveaways Are NOT Free
Stay in the mindset that your giveaways are not just freebies. They are a tool that you are using to generate more traffic and convert them into leads. You are not a charity store for the attendees.
An easy way to use giveaways as a productive tool is to not give them out until people listen to your product demonstration. They could also receive a gift for watching a short video, signing up for a newsletter or for simply scanning their badges.
When NOT to Use Giveaways
Unless you have an unlimited budget, you do not want to use giveaways at horizontal trade show. Horizontal trade shows are filled with attendees who will have no interest, or means, of becoming a client.
Giving away expensive t-shirts, for example, at a horizontal trade show, is no different from standing on a street corner and handing them out. If you do wish do use giveaways at a horizontal show, make sure to qualify the lead before handing them out.
Save your giveaways for vertical trade shows where your chances of interacting with a potential client are much greater. This is where you’re competing with the other exhibitors for attention and you need to stand out the most.
Whatever you and your marketing team decide to use as giveaways, put some thought into it. Make sure it makes sense and works to your advantage.
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About the Author
Chad Chesmark is “The Trade Show Guy.” He specializes in making exhibitors shine on the trade show floor with live, interactive and entertaining marketing presentations.
Chad is based in Houston, Texas but performs internationally. He can be reached at: Chad@TheTradeShowGuy.com