83% of exhibitors agreed that “Building, expanding brand awareness” is a high-priority marketing-related objective for tradeshows. – CEIR Changing Environment Study
The primary goal of tradeshow exhibitors is to attract leads that can be engaged and nurtured until they become customers. A secondary goal for many companies is to make an impression on booth visitors who are not willing to give up their information just yet. Building brand awareness with these prospects is important so that they’ll recall your business and look into your products and services when they have a need or pain point. For this reason, it’s become the norm to give away promotional products to attendees.
Believe it or not, there is some strategy involved when it comes to selecting giveaway items. Low-priced promotional products are more budget-friendly, but they’re also the type of items people either have already or won’t use, which will make it tougher to increase brand awareness. On the other hand, higher-end promotional products are more likely to be kept and used, but they’ll also be more of an investment for your company. With these kinds of items, there’s a greater likelihood you’ll build brand awareness, although there’s no guarantee a person who receives the item will actually make a purchase.
This article will help you make more strategic giveaway selections. It includes an assortment of products, and we strongly suggest offering more than one at your next tradeshow because there are different types of attendees. We break down attendees into these categories:
- Hot Leads
- Warm Leads
- Freebie Snatchers
Giveaways for Customers – $5+ (Items 1-6)
Current customers already thought highly enough of your products and/or services to buy from you. A relationship has been established, and if it’s strong enough, they’ll continue to buy from you. You can afford to give them pricier giveaways if they stop by your booth.
- Power Banks – People don’t go anywhere without their cell phones these days, especially business people who use them for work. When on the road, a low battery will have them scrambling to find an outlet. That isn’t necessary with a power bank, which allows recharging from anywhere. This is an item that’s sure to be used, and its small size makes it easy to transport.
- Moleskine® Pocket Notebooks – A Moleskine® pocket notebook is a great alternative to a regular notebook because of its compact size (3.5” w X 5.5” h) and professional look. It’s easy to take it with you wherever you go, and it’s the ideal item for people who prefer pen and paper for taking notes.
- Stainless Steel Tumblers – Many people start off their morning with a cup of coffee, so a stainless steel tumbler as your giveaway is sure to be a hit. The vacuum-insulated types are especially popular because they keep drinks hot or cold for hours. Plus, they come in a variety of colors so you’ll have no problem with branding.
- Inverted Umbrellas – If you want to offer something a little different, inverted umbrellas are worth considering. The umbrella has an innovative design in that it is “inside-out” when compacted. It is easier to open and close while entering or exiting a vehicle, and it keeps you dry at all times because the rain-soaked side closes inward. It’s a product sure to catch people’s attention.
- Socks – It’s not common for people to come home from tradeshows with socks, which makes them all the more memorable as a giveaway item. They come in a variety of colors and patterns, giving you plenty of options to showcase your brand. What better way to show that your company thinks outside of the box?
- Flip Flops – Instead of giving away a promotional product that will be used for work, why not give away something used for fun? Flip flops are the preferred footwear for the beach or relaxing on the deck in the summertime. They come in many colors, and you can even find vendors that include carrying bags.
Giveaways for Hot Leads – $2 – $4.99 (Items 7-10)
The next tier of tradeshow giveaways applies to leads who are close to doing business with you. Give them a good item that they’re likely to use and be impressed with, but reserve the premium items for when they’ve committed and signed on the dotted line.
- PopSockets – The back of a cell phone is a prime location for a promotion. Get your business there with a PopSocket. A PopSocket sticks flat to the back of the phone or tablet and extends out to become a media stand. It also can be used to help grip the device and prevent drops.
- T-Shirts – The tried-and-true T-shirt is an item people will always want, and your options are nearly endless. Use shirt giveaways to promote a specific product or service or your business in general. You could also offer tradeshow-specific T-shirts at every show you attend.
- Fidget Spinners – They’re used to relieve stress and anxiety, maintain focus, quit bad habits, or just have fun. What business person would turn down those benefits?
- EOS Lip Balms – Lip balm is a commonly used item, so it’s something that will certainly get your brand in front of people. EOS lip balm is all natural and comes in different flavors to meet any need. Plus, the sphere-shaped container provides a unique look and ample space for branding.
Giveaways for Warm Leads – $1 – $1.99 (Items 11-15)
Next are giveaways for the attendees who are willing to give up their contact information. They’ll likely need a good amount of nurturing before they’re ready to buy, but at least they’re willing to let you contact them down the road to learn more.
- Stylus Pens – Better than a traditional pen, a stylus pen offers versatility that makes it useful for many situations. They’re perfect for the business professional who takes notes on paper but also utilizes touch-screen devices. Stylus pens are affordable but can still make an impact.
- Water Bottles – Ideal for people who stay active in their free time, water bottles are among the largest of the giveaway items. This provides you with the opportunity to really grab people’s attention. Water bottles come in a variety of colors and styles to fit any need.
- Credit Card Bottle Openers – One of the more unique of the lower-end promotional products, a credit card bottle opener could become a person’s go-to item at the end of the day. It easily fits into most wallets, pockets or purses but is strong enough to open the most stubborn bottles. This is a product that will get people talking because it’s something you don’t see every day.
- KeyStands – This isn’t your normal keychain. The KeyStand is a 3-in-1 tool that really comes in handy. In addition to holding keys, it also serves as a mobile phone stand and a bottle opener. If your company usually gives away keychains at tradeshows, this is an upgrade worth making.
- Bags – Bags are useful at both work and home. There are numerous options available so you can find the style/color combination that fits your business best. As a bonus, you’ll get more exposure than other exhibitors because people will be stuffing their little freebies into yours.
Giveaways for Freebie Snatchers – Less than $1 (Items 16-18)
At every tradeshow, it’s inevitable that there will be attendees who visit every booth that is giving something away with no intent to do business or even learn more. They just want free stuff. For the freebie snatchers, low-cost promotional products will suffice.
- Smartphone Wallets – An item that people can use long-term, smartphone wallets adhere to the back of phones and hold 2-3 credit or ID cards. Someone who puts it on their phone will be giving you brand exposure every time they use it.
- Hand Sanitizers – A lot of handshaking takes place in the business world, so hand sanitizer makes a great tradeshow giveaway. Get the bottle imprinted with your company logo and information, and you’ll always be at people’s fingertips.
- Breath Mints – Following the same concept as hand sanitizers, your branding can be placed on the container or individual wrappers of breath mints. Mix and match flavors as you see fit to appeal to a diverse audience. You’ll make a quick impression, but an impression nonetheless.