When you go to a trade show, it seems like every vendor has something to give away—something with their name on it to help you remember them. If you’ve been to a trade show as an attendee, rather than a vendor, you know that you tend to collect a lot of ink pens and catalogs at these shows. When you get home, you throw the bag of catalogs and other literature in a corner, where you may or may not get around to going through it later. The pens, on the other hand, get used—but not remembered. That makes them less than effective as a trade show giveaway. If you do give away custom imprinted pens, make them different enough to stand out so that it will become your prospect’s favorite pen and be used and read until it runs out of ink.
Useful Items Make Good Giveaways
The problem with most giveaways is that they get thrown out much too quickly. What would you do with a keychain if someone gave you one with their company name on it? Chances are, you already have a keychain you like, so you’d just throw it out. If you give out useful items such as rulers, tape measures, or tools, people will hold on to them.
Depending on your industry, you can even create and give out an industry-specific tool that will be even more likely to be kept. For example, a ruler that is printed in points instead of inches or centimeters is something a graphic designer will be likely to hold on to.
Don’t Leave Your Giveaway Items Sitting Out
Unless everyone who attends the trade show is a likely prospect, it’s a good idea to keep your giveaways out of sight until you need them. Use custom pop-up displays to catch your prospects’ attention and draw them in, then talk to them to find out whether they have any need for your product. Once you know you are talking to a potential customer, go ahead and hand out one of your giveaway items. This way, you won’t waste money giving premiums out to people who have no interest in your products. Let the banner stands, signs, and displays do the job of drawing in likely prospects, not the giveaway itself.