A Multi-Level Strategy For Using Trade Show Giveaways Effectively

When planning your tradeshow budget, you are concerned about your overall ROI, so you carefully consider the cost of display updates, travel expenses, shipping, equipment rentals, and more – including the cost of promotional items. As is true with many tradeshow costs, you can't always quantify the payoff for promotional products you give away. Offering small gifts to booth visitors is an important part of the tradeshow culture, so eliminating them is usually not the best option. How do you decide how much to spend and what to give away?

What Trade Show Giveaways Can Do

While you want your expenditures to result in increased sales, giveaways seldom generate sales on their own, whether you choose a piece of five cent candy or a $5 tote bag or a $25 car emergency kit. You must be realistic as to your expectations about what trade show giveaways can do. Your answers to these questions will influence what to choose and how you distribute free gifts.

  1. Do you want your giveaway to entice people to come to your booth and feel welcome?
  2. Do you want your name to come to mind in the future when the booth visitor is looking for a company who does what you do?
  3. Do you want to reward only those with apparent potential to buy?
  4. Do you want to thank past customers and encourage them to buy again?

How To Choose A Promotional Product To Meet Your Promotional Objectives

You don't have to spend much per item to achieve the top two objectives. A piece of candy, a bottle of water, or an inexpensive plastic or cloth bag will meet an immediate need visitors may have and leave them feeling warm and fuzzy about your company. An imprinted pen, calendar, or keychain serves as a long-term reminder of your company. You will want to make these premiums available to anyone who comes to the booth. You can use a drawing or contest to offer higher-value prizes or coupons to few visitors with unknown potential.

To fulfill the last two objectives, you might want to offer a higher value gift and make people do more to "earn it." You could:

  1. Send out a pre-show mailer that the visitor must present.
  2. Invite them to an "event" such as a presentation or demonstration at the booth that they must attend.
  3. Add an attraction such as a cash machine, where they can qualify for cash, prizes, or higher value coupons.

Your best strategy to generate booth traffic, create good will, and increase long and short-term name recognition while rewarding qualified prospects or customers lies in a multi-level approach to trade show giveaways.

Getting Better Trackability On Higher Value Promotional Products

The benefit of offering multiple levels of incentives is that you identify a more trackable group of recipients. Even if you collect names, contact information, and other basic facts about many of your visitors, those who receive your higher-value gifts are those you have identified as having the most potential. By following up to see if they buy, you will have a clearer idea if your investment in higher-value premiums was worth it. The next time you are deciding how to choose promotional products, your quantified results will offer some hard data to guide your investment in giveaways.

About The Author
Jonathan Edelman provides exciting trade show marketing ideas, including advice about prize wheels, customizable scratch-off cards, money blowing machines, and other exciting trade show attractions. With years of experience in the trenches, he is an expert on booth displays, lead generation techniques, and networking with trade show vendors. Helping to build a referral-generating system, his ideas continuously lead to a boost in sales and revenue.

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