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using trade show giveaways

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Making sure your trade show booth stands out from all the other trade show booths at trade show or convention can be a challenge. I highly recommend having some kind of trade show giveaway at your booth.  My favorite simple giveaway when I didn't have anything else was a big bowl of Hershey kisses (almond) located on a table half way into the booth so that everyone could see them, but need to cross the line to get them.  I would ask each person grabbing some if they were interested in my product, and if not, thank them and move on.  Having traffic is a double-edged sword though, some is good because it makes your booth look popular, but you don't want to get tied up with people that aren't buying what you're selling, which is easy to have happen when you're handing out free candy and not a giveaway that is targeted at potential prospects. Free candy is simple, but not very effective. It isn't at all targetted (it appeals to anyone with a sweet tooth of a bit of hunger), and it disappears almost immediate (the visitor eats it and it's gone). About all free candy will do is pull random trade show visitors into your booth, but as I said, it's usually better than nothing.

One of my other favorite trade show giveaways was a snazzy looking pen with my company's logo on it (which is much more effective than free candy).  Pens are relatively cheap, especially when you buy them in bulk.  It's surprising how many customers at a trade show are in need of a pen.  The great thing about pens is that they seldom get thrown out, but instead end up on your customer's desk or in his draw.  Put more than your company name on it, also put a website and and 800 phone number on it.

If you're serious about getting a good promotional giveaway for your booth, try to pick something of value but that you can also budget for.  Get something that won't be thrown away after the show.  Make sure your company name and contact information is on it.  It's great if you can pick a product that is themed with your business.  If you pick a more expensive "premium" product, hold on to it and only give it to your qualified prospects.  Use it as a tool to get peoples attention.  Ask a prospect, "Would you be interested in our xyz-widget'?  I just need to ask you a few questions."  If the prospect turns out to be not qualified, thank him for his time and give him a pen.

random thought #1 - If I was still doing trade shows, I would consider tins of mints with my company logo on it. Who doesn't like breath mints, especially when you're talking to a lot of people at a trade show. And its not something (like candy) that you can "eat in one sitting". I think they would make it past the show, and although they would eventually run out and the tin would be discarded, they would certainly last for a while.

random thought #2 - I think I would print up stickers with my website url and two unique numbers on them.  I would then tell prospects to hold on to the tin, and check my website on the Monday after the show, where we would post a number at the bottom of our home page.  Whoever had that first number on their label would simply have to call us with the second number to collect a prize - perhaps a $100 gift certificate.

random thought #3 - think outside the box when thinking about trade show giveaways. Don't just copy all the other companies' trade show giveaways. Make sure your trade show giveaways are unique, just like your trade show booth should be.

related resource: trade show giveaway ideas


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