Being memorable as an exhibitor is extremely important for a successful show. Keeping your brand front of mind is achieved in many ways; a strong physical presence at the show with ample space, a “stand out” display with a clearly stated message, well-trained staff who work as a cohesive team, diligent follow-up, and perhaps an appropriate giveaway. It is important to identify not only why giveaways can benefit your tradeshow experience, but how you can execute them well.
First is it important to determine why a giveaway can be beneficial at your booth:
- Engagement: We are all curious by nature. Offering a gift or a prize encourages conversation and helps your staff take advantage of the curiosity. Your staff can chat up the curious attendees and ramp up into a more in-depth conversation.
- Enticement: We all like free stuff. It acts as a draw to bring in attendees. You do run the risk of casting a very wide net, so be careful to filter out the freebie hunters.
- Brand Promotion: When you give somebody products that they will actually use, you are able to increase brand exposure for your company. Be bold with giveaway branding, and prominently display your company information and logo.
- Connect first, Sell later: Offering a free sample, giveaway or prize can create goodwill. The attendee has invested in being at the show. We can’t always be asking. Give at the show and follow-up in the field.
Keep in mind that a giveaway isn’t always necessary, and could in certain cases detract from your brand. Don’t feel like you have to offer a useless key chain or rubber stress ball because everyone else is. Ensure that the giveaway you choose aligns with your brand and perhaps even your booth theme.
Next, you need to identify how you can effectively execute a giveaway:
- Profile Your Audience: When deciding which items to give away, don’t just arbitrarily make selections. Think about your audience. What do they actually want and more importantly what will they actually use? Make sure your giveaway products can be appreciated and used.
- Make it a Game: Games can really create a buzz at your booth. Instead of just giving away items to everybody, consider making them a prize. Coordinate games in your space and give away prizes to the winners. Cater to their competitive spirit; have fun, and be memorable.
- Be Relevant: When possible, offer products that relate to your company. For instance, if you are a golf equipment wholesaler, consider golf balls and tees, or some other gadget which can be used on the golf course.
- Explain Yourself: connect your giveaway to your message at the show. Make sure the attendees are clear on the connection. Remember, the number one reason we go to shows is to see what’s NEW. Perhaps you are unveiling a new product or service in your industry. Use the giveaway to reinforce the message. They can help spread the word.
Track the success of your giveaway:
- Social Media: Keep an eye on your social media. If the giveaway resulted in meaningful customer interaction and subsequent promotion of your company, you will likely see an increase in followers on your social media in the days and weeks following the show.
- Website Searches: Similarly, organic entries and search entries for your company should increase after the trade show because of heightened awareness for your brand. Compare the number of searches for your website before and after the trade show.
- Contact Information Collection: When giving away products at a trade show, make sure people provide their contact information before they are given the product. The more emails and phone numbers you gather, the better.
About the Author:
Brian Gordon is a founding partner of Skyline Toronto, helping companies communicate their message through trade shows, events, and related displays.