How To Make Giveaways and Contests Work For Your Trade Show Booth

Contests and giveaways can help increase traffic at your next trade show, but you need to know what works and what doesn’t.

It’s been said, everyone likes free stuff, and while that may be true to a certain extent, what really matters is what is being given away. A cheap pen with a company’s name on it is certainly not going to excite someone walking by a trade show booth. There’s no reason to spend money on promotions or giveaways if you don’t see any results from them. So let’s take a look at some of the ways you can get the most out of your next promotion.

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“Is this useful?”

That’s the question you need to ask yourself before deciding on a giveaway for your next trade show. Can you reasonably expect someone to use this item and get some mileage out of it? If not, you may want to rethink the item that you are giving away.  Think of the difference between a promotional brochure and a calendar. The brochure may get looked over and then stuck in a drawer or wind up in the recycling bin. An item like a calendar is useful, and a potential customer may wind up looking at it nearly every day. The same goes for coffee mugs and reusable drinking cups and thermoses. Your giveaway will have a greater impact if it can be incorporated into a potential customer’s daily routine.


“Is this a quality item, or just a piece of plastic?” 

We’ve already mentioned cheap pens, but sometimes the line between a good and bad giveaway is pretty fine. A cheap, plastic pen? Not ideal. But a quality, engraved pen? A potential customer may end up using that for quite a while. Think about what the quality of your giveaway says about your company. You don’t want trade show attendees to associate your business with something cheap and boring.


Entering attendees into a raffle is a great way to get contacts and generate leads, and the same strategies apply to any raffles or contests you may be holding during your next trade show. Your goal is finding potential leads, but you should also put some serious thought into what you use as a prize. You might find that what worked well for one trade show might not have the same appeal at another event with a different demographic. Ask yourself what value that prize will have to attendees, as well as what relevance it has to your business. Choose a prize that people will want, but do your best to find something that reflects your company’s message.


Lastly, you should avoid doing any promotions of giveaways if you don’t have a specific reason for doing them. Generic promotions that attendees see at every show don’t help you stand out from the crowd. You need to reevaluate your strategy if you realize you’re only doing a giveaway because everyone else is. If you want to people to remember your business or product, then your promotion should be a unique reflection of your company’s message.


Finding the right promotion for your next trade show may be time consuming, but the potential ROI is something that you can’t afford to miss out on.


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