29 May 2024, 15:16
By Richard Edwards Aug 06, 2014

Making effective use of stand giveaways

Are giveaways at exhibitions a great way to build your brand, attract footfall and generate new business? Or are they a waste of time and money that end up being ignored or simply thrown in the bin? According to Richard Edwards, the key to making sure that your giveaways help to convert business is to align them with your key objectives.

Pinning down your key objectives should be your first step. Then it’s time to think about what type of giveaways will best help you achieve them. Here are my top tips:

Gaining awareness
If you’re hoping to gain more brand awareness from your exhibition then your giveaways should focus on visibility. Frequency of impressions is a key indicator as to how memorable your brand will be. As such, your giveaways need to be designed entirely around your brand name and logo and be the type of item that people would actually use, preferably in a working environment.

Some ideas I have seen work well include: an environmentally-friendly tote bag; branded post-it notes; branded teabags; or something for the kids.

Advertising your brand messaging
If you have certain brand messaging that you want to convey at a trade show, then your giveaways could provide useful visual reminders and/or include extra detail beyond just your branding. For example, a print and fulfilment company might be able to demonstrate their personalised printing process on a small scale, printing visitors a personalised business card to take away with them.

Many companies still choose to produce brochures – however, these can be lost among the pile and may never be read. One way in which my company has helped clients combat brochure overload is to send the information as a digital attachment, straight to the visitor’s inbox, while they are still on your stand. This technology allows you to form an instant and lasting connection with trade show visitors without loading them up with expensive and heavy printed brochures and pens.

Some other creative ideas for you to try: witty t-shirt; branded USB drive; or a clever gadget or app.

Making contacts
Traditionally, gathering contacts was done simply by exchanging business cards, but the sheer scale of modern trade shows makes finding the right business card afterwards an event in itself. Offering cool freebies as an incentive to collect contact details can increase numbers of sign-ups, but ultimately provides low-quality leads at a high cost.

Digital signup or contact exchange can be facilitated with an online data capture tool, possibly in conjunction with giveaways. There are also QR-codes printed onto signage that can be scanned with a smartphone to reach a signup form – or a live-tweet screen can provide visitors with the perfect excuse to connect over social media whilst contributing to your marketing effort.

Some other interesting ideas include: demonstrate with their details – use your product or service to demonstrate using a visitor’s details, collecting contact details in the process; prize draws – giving away one high-value item to the winner of a prize draw can often be more attractive than little giveaways; or offer coffee – good-quality free coffee or tea is the holy grail of trade show giveaways, and the advantage of offering it is that it keeps visitors at your stand while they drink it.

Whatever objective you decide to pursue at your next trade show, the important thing is to think creatively. If you can come up with a creative item that is fun or useful, and which represents your brand and/or USPs, then it will draw in visitors and you will remain in their consciousness long after the trade show has finished.

Richard Edwards is the director of Quatreus, a marketing and communications event company which specialises in creating face-to-face experiences that strengthen relationships and improve communication.

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