It’s a wonderful time of year… isn’t it? Spring is in our sights at last… college basketball brackets have taken hold of the national interest, and it’s the start of what Barbara Wells has dubbed trade show season. Her recent article in Promo highlights some excellent ideas on the basics of trade show promos.
We’ve talked before about how trade shows are such busy, bustling places that you really need to give attendees a reason to search out your booth. Giveaways do that. Smart marketers know that people love to get things… and that such gifts create a favorable inclination toward the giver (your business). When they work as part of your overall trade show plan, so much the better.
In fact, many believe that trade show giveaways are just as important to your success at any show as is your booth, product demo or printed materials. They’re an affordable, effective way to draw an audience to you, while also helping build awareness (and recall) of your brand or business. The great thing about trade show giveaways is that you can get virtually anything you want, in any combination of colors, to create the right look for your business. There’s no better way to display your logo, business/brand name or contact info — right where everyone can see it.
And since there’s such a vast selection of trade show giveaways to choose from, you’ll have no trouble finding something that’s just right for your next event.
To get the most from your trade show giveaways, be sure to…
- Stay true to your company/brand identity and be sure the item you choose reflects that spirit — beware gimmicks than can backfire or break, thus reflecting negatively on your brand.
- Know who your audience is (age, sex, profession, interests) and keep them in mind as you make your selection.
- Choose a product that will last — keeping in mind that promo products work hardest in the kitchen or at the office.
- Make sure the item is useful — sports bottles, magnets, grocery totes, journals, branded hand sanitizers, lip balm, aspirin or other first aid items are all practical choices.
- Keep travel restrictions in mind — if your attendees have flown in, you don’t want to give something too delicate to get home in one piece, to bulky to pack easily.
- Think about packaging too — you don’t want a high end gift presented in a cheap bag — you want the packaging to reflect the standards of your brand/company.
- Order a bit more than you think you’ll need — you’ll take advantage of quantity discounts, and have the leftovers ready for future shows.
- Build excitement around the giveaway with preshow mailers or contests at the show itself.
- Have a plan for giveaways — don’t just hand them out to anyone and everyone — reserve them for those who show a genuine interest in what you have to offer.
- Do something different for special guests — a small quantity of high end items might be given just to these people when they visit your booth. Personalizing these items is a nice touch.
Once the show is over, and the booth packed away, some of the hardest work begins. Follow up is probably one of the most important parts of a trade show for a business, though few give it the time and attention it deserves. Yet this is where your investment of time and dollars pays off. The companies that get the most from trade shows are the ones that keep on marketing to those contacts they met, long after the event is over.