Tradeshow Marketing

Choosing Trade Show Giveaway [10 Giveaway Ideas for 2024- Updated]

Searching for the best trade show giveaway? Check out this ultimate guide with some valuable tips and 10 awesome swag ideas updated for 2024.

First impressions are crucial. This is probably why most exhibitors focus so much on their booth aesthetics when planning a trade show.

But if you want the booth visitors to remember you after the event, you have to make a lasting impression. And giveaways are one of the most effective ways to make your brand memorable. 

Unfortunately, most exhibitors fail with their giveaway marketing strategy. Distributing generic giveaways is the perfect anti-climax for the booth visitors and doesn’t really help your brand in any way.

After spending hundreds of hours at trade show booths and having a drawer full of such swag items, I think I’ve figured out how exhibitors can succeed with their giveaway strategy.

Updated for 2024

While this post was created in 2022, a lot has changed since then. Hence you may find some ideas being removed while some are being changed to keep up with the trends of 2024. 

How to Choose the Best Trade Show Giveaway?

So, how do you choose the right trade show giveaway? Let’s dive into some tips that can help-

1. The Best Trade Show Giveaways are All About Your Target Buyers

Before thinking about giveaways, closely understand who your target buyers will be at the event.

Does the exhibition cater to a particular audience? Or is your marketing strategy focused on attracting a specific group or demographic?

Swag items that can resonate with the target buyers are an absolute must. Exhibitors should try to know more about their target audience, their likes, dislikes, desires, and needs for a powerful giveaway marketing strategy.

Apart from prospective customers, focus on existing customers as well for trade show giveaway ideas that revolve around their preferences.

 2. Select Swag Items That Align with Your Brand

The giveaway messaging has a direct impact on your trade show marketing strategy. So, ensure that the message your swag item sends is precisely what you’re trying to convey.

[READ: Re-ignite Your Trade Show Marketing Strategy]

It is not the right choice if you cannot link the giveaway to your brand or product. For instance, pens and keychains will not help in the branding of an IT company launching a new software product at the event.

Along with the target buyers, focus on your industry and even objective to narrow down the trade show swag choices.

3. Integrate Giveaway into Your Trade Show Engagement Strategy

If you’ve participated in trade shows in the past, you might know that there’s no lack of freeloaders at every event. You might not want to waste your giveaways on such freeloaders as they don’t provide much value to your brand.

[READ: 4 Types of Trade Show Attendees]

Being generous and kind-hearted is good, but you cannot spend mindlessly when you have a budget to stick to. So, a better alternative is integrating the giveaway into your engagement strategy.

For instance, if you’re using a custom quiz at your booth, you can distribute the giveaway as trade show trivia prizes to the top scorers or even the participants. 

Apart from that, you can also consider giveaways for all visitors coming to your booth.

Another way to integrate prize giveaways into your engagement strategy is opting for the digital prize wheel game. Visitors can enter their details and then tap on the “Spin” button. Depending on where the pin lands, players win the giveaways.  

4. Select Trade Show Giveaways That Are Useful

Impactful giveaways are a combination of practicality and creativity. You need to select something that is useful to the prospective customers and is also creative at the same time.

After all, the primary objective of distributing giveaways is to make your brand memorable, right? So, what good will be a giveaway that people just stow away in their drawers and don’t use regularly?

Selecting a useful giveaway again brings us back to the target audience. For instance, customized notebooks and journals can be great choices if your target audience is company executives.

But as discussed above, don’t forget your brand and trade show objective when selecting.

5. Take Giveaway Inspiration from Trade Show Location

You can also take inspiration from the event location to get ideas Your for unique trade show giveaways. For instance, if the trade show is in Miami, Florida, how about branded beach towels or sunglasses?  

Items representing your brand and the city lifestyle can help you stand apart from the crowd.

Also, the event location can impact your trade show budget as you’ll have to get the giveaways shipped to the venue. Long-distance shipping can inflate your budget.

[READ: How to Create a Trade Show Budget with Sample Template]

6. Trade Show Giveaway Cost

When looking for promotional giveaway ideas, you cannot ignore their cost as it’ll impact your trade show ROI and ROO.

You don’t have to spend a bomb on the giveaways as long as the item is useful, creative, and aligns with your brand and event objective. 

But there are some exceptions to this rule. For instance, if you’re a big company promoting a product that costs thousands of dollars, something cheap like a keychain or sticker might not be the best choice.

I understand that the budgets are really tight at times. In such cases, you can consider easing up on booth design or graphics and reallocating the funds to the giveaway due to its impact on your brand and ROI.

[READ: 7 Tips to Reduce Trade Show Expenses]

7. Don’t Use the Trade Show Swag to Replicate But to Differ

You’re spending thousands of dollars on the event, not to replicate other booths. You want to stand apart from the crowd and demonstrate how you’re different from other brands.

So, selecting tradeshow promotional items or giveaways similar to what’s available at most other booths doesn't make sense.

Before you start working on your swag marketing strategy, create a list of the most common items, such as pens, keychains, stickers, coasters, water bottles, etc., that are overused at trade shows.

After removing these common ideas from your system, start fresh by putting yourself in the target customer's shoes and considering unique items they’ll find useful.  

8. Sustainable Giveaways are Trending in 2024

In 2024, the trend of sustainable giveaways is gaining momentum, reflecting a growing commitment to eco-friendly living. 

Businesses and individuals are opting for reusable items like stainless steel water bottles and bamboo utensil sets, moving away from single-use items. Seed packets and plantable items symbolize growth and sustainability, while digital gift cards and virtual experiences reduce the environmental impact of giveaways. 

This shift not only aligns with a broader cultural move towards sustainability but also positions brands as leaders in corporate responsibility. The focus on sustainable giveaways in 2024 represents a collective step toward a greener and more responsible future.

Top 10 Trade Show Giveaway Ideas for 2024

Here I’m providing 10 best trade show giveaways ideas to help you begin your research-

1. Trial Product/Service

If you use the two-level giveaway strategy from above, a trial product or service is one of the best giveaways for high-level visitors. For instance, if you sell accounting software, you can offer visitors a 1-week or 1-month software trial. 

2. Virtual Experience Gift Cards

Gift cards with monetary value or discounts on your product or service are also very effective in encouraging people to try your brand and enjoy online subscriptions. You can also consider higher-value gift cards as trade show trivia prizes or for people who schedule meetings with you. Customize the virtual experience gift cards with your logo and brand colors. Add a personalized message expressing your gratitude for attendees' participation in the trade show. This will also minimize the environmental impact associated with physical giveaways.

3. Reusable Water Bottles with Infusers

Provide attendees with stylish and eco-friendly water bottles equipped with fruit infusers, promoting hydration while minimizing single-use plastic waste. Add your company logo and tagline to the water bottles, choosing colors that complement your brand. Consider incorporating a unique design that represents your business identity.

4. Custom Solar-Powered Chargers

If you’re looking for items that people will use daily, what better than solar-powered chargers that are customized with your brand color and logo? Cater to the tech-savvy crowd with solar-powered chargers, offering a sustainable solution for keeping devices powered up while reducing reliance on traditional energy sources.

5. Branded Wireless Earbuds

Even if they’re not misplaced (mine always do), wireless earbuds still need to be charged regularly. A backup pair of earbuds can be very handy in such cases. Quality earbuds with your company logo will ensure that people remember you whenever they enjoy music, audiobooks, or podcasts.   

6. Customized Journal

Inexpensive and practical, customized journals or notebooks also make for great trade show swag items. Despite the growing popularity of digital alternatives, paper journals and planners are still in high demand.

7. 4-in-1 USB Charging Cable

A 4-in-1 charging cable could save your day and make everyday life more convenient. The tool features a charger cable for various devices, such as smartphones, tablets, cameras, smart watches, etc., making it one of the best trade show giveaways.

8. Custom Stylus Pen

Pens are passé. But if you team a quality pen with practical features, it still can be a great giveaway choice. For instance, a custom stylus pen that people can use on electronic devices replaces the out-of-date pens with something modern and functional. So if you're looking for unique tradeshow giveaway ideas, this one could just be right for you. 

9. Sunglasses

A pair of shades can be an excellent giveaway, especially if the event is in summer. Sunglasses are also a great accessory for clicking pictures at the booth. To customize it, you can choose a color that matches the brand's aesthetics or event theme.

10. Hats

From knit beanies to fleece hats and summer caps, there is an entire range of best trade show giveaways to choose from. These timeless accessories also give you plenty of space to get your logo and even the company slogan imprinted on them.

Selecting the Right Trade Show Swag

Promotional items or giveaways are a great way to enhance the visitors' overall experience at your booth and make a lasting impression. But instead of choosing something random, ensure that you put some thought into it, as the giveaway will impact your trade show success and even your brand reputation.

Use the tips and giveaway ideas discussed above when working on your giveaway strategy to select something that will be appreciated and used by your prospective customers.

If you’re also looking for something to keep the visitors engaged at your booth, check out our trade show games that are great at attracting and engaging visitors at trade show booths.

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