Freebies. Promotional items. Tchotchkes. Whatever the handle, they’re a hotly contested subject in the trade show industry.
Freebies that are truly free to anyone walking the floor can cost exhibitors a lot of money and provide little return. That’s why, as trade show organizers and producers, we have a policy in place to discourage attendees from trick-or-treating. But for other trade shows and conferences that don’t have something similar in place, use the tips below to turn what can be a waste of money into a tool to gather more business cards and build your customer base:
Invest in giveaway items that have staying power (pens, jump drives or anything that’s particularly useful for your target customer base).
Don’t leave them at the front of your booth where they can be swiped by anyone. If the person grabbing twenty pens from your booth space isn’t a qualified prospect, you’re throwing money allocated to your trade show budget down the drain. The next time an unqualified prospect takes handfuls of giveaways, visualize that amount as improvements to your display, more money towards entertaining customers or a larger trade show advertising budget.
“Good point. I moved them to the back of my booth. Now what?” They’re already drawing attendees into your space where you can ask questions, identify their needs and qualify their purchasing authority. Continue to make those items work for you. If you have a potential customer in your booth, ask them to do something in order to receive a freebie; watch a product demo, fill out a short survey, anything that provides insight into how you can communicate with and develop that customer.