99% of exhibitors find B2B trade show exhibitions allow them to deliver value that they can’t do using any other type of marketing channel.

Trade shows act as a great way to build and reinforce brand awareness. It’s also a way to bring focus to new and/or existing products.

But if you don’t offer trade show giveaways, it’s not always easy for people to remember your business after. Especially since the average attendee spends 8.3 hours and 2.4 days at a trade show.

If you’re wondering how to use promotional products to earn new customers and clients at your next trade show, keep reading. We’re sharing with you trade show tips to make your next trade show one to remember.

How to Use Trade Show Giveaways

It’s important for you to do some research before you select what type of product(s) you want to give away at your next trade show. The wrong product can backfire on you and end up wasting you a ton of money with little to no payoff.

Define Your Target Market

Start by defining your audience. Write down a list of common qualities your target audience shares.

This will help you decide on what type of promotional products work best. However, you can also hand out different gifts for various visitors.

Think of handing out different gifts for key customers, prospects, and general passers-by.

Determine Your Goals

Figure out what your end goal is by giving away a promotional item. You want to find items that not only send an impactful message but that the item itself has an impact on visitors to your booth.

Most giveaway items are designed to:

  • Increase recognition
  • Motivate an action
  • Promote your business
  • Communicate a message

Knowing your goals will help you find the perfect promotional product that packs the biggest punch with your target audience.

Find the Right Item

Your brand must be a vital part of your decision making process when choosing the right promotional product to giveaway. Make sure whatever you choose can capture your brand in a consistent way to your other marketing materials.

Find an item that naturally complements your marketing message. If your company sells beer, a keychain with your information on it is a great idea.

Always include the following information on your promotional products to act as your calling card:

  • Company name
  • Logo
  • Phone number

You can also attach your business card to the promotional item.

Create a Budget

Do not forget to set a budget before you purchase any promotional items. There’s a huge range for trade show giveaways.

Special orders, quality, and quantity all affect the price. Make sure you budget in your giveaways as part of your trade show marketing plan.

If you have several shows to attend, it’s cheaper to use the same product at all shows. The greater the quantity, the lower the cost per unit.

Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Promotional Products

Rather than handing out your promotional items to anyone who visits your booth, create a plan of action beforehand. That way, you can trust that people won’t just shove your gift in their grab bag and forget about you as soon as they walk away from your booth.

Pre-Qualify Your Visitors

If you have a good idea of who the attendees are before your trade show, use it to your advantage. One great idea is to use playing cards to send to prospects before the trade show.

Send “kings” cards to your key customers. Your “queens” cards get sent to your suppliers. And your “jacks” cards get sent to your best prospects.

Have them bring the card to your booth by promising a great prize in return. When they arrive at your booth, you already know who they are and what their interests are.

This is a great way to use your booth time productively.

Establish Qualifiers

Opt for giving away certain promotional items to specific visitors to your booth. The items act as a reward for visitors taking the type of action you wanted them to.

For those visitors who spend quality time at your booth and provide qualifying information about their specific needs, hand out something special. These visitors are hot leads for you so you want to make a good impression.

Next, for those visitors who participate in a presentation, demonstration or content, give them your next best item as a reward. For those who merely stop by your booth, you can give them a lesser item just as a “thank you” for stopping by your booth.

Keep Them Coming Back

Your goal is to begin a relationship which means you need to find ways to get them to keep coming back to your company. One way to do that is to hand out coupons or gift certificates.

Both ideas require future contact with your company to redeem them. Handing out items that provide customers and prospects with reasons for future visits.

Trade Show Giveaway Ideas

When it comes to trade show giveaway ideas, the sky (and your budget) is the limit. But certain items tend to be more popular than others.

Also, some items are more popular in certain regions or within a specific gender. Make sure you know your audience before you invest in a promotional item.


Promotional pens are always a popular item. Just make sure it’s a quality pen that won’t break before the visitor gets home.

Sports Bottles

If you choose sports bottles, opt for stainless steel versus plastic. It’s better for the environment.

Stainless steel bottles also have a larger print area and it’s easier to match your brand’s colors.

USB Flash Drive

We’re in the middle of the age of information. And USB drives are the perfect place to store all that information.

USB flash drives are useful and always greatly appreciated by busy professionals. They’re also highly visible for such small pieces of technology.

Key Chain Light

A key chain light is perfect since it attaches to your customer’s car keys. That way, your information is with them wherever they go.

Avoid Costly Mistakes

It’s important to know your audience and your budget before you invest in any trade show giveaways. The goal is to generate more business.

If you’re struggling to build a successful trade show marketing strategy, we can help. Click here to learn which trade show mistakes to avoid.

Gene Friedman
Live Chat Software