February 18, 2020

Best types of giveaways for trade shows and events

If you’re exhibiting at a trade show, holding an event or organizing an open house, the freebies and leave-behinds you bring along are a chance to connect with your audience and generate new business long after the big day has passed.

What’s the most memorable freebie you’ve ever received at a corporate event or trade show? 

Was it a useful USB drive branded with the company’s logo, that offered enough storage to earn a place on your keyring? A high quality piece of stationery like a pen or notebook? Or maybe a leaflet or flyer that was so well-designed that you pinned it up beside your desk.

Freebies, giveaways and leave-behinds are staples of the event show circuit, and with good reason. They can earn a place in your customers’ lives, and embed your brand in their awareness. 

Thanks to giveaways, what might have been a forgettable short greeting or introduction can become a lasting business relationship. If they ever need the kind of service you provide, they can simply pick up the phone and use the  contact details on your trade show giveaway item to get in touch.

When to use giveaways

The classic scenario for offering giveaways is at an event where your company is exhibiting. After greeting a potential customer, your front-line staff can offer them the item, maybe along with a business card, as a way of continuing the connection. 

Giveaways and freebies also come in useful in real estate, especially if you’re a realtor hosting an open house for a client who is selling their property. In realty, there’s often a more relaxed and homely vibe than at a more formal trade show, and you can reflect that in the kind of open house giveaway you offer. Maybe instead of a ballpoint or USB drive, you could give something more playful or property-themed, like a bottle-opener or keyfob.

You can also use giveaways at red letter days for your business, such as a new store opening or a one-off pop-up in a new location. It’s not only a way of getting your name known, but a chance to share the celebration with customers and visitors.

Popular giveaway items

Here are some of the most popular giveaway items our customers use, and ideas for how to make them extra-special. 

Stickers

Whether they’re brightening up the front cover of a notebook, adorning the pages of a journal or taking pride of place on a state-of-the-art laptop, there’s just something about stickers that people can’t get enough of.

To make your giveaway stickers really shine, why not…

  • Make them customizable, so that people can add names or words to a blank space within the design. Think ‘hello my name is ___’, but with a more creative touch. How about ‘____ is the best boss ever’ or ‘ attention fridge-raiders: property of ____’
  • Use typography to stand out. Color and shape are often what comes to mind when people think of cool designs, but some of the most striking stickers around use illustrative fonts and typefaces to make an impression. 
  • Let branding take a back seat
    Although your sticker design should have some element that links back to your business, such as your name or logo, that shouldn’t be the main attraction. To make it into a really covetable giveaway item, it should be more about visual appeal, leading with a strong illustration or design. That way, it feels less like an ad and it’s more likely to be stuck somewhere prominent.

Rack Cards

With a rack card – a rack card is a bit like an elongated postcard, if you’re not in the know – you have a bit more room to play with than you would on a sticker, but it’s still quite a minimal space for your message and design to occupy. Strategic planning is required!

To create rack cards visitors will want to hang onto, think about…

  • Making bookmarks

Choose a sturdy paperstock (any of ours will fit the bill) and present your rack cards as bookmarks for avid readers. Choose a vertical design and tuck the cards into brochures or booklets to enhance the bookish impression. 

  • Adding disposable rulers
    This idea is great for realtors. Print a scale in inches or centimeters along one side of a rack card so people can use it as a mini rule or guideline for small DIY jobs. Bonus – it’s 100% recyclable and planet-friendly. 
  • Gorgeous imagery

Sitting in a rack on a sideboard or table, rack cards typically get picked up by visitors spontaneously rather than being handed out. Visitors are likely to be drawn to beautiful photography, bold colors or eye-catching illustration, so use these elements to make sure your card is the one they choose.

Flyers

Whether they’re fanned out on a table, handed over by a smiling representative or tucked into a goody bag, flyers are a great way to create a lasting impression as a giveaway item at your event or open house. 

Make them extra special with these ideas…

  • Try a new perspective
    Flyers are typically designed in portrait format. To stand out from the rest, try making your flyers landscape, or even breaking the mold with some square flyers
  • Open up space

Think minimalist. Try steering away from packing your flyer design with lots of information and imagery and go for small, understated text and areas of white space or pure color. Your flyer will be a breed apart from those around it. 

  • Make it a mini poster

Your flyer has two sides. So why not use one side for practical stuff and keep the other as pure eye candy? Print your business information and message on one side, and turn the other side into a visual treat for your customer that they’ll be glad to pin on the wall or stick to the fridge.

MiniCards

They may not be the typical trade show giveaway item, but that’s what makes our MiniCards so distinctively appealing. If you’re adding some diminutive designs to your trade show giveaway roster, think about…

  • Using Printfinity
    Making every MiniCard different is a sure way to grab people’s attention and make sure they spend time poring over your designs (up to 50 in a pack) and choosing their favorite. 
  • Adding a QR code

There isn’t a whole lot of room on the back of a MiniCard, so if you have more to say than just your name and contact details, try printing a QR code so that people can follow it to a landing page on your website.

Beyond the event

Who said the giveaways have to stop when the event is done? If you have printed trade show giveaway items left over, or you simply want to make the most of the design work you’ve done, why not use them for one-to-one customer communications? 

  • Package inserts 

Add your flyers, cards and stickers to shipments as a little greeting or thank-you item for your customers. It’s a great way to make them smile when they open a package from you. 

  • Direct mail

If you use direct mail as one of your marketing channels, consider adding a few stickers or an eye-catching rack card to the envelope each time you write to a valued customer. 

  • Retail packaging and receipts

Slip a few giveaway items into the shopping bag when you hand over a store customer’s purchase, or give them a MiniCard along with their receipt after dining at your restaurant or visiting your salon.

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