10 Effective Ways to Master Trade Show Giveaways

05/24/2013 / in Event Marketing / by Maren

Come on down for a chance to win a million dollars! Do you sometimes feel like you have to give a million dollars away to get people to stop by your booth? It's definitely worth a million to attract the right people to your set up at any show or event. But how do you make that happen without breaking the bank?

#1 Audience. The most important thing to consider is your audience. Who do you want to attract, and does your giveaway do that? Many companies give away iPads because it attracts a wide audience. I know I'd go to a booth to try to win an iPad. However, the problem with giving away an item that appeals to a large audience is that it doesn't necessarily hone in on your target demographic, and therefore won't necessarily generate good leads for you.

#2 Budget.Establish a reasonable budget for your giveaways. Make sure that you're spending enough money to give something that represents the quality of your company and won't just break after the first use, but don't think that you need to give away a Rolls Royce to attract good leads.

#3 Relevance. Once you have clearly determined your audience and your budget, think about how what you're giving away represents your brand and how it appeals to your audience. Put yourself in their shoes. I used the iPad example above. While it's a cool gift, it's not necessarily going to gain the right sort of leads for you. And the purpose of the giveaway is generally to attract people to your booth and gain leads, so you need to make sure that you're choosing the right product to accomplish that.

#4 Goal. What is the ultimate goal of the giveaway? How will you measure if the event is successful or not? It's important to get a clear idea of what this is before attending the show so you can have a good understanding of whether or not it's worthwhile to invest in something like this again. If your goal is to generate qualifying leads, how many leads do you need to get for the giveaway to be worthwhile? Set a goal ahead of time so you have something to shoot for during the show, and then re-evaluate as the show goes on and ramp it up if you need to.

#5 Promote. Try to pick a giveaway that people will talk about. This will automatically generate a buzz about you at the event. Make sure you also do your part to promote your giveaway using social media platforms and e-mail blasts.

#6 Message.Engage your customers when handing out the giveaway. Make sure they get your spiel along with your sweet prize.

#7 Brand it. So someone wins your cool prize, loves it, and therefore has a positive association with your company. Don't let them ask, where did I get this cool prize from again? Put your name and number on it somewhere. Engrave the back if the iPad, put a sticker on it, whatever. Make it easy for that person to get a hold of you again. If they have to work to get your information or can't remember who you are, then you have failed in your giveaway mission.

#8 Qualify.Do you sell a unique program or service? Allow people to enter into a contest to win your product or service. This is the perfect way to get qualified leads because you know that they're actually interested in what you have to offer. Or, if you're giving away something else, determine what a person will need to do to qualify in the drawing for the big prize. Will they sit through a seminar or presentation first?

#9 Track it.Will you track your giveaway? Many businesses give away one big prize and several smaller ones. If you're giving away coupons, will you have a specific coupon code so you can track how many people actually took advantage of the offer? Or you can ask potential clients for their feedback when you follow up with them. You need to have some way to monitor the success of the giveaway to determine whether or not its worthwhile to invest your time and money into something like it again in the future.

#10 Follow up. The most important but often overlooked aspect of trade show giveaways is the follow up. After all, the reason you give things away is to make valuable connections that lead to sales. Make sure that you have a strategy in place to follow up on leads and a way to measure which ones close.

Still not sure what to give away? Check out Inc.com's article, 11 Ideas for Cool Giveaways for ideas. And don't forget to comment below to let us know what has and hasn't worked for you at shows and events!

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