How to choose giveaways, freebies and promotional items for your next trade show appearance

At your next trade show, your swag should work as hard as you do.

Whatever you call them–tchotchkes, giveaways, freebies, swag, or promotional items–no trade show booth or business expo would be complete without them.

But is a #2 pencil with your company logo really going to help you land that multi-million-dollar contract?

A well-conceived trade show giveaway could be as important to the success of your booth as any other element of your booth presentation. So, what does “smart swag” look like? Smart swag:

  • Reinforces your brand (this is where your logo comes in).
  • Includes your sales staff’s contact information
  • Includes a call to action
  • Ties in to the theme of your booth
  • Reiterates (or even better, demonstrates) your organization’s USP
  • Promotes or reminds the recipient of the products or services you demonstrated in the booth
  • Is perceived to be of higher value than the boring pens, magnets and hard candy your competitors are handing out.
  • Won’t be fragile or difficult for the recipient to pack
  • Won’t set the recipient up for a pat-down when they try to get through airport security

Let’s say your company sells a breakthrough solar panel that is 27% more cost-efficient than anyone else’s. Why not give away a small, solar-powered calculator? And what if that calculator had a formula printed on it that the recipient could use to calculate her cost savings over your competition? (Needless to say, it would also have your logo, tagline, and other pertinent details.)

The possibilities are endless.


Kathleen Hanover
Certified Go-Giver Speaker and Copywriting Trainer
Kathleen Hanover helps entrepreneurs tell their story, attract their ideal audiences, and persuasively communicate their value. As a highly-regarded marketing copywriting trainer, she teaches persuasion psychology and the magic words that build rapport and sales. And as Ohio's first Certified Go-Giver Speaker, Kathleen shares the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success from the international best-seller, "The Go-Giver," by Bob Burg and John David Mann, with business and community audiences alike.
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