Our Clients Share 3.5 Giveaway Ideas for Trade Shows + Virtual Events

October 18, 2020

Our Clients Share 3.5 Giveaway Ideas for Trade Shows + Virtual Events

A successful giveaway for your next trade show or virtual event isn’t necessarily a branded promotional item but it could be. We had to say that, right?

We have giveaway ideas gathered from the best source: our clients. Our clients are big and small and in the trade show trenches month in and month out. Many of these same clients are also holding virtual events and using swag to say thank you for early registration or give to quiz winners and more. Some have ‘help’-- a marketing team or an agency. Some companies have a person in marketing who gets help from other company executives. Either way, here’s what our clients have to say.

  1. Trade Show Sweepstakes Get a name and email to enter clients or prospects in a drawing. Cash. One of our clients says at least 4 digits--ha!  “If it’s not at least $1000, don’t bother” she says. Another client says they split it up and do $300 per day. This could also work for virtual events: early registration for instance. Or if your virtual event is more than one day, perhaps if someone attends the entire series they could be entered.

  1. Grand prize giveaway. One of our clients had a drawing for the Amazon Echo. There were those who didn’t know about ‘Alexa’, but conversation was opened to engage prospects and keep them in their booth longer. This year, you could add the Apple HomePodMini or the latest AirPodsPro to the list of coveted grand prizes. For virtual events, these would still be a draw.

Best advice: know what might tempt your audience.

Another client told us their biggest success was giving away a long weekend at a coveted bed and breakfast within a two hour drive of their company headquarters. In that same vein, another customer gave a spa weekend at a mountain retreat. He said prospects were lined up to enter the drawing (obviously pre-pandemic!). And that’s what they wanted: a full house! 

With the year of the pandemic, are retreats what will entice? Many of our clients say yes. Cabin fever is real. One customer said she felt a more intimate B&B or Airbnb was both preferred and welcomed over a hotel stay. She shared they had great success when using this in 3rd quarter.

  1. Branded merchandise. You knew this was coming, right? This is not swag that is recommended to give to everyone stopping by your booth. Our clients recommend this type of nicer swag as a ‘trade’ type gift: prospect sets up an appointment, or watches a video, or does an account review with reps. For a virtual event, it could be attending a series, answering questions, participating on a panel, etc. Any of these could trigger gifting a nicer swag item.  

We received responses from over 50 clients and compiled their recommendations for this category of swag gifts at trade shows:


Power Banks/ Mobile Chargers 

WFH Kit (client recently sent these out said to tell you that you can copy her!)

Insulated Tumbler with Ceramic Lid (add something Pumpkin Spice and you've got a 4th quarter/1st quarter hit!) 

Journals (one client highly suggested refillable options because they worked so well for their virtual conference.)


TShirts/Polos/Jackets: our clients agree with us--this is a tough one due to sizing challenges, but can be very effective depending on your target market. TIP: choose a quality t-shirt but really nail the graphics. (Hint: Your logo printed left chest isn’t likely to be a big draw, well, unless you’re Tesla or SpaceX!) 


3.5 Budget Friendly Booth Giveaways One of our clients suggests that for the less expensive giveaways, to do something different every quarter. If you give out custom mints in 1st and 2nd quarters, promo hand sanitizer in 3rd quarter and customized lip balm in 4th quarter. Why?

You will not please everyone with your choice of tchotskes -- not your marketing team, corporate staff, prospects or even clients. By having something new each time, you have the best opportunity to appeal to a wider audience.

One of our financial clients has the opposite advice: they say find something you’re known for and stick to it. They give out customized mints at every trade show. 

Two of our client’s recent success stories for tradeshow giveaways both centered around security items. Their businesses were perfect for this type of tech giveaway.

One chose an inexpensive web camera cover. Hey, if tape worked for Marc Zuckerberg, these were a definite step up.

The other company chose a cool tech giveaway, a data blocker. Both have reordered based on the wonderful response they received. When the crowd approves….

What's the best advice our clients have? And the answers are: