Pens are great. They are useful and cheap and easy to produce on mass. But they are so boring.
You need something quirky, fun and useful to giveaway on your exhibition stand to lure people in. Your uniquely targeted audience deserves great freebies. Not only that but choosing the right freebies could be the difference between having a successful show or not.
In this blog post, leading exhibition stand designers, Quadrant2Design, share the inside track on what the best freebies are. They’ve got over twenty years’ experience in the industry, and have been to a trade show or two. Keep reading to discover 22 products you can give away on your exhibition stand (that definitely aren’t pens!).
1. Desk Tidy
The majority of exhibitions are business professionals marketing to other business professionals or B2B marketing. Going off the back on this we can assume that a vast majority of this demographic have a desk, and very few of them have an organisational system. A simple desk tidy is something this audience would use, so they are likely to come to your stall and interact with you. It will also be positioned on their desk and in their eye line so it makes for a great giveaway.
2. Diary/Year Planner
Another freebie that could help your audience get organised is a yearly planner. These work well as freebies if your exhibition is taking place at the very beginning or end of the year. Diaries, or yearly planners, can become quite costly so visitors love receiving these for free. It also means that your branding will be with them for the full length of the diary, so it’s a great opportunity.
3. Bottle Opener
There is nothing worse than trying to enjoy a beer or a bottle of wine in your hotel room before realising that you don’t have a bottle opener. With so many visitors travelling long distances, even internationally, they are likely to find themselves in that boat. Your business could be the one that provides them with a solution to this problem. A bottle opener is cheap to produce and has a long shelf life for maximum brand exposure.
4. Car Air Freshener
Car air fresheners can be effective if they are done well. Custom, branded designs that people want in their car for a substantial period work great, but boring air fresheners won’t draw in a crowd. It’s also essential to make sure you’re product smells great!
5. Travel Mug
A reusable, sustainable mug is something that exhibition visitors see as a useful product and are likely to pick up. Make them thermal and you have something better than the mugs that you’re neighbouring stands are offering. With the increasing demand for travel mugs prices have rocketed, so you’re sure to draw in a crowd if you’re handing these out to leads.
6. Tote Bag
A tote bag is the most useful thing you can hand out to delegates on the day of the show. They can use it to carry all of their freebies around. It is also a great branding opportunity for you as your branding will be displayed to everyone as they make their way around the expo and out into their lives.
7. Charging Pad
Everybody loves a gadget. Once upon a time, people would be giving away power banks to help people keep their iPhone battery alive. Now, there are so many of these on a trade show floor that delegates just aren’t interested. It’s all about the charging pads now. Tech lovers will be more than happy to have a chat with you in exchange for a charging pad. Don’t forget to scan their badge!
8. Branded Food
An exhibition hall can fill up fast, meaning long queues for food and nowhere to sit. Why wouldn’t you want to stop for a free chocolate bar or pastry to keep you going for an extra hour? Branded food is a great way of encouraging people over to your stand and keeping them there for long enough to witness a product demonstration.
9. Photo Frame
This works well if you have a photo booth experience on your exhibition stand. Offering your visitors a branded photo frame to keep their photo in (and display on their desks) is another way of getting your branding in front of eyeballs for a good length of time.
10. Mouse Mat
Mouse mats aren’t going to excite anyone, but they are very useful products if you spend a lot of time working at a computer. They are relatively cheap to design and produce which makes them a great and low-cost freebie.
11. Stress Relief Ball
These products have an element of fun with a usability aspect as well. For some reason, they go like hotcakes. People just love them. Choose a design that is particularly relevant to people in your industry and put them on display to lure people over to your booth.
12. Branded Pet Treats
What is the worst thing about going to an exhibition or business trip? Leaving your pets at home. Offering bags of branded pet treats is an interesting way of encouraging pet owners over to your stand. It’s like buying a present for your family when you’re on holiday, except much cuter! Plus, everyone will be talking about you so it’s essentially free B2B PR.
13. Plant Pot
This is another unique idea that exhibition attendees love. Small plant pots look wonderful on desks and make offices more bright and airy. With a well-designed plant pot, you could become a key accent in offices all over the world. Bonus points if you put plants inside the pots. Succulents and cacti make great desk plants (and don’t require much looking after either).
Coasters are generally favoured over mouse mats because nobody else is giving them away. If you think about it, they look good on your desk and help to keep everything clean and tidy. People might not run to you to grab this freebie, but they will use it so you’re guaranteed to gain a high level of brand exposure.
15. Desk Fans
There is nothing worse than a hot and stuffy office, especially when there is an employee row over air conditioning. Desk fans always bring traffic to your booth because the hall itself is hot and crowded, making everyone want a fan. You can get these for a relatively low cost and then stick your branding on them.
16. USB Sticks
Another incredibly handy tech product that business professional’s love is USB sticks. An essential item for growing businesses, and actually quite expensive when you consider how many you’ll need to buy for your team. Giving them away is guaranteed to bring people over to your stand.
17. Hand Sanitizer Gel
It makes sense that hand sanitizer is a popular freebie when you think about how many people you meet and shake hands with at an exhibition. A small, nicely scented hand sanitizer gel with your branding on the label is likely to be used and seen by hundreds of people in the venue.
Giving out water, snacks and coffee is a great way of luring in potential leads. Think about your location in the hall. If your stand is located towards the exit you can almost guarantee that the flow of traffic will make a pit stop at your booth.
19. Smartphone Holder
One of the most useful gadgets to giveaway on your exhibition stand is a smartphone holder. These helpful accessories are often picked up by drivers who use their phones as a Sat Nav so you can almost guarantee international brand exposure.
Because of the delightful British weather, people are often unprepared for extreme rain and wind. That gives you a unique opportunity to provide them with a product that they are going to need. Handing out free umbrellas (with your branding obviously) would encourage anyone over to your stand on a rainy day.
21. Shopping Token Trolley
These keyring shopping tokens are incredibly useful, small and lightweight. It is for this reason that business decision-makers will stop to pick them up. People use their keys daily, often multiple times throughout the day. Getting your brand positioned on these keys is a sure way of being seen.
22. Reusable Straws
The buzz word at every exhibition at the moment is sustainability. Whether it’s completely sustainable exhibition stands or 100% recycled packaging you are going to come across some sustainable innovations. Why would you want to give away a product that didn’t meet these sustainable requirements? Reusable straws are great to throw in your bag and use on the go. Endless branding opportunities.
And that’s a wrap. 22 things that are so much better to giveaway on your exhibition stand than pens. For most of the products, there isn’t a noticeable price difference but the impact of your marketing will extend above and beyond that of a pen. Good luck at your next exhibition!
About the author
This blog post was contributed by Natalka Antoniuk from Quadrant2Design.