For attendees, one of the best parts of a trade show is the loot collected throughout the show. Sometimes to the point where they behave more like “pirates” than “attendees”!
Swag gifts are a dime a dozen at conferences but, when done right, they can help your company make valuable connections that could pay off big time in the end.
Here’s our list of proven trade show giveaways and swag gifts that are sure to create a buzz at your next trade show.
Cell Phone Chargers
Did you know that people would rather forget their toothbrush than their phone charger while traveling?
You'll be doing yourself and your fellow trade show attendees a favor by handing out these bad boys at your booth.
(Photo Credit: @pmmpromotions/Instagram)
Bonus Tip: Set up a charging station at your booth and watch attendees flock to you in droves. This is a great opportunity for your team to spark up a conversation with the eager beavers who are desperate to resurrect their phones from the dead.
These will run you a pretty penny but it's worth it to stash away some fancier swag gifts for your VIP clients and prospects.
You can also use pricier swag for giveaways at your booth during the trade show, which will create some buzz to attract attendees to your booth.
(Photo Credit: @icon_branding_solutions/Instagram)
Custom USB Drives
Seriously though... how amazing are the custom USB drives pictured below?
Add some humor or creativity to your swag items by customizing them as much as possible and USB drives are usually pretty diverse in their offerings.
For example, if you're in the martial arts industry, then spend a few extra bucks and order USB drives shaped like little ninja warriors or Chuck Norris doing a roundhouse kick.
Every piece of swag at every single booth is going to be branded, so go the extra mile and make your freebies stand out in a cheeky sort of way.
(Photo Credit: @universalmarketingllc/Instagram)
One of the most annoying things about traveling is not being able to identify your bag out of the millions of black roller suitcases being pummeled down the luggage carousel.
Having a bright, easy-to-identify luggage tag or two would be a godsend for attendees who are frequent travelers.
I’m currently using one myself I snagged at a show last year that’s an “almost-too-bold” yellow. And, while I’m nearly blinded at the sight of it, I never have a problem seeing my bag after a long week of walking or working a show from a distance.
(Photo Credit: @bepromotedaus/Instagram)
Travel Laptop Bag
Due to the price, it's best to reserve these bags for VIP customers/prospects or for giveaways (raffle) hosted at your booth.
Consider compiling gift sets that include one of each of your swag items inside the bag and showcase them at your booth to entice people to come over so you can scan their badge or, at minimum, drop off their business cards.
(Photo Credit: @graphicservicespromusa/Instagram)
These little doo-dads are a crowd favorite at every trade show -- because who doesn't need an extra pair of earbuds stashed away for a rainy day?
For those who have traveled from distant lands to attend the trade show, getting a fresh pair of earbuds for the flight home is definitely a welcomed treat.
So, stock up on some branded earbuds to pass out at your booth and to your employees -- it's always nice to have an extra pair lying around.
And I speak from experience on that last part as I mistakenly destroyed my favorite ‘travel’ pair as I was boarding in Florida (6 hour flight) but had fortunately snagged some at the event I was attending there the day before…
(Photo Credit: @lafarecreations/Instagram)
Pens + Stylus
It’s better to have something than nothing and while these are not the most unique give away items... this is a list of proven give away swag -- and pens or stylus definitely work.
However, we strongly recommend also having something else more premium for VIP and better prospects who engage with you if you can manage it.
(Photo Credit: @ltroncorp/Instagram)
If there's one thing everyone needs at a trade show, it's MORE COFFEE!
You will be surprised how many guests will be toting your branded travel mug around the show as to ensure that ample caffeine is entering the bloodstream at all times.
The added bonus is, you get free advertising as guests walk around the show donning your branded mug.
(Photo Credit: @creativecorners/Instagram)
If you think notebooks are pointless swag gifts, then you're doing trade show swag all wrong.
People love the comfort of having an extra notebook in tow as they trot around the show floor making new connections because you never know when that extra notebook is going to come in handy.
Spontaneous meetings happen all the time at trade shows, so having a notebook nearby to jot down crucial information is a lifesaver.
If you have the budget, opt for the notebooks that people actually want to keep and use during their everyday lives. Go big or go home.
(Photo Credit: @fairware/Instagram)
Apparel and Accessories
Everyone could use an extra t-shirt to wear on the weekends, so give the people what they want.
Instead of slapping your giant logo onto the front of the t-shirt, consider putting a catchy or clever phrase that represents your brand, industry, or mission and place a small logo on the sleeve or somewhere else discrete.
Let's be honest...
The chances of you closing the deal of the century because someone saw your logo on a t-shirt are slim to none, so don't fool yourself into thinking that the bigger the logo, the better, because you're in for a rude and expensive awakening.
People will be more likely to wear the shirt if they don't feel like they're a walking billboard when wearing it, so keep that in mind when designing your branded shirts.
(Photo Credit: @fairware/Instagram)
Something for the Kiddos
Don't forget about the kids because they're your foot in the door folks!
Think about it. Kids LOVE getting new goodies and they will use these cute lunch bags and reusable plastic water flasks over and over again.
Not only is this is a great way to get your brand in the homes and the hands of potential buyers (the parents), but you will also gain some exposure for your brand because parents (including the ones at school) will see the lunch bag and your brand almost every day.
Plus, attendees will appreciate that your company was thinking of the kiddos when ordering your swag items. Brownie points.
I will say, however, the best I’ve ever seen was a company that was handing out “Star Wars” themed Lego sets that had a sticker with their company name and tagline… it was almost 5 years ago but I always think of them when I think about “swag done right”.
(Photo Credit: @promodirect/Instagram)
The key with getting people to wear your branded baseball caps is to order ones that are name-brand (e.g. Nike), top-quality and don't have a huge, blatant logo pasted on the front.
Again, unless they're your employees, people don't want to be walking billboards for your company.
Therefore, invest in some baseball caps that you would want to wear in public, and consider putting a small logo on the back of the hat, as opposed to the front.
(Photo Credit: @fairware/Instragram)
Oh, drink koozie, where have you been all my life?
Thankfully, drink koozies have come a long way and are now available in all sorts of sizes, colors and styles.
Not only are they fun, but drink koozies are a hit with trade show attendees because not many companies think to get creative with these nifty drink accessories, especially when it comes to swag gifts.
(Photo Credit: @dev_elisabeth/Instagram)
In order for your stress balls to be a success, find a shape that is unique, funny, and/or relevant to your industry or your company's message.
As with drink koozies, stress balls come in (what seems like) an infinite number of options, so have fun with it. Humor is always a good option here.
(Photo Credit: @bigassfans/Instagram)
This swag gift is a crowd pleaser because it's unsuspecting and also it's incredibly useful.
No one wants to carry a couple screwdrivers in their work bag or purse -- but when you need a screwdriver, you need a screwdriver.
Having one of these handy multi-purpose tools readily available when you need it is a godsend.
As Jackie Joyner-Kersee said, "It's better to look ahead and prepare, than to look back and regret."
However, remember multi-purpose tools can’t be brought on an airplane in a carry on. If an attendee flew in with just a carry on, this might be an item that won’t attract them to your booth.
(Photo Credit: @affinitycreation/Instagram)
Now that you have your swag items in order, you can cross that item off of your checklist for a successful trade show and start designing and planning out your booth details.
Also, don't forget to get a solid trade show marketing strategy in one place to ensure that you have the most successful trade show yet.