Naturally, as a promotional products website, we often discuss promo items and the effectiveness of free stuff on this blog. Freebies rock, and one place where you’ll see a ton of them is at a trade show or convention, where exhibitors try to make a lasting impression on the sea of potential customers who walk by their booths, tables, and displays.
A few of us QLPers got to see plenty of promos in action at the recent 2012 ASI Chicago Show. Some exhibitors really knew how to push those freebies into people’s hands and make their companies memorable long after the show was over; others, not so much.
Just like any marketing effort, there are good ways and bad ways to use freebies, especially at trade shows and conventions. So whether you’re heading off to your industry’s trade fair, setting up shop at the next comic convention, or looking for some general advice, here are a few freebie dos and don’ts pulled straight from the show floor of ASI:
- DO use free stuff to attract people to your table. If you pique someone’s interest with your display of free items, you’ve created an opportunity to segue naturally into your sales pitch without coming off as pushy or too aggressive. And your conversion rate will be higher using this strategy rather than by simply accosting anyone and everyone who walks by.
DO give away something interesting and unusual. The more unique the item, the more memorable it will be. Some of the best free stuff at ASI included mood and color-changing items; gargantuan tote bags large enough for a person to stand in; pens made out of recycled water bottles; Avengers-themed Pez dispensers; and food. If you don’t have anything unusual to give out, try going with something practical. Pens, reusable bags, and coasters branded with your logo are all handy items that will be used and seen on almost a daily basis.
DON’T hide your promos or make them look like part of the display. All this does is cause confusion for anyone hoping to take your brand name home with them. Spend an extra few moments to present your freebies prominently, and verbally encourage passersby to pick them up. Even something as simple as an index card or printout that says “Take One!” or “Free Sample!” can make a huge difference.
No matter your industry, you’ll probably use free swag to market your brand at some point. So remember these dos and don’ts next time you’re at a trade show or convention, and you’ll be a step ahead of your competition!