Wow Your Customer With Giveaways

Customers love giveaways, and they are fantastic promotion. Read on for information about what is popular today with corporate giveaway items and what companies should look for when purchasing them.

Everyone likes a freebie. This is especially true in the tradeshow world where businesses are expected to hand out promotional items to potential customers.

Promotional merchandise costs add up quickly, but considering the advertising value - not to mention that fact your competition in certainly using giveaways to market their own business - you have to offer freebies to potential customers at tradeshows.

Perhaps more promotional items are given out at tradeshows or career fairs than through any other medium. However many businesses aren't simply giving out pens and pencils anymore. With profits and revenue at all-time highs in many industries, many giveaway items exceed $5, $10 and even $50 apiece.

These merchandise items have many benefits to your business:

- Promotional items reward current customers - Businesses or individuals who spend thousands of dollars on your own product or service deserved to be coddled every now and then. Giveaway items is just one way to do this.

- Advertise your business name - This isn't exactly free advertising, but promotional items offer you the opportunity to spread the word about your business. Tradeshow or conference attendees often carry a bag with them to place hold their freebie items. If your item is worth saving, these existing and potential customers will have a constant reminder of your message.

- Complement your marketing or public relations strategy - Not everyone will see your television or newspaper advertisement. This is one way to reach your intended audience through a different medium. Besides if your promotional item finds a permanent home, your message is sure to be seen by others.

Your goal in choosing promotional items is to pick something that will be saved and not discarded when a person returns home from a tradeshow at the end of the day. As a result, creativity and a unique idea may be rewarded.

"You can buy any type of giveaway you want - chances are if a supplier doesn't have it, they can get it," says Howard Aston, owner of RJ Promotional Products in the Detroit (Michigan) Metropolitan Area. "The number of products are increasing every day."

Think impact. If your giveaway is irrelevant or unimaginative, it may not stay out of the garbage can for very long. Effective items provoke questions and give visitors a reason to learn something about your company. It can serve as a conversation piece that can lead to an exchange of ideas.

Jason Robbins, chairman and CEO of says another goal of freebies is to drive traffic to, or create a buzz around, a business' tradeshow exhibit.

"There are a lot of eyeballs at tradeshows and if there is an item everyone wants, that's where the eyes will go," said Robbins. "Part of going to tradeshow is the fun of the merchandise that is available. What a good item will do is re-establish (a company's) brand name in a customer's head."

You should be wary of "giveaway grabbers" who will pick up a giveaway without making eye contact or conversation. As a result it is in your best interests to save your most valuable giveaways for individuals who spend time at your booth. You can even develop a game using the giveaway transaction by having visitors answer a basic question such as, "How can you utilize our services?" or "Do you have any ideas to make our product better?"

Craig Erlich of Star Trax Corporate Events helps corporations plan and work through corporate meetings, tradeshows, shareholder conferences and more. He suggests his clients develop a theme for their tradeshow booth which can be integrated into the giveaway item.

For example, a sporting goods business may develop a golf theme that can be incorporated into its literature, signage and overall presentation. In this case, promotional items could range from imprinted golf tees and repair tools for inexpensive items, to imprinted golf balls and golf shirts for special occasions.

"I have found themes work well because people are more likely to remember that business," says Erlich. "If the theme has some creativity, people will probably tell others at the tradeshow about that specific booth. Word-of-mouth is still the most effective marketing tool."

© High Speed Ventures 2011