Smart, Affordable Giveaway Ideas

Having a giveaway to hand out at trade shows and in-store is great for making a positive impression. To make your promotional item meaningful and useful, select a marketing item that your target audience will value and want to keep.

According to a study by Promotional Products Association International, use of giveaways has a strong correlation for both customer acquisition and retention. Research revealed that, by using giveaways, companies increased business among those who hadn’t purchased before in 11 percent of cases. Among current customers, the propensity for repeat business rose from 55 percent to 85 percent after receiving a promotional product.

However, buying items for exposure could get expensive if you plan to give them away liberally to prospects and existing customers. Yet, there are many trade show giveaways you can choose that won’t break the bank for your next event.

The key to getting the most visibility from the dollars you spend and choose promotional items that people will want to use once they return to their homes and offices.  


When selecting your giveaway, ask these questions:

  • Does the item complement your company and product image?

  • Do the items you want to purchase fall within your budget?

  • Are you able to easily imprint your logo and contact information on the promotional item?

  • Will you be able to get your shipment in time for the event?

  • Is your giveaway unique from others you've seen?

  • Is the item something YOU would like to have?


John Doney of, a company specializing in cost-effective, quality promotional items, offers the following giveaway ideas for budget-conscious organizations that want to maximize impact with their giveaways.

Industry or category related items

Select promotional items that are related to the business you represent. As an example, consider a letter opener for a shipping company, a personalized paper clip or bookmark for a publisher, a passport holder for a travel agency, an eraser for a divorce lawyer, or even reussable food containers for a food company.

Multi-colored pens

Pens are a popular giveaway for good reason. They’re useful, can last a long time and can be shared. They are also easy for exhibitors to pack and ship for use at trade shows. You can take the pen idea one step further and make your mark with multiple-color options. Choose pens that offer the standard black, blue, and red ink – or be clever and use your brand colors. If your logo has orange and purple, offer a multi-colored pen with black, orange, and purple.

Sample of your product in action

If you’re selling something that doesn’t get re-used, such as beverages or other edibles, create a giveaway that allows users to sample your product. Well-wrapped candies, tea bags, or single-serve packs of coffee beans will allow you to give everyone who visits your booth a chance to experience your product – and then order more online if they like it.

Magnifier lens

If your buyers are a little bit older, provide your audience with a handy magnifier lens they can keep in their wallets or purses. Note that this item is only beneficial if you know your target audience has a use for it. On the holder, include your logo, tagline, and contact information.


In addition to the cost-effective giveaways listed above, the following promotional items are popular choices to give to prospects and current customers.

Insulated tumbler

Who doesn't need a way to take their morning cup of joe along with them, while having the confidence the coffee will stay hot and not spill? Giving away an attractive, insulated tumbler (with lid) that carries your logo serves as a frequent reminder of your company and contact information.

Portable charger or adapter

Portable chargers for mobile phones and tablets meet an onogoing need for today's consumers. Who doesn't appreciate a back-up resource for charging electronic devices while on the go? While they are more expensive than other promotional items, you can selectively provide them to high-opportunity prospect and customers. Be sure your logo and contact information is imprinted so it is clearly visible with each use. This keeps your brand name top of mind.

Phone wallet or card holder

Phone accessories are sought-after promotional items. A phone wallet or cardholder with your logo that adhere's to the back of mobile devices provides a constant reminder of your company name. Your branding will be seen each time a person reaches for his or her phone . 

Screen cleaning spray and microfiber cloth

Mobile phones, tablets and laptop screens need ongoing cleaning. Giving prospects a quality microfiber cloth with your logo, along with spray cleaner, provides an easy way for them to remove grime and fingerprints from electronic screens. The cleaning cloth and spray are typically available as kits for giveaway purposes. They will likely be used regularly – and your logo will be seen with each use.

Pocket flashlight 

Aluminum flashlights that are imprinted with your company name and contact information can be easily carried in a pocket or stored in a glove compartment or drawer. Each time they are used, your logo is seen, promoting awareness for your brand.

Bottle of hand sanitizer

A small bottle of hand santizer imprinted with your logo is an economical giveaway that individuals will keep and use. Each time the santizer is used, your branding will be front and center.

Pocket first aid kit

Pocket first aid kits have a plastic or nylon casing where your logo can prominently appear. Inside, these small kits contain adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipes, first aid tape, gauze, etc.


There are countless other trade show giveaway ideas that can be customized. The key is to take time to understand your target audience and their needs. Consider what items they use regularly and would find beneficial or amusing. Also evaluate what giveaways you have used in the past and the type of response you received.

For more information on effective use of giveaways, please see the article links at the bottom of this page.


Quotes from Independent Suppliers – No Obligation to Buy!

promotional products
Receive free price quotes from independent suppliers of tradeshow promotional products, courtesy of Begin by answering the question below and clicking on the "next" button.

Related Information - Giveaway Ideas

Trade Show Promotional Items - A Primer
Strategies to Attract Booth Traffic
Have Effective Giveaway Ideas...Even on a Tight Budget
Attracting Visitors with Drawings and Prizes
Avoid These Mistakes When Purchasing Giveaways
Selecting Appropriate Trade Show Giveaways
Research: Use Incentives in Pre-Show Marketing
Trade Show Calendars as Giveaways
Research Study: Value of Promotional Items
Keys to Using a Trade Show Promotional Item
Find a Promotional Item with High Perceived Value
Mastering the Tradeshow Giveaway Game

› Giveaway Ideas

Share Success Tips

Do you have a great exhibiting or marketing tip that enhanced your tradeshow results? Share it here! What works for you may help others. 
Click here >>