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.

Marketing expert 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.

Multi-colored pens

Pens are a popular giveaway for good reason. They’re useful and can be passed along (extending your influence). 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.

Business card magnet

Who doesn’t love magnets? A magnet is always handy for posting reminders on magnetic surfaces, like refrigerators and bulletin boards. Putting your business card on a magnet is a smart move because potential clients and customers will always know where to find your information. 

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.

Mr. Doney suggests trying a line such as “bring clarity to your marketing” (for a marketing agency) or a promotion like “visit [optical store] and you won’t need this magnifier anymore." You can even include an offer such as "Bring this in for 10% off your next pair of glasses.”

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.

There are countless other trade show giveaway ideas that can be customized. The key is to take time to analyze 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 below.

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

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