How much thought goes into what you’re giving away in your booth? If you’re like a lot of exhibitors, probably not nearly enough. So here are five questions you should be asking before you even think about ordering anything to be shipped to your next show.

  1. What best aligns with your goals and message for the show?

Perhaps you want to increase visibility or motivate sales. In the same way that goals are individual to each company who exhibits, so are the right give-away gifts. Simply because something is the hot gadget of the month and other exhibitors are handing it out doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right gift for you, or even that your audience will get excited about it, which brings us to …

  1. What will your audience appreciate or find most valuable?

There’s a significant difference between what will appeal to a group of teachers at an educational show vs. what attendees at a sports show might find useful. Always keep your audience in mind and select gifts they want and will use, it doesn’t have to be something that your staff finds clever. Exclusivity is key. You should also have different gifts for your VIP clients or “hot prospects,” than you do for a more general audience.

  1. How will you control distributing the gifts?

Piling items on a table is not usually conducive to your goal here. These carefully selected gifts should be given to attendees to say, “thank you” or reward them for spending time in your booth. Make them feel special by making it more of a presentation than an afterthought. You can also use a qualifying tool in your preliminary promotions by marking the invitations based on the rank of the prospect. The hotter the prospect, the better gift they will receive when they stop by the booth.

  1. Do you tell them what your giveaways are, or only hint at it?

The answer is…it depends. You could send out some kind of teaser that piques their curiosity and gets you on their ‘must-see’ list. Or you could outright tell them what they’ll be getting from you when they stop by your booth. The best answer here is simply to let them know that you’ve got a reward for them when they take time to come and meet with you at the show.

  1. How will you track the distribution of items and the ROI of the giveaway after the show?

Yes, you heard right. It’s not about handing out as many gifts as you can, as fast as you can. The point of giving anything away is to make an impression and ultimately to gain a customer. If you’re not tracking who gets the gifts, you don’t have any way to follow up. And if you’re not following up, you’re missing potential sales. So, use gifts to enhance your future success.