It takes a lot of time and energy to plan for trade shows.

Consider a few facts presented by Jefferson Davis from the Competitive Edge… The average trade show attendee will visit around 26 exhibitors. Additionally, it has been found that as many as 75% of exhibit visits are pre-planned.

The average marketing department of a company spends 20% of its yearly budget on trade shows, yet if you are not able to stand out among the ~26 booths that the average attendee will visit, is that money well spent? It can be, if you are giving the attendees a compelling reason to visit YOUR exhibit.

One big way to siphon trade-show attendees to your booth is to use a system of tiered-quality promotional giveaways.

  1. How many promotional items will you need for the show?

The number of items often depends on the size of the trade show. For large trade shows, say over 2-3 thousand attendees expected, many companies will plan for around 25% of attendees to walk by the booth and get a giveaway of some sort. For smaller and more intimate shows, many booths expect to give 70% + of the attendees some sort of handout. Be sure to take into account the size of your booth so that you have room to store your items.

  1. What types of promotional items should I giveaway and should I giveaway more than one product?

The types of promotional items that one gives away at a booth should depend on the TYPE of attendee that you are interacting with. We at USfastprint suggest that you rank your trade show attendees by level of interest or likelihood of becoming a lead or customer.

For attendees who show great interest in your products or brand, express intent to purchase, or have purchased from you before, hand out a “top tier” promotional item – something is more expensive and elegant and in the $5-10 price range. While you may purchase less of these top tier items for your trade show, you can make a lasting impression when you give these to attendees with the highest potential to be your customers in the future.


For attendees that show a moderate amount of interest, focus on handing out promotional items in the $1-2 dollar tier. This way, you are not spending too much money on attendees with a lower probability of becoming your future client, but at the same time, you are offering a quality giveaway that will still stand out.


For attendees that might just be stopping by for mere seconds, it might be a better idea to have lower-tier promotional items readily available – these can be under 50 cents per item. Have these items out on your booth’s table for easy access to easily promote your brand to the masses, and at the same time, you will not be breaking the bank marketing to lower probability leads/clients.


  1. Can I obtain information from the attendees in exchange for the giveaway item?

Yes, of course! Have your attendees interact with your booth in a fun way to extract information and give handouts. For example, let attendees sign up with their information to spin a prize wheel spinner for giveaways! Accessible options for people to input email addresses or phone numbers are Ipads or other tablets.

  1. Have your promotional giveaways be useful!

Make sure that your giveaway will allow the attendee to do a mundane task more easily or with more style. These are the types of promotional items that are best remembered because they are used most often.

Give away high quality bottle openers with your logo, so that the next time the attendee enjoys his or her favorite drink, your logo will be right there. Additionally, you could offer pens with styluses on top, so that each time your customer uses their smartphone, your brand will be right by their side.