10 Tips for Making the Most of Promotional Incentives


Tradeshow incentives are promotional tools that are designed to help capture people’s attention and remember your brand after the show. According to a study conducted by the Promotional Products Association International, 88% of tradeshow attendees recalled the advertiser from a promotional product received within the last 12 months. In addition, brands that use wearables such as custom printed lanyards, t-shirts and caps are the most commonly recalled.

To help you select the best promotional swag, we’re sharing our top 10 tips for getting the most out of your tradeshow incentives:

1.    Entice attendees into your booth. Instead of handing out promotional items to passerby near the entrance of your booth, place them near the back of your exhibit. This entices attendees to actually enter your booth and gives you an opportunity to engage them in conversation.


2.    Think of promotional incentives as an investment in your brand. When you think of promotional items this way, it forces you to look at how they fit into your marketing campaign. The right incentives, used wisely, can help spread the word about your organization long after the tradeshow is over.


3.    Budget wisely. Tradeshow events are a great place to network, but they’re also a great place for attendees to stock up on a ton of free stuff. Giving away promotional items left and right can really cut into your budget. A good rule of thumb is to try to keep your spend between 5%-10% of your entire tradeshow budget when it comes to ordering promotional incentives.


4.    Distribute intelligently. Remember those freebie-seeking attendees we mentioned earlier? Segment your incentives based on the types of potential customers you’d like to engage. Use less expensive, branded items for those who are simply passing by your booth or doing a little window shopping. For potential leads, give them something a little more valuable as a thank you for engaging with you and perhaps providing you with their information.


5.    Determine the purpose of your giveaway. Consider how you’ll be using your promo incentives. Will they be used as part of your theme? As an educational tool for your audience? Do you want them to be something that is highly unique and memorable?  Once you know what purpose you want your promo incentives to serve, you’ll have a better handle on what to order.



promotional incentives motivate marketing


6.    Use incentives as a way to gather leads. Earlier, we spoke about distributing your promo giveaways intelligently and part of that plan was to use some of those items as a means to gather information from your prospects. In order to do so, you may want to invest in some higher priced items that hold more value and can be used as a reward for filling out a form or sitting through a demonstration.


7.    Focus on your clients. When it comes to selecting the right promotional products for your next tradeshow, it pays to focus on your clients. The more relevant the item is to your particular audience, the more likely they are to keep it for themselves and use it on a regular basis, helping them recall your brand when they need your product or service.


8.    Get on top of the trends. Many of the biggest trends these days focus on technology – think iPhone stands, chargers, adapters and earbuds. Trending items can be fun, offer a bit of novelty and can also be useful. However, it’s still important to know your audience before hitching a ride on the branded technology swag bandwagon.


9.    When in doubt, keep it useful. Unlike technology, useful promotional gifts such as custom woven lanyards, pens and t-shirts never go out of style. According to the PPAI “The main reason for keeping a promotional product is usefulness”. Offering something useful to your prospects is one way to make sure your brand won’t get left behind after the show.


10.  Become a contributor. In addition to offering your attendees useful, unique, custom designed promos, you could also consider leaving your mark by contributing to a charitable cause. Consider donating some funds to a local or industry related cause and you may also get some positive press for your efforts.


There’s no doubt about it – people love free stuff. And, promotional items are one of the best methods of getting people to your booth and staying on their radar long after the show is over and everyone has packed up and gone home. Knowing how, when and what to give away can help you stay within your budget and drive engagement both during and after the show. How does your organization use tradeshow incentives to drive engagement? Let us know in the comments below.


Posted on April 1, 2015 and filed under Promotional Incentives.