Trade show giveaways (aka freebies and swag) branded with the company logo and contact information can be effective advertising—but ONLY if the attendee uses them!
Pens, keychains, stress-relief balls, or lip balms are… fine, but lots of companies have those on hand. To outshine your competitors / put a smile on your prospects’ faces / you’ve got to think beyond the ordinary.
As a busy trade show magician, my job is to gather a crowd at my client’s booth, keep the crowd engaged, and ultimately, increase my client’s leads. Giveaways are just one tool in my arsenal, and I recommend them to everyone who wants to amplify their message.
Here are my favorite magic-themed giveaways:
(FYI: All giveaways listed below are detailed and demonstrated in this video. Give it a watch!)
1. Three-Card Monte
Three-Card Monte packs small and plays big. As you’ll see in my video, this is a classic magic trick that anyone can do. There’s plenty of room for branding, too. You can print your logo, website, slogan, or anything else you want on that card.
Here’s how it works. There are three cards: two black tens and a red five. The card in the middle is the winning card, and that’s the card you want them to pick. When they reach out and pick the middle card, they’ll discover that it IS the winning card… your company’s card!
Along with being a great trick, the Three-Card Monte is highly convenient because it packs small. You’ll get hundreds of these sent to you in a small box, straight to your hotel. Unlike larger giveaways, you’ll never have to worry about expensive shipping or drayage costs.
2. Rubik’s Cube in a Bottle
Let’s move on to a more expensive giveaway, perfect for VIPs or future VIPs whose business you’re trying to earn.
Every time I do a Rubik’s Cube magic trick at a trade show, I equate it to solving the customer’s problems. (“We can solve your problems just like we solve this Rubik’s Cube.”) This is an extension of that message.
I have a puzzle maker in Los Angeles who makes these by hand. This is a real cube actually stuck in a sealed bottle. It’s a unique conversation starter that instantly grabs people’s attention. And it’s not something your VIPs are going to throw away in the trash afterward; they’re going to display it on their desk and if you get it branded, you’ll stay top of mind long after the trade show is over.
A keepsake of this caliber will remind your VIPs and prospects of the fun they had at your booth, ensuring that your company message sticks with them as well.
At $100 apiece, Rubik’s Cube in a Bottle is pricey, but in my opinion they’re worth every penny. Most giveaways end up in the trash, or fall apart within a few months. This is a giveaway that will last for years. Save it for your best VIPs.
3. Simple Postcard Magic Trick
This is the least expensive giveaway I’ve ever created. It’s an easily printed postcard that packs a magical punch! I created this for one of my first trade show clients over 10 years ago. The giveaway is really simple and comes with instructions and a paper clip.
Check out the video above to see the trick. Essentially, you’ve got five cards and what the customer needs to do is take the paper clip and place it in the middle card, the King of Hearts. They can’t look at the backside of the card when they do it, but it will seem obvious where the middle section is—they’ll feel confident they’ve placed the paperclip correctly.
But when I turn it around, I reveal they were actually significantly off and that’s OK—in fact it’s BETTER than OK, because, “When we want to find exactly what we’re looking for, we need to talk to the good people at XYZ company.”
It’s a fun little giveaway they can re-use to amaze their friends and family after they’ve gone home.
4. Custom Deck of Cards
We’ve saved the most versatile giveaway for last: a custom deck of cards.
Branded playing cards can feature your company logo on the backs, and on the custom tuck case. You could also customize the Jokers, or choose colors to match your branding. Depending on customization and the optional use of gold foil, etc., these decks can have a HUGE range in price, which allows you to keep your options open.
There are many companies that make custom decks of cards, but the best, BY FAR, is the United States Playing Card Company. The USPC was founded in 1867 and they make the casino cards for all the major Las Vegas casinos. You know them as the makers of Bicycle Playing Cards.
Their highest quality custom cards require a 1000 minimum order, but at that quantity, the prices are very reasonable per deck, and you can give them away for YEARS. They’re durable and extremely high quality; they don’t spoil, they don’t go bad, and they’ll never go out of style. Custom decks are a useful memento that trade show visitors will appreciate and use.
The WHY of Branded Trade Show Giveaways
In the end, the purpose of giveaway should be threefold: 1) reward booth visitors and strengthen existing customer relationships, 2) increase your leads by giving prospects a reason to have their badge scanned, 3) provide something of value they can use in real life, which will keep you and your company top of mind long after the convention is over.
Stay tuned for an in-depth article on my favorite non-magical trade show giveaways.
Questions? Send me an e-mail or give me a call. I’m always happy to discuss how trade shows and magic are a match made in marketing heaven.
See you in the exhibit hall!