Trade Show Giveaways Under $1: Brand Awareness on a Budget

Planning a budget for a trade show is stressful because you need to see a decent return on your investment. ...
Natalie Kienzle
September 6, 2022
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Looking at trade show giveaways under $1 doesn’t make you cheap - it makes you thrifty and market conscious. Like many businesses dealing with the rapid rise in inflation, your marketing budget has probably been cut down. That means the money you do have for events like trade shows needs to stretch further than ever while remaining effective. 

The U.S. Department of Labor released the latest Consumer Price Index in July of 2022 which revealed the majority of items had increased 8.5% in price in the last year. With trade shows finally resuming, companies can stretch their marketing budget by focusing on choosing affordable promo items meant to suit the audience.

Find ways to stretch your spending budget for trade show needs and check out great giveaways for under $1 that can still get your brand noticed. 

sales representative reviewing brochure information with interested person

Trade Show Giveaways Under $1: Why It’s Good for Business

There was a time you might have been able to roll out the red carpet of swag for trade show attendees. From mini desk vacuums to bamboo cheeseboards - your table had the best of the best. Well, times have changed and the fancy cheeseboard budget was slashed by rising inflation. 

Uncertain economic times call for ways to save money, but you still have an obligation to generate leads and bring in new business. Trade shows remain a great option for new and longstanding businesses to promote their brand and services. 

Whether by choice or need, refocusing your attention on inexpensive promotional items allows both money and focus to stay on developing your business services. When people do give you a call because they found that cheap bottle opener you handed out last show, you can have a quality product and service to show for it. 

How a company spends its budget is going to have a greater impact long term. Marketing is a must, but consider other important things your business needs to develop. 

Business Spending Statistics

Average percentage of revenue companies spend on marketing9.5%
Percentage of Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) who believe their teams lack sales closing skills58%
Average percentage of business revenue funneled back into employee wages and salaries40 - 80%
Estimated change in shipping costs since the beginning of the pandemic. 300%
Expected increase in IT spending for business costs, such as supporting remote workers8.6%
Source: Concur.com

No matter how you look at business expenses, costs are on the rise for everything from benefits to keeping the lights on. Marketing is necessary, but with most company marketing budgets still at pre-pandemic levels, it’s important to put funds where they will do their best. 

Trade shows, while proven to be a good source for sales leads, can quickly become a money pit. With so many CMOs worried about the lack of closing skills within their marketing teams, the money from fancy swag might be better put to use in developing and training your sales and marketing force. 

No amount of fancy swag ever sold company product - your people need to be at their best to showcase the best to every customer that comes by.

Being able to start meaningful and engaging conversations is a skill all trade show reps should acquire.  

trade show giveaways under $1 mini magnet calendar on refrigerator

Can A $1 Item Really Help My Business?

If money is so tight, why not skip the cheap promotional items altogether and use the funds and production time for other things? You don’t skip the trade show because you don’t want to lose out on developing brand awareness and the potential profit that results. 

Used effectively, a promotional giveaway has the ability to generate leads both during and after a trade show. The trick is to know your audience and choose products accordingly. 

The goals associated with promotional products are the same regardless of how much it costs

  • Increase foot traffic to your display booth
  • Make your brand memorable and raise overall awareness 
  • Improve company image
  • Retained by attendees to spread beyond the trade show

Accomplishing these goals with items that cost less than a dollar is marketing at its finest.  

Good for the Show

Before you begin the order process for your budget-friendly customs print items, take a moment to consider the kind of trade show your company attends. Raising brand awareness with cheap promos is all about using the right promos with the right audience

Choosing well means knowing your location and your audience well. Details that you should examine more closely include:

  • Industry
  • Location
  • Indoor vs outdoor venue
  • Season
  • Expected attendance

A nail file and a mini tape measure can each be ordered in bulk for less than a dollar. However, you may not want to use them for the same industries. An expo of fashion and make-up might be a better place for the nail file versus some sort of construction or hardware industry show. 

The top list of trade shows by industry can be found here in our comprehensive guide. 

If you don’t want to focus on the industry so much, consider small items that meet attendee needs right there at the show. Attendees will have slightly different needs between summer and winter expos, even in the most temperate parts of the country. 

Likewise, shows that take place outdoors can put attendees at greater risk of weather changes. Something as simple as a hand fan can keep attendees comfortable enough to stay talking with engaging representatives. 

These may include items such as:

  • Mini tissue packets
  • Lip balms
  • Stadium cups or plastic water bottles
  • Hand fans
  • Plastic tote bags

Some of these items may not last too far beyond the show itself, but if they are inexpensive and useful enough, you can easily flood the trade show floor with them and get more traffic directed your way. Traffic to your booth means your sales reps are kept busy talking with participants and generating leads

Check out our article on how to generate and manage leads to really get your investment back. 

Either way, always keep your Return on Investment (ROI) in mind. Whatever money you put in, you want to generate a realistic potential of earning it back. When everything costs more than it did a year ago, as revealed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, getting people to spend money on your company comes down to your people.   

Leads Beyond the Convention

Another common reason that attendees like swag at trade shows are for the overall usefulness of an item. Any item that survives the event itself and makes it into homes, cars, and offices has the potential to generate a lead even months or years after an event has taken place. 

While you may assume that a long-lasting item needs to be something more costly, like a ceramic mug or t-shirts, but that just isn’t the case. 

Simple but useful items that make their way home include:

  • Webcam covers
  • Bottle opener key rings
  • Magnet calendars
  • Letter openers
  • Sticky note pads
  • Jar openers
  • Flexible key tags

While some of these items, like calendars and sticky note pads, do eventually outlive their usefulness, they tend to be in open places where they can be easily seen and accessed. 

Items like letter openers or webcam covers might stay in use for years so long as they continue to perform their basic functions. As long as the item is out there - so is your brand and with it, the potential to generate leads leading to income. 

USA Trade Show Shipping: A Swag Savvy Business Partner

Whatever your budget for the next trade show may be, you can choose to stretch it a little further with smart spending. Trade show giveaways under $1 can make just as big of an impact when it comes to getting your brand noticed. 

Of course, you still need to get there on time and with your merchandise intact - which is where USA Trade Show Shipping can help. No matter where your venue is taking place, from Vegas to Miami and beyond, we have the means and the expertise to get you and your items in place. 

Among our value added services we offer:

  • Crate and pack service
  • Refrigerated Trailers
  • Setup and breakdown Service
  • And More!

Get ready to showcase the best of your business and trust USA Truckload Shipping to get you there on time with everything you need. 

Just give us a call at (866) 415-8986 to speak with a representative directly or request an online quote today

Need help shipping your trade show booth and materials? Fill out a short form or give us a call and one of our trade show specialists will answer your questions.

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