It’s no secret that event attendees love freebies. Event planners all over the world know this, as do the clients they’re planning for.
People liking free stuff is all well and good, but do freebies present any form of benefit to the companies giving them away?
To go along with the many different types of event you can hold, there is also various methods and reasons for giving away free stuff.
Doing so can be highly beneficial, but only if you do it right.
Many factors come into play, like the event, the target audience, the desired goal for the freebie, and the item itself. All these aspects need to be fully considered to fully optimise your freebie efforts.
Where possible, you should be including your branding on the items you are giving out, either in the form of company colours or logos. This keeps your name in their mind, and they will associate that item with you every time they see or use it.
Giving away items at a trade show can help boost traffic to your stand as people will be curious about what you have to offer.
At exclusive invite-only events, giving your guests personalised items increases the chance of them sharing the items with their friends and connections. Either include their name on the items or simply choose things that suit their likes and interests. This tactic is especially popular for events involving social influencers.
Quality is always key with freebies. Attendees will be able to tell if something is cheap, or cheaply made, so make sure whatever you choose is up to scratch. Remember also to align the items you pick with your marketing and event goals, and the type of event you are hosting.
Oh! And one last reminder:
Be sure to whet your attendees’ appetite for your high-quality freebies. Show them what’s up for grabs using your event website, social media updates, and marketing emails.
Choosing the items that you’re going to give away can be daunting when you get down to it. There are endless possibilities and many popular item choices.
The humble pen is a firm favourite, however, if you want to make an impact, you need to think outside the box.
Here are 18 ideas for all different types of events that you can use to grab your attendees attention.
Phones are getting bigger and bigger, and for some, they become quite difficult to hold with one hand.
The elastic strap is attached to the back of the phone, then the user slips their fingers underneath the strap and voila! Holding your phone one-handed just became a whole lot easier!
These are cost effective freebies that make phone use easier for your attendees, meaning they can spend more time updating their Snapchat story or using your event app!
In the digital age, everyone is constantly on their phones, and this is no different for your attendees. If you want them to create a social buzz around your event or event stand, they’ll need power for their phones to film that Instagram story or tweet that #hashtag.
This is an item that is almost guaranteed to be used multiple times even after your event is over, so have your logo printed on them or choose brand matching colours.
Power banks would warrant a higher investment, so would be ideal for exclusive or high ticket events to help offset the cost, but also add value to the attendee.
Many people listen to podcasts or music on their phones or iPods while driving, and these handy devices make them readily available for motorists.
You can choose between simple, cheaper options as goodie bag fillers, or invest a little more by including company branding and colours.
This item matches up well with a younger audience, or those interested in or involved with the music or tech scene.
Many people use wireless or portable speakers around their homes, at events, or on holidays.
A speaker would make a great high-value gift, especially paired with a power bank to ensure a full charge on the go.
In contrast, in-ear headphones can suit various budgets either as a goodie bag filler or a higher ticket gift.
Keep in mind the fact that Apple ditched the headphone jack in the iPhone 7, so consider whether you should choose a wireless in-ear option instead.
If you want a fancier gift, switch to trendy traditional headphones, either wired or wireless, as these are becoming very popular with the public.
A well-known option, the tote bag can be powerful when used right.
At The Photography Show NEC Birmingham in 2016, optics and imaging company Nikon supplied visitors to their stand with a bright yellow and black tote bag, matching their company colours.
At this trade show, vendors give out hundreds of catalogues and leaflets, meaning attendees gain a lot of paper to carry around.
The tote Nikon supplied was just the right size to fit all this paper in, with handles long enough to sling it over your shoulder. It wasn’t long before every other attendee was carrying all their trade show handouts in a Nikon bag.
This example was bright and grabbed attention, but it still looked good.
Lock onto the needs of those at your event. Are they also going to be carrying around a lot of extra stuff? Supplying a trendy tote bag for them to use will help increase your brand visibility.
Sourcing ethically made bags does wonders for your company's public perception, and in countries that charge for plastic bags, the trusty tote bag becomes a handy post-event gift!
Another popular option, customised clothing can be a great freebie.
There are various ways you can go about using clothing, from choosing the right item to match your location’s climate, to getting smart with your branding and message.
For example, if your brand has a logo that is still relevant without the slogan, take inspiration from clothing brand Cheap Monday. They sell t-shirts with their logo printed large on the front with their wording removed. It screams Cheap Monday, but only at people who know what the logo is. To others, it just looks like a cool skull design.
Another example is social influencers Anna ‘The Anna Edit’, and Lily Pebbles collaboration with Look Good Feel Better. Together they created jumpers with a catchy hashtag and slogan printed on the front.
Although the jumpers are in support of the charity, the writing on them extends their shelf life ten fold. Can you include a slogan that matches your event?
The key to successful customised clothing is to create something that people will want to wear, even after your event is over.
Notebooks have the potential to be carried around and used long after your event is over.
The trick is in what you print on the front of your notebooks.
Inspirational or motivational quotes are a firm favourite, and if you can tie them into the theme of your event, brand, or note taking in general, you significantly increase the chance of people using them.
Photographic product supplier 3XM gave out free notebooks at one of their social media marketing conferences in 2016. The point of the event was to teach both current and potential clients how to market themselves.
During the talks, it was encouraged that attendees take notes, so they supplied notebooks for this. On the front was their company name, followed by ‘Great Ideas and Cunning Plans”.
This quote tied in cleverly with the topic of the conference, as well as setting the notebooks up to be used many months after.
With their company logo printed on the front, there would be a constant subtle reminder to people about them.
These notebooks were also high quality, hardback, and lined. Good quality will also encourage attendees to use them.
Similar to notebooks, diaries are another useful freebie.
These are well suited to events that target business owners, planners, or organisers who are likely to have very hectic schedules to keep on top of.
Quality and portability will be crucial to make the diary more likely to be used and increase its perceived value.
Add a catchy phrase to the front relating to meetings, appointments, or busy lifestyles to make it more interesting. Don’t forget to also include your company name or logo to keep you constantly in the person’s mind.
Try tying this freebie in with events in the lead up to the new year, or new financial year when people will be looking for a new diary.
We are always being encouraged to drink more water, with the recommended amount being six to eight glasses a day. However, when you’re on the go, this can be hard to achieve.
Water bottles are a brilliant reusable freebie, and if you provide a high-quality version, attendees can use them for a long time.
They can also be matched to most companies and branding, at a variety of price points, making them an incredibly accessible freebie.
Include functionality by making the water bottles clear so the user can see how much water is inside, or a handle.
Don’t forget to brand them too!
You can cater bottle opener designs can to your target audience. For example, if your target clientele is tradesmen, you could give away spanner shaped bottle openers.
Or if your target audience is into wrestling, try a design like a Luchador bottle opener from Kikkerland Design.
These can make a fun freebie to put a smile on your attendee’s faces. Do bear in mind the age of your target audience, their situation, and the country they’re in. There isn’t much point in giving a bottle opener to expecting Mothers.
Let’s face it; most people love drinking coffee. If they don’t drink coffee, they drink tea, and if they don’t drink tea, they drink hot chocolate.
This freebie can suit a broad range of people as hot drinks are widely appreciated.
Make them fun with cool patterns, brand-related colours, or catchy drinks related phrases. Alternatively, go the eco-friendly route with carefully considered materials and show attendees that you are environmentally conscious.
We know that a significant portion of the population love hot drinks, so giving them the ability to create beverages closer to coffee shop standard will be a plus for many.
A handheld milk frother makes a brilliant goody bag addition for all different types of events.
Pair it with a reusable coffee cup to create a carefully considered and useful freebie duo.
What is the likelihood that your attendees will be travelling at some point in the immediate or distant future? In most cases, it will be high.
We now carry an increasing amount of tech with us when we travel; phones, cameras, iPads, and so on. They all require cables and chargers, and suddenly you’ve got a mess of wires tangled up in your luggage.
A cable organiser is a genius way to keep cords neat and easy to access. Many also include pockets and sleeves for memory cards and batteries.
These can be suited to various budgets by opting for cloth or more heavy duty versions.
As always, think about the colours and whether you can include your logo and branding on the front.
Events can be stressful for many people involved, including the attendees. Big trade shows mean hours spent on your feet walking between stands.
Encourage relaxation with free bath salts, bubble bath, or even bath bombs. People will appreciate the excuse to chill out and unwind after a busy day.
If your company is all about making a process or task easier, or you supply a luxury experience or product, inspiring relaxation and pampering will be well suited.
Again, think about choosing brand matching colours and printing logos on the packaging.
Bear in mind skin sensitivity and consider including soothing ingredients like honey or aloe vera.
Lavender is also great for encouraging relaxation and a good night's sleep.