20+ Trade Show Giveaway Ideas to Attract and Impress Your Audience

May 30, 2023

Discover the best trade show giveaway ideas for your audience, custom message, and budget.

Choosing the Right Trade Show Giveaway

When it comes to trade show giveaway ideas that will leave your audience members raving, not just any swag will do! Even companies on a tight budget can deliver quality swag that their attendees will appreciate. So, when it comes down to brainstorming popular or unique trade show giveaways, you’ll want to consider these three factors. 

1. Understanding Your Audience

If you’re in the midst of planning your conference or tradeshow, chances are you have a great idea of your target audience, or at least those you are wanting to market to. The same general guidelines apply to your promotional products. 

Thinking through factors such as gender, age, hobbies, passions, and careers as it relates to your audience is a great start. For example, if your audience consists of both men and women, you may choose branded hats, office supplies, or bags, that are available in one-size-fits-most options with more universal designs.  

You will also want to consider what your audience is investing to attend your event. From their method of transportation and possible hotel stays to any extra meals they will need to purchase, this should be factored into your swag allowance. While your trade show is most likely providing them with a convenient place to learn new industry standards, immerse themself in training or new products and services, and more, having something to remember to take home after the event is through offers a tangible way for them to remember their experience. 

In addition, you will want to think through your company’s industry, products or services offered, and any shared values, similar to how you would choose corporate gifts for events. By choosing items that align with both your audience and your company’s culture, you can better reinforce what your company is committed to. For example, sustainable items will leave a lasting impression as opposed to single-use items.

2. Align With Your Brand and Messaging

A big perk of swag (aka, Stuff We All Get) is customization. By adding your logo and color pallete, you can help reinforce your brand identity and, with the right sustainable swag picks, market to new audiences. 

However, if your swag and branding do not match the rest of your company's collateral, it immediately takes away from your investment. This could be because your brand colors don’t match your logo, the wrong font is used, or your design doesn’t fit the customization area. Likewise, if your product doesn’t align with your branding, your message is instantly watered down. For example, you’re hosting a health and fitness trade show and your swag includes high-calorie goodies and nutritional value. 

3. Consider the Costs And Logistics of Your Intended Merch. 

Thinking through how your swag will get to its intended resting place is important for both you and your audience. You’ll want durable items that can be transported easily to your tradeshow so they can be given to your recipients without the fear of breaking. Likewise, if your promotional giveaways are intended to go home with your audience, you’ll want to make sure it can handle that trip as well. 

Choosing items that are lightweight like custom apparel, stickers, pens, and notepads, easy to carry around throughout your conference, like branded totes and reusable bags, and are durable and can be used right away, like custom drinkware that offer a sustainable practical gift, you can create the best trade show giveaways that are memorable and will also fit in your suitcases for their return home. 

4 Types of Trade Show Giveaways

While it may feel a bit overwhelming with the endless trade show giveaway ideas on the market, you can help narrow down your list by focusing on products in these four categories. And, if you’re budget allows, you can even choose complementing items from multiple categories for the most brand exposure. 

1. Practical Items

While it may seem like an obvious choice to choose promotional products that are practical, it’s definitely worth highlighting. This especially holds true when it comes to seasonal items. Because many companies can plan for their conference a year or more in advance, remembering what season their attendees will receive the items as opposed to when they are ordered could save you from gifting custom beanies in the summer, or personalized visors and custom eyewear in the winter. 

In addition, by thinking through logistics, like mentioned above, as well as sustainability, you can better ensure your trade show giveaways ideas deliver convenience while making a great impression on your recipient. Practical items make ideal swag for virtual events.  


2. Edible Items

Looking for unique trade show giveaways that won’t blow your budget? Tasty consumables can make some of the best trade show giveaways when done right. By being selective of the types of snacks or treats you choose and adding a custom wrapper or card, you can create satisfying and inexpensive swag.  

Edible items are also great for complementing other promotional products for a special swag kit that’s tasty and memorable. 

3. Wearables

For companies really looking to increase their brand exposure, custom apparel, and wearable accessories always make the best trade show giveaway ideas.  

For unforgettable wearable items think custom tees and tanks,  branded hoodies, and sweatshirts, personalized jackets, and accessories with your logo like glasses, caps, socks, scarves, and the like.   

4. Fun items and games

For unique trade show giveaways that are sure to bring smiles, you can’t go wrong with custom puzzles, dice, frisbees, yoyo, and other games. Games can also be as conversation starters and even make a great swag for tech conferences. Talk to your Gemnote rep for ideas on how you can best customize these promotional products.  

Unique trade show giveaway ideas for your next event


Apparel always tops tradeshow giveaway ideas for its sustainability and endless customization options. While you will need to think through multiple options, like colors, sizes, and gender, generic styling can help you keep your order variants to a minimum. 

1. Custom Socks

For event giveaways that offer limited sizes and can be made for both men and women, socks are an everyday essential that everyone wears. Thinking of making socks for your next tradeshow giveaways? You can’t go wrong with the simple styling of crew socks and a double logo! 

Photo courtesy of A24 Films; Shown: A24 Films Grey Sport Socks

2. Custom Tee

For ultimate marketing props, choose trade show swag ideas that market your logo long after the event is through. Tee shirts make a popular choice thanks to their versatility and styling options. 

In addition, when you choose features like incredibly soft fabrics and a cool design, you have trade show giveaways that your recipient will use again and again. 

Photo courtesy of Mad Happy; Shown: Winter Outdoors Tee 

3. Custom Long Sleeve Tee

More great trade show giveaways under $100 include long sleeve tees, which are also a universal option for your trade show giveaways are long sleeve tees. 

Photo courtesy of Bon Appetite; Shown: The 6 ½-Minute Egg Shirt


When it comes to a trade show promotional item that’s versatile and can be branded with your company logo, customized hats, caps, and beanies are a universal favorite.  

4. Custom Nylon Cap

For trending giveaway items you may want to consider a lightweight, quick-drying surf hat to help your recipients keep their cool.  Perfect for customizing, nylon hats can be purchased in a wide range of colors. In addition, you will have many customization options including embroidery, patches, labels, screen prints, and more. 

Shown: Surf Hat by AS Colour 

5. Custom Dad Hat 

Hats can also be categorized as sustainable trade show giveaways, thanks to their versatility and usability. 

Photo courtesy of Mad Happy; Shown: Classic Dad Hat

6. Bucket Hat 

Hosting your tradeshow in the spring or summer months? For cool giveaway ideas that help combat the heat, consider a trendy bucket hat. In addition to being a fun-to-customize swag style that’s on trend and in demand,  it is another great option that can help to protect against the sun's harmful rays. They also make excellent promotional giveaways for companies that are looking for an on-trend option for their audiences.   


Shown: Baggu Bucket Hat

Office Supplies

While these unique trade show giveaways may cost less, they don’t skimp out on the details, and still provide the customization you want.

7. Custom Stickers 

There is no end to the options companies have for creating custom stickers. In addition to promoting your company logo, they are a fun way for recipients to accessorize laptops and water tumblers.  

Photo courtesy of Only NY and A24 Films; Shown: Custom Stickers 

8. Custom Enamel Pin

Another affordable tradeshow giveaway: pins! Enamel pins are a fun way to tell your customers or prospects that you’re sticking around to serve them! Plus, when it comes to custom swag packs, enamel pins are an affordable add-in. 

Shown: Poketo Enamel Pin

9. Cheap Giveaway Idea: Custom Sharpies

For promotional products that your attendees can use for name tags and the like, plus continue using them long after the event, custom Sharpies make memorable swag! Talk to your Gemnote rep for the best options!

Photo courtesy of Aimé Leon Dore; Shown: Custom Aimé Leon Dore Sharpies

Gift Giveaway Ideas: Accessories

For cheap trade show giveaways that won’t be tossed away, these customizable accessories offer useful practicality.  

10. Custom Keychain

Keychains like any other product, have their moment with trends, and the hotel keychain is no different. Talk to your Gemnote rep for more ideas like this one for unique trade show giveaways.    

Custom Hotel Keychain

11. Custom Match Boxes

Custom matchboxes are ideal for distributing in your marketplace. With a retro vibe, they are a practical gift with a plethora of ways to make it your own. 

Shown: Ritual Matches

12. Custom Scrunchies 

If you haven’t heard, the scrunchie hair tie is back, and as in-demand as ever. Best of all, companies with a tradeshow audience that consists mostly of women will love that this practical and colorful swag item is also extremely affordable!

Photo courtesy of Glossier; Shown: Scrunchie Duo

13. Custom Washbag 

Another favorite among giveaways are accessories that help keep items, nice, neat, and organized. Kind of like the washbag below that cam be customized in your brand’s color palette.  

Shown: Custom Accessory Bag 

Trade Show Swag: Bags

Reusable tote bags are ideal for standing out in a crowded marketplace. Whether it’s your tradeshow or you are a vendor,  giving your attendees a way to hold their swag and other training materials is a terrific—and affordable—idea!

14. Custom Duffel Bag

A custom duffel or gym bag makes an ideal giveaway for your recipients. For gym wear, office essentials, and even weekend getaways, it’s a branded fave that also acts as a marketing vehicle for your brand, going everywhere your recipient does. 

Photo courtesy of A24 Films; Shown: Online Ceramics x X Pearl Duffle

15. Reusable Bag

Like the idea of seeing your company's tradeshow attendees in a crowded marketplace all decked out with your logo? Then a reusable custom bag for brand exposure is just what you need!

Shown: The Standard Baggu

16. Reusable Tote Bags

If sustainability is important to your company, choose a reusable bag like this one that is made from 100% reusable polyester.  

Photo courtesy of Bon Appetit; Shown: The Tinned Fish Tote

17. Coin Pouch

A classic pouch makes for easy and unique tradeshow giveaways for in person and virtual attendees. 

Photo courtesy of OnlyNY; Shown: Only NY x Manhattan Portage Coin Pouch

Sustainable Tradeshow Giveaways: Drinkware

Reusable bottles and tumblers continue to be popular option for sustainable trade show giveaways. Especially if you consider how many single-use water bottles could end up being tossed throughout the day by attendees, staff, and vendors. 

18. Custom Water Bottle

Love the design on this water bottle from The New Yorker. The options are endless when you choose to customize a Nalgene water bottle. Plus, with a plethora of bottle colors, silhouettes, and sizes, finding your best giveaway ideas is a breeze. 

Photo courtesy of The New Yorker; Shown: Cari Vander Yacht’s Dept. of Hydration Water Bottle by The New Yorker

19. Custom Tumblers

In addition to cutting out single use plastic bottles, a large insulated tumbler can keep your recipients comfortable and hydrated with a custom gift they can use long after the event.

Photo courtesy of Urban Outfitters; Shown: Stanley IceFlow 22 oz Flip Straw Tumbler

20. Travel Mugs

You can’t go wrong with a travel mug like this one from Miir. As far as the best tradeshow giveaways go, a tumbler is perfect for sipping on commutes to the office, on weekends, and throughout the day.  

Shown: Miir 360 Traveler

Cheap Giveaway Ideas: Snacks

Consumables like snacks offer cheap trade show giveaways that are always a win. Perfect for keeping your attendees from getting hangry between sessions.  

21. Healthy Snacks

Healthy snacks are perfect for trade shows and conferences centered around the health and wellness industries, but definitely aren’t limited to them! 

Shown: Sun & Swell Organic Dried Mangos

22. Custom Chocolate 

An easy way to impress your attendees with unique tradeshow giveaways: think quality chocolate! 


Shown: Ritual Chocolate Mid Mountain Blend

23. Custom Candy 

Keep your attendees going between meals with swag that satisfies their sweet tooth! 

Shown: California Gummy Bears in Tangerine Tango

3 Metrics to measure trade show giveaway success

While there are several ways you can measure the success of your trade show giveaways ideas, including feedback from tradeshows and applicable sales, three popular metrics include booth traffic, lead generation, and brand recognition. 

1. Trade Show Booth Traffic

Use methods to track the number of people visiting your booth. Whether you do this by counting foot traffic manually or by utilizing technology like RFID badges, is up to you. Just remember to include the number of visitors over specific time intervals, such as each day or hour.

2. Lead generation

Set up lead generation methods that will allow you to gather information from booth visitors who are interested in your promotional products. This may include collecting business cards, using lead capture software, scanning badges, or conducting on-site surveys.

You can also keep a running tally of the leads acquired at the trade show by comparing each lead source, such as specific custom promotional products or offers, to determine which ones are most effective in generating leads.

3. Brand recognition

The best trade show giveaways should increase your brand exposure and your brand recognition. By choosing items that are practical and align with your brand identity, you can distribute them strategically to maximize exposure and increase the likelihood of attendees using them long after the event is through. 

As a metric, companies can analyze their website traffic and search engine data to identify any spikes or increases in visits and searches related to your brand during or after the trade show. This suggests that attendees were motivated to learn more about your brand after encountering your swag items.

Trade show giveaway swag inspiration is a click away!

Whether you browse their lookbook, or reach out to a Gemnote rep, Gemnote can help you create your ultimate tradeshow swag right away! Plus, when it comes to handling all the details, from design, development, sourcing, and production to packaging, sustainability, kitting, and warehousing, they are your one-stop shop!

Browse Gemnote’s popular event swag for your next tradeshow!

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