The Best Trade Show Swag Ideas Of The Year

The Best Trade Show Swag Ideas Of The Year

The Best Trade Show Swag Ideas Of The Year

Trade shows offer a great opportunity to get your brand out there. The challenge? Every other company there has the same goal as you: to grab the attention of trade show attendees. One way you can set your booth apart is with some branded swag.

It's the norm to give out company swag during trade shows. But with so many other brands competing for customers' attention, how can you make your swag (and, in turn, the brand itself) stand out? What types of company swag would attendees actually want to bring home?

Keep on reading to find out. Today, we'll cover the top swag ideas for trade shows. We'll explain why this is not a topic you should overlook. You'll be well equipped to dominate your next trade show and actually get a return on your swag investment. Let's get started.

What are trade shows?

Trade shows, also known as trade fairs, are organized events where brands from a similar industry come to showcase their newest products and services, meet with other brands, and attract new customers.

During trade shows, it is common for brands to hold demonstrations, engage in discussions with customers and fellow brands, and--of course--give out company swag. Why is swag so important, though?

What is the importance of trade show swag?

Trade show giveaways are more than just giving out free stuff. Here are the biggest advantages of distributing company swag at trade shows and other similar events:

Brand visibility

One of the main goals of joining a trade show is to increase your brand's visibility among your target market. And since the average person can only remember so much during such an event, company swag serves as a physical reminder of your brand.

It's something they can go home with. Each and every time they put on that t-shirt, drink from that mug, or use that notepad branded with your logo - they'll be reminded of your business.

Sales opportunities

The company swag you give out at trade shows should include contact details. Be it an email, a social media handle, a contact number, a website, or a combination of all of these. This way, event attendees can easily explore your brand further after the event if you've managed to pique their interest. This is how you'll actually get a return on investment from your swag.

How To Make Your Trade Show Swag Stand Out

A trade show is like a competition. The prize is to have your brand etched into attendees' memory by the end of the day. The problem is: every other brand stand there has the same goal as you. So, how do you make your trade show swag stand out? Here are some tips to create memorable swag that produces results.


Swag itself has to be memorable, but trade show swag is even more so. Trade show attendees are going to get tons of stuff from the event. That said, you have to make sure that your products stand out from the rest, be it through design, novelty, or the uniqueness of the product itself.

Good designs

Any type of company swag has to be well-designed in order to be desirable. Ensuring good designs on all of your giveaways will make them more worthy of holding onto instead of ending up at the bottom of a drawer.


No one wants to take home junk. Some swag items have earned the unfortunate reputation of being 'throwaways'. Choose giveaway ideas that are practical; products that your customers will actually want to take home and put to good use.


Giving out unique trade show swag can be a hit or miss. Either your products can stand out from the rest or they can be too niche to be of any use to your customers. The key here is to strike out a balance. For example, if you want to go off the beaten path and give out branded tech accessories instead of the standard tumbler, choose a tech accessory that is suitable for your customer base.

Top Trade Show Swag Ideas For Your Next Networking Event

Here are some of the most popular trade show giveaway ideas that you can consider for the next event. From classic items like apparel and drinkware to some more out of the box examples, you can't go wrong with any of these swag ideas:


T-shirts, hats, hoodies, and other types of apparel are some of the most common products that companies give out at trade shows. Most people perceive these items as valuable, so it is unlikely that they will get thrown out after the event.


Tumblers, coffee mugs, and reusable water bottles are easy to carry, easy to produce, and score high on the practicality meter. Drinkware may not be unique, but people love this type of swag because they can use it daily.

Small accessories

Small accessories like keychains, bottle openers, and magnets are also common fare at trade shows. However, they might be considered as 'throwaways' if you skimp too much on quality. Nevertheless, they can make fun little gifts to add to higher-value products that you give out.

Tech accessories

Tech accessories are all the rage nowadays. Not only do customers perceive Bluetooth speakers, flash drives, and portable chargers as valuable, but these things are also likely to end up as permanent fixtures on your customers' desks.

Office supplies and desk accessories

A lot of people at trade shows are usually common working folk. With that in mind, giving out things that they can use at work is highly appreciated. This includes branded pens, notepads, journals, staplers, and other types of supplies.

Gift boxes

Give out gift boxes for VIP attendees and people who participate in your activities. Check out these Swag Packs that are sure to make your customers feel special and remember your brand for weeks to come.

Swag gift boxes are also a great idea if you have tons of sample products to distribute. This way, you can give people a small taste of all of your offerings in a single box.

Company samples

If you sell products, might as well give attendees samples to spark their interest in your brand. Sample-sized products will do the trick. But if you're feeling more generous, you can give out full-sized products as well. Best case scenario? People who receive your samples will purchase your products the next time around.

Best Ways to Use Company Swag At Trade Show Giveaways

Simply handing out free stuff at a trade show won't cut it. While you're gearing up for your next event, here are some important things to keep in mind about trade show giveaways:

Make it presentable

First things first, your trade show giveaways should be presentable. Every product should be neat, properly packaged, free of damage, and pleasing to the eye. It's best to inspect your trade show swag beforehand to prevent an instance of a customer receiving a subpar product when things get busy.

Have people feel like they've earned it

People tend to add value to something if they feel like they've earned it. With that in mind, consider holding activities at your brand stand where you give out prizes in the form of special company swag.

For example, you can ask customers fun trivia questions and give them a gift box if they get everything right (and a consolation prize if they don't). Or perhaps you can ask people to drop in their business cards for a raffle draw at the end of the event. With the right amount of creativity, the possibilities are endless.

Offer choices

Not everyone wants to take home everything you have to give out. Moreover, giving customers a choice of what they want can make your company swag more desirable. Consider this idea for your next trade show: layout all of the trade show giveaway options, then allow attendees to pick out the product that they want.

Similarly, if you're holding activities at your trade show booth, have attendees take their pick from your premium options to make them feel extra special for participating.

Pair with products

Your trade show giveaways become more interesting if your attendees can use them right then and there. For instance, if you're giving out drinkware, set up a drink station where people can fill up their gifts with free drinks. Or if you're giving out tote bags, offer snacks that they can fill their bags with.

Of course, make sure to read the trade show guidelines on edible offerings before you set anything up.

Offer bags

People are going to be carrying around products all day, so you want to make it easier for them. Offer tote bags or branded paper bags to everyone who passes through your booth. It'll make a good impression and become free marketing as well when people walk around carrying something with your company logo on it.

Trade Show Swag: What to Avoid

Any trade show giveaway can be a hit or miss--and you definitely don't want to miss at such an important event. Here are some tips to make sure your swag giveaway ideas are well recieved. When planning your next trade show giveaway, avoid these mistakes at all costs:

Cheap, low-quality products

You don't want event attendees to correlate cheap swag with your products, services, and your brand itself. That said, don't skimp on quality when it comes to company swag. If you're on a strict swag budget, it's better to limit the number of your products than to give out cheap, low-quality products.

Impractical products

Most conference attendees don't want to take home things that they won't actually use. And even if they do take impractical products home, it's not unlikely that they will trash them at some point.

When planning a trade show giveaway, pay attention to practicality more than novelty. For example, avoid things like branded pins (no one wears pins nowadays), gift cards to specific places (you can't be sure that everyone visits those places), and paperweights (these are simply obsolete).

Bulky items

Your company swag should be easy to carry. People are going to be walking around with these things all day; they don't want to take something bulky or heavy unless it's something expensive. Avoid things like pillows, large notebooks, giant chip bags, or anything else that you wouldn't want to carry around all-day

Items that are irrelevant to your brand

When creating or creating swag for any type of event, it should always be relevant to your brand. Otherwise, it won't make much sense--nor it would be memorable to event attendees.

Consider this example: What should a gourmet coffee company choose for a trade show giveaway? Option A: a coffee mug. Option B: a branded flash drive. Obviously, Option A is the best choice. Not only is it relevant to the brand, but it also makes it easier to remember the brand's products (gourmet coffee) every time they use the mug.

Nail Your Next Trade Show Giveaway With Swag Bar

Staying on top of the competition at trade shows is hard work. Make it easier with Swag Bar, where we make it easy to stand out amidst all the noise, make lasting impressions on your customers--and do it all at the right price. Businesses and organizations around the world trust us to help them build memorable, practical, high-quality marketing gift boxes. We can do the same for you.

At Swag Bar, you call the shots, and we make it happen. Customize your designs, browse through a plethora of high-quality products, or choose from our themed Swag Packs. Talk to us today and let's get started on your next trade show giveaways!