Whether it’s a random prize or a limited-time giveaway, there’s no denying that consumers love free stuff.

This psychological tendency extends to trade shows. While beautiful exhibition stands will always be the best way for your brand to engage with its target market, providing them with a bag of free goodies to take home can help keep your business at the forefront of their minds for months to come.

However, as most of us have experienced first hand, few organisations put much thought into their promo gear. The result? Instead of leaving with a strong impression of the brand, prospects go home with a broken pen and other thoughtless items that are no doubt destined for the back of the office stationery drawer.

Let’s take a look at a few ways you can ensure the contents of your trade show goody bags actually see the light of day:

1. Get creative

Differentiate your USB drives by manufacturing them in a shape that complements your brand's style.Differentiate your USB drives by manufacturing them in a shape that complements your brand’s style.

Business cards? Just more pieces of paper. Branded pens? Yawn. Magnets? We’re not in the 90s any more, folks – it’s time to get creative.

Tailor the contents of your goody bag to your industry. For example, if you’re in hospitality, a branded bottle opener might be a good starting point. Those operating in the tech world, on the other hand, may want to include USB sticks or mobile charging packs embossed with the company logo.

Ensure your prospects find the goody bags valuable.

2. Make it valuable

As Business Insider Australia pointed out, key consideration of a successful goody bag is the value of its contents. This doesn’t mean that it has to be expensive, but it does mean that people have to actually find it useful.

So, what should you be giving away at your trade show booth? Discount codes for industry-relevant stores, free service trial opportunities or particularly insightful information stored on a USB drive may increase the chance that the goody bag – and your brand – makes it out into the big bright world.

3. Keep it convenient

Trade shows are often day-long affairs, and people are are going to be walking around with armfuls of stuff for hours at a time.

Make things convenient for people by keeping the bags lightweight and easy to carry. If your prospects are travelling from out of town, ensure the goody bag will be easy to get through airport security. If they only have carry-on luggage, for example, they won’t be able to take liquids or sharp objects onto their flight and may end up abandoning the goody bag – along with your brand.