Subscribe -- FREE!
Shel Horowitz's monthly Clean and Green Newsletter
Receive these exciting bonuses: Seven Tips to Gain Marketing Traction as a Green Guerrilla plus Seven Weeks to a Greener Business
( Privacy Policy )

Shel Horowitz's Monthly Frugal Fun Tip

How to Work a Trade Show for the Freebies

This is a couple of days late because I just got back from Chicago, where I scarfed up about a dozen brand new books, ate lunches and dinners for free on the show floor, prowled around on a free commuter train pass - and averaged all of $14.81 a day for food, lodging, and ground transportation. That would have been even lower, but on Saturday, I joined friends in a restaurant not of my choosing (I spent $13 vs. the average of $30) - and had to factor in a couple of short cab rides, including home from the restaurant. If I subtract Saturday, I spent only $10.95 per day.

Over the years, I've acquired numerous goodies at trade shows: At least 20 shirts... my warmest winter sweatshirt... hats... umbrellas... books, magazines, CDs, tapes... free trial advertising... software... refrigerator magnets... literally hundreds of pens (haven't bought one in many years)... all sorts of goodies to eat right then and there, from gourmet chocolates to - I kid you not! - matza blintzes. None of this cost me a cent; they were all freely given. Then, of course, there are the discounts on things I was going to buy anyway. "Show specials" are a great way to lower costs on all manner of things.

Show admission can range from zero to several hundred dollars - but I find there are enough shows with free or cheap admission to keep me happy! Actually, all the shows I go to are shows that are helpful in my business, so I don't mind spending a small amount to get in. Still, often it's possible to get in for free. either cover the event as a journalist or volunteer in someone's booth for a few hours.

Freebies come in a few different types;
* Free to all: there's a big display in the front of the booth and you just reach in and grab one (um hmmm, just one; don't be greedy, either!)
* Free to a select few: when I walk the aisles wearing a press badge, people often thrust samples at me - without even bothering to find out if the publication I'm writing for would want it. (Who am I to object? Well, it has to be interesting and worth the weight - I just turned down two large hardback mystery novels, brand new, autographed by the author - they were too big and I don't care much for mysteries)
* Given away in a drawing (enter as late as possible, fold your entry distinctively, or use a non-standard form, bright marker, or other way of bettering your chances)
* Given away to enthusiastic audience members during a product demo - cheer loudly, raise your hand quickly and often, show lots of excitement - or just ask quietly, between demos, if you could have one)
* Free to everyone who sits through a product demo: your feet will be tired anyway, so enjoy the demo as a chance to relax.

Return to the Frugal Fun Tips Archives
Preview Shel Horowitz's Penny Pinching Hedonist: How to Live Like Royalty with a Peasant's Pocketbook a 280-page e-book that shows you how to save a big pile of money on travel, dining, entertainment, recreation, and all sorts of other fun.
This article originally appeared in Shel Horowitz's Monthly Frugal Fun Tips. Please click here for your free subscription.

Share this article/site with a Friend

Bookmark Us

Many of the 1,000+ articles on Frugal Fun and Frugal Marketing have been gathered into magazines. If you'd like to read more great content on these topics, please click on the name of the magazine you'd like to visit.

Ethics Articles - Down to Business Magazine - Frugal & Fashionable Living Magazine
Global Travel Review - Global Arts Review - Peace & Politics Magazine
Frugal Marketing Tips - Frugal Fun Tips - Positive Power of Principled Profit

Clean and Green Marketing

Our Privacy Policy

Disclosures of Material Connections:
  • Some of the links on our site and items in our newsletters are sponsored ads or affiliate links. This financial support allows us to bring you the consistent high quality of information and constant flow of new content. Please thank our advertisers if you do business with them.
  • As is the case for most professional reviewers, many of the books I review on this site have been provided by the publisher or author, at no cost to me. I've also reviewed books that I bought, because they were worthy of your time. And I've also received dozens of review copies at no charge that do not get reviewed, either because they are not worthy or because they don't meet the subject criteria for this column, or simply because I haven't gotten around to them yet, since I only review one book per month. I have far more books in my office than I will ever read, and the receipt of a free book does not affect my review.

Site copyright © 1996-2011 by Shel Horowitz