Got tchotchkes?

'August 12, 2006: Swag' photo (c) 2006, Matt McGee - license:

As marketing director for a small publishing company, I attended several huge national book fairs in Chicago.

With a thousand booths to visit, most booksellers spent their time trotting down crowded aisles in search of great freebies to take home.

Whatever magical books were on our shelf, few people glanced beyond the front of our table. That’s where our obligatory freebies were expected to be displayed, within easy reach.

The monster publishers gave away embroidered caps, even jackets. Every day gossip spread like wildfire about what this company had just started to hand out. The news drew conference-goers like bees to a freshly cut bouquet.

We of course couldn’t compete with them; we could only hope that the tabletop tchotchkes I’d brought from Seattle would slow down a few people so they’d look over our very well-received books.

Think of your web site as a tiny table in an impossibly gigantic convention filled with greedy sprinters. What will you give away in hopes of landing business? What will you tempt random visitors with? How will you present your products or services in as accessible yet appealing way as possible?

You must choose and live with the consequences. Choose carefully and strategically.

And any time you’d like some push-the-envelope creative suggestions, be sure to let me know.

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