I don't need an intro, get me to the list of Swag Bag Ideas!
Does your event have nice booty?
No, not that kind of booty, weirdo.
I'm talking about products, giveaways, and swag bags. The pirate kind of booty. People love free swag. I mean, who doesn't?
But as an event organizer, it just burns a hole in your pocket. But you know it doesn't have to, right?
Swag Bags are one of the few things that I would confidently say 95% of attendees will grab on the way in or out of any event. Some people even show up for the second day of events if they know there's more booty to run off with. This is absolutely one of the best times to not only delight your attendees and give them a memorable experience, but it's also a great time to convert them.
We've got some great conference swag bag ideas for 2020 that have awesome potential to convert attendees into customers, making your swag bag money-hole into an ROI generating strategy that works.
Looking to make more of a welcome package for members? Here's a great guide on making an amazing welcome package for new members.
What are Swag Bags?
Swag bags are little gift bags or assortments of items that complement an event or conference for attendees, you might know them as goodie bags, giveaway bags, and so on. These items are often times a strategy to delight attendees from the outset of the event and serve to put smiles on their faces. You'll find swag and gift bags at functions like conferences, meetings, seminars, panel discussions, conventions, expos, and more.
Swag Bag Ideas with Conversions in Mind
Despite that it's 2020, I still feel the need to bash you over the head with the idea that you need to bring your offline leads to your online database in as seamless a transition as possible. When it comes to events, attendees are already engaged, and you simply need to find creative ways to call them into signing up, purchasing, booking a demo or whatever it is you need to get them on the hook.
Swag Bags are key in that a vast majority of attendees will be using your swag in their daily lives, which gets them familiar with your branding, and can call them to action. This is a great way to introduce new ways to get them to whip out their phone and get on your landing pages, whether it be an incentive or a QR code, or easy to follow link. Two important things to note about your swag is that they should be:
Useful - Make sure your attendees find a use for it in their daily lives that causes them to see your brand or CTA.
Long Lasting - Do not make anything that is disposable, you lose your branding sooner than you would hope, and it's unsustainable for the environment.
Make sure every bit of swag has your logo on it or some graphic that leads users to your website, or social media. This is a great way to convert them or get them to share your products online.
That means placing QR codes, easy to type URLs, and the name of your social media accounts they can Google easily. When dallying with QR codes or other ways to scan, make sure you have it lead to an awesome landing page that addresses the CTA you used, or the event that they attended. All 21 of our swag bag ideas are revolving around extending the lifetime value of your attendees but feel free to change things up so that it best fits your audience or event topic.
Clothing & Apparel Swag Bags
Clothing is one of the best swag bag ideas that are both useful and long-lasting. Everyone loves a free t-shirt, and there's an absolute ton of space for you to market and call your attendees to actions. The other benefit is that it really spreads your brand name around when attendees wear it outside.
Who knows? Maybe an attendee is a big public speaker and they just happen to speak to an audience with the t-shirt on? Maybe it's recorded on TV or a highly viral video? All that free marketing potential and it cost you less than it does to pay for your lunch.
For example, you could give away:
T-shirts are one of the most common, cost-effective, and brilliant ways to grow your brand. Using T-shirts as a platform for showing off your brand and logo is easy as everyone loves a free t-shirt. Just make sure it's not gaudy and turns off the attendee from ever wearing it in public. The cost-effectiveness depends on the plausibility of printing t-shirts with the right sizes. So make sure you have a way to use an email system to get attendee's sizes via survey so that adequate sizes are ordered for the event.
You obviously can't put the right size in a swag bag unless it's been given a name and is pre-ordered so to speak. What you can do however is set up a referral booth for attendees to pick up their t-shirt in their right size. This can be verified by placing a voucher for 1-free t-shirt in the swag bag for the attendee to use and receive their t-shirt.
Hats, much like T-shirts are a cost-effective brand platform. Men are more likely to wear hats when going outside, so events where there's an over-abundance of men. Hats are adjustable and can fit most heads, so there's no need to ask attendees their size before showtime.
Slides and flip-flops are a more normal fashion accessory, and they make a great way to place logos. We prefer slides as they have more surface area on the arresting strap above the foot to place branding, and it faces upwards towards anyone looking at the slides in a normalized setting. Slides are more likely to be worn by men.
While not a great place for branding, sunglasses are a nice accessory to own. Small logos work well here.
While tote bags are not being used in everyday life as a t-shirt, the growing number of bag-it-yourself grocery stores like Aldi's has made it so that tote bags are being brought into the sunlight more often than usual. Great place to place a logo or branding. Maybe enough room for a low-key CTA ;). Also great for events where attendees live nearby the beach.
Wallets are a men-centric accessory and a bit expensive. However, the life-long capability of the wallet ensures it'll be around for a good long while.
7. Neck Pillows
Neck pillows are great for events where attendees have to fly-in. Slap branding or a logo on it, and now everyone on plane will have to look at your logo as they jealously wish they had their own neck pillow.
For apparel, the strategy is quite clear. Create great branding. Either by fancy showy graphics, CTAs, or a simple logo, it depends on how grandiose your event is. T-shirts and hats are one of the most visible types of clothing, so it's a great time to place your logo and create a CTA either with your slogan, or something that's impactful.
The other thing to keep in mind is that if your event is in Asia, it might be best to offer materials with QR Codes. If it's in China, I would say it's a downright crime if you don't add a QR code to your apparel. China loves the QR code thing, and it's starting to speak across the region in places like Hong Kong, Korea, and Singapore.
Gadget Swag Bags
Gadgets are one of the best ways to convert attendees and get them from the real world into your digital database and CRM easily. Gadgets are also considerably more expensive, but if done right, can be very good at calling your attendees to an action that brings you closer to ROI.
The other great thing about gadgets is that no one will throw them away so easily, a phone charger here, headphones there, and there's almost a guarantee that this will be useful for the attendee.
Here are some neat-o examples:
Headphones are an awesome way to make every-day use items to expose your branding. This is also a great way to cross large age gaps as most anyone loves a nice pair of headphones. Even just to give away as a gift. It's difficult to brand there, but there's always value in expressing the origin of technology. Imagine people saying they got their headphones at your event, and now that person might be incentivized to come to your future events.
2. Phone Chargers
Phone chargers are another great way to expose branding. There's slightly more room for branding on the power adapter itself than say a pair of tiny headphones.
3. Smartphone cases/pockets
By far one of the better ideas we can offer is the use of phone cases. It'll be tough and expensive to get a branded case into the hands of attendees, but if you can, imagine how often that phone gets whipped out with your logo on it?
4. Battery Banks
Batteries are a slightly better version of power adapters. The trend for power banks is that they're becoming more phlatter to match the size of smartphones so that it rests easily into the palm of a user's hand, and then the phone sits above it. The nature of batteries being mobile makes it so it's more likely to have your branding or logo get seen as they get used in public areas.
5. USB drives
USB drives are an always welcome tech-device to add into a swag bag. Not only can you brand the casing, but you can pre-load the USB drive so that when it's first inserted into a computer, it can either contain files that are relevant to the user's experience at the event, which of course would contain your branding. Or, it can also auto-load a webpage of your choosing on the first-insertion however this can easily backfire if the user is not properly engaged. Use caution.
6. Power Adapter
Power adapters are just like phone chargers, except geared toward international travelers. This would be a welcome addition to your swag bags.
Gadget swag is dependent on the versatility of the objects. Providing cheap electronics can often time end up with a bad taste in the attendee's mouth if it breaks too soon, so make sure you do put some extra budget into your offering. Make deals with local manufacturers and get your logo imposed on the steel or printed on the plastics of electronics.
These days electronics are getting more IoT intensive. So I would suggest working with forward-thinking partners to allow for advertising on their app or linking to your website landing page when attendees connect their smartphone devices to the gadget they just got from your event.
If you don't have that ability, this is a chance to do a neat Google Ads campaign that targets the manufacturer's app on the Google Play store to advertise to attendees who download their app.
How's that for a growth hack?
Stationery Swag Bags
Stationery items are great swag bag ideas, but there's a core crutch to this that you should be aware of. It's in the name actually, in fact, it is the name. Stationery Items are stationary, unlike clothing or gadget items, these stationary items hardly leave a room they find themselves home in. It's not to say that it wouldn't be successful as a CTA medium, but it would likely only grace the eyes of attendees who use them.
The only exception honestly would be pens, as those seem to get around quite a bit from borrowing, losing, forgetting, giving away, etc.
Here are some more examples for you:
1. Pens & Pencils
Pens and pencils are a great way to brand yourself on a small, but effective scale. it's cheap, easy to handle, and almost always used to their fullest extent. You can even expect it to trade hands often.
Notepads are a great item that has a fair amount of durability and usage. Either brand or logo on the cover, or inlaid as a watermark on each page. This also applies to sticky-notes.
Calculators are surprisingly cheap. You can brand them and expect a full continued usage of the item. Calculators have been known to last years, but often times does not trade-hands very well.
Tumblers and glasses are a great item for older generations who enjoy drinking the finer things in life. This is a great time to subtly impose your logo onto the glass.
5. Kinetic Desk Toys (I love these)
Kinetic desk toys are mesmerizing little desk ornaments that serve no real value other than attracting someone's divided attention. Imposing your logo on here is a great way to make the most of someone's stolen attention.
6. Laser Pens & Flashlights
Flashlights and laser pens are just like pens and pencils. They're fun to use, necessary, and people just love playing with them. Place a logo on it and watch it work. We suggest giving away ones with replaceable batteries, as one-time usage type lamps will just be thrown in the trash along with your logo.
At more social events, coasters are a great giveaway to the dads of the crowd.
8. Sports Bottles
Sports bottles are a more friendly approach to the casual events where it's important to be child-oriented.
Stationery should be useful, and long-lasting because it's not the most travel-worthy type of swag, but it should spark a conversation. If you have a nice well-made tumbler with your logo imposed on the glass, it could possibly spark a conversation when the attendee breaks them out at a party or what have you. Think like a coca-cola glass. Its shape and logo are recognizable, and everyone asks about them.
Unlike gadgets, these types of items are easier and more common to custom print and embed logos onto.
Other Things to Throw In
Swag bags aren't only made up of the above three items, but think about meaningful items to put in the bag to give early on impressions, like a welcome letter, candy, snacks, discount codes, and more. These are items that can fit in any swag bag no matter the strategy that gives a great first impression of the event.
There is more than enough room in any swag back to sprinkle them with temporary feel-good items that make an attendee feel welcome and happy instantly. Could be that that instant gratification alone gets them tweeting about you ;)
Take into consideration everything, but most of all, make sure that your giveaways call your attendees to some sort of action that makes your attendees convert. If it takes them to a web page, make sure you have a landing page that addresses the CTA or the Event.
MAJOR NOTE: Make sure your swag bag's bag is a backpack. Not an expensive one, but one of the string-laced bags that are easy to carry and wear. It makes a load of difference in the attendee's experience, especially if they're walking around the event a lot, and it also acts as a good way to increase your branding by putting your logo or CTA on the bag itself.
Ready to upgrade your swag bags with items that connect your offline audience to your online space? Book a demo and learn more about Glue Up's solution to offline capture.