Admit it: after an attending an event, you’ve left more than one goody bag behind in the hotel room, or worse—in the garbage. Maybe you’ve considered giving up on the idea of handing out swag bags at your own events altogether. But, with good reason, swag bags are one of those things that event planners just can’t seem to abandon. If done right, a swag bag can help show appreciation, create or improve brand awareness, and leave event attendees feeling special and valued. If done wrong, your bags will be full of awkwardly branded items no one needs.
Creating the perfect gift bag, or “swag bag” requires more intention than you may think. That’s why we’ve created a guide to help you put together the perfect swag bag! These ideas will keep attendees thinking fondly of your company long after the event:
1. Make it relevant to your event
It’s a good idea to target your clientele’s specific interests. Make it personal. And make your bag part of your event’s overall strategy by putting yourself in the shoes of your attendees. What would they want? Cater to their interests and expertise. If there’s something unique and innovative in your specific field of work—a drone, for example—you’ll want to consider it as a good investment.
2. Splurge for quality
Good swag is high quality. Ultimately the caliber of your swag reflects your brand. So if your going to give out a T-shirt, make sure it’s a soft, cotton T-shirt that you would actually want to wear. If you’re going to give out a bag, consider a well-designed tote bag you would be proud to carry to the farmer’s market next weekend.
Ask yourself, would your target client ever buy this item for his or herself?
If the answer is no, you may want to reconsider. Maybe the cost seems wasteful. But on the other hand, how much is connecting with clients worth to you? In the end, the higher quality item will cost less than a client dinner or even the travel budget for attending a conference.
3. Go with less bulk
Bigger isn’t better. If you’re giving out bags, remember that your attendees will have to carry it around all day. Consider individually wrapped treats (relevant to your business) that everyone can slip into their pockets. Or maybe forego physical swag all together, which leads us to #3…
4. Be eco-friendly
One of the biggest criticisms of swag bags is that they are often eco-unfriendly. And you want to be mindful of this, especially if you are working with a younger clientele. Digital swag is a great way to cut down on waste: think discount codes, free offers or contests run by the hosts. You can also forgo swag by spending the budget on a charitable donation.
5. Make sure your logo fits the item
Remember: style first, marketing second! If you display a logo, it should look like it was awkwardly stuck onto a paperweight or mug without thought. Keep design in mind at all times—you want your swag to be aesthetically pleasing.
6. Make it unexpected
Go for attractive colors, interesting fabrics. Surprise attendees with the design and content. Look for something that surprises: fun foods like alcoholic lollipops, wellness kits that include vitamin packs, energy snacks and revitalizing face masks. Remember this is fun! Aim to delight.
BONUS POINTS: Include items that parents want to bring home to their kids and family members. Think toy cards, legos, those cute little squishy animals that kids just can’t help wanting to collect. Not only will it make parents MVPs, but the swag will stick around for weeks to come, with no risk of being left in the hotel room as an afterthought.
So there you have it, a recipe for the perfect swag bag: something to wear, something to eat, something novel to experience. Remember that all your individual items add up to something great.