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5 Insider Tips on How to Build the Best Swag Bag

As a kid, receiving a goodie bag was the highlight of any birthday party or event. Now that we’re adults, the same is true for swag bags at a conference, gala or similar event. People of all ages love to get useful items as a parting gift from a memorable event—and these giveaway items will help your guests remember you, your company, and the event for years to come!

In fact, I still have an amazing engraved silver pen that was in one of my swag bags once upon a time—and I’ll never forget the organization or the vendor who was giving them away.

So, even though the best part about your event shouldn’t be your swag bag, it’s a fantastic idea to give your guests memorable and useful goodies. Here are some of our favorite tips on how to build the best swag bag.

Keep brand logos small

Sponsors love to put their name out there for the entire world to see, but featuring a large logo on a shirt, bag or hat is neither cost effective nor aesthetically appealing.

Make sure the logos on giveaway items are subtle. A small logo on the front pocket of a nice shirt won’t stop many people from wearing it, whereas a large look-at-me logo might. This goes for items other than apparel, too.

Be original

Honestly, who uses lanyards anymore? Yet, as much as we no longer have a need for lanyards, they always seem to show up in conference swag bags.

Our advice is to stay away from the typical “office swag.” Things like plastic ballpoint pens, paperweights, and key chains should be avoided.

Instead, find swag with a local flair or items that they can’t find in any drugstore of office supply shop. What attendee wouldn’t love to receive an always handy customized jump drive? Or maybe include a nice snack from a favorite local candy store stamped with your logo? Think outside the box and keep your customer in mind!

Focus on quality over quantity

Bigger isn’t always better—especially when it comes to gifts. Nothing kills a swag bag faster than stuffing it with a bunch of useless merchandise.

You’ll make a much greater impact by giving a few items that you know your guests will love and use. Even the bag itself can be part of this gesture! An eco-friendly and multipurpose reusable bag is an excellent and thoughtful giveaway idea—not to mention, it saves a lot of time on fancy packaging and presentation.

Give virtual gifts

Not all gifts need to be given in person, and with today’s selection of e-commerce and software services, virtual gifts can be incredibly useful for your guests. Some examples of the gifts you can give according to the type of conference include:

  • Professional conference
    A subscription to a learning platform like Lynda.com is a very useful gift for professionals. They can use it along with the knowledge gained from your conference to further their careers.
  • Social event
    If you’re hosting a social event, consider giving away a subscription to a service like Luminosity—an online service of brain games designed by scientists to train memory and attention.
  • Fundraising event
    For a fundraising event, give everyone a $10 gift card to use on DonorsChoose.org. This is a great way to pay it forward while getting everyone into the giving spirit.

Ask around

You don’t need to spend a ton of money to put together a good swag bag. There are some businesses that will donate merchandise in order to get their brand out there—even if they aren’t a large sponsor of the event. Ask small, local businesses if they’d be willing to donate any items. It could be a product they are known for or gift cards that will get people in the door.

The most important takeaways here are to A) be creative when building your swag bags, and B) always keep your audience in mind. The more you know about your audience and give them gifts that are unique and special, the more likely they’ll remember your event for years to come.

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