What Makes a Great Swag Bag?
The best custom swag for your next event.
First things first, what is a swag bag? A swag bag is a gift bag given to show appreciation, boost employee loyalty, or create or improve brand awareness. Everyone loves swag bags but creating the perfect combination of items for the bag determines if the bag makes it home or to the nearest trash can. Creating the perfect swag bag can be harder than it seems so we’ve researched (basically just asked people) what is actually appreciated in a swag bag.
Let’s face it, we’ve all been to one of those conferences where they hand you a bag full of coupons, a sticker, a pen that doesn’t work and if you’re lucky maybe a notebook. You think “wow, I feel so UNappreciated.” So why even bother with swag bags? Swag bags, when done right, can leave attendees with a feeling of value and it’s a way to keep them thinking about your brand after the event.
We get it, you are on a tight budget. There is no rule that you have to spend a lot on swag bags. Swag bags from the Oscars and other award shows are usually a hot conversation in social media and many celebs auction off their swag for charity but those high priced swag bags aren’t the benchmark.
Swag bags can be personalized to capture any audience with the right amount of creativity. You can treat swag bags as mini event survival packages, fill them with items attendees can use after the event or a combination of the two. To help, we’ve gathered a few ideas from some event pros.
Good Swag Bag Items
T-Shirts: You can never have too many t-shirts. Our advice, keep it simple with just a logo and your website URL and maybe a tagline.
Snacks: We all get a little grumbling in the tummy during events, especially when the room is quiet. Give your attendees a little boost to keep their attention and prevent a room full of hangry (hangry- to be so hungry you are angry) people.
Essentials: Bandaids, Hand Sanitizer, Aspirin, etc. can be personalized with your name and logo. Not to mention all of these items will keep people happy after a long day and early mornings.
Tech Gadgets: We know pens are the standard go to but not very useful to people who take notes on their phones and computers. If your audience is a “pen & paper” audience, go for a quality pen. What’s worse than no pen? A pen that doesn’t work.
Customized Items: Everyone likes to feel noticed as an individual not a number. Something as simple as a gift tag with the attendees name can make a huge impact. Just be sure to really nail down the details and have a solid strategy to hand your swag bags out. It’s never cool to hand someone the wrong personalized bag.
The actual bag: Keep in mind that the first impression of your swag bag is going to be the bag itself. If people are walking around all day and picking up items and shoving them into your bag, it better be durable even if your swag bag items are lightweight. Think outside the box and make the bag part of the swag using a bag your attendees will use over and over like canvas totes, a backpack, sling bags or even a cooler. The easier the bag is to carry the longer people will carry it.
To wrap it up
Just remember that your swag bags need to be of value if you are trying to show appreciation or gain business. Think about what a potential client dinner would cost and the potential business gain of the event to keep it in perspective.
Keep your audience personas in mind. If your event is for senior citizens, a selfie stick probably isn’t the best item. Research your attendee demographics, think about their workspace and typical days and use that information to find useful products.
Keep the environment in mind: One of the biggest complaints on swag bags is the waste. We know you have flyers and handouts that are important to the event but consider handing that information out digitally by including a preloaded USB flash drive, an event app, QR codes are great to go to a download page.
There isn’t a set standard of what should go into a swag bag and when there is a standard of products, your audience is going to be sick of it. Our best advice is to forget what others are doing and work solely on your attendee demographics. The whole goal of the swag bag is to show appreciation and keep your brand on top of the attendees mind.