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Published in Event Ideas category on (12/16/2016)

Event Swag Ideas That’ll Wow Your Prospects

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Steal the Show with the Best Swag Ever

Having the best swag at any event is crucial in getting attendees to visit your booth and converting them into potential customers. When you attend events, you’ll notice that companies who bring alluring swag are swarmed by attendees and companies who bring uninspired swag are ignored and fade quietly into the background. Make sure you cut through the noise at your next event by understanding what separates good swag from lackluster swag so you can bring your swag A-game!

In fact, event marketing leaders at the Event Managers Blog claim that there’s a huge difference “between picking up something on an impulse and making the decision to take it home and use it”–meaning that when considering swag items, you need to consider what items will actually go home with your attendees, not just ones that will be picked up on impulse and then thrown away later.

To help you get the most from your events this year, this post will outline how to craft the best event swag strategy:

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Crowd Pleasers: High-Tech Goodies  

Tech swag is always a big hit with attendees. Think of any new iPhone release. You’ll see hundreds of people standing in hour-long lines that begin the day before the release. It’s clear how much people love tech swag in today’s world.

There are many innovative types of tech swag that you can bring to an event. Swag that’s relevant to today’s popular tech culture will always wow your prospects. A good example is the Estes Syncro Nano Quadcopter. Just think, you could have mini drones floating around your booth, which will definitely attract attention. The drone is easy to bring home and is even good for kids. Tech swag items are always the items that stick in people’s minds.

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The Season’s Bounty: Seasonal or Location- Specific Items  

Since the seasons are always changing, so should your swag, meaning that each season you have new, original ideas that are tailored to the season the event is in. For example, if the event you’re at is near the coast and in the Summer, give your attendees frisbees, flip-flops, and beach towels. If it’s a holiday event in Winter, give them hot chocolate, a blanket, or slippers. See, now you’re making your booth more desirable and giving your attendees items that they can wear or use during their stay.

For Winter, consider giving out tea or a warm drink. Summer, lemonade or iced tea! The ideas are endless. So have fun with this one. If you’re having fun, your attendees will too.

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Eventing in Style: Branded Clothing 

Hats, t-shirts, hoodies, you name it. Any type of clothing that is well made will catch attendees’ eyes. A nice t-shirt, no matter how you choose to wear it, is always great to have. Like above, you can even make the clothing selection seasonal. For Winter, branded scarves or hoodies, in the Summer, flip flops or shorts, Spring, a light jacket, and Fall, some warm socks.

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Conjure Your Inner Child: Kid Stuff 

Clothing is good, but there is a child in everyone, and as a child, did you care about clothes? Probably not. When you begin planning your swag strategy, think teddy bears, stomp rockets, squirt guns, nerf guns, etc. Just conjure up your 11-year old self and whatever you enjoyed when you were young is a great idea. Puzzles or games or anything in between. Small gadgets and gizmos will catch the eye of those young-at-heart attendees.

Not only is this idea good for entertaining the child within us all, it is also good for those attendees that actually have kids of their own. When they are gone for long periods of time, away from home working, bringing home some presents or a surprise is exactly what attendees are looking for.

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The Utility Belt: Practical Swag  

So, we’ve covered options for strategically planning your event swag. Tech, clothes, toys, etc. But during a long week at an event, attendees need items that can help them maneuver through the crowded exhibition halls, the loud air flights, and fend off catching a cold.

Even though this swag isn’t original or interesting, it does come in handy, and your attendees will thank you for it.

A good idea for a practical event swag item is a kit to give out at your booth. In general, the best event swag is always highly customized. A kit gives you free reign over what goes inside, enabling the perfect take-home item for the attendees you are trying to target. Think of all the possibilities. I’ve seen the “Closer’s Kit” filled with everything one needs to close a deal. Gum, floss, Emergen-C, Advil, items that allow any salesperson to remain at his or her best throughout the sales process. I’ve seen a kit with items that are good for curing hangovers or even small medi-kits with band aids, Neosporin, Advil, etc. Make the kits small so that they are easy to carry around. The ability to customize the kits in any way also makes these a great swag item for any occasion. It’s small, it’s fun, and it’s personalized.

Also, remember an event can get hectic, as you all know, there are sessions, keynotes, demos, booths, and hundreds of information-hungry attendees all flocking around. Another great practical swag item to give away at your booth is a nice notebook or organizer. Not only can it fit in backpacks, but it’s also really handy. The attendees that visit your booth and learn something about your company will get a notebook that they can take notes on for the rest of the event. Once they have left their mark on the notebook, with insightful notes on sessions or demos, you can be sure it won’t go straight into the trash.

So, now your attendees have a notebook for writing in, and a kit to help them when they aren’t feeling well. But they have nowhere to put them, and walking around an exhibition hall can get tiring, especially with a bunch of your company’s swag in their hands. How can you solve this? A high-end, branded backpack. There’s a fine line between a backpack that attendees will keep, use, and bring home, and one that will get thrown away or left behind. Remember, you want it to be made of durable material, fashionable, and large enough to fit all the swag your attendees will be picking up throughout the event. By providing a “storage unit,” you can be sure that attendees will carry it around, flash your brand, and bring it home with them after. Who doesn’t need another backpack or practical item?

The next practical item that can be carried around in a backpack and used by everyone are headphones. Again, these are event swag items that can be used for the betterment of your attendees’ experience. Finding affordable headphones that can be given away for free at your booth can be hard, but the headphones don’t have to be the highest quality. Sometimes attendees who have traveled far to be there left their own headphones at home, or even broke or lost them during their stay. Providing branded headphones can bring those types of attendees to your booth!

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The No Go: Worst Event Swag Items 

Attracting attendees to your booth requires strategic planning. When thinking of the strategy, make note of Items that will most likely hinder your booth’s performance. Bring a variety of intriguing items to place on your booth at the event. Bring selfie-sticks and collateral. Or a mini drone and branded hats. Give your attendees a couple of options.

Items that will hinder your booth’s performance which you should not bring to your booth alone is a bowl of cheap, branded pens. Why? No one will want to risk a 10-15 minutes conversation about your company just to get a pen. Attendees have an agenda, so give them something that they’ll willingly use their time for.

Another item that doesn’t fare well on its own is printed collateral. If collateral is the only thing at your booth that you’re giving away as “swag,” I can guarantee you it’s a waste of paper, ink, and money. If you walked up to a booth that just had pamphlets selling the product, would you stop and chat? No! However, printed collateral done the right way can have positive effects on your booth performance. Take the time to plan how you will set up your collateral. Organize it in a way that looks like a library, or hang it on the wall like art. For an idea on how to lay out your event collateral, see BlueWolf in our recent post about Dreamforce 2016

Other terrible ideas for booth “swag” are bowls of candy, cheap sunglasses, hand sanitizer. Even though I say these items are the worst event swag, you can find ways to incorporate them. Add the hand sanitizer to one of your kits or your winter seasonal items. People love candy! So customize it, make it a nice “gift” with higher-end chocolate.

Overall, best swag comes in many different forms. There is a lot of strategy behind what makes the best event swag. With some creativity and a little fun, you can boost your booth traffic with the best swag strategy at your next event.

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