Virtually all our customers use swag at events.
In fact, I’d argue the majority of swag budgets are used solely for events and tradeshows. With all this money going towards events, we wanted to share some ideas and best practices to help ensure the swag at your next event returns some of that budget you’re investing!
Take your events to the next level
First things first, the real business objective of most events is to increase brand awareness, generate new leads, and get your name out there in general.
The best way to accomplish this is to provide swag that will be used over and over again and seen by others.
If someone grabs a pen or tchotchke from your booth just to throw it away, it doesn’t help accomplish any of those goals. You won’t maximize your event success without putting a little more thought into what promotional products you bring.
We have lots of great event swag ideas you can read about, or you can get input from one of your Swag Success team members. But in this blog I’ll cover other considerations you should make when planning for your event.
1. Bring a branded item to drive foot traffic
One of the most successful event tactics is to create traffic-attracting buzz around your booth.
You can do this by hosting various activities like a cocktail hour, live demo, or serving coffee, but not every event space allows this.
I’ve seen customers successfully drive booth traffic by featuring a really cool branded swag item that encourages visitors stay for at least a few minutes. This helps you get more of those leads and business cards.
My personal favorites are having a game or activity like giant Jenga, giant Connect Four, Bag-toss, or even just a swag wheel you can spin to get different prizes.
Fun fact: Printfection can help source and print lots of different ‘giant’ games!
2. Leverage meaningful swag targeted to your core audience
Ok, I know I said I wasn’t going to talk about ideas for the actual swag you use at an event, but as a passionate swag ninja, I just can’t help myself!
Having really unique, functional booth swag seems to be the common denominator to ensure you are getting your name out there.
Can you recall a time at a conference where you found something really cool you WANTED to take home and use? Those are the best items to think about.
While we absolutely suggest bringing shirts, pens, and/or stickers, we also strongly advise looking for items that your target demographic can use on a daily basis.
Launching a fitness app? Think about yoga mats.
Have lots of developers using your product? Think about headphones or other tech products.
The best approach for finding unique items is to work with a swag company who can share new ideas and new products with you on an ongoing basis.
Shameless plug for Printfection: check out our new items here (we add to this at least monthly).
And stay tuned for our upcoming blog post sharing brand new items just released at the latest promo conference in Chicago!
3. Think about lead times and the timing of your events (i.e. don’t wait to the last minute to order swag)!
Although nearly every marketing / events team has an event calendar, customers still email us last minute for swag for an event that’s a week away.
One way to prevent this is to buy in bulk and store your event swag at our fulfillment center.
This allows you to order at any time to ensure you have great swag on the date you need it.
We also offer guaranteed delivery on Drop Ship orders so you can be sure your swag arrives with plenty of time to spare.
Also, keep in mind printing and shipping timelines. While it varies, our standard production timeline is 7 to 10 business days plus a few days for shipping.
Although swag providers can always rush items, these are typically limited to the small ‘toss-away’ items we mentioned earlier.
My recommendation: share your event calendar with your swag provider each quarter so they can give you hard deadlines for when swag needs to be ordered and shipped.
4. Think about (or should I say don’t think about) what to do with remaining swag
After an event is over, you have a very limited amount of time to break down your booth, gather up all the leftover swag, and get out of there.
Having a service and swag partner that can help with this final phase of the event is critical to taking your events to the next level.
Printfection has a feature that allows you to quickly create an inbound swag order where you send your swag back to us to store for your next event.
We even provide a packing slip you can print to ship the items back. This ensures the items are accounted for and restocked quickly.
This also dramatically cuts down on costs associated with wasted swag.
Once the items are received and stocked, you’ll see them back in your inventory management screen. You’ll never have to worry about what you have on hand for that next event.
In summary, the best way to ensure you take your events to the next level and get the best return on your investment is to follow this formula:
- Take a unique branded swag item like giant Connect Four to your booth to drive foot traffic and increase the amount of time someone stays at your booth
- Take really cool swag items to give out that event attendees will use long after the event is over
- Plan ahead and order your swag well in advance of your event
- Don’t stress about wasted leftovers – you can always ship it back to use again!