✍️ Guest post by Julia Serdiuk @ Help Crunch

You can probably recall the various T-shirts, pens, notebooks, shopping bags, mugs, and other swag items that you’ve collected over time from conferences, exhibitions, meetings, and other events.

As soon as swag gets into your hands, there are two possible ways its future develops. It can either end up in a trash can, discarded and forgotten, or become a true ambassador of the brand, kept for years and reminding you of the company who gave it.

The way recipients value swag depends on how it’s prepared and presented and how well it’s incorporated into your marketing strategy. Let’s see how swag, when selected and used strategically, can help you market your brand.

How can swag boost your business?

While swag is just one of the many marketing techniques that you can use to promote your brand, its influence can be significant. Swag can boost your business in more than one way.

Increase brand awareness

With the abundance of companies and brands that advertise their product to us, it is next to impossible to keep in mind a particular name. You may have a vague memory about a business that can be useful to you, which you came across somewhere – but where?

This is where swag can help to build stronger brand awareness with prospective customers. First, a branded item stays with the recipient and reminds them of the company they got it from. Second, the mere fact of getting a promotional item creates a stronger memory of a brand – 71% of people remembered the name of the company they got swag from.

Moreover, if you offer practical items – like solar-charged power banks, high-end apparel, or quality work from home essentials – people will use them regularly, which builds visual recognition of your brand. Swag offers an opportunity for your brand to utilize creativity, curation, and customization to craft an amazing experience for your recipients.

Improve customer loyalty and retention

Promotional items can also play a role in retaining customers and making them choose your business again and again. Add swag to your list of tricks for improving customer loyalty, and you will soon see the difference.

How can you use giveaways to retain customers? Pack a little branded gift with their purchase. For the customer, it will be a pleasant surprise, which will make your brand stand out in their memory. When they are planning their next purchase, they will surely remember the business that sent that cute tote bag or bandanna.

Not only does it work for individual customers or decision makers, but it can also be an effective incentive for entire companies. Send a gift to the company that renewed a contract with you or signed up for a higher pricing plan. Of course, in this case, the gift must be more substantial, for example, a digital device.

Enhance customer experience

Customer experience is directly connected with the increase in sales. It is no longer enough to offer a great product or service or recognize the importance of in-app support, if you are in the software business – everybody does so. To stand out and be chosen from among your competitors, you need to create a superb experience, too. Consider that 86% of customers are prepared to pay more for a great experience.

Swag can be a wonderful experience builder. If you include a piece of promotional merchandise with their purchase or offer a branded gift for a certain amount spent with you, customers are going to remember that. When implemented creatively, such classic swag items as reusable mugs, T-shirts, and blankets can leave a lasting impression for years ahead.

Another good idea may be to choose an item that appeals to people’s senses – a sound machine, a set of earbuds, or some scented candles. These gifts will build a connection between a pleasant experience and your brand name.

Increase employee loyalty

In planning your swag marketing strategy, don’t forget your employees. While the main factors in employee loyalty are salary and working conditions, swag can play its role here, too. Use branded items to recognize your employees’ achievements and dedication, and their loyalty will grow.

A good practice is to give away swag during new employee onboarding. It creates a great experience in a new workplace when a new hire is welcomed with a swag kit, which could include a company T-shirt, a pen, and a mug for that first coffee in the common area. Later, you can move on to more significant items, such as backpacks or hoodies, to celebrate an employee’s anniversary with you, a promotion, or successful completion of an important task.

As many businesses have switched to working remotely due to the pandemic, sending swag to employees is another way to touch base with them and let them know the company cares. They are surely going to appreciate that.

Create brand advocates

Giving away promotional merchandise is a great way to recruit faithful brand advocates among your customers. They can help you tremendously in popularizing your products to their friends and relatives. Such promotion is among the most powerful, as people tend to trust their peers better than they trust brands when it concerns product advertising – 86% of customers admit it.

Swag is very important in creating and supporting brand advocates. Offering them valuable, experience-focused items in addition to their purchases will build one more line of your customer engagement strategy and make them your true followers and authentic promoters. Follow up with rewards for referrals that will establish an even higher connection between you and your loyal advocates.

Best practices of swag marketing

Now let’s discuss how to best implement your swag ideas to achieve your swag marketing campaign objectives.

Use practical items

Everyone appreciates receiving swag that they will actually use. When you give away items that have a practical purpose people will continue to utilize them over a longer time period leading to lasting brand awareness.

On the contrary, things like postcards or stuffed toys are much more likely to end up forgotten. If your goal is to make people remember and recognize your brand, opt for usable things like mugs, scarves, power banks, tote bags. By the way, if your gifts have an eco-friendly side to them, this is also very much appreciated nowadays.

Create experiences

Experiences are key in your relations with customers. While putting together useful and practical gifts, make sure they create positive experiences, too. For example, if you are planning out swag for an in-person event, don’t forget that people will have to find a place to put their swag items while they are exploring or socializing. It may be difficult to carry products around for the entire event, so consider packing your gifts in a branded tote bag that can be worn over a shoulder.

Don’t forget about the five senses. While preparing practical gifts, try to create experiences that talk to people’s senses, too. Throw in a scented candle or a pair of cozy socks. And don’t forget nice packaging.

Make your swag unique

At an offline event, you won’t be the only one giving away promotional items. To make people remember and recognize you, make your swag stand out from among the other things visitors receive.
First, try to choose items that will make people single you out from others. Traditional items like pens and notebooks have their place, but consider offering more unique items alongside those like a branded mouse pad or a cup coaster.

Second, plan your branding carefully. Your logo and name must be clearly visible and easily recognizable. Your branding should not be mixed up with that of other businesses at the same event.

Make the most out of your swag marketing

We have just seen how swag can be an effective tool within your marketing strategy. Whenever you enhance your marketing strategy with promotional items that you selected wisely, assembled smartly, and presented originally, you can achieve a greater effect.

The key is to determine which objectives you’d like to support with swag, to choose products thoughtfully, and to deliver your swag to your recipients at the right time. Promotional product management software scales and automates the process of sourcing, printing, storing, managing, and distributing branded promotional items.

Printfection is a full service, end-to-end swag management and fulfillment platform where you can not only brand thousands of really creative items, but you can also strategically ship that swag anywhere in the world through your existing tech stack. Customers like InVision, HubSpot, Zendesk, and Salesforce use us to easily ship swag to customers, leads, and events.