Since COVID-19 utterly shut down in-person events and offices, marketing, customer success, and HR teams have been trying to figure out how to engage and reward their audiences virtually with swag giveaways.
But what types of promo items work best to engage attendees? Or book sales meetings?
What sort of gifts can you give to remote employees to make them feel appreciated and less isolated?
How do you get it into speakers’ and attendees’ hands when everyone’s working remotely and you don’t have an office to store your merch?
We’ll cover the best virtual swag giveaway ideas in this post as well as some strategies for how to best use them.
Top ideas for virtual swag giveaways
First and foremost, we recommend high quality items that are useful. You can get even more engagement if you can tie them into your company’s mission or brand.
But most fundamentally, make sure your swag isn’t crap. You want people to use it and be seen with it, so you can take advantage of the advertising power.
Below we cover some key categories and offer one suggested product for each, but keep in mind we can brand literally thousands of items.
Our Customer Success and Merch teams would be happy to help you come up with ideas.
Regardless of the specific goal or purpose for your swag giveaway, your items don’t need to be exorbitantly fancy.
ControlUp, a virtual desktop management platform, used socks in a spectacularly clever way to boost the ROI of their virtual webinar.
They work because they’re useful, people wear them even more when at home, and you can make some really fun designs. We’ve got a whole article devoted to employee swag as well.
We recommend these custom dress socks – you can get really creative with the patterns and they’re super soft and comfortable!
Mugs (with branding on the sides / bottom)
We love this idea – what do you see when someone takes a drink on Zoom? The bottom of their glass or mug. Perfect real estate for your brand to spark a conversation.
And there’s a mug for every budget. High-end drinkware from the likes of Yeti and Ember can be used for employee gifts and key customers, while plenty of less expensive options exist for larger swag giveaways.
This Yeti tumbler is always a fan favorite, made from durable stainless steel with double-wall vacuum insulation that keeps your drink hot or cold for a very long time.
Clothing often poses trouble for companies since you don’t know someone’s preferred size. A swag platform solves that too – just order a recommended split of sizes, and then you can let your recipient choose their size on the gifting redemption page.
This avoids awkward email exchanges or Google forms where users would have to disclose their size publicly.
A nice option you could try is the Augusta Tonal Heather Fleece Jogger. Available in both women’s and unisex varieties, these stylish moisture-wicking pants are perfect for the gym, errands, or just relaxin’.
In this article, we discussed how usefulness ranks among one of the most important qualities you should seek in your swag.
Bags absolutely fill that need. Regularly a top favorite for employee, customer, and prospect gifts alike, you can’t go wrong with a high-quality bag.
Try on the Nike Utility Speed Backpack for size.
Why are tech items ubiquitous in the corporate gifting world?
Because they so easily satisfy the usefulness requirement! From speakers to headphones, accessories for smart phones and tablets, to fitness-monitoring devices, you can take tech swag in many different directions.
We love this House of Marley No Bounds Outdoor Speaker. Rugged, edgy, and crafted from sustainable materials, it’s a great premium option for employee and customer giveaways.
We have plenty of lower- and mid-range recommendations, too. Just contact us.
By retail, we mean popular brand names like Patagonia, The North Face, Osprey, etc often found in common retail stores.
While some businesses limit their budget to cheaper items, many employees and customers won’t wear swag unless it’s somewhat trendy. Therefore we do recommend you consider investing in some preferred swag so you can ensure it actually gets worn.
While there are literally hundreds of options here, we’re showcasing this Patagonia Better Sweater Fleece Jacket because it’s so incredibly warm, well-made, and lightweight.
Use cases for your virtual swag giveaway
Making remote employees feel supported and less isolated
We witnessed one of the more interesting shifts in swag allocation in 2020 – a dramatic shift away from events (no surprise there – as physical gatherings were all but cancelled) towards employee gifts.
It makes perfect sense in retrospect. Companies with rich cultures suddenly found their employees wrested from office environments and into forced isolation.
For many staff (myself included!), the loss of socializing face-to-face with one’s peers lead to tough times and feeling disconnected from coworkers.
So Printfection customers countered this by using virtual swag giveways to send awesome gifts to their employees right to their homes.
Speaking from firsthand experience, getting a blanket, an awesome new bottle, and a dope hoodie during a tough time can make a huge difference to an employee struggling with the remote new normal.
Virtual event engagement
With trade shows and conferences kaput, tons of marketers are turning to digital event formats like virtual conferences and webinars to pitch their products and services.
Unfortunately, these methods of education pose critical challenges for marketing teams. Engaging an audience when face to face is challenging enough.
Now throw in an audience comfortably seated on the couch, behind a screen, with all the distractions of a browser or home environment available them — good luck keeping their attention!
Offering virtual swag giveaway incentives can help increase engagement.
You could send a free shirt or hoodie to someone who requests a demo of your solution after the webinar. Or you could offer something smaller for participants who ask questions.
Virtual events take a lot of time to coordinate, and a little swag goes a long way in preventing engagement from falling flat on its face.
Based on our customer data, this virtual swag giveaway tactic ranks second only to employee gifting. But you could argue customer gifting carries the greatest potential to influence revenue.
Sending gifts to customers generates goodwill. Customers who feel appreciated are much more likely to stick around, renew, or involve you in opportunities to expand business.
And sending branded gifts, especially in beautifully designed kits, where you can customize even the box as well as the items, ensures your brand will be remembered.
Little gestures of kindness go a long way, especially during stressful times (like, you know, a friggin’ pandemic).
Sending swag is a great way to drive conversions, book meetings, and close deals.
We’ve seen companies offer a swag incentive in exchange for a free trial.
For example, New Relic put a swag giveaway offer on one of their forms.
New users who signed up for a free trial would be sent an email with a link to a giveaway page where they could request a shirt in the size of their choice, enter in their shipping address, and we handled the shipping and fulfillment.
Virtual giveaways work great to book meetings, too.
In your Outreach or other email sequences, you can link to redemption pages to offer swag to entice someone to take call with you, or to direct you to the right contact.
So many folks are working remote these days, so sending direct mail to offices doesn’t work well. But offering up swag through an email link definitely makes your reps stand apart.
How to you execute a virtual merch giveaway?
Well, you can always go the painful route.
Which is to order items from a host of vendors, where quality may be suspect, then have them shipped to you or your poor unsuspecting intern’s apartment, manually package everything up, and then be comfortable risking your own or someone else’s health to go to FedEx and ship them out.
OR…you can use a swag management platform to execute your virtual swag giveaway.
With a service like Printfection, you just send in your artwork. We’ll help you pick the best items for your initiatives.
We’ll send you mockups and samples so you know everything checks out.
Then you just order online through our platform. We’ll store all the swag for you.
To send someone swag, just send them a Giveaway link, or direct them to a store where they can request swag.
Once they complete this process, we handle all the shipping and fulfillment.
And you get all the tracking info and reporting on swag spend, etc.
It’s that easy.
Want custom ideas for your next giveaway?
Let us know if we can help! Request a demo today.