Small businesses and entrepreneurs are always looking for new and creative ways to grow their brand recognition to gain and retain customers. And there’s one incentive that never fails: free stuff. Enter the swag bag.
For those unfamiliar, a swag bag is a goodie bag loaded with free promotional items or samples. Businesses or sponsors often gift them to guests at special events, such as a networking events, street fairs, customer appreciation events or private industry gatherings.
Customers get something free and businesses get more visibility for their brand.
Make your business more memorable
The statistics don’t lie regarding the effectiveness of swag bags. According to a study conducted by the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI), 85 percent of people remember the name of a company that has given them a promotional product.
Compared to internet advertising, consumers are also two-and-a-half times more likely to have a positive impression of promotional products while 87 percent of consumers keep promotional products for over a year.
Ensuring you’ll get that kind of response to your swag requires some forethought. You need to select items customers can get the most use out of while also reminding them to engage with your brand. First, review your budget to see what you can afford. Think quality over quantity, and seek out items that won’t be too heavy, so that customers can easily carry your swag around at an event.
9 things to include in your swag bag
Here are nine essential items to consider in a swag bag for your business:
Bag design and quality.
Let’s get your swag on!
1. Bag design and quality
First, consider the bag itself. Yours should include your logo, be small to medium-sized, and sturdy enough for everyday use. If you have an eco-friendly business, having a bag made out of recycled materials along with green items such as a recycled paper journal, informational brochures or a planter kit demonstrates your company’s dedication to the environment. This will also get customers thinking about how they can help the earth.
2. Electronic accessories
USB drives are typically helpful items to include in a swag bag — especially if your business is in the technology industry. According to the ASI, 45 percent of customers own promotional USB drives and 91 percent keep them. And because most customers tend to always be on the go, providing some type of mobile charger to extend their device’s battery life is usually appreciated.
3. Digital discounts
Offering services at a discounted rate via apps is a great way to gain more customers. For example, if you are a digital company that focuses on music downloads, provide an information card about your brand and discount, and throw a pair of earbuds in the swag bag so customer can enjoy their music selection after purchase. For makers of games, providing a code on the information card that unlocks a free surprise during play is a winning strategy.
If you have an online store, offer a special discount for products available on your eCommerce website.
4. Desk accessories
Pens with your branded logo might seem boring for swag bags, but these are the most used items on an office desk. The ASI notes that 50 percent of customers own promotional writing instruments.
If you own a small office supply business, you might also want to include items like branded notebooks, small desk calendars or a cell phone holder.
5. Free tickets
No matter what your business is, tickets tend to get a big response. Work with local businesses to provide tickets in a swag bag to a popular attraction such as a museum, amusement park or concert. But try to find an event that’s directly connected or related to your brand in some way, like tickets to a classic car show if you’re an auto parts store.
6. Drinking bottles
Quench your customer’s thirst by providing a branded drinking bottle in their swag bag. It is convenient to carry around and bring to an event, workout or that long drive ahead. The ASI estimates that 53 percent of customers own logoed drinkware and 50 percent of them use the item two to three times per week. This can be a particularly relevant item to add in a swag bag if your business is in the fitness industry. Consider including one along with a branded towel and protein bars.
7. Wearable gear
According to the ASI, 50 percent of customers own logoed outerwear, and 75 percent keep them because they are useful.
Include it on the front of a shirt and the logo on the back. (Just make sure the fabric is of good quality so it doesn’t fade or tear after washing.) And don’t forget about branded hats, which also tend to be popular swag bag gifts.
8. Product samples
Including product samples in your swag bag gives your customers the opportunity to test drive your product. If you are a business in the food industry, offering small, individually packaged samples of your product can tempt them into purchasing larger quantities later. If you sell skincare, load your customers up with trial-size tubes and/or jars of of your products.
9. Contest giveaways
Contest giveaways in a swag bag are an easy way to build some excitement (and have some fun) while boosting your brand. If you own a coffee shop, include a branded mug, a small sample of coffee and an information card on how to enter to win a one-month supply of beans or free drinks. Pet stores can include a squeaky toy, treat samples and details on how to win a free bag of pet food.
Building a successful swag bag can bring smiles to customers faces, and it’s a great way to incorporate your brand into their lives. And selecting the right items will ensure a solid ROI for your business.