Swag Bag Ideas for Your Next Trade Show

Swag Bag Ideas That Will Make You the Star of the Trade Show

In the United States, the trade show sector made a whopping $12.81 billion in revenue in 2016. That should already tell you how much advertisers and marketers value these events.

After all, they remain one of the most effective in-person marketing strategies today. They boost brand awareness, recall, and authority. They also create leads and even direct sales opportunities.

But that’s only if you do it right. By that, we mean stand out from the rest of the event attendees.

Aside from eye-catching banners and stands, you should also up the ante when it comes to swag bag ideas. Indeed, people love free stuff (science backs that up). But that doesn’t mean giving away “anything” (AKA random items) will cut it.

How then can you rule the floor on your next trade show? Don’t worry. This post will let you in on the secret, so, keep reading!

The Power of Trade Shows and Why You Should Even Give Away Swag Bags

How you value trade shows influences your decisions when it comes to giveaways. Think about it. If you don’t hold these events in high regard, chances are, you’ll make poor choices in what to give away for free.

So, let’s first look at some statistics that prove the immense power of trade shows:

These should already tell you that trade shows are a must-have in your marketing arsenal. But your attendance won’t be enough to capture attendees’ interest. That’s why you need to capitalize on how consumers behave towards company giveaways.

Besides, you’ll spend good money when attending a trade show. So, why not take it to the next level with the hottest swag bag items? Let the Law of Reciprocity work its wonders on potential customers, and you’ll end up the star of the event.

That doesn’t mean you need thousands of dollars for your promotional product budget. First, make a list of what works as effective promotional items. Remember, certain promo products don’t work, and you want to avoid wasting money on such.

So, without further ado, here’s the list of cool swag ideas for your event giveaways!

A Spill-Proof Tumbler Designed to Keep Drinks Hot (or Cold)

More than 80% of Americans are coffee drinkers. In fact, we love it so much that an average worker shells out about $1,100 on it every year. Almost half of the employees even say their productivity suffers without coffee.

But this love for coffee comes with risks. For instance, there’s the fact that 60% of laptop repairs result from liquid spills.

All this said, why not use both to your branding advantage? Consider giving away spill-proof, insulated tumblers during your next trade show.

These items’ features are sure to make recipients use them every day. That means everyday exposure for your brand!

A USB to Keep Your Brand in Memory

Despite the presence of The Cloud, USB flash drives remain vital for many of us today. A study even found that almost half of people will still pick up a discarded USB drive! That’s already a sign telling you that consumers still have a major use for these memory sticks.

So, imagine how trade show attendees will feel if you hand them a free (and safe!) USB drive. Most of them would likely end up smiling and wanting to know more about your brand.

Make sure you have your brand logo on the memory stick though. This way, your brand will have greater chances of sticking in their memory (sorry).

A Zombie Preparedness Kit

We’re not kidding! Because even the CDC says we should prepare for a potential zombie apocalypse.

Also, let’s not forget that us humans have a natural fascination for zombies. Science proves that. There’s also the $648 million revenue of The Walking Dead to back it up.

All these should already tell you that they make for unique swag ideas for your giveaways.

But even if such a disaster wouldn’t happen, natural disasters will. That’s why you should consider giving away hurricane preparedness kits.

These giveaways are sure to make attendees notice you right away. Their usefulness will also contribute to them remembering your brand with fondness. Plus, these items show them that you care, so that’s even more plus points for your brand.

A Flashlight to Put Your Brand in the Spotlight

From 2000 to 2014, a whopping 1,376 power outages occurred throughout the country. Now, what do you think was the first thing people turned to when such events happened?

That’s right, a flashlight. These are light-giving devices, after all. That makes them a must-have for almost every preparedness kit out there.

The sad thing is, people underestimate their value. Especially now that most smartphones have their built-in flashlights (or torches). While these are handy and helpful, once the phone’s battery dies, so does the light.

So, why not do potential customers at trade shows a favor by giving them a free one? Personalized flashlights are handy and portable. That means recipients most likely will almost always carry them around.

That in itself is already a branding strategy for your part. But for consumers, this kind of useful item can make a huge difference during emergencies. That’s something sure to make them have a soft spot for your brand.

A Multi-Function Tool

How does several branding opportunities in one tool sound like?

A lot of savings for your marketing budget, right?

That’s exactly what you can get when you include a branded multi-function tool in your swag bag items. Imagine how much exposure your brand can get each time someone takes it out for its bottle opener.

Considering that about 24 million American adults consume at least 10 drinks a day, that’s a lot of exposure. That doesn’t even include the number of times its built-in scissors will see use! Or the rest of the tools in it, like a flashlight and carabiner.

The bottom line is, a multi-function tool gives you many chances to share the good news about your brand. As such, you should consider slipping one in every swag bag you hand out in your next trade show event.

An Office Essentials Kit

The average worker goes through a staggering 10,000 sheets of paper every year. That doesn’t even include paper consumption in U.S. households.

That should already give you an idea of how important writing supplies are to everyone. And as much as we recommend going paperless for many of your operations, we can’t go 100% paperless. Print isn’t dead after all.

This in mind, you may want to consider these office essentials as some of your swag bag giveaways. Your brand logo (and contact info) on these, plus their actual use, make them a great giveaway item.

A “Free Taste” of Your New Product

Researchers found that new information is one reason behind people attending trade shows. In fact, the Trade Shows News Network says it’s the primary reason for 92% of attendees.

That makes such events some of the best places to market your new products. But advertising them alone isn’t enough. You need to do something more than only putting them up on display in your booth.

This brings us back to the science behind freebies. For greater chances of making your new products known, give attendees a “free taste”. Marketing new products is best done through a visual, tangible, and in-person experience.

Also, a “free taste” only whets the appetite. That means if you do it right, then the “tasters” are likely to crave more. This then results in higher chances of them buying the actual entire product.

An Awesome Bag to Put All these Swag Bag Ideas In

Depending on how many swag bag products you’ll give away to one person, you may need a container for them. This opens up another door for even more marketing opportunities!

For starters, there are the reusable tote bags that are all the rage nowadays. You can also go with canvas bags, which are some of the most durable and reusable out there.

Make sure you have these containers branded with your business’ logo. That way, you can enjoy free advertising when people “reuse” them.

And yes, people are likely to reuse these bags, given that they do the same with plastic containers. 90% of consumers say they reuse plastic bags at least once. But totes and canvas are much more durable, which means they’ll get even more reuses.

How’s that for a more eco-conscious choice that also makes your brand stand out?

Rock the Floor with these Cool Swag Ideas for Your Trade Show Giveaways

With these swag bag ideas, you can harness the power of the reciprocity principle. Take 711’s Slurpee Day for instance, wherein they gave away 4.5 million of the drinks. That special promotion resulted in a 38% rise in the store’s sales of the beverage that day.

So, take a page out of their book. Give away useful and exciting stuff during trade shows. That’s one sure way to make attendees know and recall your brand.

Want more insider secrets on how to make your trade show a success? Then make sure you head over to our blog site! We’ve got more tips and tricks to share with you.

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Patrick Black
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Patrick Black, MAS, is the founder of Perfectimprints.com and has been in the promotional products industry helping businesses and organizations since 1999. When not geeking out over the newest and greatest promotional items, you can find him paddleboarding at the beach or hanging out by the pool with his wife, three kids, and his basset hound in Fort Walton Beach, FL.