Swag 101: Trade Show Giveaway Gift Bag for the 2020 Event

Creating the perfect gift bag to trade show giveaway at your event is no easy task, but it’s worth the effort to create a lasting connection between your brand and your attendees. If you’re looking for a great way to give away branded swag at your event, want to offer a parting gift to your attendees, or offer up a little something extra for your VIP guests, gift bags are a great option for your next event.

Trade Show Giveaway

A well-executed gift bag can generate buzz for your event before attendees even get to your venue and can help keep your brand top of mind after your event has ended.  Here’s everything you need to know to create a striking gift bag for your next event.

What type of event do you host?

This sounds like a silly question, but pinpointing your event type will help you dig into your attendee’s interests. You want to create a bag that generates engagement with your brand, so if the swag you’re giving away doesn’t sync up with the type of event you’re running, your gift bag won’t be effective.

Event Sponsorship Trends

It’s easy to know what kind of event you’re running such as a concert or a fundraiser (after all, you did plan it), but you want to dive deeper into the interests connected to your event. For example, if you’re hosting a concert, what type of performers do you typically book? Are your concerts centered on a specific genre such as hip hop, EDM, or classical music or do you choose your artists based on specific criteria such as “up and coming” or “local talent”? If you know what market your event serves and what your target demographic is, it’ll be easier to find other topics and industries that’ll grab your attendee’s attention.

Think of your event type as one of the circles in your typical attendee’s Venn diagram of interests. What other circles could intersect with yours?

What does your audience like?

Now that you know what type of event you’re running and what industry and demographic it serves, figure out what your demographic likes.  If your event is attended mostly by millennials, chances are they’re more interested in technology, activism, and social media engagement. If your average attendee is a baby boomer, their interests will probably differ (depending on the nature of your event).

Trade Show Giveaway

Aspects of your audience such as geography and intent are also crucial for picking the best swag items. If your event is focused on sustainability, the one-time use water bottle with a custom wrapper probably isn’t going to make a splash.  Similarly, if your attendees travel from every corner of the country to get to your event, there’s a good chance they won’t care too much about the free subscription to your local newspaper as a giveaway item.

You probably have a good sense of what your audience likes and dislikes, but the easiest way to get your arms around this info is to ask! Sending out pre-event surveys is a great way to discover your audience’s interests, attitudes, and motivations.

How much do you charge to attend?

Your gift bag value should be proportionate to the amount your attendees paid to be there. If your event has a high ticket price, giving away a bag full of pens and free candy isn’t going to win anyone over. We’re not suggesting you blow your entire budget on Swarovski crystals as giveaway items, but consider offering a “premium” gift bag for attendees who purchase VIP tickets or decide to become an event sponsor or ambassador. You can also use this “premium” bag as leverage when promoting your event.

If you want to use your gift-bags as leverage, consider holding a giveaway or raffle for one or two expensive items. This way, the bags themselves can take up less of your budget and you only need to invest in one or two high-end giveaway items. In turn, your attendees are compelled to sign-up or buy tickets to your event for their shot at winning a big-ticket item!

As a rule of thumb, you want your swag bag to equate to roughly 5-10% of the ticket price, so plan your budget accordingly.

What about the bag itself?

You should consider both the items that go into the bag as well as the quality of the bag itself. As an attendee, there’s nothing worse than having to carry around a bag full of goodies worrying that the bottom could fall out at any moment.

The bag is your first chance to get your branding out there. It’s essentially a big, blank canvas upon which you can shine! Make sure the bag is something your attendees want to use in their everyday lives- it should be sturdy, functional, and a usable size. The more they like the bag itself, the more inclined they’ll be to use it. That means repeat exposure for your attendees and free advertising anywhere your attendees decide to bring their bag!

Still have trouble picking the best items for your gift bag? Here are just a few ideas for brandable swag to include in your bag:

  • Reusable water bottles, tumblers, or thermoses
  • Sustainable items like reusable straws, bamboo pens/notebooks, or wood-framed sunglasses
  • Apparel like shirts, hats, socks, bandanas, etc. (the more comfortable it is, the more likely they are to wear it)
  • Tech-related items such as mobile chargers, power banks, flash drives, or PopSockets
  • Branded beer glasses, wine openers, keychain bottle openers, or Koozies
  • Coupons for local businesses close to your venue (you could even use this as a sponsorship opportunity for your event)

Want to take your gift bag even farther? Consider loading up a Social Vending Machine with your gift bags. You can capture your attendee’s info or get them to post about your event in exchange for their bag. They get free swag and you get free exposure- a real win-win situation!

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