10 Swag Bag Ideas Your Attendees Will Love

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Think about the last conference you attended, and the moment when you received your swag bag. What were your emotions? Did you feel curious? Excited? Appreciated? What about after you opened it? Did you experience a rush of delight?

If the event planners did a great job, you might have found yourself posting the contents of your swag bag excitedly to social media. You may still be using and enjoying your swag years later.

But if the event planners did a poor job, chances are good you tossed the items or they are collecting dust somewhere in a long-forgotten shoebox.

If you are the one planning an event, you know how much is riding on the success of your swag. The right swag ideas will make a great first impression on attendees, show them how much you appreciate their presence, and even persuade them to promote your brand during and after the event.

In fact, according to these stats, “50% of people report daily using the promotional products they have accumulated from swag bags.” The stats also report, “85% of consumers admit to doing business with a company after receiving a promotional product from them,” and “67% of people pass promotional products on to someone else, providing further exposure.”

In this post, we are going to share 10 swag ideas with you that your attendees will adore. But first, let’s go over some swag basics.

What Should Go in a Swag Bag?

There is a wide range of items that are suitable for swag bags. Any of the following can strike the right chord with attendees:

  • Attire
  • Office supplies
  • Electronics
  • Toys for children
  • Snacks
  • Sports products
  • Health products

There are other categories of products that can work too, but those are some of the most popular ones.

What Should Not Go in a Swag Bag?

While there are plenty of ideas for exciting swag bag goodies your attendees will enjoy, there are a few items that almost never pass muster. Here are a few things to avoid when you put together your swag bags:

  • Paper weights. While some people might still find these useful, they are heavy. Who wants so much extra weight in their luggage?
  • Key chains. Unless the key chain in question is particularly novel or offers additional functionality, skip it. Most people are already drowning in key chains.
  • Wipes for phone screens. Like key chains, these tend to be overdone.
  • Items that will not make it through airport security. Chances are good a lot of people flew to attend your event. Make sure you only give them items they can actually take home with them.
  • Cheap, poorly manufactured items. Your attendees can recognize high quality from low quality. If your swag looks cheap and feels flimsy, it sends a negative message.

What About Virtual Swag?

In our pandemic times, many events are now taking place online or partially online. For virtual and hybrid events, you can still send out swag!

This could include digital items or physical items you send direct through the mail.

For example, Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) turned to Delta Marketing for assistance when they needed to start hosting their yearly conference online. Delta Marketing worked with CSTA to help them craft custom swag boxes.

Delta Marketing writes, “Part of the success was the eye-catching design of the box and swag. We made sure everything, including the box design, collateral, and items inside the virtual event kit, all tied back to the CSTA brand guidelines.”

Recipients loved their swag boxes, taking to social media to share their delight. Impressions for CSTA on Twitter jumped over the course of a day from 10,000 to 45,000.

What Should a Swag Bag Cost?

There can be a wide price range for swag bags. You will need to figure out your budget for the entire conference to start. Then, think about how much you will need to allocate for other expenses. Whatever is left over is going to be your approximate budget for swag bags.

Of course, you do have some flexibility. You could consider making cuts in other areas to increase your swag bag budget if necessary.

Think about the people who will be attending your conference and what their expectations are likely to be.

A couple of exciting high-end items are going to make a much better impression on the whole than a bag or box containing a large number of lower-quality items.

What Should You Consider When Choosing the Best Conference Swag?

  • Demographics and interests of your attendees: Who is attending the event? How old are they? Do they have families? What are their professions? What activities do they enjoy on their off time? Where do they live? How far have they traveled? What are they passionate about? What are their values? The more of these questions you can answer, the more insights you will have into what types of swag will be well-received by participants.
  • The event location and season: Think about swag bag ideas that might be useful given the time and place where the conference is occurring. Say, for example, your conference is taking place in a bright, hot climate during summer. Sunglasses or sunscreen might make sense for such an event. But if your event is taking place in a cold location during gray winter days, a promotional beanie or insulated tumbler might make a better swag option.
  • Budget: As mentioned, you will need to choose goodie bag ideas that will fit within your company’s budget.
  • What you want the swag to accomplish: What do you want attendees to do with their conference swag? Use the items themselves every day at work? Gift the items to their colleagues, friends or family? Something else altogether? Pick items that will help you achieve your goals, whether those goals are to remind recipients your company exists, promote your brand to others, or something else entirely.
  • The tone of your event: What is your conference about, and what is its tone? Is it serious? Humorous? Fun and energetic? Playful? Cutting edge? Whatever tone you want to capture, you should pick goody bag ideas that help convey that message to attendees.
  • Your company’s values: We mentioned that you should assess your recipients’ values when putting together swag selections. But you also should think about your company’s values. Make sure the conference giveaway ideas you are choosing express those values.

Top Swag Bag Ideas for Your Next Conference

Now that we have gone over some considerations for choosing the best conference swag, let’s go over some specific ideas for your next event.

1. USB chargers and adapters

If a lot of your attendees have traveled to take part in your event, consider giving them chargers for their devices in their swag boxes.

How do you make sure that you are offering compatible technology? When your attendees register, include a survey. Ask them what type of device they use. Then, personalize each recipient’s swag bag with a compatible charger they can use.

Why your attendees will love it:

Most people can make use of extra chargers, especially when they are traveling and doing a lot of business on their devices.

2. Headphones or earbuds

Another simple idea for successful electronic swag is headphones or earbuds. If they are especially high in quality, you can rest assured that everyone will be thrilled with them, even if they already have headphones of their own.

Why your attendees will love it:

As with phone chargers, earphones are useful for travelers. While many people may already have their own, quite a few attendees also may not. They will appreciate being able to listen to their music as they ride the bus or metro or are on the plane ride home.

3. USB drives

Branded USB drives are a classic choice for conference swag that will not go amiss.

Why your attendees will love it:

Everyone can always use another USB drive, especially a large one that packs plenty of space. This is the type of item that is likely to get a lot of regular use as well, so it will constantly remind recipients of your company long after the event is over.

4. Outerwear

Branded outerwear is another swag classic, and for a good reason. Not only do recipients appreciate comfortable attire, but apparel is excellent for boosting brand awareness.

Check out this study on global ad impressions. The study reports, “In the U.S., outerwear generates the most impressions (6,100) of any item measured in the study. This is because outerwear is often worn in public places where it can be seen by many people. Other items that deliver a large number of impressions are headwear, T-shirts, bags and writing instruments.”

Why your attendees will love it:

Well-designed outerwear can be both functional and stylish. In fact, we cannot emphasize enough that you must go above and beyond in the style department. Don’t just stamp your company or event logo on a shirt or jacket and be done with it. Come up with a sophisticated, unique design for the event that is truly appealing to the eye. Make it something attendees will feel cool wearing.

5. Neck Pillows

Next in our list of goodie bags ideas is a neck pillow with your company name or logo on it.

Why your attendees will love it:

Most people lack truly ergonomic neck support at home, but do not realize it. They do tend to think about their lack of neck support in hotels and airports, however. 

You will be doing them a double favor with a neck pillow. They will be more comfy as they travel, for starters. Plus, when they get back home, they may realize that a neck pillow can enhance their wellness when they are not on the road as well.

6. Kids’ toys

Toys for children are tried and true gift bag ideas, especially if you know for a fact that most of your attendees have families of their own.

Why your attendees will love it:

Receiving a toy in a swag bag saves a participant the time and effort of shopping for one (what kid doesn’t expect a present when their parent returns home from a trip?).

Participants who do not have kids still may have nieces, nephews, or friends with children. So, pretty much any attendee can benefit from a toy.

7. Gift cards

Gift cards are an excellent option regardless of whether your swag is physical or digital.

Why your attendees will love it:

Are gift cards original or personal? Nope. But just as most people love to get them from family and friends, they also are happy to receive them from a company.

8. Gourmet food

A small gourmet snack or treat makes a nice addition to a swag box, especially if it is something local.

Why your attendees will love it:

Travel tends to make people extra hungry, and unique gourmet treats are a delightful indulgence. They also can make wonderful gifts for family and friends back home.

9. Hygiene products

Branded sanitizer or face masks can make welcome additions to any swag bag during the pandemic.

Why your attendees will love it:

It is easy to run out of sanitizer or forget to bring a face mask. Your participants will appreciate you looking out for their health and safety.

10.Donations to charity

One of the most unique swag ideas is charitable donations. Let your participants choose from a list of charities, and then make donations in their names.

Why your attendees will love it:

Research suggests that being able to perform altruistic acts makes people happy.  

Many people wish they could help those in need more often, but lack the means. By empowering conference participants to enrich the lives of others, you are bringing them joy.

Delight and Engage Attendees With Custom Swag Bags

Now you have some event gift bag ideas to consider. Whether your next conference is an in-person, online, or hybrid event, quality swag bags can welcome your attendees, establish the tone for your conference, promote brand awareness, and drive future sales and engagements.

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