Swag bags! Events love giving them, shoppers love receiving them and vendors….well, vendors probably love the extra exposure but coming up with an idea and making sure it’s time and cost effective can be a challenge.
Swag bags are a great way to attract people to the craft show and encourage them to come early. They can also be a good opportunity to get your samples, promotions or gift ideas to the shoppers and encourage them to stop by your booth. But…you don’t want to throw any ‘ol item in there. There are a few things to think about to be sure your contribution gets noticed and is worth the cost. Here are 10 questions to ask yourself before adding to a swag bag:
1) What would you like to receive?
Put yourself in the shopper’s shoes for a second; we know this seems like a great place to throw promotional materials you can have made for pennies a piece, like your business cards, stickers, pins, pens, magnets etc. however I don’t remember the last time I noticed the business name printed on my pen or wore a pin advertising a business. You don’t need to give the milk away for free but you’re a creative business and your swag bag item should promote that. Keep in mind that event promoters want to be proud of the swag bags they’re handing out as well and let’s be honest, a bag full of printed promotional material just isn’t that exciting.
2) Will it be useful?
Tying into #1, consider what the receiver will find useful. You don’t want the shopper to toss your freebie in the trash once they head out the door so try to include something that will be memorable and that they will find useful. You want to give away swag that will either encourage shoppers to buy from you that day or be something they want to hang onto or display to remind them of your business and hopefully encourage them to buy in the future.
3) What will get noticed right away?
Many shoppers will take a quick peek in the bag as opposed to going through each item right then and there. Think of an item that will stand out so they either want to immediately take a closer look or use it right then and there. Edibles or items people would carry on them (i.e. hand cream or lip balm) are a good place to start or you can get creative and make items that stand out due to their size, cuteness, uniqueness or wow ness factors. Once they take the item out of the bag, use it to your advantage and ask yourself the next question…
4) Can you encourage them to buy today?
Coupons on their own may be missed but if you attach one to an item they immediately want to take a closer look at, you can get them to take notice of the deal and nudge them towards your booth. Create a promotion for this craft show only that swag bag receivers can take advantage of if they stop to see you. Be sure you’re not dropping your prices to the point you don’t make a profit but a little perk can result in more sales.
5) Can you give an incomplete item?
Sounds like you’re short changing swag bag receivers but hear me out. What can be used to complete your swag item? Create a bit of a scavenger hunt or puzzle to get them wondering what they can use your swag bag item for. The item may be a mystery to them but has a note attached to “find _____ vendor booth to complete this item”. You can give away half an item in the bag and the other half at your booth so they need to stop by to complete it; once they’re there you have the opportunity to show them your other products and potentially make a sale. Or you can give them an item that is useful on its own but requires a purchase from you to take it to the next level. Getting them started with a swag item but requiring them to stop by to complete it will get more people intrigued and interested in visiting your booth. Here are a few examples:
6) Can you make it a novelty item?
As in something unexpected for what you sell but still related. If adding a piece of your work doesn’t make sense cost wise, brainstorm some fun novelty items that will catch shopper’s attention and that you can tie back in to your business. If you can make it humorous…bonus points! A few more examples:
7) What will be the cost?
Advertising is an expense of doing business but make sure you’re not going to break the bank to contribute an item. You likely won’t get a sale from every swag bag receiver but make sure your return on investment makes sense. Let’s say you’re spending $5 per item in material and time and have 25 bags to fill. Do you think the cost of your swag will bring in at least $125 worth of business? If you can’t think of a worthwhile item to contribute to each swag bag, see if there’s an option to contribute to a portion of the bags. Half-baked ideas or items won’t do any favors for your brand.
8) Can you use up scrap materials?
To make swag items more cost effective, use the scraps you were going to toss anyways. If you have leftover pieces of fabric, beads and other materials that aren’t big enough to make a full sized product out of, consider what you can make that’s a smaller version.
9) What can be used with your products?
Maybe they haven’t purchased from you yet but if they do, they’ll have a handy tool to use with your items! Shop around to find discount prices for buying in bulk or check out your local dollar store or thrift shop.
10) Can you work together?
If you’re having trouble thinking of an item to contribute that’s significant enough, consider if there’s another vendor that you can work with to create 1 swag item that uses both your products. Someone who crochets may offer a soap saver bag and team up with a soap maker who can place a soap in each bag. Be sure that each item is clearly labeled and points out that they are made by different vendors (you don’t want one person getting all the glory).
SOME ADDITIONAL TIPS
Tell us in the comments what you love to contribute to swag bags!
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