Guide to Creating an Epic Swag Bag

Published by Steve Hill on

Whether you’re planning a killer product launch, or an award ceremony, creating a luxury swag bag should always be at the top of your to-do list. Gifting potential clients and attendees with a high-end swag bag will leave them feeling valued, and provide you with an excellent marketing opportunity.

What a swag bag does, when done well, is to get attendees to incorporate a little piece of your brand as part of their everyday life. Promotional merchandise has been proven to positively reinforce your company with a sense of worth and value, meaning that it’s you, the swag bag-ee will think of first when they need your particular service.

But we’ve all been to events and come home with swag bags only to stuff them to the back of our cupboards and shove that company branded stress ball in that drawer that no one ever looks in. It’s critical that when you create your swag bag, you not only create a bag that people are going to want to use, but pick items that will entertain, impress and, more importantly, convert. Promotional bags and products are a £19 billion industry, and with research by the PPAI proving that swag bags alone can increase your sales annually, it’s essential that you understand and realise their full potential.

But how do you create swag bags that convert?

The biggest aspect of this is knowing your audience. How they interact with your brand and what they will find valuable. However, in a budget where swag bags often just get the leftovers, this can be a challenge. We’ve been in this industry a while, so we know a thing or two about creating a memorable swag bag. Here are our rules for creating smart promotional swag bags your attendees will not only love but keep.

Our Top 5 Rules For Creating a Swag Bag That Converts

Start With a Great Bag

The first rule of creating a bonafide swag bag is to not talk about creating a swag bag. Not really. The first rule of swag bags is to always start with a great bag. You want to give out a bag that people will be happy to keep and use, as every time they tote that bag out in public, it’s free advertising.

Rather than a boring old black tote, upgrade to something that’s more functional and desirable; so they, their friends, their friend’s friends and even strangers are looking and asking about your brand. The kind of bag you choose should be dependent on your company, your product and your brand.

Try to offer up a bag that’s both linked to your products and useful to your audience. If you’re a cosmetics brand throwing a product launch, why not design promotional make-up bags to gift out? This is audience and brand specific, meaning it’ll have a high likelihood of being used after the event and provide some genuine worth. And if it’s beautiful bag, what make-up lover won’t be thrilled to have something new to house their goodies in?

If you’re an ethical company, you should be using reusable bags or even bags made from recycled waste. Promotional bag manufacturers have access to excellent technology, that will enable you to still create an award-winning bag, whilst sticking to your ethos. When designing your bags, there are a few rules of thumb that you should always keep in mind.

If you’re an ethical company, you should be using reusable bags or even bags made from recycled waste. Promotional bag manufacturers have access to excellent technology, that will enable you to still create an award-winning bag, whilst sticking to your ethos. When designing your bags, there are a few rules of thumb that you should always keep in mind.

  • Black is not the new black, and it definitely isn’t memorable.
  • Focus on making your bags aesthetically pleasing first and the branding second. Unless you’re a high-end designer brand, no one is going to feel comfortable regularly using a bag that has your company’s name plastered all over it. If your logo isn’t particularly beautiful, try using branded luggage tags for a more unobtrusive look. PRO TIP: Why not add a layer of exclusivity and get a local artist to design a print, or even offer a choice of a few different prints, getting your audience actively involved in the decision making.
  • Try not to overdo it size wise, bigger might be better until your attendees have to lug around a whopper of a swag bag at an all-day event. No bigger than a messenger bag is usually a good rule.

Make Sure it’s Packed with (Some) Useful Items

Just like your bag, you want to make sure that the swag inside strikes a good balance between functional and fun – and you definitely don’t want anything inside to be thrown away. If you’ve attended any conference, guaranteed you’ve come home with more branded pens and pencils than you can count, and whilst chucking in a pen or two isn’t unforgivable – who doesn’t need a pen – try and get a little more creative with the rest of your offerings.

Phone banks or USB’s can be great little utilitarian gifts, especially if you pre-pack the stick with some fun promotional videos or useful info before distributing them, but again, they’re not going to be the most memorable offerings. If you really want to stand out, pack your swag bags with items that your demographic would need or appreciate, something that may be specific to their industry. If you’re hosting a conference for personal trainers, a branded protein shake bottle, or arm strap for their phone or MP3, will definitely provide more value than a company key ring.

PRO TIP: Try and integrate some of the items in your bag with the event itself. For instance, if you’re hosting an outdoors event, providing sunglasses and sunscreen is an easy way to get your audience interacting with your gifts before they’ve even left the party.

Make It Specific to the Event and Company

Okay, so we’ve already partially covered this, but it is a rule that bears repeating. The more you can tie your swag bag and goodies to your company, brand and event, the more the memory of the event will intrinsically tie in with the objects, meaning that every time someone uses that bag, they’ll be thinking immediately of you. If you’re opening a new bar, or are a company that creates alcoholic products, why not offer out a bottle bag or a branded cocktail shaker.

Include a Couple of Consumables

Who doesn’t love chocolate? We’re not saying that it always has to be the King of snack foods, but it’s always good to include a couple of things that people can eat or drink, especially if it’s a day-long event. Even if it’s just a bottle of water. Or, If you’re a health and beauty company, giving out promotional wash bags with hand lotion in is a great idea for a quick and easy gift.

PRO TIP: Official disclaimer, just be careful to include all of the appropriate allergen information if you’re offering out food.

Splurge High-Quality Novelty Item

So, this is less of a hard and fast rule, and more of a do what you can within your budget. What we really mean to say is always make sure to include one key item that will work as your bag’s centrepiece; whether that be a book or an Apple Watch. If you look at the hard hitters of the tech industry, Google and Apple, or even the Oscars, their swag bags are packed with hi-tech gifts that not only secure the attendees brand loyalty but ensure they receive massive amounts of publicity and exclusivity in return.

You might find that this works best for you by offering our packages for your own products. For example, the first 100 attendees through the door get a money off deal on your prime product. Not only will this get you a higher attendance, but drive purchases and accelerate your conversion rate. All resulting in your product looking popular, which in turn will drive even more traffic.

No matter your budget, brand, or event, make sure that your swag bag is personalised to your company and relevant and functional to your audience. If you pull off a great swag bag, you’re earning yourself a new coup of loyal customers and beginning relationships that could span a lifetime, so make sure you’re doing your company justice.

For more information about creating promotional bags, visit our bag blog, or contact us directly on +44 (0)1225 66 79 79, or US Freephone, (0)8666158187

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