Sway Them With Your Small Business Swag

At the Academy Awards, no nominee goes home empty-handed. The 2015 show featured gift bags with some pretty serious swag – from a three-night stay in Tuscany to a year’s worth of Audi car rentals.

It’s no secret that the gift bags are a pretty big draw at the Oscars, but your small business conference or event probably doesn’t have a star-studded bank account. However, there are still ways to give your attendees some cool loot on a main street budget.

1. Play to your target audience.

Anyone can do pens, branded hats, T-shirts or fridge magnets. And while they might get some wear, they’re more likely to end up in the garbage at the end of the event.

To come up with a more innovative giveaway, think about your small business’ target audience. What gets them excited? If you’re a startup tech company, gift your attendees a USB drive – preloaded with sneak peeks of new products, contact info, beta versions of software or a cool mission statement video. Own a lawn care company? Think seed samples or put your small business’ information in a watering can.

If you play to your audience’s interests, you’re more likely to make an impression with your small business swag. So don’t waste your money on boring promotional items; develop something that they actually want to take home.

2. Get your small business name out there.

Marketing freebie are fun, but they need to somehow tie back to your small business if you want to see results. We’re not suggesting that you plaster your company’s name, contact info and logo over every spare surface of your loot. (In fact, we strongly advise against that.) However, the item should reflect your brand in some way — whether it’s your logo printed on M&M’s (yep, that’s a thing), your small business’ name and contact info on a tote bag or a tastefully displayed slogan on a beer stein.

3. Partner up.

Promotional items can be expensive, but you can offset the cost by offering sponsors the option to include their items in your event bags for a small fee. As long as you’re not advertising for the competition, there’s no harm giving away partner companies’ stuff. Plus, they’ll be more likely to return the favor when it comes time for their events.

As a small business owner, you probably can’t afford Oscar-worthy gift bags, but that’s not an excuse to waste your marketing dollars on junk. Think about what your attendees actually want and don’t be afraid to use a little creativity. A person can only have so many pens, but a solar-powered battery charger might really come in handy.

Still need help with your small business swag? Drop Mischa a line. We know a thing or two about conference freebies…and how to keep them out of the trash.