I am sure everyone is familiar with a swag bag. For those who aren’t, it is the bag that they give you when you enter for all your take-home tchotchkes, such as lanyards, pens, coupons, and other promotional materials from event sponsors. The appeal of the swag bag is simple. It is the physical embodiment of a sponsor’s messaging and is intended to be something the attendee keeps with them throughout the event. With any luck, they will take home key chains, letter openers and stress balls emblazoned with your company’s logo, serving as a reminder for when they may need your products or services. The unfortunate reality is that unwanted materials get trashed and most of these items, including the bag itself, never make it past the hotel parking lot. The question is: Is there a better way to deliver promotional materials to attendees that cuts down on waste and gets you better exposure? The answer is: Yes, there is! It is called a Virtual Swag Bag, and it is the wave of the future.
Digital or Virtual Swag is a great alternative for event professionals to cater to audiences that are technologically savvy and environmentally conscious. This gives them the chance to drive traffic to their website to redeem items and track responses. For instance, Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos give guests an online code to redeem for downloadable playlists that correspond with events and current marketing themes. In the video gaming industry, companies are beginning to give out codes to unlock special items like armor, weapons, or other in-game upgrades.
Key Benefits of Virtual Swag:
- Environmentally friendly: There is little to no paper or plastic waste. Instead of handing the attendee a brochure that may be lost or trashed, have a QR code at your exhibit that will send them an email with further instructions or content. Alternatively, you can give them a smaller brochure with this code or instructions to claim their reward.
- Track the adoption and response rate easily: If your swag is a downloadable item, many systems allow you to track how and when it is downloaded. To further dig into attendee demographics, require them to give you some basic information on the download screen (such as title, industry and number of employees – as applicable). Many times these systems can even be integrated directly with your CRM giving you easy access to these leads. This tracking should also tell you exactly which items get the best response at your events.
- Offer more than one reward for the same initial investment: You can easily give attendees a choice in Digital Swag just as you would physical items. Think of it as if you were giving people a choice either a USB charger or a note pad — only this time you do not have to ship a pallet of these items back to your warehouse at the end of a trip.
- Easily manage both low end and higher end prizes: Digital entries can be used for larger giveaways just like you would with old-fashioned pen and paper. Now you are able to give them a smaller reward up front like a free premium smartphone app and then have a digital raffle for a larger prize like an iPad or gaming system to be shipped to them after the show.
- No physical inventory to track: No more late night inventories of your water bottles and key chains. No more extra shipping and drayage to and from the event site. No more rush orders and fees to make sure your fresh batch of stress balls makes it there on time. Digital inventory is easily made limitless and weighs nothing!
- Digital items are more likely to be used or redeemed than tchotchkes: Gear your Digital Swag to the attendees’ interests. Since most digital items can be redeemed with a smartphone or through an online account, they tend to satisfy the need for an instant reward. An instant and relevant Virtual Swag item will generate far more interest than a branded notepad creating a positive impression for your brand.