10 Tips To Getting Affordable Swag Without Skimping On Quality

10 min read
Helen Rankin
Helen Rankin

Last updated: December 13, 2022

You may have done a lot of convincing to get your boss to do swag or you’re a founder that understands the value but still wants to watch the wallet. Either way, we break down the top 10 tips for getting affordable swag without skimping on quality. Quality for swag matters because it’s what keeps your swag on someone’s shelf and in use longer. The last thing you want is to gift swag that is a cheap quality that breaks. Now that would be a complete waste of your already tight budget. If you are going to get branded swag for your business treats it like a true investment.

Why Swag Should Be Reduced Not Removed As A Budget Line Item

When companies do budget cuts they think we’ll swag is definitely not going to happen. Which is similar to saying we are not going to invest in our customers or employees. Short-term might make sense but long-term might hurt you. 

If you are spending swag for employees, that goes a long way. There are ways to reduce the spending without eliminating it entirely, Like sending swag less often. You can also use the tips which we will highlight later to really help bring your overall costs down. Assuming you are making budget cuts you are also making teams work more with less. Especially if you just experienced a round of layoffs. Morale will dip and burnout will increase. If you are delaying bonuses, reducing salaries, or not doing any promotions, the least you can do is show them you care by sending swag as an appreciation. That swag should be something small but meaningful. This blog will help you find ways to make swag more affordable for your budget and the new year to come!

Now if you were using swag for clients or prospecting, you have a direct RIO to that. Check to see what your swag investment is toward acquiring more customers. You might notice that clients you sent swag have a higher AOV or longer retention. Having your brand laying around their house or office doesn’t hurt in a light reminder about your company. 

So if you are getting swag for employees or clients, we suggest reducing budgets not eliminating them entirely. Short term you may think it makes sense but long term those areas will drag. Swag is an effective tool when used correctly. You can also pause swag budgets to get a breather for internal purposes but would steer away from pausing if tied to specific marketing campaigns. Unless of course, those campaigns were not bringing in revenue.  You can always visit why it’s not performing. Are the sales teams even getting to those leads? Yes, these things matter. Sending swag to someone random is not going to convert very well. Sending swag to someone that visited your website or blog a few times will help.

Top Ten Tips TO Getting Affordable Swag Without Skimming on Quality

So let’s break down our top 10 tips for getting swag the affordable way and of course let’s not skimp out on the quality here! These are the top tips from our expert team that helps over 10,000 customers on getting swag that fits their budget.

1. Stick To One Color Or Deboss.
You may not have noticed that your 4 color logo is actually expensive. Using one color for screen prints or deboss when possible actually makes it less expensive. Most prints are charged by the number of colors. This excludes full-color or digital prints, it holds true for anything screen printed. Most swag items use screen print as the decoration method. For example, a shirt with one color can cost $14.31 while a 4 color logo will cost $16.73. Just right there that’s a saving of $2.42 per shirt! Now that’s how you make swag affordable! You can do this with almost any swag item you purchase.

2. Order Up, The More You Buy The More You Save. All swag items work on quantity price breaks. So naturally the more you buy the more you save. If you look at on-demand pricing, sure you save money not having to buy a bunch of swag but you pay the price for it. The on-demand item can cost you as if you are buying 5 items. Buying more will bring the cost per item down. Also, keep in mind if you order an odd number like 85 qty, it’s amazing how much you can save by just bumping up to 100. See the example below there’s a saving of almost $2 per pack. So make sure to get a variation of price breaks to see what makes the most sense.

3. Team Up Your Order. It’s common to have companies team up their orders. In most cases whatever marketing is ordering for clients can be repurposed for employees. It also helps marketing teams get their cost per pack down by having HR and Culture join in on a swag order. So it doesn’t hurt to ask around if other teams are also ordering swag. You would be surprised how many teams are already ordering swag and a lot of cases from different vendors for the same item! Did you know you would pay a set-up fee for each vendor in that case?! You could be saving $25-$100 per item by consolidating to one vendor! So ask around, and see if other teams are planning on ordering swag for an event, team-building exercises, or client gifts. This makes it a great tip to getting cheap swag!

4. Order Items You Can Repurpose. Similar to the step above, are there items you can use for more than one use case? Not just across different teams but also different use cases. Like can you use the same shirt for giveaways and employee onboarding? If there are various events throughout the year, can they utilize the same swag items? Either way, think more strategically about your swag purchase and how you can repurpose it for multiple uses. This is an easy way of making swag affordable. We typically recommend this for smaller companies and startups just getting started on swag. They will use the employee onboarding packs for clients and ambassadors. Simply use a different message on the insert card!  You see there are ways to getting affordable swag!

5. Limit The Items You Logo. Not everything you send has to have a logo on it. You can make swag more affordable but ordering a few items with a logo on them but cutting back on some others. For example, you don’t have to get the full custom box you can use a plain mailer box. You can also use generic tape instead of custom tape. Some clients even take it a step further but order water bottles without logos on them. We had one customer send a plain white water bottle with a pack of stickers for employees to decorate to help bring their swag costs down and it made for a fun way for employees to customize their own bottle. This fellow mug is a popular item that gets requested a lot without any decoration.

6. Slow Ship Your Swag Or Consolidate Shipments. A less obvious cost to doing swag is shipping. A lot of customers forget to budget that into their costs and are stuck paying over budget for their swag. Not only is it wise to include your shipping cost for doing swag but also pick the slowest method. So when planning for your next swag purchase calculate that shipping cost in there. Plan ahead so you can take advantage of shipping items ground versus shipping items overnight. You can also save it by sending to one location. If you have a satellite office, send it there and distribute any swag as employees visit the office.

💡 Pro-Tip: Check Out Our Redeem Pages To Make Shipping Swag Easy!

7. Share The Cost With A Partner. Do you have a vendor that is always wanting to do more? Have them pay for some of the swag! Or if you have a partner with a similar look alike audience that you both want to target this is a great way to share the cost to make swag more affordable! There are a lot of items you can do with more than one logo or you can mix and match items. Don’t shy away from this opportunity. It’s a great way to segment this if you are partnering with another company for a virtual event.

8. Find a Sponsor To Cover The Cost. If you are doing swag for a conference or event, finding sponsors for the swag is very common! You get the value of providing swag for attendees while the sponsor has the opportunity to promote their brand. In these cases, you can pretty much get your swag down to zero. But also don’t shy away from having a sponsor place a promotional insert card in your swag bags or packs to make your swag affordable. 

9. Keep items lightweight for shipping. Another tip around shipping is keeping the items light. Items you can place in a mailer bag are going to be much more affordable than swag items you place in a custom box.  You also end up having to pick items that are soft and light in weight by picking a mailer bag, which in this case the items end up being more inexpensive swag just naturally. You can still get some really nice quality swag items this way too! Whether it’s some nice custom knit socks, a branded t-shirt, or a nice hoodie.

10. Asking For A Discount. At SwagUp we offer discounts for non-profits or through certain partnerships channels for your first order. You can also get the swag more affordable by allowing SwagUp team to place a custom insert for referrals in your swag. Most swag companies do this already but don’t give you a discount for promoting their brand on your behalf. SwagUp knows swag is a special gift and should have your brand front and center. If not you should get some incentive for doing so. Ask a SwagUp Expert more about this program!

So there you have the top 10 tips for getting affordable swag without skimming on quality! Of course, you can find cheaper items but make sure in doing so you are not risking quality. You are better off sending one nice item than 10 items that will break within a week. So what are you waiting for? Stay swaggy and affordable within budget! 

Want more tips? 🚀

Here’s How To Convince Your Boss How To Do Swag 

Rio Of Swag 

Swag In The Wild Onboarding Edition 

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