Unique Ways to Get Your Swag Into Unexpected Hands

5 min read
Jori Hamilton
Jori Hamilton
Guest Writer

Published: June 11, 2022

Whether you’re a marketer or business owner, we don’t need to tell you the effectiveness of swag. People like getting “stuff,” even if it’s something small and inexpensive. Offering swag gives 82% of people a more favorable impression of a business. If you’re offering gear that’s valuable and practical, you’re even more likely to see a strong ROI for your efforts. 

The only problem with swag is providing enough for your needs. No matter how many tradeshows you attend, customers, you interact with in-person, or networking events you go to, it can often feel like you’re not doing enough to get your free gear into the hands of the right people. 

If that’s how you feel, you could be missing out on some unique ways and opportunities to get your swag into unexpected hands. 

Switch Up Your Events

If you’ve been to the same tired trade shows for the last several years, one of the first things you can do is change the events you attend. Think about who your target audience is and where they’ll be most likely to want what you have to offer. That might include places like:

  • Comic cons or other specific conventions;
  • Concerts;
  • Clubs/organizations;
  • Public speaking events.

One of the best marketing “tricks” you can use is to create a “trap product” to hand out. Trap products need to be irresistible to those walking by, and they should be in the same category as your core product. 

For example, if you run a screenprinting company, consider handing out plastic bags, socks, or stickers that showcase your artistic skills and the clarity of your work. They’re inexpensive to make and disperse but will show potential consumers what you can do. From there, they’ll be more likely to place an order for something bigger. If you really want to make your trap product stand out, make it “fit in” with whatever event you’re attending. 

Street Marketing & Giveways

Guerilla marketing seems a little old school, but it’s still highly effective when you’re trying to hand out free stuff! You can make your business stand out everywhere you go by investing in a company vehicle with your logo and/or interesting graphics. If you’re in the market for purchasing a company car, consider your budget, the kinds of features that will fit your needs, and how you can use the vehicle to hand out your swag and grow your customer base. 

There are a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to vehicle wrapping to keep in mind. First, don’t be afraid to be bold when making artistic decisions around your logo. Remember, the point of your vehicle is to cause people to come wherever you’re parked to check out who you are and what you have to offer. If you’re standing next to a car handing out swag, more people are likely to step up if they’re attracted to the uniqueness of your vehicle. 

With that being said, don’t make the mistake of overloading your vehicle with text, or a design that’s complicated to understand. You’ll be driving the vehicle around before you find a place to park, and that’s another opportunity to gain attention. You want people to be able to read what your car has to say quickly and easily. 

The car is only half the battle, of course. When you’re handing out swag on the street, you should be just as noticeable and brand-oriented as your vehicle. Wear a shirt with your company logo, set up a sign behind you, and don’t be afraid to make some noise. Doing so will draw in people to see you and receive their free gear. 

You might be surprised by what people are interested in, so try a few different guerilla techniques until you find one that feels comfortable and works for you. 

Mail-Out Swag

Using “snail mail” as a way to hand out swag is another old-school technique that works well for giving away promotional items. 

With a 22% increase in subscription services and boxes occurring during the pandemic, mail services are becoming popular again, and your brand and business should take advantage of this popularity. 

Mail services also add a personal touch and a level of convenience that customers may appreciate. By directly sending a package of swag, you’re essentially noting that you’re willing to go the extra mile as a brand to accommodate your customers.

💡 Did you know SwagUp has Redeem pages to help shipping swag easy? Check it out here! 

While the type of swag you send people is important, you can take things one step further by focusing on the packaging. Your swag is a means to sell your brand, and you would be missing out on an important marketing opportunity if you left your mailers or boxes blank. Apply your logo or a notable design to the surface of the packaging to let the recipient know who it’s from and what to expect right away. 

You can also gain points with prospective customers alike by incorporating sustainability with your mail-out swag. Consider some of the following options for an eco-friendly mailing experience. 

  • Use biodegradable packing peanuts
  • Seal things up with paper tape
  • Use compostable mailers
  • Utilize bioplastics

Let your recipients know that you understand the importance of the environment. Consider attaching a small note inside each swag shipment to discuss your packaging efforts and inform your audience what they can do to help the planet, too. It’s another way to establish trust with your target audience and set yourself apart as a business that wants to make a difference. 
These suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to unique swag ideas. If you’re already handing out free promotional items, don’t be afraid to have fun. Giving away swag isn’t just about getting your brand name into more hands – it’s about getting it into the right hands. By changing the way you do things and looking into new disbursement opportunities, you’ll reach new audiences and see a greater return on investment for the items you’re handing out.

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