Honestly, I don’t know what the best swag is, but I’m hoping I find out by the end of this article.
What is Swag?
For something to be swag, it has to meet two criteria:
After that, this stuff runs the gambit. I’ve gotten everything from cheap bookmarks to briefcases. I guess it all depends on the budget you have when you’re doing the purchasing. Personally, I like to keep my giveaways on the cheaper side. The most expensive thing my law firm has ever given out was golf balls.
That was a selfish giveaway because my business partner and I were golfing a lot. We were also not very good, so we were losing a lot of balls. Instead of buying a bunch of brand new balls 12 at a time, we bought 288 branded balls all at once. We gave away a ton, but we were also really good at losing them just as fast.
I don’t know about you, but I love expo swag. There are a couple of things I’m always on the lookout for.
- A bag to carry my other swag
- Chapstick because convention centers are always dry
- Hand sanitizer because of shaking hands
After that, it’s all about the uniqueness factor. I love when businesses match their swag to what they do. Gyms giving out towels is a perfect example! I saw a DUI lawyer give out breathalyzer test strips once, and I thought that was super clever as well.
The best expo swag is the thing that makes someone remember you when they need your services.
Holiday swag is a little harder. You see these in two places: gifts to customers and colleagues, and holiday events. In either case, you want to steer away from gifts that are too religious. You don’t know everyone else’s beliefs, so it’s best to keep the gifts more general.
If you’re sending gifts, I want to suggest not sending perishable food. A few years ago, I got an edible arrangement left on my office’s doorstep for two weeks because I was on an extended Christmas vacation. That gift ended up being a lot of ants. Chocolates or other snack-type foods are fine if they’re sealed and you don’t live somewhere they’ll melt.
But what is best? It is best to know a little bit about your clients and colleagues. I keep notes in my CRM on all the people I send gifts to just to make sure they get something a little more personal.
The best holiday swag is something personal.
A fun idea is taking a holiday that no one celebrates and making that the one your business celebrates. I’ve received donuts on national donut day, and that was amazing! More businesses should do that!
So, the worst things I’ve ever received:
- Edible arrangements, at any time. Unless you know someone likes them, don’t send them.
- Coupons for X% off something. That’s just a sales pitch. No one likes that.
- Mugs. Seriously, stop giving out mugs. My office had dozens of extra mugs until I started throwing them away.
- Magnets. No one wants a magnet of your face and contact information.
- Anything flimsy. I’d rather have nothing than something I need to throw away. Flimsy padfolios, tote bags, USB drives, flashlights, and others are just a huge waste.
- Books. Especially if you wrote them, I don’t want any more unrequested books. All too often, these are merely a long-winded sales pitch. If you’re going to write a book, do it right. And also, don’t send me a copy without asking first.
All in all, the best swag is personal, topical, useful, and is something that will make someone else remember you. If you can’t accomplish this on your budget, just go with candy, a pen, or nothing at all.
What swag are you going to give out now that you’ve read this article?