Swag is a minor, but important, part of an event, and choosing the right swag can be difficult. There’s a huge array of options, and swag trends come and go so quickly that it’s hard to keep up. If you’re not sure what to put in your virtual swag bags, our list of virtual event swag ideas is designed to help you choose swag items that your recipients will love.
What Is Swag For, Anyway?
People love receiving gifts and freebies, and swag is no exception to the rule. The term “swag” originally referred to the branded promotional items that were given away at industry events like trade shows and conferences. Now, the term can refer to any kind of branded item, even if it’s not specifically associated with an event. But to event attendees, swag is still the word for the free stuff they get for visiting various trade show booths or the goodie bag they receive at a conference.
Whether or not those items are tied to a specific event, the purpose is the same. Branded products are all about marketing, and swag is a form of advertising. Depending on the item and situation, it might be used to raise brand awareness or promote a corporate identity, or given out as a sales incentive.
Virtual Event Swag Ideas Your Attendees Will Love
Choosing the right swag items requires that you strike a balance between affordable (for you) and desirable (to the recipient). That can be tough to do, but, luckily, good swag doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive. The key to choosing swag people actually want is to look for items that have a practical use and that have some longevity.
Virtual Event Swag You Can Send to Attendees
Just because you’re hosting a virtual event, doesn’t mean you can’t provide attendees with real, tangible swag items. One option is to pick out swag items like you would for an in-person event and have gift boxes delivered to attendees’ homes. This can work well for smaller events, but if you have several hundred or more attendees, preparing and sending swag boxes may become a mini-event in itself!
There’s another possibility that makes the whole process of sending swag to virtual attendees a no-brainer, even for large events. A whole new industry has developed in the last couple years, focusing on branded swag boxes that you can customize and send to event attendees. These include companies such as Sendoso, Swag.com, and Caroo, all of which offer both custom and curated options and ship all over the world. Even for virtual events, your options for swag are almost as extensive as they’d be for any live event. And once you’ve picked out the physical gifts, your work is done, as these companies package the gifts and take care of delivery too.
1. Branded apparel is always popular, and you’re not limited to t-shirts anymore. Choose from custom-branded:
- Workout and leisure clothing
2. Wellness gifts can be great for employees, especially now that many people are working from home part or all of the time. Items such as stress relievers, resistance bands, and exercise mats are all useful options, especially when paired with digital wellness-related gifts.
3. Travel gifts are another popular option. Everyone loves getting a travel mug or water bottle, and new gift options such as reusable metal or silicone straws add to the possibilities. Or take it up a notch with a good-quality travel organizer, a gift that could see years of use if your recipients travel regularly.
4. Tote bags remain a gift many people love getting, no matter how many totes they already have at home. With plenty of room for branding, they’re easily one of the best swag items out there, since most people agree that you can never have too many tote bags!
5. Tech gifts are perfect for a wide range of events and recipients, especially those items that are used to enhance mobile devices in some way. Useful and inexpensive swag options include:
- Cable organizers
- Phone chargers
- Webcam covers
- Screen cleaners
Another option that’s increasingly popular for virtual event swag is to give gifts that provide the recipient with an experience, such as making a cocktail or baking cookies. These gifts may not last long, but the delight they bring makes them just as worthwhile:
6. A cocktail kit from Cocktail Courier – This kit includes everything needed to make the designated cocktail or mocktail, so it’s a great gift to pair for an event with a virtual happy hour. Attendees can make their own cocktails using the kit provided and then enjoy the drinks together while socializing.
7. Bake-at-home cookie kits from Bonjour Bakehouse – Recipients get the fun of baking cookies with a kit containing pre-measured ingredients. Imagine warm, fresh-baked cookies in a flash!
8. A s’mores kit from Swag.com, including chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers – It’s a guaranteed hit for a virtual event or team-building activity. Or for a fun twist on another old favorite, try a caramel apple kit.
9. Plant kit from SwagUp – Send your attendees an air plant, the perfect plant gift for everyone, as they need very little maintenance. Alternatively, there’s the “Glow & Grow” set, which includes a candle, plant pot, and seeds of aloe.
10. An adult coloring book – Coloring is a popular stress-relieving pastime, so this adult coloring book kit plus colored pencils can be a great addition to a virtual event swag bag. This set from SwagUp even lets you insert customized pages, for additional branding options.
Digital Swag for E-Gifting
Another option for your virtual event swag is to choose digital gifts rather than physical items. Going digital can simplify the process of choosing and delivering swag to your attendees, and it’s an efficient option that can be low-cost too. As an added bonus, it’s a more sustainable and eco-friendly option, since the gifts don’t have to be packaged or shipped.
11. Digital wellness gifts pair perfectly with items such as exercise mats, heart-rate monitors, or leisurewear. Virtual fitness classes from a service such as DRYFTLive or meditation classes with Headspace® are great wellness options for employees or event attendees.
12. Online classes are an ideal accompaniment to conferences and other education and information-focused events, and sites such as MasterClass and Udemy offer a huge array of options in professional and personal development, from photography to cooking to music, and many more. A similar website called takelessons offers private virtual lessons in music and singing, languages, art, and other subjects. Or if you want your entire sales team to learn ukulele or dance, there are group classes for those too!
13. Audio and e-books can make great attendee gifts, whether you offer a gift card, subscription, or a copy of an e-book that’s relevant to your attendee demographic. Amazon is a great place to pick up audio and e-book options, with both Audible and Kindle offering subscription services.
14. Giving a discount to your next event is a simple and effective addition to a digital swag bag, even if you’re planning on making next year’s gathering live or hybrid. A discount to a live event is typically a highly valued gift, but it’s one that doesn’t add to your event expenses, so it’s win for everyone.
15. Making a donation on behalf of your gift recipients can be a great way to give back, as well as give gifts that are sustainable and eco-friendly. Donations to organizations like World Vision® or Charity: Water put the money to great use, but you can do a little research to find an organization that aligns with your business’s vision and mission statement. Alternatively, sending your recipients Kiva gift cards lets them choose where their donations are made.
Great Gifts Make for Happy Attendees
Effective virtual event swag should combine useful branding with built-in longevity. So it’s important to go for virtual swag ideas that are genuinely useful, as opposed to trendy or flashy. The more use virtual swag gets, the more value both you and your event attendees gain from it and the better your ROI is for the money spent.