There’s a long-standing truism in our industry that to save money on your print and production jobs, you need to order large quantities. Yes, in many cases, buying in bulk helps you get a lower price on each unit, but are you saving money if you buy 500 T-shirts when you only need 300, or you print 10,000 bag stuffers and only use half of them before your offer expires?

We see this thinking a lot, especially when purchasing swag for tradeshows. It’s tempting to go overboard: Conventions present a unique opportunity to reach a captive audience actively engaged in learning more about products and companies like yours. Everyone in attendance could be a potential new client—but offering everyone the same swag can add up, even with volume-based pricing. Here’s how you can swag smarter:

Before the Show Even Starts

If you’re expecting high-value prospects or VIPs to attend, gift them well before the show starts. The most economical way to go is with a care package that combines all the items described below. These pre-event promos help to generate excitement and start productive conversations.

For those true VIPs on your list, consider more premium versions of the promotional items of whatever swag you’re handing out at the show: an attaché rather than a tote bag, fountain pens instead of a stick pen.

During the Show

One of the essential functions booth swag serves is announcing your company’s presence at the show—or, in other words, turning attendees into walking billboards for you by prominently featuring your name and logo. Printed tote bags or sacks are one practical item to consider. Consider pre-filling the bag with flyers, postcards, business cards and other printed materials. Branded lanyards are also a cost-effective option.

Other booth swag should blend practicality with pick-me-up value. Ideally, it should be something that an attendee will pocket at the show and then use after. Believe it or not, the humble pen remains the #1 swag item! They’re affordable, endlessly customizable, and something that recipients will use. Water bottles, portable hand sanitizers, journals and USB sticks are also historical favorites because they have a low per-item cost and are easy to customize.

Swag as Giveaway

Another way to get your swag to work its hardest: use it as the basis for contests and giveaways. For example, create a hashtag challenge or offer coveted items like T-shirts or drinkware to anyone who provides proof of social media engagement. Trivia challenges generate excitement and draw people to your booth: Everyone participating should walk away with a branded item, not just the winners!

At the Conclusion

So the show’s almost over and it was a rousing success, but you still have some leftover swag. Take the opportunity to network with your neighbors. Try orchestrating a swag exchange, similar to this groundbreaking Hershey’s promotion at 2016’s SXSW festival, to bring people together so they can get the things they actually want or need.

If your swag isn’t event-specific, it can go back into your inventory for next year. You can also use it to gift employees, clients, and prospects and even feature it in your social media posts.

Your Single Source for Saving on a Great Trade Show Experience

Without a doubt, the tradeshow experience is one of your company’s biggest marketing investments. You’ll get the most out of it with strategic planning and ensuring all elements work together to help you achieve your goals.

Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered! We can help you plan and execute every step in a successful tradeshow—from pre-show mailings to booth design, promotions, swag and post-event marketing. We can help you spend less, stress less and get the most out of the event. Contact us to learn more.

We’re Waiting To Help You

Get in touch with us today and let’s collaborate to help your business grow.