11 min read

Virtual Swag Bag: What to Include for Your Next Event

An empty tote bag sitting on a shelf

Handing out virtual swag bags at conferences, trade shows and other large-scale events is one of the best ways to make a lasting impression, which has always been the case for events in general.

Swag bags have been around for as long as we can remember. Practically every event you attend, be it in person or virtual, will offer freebies for attendees to collect. Freebies that cover everything from branded mugs to digital promo codes.

What you choose to include in your virtual swag bag is completely up to you and the type of event you’re running. To help you decide, we’ve created this very handy guide – one you can refer back to again and again when planning your next virtual event!

Before we continue we should make this point abundantly clear:

Just because your event exists in a digital setting, doesn’t mean that you can’t offer event gift bags. Running a virtual event should only encourage you more to include these goodies given how easy they are to access.

To begin, let’s look at what a swag bag is and what they include before looking at some swag bag ideas.

What is a Swag Bag?

A swag bag typically refers to a collection of promotional items that are given out to attendees at events. Branded keychains, flyers, stickers, and magnets are the types of things you’d find in these goodie bags.

By offering free swag at events, organisers pretty much guarantee:

  • That attendees remember the event
  • That sponsorship ROI is high
  • That event goals are met

Virtual swag bags are slightly different in comparison, although it is still possible to distribute physical swag to attendees even if you’re running a virtual event. Organisers simply have to send the items either before or after the event.

49% of marketers say that audience engagement is the biggest contributing factor to having a successful event.
– Markletic

Sending these items before will encourage attendees to A) attend your event, and B) engage with it. How will they engage with your event?

That’s easy:

They’ll engage with you by checking out the webpage for your event, checking out any event sponsors or businesses taking part, or via the content they share on social media.

You can track this by searching for any custom hashtags you’ve created to hype the event. Organisers can then share that content on their own channels to encourage more people to post about their swag!

By sending the goodies after the event, organisers can establish a sense of trust. The kind of trust that encourages them to visit future events, and tell their friends about it which will only increase future attendance numbers.

Do keep in mind that sending physical swag to attendees will need to be paid for, as outlined in your virtual event budget.

Multiple people pointing at a virtual swag bag on a laptop screen

Virtual Swag Bags

The idea behind a virtual swag bag is the same as the physical goodie bags we’ve just mentioned, just in a digital format.

One of the main differences between a virtual swag bag and physical goodies is how accessible one is over the other. Attendees can find event information and other quality freebies at the click of a button!

Customised virtual event platforms – like those we create here at iVent – allow organisers to insert various goodies in all kinds of places.

Simply tell us how you want it set up and we’ll take it from there.

Get started on your events.

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Virtual Swag Bag Ideas: What You Need to Include

Understanding what a virtual swag bag is isn’t the same as knowing what to include in one. Which is where a lot of organisers struggle and is the reason why many of you reading this found this post to begin with.

Hopefully the virtual swag bag ideas we present below will inspire you when planning your own virtual events.

Do keep in mind that the swag bag ideas we’re about to cover are optimised for virtual platforms only. You can still send attendees physical swag. You’ll just need to send the goodies either before or after the event, as mentioned.

Digital Resources

The swag bag possibilities are somewhat endless when you run a virtual event. That being said, we’d strongly recommend you structure what resources you offer around the event you’re running specifically.

For example, let’s say you plan to run a large-scale virtual healthcare event. Those attending those types of events will probably care more for information-heavy resources, which is where a downloadable ebook could come in real handy!

With virtual trade shows, you might choose to head in the opposite direction in terms of the swag you give out. You could offer downloadable event filters for attendees to encourage attendees to share their experiences on social media.

Here’s a list of what digital resources you could offer at your next event:

  • Ebooks and Whitepapers
  • Key Event Information
  • Event Schedule
  • Exclusive Event Collectibles
  • Downloadable Event Filters
  • Digital Stickers
  • Sponsored Content
  • Promo Codes

Promo codes are great at directing the attention of your attendees to your products and services, not to mention your sponsors. By giving attendees 10% off a product or a free demo, you encourage them to engage with you directly, which could turn them into repeat customers.

Custom promo codes are easily trackable too, providing relevant information to event organisers and sponsors. Sponsors, with data that could influence future events and what types of promotions are offered.

Competition Entry

Competitions are a sure-fire way to increase engagement at events. Especially if what you’re offering is something worth having. A free consultation with your business or something given to you by one of your sponsors are but two examples of what you could offer.

Your virtual swag bag could give attendees the ability to enter a giveaway. Here’s one of the ways you can do it:

Anyone that downloads your swag bag has a unique code generated for them. Organisers then choose the winning code and inform the winner directly. You can inform winners directly by asking them to provide an email address before a code is generated.

iVent virtual treasure hunt

Branded Games

Another way to encourage attendees to check out your swag is to offer them something unique. Something that is relevant to the event you’re running, just not nearly as formal as some of the other items we’ve covered.

We’re of course referring to branded games. Games that you can customise to keep attendees engaged as the event is taking place, and even after the event!

What kind of branded games can you offer attendees?

Arcade-style games are a big hit amongst our clients. Especially the Pac-Man style game. There are also custom treasure hunts. Simply scatter clues across your virtual event platform to encourage attendees to visit areas they typically wouldn’t!

Gamifying your virtual events is something we’ve covered a lot here at iVent. If you’d like to learn more, be sure to check out this page on the site.

Links to Relevant Content

No matter what you include in your virtual swag bag, you need to make sure that you’re including relevant links that take attendees off to the right places. For example, any sponsored content you include in your event swag bags should link off to that sponsor’s website.

You might also use the content in your swag bag as an opportunity to link off to your own social media channels, thus encouraging attendees to follow you and even share content using any event-specific hashtags!

Ensure that any links you include are trackable. Doing so will let you know how many people are clicking through from your events, which could determine where organisers link off to in future events.

Why Offer Virtual Swag at Events?

We know that virtual event bags can take several different forms and that what’s included will vary from event to event. But we’ve yet to touch on the main benefits of offering virtual swag at online events. Which is where this section comes into play.

So, why should you offer virtual swag at events?

You probably have a rough idea of what the main benefits are having read through this post. We’ve put together a list, for reference:

  • They’re Convenient for Attendees
  • It’s an Environmentally Friendly Option
  • What you Include is Trackable
  • Everything is Fully Customisable

Convenient for Attendees

Convenience is key when it comes to virtual events. And there’s nothing more convenient than giving your attendees access to a variety of freebies. Freebies that don’t require them to actively walk around and collect by hand. Everything is right there in front of them!

And let’s face it, having to lug around a branded tote bag full of freebies is less than ideal. Virtual swag is weightless in comparison and is probably more appealing to your attendees compared to physical swag.

Ask any attendee what they’d prefer over a promo code or a branded mug, and they’re more than likely going to choose the former.

An image of a forest

It’s an Environmentally Friendly Option

For organisers that only want to hand out virtual swag, here’s an important benefit that can’t be emphasised enough:

Virtual swag bags are better for the planet.

Think about just how many physical swag bags and everything included inside (i.e. print materials) are just thrown away once attendees leave your event. A standard in-person event can use up to 36,000 pieces of paper, most of which are not recycled accordingly. By choosing to offer virtual swag – and choose to run your event in a digital format – you eliminate up to 170kg of CO2 emissions (MeetGreen).

To learn more about what we’re doing to be more sustainable and do our part to tackle carbon emissions, check out this page here.

What you Include is Trackable

We’ve mentioned this a few times already, and with good reason. The fact that organisers and sponsors can track everything from website signups to the number of times an event-specific promo code is used makes it very easy to determine performance.

Again, this encourages organisers to double-down on what works best, in line with the various KPIs outlined prior to the event. One of those KPIs could be to achieve sponsor ROI, which is very easy to achieve with sponsorship-focused swag!

Everything is Fully Customisable

The final virtual swag bag benefit we’d like to talk about is another we’ve touched on throughout this post. That being:

Everything you include in an event swag bag can be fully customised to carry the appropriate branding. You’re in complete control over what’s included in it and how easy it is for attendees to access.

Choosing to only offer virtual swag is also a lot more cost-effective in comparison to offering physical goodies. Producing and then distributing hundreds if not thousands of branded pens, water bottles, lanyards, and other physical gifts can take a significant chunk out of your event budget.

It goes without saying, but custom virtual event swag is a lot cheaper to create and distribute amongst your attendees. Also, you’ll never have to worry about running out of swag either considering it exists digitally!

Virtual Swag Bag: What to Include for Your Next Event

It goes without saying that by running a virtual event organisers open themselves up to a world of possibilities when it comes to the swag they choose to give out to attendees.

Open days, trade shows, and conferences – events that couldn’t be any different from one another, but all have the same thing in common:

They’re the perfect opportunity to hand out virtual swag to ensure that organisers smash their online event goals!

If you’re planning a virtual event and want to offer virtual swag, then you need to talk to iVent. You see, our platform enables you to create truly inclusive and engaging experiences for participants, regardless of where they are.

We don’t use templates either. Everything is customised from the ground up by our in-house experts to ensure its functionality is a perfect match to your event objectives.

Want to distribute engaging ebooks or whitepapers to attendees? Our platform can accommodate that. Want a separate area within your virtual event space just for swag? Again, it’s something our platform is more than equipped to handle.

Get in touch to find out more. And find out why iVent is one of the leading names in virtual events, period.

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