Holding a Digital Event? Don’t Forget the Swag

Holding a Digital Event? Don’t Forget the Swag

Event planning in a pandemic opens a world of new possibilities. The challenge is to put on an event that captures and holds participants’ interest – all the more reason to consider every detail, including the ever-popular swag. Just because a meeting is taking place in the virtual world doesn’t mean you have to forego the fun stuff. Swag bags with an assortment of items can create enthusiastic participant engagement at digital and hybrid events. 

As with physical swag, digital swag serves a two-fold purpose: For event attendees, swag is free goodies or memorabilia from an event; for sponsors or organizers, swag creates lasting brand exposure.  

How to create digital swag bags


Digital Vs. Physical Swag


With online events, swag can be digital or physical. Digital swag is typically delivered to your event attendees upon registration, via email or text that links them to a download (often an app) or a website. 

Whether it’s an online shopping site, a specific retailer, or a brick-and-mortar store, there’s a wide range of options for digital swag in the form of e-gift cards, vouchers, or discount codes. Event sponsors may also offer their own e-gift card or discount code to be used at a specific website or store for purchase. Like physical gift cards, e-gift cards are easy to brand with a sponsor logo.  

One of the great things about e-gift cards and discount codes is ease of use. With a few clicks on an app or website, the user can purchase an item of their choice. Plus, with funds in an account just waiting to be redeemed, there’s no plastic card to be lost or tossed to the landfill once the funds are spent. 

However, don’t rule out physical swag for online events. After all, swag can be mailed, express shipped, or dropped off by a delivery service or team member for local attendees. Physical swag may be delivered in advance or after an event. It could even be arranged to arrive the day of the event. A thoughtful gift box from a local retailer – a chocolate maker, for instance, or a sack lunch from the team’s favorite café – can instill some real excitement in attendees just before they log in. 


Get Creative!


Swag is a great way to enhance the branding of the event – all it takes is imagination. With e-gift cards, for example, consider inviting your guests to join you for coffee in the morning. When they register or sign in to the event, they receive a Starbucks e-gift card as part of their welcome. Gamification coupons are also ideal swag, particularly if games will be part of the event.  

With physical swag, think of the same type of items typically offered at an event, but more customizable. For instance, if you’re considering mailing a t-shirt to event attendees, let them choose their size and potentially even one of several design options. Mail the shirts in advance of the event and encourage attendees to wear them during the video call to create a sense of team any time someone is on-screen. 


Digital Swag Bags


While in-person events provide attendees with a physical bag of goodies during registration, digital events can also kick off with a swag bag “skinned” to reflect the event theme or a sponsor’s brand. 

Digital swag bags can be filled with any number of items, from fun to informative. In addition to items that attendees will purchase with e-gift cards, discount codes, or vouchers, your swag bag might be filled with non-purchasable items such as white papers, a complimentary publication subscription, a donation to a choice of charities, or a simple download. For instance, a special alma mater logo might be made available to alumni attendees of a class reunion to be used later as part of their professional email signoff.   


Measurable Results and Follow-up


One of the great things about digital swag is that it can produce measurable results through data analytics. Sponsors can track purchases and online clicks, allowing them to capture insights into event attendees’ interactions with their brand. And that data is compliant with U.S. data protection laws and with Europe’s privacy and security law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).   

Also add digital swag to any thank-you sent after an event. Whether it’s an emailed link or something delivered to an attendee’s doorstep, thank-you swag can make all the difference to an attendee’s recollection of an event. 

Digital swag is a cost-effective, sustainable way of adding value to events, giving you ways to provide more thoughtful, customizable, and easier-on-the-planet memories of your event.