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Thursday, September 18, 2014

5 Creative Marketing Uses for Swag

Thursday, September 18, 2014

In theory, “swag” is a great way to get a brand or company out there. Receiving anything for free often leaves a memorable impression on consumers, regardless of whether the swag is in the form of a pen, t-shirt or memorable token. 

Marketing tactics lose their influence over time though. People get used to ignoring radio ads, billboards just become part of the blurry scenery, and Internet banner ads become something we avoid clicking. So is swag still a valid marketing tactic?

Just like social media, it depends on your audience. But overall, recent marketing tactics involving swag still make a big splash with consumers. Companies just have to use it in new remarkable ways.

Bookmarks Instead of Business Cards

Everyone has business cards, so how is your’s going to stand out? Get creative! A substitute in the form of a bookmark actually has a purpose beyond sitting in someone’s wallet. Big enough to cram whatever contact information you need, a bookmark contact card will also remind people of you and your business every time they open and close the book they are reading.

Stylish T-Shirts

T-shirts can be one of the most effective forms of swag, since people wear them around town and essentially become a low-cost source of effective advertising for a brand. T-shirts are certainly one of the costlier swag items to produce, though, so it’s important to use a genuinely good design. 

I’ve received t-shirt swag for a variety of reasons from purchasing products as a bonus, similar to what National Abrasives offers, to getting a well-designed t-shirt from Short Stack for talking about their brand in one of my previous articles. 

People may accept a free t-shirt, but they won’t wear it if it’s dull or ugly. Avoid basic white tees and go for something more visually appealing, with a relative fashion sense, instead; it’ll be costly, but worth it if designed properly.

Digital Content

Offering free “digital swag” - in the form of things like a free wallpaper, app, eBook, or digital coupon - usually costs little to nothing to produce, yet can still prove beneficial in exposing your brand. Offer digital swag via social media to increase your following on there, as well. Social media followers and free content often results in higher engagement.

The most important part of digital swag is it must offer real value to your consumer. 
Digital swag is an excellent investment because of its low cost production and high return on investment. Since it’s online, loyal customers and fanatic fans can share your swag and do the work of distribution for you.

Think Outside of Swag

Giving swag isn’t the only option. Take a lesson from the startup Medallia who at this year’s SXSW made a big brand impact by collecting everyone’s swag for the homeless. It was a unique idea that got a lot of media attention for the new company while also doing something good for those in need.

Care Packages

If you want to go all-out, create care packages with consumers’ well-being in mind. A small, brand-laden bag with items like a small water bottle, aspirin, and apple inside will be perceived as a healthy and welcome surprise by consumers, perhaps even elevating their mood. Care package swag may be time-consuming to create, but it will certainly make for a striking impression among consumers.

Swag certainly still works for businesses and brands as a great means of exposure. They can be effectively implemented into most business plans, as long as the swag is creative, interesting and fresh, as the five aforementioned examples are.

Special thanks to Ali Lawrence for today's post. Ali Lawrence is a content specialist for a web design company and blogs in her free time at MarCom Land. Her articles have been published by Hot in Social Media, Yahoo! Small Business, and Business2Community.


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