12 Virtual Swag Ideas For Your Conference Or Event

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Looking for the best virtual swag ideas for your next conference or virtual event? Just because your events are hosted in the virtual world, it doesn't mean your guests can't enjoy some swag from the comfort of their home of office. You just need to think outside the box. We round up 12 of the best virtual swag ideas for your next conference or virtual event.

Let’s face facts — nobody in this world dislikes getting something for nothing. Freebies have long played a central role in business events of all kinds, and just because the global pandemic forced everyone to pivot towards digital events, and more latterly hybrid, doesn’t mean this truth has changed. Simply put, you can still have great virtual swag ideas to send out to attendees. More so, the majority of those buying tickets are probably going to expect it. 

At the height of the coronavirus crisis, we watched with keen interest as industries previously thought to only exist in real world settings explored the potential and opportunities of virtual conferences, and virtual event swag. 

From press trips that took place entirely online sending out edibles and drinkables made by the country that was ‘hosting’ journalists in a bid to help them become immersed in that nation’s culinary culture, to tech expos loaning new models for guests to play with, such tactics may not be the cheapest, but they have proven highly effective. 

Our top 12 best virtual swag ideas are:

1. Mystery item — To build anticipation 

2. Giveaway pages — Data capture with real engagement 

3. Custom clothing — Stylish brand visibility 

4. Recipe kits — Flavoursome interactive fun

5. Lanyards — Augmenting reality with bonus material

6. Stress relievers — Uniting remote attendees

7. Gamification systems — Power up the reasons to get involved 

8. Bespoke boxes — A permanent reminder of the experience 

9. Wellness packs — Get close and personal with your guests  

10. Post-event memories — Re-emphasising your shared success

11. eBooks and gift cards — Genuinely useful thankyous

12. Subscriptions — Rewards people actually want to use 

How to create a virtual swag bag

When thinking about virtual swag bag ideas, it’s vital to remember a few key pointers. For starters, it’s bad practice to simply consider the same kind of swag bag ideas as you would have for an IRL event, only mailed out days in advance. 

In the past, then, we would likely have concentrated on items that guests would find beneficial or useful after the event itself so as not to distract them too much from keynotes and presentations on the day or days the conference is taking place. 

In comparison, virtual events are by nature prone to attendees feeling less actively involved. As such it’s a great idea to think about swag bags for virtual events as a tool with which you can draw ticket holders further in — filled with goodies to help them make the most of the event itself. 

It’s not just the what that you need to consider. Virtual swag bags need to be sent out at exactly the right time or risk being forgotten about or, perhaps worse still, being left unopened before the event begins. 

We’d recommend trying to get your virtual swag bag out to recipients two or three days before the date itself, that way it will be fresh in the mind when the first streams start, and won’t have time to gather dust beforehand. Below we’ve listed 12 great virtual swag bag examples to inspire your own choice of gifts for guests. 

At the end of  of this page you’ll find some basics on how Eventcube can help not just promote, manage and run your virtual conference, but make your ticket the most standout of the year. A one-stop shop for virtual conference swag, in a manner of speaking. 

Virtual Swag Bag Ideas 

1. Mystery item — To build anticipation 

Mystery items can make for great, playful virtual conference swag to hint and tease at elements of the event itself, perhaps offering clues as to who a lead speaker will be, what an as-yet-unannounced overarching theme is, or help get people in the mood for specific activities. 

Examples we picked up on in the pandemic include bespoke wristbands sporting anagrams of the names of keynote guests. This can also be backed with hashtag and other social media campaigns to really start the conversation. Red Herring Games specialises in turning virtual swag into mysteries, if you want to take the idea further.

2. Giveaway Pages — Data capture with real engagement

By setting up a webpage where people registered to attend can claim a complimentary reward for their engagement achieves a number of things. Firstly, depending on the information you choose to include on the web form they fill out, this can be an invaluable data capture exercise. 

Meanwhile, by asking them to perform an action before sending out the virtual swag you are encouraging interaction on their part, which can give a good indicator of how guests might behave on the day, helping you tailor plans accordingly. 

3. Custom clothing — Stylish brand visibility 

Admittedly, not all company branded clothing is particularly appealing, and — as is the case with any kind of cheap-to-produce garments — not all options are going to be made equally. 

However, if you strike the right balance between genuinely attractive design, durability, and visibility hats, t-shirts, scarves and other small items like tote bags can be a great way to not only keep your event in the minds of ticket holders before and after it takes place, but also increase wider awareness of the conference as people notice what those who did attend are wearing. Companies like Stitch Fix can help. 

4. Recipe kits — Flavoursome interactive fun

This could be a cocktail making pack to replicate the post-event reception — a winner if you’re using a virtual conference platform that includes breakout rooms and foyer areas for attendees to convene informally. Or you might want to deliver cooking ingredients with a recipe book. 

Either way, by providing people with what they need to create simple but flavourful treats you’ll be saying thanks in the best possible way, namely by filling attendees up with delicious delights. BakedIn offer some great ways to do this. 

5. Lanyards — Augmenting reality with bonus material

Lanyards are a familiar sight at any conference, helping boost brand visibility and act as a signpost for the type of guest or the level of access they have. But have you considered using lanyards as virtual event swag? 

Of course the idea should be rooted in a different logic — think carefully about what could be on the lanyard and how this might add to the overall experience. For instance, why not include a USB stick or QR code that links to supplementary content such as behind the scenes videos or in-depth reports people will find invaluable during the event? We’d say BadgeGo is a great place to start looking. 

6. Stress relievers — Uniting remote attendees

Another classic from the days when events meant IRL, stress balls and other small items designed to calm people down can be a great alternative to pushing out branding and messaging around a conference. 

This virtual swag idea is simple on the face of it, but doesn’t have to be so limited. Why not think about games, challenges or other activities that could incorporate these particular items within the conference day or days, helping bring people together no matter how remote and distant their locations are. 

7. Gamification systems — Power up the reasons to get involved 

Gamification is absolutely everywhere, and for good reason. In the truest sense, the term means measuring engagement through a points system, and incentivising people to build up those points. 

By taking this principle and using it within the context of virtual swag, you’ll basically be asking attendees to get involved in point-producing actions and offering them a range of rewards depending on how many points they accrue. 

The trick being to make sure your virtual swag ideas are strong enough to keep them playing. Validar has published a good guide to gamification for conferences. 

8. Bespoke boxes — A permanent reminder of the experience 

Depending on how much you fetishise storage, a box in itself may not seem like solid virtual swag. However, if you’re sending out more than one item we strongly advise you designing bespoke, branded boxes to keep all those bits and pieces together and put your organisation in the front of people’s minds. 

If you make them nice and strong enough, they might wind up a long-standing fixture on office and home working desks, instantly reminding people of both your event and business.

9. Wellness packs — Get close and personal with your guests 

Virtual events, like any screen-based activities, come with a hidden price — attendee fatigue. Staring at laptops, desktops, or tablets for extended periods of time isn’t as easy as it sounds, and after several hours it’s more than likely that people will begin to lose focus. 

With this in mind, a great way to offer a helping hand in terms of concentration is to put together a package of wellness gifts. Content suggestions we approve of include invigorating and refreshing teas, stone face rollers, face and sleep masks, and healthy snacks.

Look for the best virtual swag ideas for your next conference or virtual event? We have you covered. Just because your event takes place in the virtual world, it doesn't mean your guests have to miss out on the swag! We round up 12 of the best virtual swag ideas for your next event or conference.

10. Post-event memories — Re-emphasising your shared success

As we have already mentioned, the what in virtual swag is just as important as the when. The most obvious choice is to time virtual swag bags to arrive in advance of the event, but it can also be a great idea to send out gifts after the conference has finished.

This could be video recaps of highlights sent directly to inboxes, links to Spotify playlists with appropriate themes, or even physical items like a keyring containing still images from the day. 

11. eBooks and gift cards — Genuinely useful thankyous 

If you’re hosting a virtual conference then why not embrace online stores as a way to say thank you to attendees. You could offer credits for Audible accounts or send out gift cards for digital shops that are directly suited to your demographic. 

This may not offer the same branding potential, but if you gauge what to send correctly it could result in a major boost to loyalty and repeat attendance as people will receive something they find genuinely useful and interesting. 

12. Subscriptions — Rewards people actually want to use 

We live in the age of apps, and many of the best charge for a subscription — not least in the world of on-demand content. 

Offering people complimentary accounts for a limited time works in a similar way to eBooks and gift cards, giving them something they will want to use daily or weekly long after the virtual conference is done. 

Hosting a virtual conference with Eventcube

You hopefully now have some great ideas as to what kind of virtual swag bags you want to include in your virtual conference or event. But some people might still be unsure as to exactly how they can host a virtual conference with Eventcube. 

You can find in-depth guides to using our system here, detailing everything from setting up an account on the Eventcube store to mastering ticketing and registration. However, these simple steps will also get you where you need to be.

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