Your Guide to Choosing the Best Gifts for Your Conference Attendees

Make your conference gifts stand out from the pack. We’ll show you how!

Conferences are a time-tested way to grow your network, jump start leads, and generally get your brand out there. They’re such an important part of pretty much every industry that even when the pandemic put the kibosh on large in-person events, many conferences went virtual rather than simply skipping a year.

With conferences still going strong, the question becomes, how do you get the most bang for your buck with your conference presence and rise above the sea of competition that are all vying for the attention of the attendees?

One of the most important ways you can make a lasting and memorable impression is with your conference gifts.

Why you need awesome swag for conferences

Swag is the gift that keeps on giving, to both your brand and the conference attendees. The attendees get cool items that they can use in their daily lives, and your brand gets ongoing exposure every time they use those items. In some cases, people hold onto branded conference gifts for months or even years.

What’s more, your gifts may get passed on to people who never even attended the conference, so you never know just how far and wide of an impact your swag bags may have.

The right conference gifts can be a powerful form of advertising and brand awareness for your business. The wrong ones just end up in the trash or in a drawer.

Don’t miss the chance to make a big impression by choosing the best swag for conferences.

Conference gift pencil

The key elements of top-notch conference gifts

So what exactly makes an excellent conference gift?

There are five things you should keep in mind when brainstorming your conference gift ideas in 2021.

1. Is it memorable? The item should anchor your brand into people’s minds.

2. Is it useful? The item has to be something your audience can use, preferably often.

3. Is it durable? The best gifts are ones that hold up over time.

4. Is it original? You won’t be remembered if you’re giving out the same stuff as every other brand.

5. Is it high quality? No one likes cheap stuff. Period.

Create swag bags that won’t get thrown out

We did a deep dive into creating swag bags that won’t get tossed in the trash in a previous post, but in a nutshell, the way to make corporate event goodie bags people want to keep is by choosing stuff that’s both useful and timely.

Everyday items like portable drinking tumblers, battery chargers, and bluetooth speakers are some of the best examples of cool company swag ideas in 2021. These are items that have a clear purpose, add value to people’s lives, and keep your brand top of mind.

swag bag on the chair

Make the most of the moment

In 2020, conference swag bags were full of things no one had use for the previous year: face masks, hand sanitizer, disposable gloves. These “of the moment” gifts are pretty genius, if you ask us, for a couple of reasons.

First, they show that your brand is plugged in and responsive to what’s happening in the world. Plus, those items are useful and show that your brand cares about health and well-being. Finally, they’re a little bit of a nod and wink that says “we’re all in this together.” A perfect combination that puts your brand in the best possible light.

When you select your conference gifts for 2021, remember that they don’t just have to be pandemic-related. At any given moment, there are plenty of issues and concerns that you can nod to with your gifts for event attendees. Sustainability and environmental responsibility, for example, are ongoing issues that you can show you care about too with something as simple as a reusable water bottle.

Look to other brands for inspiration for your event gift ideas

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to swag for virtual conferences. If you see a brand that has put together a corporate event goodie bag that knocks your socks off, take note of it!

You shouldn’t make an exact copy of what you see (that would just be tacky and reflect poorly on your brand) but take a moment to examine what it is that impresses you about their swag bag. Is it that the items all revolve around a unified theme, like winter wear or self-care? Is it the quality of the items? Strive to capture the essence of what they’ve created rather than mimicking it.

Surprise them with the unexpected

When people attend a conference, they expect to get loaded up with pens, stickers, t-shirts, and other “traditional” swag. Surprise and delight them by throwing them a curveball with swag ideas for events that they haven’t seen before. Artisanal teas, bath bombs, bound journals, and tree-planting kits can all be branded and logoed just as easily and will make a far bigger impression on your audience. People remember things that are out of the ordinary, so use this to your advantage by selecting unexpected and original gifts for conference attendees.

Make conference swag into an event

Another way to make your swag memorable is to turn it into a challenge. For in-person conferences, why not set up a kind of swag scavenger hunt that asks people to collect specific pieces of swag from different areas of the conference? This is a fun way to engage your prospects and get them to have more fun at conferences (which, let’s be honest, can sometimes be a bit of a drag). You’ll stand out from the crowd and people are more likely to appreciate the swag because they had to “earn” it.

bag full of snacks

Choosing conference swag in 2023 is simple with SwagMagic

SwagMagic is your source for custom branded swag boxes that make the best gifts for conferences, both in-person and virtual.

Simply choose your swag (either from our store or another vendor), store it in your swag locker that you can access virtually any time, and put together the ultimate customized swag box for sending out whenever you want. And we don’t just do conferences! Whether you need cool swag ideas for employees or a custom swag box to reach out to new prospects, we’ve got you covered.

Check out our product menu curated by our team of expert taste-makers. Or get in touch to go over your options for creating unforgettable conference gifts and corporate event gift bags. Be known as the company that offers the best swag in 2021!


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