Last Updated on October 7, 2021
Everyone appreciates a good gift. So long as it’s something they’re actually interested in receiving, you’d be pretty hard-pressed to find someone who won’t willingly accept something for free. Not surprisingly, this means that gifting is actually among the most formidable strategies in any marketer’s arsenal.
“When you look at the process of giving, it’s easy to see why it works as a form of marketing,” explains Cvent’s Jenise Fryatt. “A gift is offered that meets the needs of the receiver. The person receiving it uses it for his or her betterment, and is grateful to the giver. The receiver comes to associate the giver with good things, and trust begins to build.”
In other words, by offering the right gifts to the right people, one can do wonders for a brand’s reputation. By giving your audience something they want or need, you’re fostering a great deal of goodwill. Not only that, even by bringing up the possibility of a gift, you’ll likely bring about a change in consumer behavior.
“By giving shoppers a gift, retailers get hyper-efficient marketing that can truly change consumer behavior and create profitable new visits at a scale we need,” writes Jim Taschetta of ClickZ. Though Taschetta is primarily referring to retail with that statement, one can easily apply the core idea there to event management. In other words, through intelligent gift-giving, you can incentivize more people to attend, greatly improving your numbers.
Let’s talk a bit about that.
What Should You Give Away?
The first question you need to answer is what you should offer your guests. It’s not enough to simply hand out a few random goodies, after all. Giving away a discount on farm supplies, for example, won’t do much for attendance at a financial conference.
“The best type of swag is the type that provides value,” entrepreneur Lauren Fairbanks explains to Inc. “Conference attendees are on their feet all day and spend hours running around to different panels. I’ve found that the best way to make a statement is to offer a branded care package, complete with aspirin, bandages, a quick snack, pen, notepad, and maybe a USB drive with company information.”
Working from Fairbanks’ statement, the trick here lies in knowing what your guests will find valuable – and understanding that a gift doesn’t even need to be all that complicated. You could, for example, offer a discount to people who’ve attended your events in the past, or hand out download codes for a relevant eBook or application. Even something as simple as free food could vastly increase your event’s attendance.
How Should You Market Your Gifts?
Alright, time for step two. You’ve settled on a gift to hand out to your attendees. How are you going to get the word out?
Thankfully, this step’s a whole lot simpler than actually designing your gift-giving campaign. Simply tap into the channels you’ve already set up – make mention of the gift in your event’s regular marketing campaign, contact applicable attendees in the event of a special discount, tease the giveaway through social media; and so on.
Be sure you don’t focus too much on the gifts. Your goal here is to incentivize people to attend your event. As such, the event itself should still be your primary concern.
What Role Does Your Budget Play Here?
It sort of goes without saying that in most cases, if you’re going to offer your guests some form of free swag, you’ve got to make sure there’s room for it in your budget. In the case of digital downloads, retweets, shares, etc; this is something of a negligible thing. It’s only when you’re handing out a tangible physical reward that it really becomes a concern.
The only advice I can give here is to make sure whatever you’re handing out offers enough of a return that you can afford to pay for it – and to remember that not every gift costs money to give.
Everybody likes getting free stuff. So long as you’re offering something that coincides with the interests of your attendees, gifts and giveaways can be a great way to incentivize higher attendance at your events. Next time you run an event, don’t be afraid to give a little extra – you might be surprised at what you receive in return.
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