I consider myself a connoisseur of swag. Let’s face it, who doesn’t love free? As a reader, getting a free book makes my day and I can’t remember the last time I bought a pen.
All of this has made me a bit picky. If you offer me a cheap ball point stick pen with a cap, I won’t pick it up. If you offer me a smooth writing gel pen, I’ll look at your logo every time I need to scribble out a shopping list or sign something for my kids’ school. At some point, I’ll pause say “this is good” and check out your website or product. I will develop a favorable opinion of you and your brand.
As a newbie author with only Winter Fairy to my name, I cannot afford to spend a lot of money. I’m not a New York Time’s best seller like Cathy Maxwell, who gives out the best swag. Between kitchen utensils and a tote bag, Cathy is on my mind everyday. That cheap stick pen from an aspiring author or multi-published author? It’s in the trash heap.
So how do you find good swag? Here are some questions I used to evaluate potential giveaways:
1. Is it memorable? To me – this is the big one.
2. It is useful? You want your giveaway to be used, not languish in a drawer.
3. Is the quality acceptable? I have yet to find a seller of promotional items unwilling to send a sample item. If you don’t like the quality, don’t buy it., even if the cost is low.
4. Does the item fit logically with my brand? I considered Emery boards at one point, but none of my books are set in nail salons. Likewise, a jar opener in the shape of a cowboy boot would be out of place for my midwestern books, but perfect for someone who sets their books in Texas.
5. Is the item affordable? Remember to add artwork and shipping costs.
6. Where will I store this item? 500 bookmarks don’t take up much space. A box of 500 water bottles will.
7. Where will I distribute this item?
8. What is my branding goal?
At this point, I don’t know whether my sticky flags have led anyone to purchase my book. I am certain they are being used by the recipients and developing my brand. As more books come out, I’ll expand my swag options and when I reach Cathy Maxwell’s level of success, y’all will come running for what ever I’m giving for free.
So tell me, what’s the best swag you’ve received?