A great way to market your college at fairs, games, giveaways and other public events in which potential student recruits will be present is to give away branded swag. The trick is making sure your marketing efforts and investment provide actual results. Students will on the whole be more likely to get continual use out of memorable, high-quality, functional items, so be sure not to sacrifice quality for quantity. Memorability and name-recall can come as a direct result of your swag choices.

Here are a few key points to keep in mind when settling on your booth gear.

College Fairs

College fairs are the most critical touchpoint when it comes to attracting student recruits at public events. That's why your swag game needs to be on point when you're making direct contact with high schoolers actively looking for an ideal-fit college or university. Make sure your offerings are visible and usable. The goal is to get each booth visitor to spread the word to a handful of other attendees to spur some chatter. Useful items to this audience may include portable device chargers, earbuds, flash drives or styluses. And use your swag real estate wisely—throw your URL on it or maybe even consider your university's snapcode to pull in some new followers for the long-term sell.

Sporting Events

Athletics can often be an entry point for potential student recruits—they're often one of the most visible elements of a college when you're not a current student or faculty member. Capitalize on your diverse crowd that will more than likely include younger audiences. Promote your institution with giveaways targeted at these future enrollees. Brand flags, rally towels, stadium blankets or apparel with your pertinent information. And for an air of exclusivity, consider limiting the number you'll give away. Spread the word on social media with a "first 200 guests" sort of message.

Digital Giveaways

One of the key intentions of making use of swag is drumming up interest in your college or university for ongoing communication. Simply gaining followers on your social media platforms and collecting email addresses can give your admissions team an opportunity to nurture leads over time rather than push too aggressively for the hard-sell on first contact. One way to gather this information is to host a digital giveaway. Encourage followers to post a picture at their favorite campus sporting event or in their favorite t-shirt bearing your institution's logo. Or gamify a giveaway by creating scavenger hunts or puzzles in target communities with likely recruits. The most important thing is to make the ultimate prize be truly worth the hubbub. Desirable gift cards, prize packages of branded gear or tickets to campus sporting or music events are great options.

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