Don’t bypass promotional products – they are a powerful, affordable marketing tool. In addition to the high-tech reach of web marketing and social media, actually putting a physical gift into someone’s hands that they can use will keep your brand recognized and relevant in their mind. When you are considering investing a portion of your marketing budget into branded merchandise or promotional products, think about these characteristics that make them so effective:
Brand, brand, brand: promotional products generate brand awareness and exposure. You can choose an object that relates to your enterprise itself or to a specific message you want your business to convey. For instance, if you are an auto repair business, you could distribute vehicle cup holders, sunglasses, visor clips, or other such items useful to a driver. But, if your emphasis is on helping clients solve problems, choose a calculator; if you want to highlight your timeliness – a dashboard clock or calendar.
People Like Gifts: unlike a flyer, banner ad on a website or text message, branded merchandise has a physical presence and value. Promotional items are not thrown away, but often regarded as a gift. Their value and usefulness will keep them on your customers desk, in their purse, on their keychain… and that keeps your brand refreshed in their mind each time they see it. When you become part of a person’s daily life in that small way, you are more connected to them than a competitor. In a more literal way, give the item itself value as a coupon. For instance, a restaurant could brand drink coasters with a coupon on the back for a free appetizer at next visit. The coaster stays with them, reminding them of your brand with each glance or use.
Low Cost: when you order promotional products, you receive a price per piece that is far lower than the usual retail cost, and the selection is vast. Some items are very inexpensive, and others are much more high end. Test the waters with a low cost item, or reward valuable customers with a keepsake item for the holidays… all branded with your logo, contact information and message. When the product is something that will be used in public – such as an umbrella, sports equipment or iPad case– you get even more value for your marketing dollar as your logo is seen by others on a product they would also use.
Creative relevance: with such a diverse selection of products to choose from, you have a great oppportunity to get creative. Work out a tagline that makes sense with the product and work it into your larger marketing campaign. A quick example: if you run a insurance business, you could give away branded rain ponchos or small umbrellas with the tagline “We’ve got you covered.” If you want to emphasize the your company’s environmental commitment, think about seed packets, herb garden starter kits, or products made from recyclable materials. You get the idea… get creative.
Check out the diversity of items you can incorporate into your marketing plan: frisbees to hot sauce, yo yo’s to surgery scrubs. The variety is really eye-opening. Do yourself a favor and browse the promotional products catalog – you’ll get inspired with products that can get your business noticed and remembered.