Customers love promotional products, and they’re a great way to raise brand awareness and bring in new business, especially because many people share them with others. A useful promotional product, like a coffee mug or a nice pen or a tote bag, gets used for a long time — 87 percent of people keep promotional products for at least a year, and 63 percent give them away when they’re done using them. That gets your message in front of many eyes.
But it’s 2021, and no one wants to be pelted with low-quality, not-very-useful promotional items. Nor do you, as a business, want to spend unnecessarily on marketing through promotional products. They can be expensive, so you want to maximize the return on your investment. Here’s how.
Stick with Generic Messaging
Sponsoring events is a great way to get your brand name out there, and it can give you a great opportunity to hand out swag bags and promotional products to customers in your target market. But how awful would it be to order 500 coffee mugs with “Ohio River Valley Llama Association Toy Drive” on them and then leave the event with 100 useless llama mugs? That’s not an effective use of your marketing dollars.
Stick with something that you can pass out at every event — just your business logo, name, and maybe a slogan, if you want. Some promotional products might have room to include a phone number and a call to action, perhaps something along the lines of “Call now!”
Choose Products Your Target Market Will Appreciate
People appreciate promotional products and think more favorably of companies that give them free things, but that’s only going to work if they actually like your free stuff. You should always choose to pay a little more in order to give out a higher quality product, even if it’s something simple like a pen or keychain. A well-made pen that writes smoothly and lasts a long time will make your customer feel that much more favorably about your brand.
It’s also important to choose promotional products that your customers will enjoy. Think about your target market and what they might like. For example, if you’re running an auto shop, automotive items make sense — keychains, air fresheners, and tire gauges, for example. If you’re running a coffee shop, though, free promotional samples of coffee or tea make sense, but so do reusable items like coffee mugs or tea bag buddies. If your target market consists of mostly Millennials, consider choosing more sustainable materials to appeal to their eco-conscious preferences. The more your customers like the promotional items they receive, the more positively they’ll feel about your brand, and the longer they’ll use the items, which maximizes their effectiveness as a marketing tool.
Use Highly Visible Products
Ideally, you want customers using your products outdoors, where most people can see them. Failing that, you want a product that gets passed around a lot, like a pen or a notepad, or used frequently in group settings, like a coffee mug. If you’re handing out promotional products at an event, consider how you can get your logo seen by the most people at that event. At a trade show, craft fair, or another event where people might be walking around acquiring items, a tote bag is the perfect promotional product — customers will carry it throughout the event, use it to hold their items, and then keep it as a reusable bag or give it away to a friend or relative.
Measure Your Results
These days, it’s not enough to just hand out promotional products and hope for the best. You need to quantify how effective your promotional product marketing is. Collect data on how often your promotional products lead to conversions.
Some other quantifiable metrics include how many new social media followers you glean from distributing promotional products, how much your products increased brand awareness, how many of your recipients converted into repeat customers, and how many leads the products generated. It may be hard to quantify exactly how much your promotional products are raising brand awareness once they’re out in the world, but you can usually collect enough data to measure their immediate impact on the recipient’s brand loyalty and shopping behavior.
Promotional products are here to stay — because customers love them. Take the time to give them an extra special, high-quality gift they’ll love, use, and share. Your business will reap the rewards.