Posted by : Amanda Stein Sunday, April 28, 2013



So, you own a small business, and you’re considering investing in some branded merchandise, but you aren’t quite sure where to get started. How do you choose a product? What benefits can be expected? Will it work at all? Well, fear not; we’re here to help.

Let’s start with the most important question; do promotional products work? You’ll be happy to hear that the answer is a resounding “yes”; promotional products certainly can be used to achieve your marketing goals. A 2010 study done by Promotional Products International showed that a whopping 94% of people who received a promotional product could recall receiving it two years later, and 89% could even correctly recall the advertiser that they received the product from. The same study found that 83% of consumers who had received a promotional product were happy to have gotten it, 69% ended up keeping it and 60% reported using their product more than once. Most importantly, researchers found that consumers were 20.9% more likely to place an order after having received a promotional product. Compare that figure to television commercials; one of the most costly advertising channels, which only increase the likelihood of a conversion by 7.1%, and you’ll see that promotional products are an efficient and effective marketing tool. However, this does require that you use them correctly. So, how do you do that?

The first step is choosing the right product. Here it is important to consider several crucial factors. First, and perhaps most obviously, you need to be sure to choose a product relevant to your industry. So, if you’re a technology company, you might choose a USB drive, car charger or iPad sleeve. A construction company may decide to go with a dump truck stress ball, or perhaps a custom tape measure, to catch the attention of potential clients when they might be in need of some construction-related assistance. Does your company provide catering for large events? If so, a tray of cookies with your logo frosted on the top is sure to grab attention. Of course, with perishable items, you’ll need some kind of secondary marketing effort to keep potential customers on the hook, but they are sure to bring in plenty of attention at an event.

Now, a promo doesn’t always have to be quite so literal of a match to your industry. Plenty of small businesses have found success with some of the more common promotional items, like refrigerator magnets, calendars and t-shirts; especially those looking to give contact info to potential clients in their local area. This is where promotional goals come into consideration. What are your marketing goals? Do you simply want to increase brand awareness? If so, you’ll want to choose an item that will stand out; one that won’t be tossed away. This becomes even more important in the trade show atmosphere, where you may be competing for the attention of the crowd with hundreds of other companies, all of which are handing out stress balls, pens, business cards etc. Choosing a more unique promo will help you stand out from the clutter. Utility can help with recall; if a consumer can use the item they’ve been given, they’re more likely to be reminded of your brand over and over again. What if your goal is to collect information from a potential client base, or generate leads by gathering contact info? Using a promotional product with a high perceived value can incentivize consumers to fill out a survey in order to get the freebie. So, not only does the consumer have your branded item to remind them of your company, you’ve also gathered information that you can use in pursuing their business. Promotional product quality also reflects on perceived business quality. Don’t panic! This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to blow out the budget. We’re only suggesting that, when setting marketing goals, it is important to consider what image you hope to portray through the product you have chosen. It can go a long way toward seeing the kind of success mentioned above.

But these aren’t the only two considerations. The most important factor is the audience you intend to market to. Are you targeting a younger crowd? You may decide that sunglasses, beach balls or party cups will catch attention more effectively than some of the more traditional items. Is your audience a business crowd? There are plenty of business-related items that range from lower to higher value; pens, folios and polo shirts are some of the most popular options. Always research your target audience before settling on a promotional product choice.

Now that you have chosen your promotional product, how do you use it? Again this will depend greatly on your marketing goals, but we’ll give you some ideas to get you started.


 * We mentioned earlier using promotional products as incentives to participate in surveys. It’s a great way to get your promos in the hands of potential clients while also getting something you can use in return.


 * Use promotional products as prizes in promotional contests - Not only is this an engaging way to get people talking about and sharing your brand, it’s another great way to use promos as incentives to gather info from a potential client base.


 * Reward your most loyal customers – A quality promotional item can go a long way in saying “thank you” to a repeat customer. It can also help you keep that customer coming back in the future.


 * Tie promos into customer orders as free gifts – This is a great way to drive up average order value. Offer a free item with purchases of a certain order value, and watch as customers order more products to get a free item. This works especially well when your promo is closely related to the products you sell:


Free bookmark with $50 worth of books


Free custom computer mouse with every computer sale


Free imprinted phone cover when you sign up for 2-year contract


 * Give your current customers and employees a way to make referrals for you – Promotional products offer a unique approach to exponential outreach. Giving employees and customers promotional products that they can then pass on to their colleagues, associates and friends creates a low cost method to growing brand awareness and potentially expanding your customer base.


 * Reward your stand-out employees – Often times, companies only think to use promotional products as a way of reaching new customers. However, the best companies start from the inside out, so don’t forget to reward your employees, as well. Simple gifts can make a lot of ground in employee motivation and loyalty.

So, there you have it. Now get out there and get promoting.


rushIMPRINT.com is an online retailer of promotional products with 1-day rush production time. We provide free virtual proofs and offer excellent customer service.


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