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Win New Customers With Innovative Promotional Products

November 28th, 2016

An advertising campaign is similar to playing a game, there are strategies, rules and tactics to be taken into consideration in order to win, in this case you want to win new customers and please your old ones. Marketing strategies have been tried and tested for years before the experts came up with the winning recipes. One of the most valuable techniques in any promotion is to incorporate the use of promotional products.

When you decide to give away promotional items to win new customers and keep your loyal ones is entirely up to you and can be done at any point. But what you should be looking at is what you are aiming at achieving, the money you spend on promotional products has to be money well spent, so will it gain you anything?

A quality promotional product should be one that attracts the attention of the client, a gift that is original and modern is going to be admired and talked about. To attract potential new customers then look for items that fit into this category, you want to be talked about and in order to accomplish this you need something that is a little showy-off and will get tongues wagging, about your product and brand.

Once your brand awareness has been raised then any promotional gifts should be chosen specifically to enhance the image of your company and popularity of your product. With loyal customers, gifts should be chosen with attention to detail and is dependent on the kind of relationship you have with them.

Who is your target audience? Vital research should always be carried out by your marketing team before any money is spent on a campaign. Decide on the type of clientele you want to attract and who to aim your campaign at, these are two important aspects of any promotion if you want it to succeed. Consider the area you want to cover, and the message you want to send out.

Getting your message across should be given a lot of thought, as you don’t want to waste your promotional product impact. It is this that will have an effect on your clientele and attract them to your brand. Keep it nice and simple and this will make it more effective.

Quality is always very important when choosing items. Even if the items you choose are low-cost, such as key tags, pens, mouse mats or printed balloons, the quality of each item should still be of a high standard. Quality made products displaying your company name is a promotional strategy that can only be successful.

How long your promotion will last will depend on the type of promotion product you decide to purchase. Is it going to be a one-off event, such as a trade fair or exhibition, or will it be a longer running campaign that could go on for a month or even a year?

Once you have made all the necessary decisions then re-check through all the details to ensure you haven’t missed anything. Evaluate every aspect and see if it could be improved, and after every promotion always assess it to see if it could have been run any better so that you know for the next time and can subsequently make improvements.

There are all kinds of promotional items available on the market today. Printed balloons are one low-cost but effective promotional product, especially at open days and trade shows. Blown up for full impact kids will just love the bright colors and demand to have one to take home. With your logo or company message printed on them they are the perfect way to advertise as they will be carried around the event for all to see.

Lapel pins are also an innovative idea, use them to support your chosen charity or to raise awareness of a particular project. Maximize the use of your logo by designing your own lapel pins, earrings, refrigerator magnets, car badges, computer pins and even zipper pulls. Check online for original and new promotional product ideas if you want to stay ahead of the competition.

Fridge Magnets - A Hit As Promotional Products

November 28th, 2016

As competition on the internet increases it becomes more and more difficult to set your business apart from all the others. One particular marketing technique that has been proven to work but isn’t made the most of by some companies is promotional products.

Promotional products are a very simple idea; they can be straightforward household products or other everyday items that have been printed with your company logo, name or message to your customers. Ask anyone about promotional products and the first items that usually spring to mind are pens, mouse mats and T-shirts. However there is a huge range of items available on the market these days and, whatever the size of your company or your budget, you are sure to find something that will fit in with your requirements.

Most businesses now have websites; along with printing your logo on an item to be used in your promotion you should always include your website address. Many people prefer to shop over the internet, and even if they don’t actually buy online and prefer to purchase from the high street, they often will at least take a look at the website before they go.

Before deciding on any promotional items carefully consider your clientele. For example, if you run a motor vehicle company then what sort of items might attract customers? Perhaps a car key chain or small tool set, a torch or air freshener. There are heaps of simple and yet very effective ideas out there so ensure you purchase products that fit in with your client base if you want to succeed.

People often need some kind of motivation to get them to spend money. A way you could facilitate this is by offering them a deal if they buy 2 items instead of just the one they intended. This means they get 2 items at a discount price, plus you could throw in a promotional product too. If you have an online book store they could get 2 books at low prices and a free leather bookmark, if the bookmark is attractive and good quality then many people will be tempted to spend that little bit more.

Don’t forget your loyal customers, it can pay to keep in touch with them and reward them in some way. Customers who buy regularly from you, or consistently buy expensive items, could be rewarded by a quality promotional gift sent along with their order as a small thank you for their loyalty.

This could also be extended to your business associates as a thank you for a successful working relationship, even your staff will appreciate a gift to say thanks for their loyalty and commitment; they could be rewarded with a quality product if they get the highest sales that month for example. As you can see, promotional products can be used in many different ways and are a great way to build relationships with the people that matter to your business.

A winning formula to encourage people to sign up for your newsletter is to regularly organize a competition or lucky draw. If they win, you send them a promotional product printed with your logo and website address. Most people will be happy to take a few minutes to sign up as we all love something for free. If you choose a quality promotional product that is related to the service you provide, or products you sell, then you also aim it at your target audience.

There is a broad range of promotional gifts available to you as a business. Any item that is practical, functional, attractive or quirky is going to be a hit with your customers. Whether you choose simple items like pens, mugs, key rings,fridge magnets or something more exclusive such as leather bags, designer brand clothes, luggage or elegant glassware, they all have their advantages.

Any item with a practical use has immediate appeal for promotional purposes, promotional fridge magnets are such an item as people stick them to their fridge and they can be there for years! Years of free advertising as your message is conveyed to everyone who passes through.

How to Save 10-50% on Your Promotional Products While Achieving Superior Results

November 28th, 2016

A carefully selected promotional product can become an ideal relationship building tool. One of the key benefits of promotional products is that they are the only advertising your client will thank you for - everyone loves getting a gift!

Among the major goals of any promotional campaign will be to achieve the maximum impact, at the most reasonable price possible, leading to a superior return on investment. What many companies fail to realise is that with a small amount of extra planning they can improve in both these areas, by providing products with superior impact, and often at a reduced cost.

In business, the value of time can never be overestimated, with promotional products even more so. Whilst many people are aware of the possibility of overseas production (commonly known as “indent”), they are often surprised at the savings that can be made, and the many other benefits that exist. Even if a product is to be produced locally, the benefit of time can produce great savings.

Consider this scenario; a customer contacts five promotional products suppliers, asking for their best price on Cooler Bags, and need them decorated and delivered in one or two weeks. Firstly many standard production jobs take this long to decorate with your logo, so each company quoting will have to rush out a basic quote for standard off the shelf Cooler Bags. The client then goes with the cheapest supplier, who may or may not do a good print job (sometimes cheap does equal nasty in terms of print quality), and with any luck the company will have a reasonable quality item in a stock standard colour, ready for their promotion.

Now consider an alternative scenario; A customer starts planning a promotional campaign four or five months in advance of release date. They have also developed a solid relationship with one (or maybe two) promotional products suppliers, who through working with the customer over a period of time, gain a good understanding of their customers, target market etc. They give a solid brief on the requirements of and ideas for the campaign to the promotional supplier.

If the promotional supplier is a quality supplier, given the good lead time they will then invest a few days coming up with creative ideas, developing design concepts and working on product sourcing - rather than the rush situation in the first scenario. Each party can then worth together to refine concepts, work out artwork and finalise an order.

Given the good lead time, in this second scenario the order could be produced offshore and sea freighted in. The product (lets say its still a Custom Cooler Bag) can have a huge variety of decoration options not available locally, including the fabric being dyed to a custom colour, advanced decoration options such as all over prints may be included, subtle branding such as custom zip pulls can be added, the list goes on.

What the client ends up with is a promotional item that it part of their brand - rather than just a standard item with a logo slapped on the front. It increases the perceived value to the end user who receives, and generally just looks a lot more cool.

Sounds great, but the upside continues! In addition to being able to produce unique promotional items, the price will in many cases be lower than a standard off the shelf product! The reason for this is that while the product itself is worth about the same, the decoration (printing, embroidery) can be completed offshore at the point of manufacture at much lower rates than local production. While lower labour costs play a part, it is also quicker and easier to decorate sheets of fabric which are then sewn to become a the final product, rather than printing it after it’s fully made which is what must be completed locally. The savings made from purchasing factory direct (if your promotional products supplier offers this service) and through not having to warehouse the stock locally will also be passed onto the client in most cases.

The Best Promotional Products For Your Company

November 28th, 2016

Many business owners think about promotional products, but are not quite sure what is best for their specific type of business. While there are many great product ideas to choose from, not every product will be right for every business. Take the time to think about your business, your customers, and what would be most effective.

Here are some examples to help you decide what promotional products would work best:

A business that deals with insurance, financial products, or other office-related products and services would benefit from office supplies and calendars. Consider promotional gifts such as pens, magnets, planners and calendars, and even office accessories for employees or highly appreciated customers.

A local market might enjoy the promotion that they get from reusable promotional bags, which are all the rage right now. Of course, any business can give these away to customers to provide a great marketing tool to the now eco-conscious consumers of the world. Many stores sell these bags to consumers, but if you can afford to offer them as marketing gifts, you’ll generate a lot more interest because people love free stuff.

Promotional clothing is great for employee appreciation and promotion through customers, as well. Of course, this will be best reserved in a situation where you can afford to give away free clothing products, which will be more expensive. Consider using these products for prizes, expos, and other situations.

Promotional household items and personal accessories can be great for just about any business. For example, if you have a contracting business, giving your customers free promotional products like appliances and kitchen accessories can be a great way to say thanks for their business and give them something useful for their home.

These are just a few examples of how promotional products can be used. Ultimately, you will have to consider a few elements to figure out which items are right for your company. Think about your budget first, because this is most important. Then, think about the occasion or intended use. If you’re handing out promotional items to everyone who walks in the door, you won’t want to offer high-end or expensive products unless you are a high-end business that needs to set the tone. Consider clothing and more expensive promotional products for gifts with purchases or as a thank-you for doing business with a customer, while using less expensive items for general promotion and to attract new business.

From outdoor products to office supplies, cell phone accessories, awards and motivational promotional gifts, and everything in between, you can find something to suit your needs. Consider the usability of whatever you offer because your business will get the most visibility out of things that people use or see on a regular basis. Products that are used outside of the home, such as bags, clothing, or luggage, can be much more successful in drawing more traffic because more people will see them. If you take the time to browse the available products, you should have no trouble finding something that suits your specific needs for promotional products. Of course, if you’re having trouble, you can always ask a promotional products specialist for assistance.

10 Costly Mistakes When Buying Promotional Products

November 28th, 2016

Nearly every business, whether large or small uses some type of promotional item to giveaway to their customers. The reason they do is because promotional products are one of the most effective forms of marketing. Buying promotional items should be an investment that brings a return on your money and NOT an expense. Here are the 10 most common pitfalls with businesses buying promotional products.

  1. Buying from Order Takers - The top mistake that most buyers make is going with an inexperienced company or with a company that takes no interest in helping your campaign succeed. To elaborate further, many promotional product distributors are interested only in the sale and not the well-being of your marketing campaign success. These distributors will gladly take your money but their customer service is lousy. Experienced distributors know that any future repeat business from their clients hinges directly on the successes of their campaigns, so any smart distributor is going to try to help their clients in every way possible to offer any suggestions to better their marketing efforts. Therefore, using a knowledgeable distributor will benefit you greatly with any campaign. It doesn’t make any sense to go with a company that is just simply offering a lower price on an item if they give no service, especially if you’re just talking pennies per item.
  2. Not Developing an Objective for Your Campaign - So what are you trying to achieve with your purchase of promotional items? Are you just going for brand awareness? Are you actually wanting to increase sales? Are you trying to get customer contact info for a mailing or telemarketer list? Are you using your giveaways as thank you gifts? Are you using the items are employee incentives? All of these are crucial questions that need answers because you must define the target audience and define what you action you desire. If you want to increase sales, you might want to use the item as a FREE gift with purchase. Or if you are wanting to thank your employees for a job well done, you will want to give them a premium item that they will keep and use often. If you are promoting brand awareness, you will want to get an item that is related to your product, brand, or service. A promotional products consultant can help you with creative ideas and it doesn’t cost you any extra for this service.
  3. Buying Trash - You don’t go through your neighbor’s garbage can and offer to buy his garbage and then give it away to your customers, so why buy useless junk that will end up in the trash can that same day. Don’t buy a 20 cent pen and expect people to jump up and down in excitement. A cheap item like that is likely to skip when writing, smear, and possibly not even write at all. Then all you have done is wasted your money and given your customers and potential customers a bad taste about your company. They get a cheap feel about your business and associate your service and products as cheap and useless.
  4. Being Stingy - I always love this one! I see people buying promotional products all the time, but they hoard the items in a closet and don’t give them away. They save them for “special people” or “special occasions” that never really come. The items stay boxed up in a closet and offer no marketing value. You’ve spent the money on the items, so now get some use out of them. An average promotional item is viewed by many more people than just the recipient. Therefore, one item has a lot of marketing power to affect multiple locations.
  5. No Contact Info - Having just your logo printed on items without contact information such as your website, address, or phone number is not usually recommended unless you are simply promoting brand awareness. Even if you are just promoting brand awareness and not trying to get orders from this marketing item, you should still at least have your website printed on the items, unless you have National or Worldwide recognition such as Microsoft.
  6. Wrong Item for Your Target Audience- So often I get calls from people wanting specific items, but when I question them about their intentions with the items, I find out the items are completely inappropriate for the recipients. You don’t want to have custom imprinted pocket knives and pass them out to kindergartners or give logo molded chocolate out at a diabetes seminar. Although, these examples are extreme, this drives the point home. Make sure you know who the recipients will be. If most will be elderly, give out something that age group can use. If they are a younger audience, make sure and give out something that will appeal to that generation. This simple concept is often overlooked and should be thought about carefully. In many instances, you may need to think about getting 2 or 3 types of items if you have a diverse crowd.
  7. Information Overload - Printing too much information on a promotional item is a no no. Often people want to print their business name, logo, address, website, phone number, fax number, and a tag line on a pen with a 1/2 in.x 1 in. imprint area. This of course makes no sense because with most promotional items, the imprint area is limited and the more you print, the smaller the imprint will be. What good does the imprint do if you need a magnifying glass to see it. Think about the pertinent info you need. Your logo, business name, phone number, and website is usually sufficient. Do you really need a fax number on a promotional item? Simpler is often better. Information overload will cause people to not read the info.
  8. No Tracking Method - Having a way to track the Return on Investment (ROI) is always a great idea with promotional products. You can use them like a coupon and include an exclusive discount or coupon code so that you will know exactly how many people placed an order or made a purchase that was directly related to this item. For example, bring this tote bag to the store to bag your items at checkout and receive a 5% discount. Or have a coupon code that says 10% off your purchase on our website by using promo code TAKE10. By doing this, you can measure results and know if this type of marketing is working for you. In order to be successful with your campaign, there is still a lot of other planning to do such as targeting the right audience with the right product.
  9. Giving Away High Dollar Items in Bulk - I have seen several companies (the ones with plenty of money to spend) giving away premium items to anyone they see. While premium items are very effective to giveaway to your top customers, I never recommend giving them away to just anyone. That is the quickest way to break the bank. Bulk items should be the lower cost items under $3.00 each.
  10. No Advance Planning - Make sure you order early enough in advance to avoid rush charges and expedited shipping charges. Most promotional products can take up to 2 weeks for production; however, you can get many products these days with free rush service, but you still may have to use 2-day or overnight shipping to get your items on time. This can be avoided with a little advance planning and ordering early enough. Why waste money on rush or expedited shipping fees?

Generating More Leads With Promotional Products

November 28th, 2016

It is easy to generate leads by using promotional products. Any promotional items like pens, key chains, note pads, shirts, etc are effective tools so that business owners can benefit by giving away these items. Imprints or logo speaks about your products and services, and it helps to boost sales and therefore your business can be competitive as big players in the market niche. Since competition is stiff, it is not only that business owners should advertise their business. Promotional products are cost effective and could eliminate a higher cost in advertising business.

There are more than 600,000 products that owners can choose depending on the promotional needs that they have. Using different imprint methods like silkscreen, embroidery, laser-engraved, etc with your logo or imprint creates a great impact to potential customers. These messages that were usually formed on different imprint methods make the business information at first hand and also it creates awareness and curiosity to your buyers. If these people will not buy today, they might buy soon. That is because these promotional items give them something to hold unto for their promotional needs. It can be expected with the promotional giveaways that you have, it generates more leads as long as it is given to a right person. These promotional items can also be passed through from person to person, until such a time that it may reach the right people to buy your products and services.

In the trade show alone, most exhibitors use promotional products as their giveaways to generate leads for their business. This is effective since most of them needs to advertise their business so it could attract potential buyers to inquire and eventually buy their products.

Even nonprofit organizations use promotional products to propagate their cause. And one very good example is the message that you can see is the shirts.

Promotional items are effective, as long as it is unique, useful and creative. There’s no denying that it can reach your target market as long as you follow the step on how to use promotional products. It should be unique that can stand out among the competitors, especially if the message is different from the usual promotional giveaways that can be seen anywhere. Some even use slogans for their business to attract the attention of the buyers. Promotional items should also be useful and these are not just something that can be picked up in the table. For example, pens can be used as giveaways because most people use pens everyday and they carry pens and put it on their bag wherever they go. These items should also be creative and innovative because we believe that promotional products are collection of ideas because of the presence of logo or imprints on products used as giveaways.

Selling Promotional Products - Ad Specialties

November 28th, 2016

There are marketing and distribution firms that sell promotional products, or ad specialties, everywhere. These include anything you might get as a giveaway, from bobble head dolls to pens to very high tech and innovative products. Since companies will buy quite expensive items to give to customers, and cereal companies, non-profit charities and major credit card companies often give a promotional item away in a mailing, or as an incentive to purchase a specific product, the promotional products market can be quite lucrative for manufacturers that have an in-demand product. If you look into your local phone book for ad specialties or promotional products you will find dozens of companies in most towns. There are also dozens of companies selling promotional products through distributors and manufacturers’ representatives. Small one line companies with innovative products can be very successful in the promotional products market.

Four Sales Approaches

There are four common sales strategies for promotional products, and most companies use all four strategies to maximize their sales.

How Effective Are Promotional Products?

November 24th, 2016

Firstly, promotional products or in slang terms, schwag, can be considered any product that has been imprinted with a company logo, company name or company motto that is then given away at trade shows, at conferences, or merely as employee or company incentives/giveaways. Giving away these promotional items is a way for companies to promote and advertise their brand, image and products.

Promotional products, unlike flyers and brochures, are meant to be useful to the consumer and something that will not end up in the next trash can that is spotted. The main goal of a of using this type of advertising is staying power! If a consumer retains these items for daily use, they are then constantly reminded of the company, as are those around them.

The research is in! Promotional items are an effective way to create consumer knowledge of your brand/company and a great way to generate traffic to your website or business establishment! A late 2009, two-part study by Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), found that, out of over 1,000 participants who were surveyed:

- 94% could recall receiving a promotional item in the last two years

- 89% were able to actually recall the company name that was imprinted on the item

- 76.2% were able to recall the specific product, the advertiser and the message!

- 83% said they enjoyed receiving this type of merchandise

- 48% would like to receive more

- 38% feel that promotional products serve as a constant reminder of the advertiser

Is there really staying power though? The PPAI study also found that of the consumers surveyed:

-91% had at least one promotional item in their kitchen

-74% had at least one promotional item in their work area

-55% had at least on promotional item in their bedroom closet/storage space

Bottom line, the first part of this survey found that consumers “like promotional products, keep promotional products and want more promotional products.”

The second part of the PPAI study asked end buyers to evaluate different mainstream advertising media outlets including; print, online, television and promotional products, just to name a few. The findings:

- Promotional merchandise ranked as their top advertising choice

- 72% of end buyers use promotional products sometimes, often or always (7 out of 10)

Why? Each media outlet was evaluated based on 8 different attributes and promotional products ranked number one in the following areas:

- Ability to achieve long-term memorability

- Said to have the flexibility to fit within different budgets

- Able to bond audience to advertiser in order to promote repeat business

- Audience friendly

- Ability to generate traffic

With these findings it is easy to see that promotional products are becoming a popular advertising choice. A quick browse on the internet yields thousands of different product choices. The main question now becomes not whether or not to use promotional products but which ones to choose.

Simply adding your company name or logo to a product without any thought is no longer the answer. With so many choices to choose from companies are now able to be more creative and have their promotional product line reflect and enhance company marketing goals and also promote their brand.

A Few Tips To Keep In Mind When Choosing Promotional Merchandise:

- Relevant and Useful (products do not always have to be related to the products or services that you offer. It is often more important to find a product that your target market would find useful or interesting)

- Keep your budget in mind (important when thinking about relevance and usefulness, if you go too cheap the product may be thrown away or company image could be hindered.)

- Scope (try to find a product that can reach a lot of people all while keeping the other tips in mind; going too expensive on products could yield fewer products and reaching less people)

- Find something that allows you to give as much information about your company as possible (a plain logo on a chip clip for example sometimes gives too little information)

- Find something that stands out! (Eye-catching products are key! Not only does the owner of your promotional product notice it but so will others who are around it! Do try to reflect your brand image as well though, if your company is not all about what’s funky and retro then find something that is more sophisticated and sharp)

Where To Present Your Promotional Merchandise:

- Trade shows (make your company stand out against the rest!)

- Promotional Giveaways (Either by inviting people to your business location or by doing a direct mail campaign)

- Employee incentives (Your employees can be great advertisers just by owning your promotional products and showing other people)

The return on investment from your promotional campaign will be strong. Your potential consumers will now be able to find out more about your company and discover the products and services you offer. Let your company be known to the world!

How to Boost Sales Using Promotional Products

November 24th, 2016

No matter if you’re a small business, a local small-town business, or a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, marketing and advertising are important to any business that wants to become and remain to be successful. Without proper marketing and promoting of your business, your company name will get lost in the high competition of today’s world. However, when it comes to marketing and promoting, there is no wrong or right way to do it. But, if your company wants an effective, budget conscious, and proven way to boost sales, don’t hesitate to begin using promotional products. Promotional products have become one of the easiest ways to boost sales as they not only provide your customers and potential customers with something unique, they also market your business’ name.

What are promo products?

Simply put, promotional products are items that can be used to market your company’s name, products, and services. There is no limit to the items that can be used as promotional products. As long as your company’s name is on the items, they can more than likely be classified as being promo products. Some of the most widely used promotional products include glassware, t-shirts, hats, tote bags, pens, pencils, and coffee mugs. Each of these items can be custom-made to have your company’s name printed on them so while each item remains functional and useful, at the same time your company’s name is always present and visible.

Promotional gifts are usually available and purchased in bulk and are commonly handed out to customers at certain venues, at random, or during a certain promotion. For example, a company may decide to give a custom-made promotional mug to customers who spend $25 or more within their store. The options are endless but in the end your focus should be to provide your customers with a useable promotional product that also subtly advertises your company.

When using promotional products it’s important to try to keep them unique and different. Since these products are so widely used, your marketing group will need to find a way to make your promo coffee mug or t-shirt stand out from all of the others. Some companies will use different promotional products depending on the season. For example in the winter more companies will use clothing and coffee mugs as promotional items while in the winter shot-glasses and tote bags may be more popular.

How do these products boost sales?

When more people are able to come across your company’s name and your visibility continues to increase, your business has an ever-growing chance of gaining more leads and sales. Because promo products advertise your business’ name, they are known for being a great way to boost the amount of sales, therefore increasing the amount of profit that your company will have at any given time. Companies often experience a boost in sales because more people are becoming aware of the company name. The more people who know of your business, the higher chance you have of offering a service or product that they are interested in buying.

Choosing a Promotional Product for Your Marketing Campaign: Improve Your Impact and Persistence

November 24th, 2016

If you type in ‘promotional products’ into Google it gives 51m results, it is easy then to imagine how many promotional gifts, products, premiums and giveaway options are out there! That number of results also tells us that in some way they must work, all those businesses must be addressing a continuous demand. The trick of course is to make sure that when you do use promotional products as part of a marketing exercise that you make the most of your budget. This article aims to give you some hints, tips and thoughts as to how to improve the impact of your promotional product campaign.

Cost

The number one question asked is ‘how much should I spend (per person) on my promotional product?’ This is going to depend on a few important considerations including your target demographic, the competition for their attention and perhaps the type of products or services you are promoting. With that in mind it is worth remembering that if 50% of your recipients are going to ignore the item it might arguably be worth paying twice as much to make sure 100% of half the number of targets keeps a better product around for even longer. A great example of this is direct mailing campaigns where the cost is very low, but success can be as little as a 0.5% to 1% take up. Working it through using 1000 flyers at $200 as an example, each response can actually cost more than $20 each! Could a $2 gift to 100 people, or even a $20 gift to 10, give a better return than that?

What is certain is that a promotional gift is much more likely to hang around longer than flyers and mailshots and therefore stand a much better chance of being to hand when the customer needs your product or service and also garnering repeat exposures to your message. Supporting that argument are fridge magnets, which are making significant in-roads into areas where direct mail has traditionally dominated. This is especially true for local businesses advertising their services. In general it is easy to get lured into more is better when it comes to promotional giveaways, but it is often not applicable so take time to plan your campaign in advance. Think about who are you sending it too: what are they interested in? What do they use every day? How can you make things easier for them to interact with you? If you can address these questions then it is just a matter of working out the cheapest option that fits the bill.

Functionality

Generally a promotional item should appeal to the widest demographic possible (although sometimes it can pay to narrow your audience) otherwise the attrition rate is going to be higher. Let’s work through the example of keyring bottle openers: these commonly used items clearly appeal to drinkers, but only those that drink bottled beer, and then only to those of them that prefer premium style beers that do not commonly have a screw cap. So what was wide group has now been whittled down to a fraction that will find the gift useful. So while many other people will also accept the gift, only a percentage will see their item often, and most will be put on the spare keys, or worse, the kitchen draw!

With keyring bottle openers, and many similar promotional items, adding a further complication is the fact that the group that are going to be most interested in your promotional gift are those most likely to already have an alternative already, thus increasing your competition! By increasing the functional base of your chosen item you can obviously spread your message much wider and by making it suit the needs of a wider percentage of that audience you can increase awareness further. Using products that are adjustable or have a one-size-fits all aspect are clearly more valuable in these circumstances.

Adding value to the customer

With some promotional products even more value to the target audience can be added for little cost, especially those that are made by the much more flexible digital printing processes. Something as simple as a consecutive number can become a valuable offering when it becomes a perhaps a lottery entry or perhaps a means to get a discount, both of which will undoubtedly increase the lifetime of the item as it retained until redemption. Some digital processes also now allow you to add more complex variable information such as names, numbers and addresses.

What easier way to make sure your gift sweeps all its competition away and to also impress your recipient as you have taken the time to personalise their gift with their first name! With items such as USB sticks, many suppliers can include a useful program to your specification on the device, ideal is one that evokes a subsequent interaction with your website or makes ordering simple and easy - possibly even including a login code that unlocks discounts or specials. If you are not able to do this, or do not have the budget for USB, then QR codes on printed products can perform a similar task.

Adding value to you

A large proportion of the cost of a bespoke designed promotion item is the set up and artwork. Once that is done each little addition cost less and less. Even something like adding a custom QR code can improve the value of your product - sometimes for free. QR codes are becoming more and more visible and are a great way to exact a call to action to the tech savvy generation. QR codes can be used to push people to a website, deliver an electronic business card and much more. They can also be used, once people have used their code, to track the visitor and personalise content. Variable information encoded into QR codes (i.e. each product has a unique code)can be used to further enhance the experience and are an immensely powerful marketing tool whose scope is still being explored. By capturing a QR code on my giveaway item with an app enabled phone (iNigma is a very popular one for both iPhone and Android) the embedded URL could tell me what item you scanned, the items colour, the time you visited, how long you visited for, where you went in my website, your ISPs location and even the type of phone you have!

Competition and saturation

Becoming ever more a factor in choosing the right strategy is trying to find a promotional item that stands out among the rest: commonly selected items such as keyrings, stress balls and now USB sticks are becoming so popular that you will be hard pressed to find someone that has not already got one, so you’ll have to work even more harder to make sure they like your one! Occasionally a new product arrives on the market and it is important to quickly evaluate the potential of new ideas with respect to your target audience before others usurp you and steal your thunder. A new product idea done well cannot only generate interest from the person you gave it to, but to others who see it and are curious. This is an added bonus not to be sniffed at!

Design

Often overlooked is the design aspect of a promotional product. Design is a strange thing as it can often be overlooked as it appears very easy to many people. A good design will pay dividends well into the future: an example is the Nike swoosh, of course very simple to draw, but very hard to replicate its success! Think hard about dividing up your budget so that a good amount is devoted towards getting the design right. Do not be afraid to test designs with close groups of people (preferably customers) to hone things, but remember that many people will have their own ideas, but not all can be right so it is better to focus on things like making sure the design is clear, attractive and compelling rather than the specifics of colour, size and placement etc. (there are other ways to address those aspects). Also consider that what works well for your customers may not necessarily be something you are in love with. Try and be objective, however if the two go hand in hand all the better! An example I use to illustrate this particular facet of design is to ask you to think about some of the biggest, and most successful, Internet names out there.

Chances are Google, eBay and Amazon are at, or very near, the top of your list. One could hardly say that they are also the most attractive sites though! They work and have become bigger than their competition not only because of their services, but also because their interface with their customers is simple (although Amazon is starting to look more messy!) and therefore they can be understood and enjoyed by the widest audience. Number one error, and one we have seen many times, is making sure your message is front and centre. Unless you are a recognised brand like Nike, Google or Apple then just your logo on a promotional product is going to have limited value outside your known customer base. If you can, always include a short piece of text to explain quickly and memorably what you do. For the rest of the population that do not know what Google does just simply adding ‘world most popular search engine’ could help them make their first Google search! Also worth mentioning is to try and select a product you can offer in a number of colour ways for little or no extra cost, this will increase both uptake and longevity. A double-whammy of sorts, which can often be quite economical in volume orders, but is increasingly possible with smaller orders too with some suppliers.

Call to action

Once you have captured the viewer’s eye and delivered your message hopefully they will feel as if they want to read secondary information such as your highlighted products, services or maybe just your web address. If that information is not present then you are relying on them remembering to try and find out later, a risky strategy especially as there is lots of completion for everyone’s attention these days! If you can, integrate a ‘call to action’ into your design, these are more common in advertising, but can also be implemented on promotional products too. QR codes or unique URLs can be useful as a means of getting an instant call to action. For instance: “Scan (or visit) now to receive a 10% discount off of your first order.”

Quality

Most likely as I posted up this article recently, I looked at a promotional keyring bottle opener on my spare keys today. I picked it up from an unattended booth at an expo in Melbourne last year. It used to have an orange logo on it, but it does not now and I cannot remember who I got it from! Morals of the story are: if you are not their at an expo to qualify your leads you might as well throw the money away - and make sure that the product or gift you choose is able to keep on promoting your message for as long as it needs to! With keyrings maybe engraving is a better choice over pad printing, which if it is of a low quality is clearly easily removed by abrasion. If there are different printing options for your chosen product there might be an optimal solution for you.