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

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.

Why Many Businesses Prefer Promotional Products to Advertise Their Brands

Promotional products can be great tools for creating name recognition and good will of your brands among your customers and prospects. If a particular promotional product is a giveaway at an exhibition or conference, as a hand out to children on their educational visits or an in-store freebie, it is a great approach to use these promotional items to advertise your company name at lower costs. Giving out something for nothing is an excellent way for your business to get your target audience’s attention and this is what many businesses are doing these days to boost their sales.

Many items fall into the broad category of promotional products. These items might include bottle openers, letter openers, laser pointers, notepads, memo holders, photo frames, alarm clocks, mirrors, cufflinks, make up kits, manicure sets, jewellery boxes, business bags, travel bags, clocks, flasks,gift sets, briefcases, wine sets, puzzles, mobile phone holders, credit card holders, corporate printed trays, torches, document bags, paperweights, glassware, paper clip holders, eco friendly items, fitness sets, passport covers, personal fans, ties, work wears, mints, USB hub clocks, phone charges, games, watches, calculators, barbeque sets, picnic baskets, pencil sharpeners, fineliners, fountain pens, rollerballs, erasers, express promotional items and many more. Almost every promotional item contains the name of your company, logo and message for maximum effect.

These items are distributed either at conferences, exhibitions, and tradeshows or are given away as gifts, as employee incentives or rewards and as business gifts. The main purpose of distributing promotional products among your prospects is that you want your company name and message in front of them for a long period of time and these promotional items are simple, inexpensive and cost-effective at the same time. Promotional products are popular among all types of industries ranging form IT, Healthcare, Pharmacutecal to government and academic.

Promotional products and printed promotional items have positive impact for almost every business if used correctly. Promotional products are marketing tools and these items increase company recognition, make a favorable impression of your brand, offer flexibility, can be distributed among any audience ranging from children and teenagers to employees, dealers, businessmen and vendors and increase response rates. Promotional merchandises is also cost-effective especially when a business purchases them in bulk from promotional products distributors. As compared to other methods of advertising where you have to spend thousand of pounds to advertise your company, think of giving away a toothbrush to one of your prospects, so if a customer uses it every morning, this toothbrush would provide a reinforcement of your brand on a regular basis.

There are some points which you need to consider while using promotional products to advertise your brand. A promotional product campaign must be carefully planned to achieve maximum results in a short period of time. You might be planning to giveaway some specific promotional items on some specific event, always make sure that you have enough time to get them produced. Try to use a product which allows more imprinting onto it and fits your business requirements at the same time. You should be very careful in choosing the message which you want to be printed onto your selected promotional item as this would be the only thing your target audience will see when they use this product. You should imprint a concise message aiming to target different groups of audience and it must carry the main information about your business in one or two lines.

Promotional Products – The Perfect Advertising Tools

The pulse of your business lies in customer equity. The more loyal your customers are to your business the higher is the ‘customer equity.’ What does it take to develop and forge a strong relationship with your customers? A top-quality product or service and effective marketing strategies-these are what drive existing and potential customers back to your brand over and over again.

Building Brand Awareness

This is key and promotional products are the most effective relationship drivers yet known. Customized promotional items remind your customers of your brand so that when they need your product or service your brand is the first that comes to their minds rather than your competitors’.

The Cost Of Advertising With Promotional Products

Adding promotional items to your marketing mix does not cost the earth either! Compared to television and print media, not only does advertising with promotional products cost a fraction of the price, but gives longevity to it as well. Custom promo products generate more impressions per item as compared to television ads. Promotional bags generate the highest number of impressions at 1,078 impressions per bag and due to this the average cost-per-impression of a promotional product is 0.005 cents in the US.

Promotional products are available online for as low as under $1 or $2, so businesses can now easily stay within their marketing budget.

Attract & Retain New Customers

Custom promotional items such as promotional bottles, promotional bags and totes, and promotional pens are the bestsellers simply because they are highly useful items. Since they are more likely to be used by recipients rather than being stashed away in a drawer, the visibility of an imprinted company logo or message is more. The more they use these giveaways, the more likely they are to come back to you for your products or services.

Choose Well-Aligned Promotional Products

If you are a medical practitioner, giving away golf items will not work! However, promotional pens, promotional drinkware or even key chains could work well to keep your message on their minds.

There is a host of promotional giveaways available to businesses for their promotional campaigns-all online! From stationery items like promotional notebooks, memo pads, day planners, and sticky notes to promotional apparel like personalized t-shirts, polo shirts, and promotional aprons. The variety is endless so for every promotional event the item must be chosen as part of a well-thought out strategy-aligned with the core business interest or needs of the promotional event.

Why Promotional Products

In addition to the cost factor, promotional products have the added advantage of making their recipients feel valued. Handing out meaningful gifts with your logo on them helps customers to emotionally connect with your brand. Product launches, website launches, offers and discounts are just some opportunities to give away business gifts. Simple thank you gifts to show appreciation are also much appreciated by existing customers.

Custom Promotional items are ideal for bringing back ‘latent’ customers – those who have forgotten about a brand but have been loyal to it in the past.

Some customers turn to other brands over time. Identifying the factors that caused them to turn away and identifying their preferences will help determine how to utilize promos to win them back.

How Promotional Products Can Help Boost Sales

Promotional products are an ingenious way to promote a brand, boost business, and increase market share, customer trust and employee satisfaction. The best and rightly selected promotional product has a greater impact on the customers when compared to other modes of advertisements through television and print media.
Promotional products have various crucial roles in boosting sales of your business.

• Increases ROI
• Sales Promotion
• Customer acquisition
• Customer retention
• Customer Satisfaction
• Gains customer Loyalty
• Increasing Brand Awareness

Increases Return on Investment

The cost of advertisements in TV and newspapers are much large compared to promotional product marketing. Moreover, promotional items bring about higher CPI (Cost per Impression) when compared to other media advertisements. Promotional products are the only inexpensive yet effective means that generates better ROI. Higher ROI is achieved through less money, repeated exposure, new customers, and repeated purchase.

Customer Acquisition and retention

In a competitive scenario, to stay ahead of all other competitors, it is important to build up a brand opinion, trust, and persuade customers to choose our products over others. While using such items, the customers see or use them repeatedly and refer others to use the brand for the sake of mere usability. As per PPAI 2009, 60% of customers used the promotional items several times. 7.6% of them made others to use the product and 4.4% of them gave the products to others. This process brings in new customers. This way of repeated impression eventually increases sales.

Customer satisfaction

The main advantages of products over advertisements through newspapers and magazines are that they are only one way. The customer is not benefited materialistically in other media advertisements. This satisfies the customers in terms of materialistic possession.

Customer Loyalty

A high quality promotional product with a great visibility, usage, and durability reminds the brand or the product well ahead of all other medium. These type of products also help recall the message sent through them. The usefulness of the product grows to become a long-term remainder of the product. Promotional products increase:

• Advertisement’s honesty
• Concept towards the product or brand
• Attitude towards the sales product or brand
• Objective to purchase
• Recommendation to try or purchase the brand or product

Brand Awareness

According to the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), out of the customers who received promotional products, about 76% of them could recollect the name of the brand or the product even after several years. This higher recognition of the brand is achieved only in case of these products. This statistic clearly states that promotional items are the best cost effective means of increasing sales and brand awareness.

Sales Promotion

Brand recognition, loyalty and trust, attraction, repeat purchase, new customers, and ultimately, increased traffic in business boosts the sales of your products. To make a customer purchase a item and then make repeat purchases is more achievable using promotional items. About 20.9% of people purchase a product after using the promotional items, whereas only 13.4%, 7.1%, and 4.6% of people purchased the product after viewing advertisements in print media, TV and online advertisements respectively. In fact, according to the PPAI, about 84% of the people believe that promotional items are very effective in boosting sales.