People love promotional products; they’ve become part of our daily lives. These products serve not only as tools of promotion, but as a means of on-going advertising. A 2009 Promotional Products Association International study showed that 83% of U.S. consumers like getting promotional products with an advertising message. 48% wanted to receive products more often and 38% feel they can be a reminder of the business advertising.
Fig.1, Consumer Reaction to Promotional Gifts Source: 2009 PPAI Research Study
Fig.2, Cost Per Impression of Other Media Source: Advertising Specialty Institute Impression Study
Fig.3, Cost Per Impression of Promotional Gifts Source: Advertising Specialty Institute Impression Study
The chart at the right (Fig. 1) shows consumer reaction to free promotional products being handed out at a trade show, event or mall. Consumers were then asked to remember a promotional product that they’d been given in the last 2 years. 76.2% could not only recall the product, but the advertiser and the message.
It’s important to note too that the cost-per-impression (CPI) of promotional products is among the lowest in the advertising industry (Fig. 2). At an average of $0.004 (Fig. 3), the only medium that offers a lower CPI is Billboards.
So with this in mind, we’ve put together this list of Promotional Product Ideas arranged by their potential uses. While these products vary greatly in scope, and can even overlap in application, this list will give you a better idea of what’s out there, ensuring that you effectively target your customers according to your goals.
Attract New Customers Are you looking to get new business, generate accounts or attract sales leads? Try using the following:
While these may seem like small investments, the truth is, these items are often seen on a regular basis and passed on to people who otherwise would have never heard of your company. Most businesses make these items available to customers for their own use. If accidentally removed from your business they can go on to promote your company to anyone they come in contact with. As opposed to a flyer or a mailer, potential customers are much less likely to throw out something that they use on a regular basis. They’ll keep your item around and are more likely to call you when they need something.
Build Brand Impressions The best part about promotional products is their ability to advertise your business long after they’ve been handed out – like an ongoing commercial. They give customers something they can take and use in their homes, offices or cars and can be seen by everyone around them, all while building your brand.
Giving people a piece of apparel or a bag helps you to create a walking billboard for your business. Not only will the person wearing your hat or shirt think about your company when they put them on, everywhere they go people will see them and be reminded of your services. This spreads your message and solidifies your identity in the community.
On the other hand, if you give someone a product that will be seen everyday, and never leave their possession, you’re constantly reinforcing your brand to that person without them even knowing it. Your goal should be to think about the person you want to receive the item and make sure that it’s something that will be useful to them.
Increase Repeat Business Customers will be more likely to work with you in the future if they are aware of how much you appreciate their business. Follow up a sale with the gift of something that is not only useful to the client, but also will remind them of you. There’s a wide variety of products that can work in this area; the goal is to get them to think of your business.
Heavyweight key chains
You’re helping to inspire the loyalty of your clients and build a stronger relationship with them. Clients can miss phone calls and forget e-mails, but a thank you gift will keep your company in their mind. An added benefit is that people who come in contact with your client might see your gift, leading to a referral.
Trade Shows Trade shows can become a promotional product dumping ground. However, if used the right way, they can be a great opportunity to make your business stand out from the pack and increase traffic to an exhibitor’s trade show booth. Try to determine what your competition is likely to hand out and then find something that could be unique to your company. Think about a customized diaper bag at a convention geared to new moms; it’ll get you noticed before the competition’s light-up keychains. Or, if it’s a tech show and you think most booths will be giving out USB drives, stand out by being the only one giving away USB-powered keyboard vacuums. These are some other options:
Mobile Phone Holder
Keyboard Cleaning Brushes
Computer Monitor Brushes
Credit Card Size Magnifying Glass
Energy Drink Shots
These are just some examples of products that you could offer up to potential customer. It’s up to you to decide what can make your business stand out in your industry. Your goal should be to offer up something that would attract visitors to your booth who would have ordinarily never stopped by until they discovered what you were offering up.
Employee Incentives Promotional products are not just for advertising. Nothing motivates and keeps your staff happy like giving them a reward for their hard work. Consider giving them specialized incentives to boost their morale. You’ll help to encourage their innovation while promoting performance, safety, teamwork and productivity.
High end company branded clothing, such as a windbreaker or a polo or dress shirt
Engraved pen and pencil sets
As you can see, these incentives don’t have to be coffee mugs or other run of the mill items. In fact, it’s better if they’re not. You want your employees to feel like the item you’re giving them has real value and meaning, not that it’s just a leftover product customers didn’t want. Even if you’re a small business, it doesn’t mean that you can’t afford to reward your employees occasionally. Your employees are the biggest advocates for your business. These ideas are an opportunity to show gratitude for a job well done.
Promote Goodwill in your Community Give away promotional products at a community event in exchange for being mentioned as a sponsor. Not only does this get your neighbors thinking about your company, but it provides you a channel to distribute promotional items to people who might not normally encounter your business.
First aid kits
Another idea would be to partner with a sponsor and create a gift basket full of high ticket/promotional items that could be sold or auctioned off at a benefit or fund raiser for the charity of your choice. This idea works well in a few different ways. First, the cause gets funding. Second, your business and the sponsor get exposure. Third, the customer walks away with new items that could potentially refer them back to your business.
Corporate Gifts Make sure that your clients are being properly rewarded for working with you. By giving a promotional item as a token of your appreciation for their business, you’re reinforcing the idea that customers are important to you. This is especially important if you have a higher end clientele, where a simple t-shirt or coffee mug might not cut it.
Set of Martini glasses or Pint glasses that feature both your logo and your clients logo
High quality leather note pad portfolio
Bundle a number of smaller promotional items along with snacks and candy
Luggage such as Garment bags, Messenger Bags, Laptop Cases or Backpacks
Gifts like these go a long way towards expressing your appreciation. They can also be used to apologize for a lapse in service, or to help smooth over problems that might have arisen with a client. Also, think about using a promotional item to celebrate an anniversary or other special event. Hopefully, you can impress your customers and leave a long lasting impression with them.
Increase traffic to your website If your goal is to drive more people to your website, consider using one of the following items:
USB Flash Drives/MP3 Players These items have to be connected to a computer at some point to be used – have them pre-loaded with software that will auto launch your website when they’re attached to a computer
Have your web address printed on all or your promotional materials, along with your logo; this tells people that your website is as important as your logo
Add a QR code to your promotional products that will launch directly to your website
Building web traffic by means of promotional products can be a tricky concept to navigate. If you look at them as a component of your overall marketing plan, but don’t rely on them to be your sole method, you’ll find that these ideas can be a great addition to your efforts.
Direct Mail Promotional products give you a huge boost in the response rate of your direct mail campaigns. Packaging a product with your mailer provides your target with a greater incentive to respond to your message than if you were sending them that message alone. Consider using some of these items:
6 Inch Rulers
Eyeglass Screwdriver Kit
Products like these work effectively because they can be easily mailed for not much more than the cost of your original mailer. This allows you to not only provide your potential customers with a call to action, but also to leave them with something that they can regularly use and remember you by.
Conclusion Don’t just look for a promotional product. Follow these steps:
Define the purpose/goal the promotional product should achieve
Review what your competition is doing
Select a promotional product that best achieves your goals
Make sure the promotional product fits within your brand