There are a few key factors in making promotional products work.
- Give people something they want!
- Don't skimp out!
- Design them properly!
- Quality targeting is more important than quantity!
1) Give people something that they want and need
When I go to trade-shows, I all too often come away with fifteen lanyards, hundreds of stickers, folders, and other stuff I don't need and will never use. Not only is this ineffective marketing, but it's a waste of promotional material. The best promotional ideas are going to be ones that people use every day. Coffee Mugs, Pens, mouse mats and keyrings etc are the most effective promotional ideas for most businesses. People need them, use them daily, and they are relatively cheap. Unless you have something very unique that people will use very often, or you have a budget that allows you to purchase really cool promo products like USB memory cards, go with promotional mugs, printed pens, mouse mats and keyrings etc. Common sense plays a role in your promotional idea selection. If you sell something that requires upkeep or supplies, the promotional product must have your contact number, so that supplies can easily be reordered from you
2) Don't skimp out!
When you purchase 1,000 crappy no-name pens that work once before running out of ink or clogging, it doesn't project your business in a positive manner. Like employees, promotional ideas and branded products are a direct representation of you. Make sure that people associate you with quality and value and not cheapness. You don't need to go out and buy $20 Parker pens for every customer (If you sell very high-end products, this may not be a bad idea though), but make sure you get something that your customer wants to use. If someone was to give you a pen and they wanted you to remember them for it, would a plain white Bic pen do the trick? I think not. Using pens as an example, you should buy and distribute the kind of pens that people will get upset about if they lose them. The kind that write well on most surfaces, that don't smear, and that feel good in your hand, have a larger ink reserve so the customer will have them longer and have metal fittings. You want to provide the type of products that are better than what your customer is used to using. This way, when they look for their pen, they look for your pen first.
3) Design your promotional products properly!
Like a good website, your brand and information on your promotional products should be organized and usable. You can't possibly fit your entire address on a pen. Sometimes you can't even fit your logo on them. Make sure your business name or logo is on them clearly, and make even more sure that your phone number or website is on there. Chop-up your logo if you need to, but try to get a distinguishing business mark and your website on even the smallest product. Printed Mugs are great because you can fit all your contact details on with ease and even product information as well. On sticky pads and notepads, your information and logo should be on every page, but should still allow the product to be used. An effective way of doing it, is to place your logo in the center of each page, and your website and phone number at the bottom of each page. The logo should be about 80% transparent, and the text about 60%.
You need to be absolutely sure that your information is very clear and professional. Use vector based logos for print. Jpeg and other pixel based images are for the web and computers, and should never be used for print. If you need to, hire a graphic designer to convert your logo to a vector format. Make sure that you choose clean fonts that are easily readable.
4) Quality targeting is more important than quantity!
There are two groups that you should be giving branded products too.
The first is your current customers who are likely to make repeat visits.
The second is non-customers who may make a purchase from you in the future. Not everyone is going to shop with you, and you need to minimize your potential losses by not sending your branded products to the wrong people. Unless you brand is very strong, non-targeted promotional product spam is only going to lose money for you. Actually figuring out who you need to target can be difficult.. You can mail out promo and light marketing material to customers who make similar purchases, or send your promo material with orders when they meet certain criteria. Also, just use some common sense. If someone makes a purchase for a product that requires continuing upkeep or additional supplies, make sure you are getting them promo material. If someone makes even a single repeat order make sure you include them as well. If they made a second order, they are even more likely to make a third. Trade-shows are going to be tricky, because it would be rude to deny people branded products and targeting would be nearly impossible. In this case, you need to target only selective trade-shows. Something that many business owners don't consider is the size of the trade-show. The larger the event, the less likely it will be that someone remembers you. Small trade-shows can be significantly more valuable than large ones.
The important thing to remember is that getting Promotional Ideas, Branded Products,Corporate Merchandise and Promo Products to everyone is going to lose money. But, getting the Corporate Merchandise to the right people will increase your sales and hopefully for a lot cheaper than any existing marketing.
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