In today’s digital world, many businesses turn their attention to marketing in the virtual space. Social media presence, websites, subscription newsletters, and email campaigns are all excellent examples of digital marketing— and recommended! But business owners shouldn’t lose sight of certain tried and true physical tactics.
And no, we don’t mean direct mail campaigns. Most flyers and postcards end up in recycling. No, we’re thinking of something more lasting. Something useful. Something your customers will use time and again: branded promotional products.
Promotional products are branded merchandise that comes in a wide variety of items; pens, tumblers, thermos, clothing, wristbands, reusable plastic cups, keychains. We could keep going. Instead, we’ll give you four reasons to invest in promotional products.
Why Promotional Products Work:
Customers are surrounded by ads. Companies fight for their attention, flood their Facebook timelines, and crowd their streaming services with ads, ads, and more ads. Innocent-seeming posts on influencer Instagrams are being inundated with the tag #ad. Even video game streamers are picking up sponsors to boost their revenue. So, how do you help your business stand out? What can you do to stay at the forefront of their mind when they need to seek the types of products or services you offer?
You know what we’re about to say: promotional products. The more useful, the better. A branded promotional item should be something your customers will often use so that they see your company name and logo constantly. Most promotional products are given away for free during special events, job fairs, and other networking opportunities. Branded pens are one of the most common items used for marketing, but you want your company to stand out.
If you really want to make an impact, pick something more unique, like branded plastic cups, to stay top of mind whenever your customer pours themselves a cup of water.
Customers like brands that have a personality. Custom promotional products are like gifts from your company to the customer, and they may feel a sense of familiarity when working with you or purchasing from you in the future. Additionally, repeat exposure to your brand when they use the products will keep you at the forefront of their mind.
In some cases, promotional products can become iconic. Think about popular soda brands and their branded glasses. Regions bank has given away its iconic green bicycles in raffles while promoting its business. A&W root beer is associated with frosted pint glasses. All of these are proof that physical promotional products give great ROI.
Customers appreciate promotional products. Branded merchandise is impressive and useful. According to the Advertising Specialty Institute (or ASI), customers are two-and-a-half times more likely to consider a business in a positive light after receiving tangible promotional products. Their 2019 case study also found that promotional products can be used for an average of seven months.
Knowing your target audience means you can select a promotional product that appeals to them or amuses them. For example, perhaps you are an investment firm that helps people ‘grow their green,’ so you invest in eco-friendly promotional pots. Maybe you’re a law firm, and you find success with branded pens and stress balls. Or a bookstore that sends customers home with branded reusable bags.
There is a promotional product out there for every business. You just need to find the right one for yours.
Creating an effective marketing campaign on a budget is rough, especially for small businesses and startups. However, promotional products can offer a great return on investment (ROI). Because they are ordered in bulk, the price per unit is low. But their lasting impact on recipients and everyone else who sees them will help keep the business coming.
Promotional products like pens can be passed around, leading to more potential customers seeing your brand. A bag full of books with a cute design and brand can attract wandering eyes waiting for the subway. Even if a branded item ends up in a thrift store, more customers will see your brand– and someone will take that item home, leading to more returns.
Branding matters in all PR strategies, especially your logo. When customers are exposed to your brand repeatedly, they learn to recognize you and your logo. Consider Target’s iconic red bullseye or Amazon’s smirking delivery arrow. When customers see those symbols, they know what to expect from their shopping experience. They have confidence in the brand. And they could have confidence in yours. But you have to build the relationship first.
Standing out in today’s crowded free market can be difficult. You need something to give you an edge, something that makes your customers think of your brand when they or a friend have a need. Gifting promotional products to potential customers is incredibly effective. Unfortunately, many startup businesses end up shouting in the void, trying to gain traction, relying on word of mouth, and clawing their way into success— or failing to thrive.
You want to ensure your business is one that lasts. You know you have what your customers need, but you must get the word out there. Ads are helpful, but they’re not perfect; many internet users use ad blockers for a cleaner experience. Business cards are a good start; they’re great for networking, and many customers still have a special place to keep contact and business cards. Some businesses even let you tack business cards on a partnership bulletin board that customers see. But even they can slip through the cracks or be forgotten.
You want to be at the forefront of your customer’s minds. You want to be memorable. You want them to think of your brand whenever they need it. You want to invest in promotional products custom-made to match your style and help you stand out.