9 Ways Promotional Products That WORK for Your Business

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by Arsham Mirshah

Promotional products are unparalleled in their ability to attract new clients, increase brand awareness and ultimately grow your business.

We’ve all heard that phrase “you have to spend money to make money” haven’t we? But what, exactly, are we supposed to be spending our money on?

I’ll tell you what.. Promotional Products!

They are a proven, cost effective way of marketing your company to an extremely large audience while doing minimal work. Sounds efficient, does it not?

If you’re new to the idea of promotional products, I understand that you might be hesitant. Despite any fears you may have, I strongly urge you to continue reading and discover just what quality promotional items can do for your company.

1.) Opening Lines of Communication

The law of reciprocity: Give, and you shall receive.

More often than not, giving a gift or item to an individual promotes a feeling that he/she should reciprocate for your kind gesture. In terms of promotional products, the giving of a product to someone else will make him or her more likely to do business with you.

L.J. Market Research did a study that found 52% of participants given a promotional item, ultimately did business with that company. The remaining 48% of participants said they would be more likely to do business with that company in the future because of their gesture.

Giving out promotional products is also a very effective way of starting a conversation with a potential customer. Handing something over allows you to “break the ice” and engage that person in conversation and because you gave them something, he or she is likely to listen to what you have to say.

2.) Drawing Attention

“Hey, Hey! Look at ME!”

Everyone wants to be the popular table at the trade-show, am I right? We all want attention for our companies and our brands and promotional products are a great way to attract that attention!

There is no more powerful word in the field of marketing than the word “FREE”, so why not offer free stuff? You now know how promotional products can help open lines of communication, but they can also get people to you all on their own!

Your trade-show booth can only be viewed from so far away, so how do you reach people all the way on the other side of the convention center?

Easy! Send a promotional product after them!

Those who receive one of your promotional items will likely be wandering all around the trade-show where others will see them. That will strike up conversations similar to the following:

“Where did you get that awesome T-Shirt? Really? [Your Company] is just giving them away? I’m on my way!”

“Oh darn I lost my pen.. oh how convenient, this booth is giving out [Your Company] pens!”

To prove these outrageous claims, we turned to
Exhibit Surveys, Inc. who did a study that determined that there was a 176% increase in trade-show traffic to a booth that gave out promotional items.

3.) They Stick Around For A Looooooong Time

“How do I still have this thing?”

Conventional advertisements generally run for a set period of time. TV ads might run for a few weeks, billboards for a few months, etc. Promotional products are a unique form of advertising that could potentially continue advertising to new target markets for an unlimited amount of time.

Think about what promotional products generally are: note pads, pens, t-shirts, key chains etc. These items are not large or expensive; instead, they are simply useful. These types of items can easily be used in every day life, making them susceptible to long term exposure.

L.J. Market Research completed yet another study that interviewed random business travelers. These interviews took place at a variety of airports across the country. According to L.J. Market Research, 71% of the participants said they had received a promotional product sometime in the last 12 months.

But it gets better.

Of that group, 33% of those participants had that product on their person!

The number of impressions with traditional advertising stops when the ad stops running on TV or in the paper or wherever. Promotional products never stop collecting impressions because they are constantly in use or being passed from one person to another. The cost per impression using promotional items is drastically less than that of traditional advertising.

Who can argue with more impressions at a lesser cost??

4.) Exponentially Increase Brand Recognition

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition!

Brand recognition requires repeated exposure to the brand name, slogan and logo. Seeing the same thing over and over again is often one of the best ways to remember something and that’s where promotional products come in.

Customers are more likely to remember your company if they have been exposed to it hundreds, even thousands of times. A promotional item has the ability to show off your brand on a daily, hourly and even minute-to-minute basis.

According to Schreber & Associates, 39% of all people who have received a promotional product in the last 6 months can remember the name of the company associated with it.

5.) More Brand Exposure Than Ever Before

Expand Beyond Your View.

Are you getting enough brand exposure with traditional advertising methods?

Promotional products to the rescue!

Promotional items have an uncanny ability to reach an audience far beyond your targeted boundaries. The most obvious examples of how this is accomplished are by using pens and t-shirts.

T-Shirts: These can be viewed as walking, moving, breathing billboards for your company. Promotional t-shirts are often worn to the gym or simply while out on the town exposing themselves to hundreds, even thousands of people each trip.

Note:
T-shirts generally account for 30% of total promotional product sales (Advertising Specialty Institute)

Pens: These change hands at an alarming rate. People are constantly taking notes, jotting down grocery lists or writing entire reports with pens, but most importantly, they’re sharing. This allows your branded pen to reach an astronomical number of demographics during its life cycle.

6.) Promoting A Favorable Image

Psst! Wanna know a secret? I’m awesome!

Brand reputation can sometimes take a lifetime to develop into one that is particularly positive. Why not cut down on that time by using promotional items? 71% of participants in a study done by Louisiana State University could remember the company’s name that gave it to them. You can bet these people also had a favorable impression of the company as well, simply because of their gesture of goodwill.

Promotional items can also be given to employees to reward goals met, accomplishments and even just hard work in general. That particular employee will then, more than likely, continue their hard work at an equal or greater level because of the feeling of appreciation they received because of the gift.

7.) The Gift of Re-Gifting

This was useful to me, now I want to share it with you!

Re-gifting is generally a forbidden practice. The thought of someone passing on a well thought out personal gift to someone else generally promotes blood boiling anger but not in the case of a promotional product. If your promotional product is being passed along, you should be elated!

People share; people share stories, emotions and most importantly, people share stuff. Recipients of promotional items are more than likely going to pass them along to someone else and this is exactly what we should hope for!

The more a promotional item is passed along, the greater total audience it sees, the smaller our cost per impression gets and the bigger our smiles become. It’s a know fact (thanks to the Advertising Specialty Institute) that 62% of those who receive a promotional product will give that item away before throwing it out.

Think of it this way:

1 person is given a promotional product.

That 1 person exposes that product to 100 people.

If you give out 100 promotional items and each of those items was passed around 100 times by its recipients, you will have gained 1,000,000 impressions with just 100 items!

That’s what we in the business call incredibly effective advertising.

8.) Don’t Limit Yourself To Just A Target Audience

More impressions = more business generated.

We’ve all heard, been taught, or thought about a target audience. What we often don’t think about is the possibility that our perfect customer is outside of our current targeting boundaries. That’s where promotional products can come in handy!

Promotional items have no geographic or demographic limitations and because of their mobility, items such as USB drives, t-shirts and pens have the ability to reach a vast number of people you may have never gotten the chance to advertise to.

9.) Sell More, Make More

A simple pen could be the reason for your largest client.

The whole purpose of advertising is to generate revenue for your company. The fantastic thing about promotional products is, that’s what they’re designed to do!

Baylor University did a study that concluded, companies whose sales people utilized promotional products did 22% more business than those sales people who didn’t.

Due to high exposure rates, promotional items create a positive affiliation with your company and can help to generate sales at an alarmingly rapid pace. This means you’re going to be recommended more often than a company who did not use promotional items because of your giving reputation and that’s a great feeling!

Expand Your Company

Seriously what are you waiting for?

You’ve seen the evidence; you’ve seen the examples, now its time for you to take the dive. Promotional products are an extremely effective and efficient form of advertising and they can do wonders for your business.

It’s understandable if you’re still cautious of diving into uncharted waters but if you believe in your company and your product, there is nothing to be concerned about.

Online, Internet and digital marketing are emerging as the basis for future marketing efforts but that doesn’t mean we should abandon past, proven tactics. Learn from the past, embrace promotional products, and enjoy the ROI that comes with them.

About the author

Arsham Mirshah is a co-founder and Technical Director of Marketing at WebMechanix. Arsham has been on the cutting-edge of marketing technology for more than 5 years. His skills have been an integral part in each of his company’s digital marketing campaigns, as demonstrating ROI with concrete data continues growing in importance.

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9 Comments

  1. Posted March 24, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    The use of promotional products for branding is so important. They act as a constant promotion of your business and boost any company’s image. I also agree they last a long time, especially well-chosen promotional items. It’s like an ad that keeps on going long after the initial investment.

  2. Posted April 10, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Pens? T-shirts? Really?

    I think the more unexpected the product, the better. We bought single packages of veggie wipes and created a micropamphlet on the back for a weight loss company. We created individual branded tins of belly butter for an OB GYN’s booth at a lifestyle fair. We’ve done running socks at a trade show for health care architects after researching that the target market consistently self-identified as a health-seeker. We produce green screen karaoke videos at a trade show booth and upload them to youtube and the client’s facebook page, so that the customer can tag and share their photo. A pen is just a pen. I probably have 10 promotional pens on my desk right now and I couldn’t tell you what companies are on them. T-shirts are for gardening, so at least the squirrels get to see the company logo.

    • Posted May 10, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      Jen, those are all AWESOME & creative ideas.. I LOVE the karaoke idea, that’s so cool!

      Can we hang out some time?

  3. Posted April 11, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Great article, there was a recent survey carried out on the amount of users during a pens lifetime, and the conclusion was that the average pen has 7 users during its lifespan. That’s a great impression rate purely amongst the pen’s owner’s without taking into account anybody else.

  4. Posted April 11, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Great Post ! I will make sure to share with my prospects.

  5. Posted April 12, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Promotional products are the original form of viral marketing. Combine them with social media, and you can get even greater results. Thanks for this thorough post.

  6. Posted May 22, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    I just don’t understand why more businesses aren’t doing this. Well, actually I do, it’s a flaw in their mindset, thinking of the products as an expense as opposed to an investment in themselves.

    My .02 cents.

    -Matt

  7. Posted September 24, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Gotta love SEO comment bots.

  8. Posted September 24, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Just wanted to add a quick note here.. we picked up a new client because I was wearing my shirt when getting lunch.

    Someone in line noticed the logo and said: “WebMechanix.. so you guys do websites?”

    Not only does branded apparel make getting dressed easy in the morning, it also gets you new clients when you’re not even trying!