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Photo Credit: Natalie Nathanson
Photo Credit: Natalie Nathanson

Entrepreneurs Share Their Thoughts on Picking the Best Promotional Items

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Part of building your business into a brand is having some promotional products. The sheer number of items to choose from can be overwhelming for any entrepreneur to pin down. The products you pick should be unique and useful to consumers. It also should be unique and something they’ll remember long after their business with you is finished. So how exactly do you go about picking these items? Should they be related directly to your business, like lighters for a lamp company, or off the wall like gold club cozies for a plumbing business? We asked and entrepreneurs responded with their advice on choosing the right item.

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Items that reflect your company

Promotional products is a great way to create brand awareness and to get people to remember your business and think of you next time they need your services. Promotional items can range from all sorts products, from printed Tees to iPhone speakers, or even usb sticks! The first thing to think about when choosing a promotional item is to think about what you think would best reflect your business and target your audience. For example if you are a gym, you may want to give away earphones printed with your logo, that can be used either with your gym equipment or with their own personal music device when they workout. Either way, this item will always be in view when used and your logo will stand out. The second thing to think about is price. Depending on the size of your business and what sort of impact you want to make with your promotional item, this will reflect on what choice of products you can choose from. And the more you buy the cheaper the price. The third factor, is your name or logo, which needs to be visible and easy to read. And lastly when choosing a promotional item, you need to think of time. How long will this item be used? If it something that will be used multiple times, then your advertising money is better spent than something that is used once and then thrown away.

Thanks to Salvatore Avati, Black Jack Merchandising

 

Find something useful and trendy

When it comes to promotional products my recommendation is to find something useful and trendy. If the product you are giving away is something the person will use, it’s likely to leave a positive lasting impression and be more visible. Think of what’s trending right now. Something like a stylus pen for tablets may be more useful and last longer than an actual pen. A cloth to clean tablets or computer screens could prove to be valuable too. Instead of thinking about yourself, think about what other people want or need.

Thanks to Mike Wolfe, WAM Enterprises LLC

Related Post: Entrepreneurs Share What Makes Their Business Unique

 

Relevant information and valuable on its own

When I started my business, I felt I needed something to hand out to people with my information on it. I did not want to spend the money or time developing a flyer because I felt that most people would do what I do with flyers, glance at them and throw them out. I do have business cards but those also frequently end up in the trash. I decided to make a bookmark instead. Since my website is for parents and children, I knew reading was relevant. I wanted to create something that would both give some basic info about my website and service and also be valuable on its own. I created the graphic so that there are two on a standard size postcard. These can be printed pretty cheaply. I took the finished postcards to an office store where they have a bulk cutter and had them cut in half. I then go through and hole punch each one and loop a ribbon through it. It is a bit time consuming but also mindless so I can do it when watching TV. I carry them around with me, give them out at events, and give one out with each party favor sold. I always feel good about handing them out because each bookmark has it’s own value, it’s a conversation starter (we talk about books) and people tend to hang on to them over time.

Thanks to Cordelia Blake, Oh Goody! Party Favors

 

Intimate, authentic and unexpected

Intimate, authentic andunexpected trump random bits with logos upon them. In a perfect world, your promotional products would tell your story, the way you’d want it told, when your not even in the room. And when it’s a perfect fit, it doesn’t really even NEED your logo upon it. Your items should, and can be, a reflection of your story. Your passion, your authentic swing, your reason for existing. Rarely is that ever achieved via a cheap plastic pen, kazoo, stress ball, or generic key chain. Every element should help you build out a shrine to your company, not necessarily expensive, but intentional. And how each element interacts with the other element is crucial. We think in terms of campaigns, wave after wave of items that further your connection with your ideal clients, prospects, and employes.

Thanks to A. Kamran Popkin, Swag Club

 

Look at your audience before choosing

Did you know promotional products have one of the best return on investment for your marketing dollars? It is the one advertising vehicle that stays with people and builds top of mind awareness. Rarely thrown away when received, even if passed onto someone else. With that in mind, selecting the right product can be more important than selecting other forms of advertising. Start with your target audience for the promotion or thank you or incentive products you are selecting. If they are young – look for something trendy like the new reusable red solo cups. If they are more health conscience you might want to look at some of the water bottles. If you are marketing to areas that have the new plastic bag laws you may want a walking billboard on bags that people are starting to carry around. And for the business traveler there are multiple use usb chargers that are very popular. It is good to contact a promotional product company to help you in your selection. Find one that will be interested in who your market is and show you items in your price range, for your particular situation. With over 750,000 products available, there is a wide selection and the better you tie in the product with your promotion and your goal, the better your results will be.

Thanks to Linda Neumann, Brilliant Marketing Ideas, Inc.

 

Serve your intended goal and catch the users eye

Like any marketing or advertising effort, promotional products must do two things: they must serve your intended business goal and they must catch the user’s attention. When choosing a promotional product, I start with my goal: is it to generate as much awareness and name recognition of my company? Or is it to keep my company top-of-mind with my best clients? This will help dictate desired budget and quantity of items to order. If you want something that will help your company stay top-of-mind, give them something branded and useful, like a high quality pen, a USB splitter, or a nice-looking stapler. Alternately, if you want to catch attention of people who might have no idea who your company is, you might choose something a bit more fun and attention-grabbing, such as a branded Rubrix cube or light-up bouncy ball.

Thanks to Natalie Nathanson, Magnetude Consulting

Related Post: Inspirational Quotes from Innovative Businesspeople

 

Choosing a most memorable product

Often overlooked and seldom celebrated promotional products are the unsung heroes in a marketing mix. These tangible items don’t vanish in the airwaves with radio & TV spots. They aren’t thrown away with the periodicals and trade magazines each week. You don’t need to register with website to view them. Properly used (in the following abridged three steps) promotional products are the most focused, efficient, and powerful tools in the marketing arsenal. Step one: Chose the right product. It’s not like throwing darts. Step two: Decorate it well. There are several decoration techniques. Step three: Distribute in a smart manner. I’m not simply talking about the method in which they are given out, but to whom. The intended target must receive the product in a memorable way. It’s often best to directly hand it to them. Show them how and why it represents your business/brand. Often the question of price comes to the surface. People with experience in my industry end up saving hours of research, thousands of dollars, and handfuls of grayed hair by being paid an honest price for our work. It’s our job to know what’s available and how an item should look when completed. Consulting a pro avoids the pitfalls of marketing trial and error.

Thanks to Richard Wilens, DoWilco Promotional Products

 

A product to demonstrate your brand

The key to choosing the perfect promotional product to reflect and demonstrate your brand is to research your ideal customers, including their interests, likes and dislikes, where they go, what they watch etc. the more info the better. We have a number of finance brokers who regularly reward and thank their clients with a beautifully presented coffee table book, reflecting the type of market they are in. For example, a book about beautiful Australian homes is a wonderful gift for a new home owner, tie it together with a personal hand written note and boxed using the corporate logo on the ribbon and gift card.

Thanks to Lisa Dale, Signed Sealed Delivered

 

Quality over quantity

Since promotional products are so cost-effective, it’s often tempting to save as much money as possible by buying the cheapest ones available. However, giving up quality for the sake of saving a little money can actually cost you more money in the long run. You get what you pay for, after all, and cheap promotional products have a tendency to look cheap as well, which can actually damage your audience’s opinion of you. Additionally, people tend to throw cheap products away without using them; that’s a missed opportunity to expose your business’s logo or message to all of the people who might observe the product. Products that are high-quality and have a price that isn’t “too good to be true” tend to last longer and get used for a longer period of time, so your company’s brand will receive exposure to more people for a much longer time span.

Thanks to Vladimir Gendelman, Company Folders

 

Put thought into selecting which item is best

Promotional items help create favorable recall of your company. They are an advertising medium all to themselves. There are two critical characteristics of promo items: 1. They’re well branded: the possessor can easily identify the association between you and the item. It not only has your branding on it, but your contact information. 2. They’re kept: cheap promo items that don’t last or are forgettable work against you – they break or just get tossed. Items that have some utility get kept and used, which make the impression far more lasting and hence valuable. Keeping these characteristics in mind, it’s worth putting some thought into selecting promo items. Think twice about the ink pens and stress balls, because so many people use these. Be creative. Find something that your customers will want, even seek after. A good promo items vendor will work with you to let you test various options and find something with real appeal.

Thanks to Jerry Rackley, Demand Metric

About Gresham Harkless Jr.

Profile photo of Gresham Harkless Jr.
Gresham Harkless is a Media Consultant for Blue 16 Media and the Blogger-in-Chief for CEO Blog Nation. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.

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