When they’re used properly, promotional products can be a powerful marketing tool to bring in more customers and strengthen the brand loyalty your existing customers feel. That’s because people still really like promotional products — they’re the most popular form of advertising among consumers, who are more than willing to sport a branded item around town or use one at home or at the office, as long as it’s a high-quality promotional gift that fulfills a real need.
Of course, if you give out cheap or poorly made promotional items, you’re not going to make as big of an impact. You want to offer people promotional gifts they’ll want, not items they’ll just throw away. The more often a customer uses your branded gift, the more often they’ll be reminded of your brand message.
Many consumers use their branded merchandise at least once a day, which explains why so many find that they still remember the brand messaging on their promotional gifts up to two years later. Here’s how you can make the most of your investment in promotional products.
#1. Give Desirable Gifts
When it comes to choosing which promotional products you’re going to offer to clients, customers, and even employees, it’s worth it to spend the extra money on an item that customers will keep, enjoy, and perhaps pass on when they’re finished with it.
USB thumb drives are probably the most popular promotional gift, but outwear, drinkware, sports wear, and writing instruments like personalized pencils and pens are also among the most desirable. Tote bags, power banks, umbrellas, and calendars are also popular options.
Don’t just choose the cheapest option, either. Customers can tell when an item is poorly made, and they might be more insulted than flattered if your engraved pens leak ink all over the inside of their handbags or your cheap travel mug breaks the first time they try to snap the lid back on.
High-quality items will not only make a better impression on your customers, they’ll function better, too, which increases the potential impact of the brand messaging they carry because it encourages more extensive use of the product.
#2. Choose High-Visibility Items
Ideally, you want to give out promotional items that your customers will use outside the home, so you can maximize your messaging reach. High-visibility items get seen by everyone who encounters your customer while they’re carrying or wearing the item.
If a customer takes the high-visibility item to work or school, then the same people will see the brand messaging over and over again each day, cementing your logo and slogan deeper and deeper into their brains.
Clothing and tote bags are among some of the most popular high-visibility items – a single branded T-shirt can turn your customer into a walking advertisement for your products and services, and if it’s a nice T-shirt, well made with quality fabric, the customer will want to wear it again and again.
Hats, umbrellas, badges, jackets, and rain gear create some additional options to appeal to customers across all demographic groups.
#3. Hand Them Out at Events
Expos, conventions, fairs, and other events provide the perfect opportunity to distribute your promotional gifts to customers and potential customers. For one thing, they give you the chance to reach a wider audience with your brand messaging.
The customers who attend shows and expos might be different from those who shop in your retail location. Depending on your industry, you might get a whole different group of people perusing your wares at a trade show or convention. Tote bags are the perfect fit for the occasion –people will be shopping, taking cards and grabbing free samples, and they’ll need a bag to carry these spoils in.
Your branded tote bag will spread your messaging to everyone else at the convention or trade show as the customer carries it around – and with many people looking for more sustainable lifestyle options these days, you can count on some of those customers keeping the reusable tote and, well, reusing it.
#4. Generate Buzz Online
Are you looking for a way to increase your online presence, engage customers, and grow your market share? It’s time you harnessed the power of social media to promote your brand messaging.
It’s not hard to cross channels with your promotional products. You can bring your promotional product messaging into your social media marketing channel by encouraging customers to make posts about how they’re using your promotional items and how much they love them.
Encourage customers to share snapshots of themselves using your branded mugs, totes, or outerwear. Pictures of happy customers using and showing off your promotional items, curated with an appropriate branded hashtag, can improve brand awareness and increase customer engagement.
It can even make your promotional items seem more desirable and encourage customers to seek out your promotional merchandise, which can significantly increase your brand’s reach, especially if you’re able to whip up some stiff competition between customers.
#5. Reward Loyal Customers and Employees
Promotional items aren’t just for prospective customers. Use them to reward loyal customers for their loyalty, and to incentivize additional purchases. Customers really appreciate an occasional free token of your appreciation – a quality promotional gift can make the majority of people more inclined to do business with your brand.
If you manage to generate enough interest in your promotional products on social media, you can incentivize customers to make more purchases by offering them your most coveted branded items in return. Reward employees for their loyal service with regular gifts they can use at home and in the office, like branded desk accessories, writing instruments, and sportswear.
While they don’t take the place of a holiday bonus, branded swag can perk up employees are beginning to feel underappreciated.
Growing a business takes a lot of savvy marketing, but promotional items can help. A free gift buys a lot of customer loyalty, and a branded item spreads your messaging far and wide for months or years. Order your company’s first promotional products now, and harness a powerful marketing tool.