Promotional gifts can be a fantastic marketing tool. No matter what your business, name recognition is crucial. You want to be in the front of the minds of potential customers, and to be the first thing thing they think of when your industry is mentioned.
However, not all promotional items are created equal. A poorly planned promotional giveaway will be much less effective than one that has been launched with a proper strategy in mind.
1) Your promotional items should be appropriate to your business or industry.
Some items, such as shirts and hats, are nearly universal. You can’t go wrong putting your name on a t-shirt. If you want to really stand out, though, you should consider niche items that your recipients will associate with your business. If you are a technology or IT services company, USB flash drives make sense. If you run a daycare facility, an embroidered bib is much more fitting to your image and your customers’ needs.
2) Your promotional gifts should be useful.
You don’t want a potential customer, or even an existing one, to throw your gift into a drawer and forget about it. This is one reason that items like personalized pens are so popular as promotional gifts. Pens serve a useful function for almost everyone engaged in any kind of business. A can of branded wet wipes is sure to sit on the administrative assistant’s desk rather than in it, and will provide an office with constant exposure to your business name and logo.
3) Your gifts should be quality items.
A marker that doesn’t write, or a key-chain that breaks as soon as keys are put on it, does not make a good promotional gift. You want your customers to think of you when they see your promo items, and you want them to associate those items with your brand. Being associated with cheap, useless knick knacks is not good for your image. Cost is important, but it is only one consideration. When choosing between an item that will cost you $.40 per unit, and one that will cost you $.50 per unit, ask yourself whether you will be losing more than $.10 in goodwill if the cheaper item should fail to work or to last.
4) Your promo items should be memorable.
A gift that stands out will garner more attention and more use than one that blends into the background. If you are in the medical supplies business, why give out a stress ball when you can give out a stress syringe? Whether it’s color, shape, or something else, the best promotional items find a way to stand out. That’s not to say that a tote bag or a water bottle cannot be a good choice, but if you can find a way to make it stand out, do it.
5) Your gifts should tell people how to find you.
This sounds obvious, but just look around you and see how many pencils and coasters you see at trade shows or in offices that have nothing more than a company name printed on them. With no telephone number, no city, no address, and no website, those companies may as well be playing hide-and-seek with potential customers. Don’t assume that everyone knows who you are, or that you are the only business in the world using your business name. Don’t assume that the person you give the gift to will remember who you are in three months, or that they will not pass the gift on to someone who doesn’t know you. If it is at all feasible, be sure that you include contact information so that, when your promotional gifts do their job and get someone interested in you, that person can find you.