How to Choose the Most Effective Promotional Products for Your Business

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How to Choose the Most Effective Promotional Products for Your Business

Promotional products are branded gifts that have your companys name and/or logo on them. They are one of the oldest forms of marketing, advertising and branding. To date, it is still one of the best ways to keep your brand top of mind with customers and is also one of the most affordable ways to advertise.

However, there are 3 keys to making sure that the promotional products you choose are the most effective in advertising your business. The promotional product you choose must be:

In order to be able to be effective in advertising your company or your brand, a promotional product must be useful to the recipient. A useful promotional product means that the recipient will want to keep it and use it.

Trade shows are one of the most popular places where companies give away promotional products. Whether it is an inexpensive pen or a more expensive item, the risk is the same. It needs to make it home with the person you give it to and has to work well and be of use to them.

 Research has shown that when a promotional product is useful it can be kept for anywhere from

and that keeps your logo and company name top of mind for a very long time. When a product is kept for so long, there is also a large chance of transference of your brand when the recipient continually uses that product. Others will see your recipient using the product and not only see your name but can often automatically get the impression that the owners use of your product is a positive recommendation for your company.

However, keeping an item for a long time doesnt necessary make it useful. Offering a branded drink or snack at a trade show can mean a lot and make a big, positive impression to trade show attendees that are thirsty, tired, or hungry. Depending on your strategy, you might

a short term use promotional product as well as a more expensive, take home type give away.

Many companies also opt to offer one type of product to customers or long time, loyal customers, vs. booth visitors who have yet to buy. Of course, promotional products are not only used at trade shows. Retailers might offer them as incentives to purchase or as an added bonus to give customers when they make a purchase.

Businesses that offer services like salons or restaurants can offer promotional products that will be useful to the recipients and at the same time serve as a continual reminder to come back often.

One of the qualities of successful promotional products is that it has to berelevant to your brand. This is a quality that helps drive home to recipients what your company does. This helps recipients and users associate your company with the product they have been gifted. For example, pens are popular promotional products, but if your company doesnt have anything to do with writing, then it may not be the best choice.

Here are some examples of relevant promotional product ideas that often can work better than a general promotional product like a pen, note pad, or magnet:

Sunscreen with your logo on it if you are a dermatologist.

First Aid kit personalized with your brand if you are a hospital or clinic.

Recycled note paper if your company represents being conscious about the environment.

Branded road side assistance kits for car companies or car insurance companies.

Promotional drink ware or branded aprons for a restaurant or food company.

Electronics for digital companies such as a branded USB drive, a mobile device case or holders.

Promotional brushes, combs, or spritzer bottles are great giveaways for salons.

Clothes and clothing accessories are another popular category for promotional products and can help remind customers of your company while they advertise it to others who they encounter each day they wear it. Although they might be considered generic to any business, they are a strong influence and can make a very big impression.

3. Promotional Products and Gifts Must Represent Your Company Well

Overall the promotional product you give away should represent your company well. It doesnt have to last long, for instance, if it is a food item or a labeled water bottle, it can serve a short purpose and be done. However; if it is something that is designed for recipients to keep them, they have to work well.

Surveys have shown that promotional products can elevate customers opinions of your company; but, a faulty or cheaply made promotional product can give a negative impression of your company, even though it is a free giveaway. The bottom line is that the promotional products you give away should have a positive impact on recipients.

Remember that research shows that on average, recipients will keep promotional products for a year or longer and a good portion of them keep it for 3 or 4 years. It is better to invest a little more in a quality promotional product to ensure that it does its job and represents your company well for the long haul.

Choosing to use promotional products to advertise your business is an excellent choice. However, the important part is abiding by the 3 rules for effective promotional products. When you choose to use a branded gift, it must be useful to the recipient, has to be relevant to your brand, and must represent your company in a positive light. When promotional products meet these 3 criteria, they can often be kept for a long time and can positively influence their impression on your company and make them more likely to continue to do business with you.

In addition, another positive aspect of promotional products is that some transference can occur and it can act as a referral to others who see your recipient using your branded products. When surveyed, many recipients say that receiving promotional gifts enhances a positive impression of your company. That positive sentiment and being top of mind can be all your company needs for continued repeat business from every customer you give a branded gift to.

Images: Vector Packaging and Souvenir m


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I am author and Brand Manager forGoPromotional, the UKs premiere source for promotional gifts. I enjoy reading and sharing marketing and business ideas and tips.

Promotional products are only promotional if they are useful and relevant as youve explained here. Im not a marketer but Im helping out a friend and came up with some ideas recently which are along those lines so think I may be doing ok. Thanks for sharing this with our readers

promotional products is inexpensive marketing tool for branding & advertisement business.

We specialize in promotional products like promotional USB drives, custom power banks and custom t-shirts.

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What are the most effective promotional items?

We blog about branding, marketing, customer happiness and business.

When I tell people that I work for an advertising specialties company, the conversations almost always culminate in the same final question: what promotional products work the best?

Its a good question. People want to know what they should buy when they need some custom imprinted swag. And I always respond with the same answer:it depends.

Everyone hates that answer, but it is honestly the truth.

The industry, brand image, recipient, purpose, setting, quantity, budget, and deadline all play equally important roles in determining the most effective promotional items. Naturally there are certain products that have a broader application than others, but that doesnt necessarily mean those items are themost effective.

Most effective means most impactful. What promotional products will have the greatest impact? What will bring the audience to action (call, visit website, sign-up for newsletter, become a customer, etc.)? And what will make the most lasting impression?

For the following five brands, the most effective items may not be what youd expect, and their clever executions demonstrate the incredible power of a well-planned promotional products campaign.

A latex balloon is literally one of the least expensive promotional items available, but that doesnt mean it cant also be the most effective. The Economists use of this balloon is nothing short of brilliant.

The obvious message The Economist sends with the balloon is that its subscribers will become smarter from reading the publication. But the balloon takes on a much deeper meaning when considering the magazines primary subject matter: economics.

Important and meaningful concepts such as economic bubble (also called aballoon) and inflation (get it? Haha) come to life through the use of this simple promotional product. By appealing to those who appreciate the ingenuity, The Economist attracts its ideal audience and communicates its identity as a deep-thinking publication.

Who knew a balloon could be so impactful?

In an effort to bring attention to its theatrical release,Taking Woodstockmailed these brownie mix bags to movie critics and media companies. The comedy-drama film affixed a branded sticker to the bags and included a recipe that leaves room for a special ingredient (whatever that is).

The off-color gift does a great job of grabbing attention and makes for a funny story that recipients can share with friends and colleagues. Best of all, the goofy promotional campaign gives a glimpse into the humor ofTaking Woodstockand what to expect from the movie.

Promotional products dont have to stand alone. In this case, the sticker provides the unique branding for the brownie bag. Maybe the most effective way to advertise is by coupling a promotional product along with a non-traditional promotional item? Or perhaps several promotional products can be bundled together to create a complete package?

Also, keep in mind that a promotional product isnt some sort of silver bullet, especially when it comes to the actual product or service. While the brownie bags successfully attracted viewers, they couldnt do anything to help the films ratings. Due to its poor reviews,Taking Woodstockonly grossed $9.9 million at the box office, not even coming close to its $30 million budget.

Maybe viewers were supposed to eat the brownies directly before seeing the movie?

What good is an article with illicit drug references if it leaves out alcohol? Well, luckily, Shiner Bock gives us some great material thanks to its witty use of promotional koozies.

When Heineken became the official beer sponsor of Austin City Limits, Shiner Bock, the local favorite, felt snubbed. So the indomitable brewery took matters into its own hands and crafted a sneaky scheme to weasel its way into the music festival.

As attendees entered the festival, Shiner Bock gave out thousands of these koozies for fans to use during the concert. So guess what beer appeared to be the sponsor in all of the Facebook selfies, YouTube videos, and Instragram photos?

Weird! This Shiner Bock sure tastes like Heineken!

Shiner Bock not only garnered a ton of impressions and media coverage for its creative act of defiance, but the brand also successfully reinforced its surprisingly charming anti-establishment reputation.

This is a perfect illustration of how promotional products have the potential to reach audiences that are seemingly off-limits. It just takes some creativity and the right promotional item.

Part of the mission of many non-profits is to raise awareness of its cause; people dont get involved until they understand that there is a problem. So to help spread awareness, Greenpeace made customized Do Not Disturb signs and placed them in on the door handles of residential buildings and hotels in Brazil.

Greenpeace uses the Do Not Disturb message and applies it to the causes the organization cares about most: deforestation, whale hunting, and sea pollution. But this clever campaign is more than just a cute a play on words, it is also an effort to impact implicit association.

The goal is to change the connotation of Do Not Disturb from a door sign to an environmental conservation effort. Greenpeace wants those who see the promotional door signs to think of conservation every time they see another Do Not Disturb sign.

In this case, the door sign is very effective because it gives new meaning to a common term and changes what people will think about when they encounter the phrase Do Not Disturb. Changing how people think is a powerful thing. Remember what Norman Vincent Peale said: Change your thoughts and you change your world.

Dont sweat the petty things, but also, dont pet the sweaty things.

For Personal Trainer Roland Semprie, the best way to advertise his service is to show its efficacy. And nothing says, Ill make you sweat! like this promotional t-shirt that he gives to clients to wear during workouts.

When clients leave a session, the t-shirt broadcasts the results of Rolands training services to all of the passersby in the gym. As an added bonus, the t-shirt motivates current clients to push themselves harder, which of course only makes Rolands services that much better (pretty smart, huh?).

Most brands reserve promotional products for potential clients, but Roland Semprie turns this paradigm on its head. He gives his t-shirts to current clients and they do the promotional work for him.

Turning customers into advocates is an important strategy for every business, and sometimes it may take a creative promotional product to do the trick.

Just like any other marketing tactic out there, the most effective promotional products are those that are incorporated into a creative and memorable advertising campaign. No single advertising specialty is the panacea that works in every circumstance.

Learn from the above five brands who thoughtfully used their promotional items to accomplish their marketing goals.Its not so much what you use, its how you use it.A well-planned campaign brings the best results and makes promotional products even more fun. So get creative!

Image sources:Economist balloon by DirectDaily,Taking Woodstock bag by AV Club,Shiner Bock koozies by ImagineHQ,Greenpeace door signs by Osocio,Roland Semprie shirts by Behance

Jason manages product data at USimprints and writes content for the company blog. Some of Jasons passions include marketing, sales, and consumer behavior. When hes not at work, Jason enjoys slowly whittling away at the number of tabs he has open in Chrome, whining about the Reds ruining yet another baseball season, and going on adventures with his wife and dogter.

Its important to think outside the box with your promotional products. Sure, pens are great but everyone else is also giving out pens. If your product is different, it will be memorable.

Youre right; thinking outside of the box is how your brand can stick out. With that in mind, Id venture to say that choosing a unique promotional product is only one piece of the puzzle. The other half is execution.

Koozies arent really that unique (especially for breweries). What made Shiner Bocks case study so exceptional was how the koozies helped the brand sneak its way into Austin City Limits.

Business goals should be the driver for selecting which promotional products will be the most effective. The product itself doesnt always have to be unique but the execution should be!

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USImprints is a promotional products company that supplies thousands and thousands of custom branded products.

We have an obsession with customer experience, promotional marketing, branding, and building businesses.

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