Nowadays, with so much competition in the marketplace, it’s important to stand out with your marketing efforts. Although it seems like everything is geared for online these days, and it is important to have your website and social media channels active, it’s also good to focus on the offline, particularly if a lot of your clients are local.
Promotional items are a great way to create an impact with your customers. They are one of the best investments you can make, whether you run a small company or a large organization. It’s a fantastic way to market your company or product and an added bonus is that you’ll increase customer loyalty. There are such a huge variety of promotional products now that you can really tailor one to suit your business, and adding a healthy dose of creativity will make you memorable both to your current customers and potential ones.
Who should you give promotional items to?
In a nutshell, everyone. But you can do so in different ways. Here are the potential recipients and how promotional gifts can influence the relationship
Gifting your customers directly is a great way to say thank you for their business. Whatever you give them will serve as a reminder of your relationship so it also boosts their loyalty to you. If you put a little thought into this, it can prove very lucrative in the long run. Always thank those who have played a role in your success. A handwritten note to say that you are grateful is a lovely touch to send along with the gift.
Encourage interest and generate positive attention with a creative gift to those you’d like to become a client. This is a savvy way to entice new leads as it’s been proven that almost everyone who receives a corporate gift ends up doing business with the company who provided them with the promotional item. You’ll notice that many well-established companies offer new clients a deal for signing up (see banks, Internet providers, insurance companies), why? Because it works. Just be sure to remember your already loyal customers and reward them in other ways, otherwise you run the risk of sending them elsewhere to look for similar newbie offers.
Although you pay your staff and they already have a benefits package, those things are considered a given. Recognising their hard work and rewarding them for it will make them feel valued. Of course you don’t need business from them, but happy workers mean a happier workplace, and customers like to buy from happy people. Your employees will also feel more motivated if they know that their work is appreciated, and this will reflect in the service they provide and higher returns.
Your already loyal customers can also be great at getting the word out about your company. Word of mouth referrals are three times more likely to bring you business than a cold call. People still like the human connection, so finding out who is referring you and rewarding them for their loyalty is a smart move. This shows that you value their assistance in helping your business grow but reaching out to them in this way also keeps you at the front of their mind when they need the services you provide again. So, repeat business and new business combined.
What you can give away
Almost anything that you can think of can be turned into a promotional item. We’re used to certain items such as pens, writing pads and hats but now there’s such a vast range on the market, it’s worth putting aside some of your advertising budget and thinking about what you can offer that a) suits your company b) will leave the right impression and c) will ensure that you’re remembered.
Some of the more common and most successful promotional items include:
From T-shirts to flash drives, to branded wine and beach balls, you’re sure to find something to suit your business needs, even if you’re a jobseeker who wants to make a statement so that potential employers remember you! Remember that your competitor’s may be doing the same, so it really pays to put time and effort into coming up with something that your customers will remember and appreciate.
Should it just be my logo?
When we think about famous promotional items – such as gifts from a company like Coca-Cola, we always think of the logo. You probably think that it’s all about plastering your logo on everything, that’s the point, right? Not exactly. You could personalise a gift for the customer, which they’ll appreciate it, and they’ll let others know that you value them as a customer. You could have their name on one side, and your logo on another i.e. a baseball cap that has their name stitched on the inside would be a lovely promotional item that serves both to make the customer happy and give you some valuable advertising.
Here’s a selection of products that may suit your business when you’re daring to be different with your marketing efforts.
Very popular with children, teenagers and the college-going crowd, colourful wristbands are a great way to market products for these age groups. Also, if you want to raise awareness for your charity or cause, wristbands work well as people wear them visibly so no matter where the wearer goes, your business interest is being promoted. Think of the value of this – every bus journey, meeting, concert, picnic in the park – the name will be visible.
Another creative way that people have used wristbands is putting a code in that will take the person to your website. Very futuristic, right? Monograma also offer flash drive wristbands, which will definitely be useful for your client, and create a great impression when they need to save information on the go.
Every morning, people grab their morning coffee and go. You can create a daily reminder by having a well-designed travel mug as a promotional gift. Simple, useful and a great way to be one of the first things people think of on their way to work!
If you own a bar or restaurant, then obviously you’ll have your own personalised beer mats, but you’ll have to be a little quirky to make people appreciate them. Some people collect beer mats so make yours one that people want to take away and stick on their fridge – free advertising! You can use a beer mat as your business card, but you’ll need to make sure this appropriate to what you do, and also how long it will hold up if it’s being used.
A step up from the beer mat, with more sophistication, is the humble coaster. If you have an attractive logo or choose a particular finish, such as our wooden or stone options, your customers will be most appreciative. Other options are office friendly such as flexi or neoprene, which are tough and long lasting, so your initial investment will go a long way.
Great for family events, children will always want a free balloon, and they don’t care what’s written on it! It’s an easy way to get people to take home your information, although it won’t last very long. You can also give out packs of balloons so that when they’re blown up, your logo is visible, but consider your target market carefully for this one.
Perfect for a summer giveaway, beach balls with your company name embossed, are going to get bounced around as long as the good weather lasts, which is good news for your brand.
A good quality beach towel is a lovely promotional item that gives you good bang for buck. Once again, it’s going to be rolled out at the beach, exposing you to potential customers that you may not know yet.
If you’re business is a little more serious, an accountancy practice perhaps, then you may want to give out small calculators with your logo embossed on them. This is reinforcing your brand with the customer, as every time they have to work with numbers, they’ll think of you. To liven this up, get them in bright colours, or a hardwearing finish so it can survive life in a variety of environments, such as factories or car workshops.
Normally used to promote bars and restaurants, these still have promotional value even though smoking is no longer in fashion. Whenever someone needs to light up the barbie, they can reach for your branded matches. This could spark up an interesting conversation about your company, even though you’re not even present. It can also be a good way to promote yourself if you’re job-hunting – simply give your personalised matchbox to the person who you’d like to hire you, and see how they remember you the next time they pull out a light!
Umbrellas have been a great promotional item for years, as they’re such a useful item to have. Drop a few off at a clients’ office, so that office workers can grab one on a day when there’s an unexpected shower. That way, your logo is being paraded down the street, and others will know that you care about your clients’ wellbeing. Monograma also offer beach umbrellas so that your brand provides shade in the hotter months.
If you provide a useful service, such as plumbing, electrical or window cleaning, give out some stickers that customers can stick onto their fridge, ensuring they always have your details in an emergency. These are a great promotional item to give to kids too, as they’ll delight in sticking them on the fridge for you. Other ways stickers can be used are on car windows or on student laptops.
Inexpensive and easy, it’s surprising more companies don’t use post-it notes as a promotional item. They’ll always create a good impression, as they’re still in use in most office spaces. When you want to leave a note for someone, you just jot it down and stick it to their keyboard – so having your company logo and phone number at the top will keep you in their mind, even if they don’t realise.
Polo shirts can be a great reward for your best customers. Handy to put on when heading to the shops on a Saturday, or out to walk the dog, a polo shirt will get good use by both men and women. If you run a gym, you can get some made in cool dry material, so your customers can wear them to or from the gym, creating a walking advertisement for your business.
Although a clock may seem like a dull gift, it does come in useful! Monograma also have some funky options such as a clock caddy, clock in a can and clock calculators, which make a nice addition to any desk.
Phone or tablet covers
A great idea if your clients work in any manual industries or environments where their devices may get damaged. Provide them with some covers that will protect their devices, and you may just have yourself a repeat customer.
A necessary item for our fast-paced lives, our super-technology phones don’t seem to have great battery life. Gift your customers a power bank so that they can stay connected on the go, and they’ll have a little reminder in their bag or on their desk of your company and how you’ve helped them again.
A nicely designed media cradle is an innovative item to organise tablets, phones and other media items. Stick your logo on the front and they’ll never forget you.
Compact Brush/Mirror set
One for the well groomed person; a compact brush/mirror set can make a wonderful promotional giveaway item. This can work for any industry, but if you’re a make-up artist, hairdresser or own a beauty salon, it is a lovely loyalty gift to send customers away with.
Tried and trusted, you simply can’t beat the power of giving out a pen. They are easy to hand out at any event, and everyone always needs a pen. Think outside the box for this one – a bold colour, or even a special holder so that they’ll have kept your pen, with your business details, on them. Another way to do this is to send a box full of pens to a loyal client, so that everyone in the office has one and they don’t have to use the boring ones from the stationary cupboard.
This may seem like an odd promotional gift, but in fact, it isn’t. Why? People carry hand sanitisers around with them, so you could be promoted wherever they take it out – at football games, after class, in a restaurant. If you run a pharmaceuticals company, healthcare centre or are a doctor, this is a super way to promote yourself.
Ah, the sweet scent of a free candle. Customers are sure to want to take one of these as a gift, and you’ll have a special place in their home. Scents are very evocative, so if they connect your business with it, you’ll reap the rewards. Candles can work for many different companies, but obviously work especially well if you have a beauty salon, day spa or fitness centre.
In the warm weather, our lips get too dry, in the cold, they become chapped. Solve this for your customers by providing them with some lip balm. This is another gift that has a far reach, as they are displaying your company name wherever they take out the lip balm. Monograma offers some great Australian made lip balm so you’ll also be supporting another local business.
If you’re a travel agency, airline or any other travel-related company, you probably run regular promotions and competitions. A great giveaway is a trolley bag with your emblem, so that wherever the winner travels, they’re taking your name with them. Cheap global advertising!
Today’s busy lifestyle means that business people want everything to hand, in one place. A stylish compendium is perfect for this. If you’re running an event, this is a great promotional item for all attendees as they can use it both at the conference/event and they will continue to use it in the future.
A useful item that you may not consider, torches are fantastic gifts. From personal ones to more heavy duty ones that you can keep with your auto or camping equipment, a torch is bound to come in handy. If you run an outdoor or gardening store, or even a garage or hardware, add a torch to your list of promotional items to consider.
If you have a decent budget to spend or want to reward loyal staff members, you can choose some elegant watches and have your logo printed on them. This is an eye-catching promotional item that will assert your reputation in the mind of the recipient and anyone who sees them wearing it.
Another item that is a regular giveaway is the trusty baseball cap. They are still popular because they work. The key to people appreciating these is having your tagline on the cap – so if yours is quite fun it can create a talking point – a brilliant boost for your reputation.
A classy promotional gift that can be used in a competition or giveaway, a photo frame will help your customers see you in the right light! Not that they’ll necessarily put your photo in there!
At some point you’ll have searched for a bottle opener and realised that you don’t have one. This is a great promotional gift that will get used over and over. A top tip for removal firms is to give away a bottle opener with every move you complete – the new homeowners will be sure to toast you when they don’t have to go looking for their own bottle opener.
What used to be one of the most stolen items from hotels is a sure-fire winner for a promotional gift. If you’re having a giveaway, or simply want to reward loyal clients, a good quality bathrobe will be a snug reminder of your company. Obviously this is a great giveaway for hotels (repeat guests?), but also health spa’s, gyms and adventure centre’s.
This can really depend on the image you want to project, but shot glasses are a good choice for a particular age-group i.e. people in their twenties. If you own a drinks or food company, or offer products that this demographic use regularly, then shot glasses will be gladly received. Prepare for your name to be mentioned at college parties.
Duly produced at conferences and events down through the years, mugs still have a place in the promotional gift pile. If you do any building work, why not provide your clients with ceramic mugs for their home or office, where they’ll always have a reminder of the people they need to call if they’re in a fix.
Ways to use promotional items effectively
So now you have some ideas on what items you can use to promote your business, how do you best distribute these, as you’re hardly going to go door-to-door handing them out! So, here’s some ideas for when and where you can distribute the items to get the best response.
Use promotional products at your company’s sponsored events
If you are sponsoring an event, this is a great place to show your appreciation for your customers. Make sure that your staff are visible (deck them out in company colours and branded clothing and hats) and if you have a stand, make sure there’s something to give people who stop by to find out more. You can also donate some promotional items for a daily giveaway or as a prize.
Give away promotional items at trade shows
Trade shows already give your brand great exposure and create new ways to boost sales and generate revenue. However you may be up against some of your competitors in this arena, so put some effort into your promotional items and it could make all the difference. Focus on something that they can use, and perhaps something in relation to the theme of the event. Innovative items create a great impression, so try to think beyond pens, caps and t-shirts and go for something that will give you the edge.
Give out promotional items on social media
Although most of this article focuses on promoting your company offline, it’s important to pay attention to those who follow you online as well. These followers can be great advocates of your brand. Hold giveaways for the most retweets or run a competition where they have to think up a tagline or complete a tiebreaker. This will keep them interested in your business and the products or services that you offer, as well as showing them that you appreciate their custom and loyalty.
Distribute promotional items to your employees
As we mentioned earlier on, your employees can be your best asset when it comes to promoting your company. If you nurture them, they will repay you in dividends by doing a good job. Giving them branded promotional materials to use or wear shows that you value them, but also is an advertising opportunity that shouldn’t be overlooked. An inexpensive way to do this is to provide decals or stickers for their phones and laptops. This will inspire potential customers to ask questions and give your employee a sense of pride about working for the company.
Use promotional items as incentives
This is also for your staff or for any sales reps on the road for you. If they are smashing their targets, show them how much you value this by offering promotional items along with their commission. If they meet a particular quota, you can provide them with branded clothing or if you really want to invest you can have them drive branded cars or gift them phones or tablets that bear your company branding. These incentives will serve to make them work further towards their goals, and obviously affect your bottom line in a positive manner.
Give promotional items to customers
Of course this is the obvious one. If they already love your products then they’ll be happy to spread the word about them. Gifting them something from our extensive list above will only assert you in their minds further. Happy customers will willingly become advocates of your brand. This can create a huge return on investment for you so choose your items wisely to make sure you make the best impression.
Give away promotional items at public relations events
If you’re holding or participating in a PR event, this is an ideal showcase for your company. One of the ways to inspire more interest about your products and services is by distributing promotional items that will get them talking. Have a think about what your ideal customer looks like and what they might appreciate.
Offer a promotional item as a sweetener to closing a deal
An excellent way to use promotional items is to send out a promotional item to your client once the deal has been closed. This should bring a smile to their face and further assure them that doing business with you was the right decision.
Other ways to promote your business
There are a number of other ways that you can promote your business, which will support your distribution of promotional items. Some of these you may already have thought of, but try ticking these off your list.
Apparently there’s no such thing, and it won’t be free for you, but it could be a wise investment. Invite some potential clients out to a lunch where you can introduce your products and services. Clients will appreciate your time and will be more likely to buy from you when they’ve been fully informed.
Get your story out there through local media. They are always interested in supporting local businesses and looking for new stories. Newspapers, TV channels and radio stations can offer valuable time for audiences to learn more about how and why your business came about and what you can do for customers.
Get out there and meet your potential customers. Choose a number of groups and clubs that play a supportive role for one another in promoting business. Talk to people that may be able to provide introductions to potential customers and people who will be interested in what you do.
Hold a workshop that will be educationally valuable for your potential customers. This will help you learn about their challenges and you’ll be able to incorporate your products and services as potential solutions to the problems they need solving.
Although national media may have a high price tag for running ads, local schools and colleges normally have weekly or monthly publications, which can be a good option if your products fit this demographic. Their advertising space will be at a much lower cost than any of the national dailies, and remember that these publications also go home with the students, so you are also reaching their parents or friends.
Direct mail is still a cost effective way to target specific geographic markets. For very little investment, you’re still likely to win some new business.
If you’re trying to sell a new product, giving it to a celebrity, or even a locally prominent figure, for free can be worth its weight in gold. If they’re impressed, they will tell others about it, and they may give you a formal endorsement.
For a great range of personalised promotional gift ideas including those listed above, contact Monograma for a friendly and reliable service full of innovative ideas to make your business stand out.