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Promotional Products Should be an Integral Part of Your Marketing Efforts

Updated: Jan 19

Digital advertising is all the rage right now, so you may be wondering whether promotional products are necessary any longer. As an experienced marketing specialist I can assure you that promotional products can be highly effective as part of your overall business marketing strategy.

What are Promotional Products?

You may not have used promotional products to advertise your business, but you’ve certainly seen or even received them from time to time. Promotional products are items that have been branded with a business’ name and/or logo, used as free giveaways to their target audience. Promotional items are most commonly given out at trade shows and other marketing events. The entire purpose of these is to create interest and even buzz about a company, promoting their products and/or services.

Why do Consumers Love Them So Much?

The best part about branded items is that just about everyone loves receiving them, especially if they are well designed and something the recipient would need and use often. The appeal they have is even more important if you understand the psychological effect these items can have on your target audience.

When someone is given a freebie with a purchase or at an event they unconsciously feel a sense of accomplishment, like they must have done something special to deserve it. Even though they are free, the recipient feels like it’s somehow been earned. Generating such a positive feeling among your target audience can’t help but make your business flourish. This is one way of sowing the seeds of brand loyalty while establishing a positive relationship with your customers.

There’s also the principle of reciprocity to consider. Most of us understand that once someone gives us something, we should return the favor. Consumers wouldn’t feel obligated to give a company something for free, but they reciprocate in other ways. They may decide to become a customer or at least tell others about the free giveaway they received and how much they liked and appreciated it. Either way, you win!

Choose Promotional Items That Perfectly Represent Your Business

If you want your branded products to effectively promote your business, it’s important that you choose the right ones.

Here’s how:

  1. Define your target audience: Once you’ve done that learn everything you can about them. What age range do they fall into? What are their interests? The more specific your answers, the more successful you’ll be.

  2. Determine your budget: Business-to-consumer companies typically budget anywhere from 5% to 10% of revenue for advertising and marketing. Part of that budget should be allocated for branded merchandise. It’s up to you to determine how much money you would be comfortable spending on free giveaways promoting your products and/or services. You will want to consider where and when you would be distributing these items, the type of person/consumer you want to impress and other factors. Ultimately, you want to find a cost-effective item that will give you the greatest bang for your buck.

  3. Narrow your list to a few items: Review your options and pick several favorites. Look for things that align with your brand and meet your audience’s needs. Make sure that what you choose is well designed and that the printing looks perfectly executed. The last thing you want is something that looks cheap or shoddy.

Evaluate Your Distribution Options

You will of course have to figure out how many items you’ll need to order, as well as whether the item fits the occasion. Fortunately, there are all kinds of events where you can hand out branded merchandise.

As mentioned earlier, trade shows and other business events are great opportunities for impressing event goers with your free giveaways. But don’t forget about holiday parties where gift giving is expected!

Other ways to distribute your promotional products is via a free “sample with purchase” and by having contests. You can also use social media to inspire desire among your audience. Freebies can persuade them to follow, like, share, and even tag others who might also want to participate. This kind of exposure can generate the buzz that is so effective in attracting new customers.

Last but not least, you can increase brand awareness by recruiting brand ambassadors or by using your own employees and customers. A brand ambassador’s job is to be active on social media using your products and touting the benefits. The idea is to reach thousands of people who would find out about your brand and want to learn more. You can turn your employees and customers into unofficial brand ambassadors by generously giving them corporate gifts they can use and promote on social media. The idea is to show them you care and appreciate their loyalty.


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