A lot of things may have changed in the marketing world over the last 20 to 25 years, but today’s customers still love getting promotional products. Eighty-seven percent of people who receive a promotional product keep it for at least a year, and these products aren’t collecting dust in the back of people’s cupboards, either — half of those who own promotional drinkware use it at least two or three times a week, for example, and 91 percent of those who receive promotional USB drives use them.
So how can you harness the power of promotional products to raise awareness of your brand and turn semi-disinterested prospects into loyal, repeat customers? Start with quality products that your customers will like, integrate your promotional products into your other marketing channels, and try to save your products for those who will be most likely to turn into loyal customers. Of course, as with any marketing campaign, you need to collect data on your promotional products’ effectiveness.
Choose Quality Promotional Products
When it comes to choosing promotional products that your customers will appreciate, it isn’t always a good idea to go for the cheaper option. Usually, a cheaper promotional product is made with lower-cost materials or just designed with a shorter lifespan in mind — for example, a cheaper pen might have less ink than a more expensive pen, so it won’t last as long. Higher-quality promotional products last longer and are more likely to get used, so they can bring a greater return on your marketing investment.
Cater to Your Customers
Promotional products work because customers appreciate receiving them, and because when they’re used, those around the recipient can see the branding and might elevate their awareness of your brand. But promotional products might not be as effective — and might even put some customers off — if they’re not targeted to what your customers like.
For example, eco-conscious Millennials like reusable alternatives to common one-use items, like plastic grocery bags, and they’re also willing to pay more for sustainable products that are ethically sourced. So customers in this demographic might appreciate promotional products made with sustainable materials, or products that help them live more sustainably, like branded reusable shopping bags or even linen bread bags. When you choose products that customers like, they’ll actually use them and they’ll also form an attachment to your brand in the process, so you’ll know you’re getting as much as you can out of your promotional products.
Integrate with Other Channels
In today’s marketing environment, you need to be willing to cross over into other channels to synergize your marketing messages. How can you get your branded merchandise into your other marketing channels, like social media feeds? One way is to encourage customers to share pictures of themselves using promotional products.
Be Choosy with Your Recipients
Promotional products aren’t cheap, especially if you’re shelling out for the higher-quality options in an effort to boost your brand appeal in the eyes of customers. Don’t let your quality products go to waste rolling around under someone’s car seat. Use information about your target market and customer demographics to be a little selective about who receives you free gifts. Only give them to those who are likely to become customers — if you own a nail salon, don’t go giving out your branded nail files at the carpenters’ convention. Men who work with their hands won’t be interested in manicures, but you might find more success with your promotional marketing if you find a way to target their wives.
Calculate Your Promotional Products’ Effectiveness
Are your promotional products actually boosting sales and creating more brand loyalty, like you hoped? You’ll need to measure metrics like customer conversion rates, sales lead generation, increased brand awareness, and even new social media followers to determine how effective your promotional products are. Feedback from your recipients can be a valuable tool to help you gauge customers’ preference for your branded merchandise and what effect your promotional products may have had on customers’ brand awareness and loyalty.
Promotional products still have the power to sway customers, especially when they’re targeted to be appealing. Branded swag may be just one tool in your marketing toolbox, but it can be one of the most powerful, when used effectively.