5 Ways Small Businesses Can Use Promotional Products Effectively

Promotional products can offer a fantastic return for a small investment, especially for small business owners. In 2017, a consumer study by Promotional Products Association International found that 89 percent of consumers received a promotional product in the past six months, and 9 in 10 of those people recalled the brand. Even if your budget is tight, finding a few valuable promotional items will give your brand a significant boost.

With all the promotional products available to marketers, the best way to make a lasting impression on your potential customers and make sure your brand message sticks is to get creative. Branching out from staples such as T-shirts and pens for swag, as well as stepping your gifts up a notch for clients, will give you the best return for your money.

Elevate Your Corporate Apparel

Customers interact with your employees in many places: trade shows, campus events, or on the job. Each of these locations is an opportunity for your employees to build lasting brand awareness with your logo, and while a T-shirt is a good place to start, you can elevate your brand look with a few quick tips:

  • Match your apparel look and style to your company. If your employees are out on a job site, choose clothing that can stand up to heavy use and abuse, like hats and T-shirts made from quality materials. Corporate employees who meet with clients should wear items that look more appropriate for business meetings: collared shirts and jackets.
  • Recognize the difference between men’s and women’s apparel. Men’s and women’s apparel differ in cuts and sizes, so offer your employees a choice. This way, they’ll get their preferred fit.
  • Size and style your logo. Just because a logo looks great on a screen doesn’t mean it will translate well to a piece of clothing. Get samples and look at the difference in thread count or printing styles before you commit. This way, you’ll pick something that looks fantastic and holds up to washing and wearing.

Bring the Best Swag to Trade Shows and Events

Trade shows are prime for making an impression on potentially hundreds of new customers. The trick is finding something that will turn heads but not break the bank. It’s easy to turn to pens in a situation like this—they can cost pennies in some cases, and everyone needs a good pen. But, rather than confining your brand on a pen to a junk drawer or to be tossed when it inevitably doesn’t write, consider other items that can offer value to customers at a low cost:

  • Tech items, such as power banks, cord organizers, or microfiber cleaning cloths for screens.
  • Water bottles (particularly metal or another reusable material) are a hot item, especially if they’re made from quality material that will last.
  • Notebooks and other stationery items will be useful at an event and afterward. A good spiral-bound or Moleskine-style notebook also looks great on display in your booth.

Regardless of what you choose, think first about your brand and your audience. What types of items are useful to them? You might want to pick an item related your industry, so when they use it, they’ll remember to give you a call or visit your website.

Give Meaningful Client Gifts

Client gifts are the perfect touch to closing a deal and solidifying a relationship. A quality gift that says, “Thank you for choosing us” is thoughtful and leaves a lasting impression. These gifts should cost a little more money than your standard swag and offer a personalized touch.

However, closing a deal shouldn’t be the only time your clients receive a gift from you. Consider sending them something around Christmas, on milestones, or to celebrate big events in their lives like a birthday, if you know the date. For corporate clients, recognize milestone business achievements or events as well as major holidays.

Rather than just branding your gift with your logo, remember that everyone loves seeing their own name on something. For instance, a custom-engraved cheese board from a realtor will be treasured by a client and drive referrals from friends and family. And, they’re sure to remember who gave it to them—even without a logo.

Deviate from the Standard Swag

Thoughtful, interesting gifts stand out, especially when clients make a significant purchase or investment in you and your business. Give a gift that is different from your competition, creative, and matches with your brand. While this will take more thought and attention than just slapping a logo on a pen, it shows your dedication to your brand and customers.

People keep items that are fun, functional, and trendy. These items pay for themselves as your potential clients turn into customers and, eventually, brand advocates.

Go Big or Go Home

The temptation to rely on items like cheap T-shirts, pens, keychains, etc. comes down to something that is top of mind for most businesses: cost. Well-made items look and feel more expensive, and in many cases they are.

The truth is that customers today are overloaded. They’re overloaded with information, brand awareness, and stuff. Fewer items at a higher cost is the key to breaking through the clutter and making a good impression. Millennials in particular are looking for advertising that’s appealing, concise, thought-provoking, and relatable.

Think beyond just a product and how to get something into everyone’s hands, and instead focus on how to reach the best potential customers with an item that will immediately tell your brand’s story. Promotional items have a lot to offer small businesses who are looking to connect with customers in a meaningful and lasting way. Picking items effectively that match your audience and deliver the quality and value your brand offers is the way to drive and keep your best business.