Beyond The Ballpoint: A Guide For Getting Creative With Your Promotional Products

Promotional products are a highly efficient and successful way to market your business to a wide range of customers. Even though online presence and promotions are becoming more and more important, nothing can beat "free" stuff to help sell your business. Research shows that 52% of people who receive promotional products from your company will end up doing business with you! That's an amazing return on investment. However, the world has moved past the ballpoint pens and bookmarks. In order to stand out from the competition, you need to go to websites that offer quality, useful products that consumers will use again and again.

1. Quality is better than quantity.

When you give away free stuff, it has to be stuff that people want to use, and stuff that doesn't need to be replaced after only a few uses. Quality products will also provide you with an quality image. After all, if you're willing to give away something so nice, how nice will the things be that customers have to pay for?

An excellent product example would be water bottles. A nice water bottle is useful to pretty much any consumer from any age group. The are reusable, go everywhere with the consumer, exposing hundreds of people to your logo with just one bottle. Also, re-usable bottles promote an environmentally-friendly image for your business. People will be more likely to respect your business, not only as one that gives away incredibly awesome free stuff, but also as one that takes the movement for a greener world more seriously.

2. Representation brings revenue.

If you're going to invest in promotional products, why not make them objects that people will automatically associate with your business and what you offer? That way, when someone sees your promotional product on the street, they will remember both the product and the brand. Consider these examples:

  • Tubs of body butter. How effective might these be for a business that offers birthing classes for for pregnant women?
  • Backpacks. These would not only be quality, useful additions, but they also become a walking poster board for your company. They would help promote a company that does hiking tours or rock climbing tutorials, a college campus or a travel abroad program. 
  • Work out clothes. Move away from plain old cotton t-shirts that people only use for gardening. Provide shirts that work for real sports, like golfing or running, especially if you want your company to be associated with activity. If your target demographic is retired business men, golfing apparel is a great way to spread your brand. 

3. Offline products create online business.

If you're a modern business, you're trying to reach people online in order to have the widest possible costumer base. The next time you have a booth set up at a business or trade show, offer products that work in line with these efforts. For example, hand out your water bottles, but post not only your logo, but also your website on the bottle. Have an online contest to win an even bigger prize, drawing traffic to your website. When people ask for the link, simply hand them a bottle or t-shirt and say, "Our website is printed on this."

Your promotional product therefore is playing into your online presence. Offer discounts and bonuses to people leave reviews online, or who share your company on social media. For example, if you're handing out a backpack, also give out a set of headphones if the person takes a picture with the backpack and posts it to their Facebook wall, with a hashtag to your company. 

You can do a lot with promotional products, if they are the right products and if people can can actually get excited about using them. Use both in-person and online tools to give your products the biggest impact possible.