Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Promotional Custom Products Do's & Don'ts

For two years I've been writing about how promotional imprinted products work. How they are one of the most economical & easiest ways to get your company visible. But I'm sure some of you are saying, "Yeah, I tried it once............."

With promotional products, the sky is the limit. But just because something can be branded or you saw an item w/ a logo & you liked it, doesn't mean that's the right product for your company. And if it's a good customized promotional item for you, there are some precautions to take so people will want it & use it.
Here are a few simple suggestions to help you make the right decision:

1. Quality: A quality promotional custom product does not mean it has to break the bank. But cutting  corners to save a few cents may mean you're wasting your money on your entire order if they aren't going to be used because they don't work, they look cheap or they aren't useful to the recipient. It doesn't do your business any good if the promotional item you gave out is shoved in the back of a desk drawer to be forgotten or tossed in the nearest trash can never to be seen again. Paying a bit extra could go a long way. The quality of a product can mean the difference between a throw-away or a keepsake. Also the quality of what you hand out will say a lot about the quality of the goods or services you offer.

2. Know Your Audience: Promotional materials should be appropriate for your audience--something they need & want. You wouldn't give a bottle opener on a key chain away at a pediatrician's office just as a CPA wouldn't have use for a hot pad holder with your logo imprinted on it. If you are dealing with the hotel or travel industry, home health care or assisted living facilities, then a deck of cards with your company name name will probably be used over & over. Water bottles are great for gyms & spas. Bookmarks & notebooks are good for book stores, schools, libraries & tutoring agencies......or that pediatrician's office that doesn't need the bottle opener.

3. One Size Doesn't Fit All: T-shirts are popular & people love to wear them. But think twice before ordering customized promotional apparel because it's impossible to predict the size & shape of each person receiving them. Unless you know your targeted audience very well, consider ordering accessories like caps or visors.

4. Political: Whether it is a local, state or national election, political promotional products can be a great way for your company to show support for your community, state or nation. But it can also lead to dangerous ground if you are promoting a specific cause or candidate while promoting your business. You can easily turn off your customers or prospects who don't agree. Avoid polarizing items that endorse an individual, a political party or an issue. Instead choose to support the democratic process while you're distributing your promotional imprinted products.

5. Child-proof: The only thing children like more than toys is putting toys in their mouth. When choosing promotional items for children, avoid small products or things with detachable pieces. Stick with larger items like coloring books, crayons, rubber balls or child-size drinkware.

6. Distribute, Distribute, Distribute: The purpose of promotional imprinted products is to get your name out among the public & to be recognized among the sea of competitors. This won't happen if you keep your marketing items for a special occasion or for special people. Your family & best friends already know about you. By keeping the products in a storage closet, you won't be known or remembered unless you invite the public to rummage through your closet.

7. Don't Blend In: You've spent time & money on your promotional gifts. Make sure they stand out & don't get lost among the other items. Make sure the recipient wants to use what you give them. Using a pen as an example, don't get a plain white pen that looks like all the others in the desk top coffee mug. A bright colored pen that writes smooth is a good choice or there are 8" pens that, surprisingly, write as comfortable as their smaller cousins. They will get you noticed. If you are giving out note pads or sticky notes,  the price generally includes multi-color imprint. Take advantage of it & design something unique & colorful. Whatever you decide to distribute, be creative & let your logo pop.

8. Check For Errors: This seems to be a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many people hand out promotional products with their website spelled wrong or have inverted numbers in the phone number. What could be worse if you customer points out that your street is misspelled? When your order arrives, take time to check for errors before you distribute them. Basically, if you used a professional advertising specialty distributor, you would have gotten a proof & the errors should have been corrected before the products went in to print. That also seems logical, but I've had clients look at the general layout & they don't proofread the copy. If you don't, trust me, someone else will & then it will be too late to do anything about it. And what does that say about the business you're trying to promote?

It is important to hand out promotional imprinted products to get company recognition & stay in the minds of your clients; but before you order take time to go over these eight points so what you order will work for you & not against you.

Good luck!
Ronni Sherman

1 comment:

  1. This was helpful. It's hard to find something, besides pens & pocket calendars, that everyone will use.In the insurance industry, you don't have an "audience" because everyone needs insurance of some kind. Our pocket is huge. It ranges from around 25 to over 65. Sex, economic, or social backgrounds don't matter so it's hard to find something that everyone would like to have. Most of the time I'm too rushed to give it much thought, but next time I will pay more attention to quality and make sure I don't blend in with the other agents. I have a tendancy to pick what they do. Thank you for writing this. You did bring somethings to my attention.