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10 Ways Small Businesses Can Effectively Use Promo Items

Business owners of all sizes can benefit from the power promotional items, none more than small businesses. Quality promotional items help businesses market their companies and also build customer loyalty. After business owners invest in the product and give it away, advertising becomes free for as long as customers wear the promotional items. Many business owners use promotional items as an effective marketing tool. Whether you are looking for a personalized duffle bag or a t-shirt, there are many companies to help you get started.

Here are 10 simple ways small businesses can effectively use promotional items:

1. Give Promotional Items to Employees to Use/Wear

Employees should be a company’s biggest advocates. If employees wear promotional items in their daily activities, they will advertise for the company. This form of marketing can be very effective. If employees are knowledgeable about the products, and customers see them sporting a promotional item, customers may ask questions, and employees can facilitate a sale.

2. Give Promotional Items at Trade Shows

Promotional items at trade shows are essential to help a company gain exposure. When companies gain exposure, lead capture and sales conversions are more likely. Sales generate the revenue business owners want. T-shirts, duffle bags and pens are all effective forms of promo items for trade shows. Don’t settle for the cheapest items. Instead focus on something unique, and have special t-shirts that attendees can “earn” for doing certain things. This will stick your business more firmly in their mind if they earn a quality giveaway instead of just racing past your table to snatch up all your freebies.

3. Give Promotional Items at Public Relations Events

Public relations events help companies monitor the business’s reputation and ensure the company’s brand image is preserved. At a positive and proactive public relations event, promotional items may be given to make a greater impact on the audience. Impressed customers may wear the t-shirt or carry the duffle bag and promote the company.

4. Give Promotional Items to Customers

Customers love free merchandise. Personalized t-shirts, duffle bags, pens or jackets will score big points with customers. If they like the product or service, customers will be major advocates for the company. Business owners usually have a huge return on investment when customer advocates promote their product or service.

5. Give Promotional Items Online

Social media followers are advocates for your business and appreciate free promotional items. Companies can give away free personalized promotional products to keep customers interested in the product or service.  Many of my clients have contests where they give away free, high quality, t-shirts, mugs and binders to

6. Give Promotional Items as Incentives

Promotional items can be used as incentives for sales people. Jackets, for instance, can be incentives for sales people if they reach a particular sales quota or goal. This is an effective use of promotional items that will also generate business. When jackets are given to top sales people, business owners know the person is an advocate for the company. You’ll need to spend a little more on these items, but the investment is often worth it for the long term return it will give your small business.

7. Give Promotional Items at Team Building Events

Give promotional items at team building events to identify and locate all members of the team. This also builds camaraderie and can serve as an effective marketing tool after the event.

8. Use Promotional Items to Build Brand Loyalty

Customers must trust companies to become loyal customers. When promotional items are given to customers, they know they are appreciated. This helps to build brand loyalty.

9. Use Promotional Items to Close Deals

Sales people often give customers promotional items just before they are about to close the deal to give the customer a reminder of why they are better than the competition. This is an effective use a marketing budget if it wins more deals.

10. Use Promotional Items at Company-Sponsored Events

At company-sponsored events, such as sales cruises and family day picnics, promotional item give-aways are effective. Promotional items can be given as prizes or given to everyone at the event to show appreciation.

Studies have shown that promotional items are effective forms of advertising. These items can generate leads, potentially help to close sales, and are effective marketing tools.  So if you are looking for a way to further your brand, consider investing in a few promotional items. If you want a recommendation from me, my buddy Robert James is one of the most creative people to offer promotional items. Check out First Priority Printing for all your promo item needs. I’ve worked with Rob and every time I do, I find a new cool way to do a promo item that I never would have thought of without his help.

YOUR TURN: Does YOUR small business utilize promotional items as part of its marketing mix? If so, what are you using, and how effective is it? If not, why (other than cost) are you not trying it?

4 Responses to 10 Ways Small Businesses Can Effectively Use Promo Items

  • You know, it’s funny, mate – #1 is probably the most underused opportunity for a business to get their brand out there.

    We all think of ways to buy advertising, reach “influencers” (gah!!) and other promotional avenues – but your employes are your customers and marketers rolled into one. Use that!

    Cheers, sir!

    • You are absolutely right Danny. I wonder why that is though. Seems so simple.

      • That’s probably the problem, mate – businesses have been fooled into thinking you need to have glitz and glamour when it comes to successful marketing. Yet it’s the simplest ideas that stick.

        Hey ho. :)

    • I have to agree that #1 is a powerful marketing tool. I work in marketing for a promotion product/custom manufacturing company and one of the first things we did this year was create a collection of branded gear and apparel. We gave one of everything to each employee, as well as, their spouse, and even some of their children. Then we began giving them out to our customers as they came in, or we paid them a visit.

      The result: Most of the time that I am in a larger public setting (college football, carnival, parade, mall, etc.) I see our shirts or hats on people in the crowd. People I don’t know, but people who are helping create brand awareness for us.

      It has been great, and the few dollars spent are well worth the exposure.

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