If you’ve ever attended a trade show or other event, then you’re familiar with the “swag dash” … the rush to visit every exhibitor and grab whatever items they’re giving away. Only after the frenzy has ended do you return to your hotel room, dump the contents of the bag, and decide which ones are even worth keeping. Kind of like Halloween for grown-ups. You might even “trade” some items with a colleague. You’ll keep the logo-laden pens, and they’ll bring the t-shirt home to their spouse. The cheap keylight or frisbee will end up in the trash.
Free stuff is great, but as small business people we need to really think about what kind of return we get on our promotional products investment. If we buy and give away 1000 keychains at a trade show, how does that translate to the business bottom line? Does it support your brand and brand message (it might if you sell locks or package it with a tagline indicating it’s the “key” to success)? Does it move the business forward? These are important questions to consider.
So when does it make sense to invest in promotional products? At times it may be a good investment to source promotional products for customers and even prospective customers, but it’s a much better bet to focus on products for those people that will truly evangelize your business and your brand. Consider promotional products for:
1. Your people at trade show booths and events representing your company. Get them matching shirts to wear to help customers identify them and to present your brand in a professional way.
2. Your very best customers who share positive word-of-mouth, post positive reviews, give customer testimonials and refer new business to you. These people are like human “ads” – you want them to be wearing something or using a pen or mug with your company logo on it.
- Read MarketingZone’s article on How to Identify Your Best Customers
3. Employees, friends and family who are “Brand Ambassadors” and represent your brand to the public. The people we know at Nike are like walking ads for Nike clothes, shoes, sunglasses, hats and sports gear. Nike has an employee store and encourages their employees to “live the brand.” You can and should do the same thing with your sales people and employees who work at your company.
What are some unique and effective ways you’ve used promotional products for your business? Leave a comment below and let us know!
Find lots more great tips on MarketingZone.com.