Beyond the giveaway - 5 ways to make promotional products work for you

Giving away free gifts can be a great way to attract new customers and reward loyal ones, but if you are concerned that these gifts aren’t going to provide you with enough marketing value (beyond the branded message on them) then consider getting a little more creative with your giveaways.  Making sure customers remain engaged with your brand rather than simply showing up for a free gift is the key to getting a better marketing response.

Beyond the giveaway - 5 ways to make promotional products work for you
Here’s 5 sure handed marketing tactics that will ensure you get a better ROI out of your next giveaway promotion.

Contests & Sweepstakes

One of the more obvious ways to get customers engaged in your brand (beyond simply showing up for some free stuff) is to hold a contest or a sweepstakes.  The more creative you are with your contest and the more you can do to get potential customers to interact with your company the better! 
Beyond the giveaway - 5 ways to make promotional products work for you
While simply filling out a contest form can provide that much more time in top-of-mind awareness, it’s much better to find creative ways to engage in your brand’s core products or niche.  A contest that gets people to submit something that interacts directly with your company is what you should be shooting for.

Pro-tip: Part of your goal should also be to collect some good contact information to be used for later promotions!

Tack-on Promotion

Giving away free gifts is a great way to get potential customers in the door, but there’s no guarantee that they’re going to make a purchase.  Tacking on a free gift with a qualified purchase, however, makes sure that happens and will directly impact your bottom line while you take advantage of the branding tool that is the promotional product.  Minimum purchases ("spend $50 and get a free gift") are a popular way to make sure this method retains its ROI, but this method can also be used as a great way to sell overstocked inventory or bring awareness to a new product.  

Pro tip: Relevant and complementary gifts are ideal for this kind of promotion (i.e. "free computer accessories with purchase of a laptop") 

Engaging exchange

Showing up need not be the minimum requirement for customers to get a free gift.  Asking them to engage with your brand in a special or creative way can help give you better top-of-mind awareness. This is where social media comes in handy: liking your Facebook page, commenting on a post, posting a picture are great ways to get customers and potential customers to engage with your brand. 
Beyond the giveaway - 5 ways to make promotional products work for you
But it doesn't have to end there: think beyond the computer too!  Ask them to wear a funky hat, a specific color shirt, or even an article of clothing of a favorite local team or brand (think cross-promotions, here!).  We had a customer give special gifts to people who showed up at their farmers market display with a pet (hint: their products were pet-related)!  

Pro tip: Just about every day is a holiday for something...  Check out our holiday calendars to see what's coming up that you can use for a similar promotion!

Loss Leader

A loss leader is a product that is sold at a loss with the expectation that those who purchase it will become loyal or return customers.  People often think of shaving products (razors are often cheap, but the blades are where the real money is) and printers (some printers can cost less than the replacement ink cartridges) but these are just extreme examples of loss leaders. 

Beyond the giveaway - 5 ways to make promotional products work for you
You can use this concept to drive loyalty when done right and promotional products are a great way to accomplish it!  
  1. Give away or sell a branded product that has some significance to your brand or store.
  2. Give customers incentive to come back with said product to make future purchases (loyalty discount, future gifts, etc.).  Using the branded product is a requirement for qualifying for the incentive.
  3. Watch as loyal customers not only return regularly, but actively promote your brand while using the promotional product more actively than they would have otherwise.
Pro tip: This works best when the gift is relevant to your business, especially if its use is required (like a beer growler at a brewery, for example), while also visible to other customers.

Sign-up/Incentive Gift

Creating brand loyalty like some of the above examples do is a great way to make sure your promotional products go further.  And while the above examples are great, sometimes a simpler approach is best.  The simplest example would be to give away a free gift as incentive for signing up to a newsletter that promotes special deals and advertises new products.  You could also use promotional products to entice customers to complete a loyalty stamp card (i.e. “10th purchase is free and you get a free gift!”).   Other examples can include: Branded/store credit cards applications, membership/loyalty clubs, [your product] of the month club, etc.  

Pro tip: Combining a free gift with another special offer is the best way to make it go furthest. 

Beyond the giveaway - 5 ways to make promotional products work for you
Todd Heim works for Quality Logo Products, Inc. a top 50 promotional products distributor out of Aurora, Illinois. They offer over 650,000 different products which can be imprinted with a client’s logo or slogan and given away to promote a company, organization, product, service, achievement, or event. Find out more and contact them here!

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