Call it over-enthusiastic, but there are few things more fun than picking out a new promotional item for your small business.
In the early days, the catalogue browsing feels like Christmas. But when it gets down to the nitty gritty, you’ve got to decide on something that represents your brand and could cost a hefty chunk of money to order in bulk. How do you know if your decisions will take you down the right path?
We’ve asked members of the Marketing team at Opus Energy to share their combined years’ worth of experience in picking promo items. Note the key questions you should be asking yourself along the decision process, and their advice for taking the best steps.
1. First and foremost – does your business actually need a promotional item? How will it fit into your marketing strategy?
“It’s good to have a clear marketing strategy before you think about your promotional items. Think about what you want to achieve, and the best ways in which you can reach your target audience.
“Promotional items are great for brand awareness from repetitive exposure – something that your audience can use as often as possible and for as long as possible.”
2. What is your vision for your marketing strategy? Consider your target audience – how will the promotional item capture your company and work for your campaign?
“If your choice of promotional item can echo the messaging behind your company or campaign objectives, then it’s more likely to be a success. For example, if you’re trying to showcase your company’s green credentials, why not consider promotional items made from recycled materials?
“The audience is important too – will you give the items away to every customer, potential customers or just key clients?
“Make sure you look for a product that’s right for the person within your target audience and be clear what it is you want to achieve. Is it a gift to make your clients feel special, or a promotional item that you can give away at events and trade shows?”
3. Let’s get down to business – what will the promotional item actually be? Do you want it to be useful, or fun?
“Think about promotional items you’ve received in the past – which ones have ended up in the bin, and which ones have you kept?
“Yours are unlikely to be the only promotional items your target audience receives, so think about investing in products that are a genuinely functional or of a higher quality in order to ensure their staying power.
“Try thinking outside the box! Pens, pads and USB sticks are common items to give away but is there something that’s unique to you as a business? What does your brand stand for? What would leave lasting impressions with your audience?”
4. Time to talk numbers. The procurement stage can be tricky – how will you consider your ROI?
“If you’re looking at placing a large order it’s worth getting at least three quotes from different suppliers.
“Make sure you ask the supplier to quote for different quantities, for example for 500, 1000 and 1500 units. This way, you’ll often find that you can take advantage of economies of scale and by making a larger order your unit cost will reduce considerably.
“Try to consider how much value the product will bring back to you when deciding costs. Is it for general brand awareness, or do you need it to get a certain message across, and therefore worth spending more on?”
5. Finally – how will the promo item be revealed and delivered to your target audience?
“Linking your new promotional merchandise to a product launch, special event or competition can help to create a buzz.
“Set aside budget within your marketing strategy and think about best ways to distribute – at trade shows, given as competition goodies, used as gifts for clients… There are lots of possibilities, so try to put yourself in your target audience’s shoes and think how they’d most appreciate and remember your item.”
Need more help in pulling your campaign strategy together? Check out our tips for small business marketing without the splurge.