Marketing is an integral part of any business strategy. And how effective you are at it largely determines how much edge you have over the competition. But, always keep in mind that your competition is probably using the same marketing rule-book as you. So, to gain that edge, and remain on top, it might just be in your best interests to leave the beaten path and try a different – and maybe, unusual – approach to marketing.

Giving away promotional items is one such unusual approach. It gets your products into your customer’s hands. This gives you free advertising and better still, guarantees customer loyalty. Here is how to use promotional items effectively.

1) Use Promotional Items at Work

Your employees should be the first to market your products and services. Get them to wear promotional items like branded t-shirts to work. Customers are likely to enquire about your services if they get a visible reminder of what you do. And if your product line includes something that your employees can use daily at work, use it. Don’t forget to hand out promotional material during team-building events involving your employees.

2) Give Promotional Items to Your Customers

Everyone loves freebies, so use this to your advantage. After generating interest by wearing promotional items to work, get the items into the hands of your customers. You could give out custom printed bumper stickers, jackets, t-shirts and duffle bags to name a few.

And do not just target customers who show up at your business premises, target your social media followers as well. When customers love your promotional items, two things happen. One, they become great advocates for your products and services. And two, they remain loyal to your brand for years to come.

3) Give Promotional Items to Your Sales Team

Another use of promotional items is to motivate your sales team. Set sales targets and when a sales person reaches one, give him or her something like a branded jacket. By doing so, you kill two birds with one stone. Your sales crew works much harder to market your product because they stand to gain. And, the promotional items they wear pitch in and do some advertising of their own too.

4) Give out Promotional Items at Company-Sponsored Events

Giving out free merchandise should extend beyond your employees, sales team and customers. You must reach out to potential customers also. Be generous with freebies during company-sponsored events such as sales cruises, picnics or PR events to leave a lasting impact on people.

5) Use Promotional Items at Trade Fairs

Trade fairs give your business more exposure than company sponsored events. Some even have an international audience. So, when participating in one, ensure that those attending the fair get a company branded duffle bag, pen or t-shirt. Only ensure that the items are of the best quality possible. Remember, you have one chance to make a good first impression.

Conclusion

The use of promotional items as marketing tools is widely overlooked by most entrepreneurs. They instead tend to stick to tried-and-tested marketing strategies. And although some consider giving away promotional material as an added expense, it is an effective marketing tool, and, thus, a worthwhile investment.