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 Businesses around the world, both large and small, rely on promotional giveaways to give them exposure. A mug with your company’s name or a t-shirt with your logo can spread the word about your business in ways and areas that cannot be reached by regular advertising.

By following some key tips on picking promotional giveaways, you can reap big rewards for your business.

Budget for Promotional Items

Naturally, the freebies aren’t free; any promotional item you give away will cost you money. That should not put you off the idea, however. There are many great promotional items that are very affordable and ordering an item to be printed in bulk offers you some great savings.

Investigate the costs of ordering promotional items so you can work them into your next budget. Investing in this marketing technique today could translate into big rewards down the road.

Picking Good Giveaways

One key to successful promotions is choosing the right promotional items.

The most valuable clue to determining which promotional item to give away lies within the nature of your company itself. Take a good long look at what it is that you do and what you want to achieve with the promotion, and you’ll find those facts help clarify the answer. Involve a few valued employees in a brainstorming session and see how creative you can get.

There are a few questions to ask as you brainstorm ideas:

  • Who is your target audience for this promotion?
  • How are you planning to distribute the promotional giveaway?
  • How many items will you need to purchase in order to achieve your promotional goal?

Talking through each of these questions will help direct you to some creative and interesting ways to promote your business.

Examples of Great Promotional Items for Your Business

Let’s look at some example businesses and how an owner might evaluate which promotional giveaway is most worth their investment.

Example 1 – Corner Grocery Store

  • Goal: Increase neighborhood awareness.
  • Target Audience: People who live within walking distance.

In this example, you want the people in your community to know the name of your store, where you are located, and that they can buy groceries from your store. You can conduct your promotional giveaway right in the store, using your existing customer base to carry the items out, so there’s no need for a mailing.

Now that you know those factors, think about groceries and what grocery store shoppers would enjoy getting for free. Why not give your customers colorful, appealing fabric bags with your store name and location clearly visible? Everyone in the neighbourhood will see groceries being carried around, and they’ll see where they were bought!

Example 2 – Travel Agency

  • Goal: Secure new clients.
  • Target Audience: People in your city.

In this example, you want to reach a larger target audience than just your immediate neighbourhood so you will likely want to consider a mailing campaign, and you’ll want to send out many more items.

With these considerations, you’ll want a small, inexpensive item that you can buy in bulk at a reasonable price and also ship easily and inexpensively. Since your ideal client will be traveling in the near future, why not help motivate their journey with trendy luggage tags featuring your company name and contact information.

If you’re planning to focus on business travel, target your mailing to businesses likely to travel. If you’re focused on personal travel, target homeowners instead.

Example 3 – Tech Start-Up

  • Goal: Create brand awareness.
  • Target Audience: Your key demographic.

Since this type of business tends to target a more specific audience, your best bet may be to set up at a tech show, a business college or a cultural event. Target tech-friendly clients by handing out a free phone case with your logo or another technologically savvy item that relates as directly as possible to the actual services you offer.

These are just a few examples to illustrate how you need to start with the basics of what your company does and then choose a kind of promotional giveaway that supports the goal of your campaign.

Skip Clichés

Try to avoid standard, cliché giveaways. It’s no longer true that everyone needs a fridge magnet, calendar, or pen. You can’t put a magnet on a stainless-steel fridge, calendars often just end up in the trash, and pens can be forgotten in the bottom of a drawer.

Think about what people are really using and how their needs fit with your corporate messaging. If you’re a real estate agent, consider something creative related to home or garden. What about packages of flower seeds or a colorful web cam cover? If you’re running an auto shop, what about free first aid kits for the trunk or sun shades for the front window?

Generating Numbers for Big Event

If you’re looking for a promotional giveaway to generate numbers for a special event, consider giving free entry to people who may not be able to otherwise attend. Think about local students at nearby high schools, colleges or universities.

If you’re hosting a film festival, offer free entry and a free t-shirt with the festival’s logo and dates to local film students. If you’re organizing a cultural festival, offer free admission to city dance schools. If you’re opening a restaurant, invite students from cooking schools, hospitality programs, or event planning courses with a gift certificate for a free meal, a free appetizer, or two-for-one desserts.

Select a Style that Matches Your Tone and Messaging

It’s important to pay attention to the aesthetics and tone of your campaign as well as the message you’re trying to convey to people about your company. People read a lot into colors and style.

Is this a serious campaign meant to let people know that you mean business? Choose a simple font for your messaging, and select colors that are clean, clear and direct, such as blue, black and white.

Are you trying to let people know you’re open and approachable, a member of the community who is trustworthy? Consider earth tones and warm colors, such as greens, oranges and beiges.

If you’re going for playful and trendy, select a more playful font and utilize bright colors such as red, yellow or pink.

For a truly effective promotional campaign, know what it is that you want to say and choose a look that supports your message.

Proof-Read Your Promotional Messaging

Whatever you do, make sure to proof-read everything before you send your order off to the printers. It may seem silly to ask, but have you spelled your company name correctly? Have you provided the correct phone number and email address? Are you missing a letter? Are the colors going to be visible on the item? Check it, check it again, and then ask others to check it as well. There are warehouses of old mugs and t-shirts with spelling mistakes or incorrect information on them, and you don’t want to pay to add to the pile.