By Scott Kalapos

While online marketing and direct mail advertising can certainly work together to help your company build awareness, the power of promotional products is often overlooked. Promotional products can include everything from pens and mugs to flash drives and flashlights. Essentially, any giveaway item that displays your company logo and contact information constitutes a promotional product. When used correctly, they can provide one of the highest ROIs in your marketing portfolio.

In fact, a recent report issued by the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) found that when it comes to affordable and effective advertising solutions, promotional products rank among the top of the field. In this article, we’ll give you a look at what makes promotional items as simple as customized BIC pens or Koozies such incredible advertising tools.

1. They Get People Talking

As everyone knows, word-of-mouth advertising is free, highly valuable and a high priority for any company. This because when people hear about you from someone they trust, they are more likely to contact you or make a purchase.

So where does a promotional product come into play? It sparks the conversation. When someone has a great travel mug with your logo on it at a business meeting, it will get people asking questions. The same goes for a customized cooler at a family gathering. By putting your name on a useful item, people are bound to talk about you — and in advertising that is always a good thing.

2. They Help People Remember You

When you meet a potential client, you always do your best to remain in the forefront of their minds. Unfortunately, people often get busy and distracted, which makes it all too easy for them to forget to make calls and stay in touch. Enter promotional products. The aforementioned study from the Advertising Specialty Institute reports that as many as 85 percent of people remember the name of a company if they receive a promotional product from them. Also, since 87 percent of people hold onto promotional products for over a year, they have some real staying power.

3. They Let You Target Your Ideal Customer

There are so many promotional products available that you really need to hone in on your target market and choose something that would be alluring to them. For example, if you are a B2B company looking to build a relationship with another company, you can create a personalized notepad and pen set to send to their administrative professionals. If your target market is fitness buffs, you can give away custom shaker cups.

Take the time to perform some market research and talk to your intended audience. Find out what types of products they use on a daily basis, and then give them one with your customized business logo on it.

4. They Affect Your Brand Image

As you probably imagined, the type of promotional product does play a big role in how effective it is. So as long as you choose a high-quality product, you will be painting your company in a positive light.

When executed successfully, consumers will be impressed with the quality and utility of the product they receive. This will translate to them feeling as though the products and/or services that your business provides are also of high quality and something they need in their life.

On the contrary, if you give out a promotional product that is unappealing, dysfunctional, or in poor taste, it will lead to negative assumptions being made. Remember, you only get one first impression, so make it the best one possible.

5. They Make You Stand Out from Your Competitors

Anything you can do to rise above your competition is worth your time and money. Promotional products are a sure-fire way to help in this battle. The secret is to select a promotional product that is out of the ordinary. If you’re giving out the same items as everyone else, your company will soon be relegated to the ranks of the soon-forgotten and the also-rans. By selecting a promotional product that is useful and unique, you can be sure that your company will be on potential customers’ minds when the time comes to make a big purchase.

The astounding benefits of promotional products are undisputed — as long as you choose ones that represent your brand appropriately. If you really want the impressive ROI a promotional product can bring, look for a promotional product that is useful, made of quality materials, and unique. When you do this, you can plan on increased brand awareness, improved customer retention, effective targeting, and a leg up on the competition.

Photo credit: Blank promotional products from Africa Studio/Shutterstock