Everyone’s on the internet. Taco Bell, Pfizer, and your neighborhood barber all have websites, Google business profiles, and active social media accounts, and that’s because without those things, a brand or a business may as well be dead on arrival. The internet is at the very center of necessity for brand awareness. It contains the world’s largest and most lucrative ad platforms, like Google and Facebook. It’s something marketers and advertisers simply cannot do their jobs without. If your business is not on the internet, it needs to be.
Now that that’s out of the way, consider this: the internet isn’t everything, and it certainly isn’t the final boss of brand marketing. While internet platforms are necessary and supremely useful for marketing your brand, they’re only one cog in a big machine. Sure, it might be the biggest, toothiest cog, but internet platforms alone won’t complete your brand’s marketing image. So let’s talk about something that will certainly aid your web-based marketing as you work to make your brand more accessible, appealing, inviting, and available: branded promotional products. Here are 5 reasons why promotional products are the missing link in your internet-heavy marketing strategy.
1. They Are Real
Perhaps the most endearing and irresistible thing about branded promotional products is that they are real, actual, tangible objects. In today’s digital world, we’re so used to looking at ad-filled monitor screens, televisions, and smart phones that we unconsciously train ourselves to tune out advertisements. Sure, ads are still effective, but we see so many of them on our screens, and in such rapid succession, that they don’t seem as substantial as they should.
A branded promotional product is different. As soon as your company’s name is stamped on a tote bag, ballpoint pen, frisbee, or flash drive, it becomes real – it has entered the realm of the living. Just as people react differently to each other in person compared to their interactions online, they respond to brands differently when they encounter them in real life. Seeing your brand on a usable item will mean a lot more to someone than seeing your Instagram promotion for the fifth time that week. In a way, putting your brand on a real object makes your brand itself more real.
2. They Can’t Be Turned Off
In addition to the subtle psychological effect of having your brand represented by a real world object, there’s another immediate benefit of distributing promotional products: they can’t be turned off!
When someone sees their colleague drinking coffee from a high-quality, stainless steel travel mug with your name on it, they can’t close it. There’s no mute button. They can’t put that ad in their pocket and ignore it. It’s right there, in front of them, totally undeniable. Combine this with the average person generally having a more positive outlook on real-life advertising versus digital advertising, and you have a winning tactic.
3. People Love Gifts
Whether it’s a previous customer or a new potential convert, people love gifts. It’s really simple: when you get something for free, even if it’s something you didn’t ask for or didn’t know you wanted, you can’t help but express some gratitude. In the world of brand marketing, this gratitude manifests as a greater likelihood the gift recipient will patronize your business (or return for more, if they’re a prior customer).
The effectiveness of promotional products as gifts is context-dependant, too. For example, if your brand is being represented by a booth at an outdoor, summertime festival, what kinds of gifts will people appreciate most? A pair of sunglasses with your brand on them will leave a lasting impression on someone who receives them at a time of dire need, like a sunny July day.
4. They’re Cost Effective
For many startups just barely getting out the door, the budget for marketing is limited. Yet marketing is such an important part of a young brand’s health, perhaps even the most vital part. Without a marketing presence, you’ll struggle to raise awareness and attract business. Unfortunately, web ads – the go-to advertising format for most businesses – can be prohibitively expensive.
Instead of putting all of your meager marketing budget into web ads, you should consider promotional products, simply because there are products and quantities to suit any budget, and if you’re fortunate enough to work with a trustworthy, quality-dedicated promo product supplier, you’ll probably find some great deals. And unlike ads, promotional products don’t ever expire; studies show that people hold onto promotional gifts for an average of two years at least. Think about it – that’s two years of your brand getting total exposure in the real world.
5. They Can Be Monetized
The final reason you should think about incorporating promotional products in your web-focused marketing efforts is that those products can actually be monetized. In the typical promotional product marketing model, branded merchandise is given away at cost to promote a brand. This works very well, but it’s not the only application of promotional products.
Instead of just handing out merch, think about how that merch can actually make you money. You might recall seeing various companies selling branded swag on their websites, and once your brand gains enough of a following or fanbase, that will become a valid option for you. But when you’re just breaking onto the dance floor as a fledgeling brand, the best way to apply your merchandise resources is by using merch in promotional giveaways and raffles, and other events that directly drive business your way using gifts as a motivator.