Have you been thinking about new ways that you can market that are a bit different from standard online marketing or direct mail marketing? Promotional products can be a great option, but you need to be sure you are doing it the right way. Otherwise, you’ll end up with products you can’t use and that no one wants.
Below are some of the most common mistakes that companies make when they are first getting into promotional products. By knowing what these mistakes are and avoiding them, you will not have to worry about wasting your time and money.
Not Having a Strategy for Promotional Products
Too many companies like the idea of having promotional products to give away but never have a strategy on how and where to use them. You must think about what objectives you are trying to achieve with the products. For example, you might be trying to increase traffic to your website or your brick-and-mortar location. Perhaps you are just trying to boost brand awareness.
There are countless possibilities when it comes to a company’s objectives. The goal doesn’t have to be complicated either. However, you have to first define them and then choose the right type of product and design to help achieve those goals.
Not Having a Distribution Plan
How are you going to send out promotional products to your customers? Sending out products can be costly if you are doing it on your own. It is also time-consuming. However, a lot of businesses attempt to do this. They have promo products printed and then shipped to themselves before they use them or send them to customers.
If you are using the products entirely in-house, meaning you are providing shirts or rewards to employees, or if you are using them for local events and conferences, this can work. However, if you need to send them to customers, clients, and leads, it will be costly since you essentially have to pay for shipping twice—once when they are shipped to you and once when you ship them to the customer.
This is a waste of time and money. It’s better to find a vendor that can handle all of the fulfillment of your promotional products for you.
Choosing Products Your Target Audience Doesn’t Like
When you start to look at all of the options available for promo products, it’s often easy to get carried away. It’s fun to see your logo on everything from pens to shirts. However, you have to make sure that you understand what products will work best for your particular needs.
You have to think about the sorts of things that your clients and customers will appreciate. Otherwise, you will find that they aren’t going to care much for the items, even if they receive them for free. If the products don’t mean as much, they might not be kept or used very often.
Consider your target audience and choose products that you feel will work best for them. It’s hard to go wrong with things like notepads and pens since everyone can use them. The same would be true of things like magnets and even nice water bottles. When you can match the clients and products, you’ll find that they can produce great results.
Poor Quality Products
Most companies like to save money wherever they can. Often, marketing bears the brunt of a reduced budget, and this is particularly true for promotional items. Some companies have a hard time understanding how useful they can be. What ends up happening is that you start looking for the cheapest options available for promotional products.
This might seem like a smart move, as it will reduce your marketing costs. However, it has the potential to backfire on you. If you buy the cheapest products possible and have them emblazoned with your logo and contact information, how do you think the customers will react?
If they get a pen that runs out of ink after a few days or a shirt that falls apart, they are going to associate that poor level of quality with your business. They view you and the products as one and the same. If the promo items don’t last, they wonder how they can trust your service or products.
Low-Quality Printing Processes
Along the same lines, you don’t want to work with a vendor that can’t do a good job with their printing or embroidering processes. If the print job is subpar, it will also reflect on your business. In some cases, logos might wear off of the products, or the colors might not match your other branding efforts.
When you are searching for a vendor, learn more about not just the types of products they make but what type of capabilities they have. Can they provide true colors? Can they match your logo so that it’s recognizable and will work for your branding needs?
Not Checking for Typos
In large documents, typos can and do happen even when you go through them multiple times. Still, you always do your best to make sure they are kept to a minimum and removed whenever they are found. You need to put that same level of effort into the text that goes onto your promotional items.
Although you might think typos on promotional items don’t exist because they tend to have a small amount of text, you would be wrong. If you aren’t careful, you could have a typo in your website or email address, reverse digits in your phone number, etc.
There are plenty of things that could go wrong, so you should always triple-check the text before you have the products printed. Ideally, you will have multiple people check to verify.
Legibility of the Text and Design
Just as you need to check for typos, you need to be sure that the text is legible once it is printed. If the text is too small, too tightly spaced, or if the logo is not discernible, it won’t be usable by the recipients.
This often happens when people try to put too much information into too small of a space. You have to think about how much space is available and make sure that once it is applied to the product, it will be legible. Different types of products will have more printing space available.
You should also think about the font that you are using and how it looks in different sizes. Some fonts, particularly cursive styles, will be difficult to read. When they are made smaller than what’s on your website or letterhead, it can be even harder.
Some companies will offer a tool that will let you see how it looks before you print it. This is generally a good idea, as you’ll get to have a better idea of what the final product will be.
Opting for a Bland Design
You want your products to stand out and be interesting. You don’t want them to be boring, so take a step beyond just adding your name and contact information in plain text. Spend some time ensuring that you are putting together an interesting design that the user will like and will be happy to put on display.
You don’t need to make it overly complex either. Just put together a nice design that uses your colors, font, logo, and other elements that do a good job of showcasing your brand.
Not Checking Out a Sample or Small Batch First
This only tends to be necessary when you are first working with a new company. If you’ve never ordered through them before and you aren’t sure of their quality, you’ll want to buy a few of the products before you order a large number of them.
Getting the products in your hands will let you see how they look and whether they are of good quality or not. It’s also another chance to check to see if there are any typos or issues with the logo.
If the products aren’t up to your standards, you will only have spent a small amount of money on them. This is far better than ordering hundreds or thousands of pens only to discover that they aren’t worth it.
Ordering the Products Too Late
This is a major mistake that’s easy to make. If you have an event where you need to have promotional products on hand to give away, or if you are trying to align your products with a big marketing push that goes live on a certain date, you need to have those products ready to go.
Always make sure that you are ordering the products as early as possible. You don’t want to run into a situation where they arrive days or weeks late. Not having the items when they are needed would be a major problem that could interfere with your marketing.
Get an idea of how long it takes the company to make and ship products either to you or directly to your customers. They should have a good idea of how long it will typically take for orders of different sizes. Even when they provide you with an estimate on how much time it might take, you should err on the side of caution. Order early.
Ordering Too Few or Too Many
Here’s another ordering problem that plagues many companies getting started with promotional products. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to get right when you are first getting started. You might find that you have ordered too many products, or that you didn’t order enough.
Generally, it’s better to have too many of the products on hand rather than too few. You can always save those other items or just continue giving them away to clients. If you don’t order enough, though, it means that some people are going to have to go without.
Not Having Room to Store the Promotional Products
This is a mistake that many people don’t even consider when they start buying promotional items. You need to have plenty of room to store them until they are sent or given away. Many companies do not have enough space at their facility for all of those boxes of marketing merchandise.
Before you order, make sure you have a place where you can keep them. Ideally, you will find a printing company that can not only make the products but that can store them for you in their warehouse until you are ready for them.
They may even be able to ship and fulfill orders to your customers. For example, they could put together a marketing kit that contains a brochure, pen, pad, and postcard that they can send to a lead.
Not Waiting to See Whether It’s an Effective Marketing Strategy for You
Promotional items can work very well for marketing, but this doesn’t mean that they are going to work overnight. Just because you have a lot of people take your pens, pads, flashlights, and water bottles at the convention will not mean that they are going to all become customers in the next couple of days.
One of the best things about promotional product marketing is the slow burn. Those products have the potential to work for you months or longer down the road. Before you abandon the idea of using these types of items, you need to give them a chance to bear fruit.
If you don’t see results in the first few weeks, don’t worry. Continue with the strategy, make sure you are choosing products that are right for your target audience, and let them do their work. It might take some time, but this type of marketing can be very effective.
Promotional Products Can Be a Great Way to Gain Leads and Loyalty
These products are a nice solution for those who want to have a cost-effective way of getting new leads and increasing the loyalty of their current customers. They allow you to stay in your customers’ minds for as long as they have the product, and they let you stand out from the competition.
Most companies hand out business cards with their information on them. While you can still use business cards, wouldn’t it make more of an impression if you handed them a pen with the same information? They can use the pen and whenever they do, they’ll be reminded of your company and what you have to offer. It’s a subtle but effective way of getting more business.
Find a Quality Partner for Producing Promotional Products
If you want to avoid making mistakes with your promotional products, you need to have a great vendor that you can trust. When making your choice, learn more about what the company can offer with its promo item services. What products do they have? Can they print the actual colors of your logo? Can they provide the distribution of products you want to mail to clients?
Additionally, check into what other services the company offers. Consider working with a vendor that can provide help in other areas of marketing, as well, such as sales enablement and direct mail. Imagine how much simpler things would be if you could use just a single vendor for all of your marketing needs. It could help you to save time and money.