The digital age has proven rich in opportunity for those who are sick of the rat race and yearn to start a small business of their very own. As we reach the 2020s, anyone with a WiFi connection can potentially become an entrepreneur. The digital world provides everything you need to find your audience, sell your products or services and grow your market. The only problem is that the same opportunities available to you are also available to your legions of competitors. When other businesses are snapping at your heels trying to poach your customers from you, and your customers know that they can afford to be fickle, building a brand that resonates with your target audience is arguably more important than ever.
Trade shows, exhibitions and other events are a great opportunity for you to make an impression with prospective customers and non-competing brands who could become valuable collaborators. But how do you make that perfect first impression? By using branded promotional products! These can help to build brand awareness and lay the foundations of brand loyalty. According to a 2017 PPAI survey, 83% of consumers are more likely to do business with a brand as a result of receiving products.
But what makes these promotional goods so effective? Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why your business should be using promotional products.
They give consumers something for nothing
We live in economically turbulent times. Today’s consumers are (quite rightly) growing increasingly discerning when it comes to who they give their hard earned money to. Likewise, other businesses are increasingly wary of whom they can trust with their budgets. Whether you operate in the B2B or B2C space, your clientele is looking for a brand that goes the extra mile for them.
What could demonstrate your commitment to them more aptly than giving them something for nothing? In an era where there are so many brands scrambling for their attention (and money), consumers are likely to be predisposed to brands who want to give them something. Of course, for this to be truly effective you need to make an investment in high quality promotional products. Which brings us to…
They build positive associations with your brand
As Amazon founder Jeff Bezos put it “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”. But how do you control the narrative about what people say about your brand either in the real world or online?
You can start by doing all you can to build positive associations with your brand.
Promotional branded products can help you to do exactly that. Thus, the more useful your promotional products are to your target audience the better. That means you’re going to have to think outside the box and go beyond the obvious things like t-shirts, caps and mugs. Think about the kinds of people your business is trying to target. Think about the things they’re likely to need. The things they’re likely to use every day.
With today’s advanced printing techniques you can get your company name and logo on pretty much everything from clothing to cookware, from umbrellas to USB flash drives, from stationery to stress relief balls.
For a long time, the kinds of branded promotional products businesses use were pretty much just disposable ephemera. Now, however, businesses have an opportunity to create promotional products that are of genuine use to your prospects. And that’s potentially really exciting! The more useful and valuable the product, the more positive the association with your brand.
They demonstrate your business’ social conscience
Speaking of disposability, don’t make the mistake of assuming that branded promotional products and business gifts are all made of single use plastics that will transfer from the recipients’ hands to their bin to a landfill where they will remain for hundreds of years.
The times are changing, and consumers are growing more and more ecologically aware. Many consumers, especially younger consumers, expect businesses to have a strong sense of corporate social responsibility and will be much more likely to choose a brand that has a strong focus on ethics and sustainability over one that doesn’t, even if they have to pay more for the privilege.
With this in mind, a new generation of more ethically sourced and sustainable promotional products has arisen, giving brands the opportunity to demonstrate their social conscience and commitment to environmental stewardship through the products they give away.
Think tote bags made from recycled fabrics, USB flash drives made from sustainable plant plastics, reusable straws and notebooks made from recycled paper. These kinds of promotional products can not only demonstrate your ethical focus but help your prospects to lead a more sustainable and eco-friendly life.
If you’re trying to appeal to a younger market, the right business gifts can provide you with an opportunity you won’t want to miss.
They have the potential to get people talking about your brand
In the fast-paced and ever-evolving world of marketing, brands are tripping over themselves trying to get their names and logos in front of prospective customers. But while sponsored ads online, social media campaigns and even good old fashioned leaflet campaigns are all potentially great ways of reaching your target market, it’s extremely hard to generate the kind of organic chatter around your brand that gets customers excited and results in long-term brand loyalty.
Promotional products, however, when used effectively can prove invaluable in generating conversation and buzz around your brand. Let’s say you give away an item at a trade show. The recipient takes it to work with them and puts it on their desk. Their boss is likely to see it. Their colleagues are likely to see it. Visiting friends are likely to see it. They may ask questions about it and the conversation will turn to your brand.
This is the essence of building brand awareness through virality.
Obviously, this is much easier to do when the promotional product itself is bold, eye catching, clever, inventive and above all useful.
They can help nurture relationships with influencers in your field
One of the inherent problems of marketing in the 21st century is that by and large consumers are wary and jaded. They’ve seen and heard it all. They’ve heard years’ worth of bold claims and been disappointed time after time when the brands making them haven’t followed through on them. As such, they’re likely to take anything you say about yourself with a hefty chunk of salt.
They do, however, trust other consumers which is why social proof in the form of reviews, ratings and shared customer comments on social media are so vitally important in this day and age. A growing number of consumes, however, trust social influencers implicitly. Indeed 49% of consumers say they depend on influencer recommendations and 40% of millennial consumers believe that their favourite content creators understand them even better than their own friends.
And if there’s one thing that influencers love… it’s a freebie!
Send them the right promotional products and they’ll start saying all the right things about your brand to their followings. This can help introduce your brand to legions of new consumers who might otherwise never have heard of you.
They create an impression that lasts!
When you take the time to choose and develop the right promotional products- the kind that are relevant, useful, novel and inventive, the kind that are made from quality materials and made to last, you have the power to create a lasting impression.
Every time the recipient reaches for it, they’ll think of you. Every time they use it, they’ll think of you. Get it right and your products can remain a part of the recipient’s life for years to come!
These are just a few of the many reasons why your small business should be using promotional products. And if you aren’t already reaping these benefits… it’s only a matter of time until your competitors are!