Using branded merchandise as a tactic for attracting new customers/clients and retaining existing ones isn’t a new phenomenon by any means. In fact, it has been around since the mid-1800s, when a newspaper owner named Jasper Meek realised that many of the children in his local area didn’t own a bag in which to carry their schoolbooks. So, Meek approached a local shoe shop and offered to print book bags which the shop could give away for free to every child who bought shoes with them. It was a resounding success and Meek soon worked with various other local businesses.
The premise of promotional merchandise remains similar to this day, and who doesn’t love a free gift? Nowadays, though, there is no limit to what can be manufactured and given away for free, so the world is your oyster when it comes to using branded items as a method for getting your brand name out there. However, you should always try and make sure that your branded items align with your company values. For instance, if you claim to be an eco-friendly company, you might want to ensure that your giveaway items are all manufactured from recycled materials. You should also think about your target audience and what products they might benefit from or enjoy receiving. For instance, if you are a beauty brand, you could consider giving away pocket mirrors or mini nail varnishes or lipsticks.
Here are some examples of ways you can incorporate promotional merchandise into your marketing strategy…
If you operate an eCommerce business in which customers are able to purchase your products online to be delivered to their homes, you could consider adding freebie items to their parcels. These could be samples of your new products, or just a little gift at Christmas/Valentine’s/Easter etc to thank your customers for buying from you. This will certainly make the unboxing experience more memorable, making your customers more likely to return to you going forward.
When attending exhibitions or other marketing events, it would be a good idea to take along some branded products to give away at your stall. Research has actually found that people are far more likely to approach a business if they are able to get something for free, even if its just a keyring, pen, or tote bag. However, as well as enticing people to come over and meet you and your colleagues, giveaway items at exhibitions also mean that people are walking around holding your products, acting as a walking advertisement for you with very little effort on your part.
If you often attend client pitch meetings, you should consider taking along some branded stationery, such as pens and notebooks. You can leave these products with your potential clients so that you’re not easy to forget.
Generally speaking, it’s a good idea for companies to look for ways that they can build positive relationships with their existing and prospective customers. Doing so will help encourage them to recommend you to their friends, post positive reviews online and engage with you on social media.