You should consider business promotional products to be essential components of your larger marketing strategy. Although promotional items are fundamental if you want to expand your reach, there is a second component needed to unlock their true potential.
There are two parts to the concept of marketing reach: the size of the audience and the memorability of your message. It doesn’t matter how many people you are able to contact if your message doesn’t register with them. Similarly, promotions that are memorable wouldn’t be enough to grow your customer base unless they spread to new audiences.
That’s why social media and promotional items make the ideal pair. While social media expands your audience in a widening ripple of shares, promotional items give them something tangible to remember you by.
Try these 12 creative ideas on combining the two and reach for the stars.
1. Hashtag It
Brainstorm a page full of clever hashtags to create a buzz around your business. Puns and wordplay work well on social media. When you decide on one, use it consistently across social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Then you can use custom screen printing to promote the hashtag in store or at live events.
2. Sell Yourself
With modern printing capabilities, it’s easy to make custom promotional products on short notice. Create a social media campaign promoting a flash sale on T-shirts, mugs, flash drives, etc. with your company’s name. Put a 24-hour limit on the sale to increase the excitement on social media.
3. Pick a Winner
Have customers send in a picture with your company, or an item related to your company, to win a promotional item. For example, if your name is Sun Computer Repair, ask readers to send in a child’s picture of a sun to win a branded stuffed animal.
Take advantage of national promotions like Fire Prevention Week or National Truck Driver Appreciation Week to run a campaign. Choose a certain percentage of people who share your post to win a promotional item like a trucker hat.
5. Shoot a Video
Ask readers to shoot a short 60-second or less video on common topics, such as an easy home repair, ways to save money, simple science experiments, etc. The topic of the video doesn’t have to be directly tied to your company but it should echo your branding. Give people plenty of time to come up with ideas and use promotional items to remind them of the concept.
6. No. 1 Fan
Sports posts tend to be highly motivational and bring back strong engagement. Run a contest to see who has a more active fan base. Ask readers to post pictures of themselves at games. Everyone who supported the team with the most pictures gets a promotional mini football or a megaphone.
7. Happy Anniversary
Any anniversary is the right time for chocolate. In celebration of your company’s anniversary, ask people to send in pictures from when they first met or their wedding day. Send out chocolate champagne bottles to a randomly chosen winner.
8. Save a Bag
People want to save money but they also want to save the environment. Run a campaign asking people to use less bags at the grocery store. Ask them to send in pictures of nature so they know what they are really saving. Readers can vote on the best image and the winners receive heavy-duty reusable grocery bags with your promotional message.
9. Scavenger Hunt
This has been a great success at conventions. Announce on social media that readers can pick up a promotional item as a prize at your convention booth when they say a certain phrase you have posted on your Facebook or Twitter profile page.
10. Swag Bags
A webinar followed by a Q&A session on social media is one of the best ways to generate solid leads and discover customer pain points. Sweeten the deal by offering to send a swag bag of promotional items to the office of a company that signs up five or more employees.
11. Personal Brands
Social selling has revolutionized the way salespeople interact with prospects. One of the central concepts is personal branding, where potential customers seek out advice from industry experts instead of just calling sales for product information. Successful salespeople can earn customized promotional items with a link to their own LinkedIn profiles.
12. Offline Productivity
Digital overload is serious business. Companies are paying for phone-/email-free retreats to regain balance and boost productivity. Start a social media contest where readers send in pictures of the best non-digital productivity device. The winners receive branded pens, planners and journals.
Combining the Strengths of Both
Think of social media as your stage and promotional items as the speaker system. You need both to connect with the widest audience and make sure your message gets through. Amplification of your message from sharing across networks delivers the greatest ROI because the cost is so low. Promotional items, however, come with a built-in tangibility and emotional engagement that social media just can’t touch. Learn the strengths of both, and combine them in innovative ways to see your customer base steadily expand.