10 Costly Mistakes When Buying Promotional Products


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Nearly every business, whether large or small uses some type of promotional item to giveaway to their customers.  The reason they do is because promotional products are one of the most effective forms of marketing.  Buying promotional items should be an investment that brings a return on your money and NOT an expense.  Here are the 10 most common pitfalls with businesses buying promotional products.

  1. Buying from Order Takers – The top mistake that most buyers make is going with an inexperienced company or with a company that takes no interest in helping your campaign succeed.  To elaborate further, many promotional product distributors are interested only in the sale and not the well-being of your marketing campaign success.  These distributors will gladly take your money but their customer service is lousy.  Experienced distributors know that any future repeat business from their clients hinges directly on the successes of their campaigns, so any smart distributor is going to try to help their clients in every way possible to offer any suggestions to better their marketing efforts.  Therefore, using a knowledgeable distributor will benefit you greatly with any campaign.  It doesn’t make any sense to go with a company that is just simply offering a lower price on an item if they give no service, especially if you’re just talking pennies per item.
  2. Not Developing an Objective for Your Campaign – So what are you trying to achieve with your purchase of promotional items?  Are you just going for brand awareness?  Are you actually wanting to increase sales?  Are you trying to get customer contact info for a mailing or telemarketer list?  Are you using your giveaways as thank you gifts?  Are you using the items are employee incentives?  All of these are crucial questions that need answers because you must define the target audience and define what you action you desire.  If you want to increase sales, you might want to use the item as a FREE gift with purchase.  Or if you are wanting to thank your employees for a job well done, you will want to give them a premium item that they will keep and use often.  If you are promoting brand awareness, you will want to get an item that is related to your product, brand, or service.  A promotional products consultant can help you with creative ideas and it doesn’t cost you any extra for this service.
  3. Buying Trash – You don’t go through your neighbor’s garbage can and offer to buy his garbage and then give it away to your customers, so why buy useless junk that will end up in the trash can that same day.  Don’t buy a 20 cent pen and expect people to jump up and down in excitement.  A cheap item like that is likely to skip when writing, smear, and possibly not even write at all.  Then all you have done is wasted your money and given your customers and potential customers a bad taste about your company.  They get a cheap feel about your business and associate your service and products as cheap and useless.
  4. Being Stingy – I always love this one!  I see people buying promotional products all the time, but they hoard the items in a closet and don’t give them away.  They save them for “special people” or “special occasions” that never really come.  The items stay boxed up in a closet and offer no marketing value.  You’ve spent the money on the items, so now get some use out of them.  An average promotional item is viewed by many more people than just the recipient.  Therefore, one item has a lot of marketing power to affect multiple locations. 
  5. No Contact Info – Having just your logo printed on items without contact information such as your website, address, or phone number is not usually recommended unless you are simply promoting brand awareness.  Even if you are just promoting brand awareness and not trying to get orders from this marketing item, you should still at least have your website printed on the items, unless you have National or Worldwide recognition such as Microsoft.
  6. Wrong Item for Your Target Audience- So often I get calls from people wanting specific items, but when I question them about their intentions with the items, I find out the items are completely inappropriate for the recipients.  You don’t want to have custom imprinted pocket knives and pass them out to kindergartners or give logo molded chocolate out at a diabetes seminar.  Although, these examples are extreme, this drives the point home.  Make sure you know who the recipients will be.  If most will be elderly, give out something that age group can use.  If they are a younger audience, make sure and give out something that will appeal to that generation.  This simple concept is often overlooked and should be thought about carefully.  In many instances, you may need to think about getting 2 or 3 types of items if you have a diverse crowd.
  7. Too Much Information Printed – Printing too much information on a promotional item is a no no.  Often people want to print their business name, logo, address, website, phone number, fax number, and a tag line on a pen with a 1/2 in.x 1 in. imprint area.   This of course makes no sense because with most promotional items, the imprint area is limited and the more you print, the smaller the imprint will be.  What good does the imprint do if you need a magnifying glass to see it.  Think about the pertinent info you need.  Your logo, business name, phone number, and website is usually sufficient.  Do you really need a fax number on a promotional item?  Simpler is often better.  Information overload will cause people to not read the info.
  8. No Tracking Method - Having a way to track the Return on Investment (ROI) is always a great idea with promotional products.  You can use them like a coupon and include an exclusive discount or coupon code so that you will know exactly how many people placed an order or made a purchase that was directly related to this item.  For example, bring this tote bag to the store to bag your items at checkout and receive a 5% discount.  Or have a coupon code that says 10% off your purchase on our website by using promo code TAKE10.  By doing this, you can measure results and know if this type of marketing is working for you.  In order to be successful with your campaign, there is still a lot of other planning to do such as targeting the right audience with the right product.
  9. Giving Away High Dollar Items in Bulk – I have seen several companies (the ones with plenty of money to spend) giving away premium items to anyone they see.  While premium items are very effective to giveaway to your top customers, I never recommend giving them away to just anyone.  That is the quickest way to break the bank.  Bulk items should be the lower cost items under $3.00 each. 
  10. No Advance Planning – Make sure you order early enough in advance to avoid rush charges and expedited shipping charges.  Most promotional products can take up to 2 weeks for production; however, you can get many products these days with free rush service, but you still may have to use 2-day or overnight shipping to get your items on time.  This can be avoided with a little advance planning and ordering early enough.  Why waste money on rush or expedited shipping fees?

While most of these tips may seem like no-brainers, these are common mistakes made by thousands of businesses everyday.  These simple mistakes can be avoided by using the services of a qualified and experienced promotional products distributor.  Use the expertise of these consultants to help ensure your next marketing campaign will be the most successful one ever.

Copyright 2010 Patrick Black and Perfect Imprints.  All rights reserved.

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The 3 Worst Promotional Products Ever


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I just thought I would share these three promotional products that are worst ideas I’ve ever seen for promotional giveaways.  If you seen worse promos, please email us a picture and description to customerservice@perfectimprints.com.  Thanks.

Worst Promotional Products Ever

Worst Promotional Products Ever

Okay, so you’re not going to find those type of products with us, but if you are interested in some unique and actually useful promotional items, make sure and give us a call.  Our over 10 years of experience can help youfind the perfect product for your next promotion.

Cheap Marketing


Well, there have been some recent positive news with regard to an improving economy.  So, what are you doing about it?  Maybe your marketing budget was cut in order to save money during the flailing economy, so now are just sitting around waiting for customers to come to you?  Now is the time to be aggressive and grab your share of the ones that are actually ready to let go of some money.  You must contine to market your business.  There is no other form of advertising that is cheaper or more effective than using promotional products to market your business.  Recent studies have shown that using custom printed promotional items have the lowest cost per impression over television,  radio, newspaper, or sometimes even billboard ads.   This means that more people are exposed to promos giveaways with your business logo printed on them.  Most promotional giveaways are only cost a fraction of a penny for each marketing exposure. 


Now, I’m not saying to stop all other forms of advertising.  I am saying that you should think about diversifying your marketing strategies and use some less expensive mediums that may actually be more effective for your business.  The key is to choose the right giveaways for your target audience and your business.  You also have to choose the right price range.  If you choose something to cheap, the giveaways may not be used and will end up in the trash.  If you choose something to expensive, you will bust your budget and not reach many people.  Use a qualified promotional products expert to help you choose a product that is both useful and unique to help you bring maximum results from your advertising campaign.  This should be an investment that will bring in more money than you spend.  So don’t wait any longer and see the power of promotional products for yourself.

Photos and research statistics are courtesy of The Advertising Specialy Institute.

2010 Reasons to Buy Promotional Items


Okay, so I’m not really going to list 2010 reasons, but I will list several VERY important reasons why promotional items should be used to market your business in this new year and decade.

We are coming out of the worst economic times since the Great Depression.  Although economic recovery is not predicted to come back with a boom, it will likely be a slow steady growth.  It is extremely important for your business to get visibility now, even if your clients aren’t buying right now.  There will come a day soon that they will be buying and if they do not see your business name in front of them often, they will see your competitor.  It’s very easy to get comfortable in your day to day job and fail to market your business.  This is a pitfall for disaster.  Promotional items are excellent items to market your budget and get the best cost per impression.  So you may ask, “What is cost per impression?”  That is simply defined as how much it costs you for each person to see your advertisement, whether it is on a television, radio, newspaper, or magazine ad or on a promotional item.  The cost per impression for a promotional item is just pennies compared to other forms of advertising and much more effective.  Everyone loves to get something free if it is useful, unique, or has value.  You sometimes have to think outside of the box and veer away from pens or koozies and think of a more unique item for your business.  The sky is the limit.

More often than not when times get tough, business begin to trim the fat to help sustain themselves.   However, many businesses actually trim the lean muscle (the marketing budget) without thinking of the consequences.   Effective marketing is what drives sales.  If you track your marketing and are smart with your advertising, you should see a direct correlation between sales and marketing.  Promotional items can be very effective if used properly.  Make sure and utilize a knowlegeable promotional products consultant for creative ideas for your industry.

A typical promotional product is kept for 7 months.  How long does a customer hold on to a newspaper ad or a radio or tv ad?  I haven’t heard of many people TIVOing commercials so they can watch them later (Super Bowl commercials of course may be an exception).

Direct mailing to customers may not have a high response rate; however, add something lumpy in that evelope and that will be the first piece of mail they open.  Curisosity is a great human emotion to utilize.  Of course you want the lump in the envelope to be something with your company name and something that would be useful for that customer.  The more useful an item is the more exposure that product will create for you.

Make sure and start the new year out right and use effective marketing techniques to give you business the edge over your competitors.  Promotional giveaways are excellent resources to help your brand and company recognition.  The earlier you start, the sooner you will benefit.    Good luck with 2010.

Marketing Your Business in 2010 with Promotional Products


Marketing in 2010 will be much different than in past years.  At the height of a recession with some small (really small) signs of economic turnaround, all buyers will be very cautious.  Buyers are looking for sales and coupons more than ever now.  Buyers are also looking for FREE gifts that are offered with their purchases.  Giving away free marketing gifts is a great way to drive in more sales, and I don’t mean giving away a cheap koozie or some other type of inexpensive giveaway.  You should giveaway items of value such as promotional tote bags, custom calendars with your personalized coupons for each month, or maybe even a nice promotional mug.  The possibilities are endless; however, you just want to make sure and giveaway something of value or something of perceived value.  The more useful the item, the more perceived value the particular item will have.  Promotional giveaways have been used successfully for years and there is no better time than right now to use them to increase sales for your business.