Promotional Items

Using Promotional Items to Boost Your Organization’s Presence

Get Your Organization Noticed

For many organizations, particularly nonprofits that are running on a Spartan budget, using promotional items to boost your organization’s presence at fundraisers and exhibitions is the most effective way to spend your marketing dollars.

Ads are everywhere. On TV and newspapers. On the side of buses and on grocery store floors. When we surf the web pop ups momentarily prevent us from getting to the content. Digital ads follow us online. There are even digital video ads on bathroom stalls at restaurants.

The public is savvy about being manipulated by advertising. Yet, advertising is vital for promoting your organization or business. So, how does one reach customers without putting them off? And, better yet, is there a way to do it cost effectively?

While consumers might fast forward through TV ads or ignore banner ads while they are surfing the web, they love free stuff!

Some cite the first promotional product as a commemorative button for George Washington’s Presidential election in 1789. However, promotional products didn’t become prevalent until the twentieth century. It is puzzling that it took so long to catch on because promotional items have traditionally had a great Return on Investment (ROI).

Nonprofits

Nonprofits are one of the top ten purchasers of promotional items. One study found that 41 percent of U.S. consumers bought a product because it was “associated with a cause or issue,” so this shouldn’t be surprising. However, there are many reasons why promotional items that will promote your brand make sense for your nonprofit organization.

Some reasons include:

  • Helps fundraising for your organization when soliciting donors or offering products for purchase
  • Increases response rates to mailers soliciting donations when an item like a refrigerator magnet, key chain, or pen is included
  • Educates people who see others wearing shirts or carrying totes in public
  • Makes a nice “thank you” gift to volunteers and donors

Make a positive impression

Whether you’re a for- or nonprofit organization, promotional items leave potential patrons with a significantly more favorable impression of organizations that provide them compared to other forms of advertising. The following breakdown details the percentage of people who felt more favorably towards an organization after being exposed to various types of advertising:

  • 9% who saw online advertising
  • 7% who saw a television commercial
  • 2% who saw a print ad
  • 42-52% who received a promotional item

How cost effective are promotional items?

So, we know promotional items work, but how do they stack up cost-wise?

It turns out promotional products have the best ROI compared with the other main forms of advertising. Many companies calculate the Cost Per Impression (CPI) of their advertisements and research reveals these averages.

The CPI for various media buys:

  • $0.019 for prime time TV spots
  • $0.019 for half-page black and white newspaper ads
  • $0.006 for syndicated daytime TV spots
  • $0.005 for radio spots
  • $0.003 for billboards

The average CPI for promotional items? Just $0.004!

Why promotional items work

Promotional items are effective because, depending on the item, people hang on to them and use them; they might even use them every day. Each time someone uses a promotional item they are essentially advertising your organization to others who see the person using or wearing it.

In addition, promotional items work because when someone gives you something, psychology dictates that you will feel like you owe the giver a favor in return. In this case, buying the giver’s products or donating to their organization.

To sum it up:

  • People like free things.
  • Promotional items provide a lot of brand exposure at a low price.
  • People experience positive feelings toward an organization after receiving an item.

Social media

Why not go the extra step and have a little fun with it?

Pairing promotional items that will promote your brand with social media is also a good strategy. It’s a good way to both retain and gain patrons or donors.

People like to feel appreciated, so show your loyal clientele or benefactors that you appreciate their patronage with free gifts every now and then. Word of mouth is powerful. When people feel goodwill and appreciation from your organization and like your brand, they will speak kindly of you to their friends and colleagues.

On social media it is also easy for people to share your organization’s page with their friends. People like to be the trendsetter and find good deals so that they can be the one who shares them with their friends.

A trendy promotional gift can also be effective on social media. Take some of the excitement for the hottest new product and direct some of that excitement to your organization!

Why not extend the reach offered by social media even further by also requesting information from visitors? Besides, if people are asked to sign up for a newsletter they may be apt to buy or donate later, having remembered a good experience with your brand.

Ways to implement social media:

  • Offer promotional items for liking your Facebook or Twitter page.
  • Offer promotional items for signing up for an e-newsletter or giving you their email or mailing address.
  • Encourage people to post or send you pictures of them using your promotional products. This is good publicity for potential customers or donors to see the pictures of others using your products and it gets people actively engaged with your brand.
  • Print QR codes, twitter handles, or other social media sites on your promotional items.
  • Include a big-ticket item contest or drawing advertised in store, at a conference, at a trade show, or on social media.

Potential Pitfalls

Like any form of advertising, there are drawbacks and things to consider.

  • Some experts claim effective promotional items have at least a $5 to $10 perceived value. This can be an expensive investment.
  • Consumers will hang on to the item for varying lengths of time depending on the item. For example, food will expose your brand to the consumer for a shorter time period than other items.
  • This year’s hot colors might go out of style next season. How many T-shirts are do you plan to distribute? It’s OK if you give away all of them; however, if you buy in bulk for a discount and plan to pass some out next year, choose something more traditional that will still be in fashion.

The most effective promotional items

Pens. Pens. Pens.

While there are many options, pens are at the top of the list because they are used more than any other item. Everyone needs a pen and one study showed 40% of recipients used their pens twice per day. Pens also last a long time. This is a lot of brand exposure for such a small and inexpensive promotional item.

However, don’t make your pens so inexpensive that they are poor quality, as this will reflect poorly on your organization. Other than that, you really can’t go wrong.

Tote bags are another great option. Research shows bags are the most frequently used promotional items by consumers, averaging nine uses per month. Because consumers carry them around in public, each bag creates about 1,038 impressions per month. That’s huge!

Consumers also keep bags for nine months, a relatively long period for promotional items. Apparel is also kept around a while, averaging seven months.

The other promotional items people most often keep are items they find useful in the kitchen or the office.

In sum:

  • Pens
  • Bags
  • Kitchen gadgets
  • Office supplies

Effective promotional items are:

  • Used regularly
  • Kept nearby

The most preferred promotional items include:

  • Clocks and watches
  • Digital picture frames
  • Food baskets
  • Luggage
  • MP3 players

While these are the statistics, keep in mind what will work best for your organization’s budget. It is important that your promotional items relate to your brand. This makes it easier for potential patrons to remember you and make connections between the promotional item and your brand.

For example, if you’re a yoga studio and you take away people’s watches at the door to meditate without regard to time, a watch or clock wouldn’t make sense as a promotional item and would certainly confuse your brand’s message!

Promotional Items for Nearly Any Need

T.R. McTaggart provides promotional items that will promote your brand that are high quality and customizable. This reflects well on your brand. We can create items to your specifications to increase your brand recognition.

The products we provide include:

  • Automotive
  • Badges
  • Lanyards
  • Bags
  • Calendars
  • Computer accessories
  • Desk items
  • Eco friendly
  • Food and beverage
  • Games
  • Golf items
  • Healthcare
  • Key tags
  • Kitchen and home
  • Mugs and drinkware
  • Pens
  • Sports and outdoors
  • Stress balls
  • Tools and hardware
  • Travel items

Contact Us Today

T.R McTaggart has over two decades of experience and expertise producing promotional items. If you want to find out more about how we can work with you to design and develop promotional items for your organization that will make your brand stand out, call us today at (800) 433-0983 to talk to a friendly representative about your organization’s needs.

 

 

Links:

http://www.socialfish.org/2015/06/how-you-can-use-promotional-products-to-boost-your-social-media-campaign/

https://finelineprintinggroup.com/how-to-be-effective-with-marketing-promotions-in-the-public-sector/

http://www.nonprofitpro.com/article/why-promotional-products-might-be-your-nonprofits-secret-weapon/

http://www.dexmedia.com/blog/how-to-increase-your-community-presence-and-your-bottom-line-2/

http://info.4imprint.com/wp-content/uploads/1P-13-0712-July-BP-Effectiveness-of-Promotional-Products.pdf

https://promosauruspromotionalproducts.com/promotional-products-cause-top-benefits-nonprofits/

http://www.sageworld.com/blog/index.php/2016/03/22/top-10-promotional-products-for-nonprofits/

 

 

keys to a successful trade show

4 Keys to a Successful Trade Show

What to consider when planning a trade show

You’ve decided it’s time to represent your business at a trade show to expand your customer base and grow your business. However, the first time planning a trade show can be overwhelming. There are a lot of logistics involved in the process and a lot of things that could potentially go wrong. So, how do you achieve a successful trade show appearance? While there are many things to consider, there are 4 keys to a successful trade show that are paramount:

  • Be strategic
  • Plan
  • Maximize the time you are there
  • Distribute promotional materials 

Be Strategic

Before you commit to a trade show, do your research to make sure your efforts will be worthwhile. If only a small fraction of the demographic you’re trying to reach is going to attend, don’t invest time and money. You could plan an impressive display only to be disappointed. Also make sure that you project the cost of participating in the trade show to be made up for in new business revenue.

On the other hand, if your business makes sense in the context of the trade show, it can be a great opportunity to connect with potential clients. Once you’ve decided that participating at a trade show is a good investment, it’s time to figure out how to make the most of the event.

Potential clients or buyers come to the event ready to learn about what your business has to offer. However, there’s also going to be competition, so try to get a prime location. Though it costs extra, it’s worth it. Book your spot well in advance because this real estate goes fast. If you plan to attend every year, you might even be able to strike up a discount with the organizers.

Another way to increase traffic to your booth is to market it before the exhibition. Offering an incentive to stop by via social media is one tactic.

Usually a list of registered attendees is available beforehand. Make use of it! You can research these perspective customers to better understand the demographic attending and tailor your presentation to them. Perhaps you highlight specific products or services that you think would appeal to the demographic attending.

Then, once you attract people to your booth, make the most of it. Just like in networking, many people who meet a professional contact have a quality conversation, but then never follow up. If you have a great lead, pursue it! Things might not pan out, but why put in all that effort just to neglect what could become a great business relationship? Make sure you follow up with potential clients within six weeks.

Personalization is also important. Try to incorporate specific information from your conversation at the show when you follow up. It shows that you were listening to clients’ needs and would be responsive if they decide to work with you. 

Plan

Probably one of the most important keys to a successful trade show is planning. To plan effectively, make a budget, allow yourself enough time, and carefully consider your exhibit. 

Make a budget

Doing this helps you evaluate the true cost of the exhibition. Separate expenses into categories. For example:

  • Exhibition space rental
  • Exhibit design and accompanying technology
  • Promotion
  • Travel and staffing

Add a cushion to your budget in case anything goes wrong. For example, you could add on 10% of what you think the total cost will be. If you need to replace a computer cord or battery you want the hassle to be the time it takes you to go to the store, not getting approval for the purchase you needed ten minutes ago.

Also, consider using a booth design that can be used for multiple events. This can save you money in the future.

Another way to save on cost is to forego a plywood or laminate booth structure in favor of a design construction that uses poles with stretched fabric. Since this design is lightweight, it’s cheaper to ship. Plus it’s easy to assemble, saving on time. Storing the exhibit compactly is a plus as well.

Allot yourself weeks or even months to plan the event

Figure out what equipment you need so you can place your technical requirements with the trade show organizers to make sure you can be accommodated, especially if things are first come first served.

Ship your exhibit ahead of time. Then if anything breaks in shipment you have time to fix it.

Do a run-through to determine if everything is working. Then you can see if you’ve overlooked something or if technology isn’t working and needs to be replaced.

Think of Plan B and C. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, something goes wrong that is out of your control. If a computer isn’t working or you don’t have an electrical outlet, do you have high-quality printouts of your slides? Is there a way you could improvise and still get your business’ message across effectively?

Also, don’t be afraid to ask exhibit organizers for help. They’ve been doing this for a long time and might know a quick fix you hadn’t considered. 

Put effort into how your exhibit is presented

Make your exhibit stand out and include text that is easy to read from all directions. A trade show is not the time to place similar fonts and background colors together to look stylish but that are hard to read from a distance. Just like multiple ads on a news page or in a magazine, all the exhibits are competing for the customer’s attention. Peruse some magazines and see what sticks out to you and draws your eye.

Include a variety of media that appeal to different people. Like in school, some people prefer videos to learn. Others might want literature, such as brochures and pamphlets, to bring home and read later. 

Then evaluate

Does the display draw in visitors? Does it clearly convey your company’s message?

Maximize your time

Have enough staff available. You’ve invested a lot of time and money to be at the trade show. The last thing you want is to successfully bring in traffic only for potential customers to have no one to make a connection with or to answer questions.

Offer specials only available at the show, advertising it prominently, to make customers more apt to purchase from you during the event. You can engage on social media before the event and have prominent signs to alert potential clients of your trade show promo.

In addition to information about your products and services at your display, also include helpful materials to potential clients. If you become a problem solver, customers will come to you for answers and you will establish yourself as an expert – and gain their business.

This should go without saying, but dress professionally and pay attention to everyone. Like it or not, you are judged by what you wear. On the flip side, many exhibitors brush off people who don’t look important. However, these days you often can’t tell how powerful a person is by clothing. Think of Mark Zuckerberg. If you ignore people in flip flops or a t-shirt, you could miss out on a potentially lucrative client.

Distribute Branded Items

Contests and prizes are a fun way to draw in a crowd and create an atmosphere of excitement at a trade show. Select items that prominently display your brand and that attendees will keep with them for a long period of time, such as mugs, notepads, and pens. This places your brand in their daily lives. Maximize the opportunity by requiring that attendees either take information from you or provide you with contact information in order to be eligible for the prize.

Brand drinks or snacks with your logo. While these items don’t last long they do advertise your display as people walk around.

Unlocking the Keys to a Successful Trade Show

While it might seem daunting at first, planning a successful trade show is doable if you think strategically, plan ahead, maximize your resources, and distribute promotional materials to your key demographic. T.R. McTaggart is here help you plan your events and to brainstorm strategies to selecting promotional materials that are right for your business.

We have expertise in providing comprehensive solutions for trade show success, from planning to promotional materials. Servicing the retail and gift industry as well as corporations and non-profits, for almost four decades, T.R. McTaggart has helped clients find the perfect promotional items to increase brand awareness.

Whether you are looking for something specific or browsing for ideas, we are your one-stop trade show success source. Contact us to discuss your needs in greater detail or to request a quote.

We look forward to working with you!

 

 

LINKS:

https://greatlakesbaymag.com/take-show-road/

http://www.skylinetradeshowtips.com/the-key-to-a-successful-trade-show-planning-planning-planning/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenkrogue/2013/04/05/the-12-commandments-of-incredibly-successful-tradeshows/#66363eb97f7d

http://www.business2community.com/strategy/10-top-tips-successful-trade-show-booth-01018775#tBGzGxfazJX0FiVE.97

https://trmctaggart.com/products/promotional-items/