It’s a tough world out there for small businesses – but with a lot of planning, a little cunning and clever use of best practices, any small business can get the most bang for their buck when it comes to their promotional marketing campaign.
Just like preparing to draw up a return on investment portfolio, creating a promotional advertising campaign requires meticulous planning and organization in order to be completed properly. However, your outline does not need to be extraordinarily complex – there are a few simple suggestions that a small business can follow in order to integrate promotional products into their marketing efforts.
1. Examine your target audience
The people on the receiving end of promotional items are the hinge on which a marketing strategy swings. The first and most important part of your outline should include research on your target audience. Some questions to ask yourself include:
- Are the intended recipients working in a specific industry or company? Or will you be targeting the general public?
- Where are the geographical limits of your strategy?
- What are the secondary characteristics of your projected group (age, sex and economic trends, among other things)?
Try to gather as much information as possible on your target demographic, because more knowledge allows for more personal customization. For example, consider a construction firm located in downtown Detroit that has a large majority of male employees who work in the field. Based on this data, promotional pocket knives featuring Detroit sports teams may be more likely to be used than logo tote bags. Industry-specific, practical gifts can be highly effective marketing tools.
2. Decide how promotional items will be distributed
Once you have gathered the relevant info on your target audience, the next step is to decide how the resulting promotional products will be advertised and distributed. If possible, you should consider setting up a booth at a trade show or other public event – this way, you will be able to put a human face on your company’s brand image. It is also the perfect chance to vocally educate potential clients about your company’s services.
If a tradeshow giveaway is not possible, a phone call or emailed slide show can be just as effective as an in-person conference. Promotional items given out as a reminder of a sales presentation are highly efficient.
However, don’t dismiss the classic mailing strategy. The same construction agency in Detroit can’t be easily reached by a company in Southern California, for example. In this case, it might be more cost-effective for a small business to send out a batch of promotional pens in the mail. The only golden rule about such mailings is that they should not be sent out without prior contact – a phone call or email must always precede distribution to ensure that promotional products are not categorized as impersonal spam. Remember you need these prospects to convert to sales for your company so follow-up should be a key element of your plan as well.
3. Compose a unique and memorable message
This is both one of the most fun and the most difficult tasks for small business marketers. The messages inscribed on promotional products can directly affect the success of a marketing campaign. Therefore, images or lettering should not be incorporated on a whim – your marketing team should come up with an innovative slogan or logo that really stands out from the competition.
The message should be short, simple and to the point – for example, how many times have you heard Tony the Tiger shout “They’reeeeee great!” when referring to Frosted Flakes? Promotional products that can be used on a regular basis are more likely to generate sales and referrals so stay away from controversial topics and trite or dated catch phrases, as you want your executive gifts to remain as evergreen as possible for future use.
4. Analyze the end result of the campaign
Last but not least, after all of these things are taken into account and promotional products are sent out, don’t forget to get feedback from your recipients. Call up that construction firm and ask them if they have enjoyed using your pocket knives and determine if they have any suggestions for the future. Any egregious mistakes can be identified and quickly resolved for your next promotional advertising blueprint.