Promotional Products – More Than Just Freebies

Promotional items are articles of merchandise used all over the globe for different communication, marketing and selling purposes. The sole purpose of adding a company’s name or logo on any product is to increase its popularity by promotion of its sales through different marketing campaigns and trade fairs. The range of products that can be imprinted for promotional purposes seems infinite. At the low end are ballpoint pens, T-shirts, and calendars.

The high end typically includes such items as golf bags, cameras, and crystal bowls. Common items include t-shirts, caps, key chains, bumper stickers, mugs or mouse pads. Promotional items vary in their cost and size. Generally celebrities are given expensive promotional items at award functions and film festivals. Companies offering such expensive gifts to theses celebrities often ask these celebrities to allow a photo to be taken with that gifted item which they can use for their promotional purposes.

Companies nowadays are striving hard for the promotion of their products. Luxury gifts like handbags and scarves are also gifted by various companies to celebrity attendees in the hope that these attendees will wear these in public thus increasing the popularity of the company and garnering publicity for the company’s brand name. Not only the companies are using these promotional items for their brand promotion but these promotional items are also used in politics to promote candidates and causes. Non-commercial organizations, such as schools and charities are often used as a part of fund raising and awareness-raising campaigns. A prominent example was the live strong wristband, used to promote cancer awareness and raise funds to support cancer survivorship programs and research.

The first known promotional products in the US are commemorative buttons dating back to the election of George Washington in 1789. During the early 1800s there were some advertising calendars, rulers and wooden specialities, but there wasn’t an organized industry for the creation of promotional items until later in the 19th century. Promotional products include different products such as Esher conference bags, Pier Ft pens ,A4 conference folders, Cotton promotional bags, Printed post it notes ,printed umbrellas, optical mouse mats, Tall travel mugs, Silicon grip ball pens, Sparta mugs, spring bottled mugs with about 1500 different colour combinations. Other promotional products include ploy nuclear bottles, Expedition carabineer bottles, and Diaper bags. Started in 2003, Ink Head Promotional Products is the premiere distributor of personalized pens, promotions products and custom coffee mugs. Think of an item and someone can probably put your logo on it. They’re used as giveaways at trade shows and other events, on-pack and in-pack premiums, container premiums, mail-in premiums, door-openers, dealer-loaders, sales incentives, business gifts, contest prizes, direct-mail premiums, and awards. In conclusion, regardless of the size or purpose of your event, promotional products help your guests celebrate and remember it.

Promotional Products That Act Like Billboards to Promote Your Business

Looking to get a great return on your marketing investment? In good times or bad it is always wise to seek those marketing tools that will give you more for your marketing dollar. When it comes to promotional giveaways getting the best return on your marketing investment means finding products that will give you more ad impressions for your marketing dollar. To find these kinds of promotional products you will first need to understand what characteristics to look for in a product while developing your promotional idea. I like to view these kind of promotional products as billboards because they not only promote your brand and products or services to the recipients but also promote and advertise to others who read your company’s message on the promotional product.

With this understanding in mind you should adjust your thinking when budgeting for a promotional product. Make sure your focus remains on investment return and not just on price or quantity. You will get more from a promotion choosing a promotional product billboard, as I call them, even if it means scaling down the number of promotional items you purchase. This approach is superior to using a one dimensional product like say bottled water with a custom label which will only be seen by the recipient as once it is consumed it won’t be giving off any ad impressions unless of course the garbage man sees the bottle. I know I gave you an extreme example but I did this to illustrate to you the importance of seeking out these promotional product billboards.

There are many types of promotional products that I would classify as billboards. Some of the important categories I would include are: customized umbrellas, custom screen printed or embroidered apparel, yard signs, banners, customized bags, bumper stickers, inflatable products, and custom imprinted car shades to name just a few. Certainly at the top of this list would be products like custom screen printed apparel like t-shirts and embroidered hats which are everywhere in our society with people walking around advertising one brand or another acting as human billboards promoting all kinds of businesses and organizations. People love to get these products as they seem more than happy to promote your business in exchange for a casual article of clothing that they can use. This kind of practical promotional gift along with things like umbrellas are especially effective during bad economic times when these products actually help out the recipient in a small way by giving them something they can use on a regular basis in their lives. Bags are great billboards for promoting your business.

There are many products and applications that you can promote your business with using bags: from retail shopping bags to tote bags to backpacks and gym bags. There are custom promotional bags for virtually every kind of business and budget. The great part about this kind of advertising and brand promotion is that the recipient carries your promotional message around for everyone to see. You simply can’t beat that in any promotion getting unpaid helpers to promote your business. It is so good it almost sounds illegal. Some of the more classic types of billboard promotional products actually resemble smaller versions of the real thing like: signs, yard signs, and banners. These are relatively inexpensive means of advertising and promoting your business and even though they don’t come complete with a recipient to carry them around with like the bag category they are very effective in that one product can be viewed by many potential customers in much the way a billboard works. Inflatable products work in a similar way bringing attention and often traffic to a business. For those of you unfamiliar with the term inflatable products these are large balloons you often see on the roofs and out front of retail stores designed to get consumers attention as they drive by in their cars.

One often overlooked billboard promotional product is the car sunshade that people down south in particular utilize everyday when parking their car to keep the searing heat and sunshine from their car interiors. This is a great promotional tool that is in my opinion under utilized. It provides a large imprint area and can be viewed by many people who pass by the parked car it is displayed in throughout the year. Again this is one of those products with the recipient providing the free labor to set up the shade and drive it to locations all around town promoting your business every time they park their car. Moreover, people love this as a promotional gift and will use it for years to come. Whatever product you choose to do for your next promotion make sure to try incorporate one of these promotional product billboards into your campaign and reap the benefits from some of the best return on your marketing dollar to be found anywhere.

Do You Make These 8 Costly Mistakes When Buying Promotional Products?

Imprinted advertising specialties are ideal low cost promotional gifts for prospects, employees and clients. When used properly, promotional products can keep your name in front of your prospects when they will be planning to use your services or products. Imprinted ad specialty gifts can also help earn you referrals and promote your brand and message. In fact, specialty advertising can be among your lowest cost per impression method of advertising and yield substantial returns on investment for your advertising dollar.

However, in over 24 years in the promotional products industry, I have seen the same mistakes being made time after time that end up costing hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Here are the top 8 mistakes to avoid when ordering promotional products for a trade show, direct mail campaign, or for any other event. How many of these mistakes have you made?

1) Avoid Unnecessary Set ups Charges: When setting up any imprinted order, from catalog printing and business cards to advertising specialties, there is considerable time needed upfront to set up the presses.

With advertising specialties, many times there are jigs that need to be prepared which hold the item in place, ink colors that need to be tested, trial runs to make sure the colors and inks are correct, etc. These steps can take as much as 30-45 minutes or longer on many jobs, so most advertising specialty orders have a setup charge fee to help defray these costs. For the customer who continuously places a minimum reorder for the same product, they can often be hit with setup charges several times a year, as some jobs require a setup charge on each order, whether it is a reorder or not. Be prudent and anticipate supply so that you only have to pay for setup costs one time, easily saving you hundreds of dollars per year.

2) Order Sufficient Quantities to Reach the Next Price Level: Most promotional products have quantity price breaks; the more one orders, the lower the price per piece. By ordering a quantity that takes pricing to the next level, a company can save 10-15% on an order-often paying for itself in the long run.

3) Use As Few Colors As Possible on Imprint: In order to silk screen or pad print a promotional item, each color is placed onto the material with an impression, using either a screen or a cliché. One color is run through the screen onto the item, then, when the ink is dry, the next color is run through a separate screen. Each passing of the ink is a separate step or operation, which takes time and adds to the cost of the item.

Many companies of all sizes have two logos available for advertising: one is often a one-color logo for yellow page ads and black and white forms; the other is a multi-color logo for printed material. Depending on the usage of the item, the cost per piece, as well as the recipient, many companies can save extra run charges by using their one color version of their logo (or having one designed for your company).

I have seen instances where a client has insisted on using a five color imprint on a $2.00 plastic promotional item, such as an imprinted water bottle or tote bag-thereby adding as much as $3.00 in costs. In these times of increased scrutiny over expenses, a simpler one-color logo can save your company money without diminishing returns.

4) Plan in Advance to Avoid Rush Charges: A typical production facility schedules it print runs weeks in advance. Some try to imprint all water bottles on one day, all key tags the next day, etc – in order to optimize production. Other factories schedule around imprint colors-so they try to run all jobs that require Royal Blue ink on one day, black ink imprints another day, etc – to avoid ink clean up time and to reduce down time.

When a rush order comes in, in order to move one job ahead of others, production changes must be made at the factory or plant. Although rush orders for imprinted products are becoming commonplace, they tend to require additional service and time, thus requiring a rush charge of 10-25% or more. If you can plan accordingly, this is one of the easiest ways to dramatically reduce costs of promotional products.

5) Check Proofs Carefully to Avoid Errors: As the saying goes, haste makes waste. When a company receives a proof, be sure to completely look over the details-which usually spell out the ink colors, location of the imprint, ship to address, in-hands date, as well as the actual imprint and imprint position. Do not assume everything is correct with a cursory glance (or you might be cursing under your breath after receiving an order printed incorrectly). This is the final opportunity to correct any errors before production begins. Once a proof has been signed and the print job is run, changes will mean having to re-print the job, which will incur additional costs.

6) Ship by Ground to Avoid High Freight Charges: Rush orders and rush shipments are getting to be an everyday occurrence in the advertising specialty business, as many clients have last minute events or simply forget to order promotional products for events. However, with the constant rise in shipping rates, shipping by air can add significant costs to any order.

7: Avoid Dimensional Weights When Possible: On rush orders that must ship by air, try to avoid ordering promotional gifts that are bulky, such as water bottles, as they tend to go by dimensional weight, rather than actual weights. Most freight companies charge dimensional rates for large boxes that have little weight, as they fill up their trucks or planes more quickly than smaller boxes. Imprinted tote bags and flat items which stack better without wasted “air space” tend to be more cost effective – especially when shipping by air.

8: Avoid Irregularly Shaped Items for Direct Mail: When planning your promotional marketing campaign, it is wise to determine how the products will be distributed and plan accordingly. I have been involved with too many campaigns where the client was originally planning on handing out the promotional items at a trade show, but decided to send them out by mail afterward. Direct mail gifts are a great way of reaching your potential customers when planned in advance, as you can find promotional items that are lighter in weight, ship flat, come in a protective gift box and that don’t require special handling or packaging. However, when thrown together at the last minute, many companies find they are spending as much for a shipping box or package than they spend for the actual item itself.

With a little advanced planning, any company can easily save 10%-25% on their promotional products. Sometimes an item that is slightly more expensive than another, but ships flat and is lighter may actually save you money in the long run. Perhaps finding a factory that is closer to the convention center or fulfillment center can also save you on freight costs. Talk to your promotional products solutions provider about these, and other, ideas to save you money. The best solutions providers will be looking for ways to maximize your promotional products budget y asking questions to determine the best options for your event or promotional campaign.

What Choices are There for Promotional Products?

Promoting your business is important. If no one knows about your business, it will not be very successful. One way to effectively promote your business is by offering promotional products. Promotional products get your business’s name out to the public while giving them a useful product that will remind them of your business’s name over and over.

What choices are there for promotional products? There are hundreds of choices. Here are some of the more popular ones.

Writing instruments – Ballpoint pens, pencils, highlighters, permanent markers, and other writing instruments are some of the most popular promotional products for a good reason. They are inexpensive, easy to distribute, and appreciated by the recipients.

Apparel – Another popular promotional product is apparel. Baseball hats, t-shirts, golf shirts, even boxer shorts can be imprinted with your company’s logo and information, and those who wear the promotional items become a walking billboard for your company.

Refrigerator magnets – A good quality refrigerator magnet can stay on someone’s refrigerator door for years. These inexpensive promotional products can often be in a shape that reflects your business such as a light bulb if you are an electrician or a coffee mug if you own a cafĂ©.

Calendars – A calendar is a whole year of advertising in just one product. Your companies name and contact information will be displayed for twelve months and looked at just about every business day.

Coffee mugs – Most people need a cup of coffee to get them going in the morning. Ceramic coffee mugs and travel coffee mugs are promotional products that get used by their recipients frequently. In addition to coffee mugs, other types of drink ware such as beer mugs or water bottles are popular choices, too.

Golf balls – If you’ve got an upscale clientele that appreciates a good 18 holes, then promotional golf balls with your company’s logo on them are appropriate promotional items.

Mouse pads – You can fit all of your company’s pertinent contact information on to a mousse pad and still have room for your logo or an attractive picture. One of the best things about promotional mousse pads is that the recipient will always know exactly where to find your information – right next to his keyboard at all times.

Automotive products – Car sun shades, ice scrapers, key chains and other products associated with cars make useful promotional products.

Toys – mini cube games, yo-yos, flying discs, beach balls, even poker chips all make fun and interesting promotional products.

Desktop items – Notepads, sticky notes, picture frames, pencil cups, and other items that are useful on the top of a desk are promotional items that the recipient will look at every time he sits at his desk.

Disposable cameras – One time use cameras can be made into promotional items by having their exterior promote your business. They can even have pre-exposed message strips on the bottom of each frame of film so that when the pictures get developed, your company’s message will be displayed on each one.

This is a just a sampling of the most popular promotional products available for businesses to use to get their name in plain view of their customers each and every day.