4 Green Promotional Products That Say “We Care”

Green promotional products are a statement, and they’re also becoming very much part of the promotional merchandising landscape in terms of market share. Very strong demand is coming from business for real green promotional materials of all types. Many businesses are themselves strongly committed to green products, and insist on eco-friendly promotional materials.

The green profile issue is definitely affecting promotional products. Some businesses and their clients just won’t look at any promotional items which aren’t certified fully green. They also view very negatively any products which are obviously not environmentally friendly. This is a consistent market trend, and has expanded dramatically in recent years.

Custom green promotional products

A custom green promotional product needs to be well placed in terms of the audience. The green products are effective promotion of corporate or personal values, but they also work best on recipients who are inclined to be responsive to them.

One advantage of the this marketing approach is that it sends a very strong message. Customized products require more planning than the more conventional variety, but they can also be easily managed in terms of branding.

Corporate green promotional products

This is an area in which sensitivity in terms of promotional products is a primary consideration. Corporate green promotional initiatives can be very effective, and are also well positioned for establishing or reinforcing a market profile in terms of corporate image. They’re particularly useful in making a green policy statement.

In practice, green products are very popular in Australia. They represent cultural values, particularly when associated with local green industry products. The green products are also a strong positive in terms of supporting local manufacturers of these products, another good effect.

Solar products

Solar promotion products are the epitome of a truly green promotional idea. There are some excellent solar products on the market and they definitely qualify as high impact promotional methods. As promotional merchandise, solar products also equate to high value as useful long term promotional methods.

Low carbon footprint products

The sheer variety of low carbon footprint products is a particularly important consideration when selecting a promotional package or range.

These are a few examples of the very large range of green promotional options:

  • Recycled goods: A huge range of recycled consumer goods, particularly paper and plastics.
  • Sustainable goods: Bamboo memory sticks, jute bags, magnetic energy torches, water powered clocks,
  • Gadgets: Shower timers, computer power savers, solar powered universal chargers.
  • Packaging: Fabric satchels, carry bags, pet carrier bags, briefcase bags and shopping bags.

As you can see, the range is extensive, and there’s also a lot of new technology and new takes on old technology. Green promotional products are a combination of direct material and personal values and functionality. This is the archetypal profile of the best promotional items.

The Power of Using QR Codes With Promotional Products

Looking for the perfect way to market your business using QR codes? Look no further than promotional products! Read on to learn how to pair QR codes with promotional products to spread your message like wildfire.

So, what are QR codes? A “Quick Response” code, is a unique matrix bar code that can be read using your smart phone. The information encoded can be text (like contact information), or it can take you to a specific website- actually there isn’t much you can’t wrap up into a QR code. With smart phones becoming the norm, QR codes are a very powerful way to market your business. Anyone with a smart phone can download an application and scan a code. QR codes are found on posters, buses, magazines, signs, business cards, promotional products- just about anywhere that advertising takes place. There are a number of websites you can go to and generate your own code for free.

Now, we’re going to talk specifically about using QR codes on promotional products to spread your message. Promotional products, sometimes called promo products, advertising specialties, or ad specialties, are items imprinted with your logo and/or company information. Imprinted pens, mugs, calendars, and t-shirts are just a few examples of promotional products.

The biggest advantage of using promotional products as opposed to other forms of advertising media, is that with promotional products, you can easily target the specific audience that you want to market your company to. Whether you distribute advertising specialties through direct mail campaigns, trade shows, cold calling, or however you choose to do it, you are getting your message to the target demographic that is most likely to be interested in your product or service.

Having said that, it only makes sense to print your QR code on the promotional products you distribute to customers and prospects. Since some advertising specialties have a small imprint area, QR codes are a great way to put your entire message onto that small print area. The recipient can simply scan the code with their smart phone and be given whatever information you choose, or be taken to a particular website. Share your weekly specials with your customers, or take them to a website where they can learn more about your company. The possibilities are endless.

Another benefit of printing QR codes on promotional products is that promotional products are useful and the recipient is much more likely to keep them around for awhile. Using your QR code with print advertising isn’t as effective, because a large percentage of people who receive this type of advertisement simply throw it in the trash. Sure, some of them might scan your code before tossing the paper in the trash, but after that it’s over and done with.

Why not print your code on something like a key tag, travel mug, magnet, calendar, or something that people will keep around and look at, or at least have access to, every single day? That way, your message will get seen time and time again. Do you have a website where you update information on a weekly or monthly basis (such as monthly specials or coupons)? Give your clients and prospects a useful promotional product with your QR code, and then they can have access to these updates.

QR codes, paired with the right promotional products, can result in a successful viral marketing campaign. Viral marketing is the result of a really unique, innovative, or funny advertisement that, due to its ability to stand out as exceptionally noteworthy, these advertisements spread like wildfire by word of mouth, sometimes to millions of people, exposing your brand and/or message to a huge number of prospects.

Several YouTube videos have recently become successful viral marketing campaigns. The same thing can be done with imprinted t-shirts, caps, bags, and other custom printed items with a large advertising area. Come up with an innovative idea and print it on a shirt with a QR code. If your advertisement is noteworthy and innovative enough, people are going to stop the person wearing the shirt and ask to scan the code.

The results of several recent advertising studies have shown that promotional products provide the best advertising impact for your dollar compared to virtually any other form of advertising. It is also becoming increasingly clear that QR codes are a powerful way to get your message out there, and that they’re here to stay. So why not pair these two powerful advertising methods together to get maximum results? It’s a no-brainer.

Choosing a Promotional Product for Your Marketing Campaign: Improve Your Impact and Persistence

If you type in ‘promotional products’ into Google it gives 51m results, it is easy then to imagine how many promotional gifts, products, premiums and giveaway options are out there! That number of results also tells us that in some way they must work, all those businesses must be addressing a continuous demand. The trick of course is to make sure that when you do use promotional products as part of a marketing exercise that you make the most of your budget. This article aims to give you some hints, tips and thoughts as to how to improve the impact of your promotional product campaign.

Cost

The number one question asked is ‘how much should I spend (per person) on my promotional product?’ This is going to depend on a few important considerations including your target demographic, the competition for their attention and perhaps the type of products or services you are promoting. With that in mind it is worth remembering that if 50% of your recipients are going to ignore the item it might arguably be worth paying twice as much to make sure 100% of half the number of targets keeps a better product around for even longer. A great example of this is direct mailing campaigns where the cost is very low, but success can be as little as a 0.5% to 1% take up. Working it through using 1000 flyers at $200 as an example, each response can actually cost more than $20 each! Could a $2 gift to 100 people, or even a $20 gift to 10, give a better return than that?

What is certain is that a promotional gift is much more likely to hang around longer than flyers and mailshots and therefore stand a much better chance of being to hand when the customer needs your product or service and also garnering repeat exposures to your message. Supporting that argument are fridge magnets, which are making significant in-roads into areas where direct mail has traditionally dominated. This is especially true for local businesses advertising their services. In general it is easy to get lured into more is better when it comes to promotional giveaways, but it is often not applicable so take time to plan your campaign in advance. Think about who are you sending it too: what are they interested in? What do they use every day? How can you make things easier for them to interact with you? If you can address these questions then it is just a matter of working out the cheapest option that fits the bill.

Functionality

Generally a promotional item should appeal to the widest demographic possible (although sometimes it can pay to narrow your audience) otherwise the attrition rate is going to be higher. Let’s work through the example of keyring bottle openers: these commonly used items clearly appeal to drinkers, but only those that drink bottled beer, and then only to those of them that prefer premium style beers that do not commonly have a screw cap. So what was wide group has now been whittled down to a fraction that will find the gift useful. So while many other people will also accept the gift, only a percentage will see their item often, and most will be put on the spare keys, or worse, the kitchen draw!

With keyring bottle openers, and many similar promotional items, adding a further complication is the fact that the group that are going to be most interested in your promotional gift are those most likely to already have an alternative already, thus increasing your competition! By increasing the functional base of your chosen item you can obviously spread your message much wider and by making it suit the needs of a wider percentage of that audience you can increase awareness further. Using products that are adjustable or have a one-size-fits all aspect are clearly more valuable in these circumstances.

Adding value to the customer

With some promotional products even more value to the target audience can be added for little cost, especially those that are made by the much more flexible digital printing processes. Something as simple as a consecutive number can become a valuable offering when it becomes a perhaps a lottery entry or perhaps a means to get a discount, both of which will undoubtedly increase the lifetime of the item as it retained until redemption. Some digital processes also now allow you to add more complex variable information such as names, numbers and addresses.

What easier way to make sure your gift sweeps all its competition away and to also impress your recipient as you have taken the time to personalise their gift with their first name! With items such as USB sticks, many suppliers can include a useful program to your specification on the device, ideal is one that evokes a subsequent interaction with your website or makes ordering simple and easy – possibly even including a login code that unlocks discounts or specials. If you are not able to do this, or do not have the budget for USB, then QR codes on printed products can perform a similar task.

Adding value to you

A large proportion of the cost of a bespoke designed promotion item is the set up and artwork. Once that is done each little addition cost less and less. Even something like adding a custom QR code can improve the value of your product – sometimes for free. QR codes are becoming more and more visible and are a great way to exact a call to action to the tech savvy generation. QR codes can be used to push people to a website, deliver an electronic business card and much more. They can also be used, once people have used their code, to track the visitor and personalise content. Variable information encoded into QR codes (i.e. each product has a unique code)can be used to further enhance the experience and are an immensely powerful marketing tool whose scope is still being explored. By capturing a QR code on my giveaway item with an app enabled phone (iNigma is a very popular one for both iPhone and Android) the embedded URL could tell me what item you scanned, the items colour, the time you visited, how long you visited for, where you went in my website, your ISPs location and even the type of phone you have!

Competition and saturation

Becoming ever more a factor in choosing the right strategy is trying to find a promotional item that stands out among the rest: commonly selected items such as keyrings, stress balls and now USB sticks are becoming so popular that you will be hard pressed to find someone that has not already got one, so you’ll have to work even more harder to make sure they like your one! Occasionally a new product arrives on the market and it is important to quickly evaluate the potential of new ideas with respect to your target audience before others usurp you and steal your thunder. A new product idea done well cannot only generate interest from the person you gave it to, but to others who see it and are curious. This is an added bonus not to be sniffed at!

Design

Often overlooked is the design aspect of a promotional product. Design is a strange thing as it can often be overlooked as it appears very easy to many people. A good design will pay dividends well into the future: an example is the Nike swoosh, of course very simple to draw, but very hard to replicate its success! Think hard about dividing up your budget so that a good amount is devoted towards getting the design right. Do not be afraid to test designs with close groups of people (preferably customers) to hone things, but remember that many people will have their own ideas, but not all can be right so it is better to focus on things like making sure the design is clear, attractive and compelling rather than the specifics of colour, size and placement etc. (there are other ways to address those aspects). Also consider that what works well for your customers may not necessarily be something you are in love with. Try and be objective, however if the two go hand in hand all the better! An example I use to illustrate this particular facet of design is to ask you to think about some of the biggest, and most successful, Internet names out there.

Chances are Google, eBay and Amazon are at, or very near, the top of your list. One could hardly say that they are also the most attractive sites though! They work and have become bigger than their competition not only because of their services, but also because their interface with their customers is simple (although Amazon is starting to look more messy!) and therefore they can be understood and enjoyed by the widest audience. Number one error, and one we have seen many times, is making sure your message is front and centre. Unless you are a recognised brand like Nike, Google or Apple then just your logo on a promotional product is going to have limited value outside your known customer base. If you can, always include a short piece of text to explain quickly and memorably what you do. For the rest of the population that do not know what Google does just simply adding ‘world most popular search engine’ could help them make their first Google search! Also worth mentioning is to try and select a product you can offer in a number of colour ways for little or no extra cost, this will increase both uptake and longevity. A double-whammy of sorts, which can often be quite economical in volume orders, but is increasingly possible with smaller orders too with some suppliers.

Call to action

Once you have captured the viewer’s eye and delivered your message hopefully they will feel as if they want to read secondary information such as your highlighted products, services or maybe just your web address. If that information is not present then you are relying on them remembering to try and find out later, a risky strategy especially as there is lots of completion for everyone’s attention these days! If you can, integrate a ‘call to action’ into your design, these are more common in advertising, but can also be implemented on promotional products too. QR codes or unique URLs can be useful as a means of getting an instant call to action. For instance: “Scan (or visit) now to receive a 10% discount off of your first order.”

Quality

Most likely as I posted up this article recently, I looked at a promotional keyring bottle opener on my spare keys today. I picked it up from an unattended booth at an expo in Melbourne last year. It used to have an orange logo on it, but it does not now and I cannot remember who I got it from! Morals of the story are: if you are not their at an expo to qualify your leads you might as well throw the money away – and make sure that the product or gift you choose is able to keep on promoting your message for as long as it needs to! With keyrings maybe engraving is a better choice over pad printing, which if it is of a low quality is clearly easily removed by abrasion. If there are different printing options for your chosen product there might be an optimal solution for you.

Promote Your Business Using Promotional Products

Question: How can you use your current customer base to increase sales and build your future customer base? Answer: By using the most cost-effective form of advertising, Promotional Products!

By giving Promotional items to current customers you will create long-term relationships with them. You will create new customers by word of mouth advertising from your current customers by handing these out. You will increase sales by using them as a free give away when someone buys a certain product or service and you will also increase return visits from your current customers.

Here is a scenario of how giving a current customer a ” freebie” can do just that. You own an Auto Parts Store, it’s the beginning of the year, and you want to start the new year off with a bang. You tell every customer that comes in to your store that you have a January special ( or any type of special you want to present) on product “X” ( this is a targeted product you offer, it could be a product that is popular, not expensive, or something that could be bought a couple of times throughout the year like a bundle of rags, pack of batteries, auto air fresheners, or even when they spend a certain amount of money on their transaction, you choose). Let your customers know that you are offering a free gift with every transaction made. Now when that customer buys that product, or spends a certain amount, they will receive a free Collapsible Can Coolie that has your business name and logo along with the current NASCAR schedule printed on it. So, what just happened?

First, you got your customer to most likely buy a product or service, or spend a little more money that was not on their original list when they walked in your store. This has created an “up sell” and you accomplished it without pressuring your client.

Second, you just gave away a Promotional Product that is reusable for your customer for the rest of the race season, and in many cases even longer since it is a something they can use besides just during the race season. This means your customer and possibly other potential customers will be seeing your business name and logo every time they use that Can Coolie. This is more “free advertising”.

Third, you have a customer now that is anticipating the idea they might receive another new cool gift on their next visit to your store, and they may even bring in a friend or family member just to get an extra gift for themselves or to give to someone else. This would be a Promotional Product you give away for the “February Special”, Valentines Special, or what ever the occasion you want to present. Customers love to get something for free, especially when they were planning on buying something from your store in the first place. This helps create “repeat business” from your current customers.

Here’s your part two of the above scenario. It’s Sunday morning and your customer is preparing for the big NASCAR race. He or she has the barbecue going, a cold refreshment in their coolie, thanks to you, and their friends have just arrived. One of the guest notices your client is sporting a cool collapsible Can Coolie. That’s when they ask, “Hey, where did you get that, and how can I get one?” Your customer then responds with “I got this at (your business name) for free when I bought (product X or service X)”. What just happened?

Your current customer just gave you free “word of mouth advertising” for your business to a potential new client, who will hopefully stop by your business so they too can get a free collapsible Can Coolie for the next race party. Now you have “up sold” two customers, possibly created more free “word of mouth advertising”, and picked up a new customer who will likely help you gain more new customers down the road. And the process continues on and on. This is only one of many scenarios that could take place with just one Promotional Product you hand out.

This kind of interaction could take place in a park setting, at a ball game, on a fishing expedition, taking a road trip, just working on a car in the garage, or so many other simple scenarios that take place in your customers everyday life. Imagine if you used six to twelve different Promotional items or apparel through out the year for a monthly special. A special gift to celebrate your sixth month, first year, or annual business anniversary date,. A Seasonal “free give away” for the beginning of Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall.

You could support your local Little League Baseball Team with hats, High school Football Team with shirts, the towns Women’s College Volleyball Team with season magnetic schedules, or your big time Professional NFL, NBA, or NHL Team with key chains or cups showing their schedules.

You could give a Promotional Product for each holiday through the year, to celebrate New Years Eve handing out a mini pom pom. On Valentines Day try handing out a heart shaped box of candy. St Patrick’s Day is always a perfect time to try beer mug or shot glass.For Easter mini baskets with goodies are always a big hit with the kids. Mother’s Day could be a coffee mug saying Your a #1 mom with us at… Then your logo. Father’s Day can be a big one by handing out a nice tape measure or really cool tool pen. If you really want create a buzz in the community, hand out a BBQ utensil set for Fourth of July. When Halloween rolls around Trick or Treat tote bags are always cooler than mom’s pillow case. Thanksgiving is a perfect time to start handing out next years wall calendars. Then you got your final Holiday ” Freebie” of the year, where you can print “Seasons Greeting or Happy Holidays on so many different cool things to hand out.

Every time you hand out a Promotional Product, you just gave a current or new customer a valid reason to continue to choose your business over your competitor’s business. You have given your business an opportunity to create new customers through “word of mouth advertising” from your current customers. You have created more sales by offering a special that most likely was not on your customers list to buy. What’s really exciting is you will begin to build and maintain a custom base that will look forward to doing business with you for years to come, and maybe even build a friendship or two that will last for years.

Don’t forget that while accomplishing all this, that Promotional Product that you handed out is a very cost-effective form of advertising, a tax write off for your business, and a “thank you” to your customer for their business.

When you sit down to plan your advertising budget for your business this year, think about what a simple promotional give away can do for your business. Be creative and use Promotional items and apparel that do the following;

Will appeal to your customer base? Is it a product that your customer can use more than just once, and is visible to other potential new customers?

Does it fit with what your business has to offer? If you have an auto repair business try a License Plate Frame, Pocket Screw Driver, LED flashlight key chain, or Ice scraper. If you own a Hair Salon, maybe a hair brush, compact mirror, sample sanitizer, or day planner for your client to keep future hair appointments in.

Will your “Freebie” create a buzz with others, like “Hey where did you get that 12 inch Giant Rubber Grip Pen, How can I get one of those Tee shirts or Caps, etc.

Does your “free give away” have all the right information printed on them? Your business name & logo, a phone number or address to find you, your website, and a personalized message to your customer like “A special thanks from… ” “We appreciate your business at… , your #1 with us at… , or ” Happy holidays from… “. A little message can go a long way and be remembered by your customers.

Think about how many Promotional Products you will need to order. How many people visit your store on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. figure out how many are usually return customers and how many are potential new customers. This way when you order for a certain special giveaway like a “January Special” or Holiday, you have enough to hand out through out the entire month. You don’t want to order too many products, but you want to make sure to can cover the entire month or close to. You can always find a way to hand the extras left over from a certain “special” you ran. You can give them to your local schools, boy & girls club, YMCA, shelters, charities, or save them for the next special you run.

Make a plan on how you are going to distribute your Promotional items. Hand them out with every transaction made. Give them away when the customer spends a certain amount of money or buys a certain product. Send one out with every mail order. Donate to local schools, charities, fun raisers, and events, this is a great way to delivery a mass number of “Freebies” very quickly. An example would be rulers or #2 pencils for elementary schools, schools can always use extra school supplies to hand out to their students and parents appreciate your kindness and community involvement.

Always ask your Promotional Merchandise Sales Person to give you ideas and figure out these questions if you need help. If you have an experienced sales Person who knows what they are doing and wants to keep you as a long-term client who continues to re order, then they will be happy to help you.

Just in case you don’t see the big picture about how Promotional Products can help you do more than just advertise your business, here is a little reminder of a GREAT Promo item success story in 1979 the McDonald’s restaurant began using a toy presented as “The Treat of the Week”, offering a different toy each week in a Card Board Lunch Box to help create sales for the kids Happy Meal. McDonald’s has been one of the most successful businesses in the history of promotional merchandise selling over 3.5 Billion Happy Meals to date.

Since 1979 every young child in the WORLD that passes by a McDonald’s with their parents or loved ones demand to stop and get a Happy Meal, usually because they want that toy. Just imagine the word of mouth, up sells, and new customers McDonald has picked up over the years from a simple Promotional Product idea.