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HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT PROMOTIONAL PRODUCT

05.14.2013 / Posted in ArticlesBranding

Promotional products. Most companies buy them for prospects, clients, event attendees—they’re a fact of corporate life.

And they do work: Compared to other items when it comes to the cost per number of impressions, promotional items often win. For example, the Advertising Specialty Institute found that the average cost-per-impression for a shirt is 0.005 cents. A prime-time television ad? Per impression, it runs 0.019 cents. 

But not all promotional products are created equal. Some are hits—and others are misses. How can you ensure that your next promotional item nails the target?

WHAT’S YOUR POINT?

What do you hope to achieve? How will you distribute the item? How does the activity for which you’re purchasing promotional products fit into your marketing strategy and message? How will you measure its success? 

Without a clear plan and an understanding of how these products integrate into your marketing program, you risk wasting a sizable chunk of your marketing budget

And the dumpster behind your building is not a prospect or customer.

SUIT THE PRODUCT TO THE PERSON

Who does the promotional item target? 

Don’t select a product you’d like—select something your audience would want. Ensure it fits your purpose as well: You may want to give something different to customers than to prospects. After all, you should have a different message for customers than you do for people who haven’t purchased from you.

DON’T FALL INTO A PROMO-ITEM RUT

Some companies have “signature” promotional items. They should reconsider. Customers likely already have one from a previous encounter with you. Many prospects may as well—at least, if they’re in the pipeline, they will. Something new and different will make a fresh impact each time.

FOCUS

Don’t give a promotional product to everyone you meet—even if they fit your audience parameters. Target carefully for the biggest impact. For example, handing a gift to everyone who walks past your booth at a trade show—even if its attendees are your target audience—cheapens the item’s value.

GIVE—AND GET

Ensure that you have contact information for anyone who receives a promotional item. With current or past customers, you’re all set. But if you’re trying to attract new prospects, giving something without getting something in return is doing it wrong.

FIND SOMETHING USEFUL

Choose something that your audience will use as often as possible for as long as possible. A study showed that promotional product use achieved a 69 percent boost in brand interest and an 84 percent increase in positive brand impression—mainly because of repeated exposure to the company’s brand though using the item. Also, you gain fresh brand impressions from the people who see someone use the product—an added bonus.

INCLUDE A CALL TO ACTION

The item may be usable, targeted, and fit your strategy—but it fails if you don’t give the customer a way to take action.

Include your company’s contact information: logo, URL, tagline, phone number, QR code—whatever makes sense for your initiative. And with a finite space in which to work, make every line count.


QUALITY MATTERS

Promotional items leave a lasting brand impression. Handing out cheap, useless products is worse than handing out nothing at all. 

Detail orientation ties to quality, too. Check every proof that you receive from the vender. Is everything clear and easy to read? Is the phone number correct? The URL? Are there any misspellings? Send the proofs through multiple pairs of eyes to be extra certain.

Need help making sure your promotional product is a good fit for your strategy? Call us today!



New Service Lets YouTubers Sell Swag From Video Pages

In a Nutshell

*The new merch service displays branded products in a shelf below videos –fans click on items to purchase.

*Teespring and YouTube get a cut of the sales.

YouTube just took a big step into the promotional products industry – and boosted a competitor to traditional distributors in so doing.

The San Bruno, CA-based company announced last week that creators with more than 10,000 fans can sell branded merchandise directly through their channel on the popular video sharing website. Teespring, a web-based custom merchandise platform, will provide the fulfillment. Creators will be able to offer more than 20 merch items with their custom branding, including T-shirts, phone cases and hats.

As part of the service, branded items will appear in a shelf below participating creators' videos. To buy, a fan simply clicks on a product image in the shelf and is re-directed to Teespring, where they purchase the item. A number of media outlets reported that some YouTube creators already had success with the new swag service during beta testing. The creator of Lucas the Spider, for example, made more than $1 million in profit in about three weeks after selling a plush version of Lucas through the YouTube/Teespring service.

According to Teespring, YouTubers that sold through the merch shelf during beta testing experienced an 82% success rate. In fact, Teespring said conversions from views to sales tested at 2-½ times higher than with the typical YouTuber process for pitching merch on the platform, which essentially involves providing links to online destinations where creators' swag can be bought. Bottom line: It all translated into 25% more units sold per participating user in the limited beta group, data showed.

Given such numbers, it's not a surprise that other YouTubers were keen to get in on the action after YouTube moved to full rollout late last week.

Still, there was some backlash against YouTube's decision to partner with Teespring, which has been at the center of controversy for failing to detect that independent creators were selling everything from swastika/Nazi gear to pro Dylann Roof T-shirts on its platform.

Meanwhile, some critics noted that certain YouTubers already have merch partnerships with other companies and might not desire to use Teespring. YouTube is not requiring creators to use the on-page merch shelf offering, meaning video makers can still plug links to swag-buying destinations as has been done. Admittedly, that might put such creators at a disadvantage. Even so, YouTube is reportedly looking to add more online custom product providers from which creators can sell merch directly through its platform.

For those interested in the financial mechanics, it appears Teespring will retain a flat price per item sold. YouTubers will be able to set the pricing on products so there is potential for mark-up on popular products, which could possibly lead to substantial profit. Teespring's cut can vary per item and on quantity sold. YouTube receives a commission on the sales, but did not reveal the specifics of its compensation.

For Teespring, the partnership with YouTube is a huge win. Laying employees off amid difficult times a few years ago, the web-based merch seller now stands ready to benefit from a potentially massive new revenue channel. Could the exposure Teespring will gain threaten at least some sales for traditional distributors? Could the YouTube/Teespring partnership weaken distributors' ability to compete for the business of YouTubers selling merch? We'll be interested to see how things play out.

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