The fact that online marketing through social media is free – and effective – means that many cost-conscious solopreneurs use platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest as their primary methods of reaching out to potential new clients. But sometimes it can pay to take advantage of real-world avenues of advertising, as well.
Promotional products are often overlooked by independent contractors as being too expensive or too disposable to have any real effect on potential clients – can a pen really influence someone to choose your company over the competition? But amazingly, studies have shown that they can actually do just that.
A study performed by L.J. Market Research found that 52% of participants had ultimately done business with a company that had given them a promotional product – and even better, that the other 48% stated they would be more likely to do business with that company because they appreciated the gesture.
How is it that these small, token gifts can have such a powerful effect? There are several reasons to explain why the ROI on promotional products is so high.
1. They increase brand recognition. You’ve heard of the Rule of Seven – the fact that a potential customer needs to be exposed to your marketing message seven times before they feel comfortable buying from you. Promotional products provide a new exposure to an independent contractor’s brand every time they’re used or even simply viewed. Incredibly, a study done by Schreber & Associates showed that 39% of people who had received a promotional product six months before still remembered the name of the business associated with it. That’s an impressive result from such a seemingly insignificant item as a pen!
2. They take advantage of the law of reciprocity. It’s a simple fact of human nature – when someone gives us something, we feel inclined to reciprocate by doing something nice for them. If a solopreneur gives a gift, no matter how small, to a potential client, that person will be more likely to do business with them, as a way to thank them for their kind gesture.
3. They increase your reach - with no extra effort on your part. As a solopreneur, you can only reach so many people on your own. But distributing promotional products creates a small army of people who will market your business on your behalf. Giving out T-shirts? Every time anyone wears it, they act as a walking billboard for your business. Handing out pens? Every time someone lends that pen to another person, that new person will be exposed to your brand, as well.
4. They can be integrated with other marketing activities to boost effectiveness. You could offer a free T-shirt or mug as an incentive to re-tweet your content on Twitter, or include a key ring or pen in a direct mailing package. By taking something intangible, like online marketing, or something relatively plain, such as printed material, and dressing it up with a tangible gift item, independent contractors can add an instant boost of interest more likely to catch people’s attention.
With such a high ROI, it makes sense for solopreneurs to consider implementing the use of promotional products in their own marketing efforts. They may be small, but they’re surprisingly powerful.