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Should Independent Professionals Use Promotional Products?

   |   MBO Partners   |   September 8, 2017


The fact that online marketing through social media is free—and effective—means that many cost-conscious independent professionals use platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as their primary method of reaching out to potential new clients. But sometimes it can pay to take advantage of real-world advertising avenues.

Promotional products are often overlooked as being too expensive or disposable to have any real effect on potential clients. After all, can a pen really influence someone to choose your company over the competition? Surprisingly, studies have shown that they can actually do just that.

Promotional products create a more favorable impression of the business they advertise 53% of the time, and 6 in 10 consumers will keep promotional products for up to two years.

How is it that these small, token gifts can have such a powerful effect? There are several reasons to explain why the return on investment (ROI) on promotional products is so high. Here are four ways you can harness the power of promotional products.

1. Increase Brand Recognition

You’ve heard of the Rule of Seven—the fact that a potential client needs to be exposed to your marketing message 7 times before they feel comfortable buying from you. Promotional products provide a new exposure to your brand each time they are used or even simply viewed. In fact, 89% of consumers can remember the business associated with a promotional product if they received it in the last two years. To capitalize on this fact, choose an item that your target audience is likely to use in their daily life and customize it with your logo.

2. 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 you give a gift to a potential client, no matter how small, that person will likely feel more inclined to do business with you as a way to thank you for your kind gesture.

3. Expand Your Reach—With No Extra Effort

As an independent professional, 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 someone wears one 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. Integrate with Other Marketing Activities

Adding promotional products to your overall marketing strategy can increase the effectiveness of your other media by up to 44%. Consider offering a t-shirt or mug as 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, you can add an instant boost of interest and be more likely to catch people’s attention.

With such a high ROI, it makes sense for independent professionals to consider implementing the use of promotional products in their own marketing efforts. These products may be a small touch, but they are surprisingly powerful.

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