Wednesday, October 8, 2014

What you should know about promo products (before you buy)

Promotional products, (also called swag, giveaways, tchotchkes, bling, premiums,) can be a very effective and cost efficient way to advertise and promote your business.

Here’s what makes them so effective:

1.       80% of consumers own between 1 and 10 promotional products.
2.       60% keep them for up to 2 years.
3.       53% use a promotional product at least once a week or more often
4.       88% of people who have received a promo item recalled the advertiser for up to 12 months after        receiving the item
5.        62% of these people recalled the advertiser’s message
  Only 71% of people can recall an ad they saw in a newspaper or magazine from the week before!

OK, enough with the statistics. Here’s the point I want you to take away: this stuff works, people hang onto it, and they use it.

A promotional item does not have to be expensive to be effective. It does need to be useful.
Useful items are retained, and that’s what you want as an advertiser.

But, what’s useful? Well that depends on where you want to be remembered.

Do you want to be remembered in the office? Then think about items like notebooks, sticky pads, pens, desk accessories, wall calendars.

Do you want to be remembered in the home? Then you would consider things like kitchen utensils, magnetic memo boards for the fridge, tote bags, coasters, BBQ tools.

Here are some items that work anywhere: cell phone chargers, USB drives, water bottles, umbrellas, caps and T-shirts. Notebooks and sticky notes work everywhere.

So, think about who you are going to give this stuff to and what they would find useful.

Alright, you’ve thought about all of the above. You’ve decided you can use promotional products to advertise your business. Here’s what you need to know about buying these items.

  •          All items will have a minimum purchase quantity. On less expensive items that minimum might be 100 to 250 pieces. Sometimes you can buy less than the minimum but you’ll be surcharged.

  •          All items will have a maximum imprint area. That’s the largest available area for imprinting your logo. The point is don’t try to print everything about your company on the side of a pen. It won’t work.

  •       Artwork, (that’s what the industry calls your logo or whatever design you’re going to put on your promo item), needs to be in the proper format. The universal format for promo items is what’s called “vector art.” It’s too complicated to go into it here but vector art is a high resolution file that won’t distort and will print clearly. Jpeg, tiff and giff files won’t work. If your logo isn’t in “vector art,” spend the money to get it created in this format.

  • Colors. There are “spot” colors (think of one or two distinct colors on a T-shirt design), and there is “full color process” (think of a refrigerator magnet that looks like a full color photo.) When you see the catalog price for an item it includes the first color. Every color you add is going to cost extra

  • Set up is the charge to prepare your artwork for whatever process is being used to imprint your item.

  • Time. One of the problems with technology is that we’ve all become accustomed to instant everything.
The problem is that this is a manufacturing process and it takes time. Most products will take somewhere between 7 to 10 business days to produce. Add to that the shipping time. Many of the industry suppliers are located in California and that’s 5 days by ground to the East coast. Allow yourself a good 2 to 3 weeks to have your order produced and shipped.

  • Proof. A proof is a virtual representation of what your design is going to look like on your product. Always insist on a proof and always go over it with a fine toothed comb. The last thing you want is for your 1,000 pens to arrive with a typo!

The two areas where a project can go wrong are artwork and time. Have your logo (in several versions) in the proper format before you start your order. Give yourself enough time to deal with any glitches that might come up..

A quick word or two about pricing. You can get pretty much any promotional product through an on-line distributor. Their prices are often lower than what a local distributor might be able to show you. They work on huge volumes and small margins. If you know exactly what you want and don’t need any help, this might be the way to go. If you need advice and guidance you should go with a local distributor. As someone famous once said, “you get what you pay for.”

You now know:
  •          Promotional products work as a way to advertise and brand your company.
  •          Pick something that’ s useful to your target audience
  •         Have your logo (in several versions) prepared in the proper format well before you begin the      ordering process.      
  •         Give yourself enough time

If you stick to these guidelines you will have a successful promotional product campaign.

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