Small Business Brief


7 Benefits of Using Free Promotional Products to Market Your Business

Ever been to a trade-show, seminar, or business convention? Most companies give away free promotional products to their attendees during these events.

But is this effective? Can promotional marketing items really build client retention and loyalty to your brand? Can this strategy increase sales?

The answer is yes and then some. Don’t worry, we’re not going to leave you hanging. Read on below to read up on the different benefits of giving free promotional items:

Better Word of Mouth

Word of mouth is still one of the most crucial aspects of marketing. You want to see your brand to trend on social media. You want your brand to be the talk of the town after a business convention or seminar.

You can achieve this through free promotional products. People will think positively of your brand after receiving an item. 

However, the real magic comes later. Once someone no longer needs the promo item you gave, like a pen or ID lanyard, they’ll likely give it away to someone else. This means someone else gets to see your brand on a regular basis as they utilize the item.

This effect can snowball. That second person might pass the item to a third and so forth. More and more people will get to see your brand during their daily work.

Increased Brand Retention

How many pop-up ads can you remember from the previous day? How may ads from last week still stick out in your mind?

For the majority, none of these ads really stand out. It’s hard to recall online ads because people hardly pay attention to them. 

TV ads don’t fare any better. Studies show only 53% of people remember TV ads but 76% can recall the brand of a company that gave them a free promo item. 

Improve Customer Loyalty

This should come as no surprise but giving free items increases customer loyalty. It’s all about creating a positive atmosphere around your brand. Why go back to the company that doesn’t make you feel special when there’s a similar one that gave a free pen or calendar?

This boost of loyalty extends to your employees too.

Employees are less likely going to quit if they receive items like lanyards, phone cases, shirts, and tumblers. They’ll also feel a sense of pride and will showcase these items in public, which again boosts brand awareness. The folks around them might catch a glimpse of the logo on these items.

Affordable Method of Marketing

You could spend thousands of dollars on a video ad and still not see any increases in sales or site visits. All it takes is a mistake with the video’s tags on YouTube or a poor viral marketing decision to bury that video ad out of people’s memory.

That’s wasted money. TV and online video ads aren’t useless but you shouldn’t rely on them all the time, especially if you run a small business that’s still on a tight budget.

Compare that level of cost to the expense of handing out marketing items, like these options here, to people attending a trade show. Lanyards and professional printing don’t cost as much as a video ad but you get the guarantee that attendees will see your brand and use the item.

Free Promotional Products Increase ROI

Remember that the goal of marketing isn’t to increase site traffic or boost brand awareness: the real end-goal is to increase profits. Can you see actual ROI numbers increase after giving away free promotional products? 

The answer is a resounding yes. 

As mentioned, people tend to keep promotional items for more than a few months. This increases the likelihood of them going back to your brand to avail of a product or service that you offer. When they lend or give that item to someone else, the process repeats.

For some, there can be a large ratio between the number of people who saw video or print ads versus the number of people who visit the site to purchase or subscribe. In comparison, the gap between people who received a promo item and those who make a purchase is much smaller.

The real magic comes with the connection between your promo items and your digital marketing efforts, which we’ll discuss in the section below.

Boost Digital Marketing Efforts

How do physical items boost your digital marketing tactics? Don’t think of these items as freebies to trade show attendees. Think of them as functional business cards.

Don’t simply print your brand’s logo on the item. Make sure to put some kind of contact information too; add in a phone number, Facebook URL, or website URL. 

Since people will use these items regularly, they’ll always see your website or Facebook page information. Whenever they need something you offer, there’s a higher chance that they’ll recall your brand and visit your pages. They don’t have to go through multiple searches because the URL is already in front of them at their time of need.

Stand Out From the Crowd

Whenever you think you came up with a great, unique idea, there’s always the likelihood your competitors thought of it first. Don’t let this drag you down and don’t settle playing second fiddle. Do your best to stand out from the crowd.

Promotional marketing materials give you this type of edge. Yes, many companies also give away items but only your pens have your brand on them.

You could even add a special twist to this. Put up posters for the trade show with marketing tags like “Join our 1-hour seminar and get a free limited-edition giveaway item! Only 200 of these exist in the world!”

Reap the Benefits of Promotional Products

Even small businesses can stand out and reach thousands of potential customers through the use of free promotional products. They boost brand awareness, increase loyalty, and they’re a more affordable option compared to traditional marketing tactics.

Of course, you can’t stop with promo items. Check out our other guides now to read up on more effective marketing strategies!