Promotional products are one of the most effective forms of advertisement, and one of the oldest. Printing your company logo onto a customer gift is also one of the cheapest ways to get your advertising message out to the world. Promotional product marketing costs just $0.005 per impression, compared with $0.058 per impression for a radio advertisement, $0.029 per impression for a newspaper advertisement and $0.018 per impression for a prime time television advertisement.
The power of promotional products lies in their usefulness — they offer something of value to the customer. Most people enjoy receiving and using promotional products, and will even feel a stronger obligation to “give something back” to your company in the form of making a purchase. But whether you’re giving out pens, T-shirts or other promotional products, bad choices and poor planning can thwart the effectiveness of your promotional marketing campaign. When choosing and designing your favorite promotional products, avoid some of these common mistakes.
Cluttering Up the Product with Too Much Information
When it comes to designing a promotional product, less is more. When you’re ordering promotional pens fromThe Pen Guy, for example, keep in mind that there’s definitely a limit to how much promotional information you’re going to be able to put on the side of the pen. Stick with a simple logo; if your normal logo is elaborate, you may need to use a simplified version. Keep your advertising message concise.
The same goes for larger promotional products, like T-shirts, tote bags and hats. You’re aiming for an advertising message that folks can understand at a glance. Don’t go overboard.
Using Copyrighted Material
It may go without saying that most sports team logos, company logos, brand logos and social media network logos are copyrighted. But did you know that even some fonts are protected by copyright? Make sure you have the right to use any fonts or logos you incorporate in your design. Rights holders can take you and your printer to court if you infringe on their copyright.
Failing to Format Correctly
Once you have your design all figured out, you have to make sure that you format your document correctly. Convert your fonts to outlines so that anyone who opens your file will see the fonts you used, even if they don’t have the same version of the same program as you. Otherwise, your font will appear as plain old Times New Roman or another common font.
You should also save your artwork as a vectored file. Vector art is smooth, instead of pixelated, so it’s easier to open and view and looks much nicer once printed.
Prioritizing Cost Above Quality
Consumers love receiving high-quality promotional items, but they’re not so keen on low-quality, cheaply made ones. You don’t have to spend a fortune on your promotional items, but you should choose the best promotional products your company can afford. Customers won’t wear or use a poorly-made product, so you’re not really saving any money at all if you choose a cheaper item. In fact, you’re wasting money because that product won’t garner the advertising impressions you need.
Ordering at the Last Minute
In general, you should leave yourself no less than three weeks from the time you order to the time your promotional campaign needs to begin. When you delay ordering your promotional products until the last minute, they’ll be more expensive, since you’ll have to pay rush order prices. You’ll also have less time to deal with any problems that might come up during the production or shipping stages, and you’ll have a much smaller selection of products to choose from for your campaign.
Ignoring the Target Market
Your promotional items aren't going to do your company much good if they’re not the sort of thing your target market generally enjoys and uses. How old is your target market? Are they men or women? What do most of them do for work? You need to consider these things when planning your promotional campaign, just as you would with any other advertising campaign.
If you’re ordering promotional T-shirts for an audience that consists of both men and women, for example, don’t do what many companies do and simply order shirts cut for men. The female half of your audience won’t wear them, and you’ll have wasted money on a promotional item that’s not getting any exposure.
If you’re not sure whether or not your chosen promotional item or items will be a hit with your target market, order some samples and perform a market test. Trade shows present a valuable opportunity to discover which of your promotional items are most popular among men and women. You can also ask your promotional product vendor for help in choosing the right items.
Promotional products are one of the most efficient forms of marketing, but as with any other type of advertising, there are things that can go wrong. Take care to avoid some of the most common promotional marketing mistakes, and watch your campaign succeed beyond your wildest expectations.