Promotional merchandise, also known as swag, is everywhere: on pens, magnets, key chains, mugs, frisbees, backpacks, T-shirts, and the list goes on. Even though promotional items are in such abundance—and may not always be the highest quality—the value of promotional items is not to be discounted.When used properly, promotional merchandise will do its job of increasing brand awareness. Read on to learn about what effective promotional merchandising can do for your business, and how to do it right.
Advantages of Swag Marketing
Below are some advantages of marketing your business with branded swag.
Promotional Items are Appealing
One of the simplest advantages of marketing with company swag is that it can help you to immediately connect with your audience. Receiving a free item that is of use to a person is appealing and involves minimal risk, so you are likely to get a lot of engagement.
It’s important to note that lowering the risk of interacting with your business may encourage more engagement, but not necessarily meaningful engagement. The tips section below will go over how to be more strategic with your swag.
Swag Can Increase Your Brand Recognition
Humans gravitate toward that which is familiar to them, sometimes even subconsciously. When deciding between one business or another, having merely seen a company’s name a few times more than your competitors‘ might make all the difference.
Company swag, whether it’s on a book bag or flash drive, is a great way to increase familiarity with your brand. The more items circulating that have your business name or logo, the more people can come to recognize your brand.
Swag Wearers Will Promote Your Business
Promotional merchandise can go on just about anything—travel mugs, T-shirts, handbags, frisbees, you name it. When people sport your swag and carry it around with them, they become mini-marketers promoting your business.
Word of Mouth Works
Promotional merchandise can be seen as a form of word of mouth marketing, a great way to get more customers and strengthen your business reputation. Customers and supporters of your business can sometimes be just as effective, if not more, in promoting your business. This is because people trust what others (even total strangers) have to say about businesses (online reviews are evidence of this).
Also, when people promote your business in this manner, there’s nothing in it for them. They don’t get any commission or revenue if someone else becomes a customer, so their efforts are automatically seen as genuine—no matter how genuine or reputable your business may be.
Promotional Items Can Facilitate Low-Cost Marketing
As mentioned above, it’s important to familiarize people with your business, to increase the likelihood they choose you over your competition. There are many ways to drive this goal: for example, display advertising is a way to increase the number of eyes that see your brand, even if they don’t click on your ad. Yet display advertising is a form of paid advertising, and you may not have the budget or the familiarity with online advertising to do it effectively.
Promotional merchandise is an easy and low-cost approach to increasing brand awareness. Buying your items in bulk enables you to reach more people at a lower price.
Swag Makes for Creative Marketing
Company swag provides a creative and refreshing alternative to traditional offline forms of lead generation such as business cards or flyers. Of course, business cards are a necessity for any business, but how many times or how long after the card is first seen does it get seen again? More times than not they get put in a drawer or glove compartment and forgotten. Fortunately, promotional merchandise can act as a business card while being used every day.
Tips for Using Promotional Merchandise
Promotional merchandise can give your business an edge by acting as an affordable and effective marketing tool. However, the effectiveness your branded items depends on a variety of factors. To help make the most of your merchandise, here are a few tips to think about.
Set a Swag Budget
Even though promotional merchandising is seen as a low-cost marketing strategy, you should still be conscious of cost. Before settling on your swag, determine what you can afford, and think about the return you’re expecting on your investment. Careful consideration can help you to stay realistic about how swag fits in with your greater marketing budget.
Cater Your Swag to Your Audience
Promotional merchandise can effectively reach your target audience, as long as it caters to their behaviors. There are endless possibilities for items to brand, but it’s important to put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customers. If you own a sporting goods store and your target audience is young athletes, giving away water bottles or sweatbands will be more effective than notepads and pens. If you’re a financial advisor, a notepad and pen or travel mug might be best.
Relate Swag to Events
Swag can be given out on-site with certain purchases or free for the taking for anyone who walks in the door. Swag is also commonly given out at events. When using it in this manner, be sure to match your swag with the event you are sponsoring or participating in. For example, if it’s a local charity in the summer, sweatbands or frisbees are a great idea. Sweatshirts? Not so much. Everyone likes a nice hoodie, but if it has to be stuffed away somewhere for use at a later time, the purpose of your swag has been defeated. If it’s a winter convention, sunglasses are not the best, even if you have a box leftover from last year’s barbecue.
The purpose of swag is to provide not just something that potential customers can take with them, but something they can and want to use, either now or in the near future.
Promotional merchandise is an easy and cost effective way of boosting brand awareness and getting your name out there. If your merchandise is simple and immediately useful, your business will be naturally marketed by people in their daily lives. Try getting some swag made up for your business event or promotion, and get more people in your target audience to choose you over your competitors.