Best-of-the-Best Essential Tips
from Marketers & Meeting Planners
You usually think of promo items as giveaways, swag, recognition gifts, or something sales people leave behind after calling on a client. The promotional product industry has grown to include all these items, as well as name tags, signage, high end speaker gifts, and anniversary gifts. You will find not only your large corporations handing out marketing items, but also small businesses, individual sales people, non-profits, churches and of course meeting and convention planners. From Part 1, you know that these items are used to convey a message.
People use promotional gifts for events from beginning to end! If you understand the tricks of the trade, you can save yourself a few dollars as well as a headache or two! Keep reading and you will find some great ideas on how to incorporate promo items into your meeting or events, suggestions regarding how and when to order, and finally how to develop a partnership with your favorite promo product supplier.
For those of you who plan events, you have thousands of items to choose from when marketing your program. You will want to decide on a product that:
Mailing is a unique way to invite guests, clients or prospects! Maybe a mouse pad or chocolate bar with the program details imprinted right on the product, a post it notepad with the convention name and date, or a ruler or notebook with the website and address. A simple paper or email invite will not receive the attention that your inexpensive and creative marketing piece will!
You could also provide a promo item as a parting gift. This could be a tote or backpack that your guests or attendees use to carry home all the training materials they accumulate. Other ideas include a quality coat, leather padfolio, or umbrella that they can use for years to come! How about a food gift that arrives the day they return home? What a great surprise and one they won't forget anytime soon! Include the next event date to keep the momentum going.
The best part about adding promo items to various aspects of your event is the emotions they create. Your guest will have great memories to share and will think of your organization fondly when they use their gifts. They will tell their friends and family about their positive experiences, which is the best form of advertising you could ask for!
You will want to promote your event as early as 3 to 4 months before your meeting or convention. You can offer a special gift for those who register early to get your registrations in ahead of schedule.
Customer appreciation events, trade shows, training classes, parties or social mixers, new product demos and conference or trade shows are all great avenues for self-promotion and promo item giveaways. Add your gift to an imprinted gift bag or box to create an attractive package. Leave as a welcome gift at the hotel or waiting for them at their designated seat for a training class. Provide opportunities to win fun promo prizes for participating at your training class or stopping by your booth. Draw a name for a promotional gift item such as a quality personalized pen, briefcase or high end wearable and you will not only create traffic, you will have names and emails for follow up sales calls or emails.
When it comes time to order your giveaways, chose items that make sense for your audience. Consider whether your attendees will be mostly female or male, what their age range is and the demographics in general. Do not pick items based on what you like or feel others will like. Chose what you believe your ideal attendee would be interested in or drawn to.
Add the right amount of detail or personalization. Logo recognition is important but you want the item to relate to your brand. Make sure the audience can draw a connection from your gift to a feeling that inspires them to take action; such as placing an ordering with you, choosing to use your services the next time they need them, or to create and develop company pride. Make sure your website and phone number are listed on your imprint and ensure you have the correct imprint colors by checking with your marketing department.
Find the best quality item you can order that still fits within your budget. Ask your sales representative if they have a particular color or style that might be on sale. Many times a specific color is on clearance for a wearable or tote that was last winter's popular color. This might save you 30-40% of your cost. You can score a quality item at a reduced price without sacrificing durability and style.
Order your promotional items months before your event. To get the most bang for your buck, plan ahead to avoid rush charges, express shipping or sacrificing on what you really want for what is available. Make sure for most items you have 4-6 weeks minimum before the "in hand date." If you will want to see a proof or spec sample, allow even more time.
Review your event calendar when ordering your promo items. If you will need the same items for another show 6 months from now, double your order and save. If you can store the items, you can save a considerable amount of money by purchasing a larger quantity... often 30% or more. Think about using them for direct mail campaigns, thank you gifts, speaker gifts, etc. You may want to avoid using dates or specific event names. This will limit when and how you use your promotional materials. When dates are important, you can include a small slip with event dates and information.
Develop a relationship with your promotional product distributor. Your sales representative will often be able to inform you of upcoming sales and for your repeat business, they will be happy to search out unique products or maybe call you when a product from a past repeat order goes on sale. They are the experts at what they do and when other companies in your industry do something really interesting and fun with a new promotional item, they can fill you in so you can make a splash with your next marketing campaign! In case you have a last minute need, this can often be fulfilled.
Remember, the secret to adding swag to successful events is to incorporate promo items in unexpected and exciting ways. Place orders for quality gifts at the right time and the right quantity, and develop a partnership with your favorite promo product supplier. In the end, you will have the most unforgettable events of the year!
Looking for easy access to the complete event planning guide? Review parts 1 thru 9 below:
1) You've Been Asked to Plan an Event. Now What?
2) Determine Your Theme
3) Determine Your Budget
4) Selecting the Best Site
5) Program Management
6) Negotiation Skills
7) Create Powerful Marketing Campaigns
8) Take Your Meeting to the Next Level
9) 3 Critical Things to Get Right for Event Room Set Up
10) It's All About the SWAG! Part 1
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