I’ve always been a big fan or promotional merchandise – as a receiver and a giver.
Trade shows would be nothing without promotional merchandise. 99.9% of attendees only go to come back with suitcases filled with coffee mugs, letter openers, fridge magnets, stress balls and other stuff that makes airport screening fun.
Promotional merchandise is a cost effective way to thank your customers for their business and keep your company’s name up front and center. I bet if you look around your desk or office right now, you’ll find a mousepad, a cup, a pen… something with a company name on it.
When I owned TheFerretStore.com and several other pet supply websites, there was never a time when an order left our warehouse without having some type of thank you gift in it. It became such a constant with us, we would get customers who would write in and say their gift was missing from their order, or, “please, I have enough magnets, don’t sent me another one.”
I’m pretty sure they got one anyway 🙂
While I always tried to have some unique promo item to give away each month, one item was a mainstay each year – refrigerator calendar magnets with coupon codes. These magnets offered customers either $5 or $10 off their order and were inserted into orders each November, December and January. Since sales were tracked by a coupon code, we knew just how incredibly effective these $0.03 magnets were.
Since the items we were giving away were being shipped, we always opted for lightweight, unbreakable items that cost us less than a half-buck.
While the intention of a free gift is to generate good-will with your customers, there was one promo item that did just the opposite. One month, in conjunction with back-to-school time, I ordered 12” wooden rulers to go in orders. Within a couple days the phones started ringing from customers who received their order, opened it up and their bag of pet food was punctured in transit by the ruler.
We immediately addressed the issue by reshipping the food and including something other than the ruler into orders with bags of food.
We even had a promotional item for when we had to re-ship an order due to damage or a mis-pick. I was able to find a plastic Band-Aid dispenser which had our logo printed on it along with, “Sorry we made a boo-boo.”
There were some very creative give aways handed out over the years and I only wish I kept at least one of each for prosperity.