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Best Promotional gifts & products for your startup...

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by Startacus Admin

Best Promotional gifts & products for your startup...

Apart from the killer title for this feature, there are generally not a lot of deadly marketing gifts out there for you to use in your startup. Being honest, most promotional goodies suck.

Laura Allen from Prototype Magazine asked us on Twitter last week about Promotional goodies and I was baffled to know what to answer - hence the idea for this article! So, what are the best promotional giftspromotional gifts and products you can use for your startup?

Well, we’ve made the same mistakes as many others have and probably will continue to! We bought the business cards (in bulk), the letter headed paper (in bulk), the promotional badges (in bulk) and being honest most of them still remain in their boxes. With this in mind and with a tight (i.e. lean) startup budget at its core, here are our top tips to address the above:

Well, we’ve made the same mistakes as many others have and probably will continue to! We bought the business cards (in bulk), the promotional badges (in bulk), even the T-shirts. However, being honest most of them still remain in their boxes. So, with this in mind and being ever mindful of having a lean (i.e. tight) budget, here are our top tips for promotional gifts and products for your startup:

First of all, consider:

Who your audience is...
Who are you selling too? Selling doesn’t necessarily mean a monetary transaction, it does however mean determining who you are you trying to communicate to with your business. Who are your clients and customers? Who is your audience? Who is listening and who really cares? On Facebook how many people respond to your posts, or answer your polls? Who would really miss you, if you were gone tomorrow?

The thing is, it’s easy to make the mistake of giving away promotional gifts and goodies to people that don’t really care about you or your business. Its easy to target prospective clients and customers with gumpf that they don’t really care too much about.

The other mistake of course is to buy the standard promotional stuff that nobody really wants. Mugs, pens. bookmarks, note pads... How many people actually want these things?

Tip 1 - Buy a few really good promotional gifts and reward the loyalty and support of the audience and customers that really do care and who will continue to spread the word about your business or service.

Tip 2 - Remember, you know your audience better than anyone, or at least you should! Therefore, before you start buying marketing products en masse, why not suggest a list of 10 ideas to your audience and ask ask which one they would appreciate the most.

Tip 3 - If I was to offer you two branded mugs and a cheap looking notepad, or a bouquet of flowers costing a similar price, which one would make you feel the more valued, and which one would you like the most?
I can guess that most of you will answer with ‘flowers’ - purely because if you don’t want them, someone else will! Make sure then that you always consider how a promotional gift will add value to your business and your brand, as opposed to simply adding weight to someone’s bin or desk.

Then consider:

If your market is on or gift
If your business is offline and you are looking to develop a client base, want to increase your presence, or you simply want to woo a few local bigwigs, a physical gift may be a rather nice idea. Also, some physical marketing products may well be needed if you are trying to enter a more traditional business environment where you are expected to use such products.
If your business is online, you may have a little more scope for promo products that are a tad different from the norm. However, do also think about how many opportunities you will have for giving out promotional gifts and products. Think about this carefully before you start going overboard ordering with tons of promo gadgets, gifts and gizmos.

Tip 4 - Be conservative when making orders. Buy less marketing products than you think you will need - the reality is that they will probably still be sitting there for you to use next time you need them!

Finally Consider:

How beneficial it will be for you...
Often, with promotional gifts and products the emphasis is always on the customer or the target client. It’s important then to make sure that if you go to the bother and cost of making or giving out promo gifts, that you understand the value of the gift to you.
If some of your target market is offline and you give out a gift or a promotional product, why not do so personally. Make the effort to get to know who your ‘client’ is. As cliche as it may seem, people buy from people! Therefore, make sure that you make the most of the money that you spend on impressing other people.

Tip 5 - As awkward as it sometimes can be, try building a face to face relationship with your customer. If you are looking to build up more than the odd sale, build up a relationship where you could imagine feeling comfortable going ‘for lunch’ and having a chat. Create relationships not contacts - that way, you will get a much better understanding of a customer’s needs and wants and therefore be better placed to choose an appropriate promo product that they would really appreciate. That is also where the inclusion of business cards and other marketing basics can be avantageous. Check out for cool and cost effective business cards. 

In conclusion then, perhaps I shall make up my own little cliche:
“You, (in the spirit of thinking lean) are you best promotional product and marketing goodie you could ever have. So promote yourself!”

In essence then, we can’t tell you what marketing gifts and promo materials are best for your business - ask your audience, after all they are the ones that matter!

If you like this article you might want to read Creating a Marketing Plan - the basics


And if you are looking for affordable startup publicity check out our Publicity Startup Programme for jus that! 

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Published on: 3rd February 2013

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