Business development 31 October 2016

Using promo gifts alongside social media for more effective marketing

gift card
Good promo gifts can have a lasting impact on customers

Here, managing director at promotions firm EMC Ad Gifts, Simon Kay, tells Business Advice readers how promotional gifts can add real value to a small business’ overall marketing strategy.

As a small business owner you can’t ignore the point that’s hammered home by every marketing professional out there – you need social media or your business will fail.

A digital presence is crucial, but it’s not the only marketing outlet you’ll need in order to see real results. Relying on the occasional Tweet would be professional suicide.

You’ll need to be offline as much as you are online for a comprehensive and successful marketing campaign, and the digital world of social media strongly overlaps with that of promotional (promo) gifts.

Promo gifts, like branded water bottles, calendars, etc. – rank right up there with maintaining a strong social media presence. Here’s how:

Both require interaction

Your social media lives and dies by the engagement you receive. If nobody reads your updates, you might as well be whistling in the wind.

So, start a conversation and interact with those you’d like to do business with as well as those already on your books.

The same goes for promotional gifts, which are the perfect outlet for engaging both new and existing clients. It’s a prime way to interact with those who are interested in your business, and stir discussion.

Both can make a lasting impact

What’s the best promotional gift you’ve ever received? The fact that you can remember it shows you how much of a lasting impact they can make. It might be a branded calendar that hung in your office for months, or a pen that felt so comfortable you kept using it for years.

You’re certainly not in the minority. A recent survey revealed that 66 per cent of people can remember a branded promotional product a year after receiving it.

While social media may be fleeting in the sense that a Tweet will be remembered for a few seconds, you can nonetheless use social platforms to seriously build a reputation that gets remembered for the right reasons. Look at Lynx championing men’s mental health, or Disney’s charitable #ShareYourEars campaign, for example.

Both can effortlessly target demographics

The worst aspect of traditional marketing is it’s just so broad. This is a strong selling point for both social media and promo gifts, both of which can be used to target the right market with pin-point precision.

Facebook and Twitter ads can be directed to appear on the feeds of highly specific audiences – age, gender and interests can all be determined.

Likewise, certain promotional gifts play well with certain audiences. A pen may have broad appeal, from students to businesspeople, but a goofy USB stick shaped like a cartoon character very obviously appeals to younger demographics. Choosing wisely means you can naturally appeal to your key target market.

Both reinforce brand recognition and awareness

The main purpose for both social media and promo gifts isn’t to drive sales, as it’s notoriously difficult to drive sales solely through these means. The real bonus to them is that they have a psychological effect on people – namely, they reinforce brand recognition, raise brand awareness and increase brand loyalty.

You grow to love particular brands on social media, and make a point of stopping by their profile to see what they’re discussing. Promo gifts assist by being a constant reminder of your company name – particularly if that gift is one that’s going to get a lot of use, like USB sticks for example. All that building of brand loyalty works because…

Both have to offer others ‘something’

Singularly promoting your business, products and services on social media is a lot like running up to a stranger in the street and screaming your company name in their face – which will lead to as many sales as you’d expect.

You might as well slap the stranger in the face with a branded water bottle for all the good it’ll do. The real trick to both promo gifts and social media is to give something back.

That is, just keep giving people something, whether it’s silly images, funny stories or an indispensable water bottle or branded pen. Combine all of that, work for your audience, and then drop your sales pitch.

You could even combine the two, giving products away on social media for twice the effect! Giving something to people creates a psychological effect where they feel they owe you their custom – and together you can develop a beautiful professional friendship.

Simon Kay is managing director at promotional product specialists  EMC Ad Gifts.

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