Avoid These 5 Promotional Product Marketing Mistakes!

When you run a small business, you’ve got a lot of jobs, and ordering small business promotional products for customers and campaigns is often a favourite. But customising promotional products can pose some potential marketing mistakes. Don’t worry, though! We’re here to help you avoid them with this guide on how to use promotional products effectively and avoid these top five mistakes!

1. Budget Mismatch

Beware of going too low-cost for high-end clients (or too luxurious for everyday giveaways). Imagine handing out a top-quality tumbler like this Torne 540 ml Copper Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Bottle with Bamboo Outer Wall. This may look like a guaranteed winner as far as promotional product marketing goes, but it may not be. If your target market for distribution includes all attendees of a job fair or all visitors to your stand at a trade show, your cost to connect is likely to exceed the return in new candidates or customers. On the other hand, imagine celebrating your employee’s 20-year anniversary on the team with a plastic bike bottle like this Baseline® Plus 650 ml Sport Bottle.  This may be a perfect sports bottle for a charity bike ride, but certainly isn’t suited to a milestone event. When defining your small business promotional products strategy, keep the occasion in mind, and customise a product that fits within your budget while matching the vibe of your event.

2. Too Much Text

A common marketing mistake when it comes to customising your promotional products is trying to fit too much text in the imprint area. An example might be choosing to customise a recycled cotton tote bag to thank donors and volunteers at your charity. A tote is a good choice as it gives you visibility wherever your recipient uses it. It makes sense that you would want to take full advantage of the generous imprint space the tote bag provides. But here is where the marketing mistake occurs! You use a tiny font and include your mission, vision, phone number and street address, plus website just to be safe! The end result: your messaging loses aesthetic appeal and becomes a burden to read except at close range. Avoid this marketing mistake by keeping in mind the mantra that less is more! Focus on your logo and website, and if you have extra imprint space, add a slogan or campaign.

3. Forgetting to Add Important Info

Conversely, it’s equally important in your promotional product marketing strategy to keep in mind that as a small business, your name alone most likely does not speak for itself. If you’re imprinting your bakery name on a full colour tote bag, be sure you add a tagline or slogan that includes the word bakery, baked goods or similar. If your small business has a common name, include a website to help customers find you.

4. Off-Brand Merchandise Choices

Sometimes a product is so appealing that you forget you’re not shopping for yourself, but rather for small business promotional products that reinforce your small business product, service and brand. Although a high-end backpack like this Explorer Ripstop Large 40L Hiking Backpack would inspire anyone to get outside, if your company deals with city-based clients, for example, this may not be the best product to advance your brand. Instead, this Impact AWARE™ RPET Anti-Theft 15.6” Laptop Backpack may be perfect. Choose a giveaway that reflects your line of business, key values or customer interests. No flying discs if you run a pet cemetery. Instead, choose branded mints or a pocket notebook and pen set to capture emotions and memories.

5. Clash of Colours

Another marketing mistake to avoid is choosing product colours that clash with your logo colours.

  • If you want to leverage the branding impact of strong colours such as those featured on our Full Colour Bright Soft Touch Paragon Pen with Stylus Tip, choose a logo colour that complements rather than clashes.
  • If your promotional product comes with a full colour logo imprint, choose a background colour that contrasts with your logo or consider a neutral shade like black or white that ensures your full colour logo is the main attraction.

Tip: for maximum impact for your logo, choose full colour options within our best-selling categories of promotional products: pens, bags and drinkware.

Final Thoughts on Marketing Mistakes

When crafting your small business promotional product strategy, increase your success by avoiding the 5 marketing mistakes above. Become a true promotional products pro with these bonus tips:

  • Allow plenty of time for production and delivery, as giveaways that show up after the show are, well, a letdown!
  • Leverage existing brand exposure by ensuring your promotional product marketing pieces fit into any overarching campaign.
  • Be prepared to pivot if you find a particular promotional product is especially popular with your target audience. Keep your most successful giveaways fresh with seasonal updates and supporting pieces, such as a ceramic mug in winter and a sports bottle in summer.

Most of all, enjoy using promotional products to sell your brand, show you care and put smiles on the faces of all your recipients.

PS To learn more about how to pick the best promotional products for trade shows, check out our blog, The Dos and Don’ts of Ordering Trade Show Giveaways. For tips on how to use promotional products effectively, check out our blog, Best Promotional Items to Buy in Bulk to Get and Keep Customers .


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