Imagine walking into a trade show or conference, only for an engineering company to give you branded personal hygiene items as promotional products.

You may struggle to find a relationship between the two, especially if your interest is in building design and infrastructure development. Even worse, the item may be easily disposable after a single use. This will make you quickly forget about the promotional product and the company brand along with it.

When choosing a promotional product, it’s not simply about bombarding your target audience with anything you can give away for free. Each item you consider should be carefully selected to resonate with your audience. This means that the items should be useful to your customers, relevant to your brand, and durable enough to continue creating a lasting impression.

All this sounds easier said than done. While you may see many promotional products out there, remember that one in five people throw away a promotional item that they don’t want/need. On the other hand, 53% of people who own promotional products use them on a weekly basis.

So how can you strike the right balance and choose the perfect promotional product for your audience?

Consider your overall objective

How to Choose Promo ProductsBefore you dive deep into selecting a promotional item, think about what your overall objective is. You may be looking to raise brand awareness, increase customer loyalty, or differentiate yourself from the competition. Each of these objectives may result in a different promotional product or target a different subset of your customer base. For example, promotional items for brand recognition may be simple products produced in larger quantities (think of pens, t-shirts, hats, etc.). On the other hand, products aimed at strengthening customer relationships may be more personalized items such as glassware or branded umbrellas.

Determine what your objective is and develop products that will allow you to appeal to your target audience.

Know your target audience

Speaking of target audience, you should take time to understand what the needs and preferences of your customers are. Remember that you can’t please everyone, and a more targeted approach to promotional products is often more effective than simply casting a wide net. Start by identifying products that your customers will find valuable and useful. By working within a niche (as opposed to trying to please everyone), you can appeal more directly to your customers by designing products with a personal touch.

But how can you identify what your customers like? Start by analyzing your own company’s products and services. You should select an item that closely relates to what your customers look for in the normal products, or fit their day-to-day routine.

Identify the use of the item

To avoid having your promotional products ending up in the trash can, make sure the item is actually useful to your target audience. The product should have a long-term use value, as opposed to items that quickly ran out and are forgotten. When determining use value, consider how many times a recipient is likely to use the item in a week (and how long the item is likely to last).

You can break down use value into long term and short-term use. If your item is useful over the long term, your recipient is likely to use it for anywhere between 1-3 years. This is an excellent way of keeping your logo and brand in the minds of your customers for a long time to come. Short-term promotional products are often used either instantaneously (such as branded food items) or they run out over a short period of time (like perishables or sanitation products). Short term products are a great solution to a holiday-themed or event promotion.

Use value will largely depend on the needs and preferences of your customers. You can combine both short term and long term promotional items to create the best impression on your customer.

How will the promotional product be distributed?

Think about what the promotional product is intended for in terms of connecting with your customer. If you’re creating a promo item in preparation for an upcoming trade show, you may need to consider the specific needs and logistics of your audience for that event. For example, many companies opt to give away tote bags and carrying pouches during trade shows so that attendees are not clumsily balancing all of their goods while visiting different booths. Whether you plan to distribute a promotional item in mass quantities at a trade show, or visit long time customers to hand out holiday gifts, it is important to consider the logistics of distribution for the sake of both your internal team and your customers.

Set a budget

Perhaps the toughest decision you’ll have to make is determining how much to spend on promotional products. Promo items are a part of your advertising cost, and advertising expenses often make people spend sleepless nights trying to calculate how much to spend. In addition, you can’t exactly know what your ROI will be until after you try out the advertising technique.

To get started, think about how much your revenue is and how much you can safely allocate towards advertising. If you’re just starting out, you may consider going for less costly promotional products such as pens, hats, tote bags, etc.

Make sure the item is relevant to your brand

One of the most important things to remember when choosing promotional products is to select an item that enforces your brand relevance. This means that the item should be a representation of your overall company’s operations and the products that you provide.

By selecting promo items relevant to your brand, your recipients will have an easier time associating your promotional products with your overall brand. For example, an office supplies company will resonate well with its target audience by providing branded pens, calendars, and boxes as promotional items. On the other hand, an electronics company will enjoy brand relevance better by offering branded chargers, cables, and cell phone covers.

Plan ahead

You may have the perfect promotional product in mind, but poor planning will make you miss out on timely delivery, quality or quantity. If you’re ordering the items for an upcoming trade show, give yourself enough time for the products to be prepared, shipped, and delivered to your premises. You should also have enough lead time to deal with last minute delays so you don’t end up with poor quality products for your customers.

Need a promotional product? Ditto can help

Selecting a promotional product is a careful and detailed process. You want an item that resonates with your target audience, is not too expensive yet high quality, and is useful over the long term. Striking the perfect balance can be challenging. That is why Ditto is here to make things easier. We help you select and provide quality promotional products that drive brand awareness.

Our Corporate Identity Platform helps you along every step of the way, from selecting a product to ordering and shipping it in a timely manner. Looking to create a lasting impression on your customers? Contact us today!