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10 Ways to Strategically Place a Promotional Advertising Product for Customer Acquisition

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When you decide to use a promotional advertising product, one of the main goals is to keep your brand top of mind.  You want to ignite the law of reciprocation and get people intrigued, so they’ll do business with you.

Unfortunately, if you choose the wrong promotional advertising product ideas or the wrong strategic positioning, your advertising campaign could fall flat–that’s why I wrote 10 ways to position your promotional products advertising into a campaign for customer acquisition.  Rather than accidentally hosting a giveaway, I’ve written this post to help you strategically position your promotional advertising product so they become an effective advertising tool.

A Promotional Product Giveaway vs. a Promotional Advertising Product Campaign

Don’t get me wrong, giveaways aren’t bad!  In my previous post about how promotional products and advertising goes together, I mentioned some huge giveaways done by people like Oprah or Dave Ramsey that generated lots of media buzz!  They can be a great idea, but you don’t want to do them on accident, or set unrealistic expectations.

There’s a difference in promotional product giveaways and a promotional advertising product campaign.  A giveaway doesn’t require anything from the recipient.  For example, when you go to a trade show, many vendors have waters, candies, and other “giveaway” items.

In contrast, a promotional advertising product is the use of promotional products to incentivize behavior that’s favorable for your business.  In the online world, many people use “lead magnets” to encourage website visitors to give an email address or other information.  When the information is exchanged, the business owner is able to continue the relationship with the potential customer thru email marketing.

promotional advertising productIngredients of a Promotional Products Advertising Campaign

  • A clear campaign goal

Brand awareness, brand engagement, sales, referrals or some other goal is the basis for a promotional advertising product campaign whereas, a giveaway is simply philanthropy

  • An exchange from the consumer and the advertiser’

Depending on your sales funnel, you may want an email address, mailing address, phone number, or another outcome.  The promotional advertising product campaign should influence the metrics that count for your business.

  • Measurable outcomes

After the campaign is over, you should be able to say a specific number of people were acquired as prospects or sales as a result of the promotional advertising product campaign.

  • Metrics to measure success

Sales, # of mailing list subscribers, # of referrals, or another key performance indicator should be quantified, so you’ll accurately know your acquisition costs and accurately calculate your lifetime customer value for future decisionmaking.

promotional advertising product campaign works similar to the online “lead magnet”.  Here are 10 ways promotional products can be used in an advertising campaign…

1. In Exchange for Email Addresses

According to Wordstream, email is the third most influential source of information for B2B audiences, behind only colleague recommendations and industry-specific thought leaders.  Email is a powerful tool.  It’s really unlikely that people will buy from you without building trust.  Some online marketers say lower cost items sell without much established trust, but the higher the price point, the more unlikely cold traffic will convert into sales.

As a result, receiving an email address from a customer is like getting permission to continue the relationship with them.  Jim Rohn said, “Attention is the most precious gift you can give”, therefore, you can exchange the promotional items as a way of saying “Thanks for your attention and your permission for the ongoing relationship”.

promotional advertising product2. In Exchange for Mailing Addresses

Similar to exchanging email addresses, some businesses use direct mail as a way to build trust and relationship.  In promotional advertising product campaigns where the mailing address is the main goal, they’ll have:

  • a free item where the consumer will pay the shipping cost, or they’ll have
  • a low-cost physical item for sale
  • or some sort of signup where mailing addresses are exchanged for the promotional item

3. To Reward Those Who Give Phone Numbers

Recently, when I signed up for Dean Graziosi’s Millionaire Success Habits event that comes to my area, I was asked to enter my email, mailing address, and phone number in exchange for two free event tickets and one free hard copy book.  Since signing up two days ago, I’ve received two text messages: one was a “thank you” message for signing up, and the other was “a brief intro video” in case I hadn’t known Graziosi before.  In order to get my other free gifts, I have to attend the event, but even if I don’t, I’m in the sales funnel of Dean Graziosi.

Similarly, you can request information like phone number, email, or mailing address.  When doing a campaign where you’re asking for more information, you want to make sure your promotional product has a high perceived value.  In the case of Dean Graziosi’s promotional advertising product campaign, the book is listed at $20, and events have a high perceived value, so two tickets in exchange for signup information seemed like a fair exchange to me.

4. To Reward Appointment Booking

If one of your business’s key performance indicators is appointment booking, you may want to incentivize the booking behavior.  For example, new student registration, tenant registration, consultant appointments, or others may be the beginning of a relationship towards a high lifetime customer value.  If the LTV is significantly higher than the acquisition costs,  the investment in promo products to incentivize the behavior would be worthwhile.

You could say “book your new student registration appointment in the month of September, and receive a free Alumni sweatshirt”, or something similar.

promotional advertising product5. To Reward Product Sales

Who doesn’t like to buy something and get something free?  A promotional advertising product campaign is a way to leverage the power of “free” while the consumer is making a purchase.  To create a campaign rewarding product sales, you could say “we’re giving this item away free when you purchase…”.


6. To Reward Social Shares

A couple of months back, Dave Ramsey did a contest where he allowed a new entry into a raffle in exchange for certain behaviors.  The ultimate prize Dave was giving away was a membership to the Digital Marketer.  He had a long list of activities that could each win you an entry into the raffle.  Some of the activities included:

  • Social shares (he had a specific quantity,  but I can’t remember what it was)
  • Watching a EntreLeadership video
  • Watching a Dave Ramsey video
  • etc.

The contest was a great idea to spike KPIs!  As a result of the campaign, he received several thousand Youtube views, lots of social media buzz, assuredly new buyers, fans, and listeners, and more.

You can strategically place promotional products to reward social shares in your campaigns thru:

  • Contest
  • Raffles
  • or, Simple posts

You could do like Dave did and say, “win an entry into our raffle to win (product name)”, or you could simple say, “Share this with your (#) friends on social media and win (promotional product)”.

promotional advertising product7. To Reward Referrals

Stats show that 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it from friends or family.  As a result, it’s important to reward the advocacy of your brand and keep the excitement about referring others.

There are many ways to reward referrals, but promotional advertising product campaigns have proven to be very effective ways to reward referrals.  You can:

  • Give the promotional product to the referring client and the new one
  • Give the promotional product to the new client only
  • or, give the promotional product to the referring client only

8. To Reward Upsells

I love Chik Fil A.  Recently, when I went to Chik Fil A, they were rewarding people for making their orders large size by adding in chocolate chip cookies.  Normally, when they ask, “Do you want to make the meal large?”, I’ll say, “No thanks”, but this time, when they said “when you upsize your order today, you’ll get a free package od six chocolate chip cookies”, I perceived the value, and it was an irresistible offer for me.

Sometimes, simply by adding a promotional product, it can persuade clients to purchase an upsell because it makes them perceive the offer as “irresistible”.  Think about ways you can apply Chik Fil A’s principle to your business by pairing promotional products with an upsell as a reward.

promotional advertising product9. To Eliminate Procrastination

Often times, humans procrastinate.  It doesn’t matter if the product or service is something they want or not, they will procrastinate simply because they don’t feel pressure to act within a timeline.  For this reason, many business owners will set clear timelines, create limited quantities, or pair a promotional product to help push people from “being on the fence”.

Simple campaigns that say:

“The first (# of) buyers will receive…”

The first buyers to spend (dollar amount) will receive…”

or, “when you sign up by (date), you’ll receive…”


10. To Reward Action Takers

Whenever you’re doing a promotional product advertising campaign, it’s important to have a goal in mind, and to nurture each part of the customer sales life cycle differently.  For example, many entrepreneurs complain about tradeshow marketing being ineffective because they set up their table and give away everything to cold traffic without asking for anything in exchange.  After they leave the vendor event, they have no prospects.

Instead, it’s important to keep your campaign goals realistic by strategically placing promotional products within the customer buying cycle as a means to push them forward from research phase thru to buying stage.  If you watch big companies hosting giveaways, many times, if you look closely, you can see the underlying criteria that makes the campaign meet their objectives.

For example, in the case of Oprah, often times, she hosted giveaways for her audience (warm leads and current clients).  The giveaways rewarded people who came to her show, encouraged television viewers to visit live, and likely, encouraged a return of the same guests again and again.

On other occasions, Oprah has given to “cold traffic” thru relief aid efforts and things of the like.  At this point, she’s able to be very influential in the philanthropic world and the business world, but entrepreneurs who are just starting out shouldn’t mistake philanthropy or a giveaway for advertising because giving to a relief effort probably won’t have the same results as a well done promotional products advertising campaign.

Final Words on Strategic Placement of Promotional Products Advertising Campaigns

The goal of this article was to show you how to strategically place a promotional product within an advertising campaign for customer acquisition. There’s several ways to incorporate promotional products advertising to obtain the goal of acquiring more customers, but you have to be careful to set parameters to ensure it’s not a giveaway (unless that’s your goal).

If you have questions or concerns about this, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments section.  I’d love to help you out!  If you would like to start or scale your business, check out my free e-course.

Now, it’s Your Turn…

Have you ever confused a promotional advertising campaign with a giveaway?  What’s your experience?  Do you see how it could easily be confused?  Leave your comments below.

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