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Make it Handy


Make your promotion important


Timing is everything

Hello, and thanks for purchasing this e-book.

I’m Marc Goldsmith, the promotional product advisor for Timely Signs in Elmont NY. Whether it’s for business, charity or a special event, many of us use advertising specialties to help market ourselves. This book will help you best use promotional products.

Promotional products are a fascinating and complex medium of advertising. Ideally they should serve as a constant reminder of whatever you're promoting. Unlike virtually any other form of publicity, promotional products have a high perceived value, they are functional, and you can pay more for them than other advertisements, because it’s more than just an ad; it’s a useful or beautifully significant item.

As a promotional products advisor, my job is to help you find a relevant item that answers your challenges and will help you and your brand will be remembered. I would say that’s “half the battle” but the other half is distributing it efficiently. Since once a promotional product is purchased I’m normally not available to coach on an efficient means of distribution, that’s why I wrote this e-book. At fairs, tradeshows and in stores all over, I see great promotional gifts given in a way that tarnishes their value. It pains me to see people saying, “want a free pen” without any real purpose beyond that, or have a bunch of promotions laid out in a haphazard way and people just grabbing them without any consideration to the vendor, or effort from the provider. This gives my industry a black-eye and I want to ensure you have the knowledge to distribute your promotional gift and to make sure it does what it's supposed to, that increases your business. Promotions should be memorable or motivate people to action... This happens when a promotional item is Handy, necessary and timed-well. I want your promotional gift to be a HIT!


Step 1. Make it Handy


You may have a brilliant promotional gift, one so remarkable that everyone who receives it instantly thinks you're a genius and is encouraged to use your services; but what good is it if you don’t even know where it is? The first part of the HIT formula is to make sure your promotions are Handy! This may sound overly simple thing, but it’s just like remembering to take your business cards to a networking event; it’s easier to overlook this then it seems. Just making a point to having your promotional gifts around and in a safe spot at all times is critical, you never know when the next big opportunity is around. I advise keeping some in your pocket, bag or in your car. Most importantly know where they are in your store, or booth during your event! Another caveat to this is to make sure they are in a safe place, for example, make sure your imprinted chocolates aren’t melting in a hot room, & your ceramic mugs are on a safe sized table.

Beyond knowing where your promotions are, it’s important that you target your audience. Some people at tradeshows just want to grab free stuff. You should not waste too much of your resources on people like this. If your promotion is going to work, it has to be given to the right people. I recommend doing a little qualification before giving out better promotional Items, so that your real potential buyers have the opportunity to get your gift. In essence, every gift given to someone who doesn’t show any

reciprocity potential at all, is a gift taken away from a real potential client. I recommend a vetting process for who receives them. This can be done by just striking up a conversation with the person who spots the gift to discover if there is any real interest in your goods or services. If there is no interest, you can ask the person if he knows anyone who is interested, and if the person still isn’t being responsive or helpful you can assertively say, “I’m sorry, but these promotions are only for potential clients only. Another thing you can do with high-value gifts is only hidden them behind a table, but I’d recommend that you have a lesser value gift displayed to attract people to booths or pique curiosity.

In addition to deploying your promotional items, the receiver must understand it too. Ever receive a promotional gift that you just didn’t understand? You wouldn’t want your clients using a gentle microfiber screen cleaner as a tissue, so make sure people know what they are getting. Personally, if I receive a gift that I do not understand after a minute or two, I gave up on trying to figure it out. Don’t let this happen to your target audience. Unless the gift is evident, such as a pen, never assume they understand what you're giving them. Even objectively known items, such as pens or sunglasses can be provided a little more information, such as it’s a super smooth writing gel pen or these frames have UV protection. Providing some background to the user not only ensures they know what to do with the gift, but it also increases the perceived value which I will touch more upon in this next chapter.


Step 2. Make your promotion Important


It saddens me when I see people giving out great promotional gifts as if they had no value and just want to get rid of them. People want gifts of value, not cheap giveaways. Believe me, your presentation of the promotional gift transfers into the mind of the receiver in which determines how much he or she should value it. This chapter will review the “I” in HIT which makes your promotion relevant!

A product's value is often very subjective and the way you distribute it plays a significant role in how it is perceived. There are many ways to beef up the value of your promotion, and many of them are simple. Let's start with some basics: If two people were giving out the same exact mugs, but the only difference was some cups on display. Let’s say there were 75 mugs on one table, and on the other side of the fair; the other person has 10 of the same mugs ..which table has the cups that seem more valuable? Well, the answer should be the same, but most people would have more intrigue over the ten mugs since there's a sense they will all be gone soon, and people must have scooped them up for a reason. This basic psychological principle of scarcity can be used to your advantage in using your promotional items... even if you brought more than you can figure out how to distribute!

I recommend that if you're going to show your promotions conspicuously, never show too many promotions at a booth or in your store at once; it can cause people to gloss over the value, and also make them feel less special receiving it. It's always a good idea to make people feel they are getting

preferential treatment when receiving a high-value promotional gift and not that they are helping you get rid of anything. You can do this by keeping all your promotions out of view or keeping a small number (I recommend 10-30 depending on a size of the item) in clear sight at once. I wouldn’t go lower than ten because you also don’t want to give the impression that the items aren’t meant to be given or cause any guilt in your client inquiring about them.

Another way of creating value is making your prospect earn the gift. You can tell them before obtaining it, that they have to buy a certain amount of your goods or services, fill out a survey or perform some activity. This is great because it engages the prospect with you, and gives the offering more significance because it wasn’t just a “hand out.” Promotions can be a powerful motivating tool for action. Always keep that in mind when thinking of how to use yours best!

Another method that gives your item real significance is making the relationship between giving the gift and the what you provide for your clients as close as possible. By this I mean make sure your prospect knows about your business and doesn’t view you as a person giving out free promos. Sure, ideally, the promotional imprint should explain who you are, and we would hope a prospect will log onto your site or call you for more info, but you will probably never have another chance for more impact on your client than the moment you give the gift to them. A thoughtful business conversation should arise from it, and it should be provided in a memorable way. For example, a banker might say “here enjoy this cell phone charger, ” or he could say “Since you're one of my favorite clients (or “since I really enjoyed talking to you,” if a prospect). I’d like to give you this cell phone charger, so that you will remember I’m always here to power up your interest rates! The difference here is significant; it’s the difference between a giveaway vs. a valued and understood promotion! Notice a statement like the later implies scarcity, preferential treatment, it has and gives sharp memory hook and that’s making your promotion a real HIT!


Step 3. Timing is everything... even in promotions.


This final chapter is all about ensuring that you give your promotions at the most productive time. Just like salad can become garbage, you want to make sure you don’t introduce the development too late in the interaction; or like a green banana, they also shouldn’t be given too soon; promotions should be given when feelings are positive.

Giving promotional items is similar to asking someone out on a date, or asking for a pay rise. It should be given on a high note. If your prospect looks apprehensive at first, but then has a change in demeanor and lightens up in your conversation, that is a what I consider a “magic moment” that can be amplified with a promotional gift. If you're having a good conversation & there’s a lull, (or you have to think or calculate something) promotion is a great thing to segway that time. On the other hand, If you encounter someone disagreeable, giving a gift to them while in a negative state will sometimes cause them to remember the “unpleasant” time he or she had when you last met when using or looking at your gift. A great time

to deploy the promotion is when the prospect or client seems interested in what you do and is enjoying your conversation!

You also want to make sure your promotions are implemented at the right times regarding its functionality. For example giving the beautiful full-color hand, fans is an excellent idea for a Broadway show on a hot July day, as many other people on the busy streets of New York will take notice. However giving out the same fans on a chilly November day won’t generate nearly as much recognition. Similarly, glow in the dark frisbees won’t have the same value if they are given out after the midnight madness sale. Many promotions are simply dependent on when you give them.

One last note on timing: Often it's good to pair your development in tandem with a special you are offering or other media. If you're running a radio ad, for example, it’s a smart idea to tell people that they will get a gift if they mention this ad. This not only encourages more interaction, but it's also a good way to track the effectiveness of the radio ad or another form of advertising! You can likewise pair the promotion with newspaper ads, TV, internet or mail. People need to hold your offer in mind and take action on it.


Final thoughts

When you have a great promotional adviser to help you pick out the best item and the knowledge of how to properly distribute them, you can easily market yourself better than your competition. Always remember to make your items handy, relevant and give them with good timing to ensure that great promotion you brought is a real HIT!


Best regards,

Marc Goldsmith




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