May 2018

Corporate GiftsPromotional Products

Are You Wasting Money On Promotional Pens? – The 3 “Must-Dos” When Ordering Promo Pens

Promotional PensPromotiona Pens

Pens can be amazingly effective as promotional items. But, in 18 years in the industry, I feel they are wasted and handed out thoughtlessly more so than any other promotional product.

They are easy to get right, but even easier to get completely wrong. Put some thought into it to ensure you get the best value for your promotional dollar.

1) Match Your Pen To Your Target Client

Ideal client, not necessarily current, average client.

Promotional pens are really about expressing your business’ personality, but more so, communicating to your clients (or prospects) that you understand them.

Pen Gift Box
Gift boxed pens are a great gift for an office professional, but not for a tradie!

Giving them a gift that is actually useful will go much further in terms of resonating with them than a thoughtless, generic item aimed at the masses.

Think of your ideal client – once you have that mental picture crystal clear, select your printed pens with them mind.

Most clients and prospects will appreciate some form of a promotional gift as a gesture, but, you’re aim is to land the next big, loyal customer who will do business with you long-term.

Of course, it’s not just about usefulness, but also about style. In a digital world, pens have become more of an aesthetic item that is treated and cherished like an accessory. Match the style of the custom pens to your ideal client to make your brand memorable.

If your client or prospect receives your printed pens and thinks, “Why would they send this to me?” you’ve missed the mark and created a negative impression of your brand.

The Golden rule in marketing is that anytime a potential customer has a thought involving your brand, that association should be positive.

To make things simple, we’ve organised our promotional pens to make selecting the right choice much easier. Have a look here.

  2) Get Your Delivery Right

Putting your pens in a mug at the front desk is not enough.

Yeah your pens looks sexy… but you are still only part way there.

Before you even order your pens, you need a plan for getting them into the hands of the right people. You might have to allocate a significant portion of your project budget for this. Better to pay to get them into the correct hands than to get them into the wrong hands for free.

Targeting not only increases the likelihood of a recipient taking action, but it also decreases negative reception of your promotional product. An unwanted or irrelevant gift makes your branding efforts look like spam.

Use analytical tools available online, census information and other data to narrow in on your demographic.

Spending a little more time and a larger portion of your budget on Geo targeting can pay big dividends.

It helps, of course, to start with organised information about your prospects or existing clients first. If you’re targeting people who you already have some basic contact information for (such as mailing addresses, business cards, etc.), get in the practice of categorising this data in a spreadsheet.

When it comes time to design and order your logo pens, you can exercise some common sense as far as what type and quality of pen is most appropriate. Is the promotional pen more likely to be in an office setting, or is it a candidate for the chest pocket of a client as they take the golf course?

Making this determination becomes easier with a clearer picture of your intended audience. Remember, it’s your ideal client you’re after. Spending some time perfecting your delivery approach can reveal surprising things about your target market you may have otherwise overlooked. In this case, go back and rethink, revise and repeat Step 1.

 3) Include a Call To Action

Always a must.  Keep it quick, or emotional.

Do your pens have a point? (Pun intended.) Why send out custom pens that lack follow-through?

It’s rare to see a television commercial that doesn’t ask you to do something. This applies to virtually any type of promotion.

Your client (or just a prospect at the moment) has your logo-branded pen in their hand… so what? Or the better question is: now what?

If it’s not the very best, life-changing pen they’ve ever had the honour of writing with in their life, at least it’s of great quality and it’s free… right?

So, recognising that being a free, well-placed, timed, and thoughtful gift is the shining characteristic of your pen, it makes sense to ask for a little something in return. This is where a CTA comes in.

Now, I’m not in charge of acronyms, but I think it’d be better to refer this as Clarifying The Ask.

Have you decided on your desired action and target?

Your audience should immediately know how to reach you and what your brand represents. That’s the essence of what you’re doing… saying to the customer, “Enjoy this free item, compliments of our brand. Please consider reaching out to us, or performing XYZ action.”

Without a clear Call To Action, the customer may as well assume you’re a pen manufacturer (or other promotional item), without making the mental connection that this item is a gift.

Don’t be afraid to ask for action. If you have reservations about requesting something in return for your gift, you may want to consider the quality of your item – as mentioned earlier, the more thought and investment you put into the design and delivery of your custom pens, the more confident you’ll be stating what you’re after.

To Sum Things Up

Follow these three cardinal rules when planning out your printed pens campaign to avoid looking unprepared, or worse.

We’ve seen it all, and my team and I know how quickly a promotional run can go sour when these steps are overlooked. Doing it right is easy, and building your client base with this marketing method is proven and as old as business itself.

With each step, consider any implications it has regarding previous steps, and revisit them as needed until all three are on the same page. Design for your target, take proper aim, and have a desired result specified.

If you still need any help or some useful pointers, check with your supplier of promotional pens or ping us for some info.

Corporate GiftsPromotional Products

Do Promotional Products Actually Work? 3 Crazy Facts

Yes or No?Can you solve the mystery of promotional products?

Full Disclosure – I (the author) have been in the industry of selling promotional products for 18 years and have a vested interest in you buying them. But, do they work?

Well, to be honest, a large percentage of the time, NO. This is because people don’t use them properly.

Plastering your logo onto a promotional product and letting it find its way into the hands of just anyone is NOT an effective way to spend your promotional budget. But, does this really surprise anybody?

Fact 1 – An Estimated 60% Of Businesses Waste Money On Promotional Products

Do you think paying 100’s of dollars to put your business logo on sign (that sits on the outside of your nearby sports locale) is good advertising? Well, it’s not. And either is aimlessly spreading 1000’s of pens, magnets, or stubby holders.

You need to get the right product into the hands of the right person, complete with a clear call to action.

But, most people fail in at least 2 of these requirements.

Consider the following stats from a recent survey:

● 57% of people were able to remember the advertiser on a promotional mug, versus 32% for radio and a mere 28% for television
● 77% of consumers say the usefulness of a promotional item was the main motivator for them hanging on to it
● On average, recipients will keep promotional gifts for 6.6 months before tossing them

Coffee Mugs
A printed coffee mug can be a marketing success or disaster – Depending on if you get it right

Prospects remember these gifts (because they are physical items) more than other forms of marketing – so, you’ve got to make it count with the right impression.

As you can see, your item has huge potential if it is carefully thought-out, delivered to a person who will benefit from it, and is of high quality.

With an average lifespan of half a year, your promotional products need a Call To Action that spurs an immediate response – otherwise, these gifts will be spending most of that time as “shelf life.”

But, what about “getting the right item” into their hands? Well, 53% of the time, a more favourable impression of the brand was achieved by the promotion when the company hit just two of the three criteria we mentioned above. That’s right – approximately half the time. So, what happened the other forty-seven out of one hundred shots? The advertiser missed the mark and got the opposite result of the one intended.

You really need all three if you want this to work.

We know that sharing the pointers with you that will increase your success rate leads to you leveraging the power of promotional gifts more often – that’s why we’re here to help.

Brace yourself for this next fact though, because this one always seems to come as a shocker for many.


Fact 2 – The Cheaper The Product, The More Likely It Is To Be Wasted Money

Our clients say to us all the time: “Does anyone really care whether I give them a 50 cent pen or a $2 pen?” Perhaps they don’t… but you do.

I find the more clients spend on each promotional product, the more likely they are to get it right.

Engraved keyrings have a high perceived value at a relatively low cost per unit


Think corporate gift, rather than promotional product. Buy a smaller quantity of a better product and get it into the right hands with your Call To Action intact. Then, youare getting real value for your promotional dollar.

In other words, put some skin in the game – but do it right.

Does your current supplier or even Payless Promotions really benefit (long-term) from you placing a huge order of “average” products?

The better question is, wouldn’t we prefer that your campaign is successful and you continue having profitable promotional runs? This is why my team and I recommend opting for quality rather than quantity.

You’ll never regret putting a quality corporate gift into the hands of a few – especially when the items were brilliantly crafted, well-executed and a great match for the recipients.

It’s always possible, however, to massively regret a round of haphazardly blasted, cheap promo items that get a new landfill named after your brand.

Fact 3 – There Is a (FREE) Easy Cheat Sheet

Three simple steps:

Step 1 – The right product
Surprisingly, this is the least important. Just make sure it is relevant to your business (or its product/service), to your client, and to the value of your relationship.

Using “elevator pitch” common sense:

Here’s an interesting thought – is this item a corporate gift you’d hand to them in person?

If you had a few moments of their attention, face-to-face, is this what you’d like to offer them? If not, don’t send it.

If so, would it come at the beginning, middle, or end of the conversation? Seems insignificant, but this changes the nature of the gift and the usefulness/effectiveness of the Call To Action.

At the beginning – this is an item you can talk about.

In the middle – the conversation is needed to gradually introduce the item without it being awkward

At the end – you’re either confident that they’ll contact you, or the gift is a way to politely end the conversation and move on to the next customer.

Pretend you’re having this engagement with your clients on an elevator when designing and planning the items you’ll ship.

Here’s what I’m getting at – the nicer and more appropriate the item, the easier it will be to get it right (confidently) in almost any situation, as well as getting them to take your CTA.

If the item is cheap or low-quality, you’ve got a lot of thinking to do before sending it out.

For an optimal balance of affordability and quality, view some of the items we’ve assorted here.

Step 2 – Get it into the hands of your ideal clients
There is no point in purchasing the perfect product and then giving it to your kids to hand out at school. Putting the right product in the wrong hands is almost as bad as sending a horrible product to your ideal clients – in terms of marketing spend.

You get no bonus points for the number of uninterested people you can peg with your promotional gifts.

Also, just because it’s a “gift” doesn’t mean it’ll be received that way – you might actually irritate a few people with what’s perceived as a thoughtless gesture.

Get it to the people it’s meant for with a targeted approach. Allocate a considerable lot of your budget to this alone.

Step 3 – Include a Call To Action – Go back to basics
What do you actually want them to do? “Call for a free quote today”; “Call to compare your home loan rate now”; “Call Us Today And Mention This Magnet When You Order For a 10% Discount”, etc, etc. Identifying your desired action is a critical first step in any successful promotional products campaign.

I’ve seen some clients get a little too fancy when it comes to marketing tactics – sometimes, all it takes is keeping it simple and sticking to the fundamentals. Getting back to basics will prove useful, everytime.

Marketing works (or at least it has since the dawn of time) by telling the customer what you’d like them to do.

This CTA is the whole purpose of any promotional effort.

I’ve seen, countless times, business owners leave out some form of “ask” on their promo materials, items or gifts.

I’ll save you the suspense – it doesn’t work. Return to basics by providing something of value, demonstrating your understanding of your target market, and calling upon them to take an action.

Get a high-quality product into the right hands, and ask them for their business.