Promotional Products,

The 4 Ways Most Business Owners Waste Their Promotional Product Budget… (And How To Avoid Them)

Promotional Products

So, you have decided upon your marketing budget…

Well done.

Now, it’s just a matter of ordering something with your logo on it, right? 

Wrong! We see people make these same 4 mistakes over and over again.  Please, read this and learn from mistakes repeated often by so many other business owners:

1. Buying Gear For Grannies

Before you spend a cent, ask yourself the one big question: who are you trying to impress?

Promotional products and/or corporate gifts must be targeted at your perfect client.

This is not necessarily your typical client, and is most definitely not yourself.

What you think is cool really doesn’t matter, unfortunately. You need to target your market.

What’s also a huge factor is your spend-per-item:

Granny With Drink Bottle

Are your products really targeted at your ideal audience?

  • If your target market is broad, then you want something relatively inexpensive so you reach as many of them as possible.
  • If your target market is narrow, you can spend more per item as you have fewer people to reach… but, you really need to impress them.
  • If you live in an alternate reality where you’re sending the promotional products to only yourself, then you can spend a ton and design them exactly the way you think will be the coolest – but, this is probably not the case.

We included that last point to illustrate this – learn about your target market and send them items they would likely be willing to buy if they were for sale.

Never treat promotional items as free, valueless objects and you can easily avoid this blunder.

The pitfall many business owners get snagged in is the belief that because these are “giveaways,” they don’t need to be as attractive and valuable as sellable items.

Unfortunately, the backfire from this belief system can significantly hamper your marketing strategy.

While creativity is encouraged, don’t go overboard or too abstract with the gifts you design and distribute. Just because it’s free doesn’t make it okay for it to be weird or off-target – even if you think it’s awesome.

2. Choosing The Wrong Weapon 

So, you have decided on the ideal promotional product for your target market?

Well done.

Now, how do you get it in the hands of your ideal customer?

Custom Printed Speaker

Sometimes you’re better buying much fewer corporate gifts of higher quality – and getting them into the right hands.

For most businesses, the “machine gun approach” of randomly spreading items branded with their logo just ends up being a waste of money.  You need to find yourself a rifle and become a sniper to your target client.

There is no set formula for this.

Get creative if you need to – just make sure you get your promotional items into the hands of your target market.

Need more clarity?

Let’s put this in different terms using a fishing analogy pop quiz.

Assuming you can’t recover your bait (you never see promotional gifts again after they’re sent), is it better to:

  1. Cast 100 worms, get 20 bites and catch 10 fish
  2. Cast 50 worms, get 14 bites and catch 7 fish
  3. Cast 10 worms, get 6 bites and catch 3 fish

If you think about the “worms” as being promotional gifts going out to your potential clients, the “bites” as being the number of times your item landed in the right hands was attractive enough to win their attention, and the “catch” as being a successful sale of some kind… what would your answer be?

Don’t worry, the answers are in the back of the book – we’ll share ours at the end of this article.

3. Being a Stone-Heart

Show some emotion! This can relate to the product, the branding or the delivery.

  • If you are buying for potential clients, then be emotional about the job/relief/satisfaction they will feel if they use your product or service, or alternatively, the pain/sadness/regret they will might experience if they don’t.
  • If you are buying a corporate gift for your current client base, then be sure they know how valuable they are to you. This can be done with the product itself by:
Printed Coffee Mugs With Inspiration Message

Coffee Mugs With An Inspirational Message Are Often A Winner

  1. Making sure it’s delivered with some sincere words of thanks – either in person or on paper.
  2. Never giving gifts to existing clients without a message
  3. Not sending it via email

A gift is essentially meaningless without sincerity and good intentions behind it. Clients will be able to tell, almost instantly, if your heart was in it.

Convey your excitement at the prospect of building/fortifying a solid relationship with them.

The beautiful value proposition of a promotional gift is that it’s an obligation-free way of making a connection with someone – you’re offering to improve their life in some way (providing a convenience) whether they do business with you in the future or not.

Our selection at Payless Promotions was carefully picked with these things in mind, and years of seeing what works and what doesn’t.

You can get a few good ideas from looking at our range here, or asking your supplier how to correctly personalise corporate gifts.

 4. Missing Your Calling

You need to include a call to action.

You have picked the perfect product for your target market and got it into their hands with a heartfelt message…  What do they do now?

Don’t assume they know – tell them.

This is a great opportunity to be funny, sincere, cheeky, etc., and increase the likelihood of being remembered when it comes time for your potential client to buy.

If the purpose of the gift was to just give them something useful without any end-game in mind, why bother to brand the item at all? Just send it to them from an anonymous source, and leave it at that.

Act Now

Don’t Forget The Most Important Step In The Process!

But, if you’re in the business of marketing via promotional products and intelligent branding techniques (let’s hope so), then it makes sense to have an “ask” included somewhere on the gift.

Your clients and prospects are expecting it – a gift without some form of subtle call to action is almost bizarre and uncomfortable for everyone involved.

…You never want a gift to make the client feel obligated…

Believe it or not, without a clear CTA, the item will be awkward to accept.

A well-defined call to action gives them a choice, and makes the promotional gifts a more welcomed offering.

Quick Recap

If you’re willing to learn from the mistakes most commonly made by business owners, you can save a fortune on your marketing budget and reap huge rewards.

These 4 areas are the ones we see killing dreams more than anything else, and we want to help you steer clear of disaster.

The Answer

We asked you what your answer would be to the three outcomes we offered in the fishing analogy. The model you want to achieve is scenario C.  Yes, the option with the least sales.


The first important thing to note is that the ratio of ‘worms to bites’ changes, but the ratio of ‘bite to fish caught’ stays the same.  You cannot put your faith in the promotional product to catch the fish, that is the job of your sales team and/or your systems.  The promotional product is only responsible for getting the bite.

Secondly, all great promotional models have something in common – they are scalable.  Your perfect scenario is to achieve scenario 3 and then copy and repeat as many times as you want to.  Under this scenario, you could follow up with a larger campaign to 100 clients (cast 100 worms) and be confident of getting 30 sales.  A much better ROI than either of the other options.



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