If your company operates exclusively online, you may struggle with finding ways to connect people with your brand physically. However, because customers do not have to visit a brick-and-mortar location to browse and purchase your products, your online company has the potential advantage of greater consumer “traffic.” Brick and mortar stores are limited because their location may be inconvenient for many people who otherwise would consume their products.
However, your online company may get lost in cyberspace without marketing strategies. To ensure that your online store sees “traffic,” and after that, sales that compare to and even surpass that of brick and mortar businesses, you must find ways to guide and attract your target consumers to your website the same way storefront signs and window displays would lure in a person walking on the streets. Promotional products are an excellent way to do so.
Some people may assume that your typical promotional products like pens and caps would serve no benefit to a company that operates exclusively online. However, that is not necessarily the case. There are multiple reasons why branded products can be just as beneficial to your online company as they are to brick-and-mortar businesses. Read on to see why you should and how you can successfully introduce promotional products to your online company’s marketing strategy.
Why You Should Use Promotional Items
Setting Your Online Company Apart
As many businesses are moving online to keep up with an increasingly technological world, it may become increasingly difficult to distinguish your brand from other online brands. Having tangible goods with your logo printed on them is a great way to set your company apart from other online companies. As Gareth Parkin, CEO of GoPromotional, a leading promotional products supplier in the UK, shares, “With eCommerce in particular, owners tend to think purely in terms of a digital presence, which is key. However, businesses that utilize printed items with the company logo set a very clear tone: this business is larger, trusted, and established.”
Increasingly Brand Visibility
While most people regularly go online, many still spend most of their time offline– running errands, socializing with others, and generally traveling about their local communities. As they move about their days, they will use pens, wear hats, carry refillable water bottles, etc. There is no reason why it would be any less appropriate for your online company to brand and distribute these items than for a brick-and-mortar store. In addition, doing so would undoubtedly increase your company’s brand visibility.
As people move about their days with your branded bag or bottle in hand, your logo will meet the eyes of endless possible future customers. A 2016 study showed that promotional products are more effective in generating brand recall among consumers than traditional printed or online advertisements.
How You Can Use Promotional Items
Include promo items with your purchased items
Promotional items are meant to be cost-effective. Therefore, the costs associated with creating and distributing the promotional item should not exceed its potential benefits. That said, some promotional items will cost more to create than others. Which products you choose to brand and use promotionally is up to you, but you should have some easy, inexpensive promo items you can throw in with every purchased item you send to your customer.
Items like magnets, pens, notepads, bookmarks, hand sanitizers, and lip balms are just a few items that would be easy to brand and send out with every sale. However, to prevent your consumer from feeling like the item is random, choose a product that is relevant to the products you offer. For example, an online wine seller could include a branded wine opener with every wine order.
Send promotional items on special occasions.
Holidays, customer birthdays, and other special occasions are great opportunities to send your customers special promotional gifts. Referring to the promotional item as a special gift is likely to make your customer feel appreciated. Not only will they use the branded gift, but they may be more likely to revisit your online store for future purchases now that you have made them feel special.
Offer larger items as “freebies” with sales.
Just like with holidays, you can also choose to run specials where customers receive a free branded item with their purchase. To give some examples– an online clothing retailer can include a branded tote bag with the purchase of a certain apparel item, or an online sporting goods seller can include a branded baseball cap with the purchase of certain sporting equipment. This would not only place a promotional item into their hands, but it could also encourage more sales– especially if you ensure the “freebie” is desirable.
To make your customer feel recognized as an individual, you may also consider offering them their choice of “freebie.” This would also strengthen the likelihood that they would use your product in real life– to keep with the above example, some people may not want or need any more baseball caps and would opt for a branded water bottle instead.
Brand your packaging
Packaging is often overlooked as a site for logo advertising. While packaging tends to be thrown away, you can opt for reusable packaging and use your brand’s logo to encourage your customer not to throw away the packaging. When they are sleek and durable, many in-person shoppers keep their retail bags for later use. As an online retailer, taking pride in your packaging may encourage your customers to keep and reuse it the way they often do with in-store purchases. Further, by providing easy-to-reuse packaging, you are telling your customer that your company values sustainability. So now, not only is your brand associated with a new item, but also with sustainability in your customer’s mind.
Use your employees
Your employees are your resources! Employees should not online support the operations of your business but should also be used to increase brand visibility through word of mouth and promotional advertising. Set your employees up with nice t-shirts or tote bags for everyday use, or send them “thank you” company swag bags full of branded items to celebrate their hard work or other company milestones. They are sure to use the items just as any customer would.