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Getting the Most Out of Your Marketing Dollar with Promotional Items

Companies are always looking for ways to stretch their marketing dollars. If you are like most brands, you don’t have an unlimited marketing budget and need to get the best return on your investment. Hands down, Promotional Productspromotional items deliver the lowest cost per brand impression.

Think of the old term “bang for your buck.” That’s exactly what you are going for here.

The goal is to spend the least amount of money and get the greatest number of impressions for each product you purchase. However, you want to make sure you get actual impressions and ones that will likely convert into customers.

So, are promotional items worth the money you are spending on them? We think so, but don’t just take our word for it. Here is what the experts say:

According to the Global Advertising Specialties Impression Study released by the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI), promotional products do in fact deliver high brand impressions. If you calculate the cost per impression, you will find that they can be more cost effective than billboards, print ads, and even online pay-per-click marketing.

Still not sure? Let’s walk through how it works.

Understanding Cost Per Brand Impression

To understand if you really getting a bang for your buck, you need to understand what “cost per brand impression” means.

As the phrase indicates, it pretty much means what you are paying for each time a person sees your advertisement. Note that the cost per brand impression for some advertisements are easier to calculate than others.

For instance, online advertising campaigns often charge per impression. That’s and easy metric as you know upfront how much you will be charged each time someone sees your ad. A good example is Google Adwords which sets a specific rate each time someone clicks on your ad. You pay for each website impression that Google brings you.

In-print marketing can be a little trickier.

Billboard advertising is normally calculated by dividing the cost of the advertisement by the estimated number of people who drive by a billboard.

Cost (ex. $1,000 per month) / People (ex. 5,000 per month) = $.05 per impression

Promotional products can be a little more difficult, but in a good way. You know the exact number of impressions you get when you deliver a promotional product (one – the person you give it to). However, popular promotional items get even more life than traditional advertising and generate residual impressions.

Imagine someone driving by a billboard, putting it in their vehicle, and showing it to everyone else they come into contact with. That’s exactly the type of impression metric you get with promotional products.

So, you cannot always determine the exact number of impressions, but know that they are compounding even after you provide the item to someone.

Promotional Products Impressions

Why Do Promotional Products Get More Impressions?

Quite simply, they deliver lasting impressions until someone gets rid of them. If you give a promotional product, it will continue to be seen by those who receive it until they throw it away.

In fact, some promotional items are re-gifted which means those impressions will continue, even when the original recipient is no longer interested.

People hate to throw away promotional products. So even if you make a bad choice on what product to buy, there is still a strong likelihood that it will be put in front of someone who will use it.

Custom Golf BallsThink about it like this.

If you get a golf ball with a logo on it and you are not a golfer, are you going to throw it away? Likely not. I am sure you have a friend or relative that will gladly use it. So, in a way, you are getting free marketing performed by those who receive the original promotional items.

There are even unintended impressions. If you give a branded bag to someone, you get the impression from that person, but you also receive thousands of others from those who see that person carrying it.

“In the U.S., bags continue to generate the most impressions of any item measured in the study,” according to ASI. “This is because bags are used in public places where they can be seen by many people.”

So which products should you use to get the most impressions? Well, that answer can vary, but giving something that people use regularly is a great way to gain more impressions.

Which Promotional Items Receive the Most Impressions?

There is no right answer for this question as it all depends on your brand and your audience. However, some of the items that work best are clothing (hats, shirts), calendars, pens, and other every day items. People use these products more and therefore they will be seen more.

Here are a few things that will help you decide on the best promotional items for your brand and audience:

  • Customer’s Interest – Give people something they will use. An example is a recent trend showing fanny packs are coming back in style. People are using them more than ever. Do your customers spend a lot of time in front of the computer? Maybe a customized mouse pad will be effective.
  • Branded Apparel – Everyone loves to wear their favorite sport team, but its not just for sports. Custom promotional items such as hats and shirts get their fair wear when they have your logo or personal message that reminds people of your brand.
  • Custom HatsWhat People Are Already Buying – What are your customers spending money on? Are you in the computer industry selling expensive hardware/software? Changes are, your customers are also purchasing USBs. Why not give away a branded USB drive with every purchase? They save money for not having to buy one from someone else; and, you are putting your brand in front of people who will be returning customers.
  • What’s Popular – If you don’t really know what to get, leave it to others who have already done the research. Take a look at some of the most popular promotional items and choose from there.

We know there are still a few of you who have no idea what to use. That’s common and you are not alone. If that’s the case, we can always assist you. Just contact one of our promotions specialists who can help determine what products may work best for you.

Examples of Cost Per Impression

If you look at the ASI study, you can generate a few numbers to help you understand how much you are paying per impression.

The study shows that in the United States, pens get an average of 2,805 impressions per item. Pens can vary in pricing depending on if you go with a customized stylus, ballpoint, or executive pen, but let’s just figure the average cost at $1.00 each.

That puts your cost per impression at $0.00035. To put it another way, you will get 100 impressions for every 3 cents you spend. With Google Adwords costing an average of $1.00 per click, you are getting more people in front of your brand for less money.

Custom Tote BagsHow about bags? Non-woven shopper totes can be purchased for around $1.50. With 5,772 impressions in the U.S., you get 100 people who see your brand for a cost of $.02.

Fact is, you are paying less than a penny per impression, with most items getting you hundreds of impressions per penny.

A Gift in the Hand is Worth More Than Online Impressions

Over the last decade, there has been a huge focus on online marketing. People are hooked to the internet so it makes sense to put your advertising where people are looking.

However, there are some problems with online marketing that are causing people to move back to print advertising.

A study by the Harvard Business Review points out that paying for low cost impressions online could lead to a higher cost per impression than you realize. That is because people are not necessarily seeing your advertisement.

“Too many times, those low rates are borne of fraud and bots (ad impressions created by automated scripts, not humans),” writes Laura O’Shaughnessy for HBR. “Our research suggests that up to half of paid media impressions fail to reach a marketer’s target audience.”

This basically means that while you are being charged a certain rate for impressions, the amount you pay for “actual” impressions with real humans is higher once you remove the bots.

With promotional products, you know your impressions are real as you are giving them to an actual human, not a computer program.

Custom Nike UmbrellasGetting Impressions from Other Popular Brands

People are more likely to use custom promotional items if they are from a familiar brand. This means a brand other than yours. Here is an example:

Let’s say you have a Nike branded umbrella. People like Nike and will likely use the umbrella because it is a name they know. If you put your brand on it as well, the likelihood of receiving more brand impressions goes up.

Don’t believe us though. Just look at how brands are already doing this in the real world. Companies use McDonald’s to give away their toys which leads to brand impressions and return on their investment. If it didn’t, you would no longer see toys in Happy Meals.

When you use other notable brands to promote yourself, you guarantee yourself more impressions which in turn will lead to more sales.

Promotional Products That Work

Summing it up

In the end, you are looking to get the most for your marketing dollar. Return on investment is important and the more people who see your brand, the more likely your ROI will increase. With promotional items giving you the lowest cost per brand impression, it is a no brainer that your marketing budget will be wisely spent.

You will get guaranteed impressions from those who receive your product, plus residual impressions from others who come into contact with it. The recipient becomes a walking billboard for your company, at less than 1/100th of a penny. How’s that for a “bang?”


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