Promotional items are a tried-and-true marketing staple. From coasters and mugs to notepads and pens, sending out promotional items is a great way to connect with customers. It’s also a very reasonably priced marketing option. And when done correctly, it’s a simple and effective method for building and maintaining positive customer relationships.

But with the promotional item comes many potential pitfalls. After all, a pencil in the post can be underwhelming if it’s nothing more than a pencil in the post.

In order to get the most of this simple marketing method, we need to know how to approach it in the most creatively lucrative way. So read on to learn how to send promotional items that will impress.

Be creative

If you’re using a promotional item as an introduction to your brand, it pays to be as creative as possible. It’s easy (and tempting) to go down the generic, slap-on-logo stationary set route. But it’s worth considering your audience and how they’re going to perceive what’s being received.

At an event, it’s absolutely fine to load a table with branded mugs and stationary and do nothing more with them. But if you’re going to actively send these items out to customers, there needs to be more substance.

Generally, there’s nothing at all wrong with sending out a set of pencils. But it’s how you send them that counts. To take a more creative approach, you could consider what kind of packaging the pencils are being sent in. Or you could think about the sort of marketing message that could go along with them. It’s all about presentation, and good presentation shows that you’ve taken the time to think about your customer.

The same goes for anything else. For example, you always have the option to mail out a set of USB sticks to customers. They’ll be grateful for this, because you can never have enough USBs. But how impressed will they be with a generic USB as opposed to a branded one. Here’s an example of a Dr Marten’s USB stick, made to look like one of their iconic boots.

It’s unlikely that anyone is going to throw that away, even if it never gets used. Also, the moment you look at it the Dr Marten’s brand immediately comes to mind. So this doubles up as a powerful marketing tool.

Send useful things

By sending out the right kind of promotional items, there’s a good chance your audience will keep hold of them. What constitutes that ‘right kind’ of item? Just think of the perennials. Look around your desk at all the items that have accumulated and remained over the years. The stalwart stationary residents. Things like pens, calendars, mugs, coasters, USB sticks. These are all items that seem to have no half-life.

Because when it comes down to it, how many branded USB sticks are lying in your drawer right now? Probably more than a couple. Maybe it’s in our nature to horde such things, but it seems like people just can’t bring themselves to throw away items that are perceived as useful.

So it’s about choosing the right kind of primatial item. What you’re looking for is something that looks nice but isn’t junk — something that can sit on the desk and be used.

Make a clear effort

This is one of the most important points when it comes to promotional items. It’s so easy to take the convenient route and opt for the most basic, cost-effective option. But it will be immediately clear that you’ve done so. And your customers aren’t likely to show much interest.

Just by putting the slightest spin on the ordinary you can shake up your offering by showing that you’ve made an effort. Take a look at the Marmite mouse below, for example. It would have been easy enough to just send out a standard computer mouse, but by modelling it on the jar they’ve made something truly unique. And at the very least, even if it never gets used, it’ll find a home on a display shelf somewhere in the office.

Keep on promoting

For more on promoting your brand, take a look at our posts on how to create effective direct mail marketing campaigns, leaflets, and brochures.