Low-Cost Ways to Promote Your Business

When it comes to business ownership, there are many bases that need to be covered. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a fortune to accomplish the things that you want to accomplish. Promotional products are a great way to take care of the promotion and advertisement of your business without having to spend a lot of money. Many people don’t think about promotional gifts, and therefore miss out on a great marketing opportunity for their business. Unlike traditional advertising, giving promotional gifts or items to customers, employees, and even complete strangers can get your business constant visibility.

If you give promotional products, such as pens or magnets, at an expo or even at your business as a token of appreciation to customers and potential customers, they’ll use the items on a regular basis and see your business name all the time. Then, when they need products or services that you offer, they’ll come to you because they know that you can provide them with that they need. You can choose from a variety of products for your business promotion and none of them cost much at all compared to running print ads and other marketing campaigns.

Some of the promotional products you can find include: promotional bags, clothing, office supplies, promotional gifts, automotive accessories, calendars, planners, electronics, games, health and beauty items, personal accessories, tools, luggage, and many other great items. No matter what type of promotion you’re considering or which products suit your needs, you can find them all and put your business logo on them so that people remember you forever. When you give popular items like reusable shopping bags or office supplies, people will use them. When they do, your business will get visibility. This opens you up to 24/7 visibility, which is something that no business gets offered very often.

When you’re looking for low-cost promotional ideas, these types of products are a great choice. Most of them cost less than you would expect to spend, and you can create a type of marketing campaign that gets much better visibility than any typical advertisement for a fraction of the cost. The bottom line is that your business needs promoted. You need to save money and find the most cost-effective solution for marketing your business. While free advertising is always an option, spending a little money on promotional products can go a long way in bringing your business sales and customers both now and into the future.

Next time you’re trying to figure out a way to cut marketing costs, try investing in some promotional products that you can give to customers, employees, and even complete strangers if you want. They are very low-cost and offer your business a better chance for high visibility and marketing success. People love free stuff, and when you give them all kinds of free items that they can use, the chances are good that they’ll come back to you when they need the services or products that you offer. Promotional products just make sense for any business trying to find affordable business promotions and marketing.

Buy Promotional Gifts From a Distributor

With so many companies scrapping over each other looking for every single bit of revenue that they can squeeze out of an existing and a current client base, it appears that sales led organisations are starting to become interested and keen to try and deliver in areas that they have not been involved before. If this is done correctly then you can develop a new area of business and be very successful at diversification. Do it badly and you may not only harm your own business but you can also give that particular industry a bad name for itself.

A distributor of Promotional Gifts is one type of business that many associated industries believe is an easy buck. Companies that deal in print, design etc feel this is a compliment to what they are already doing. There are however many pitfalls and most come unstuck due to the simple fact that they have not concentrated on the core of their business and have tried to spread themselves too thin.

Selling business gifts requires an immense amount of effort, largely at the front end with fantastic sourcing capabilities and experience within a sales team. A client can very quickly pick up the lack of experience and although you would assume patience from understanding customers, no one can argue that they should expect an experienced account handler when you consider that it is their precious brand being dealt with.

Clients want to give a brief, perhaps bounce ideas, sometimes they don’t even want to look through a brochure or online. They want a list of suggestions, images, a narrowed down selection to make their task easier and they need it to be right first time. A brief does lead to a theme, which leads to a set of ideas – if done well this usually leads to a final product (or set of products).

To pick up this knowledge cannot be achieved simply from having a brochure or a website to work from. The promotional gifts sales person has to be a sponge, remembering products and ideas and being able to apply them when required. The person has to show they can be a one stop shop of ideas, and quickly be able to show the additional choice that is available with quick idea and quote lists.

It is therefore clear that a distributor of business gifts is like a commercial personal shopper, more than just a brochure or a website and holds a pretty unique and important place in the marketing environment. It isn’t something that should be delved into or the toes dipped into to see if you like it. It requires experience, effort and a good deal of hard work.

Marketing: Cross Promotion Offers Businesses a Win-Win

In business, competition has been the historical norm. Yet a growing number of savvy companies are realizing that joining forces with others can reap much more significant rewards than going it alone. When it comes to promoting a company, cross promotion is a particularly powerful strategy.

Known as “cross promotion,” the concept involves working with individuals, groups or companies to create more business for everyone through common promotional activities. At the simplest level, this process might involve referrals from satisfied customers or from companies that offer complimentary services. More creative partnerships may result in shared promotions between companies that have a common target audience or between companies that offer similar services in different geographic areas.

Kare’ Anderson, author of Walk Your Talk: Successful Cross Promotion, says, “Cross promotion has the potential for a big marketing payoff because partners can successfully expand through each other’s customer base.” She suggests the “marketing multiplier method” in which companies save marketing dollars while “multiplying the credible ways and places hot prospects see your service.” For instance, companies may print joint promotional messages on their receipts or offer a discount if customers buy products from two or more partnering companies.

Partnering with competitors

In some cases, even direct competitors can benefit through cross promotion. For instance, two small companies may be able to attract a large account by combining forces. While neither company could handle the large account alone, they can work together to share the profits. For many businesses, having a piece of a large pie is better than having no pie at all. And in many cases, the smaller companies together can outmaneuver larger competitors by offering lower prices due to lower overhead.

“Affinity marketing” is a related strategy that allows companies to partner with trade or non-profit organizations. A common arrangement in these partnerships may involve companies serving as sponsors or donors for fundraising events. The organization hosting the event promotes the sponsor company in exchange for some form of support. Since more than 75 percent of adults say they are more likely to purchase a product or service associated with a cause they support, this can be a very successful marketing strategy.

Companies who share promotional activities benefit in many ways. They tend to gain more attention in a less competitive environment, save time and money on promotional costs, expand their reach and frequency in delivering messages to their target market, and gain credibility by standing together with other businesses.

While the benefits are clear, business owners who want to explore cross promotional opportunities need to do their homework. In addition to conducting research in order to accurately identify your target market, it’s important to check out potential partners and make sure that both companies are trying to reach the same consumers. Once a mutual market is defined, it’s best to approach potential partners with several ideas for low-risk, low-cost, initial activities. To express your commitment to the process, it helps to make the first action even more beneficial to your partner than it is to you, Anderson suggests.

Business partnerships of any kind work best when all parties understand and agree to their part in the process. To avoid misunderstandings, document in writing the details of any cross promotional activity, including each partner’s cost and anticipated benefits. All partners should review and approve the resulting agreement.

Cross Promotional Advertising

Advertising is one area in which cross promotion is particularly useful. Many companies find advertising, especially television commercials, to be prohibitively expensive. Yet companies that share a common service in different geographic areas, for instance, can benefit from paying for a portion of a well-produced ad that simply inserts the appropriate company information for use in a specific area. Companies that offer complimentary services can save by sharing costs for an ad that promotes both products or services.

Anderson urges business owners to think creatively about “bundled offerings” with companies that share the same target market. Co-branding, shared display or office space, and co-produced special events are some examples of this growing trend. For instance, pest control companies can partner with landscapers, tree service firms and lawn care companies to offer bundled – and discounted – packages of seasonal services. As added incentive, all customers who purchase the package then may be eligible for a special prize drawing.

Speaking of prizes, an easy way to promote a partner company is to enter your customers in a drawing for a partner’s product or service. When the contest is over, switch roles so that your company provides a prize for a contest offered to your partner’s customers.

Not sure where to begin when it comes to cross promotion?

A Smorgasbord of Cross Promotional Ideas

Assuming you’ve chosen an appropriate partner company with a common target market, consider this smorgasbord of ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Ask partner companies to mention your services on invoices or letters to customers and do the same for your partner.
  • Highlight your partner(s) in your company newsletter, e-zine or direct mail.
  • Develop joint presentations or seminars at home shows or other community events. Or create an informational program featuring all partners’ services and offer it as a stand-alone special event.
  • Offer discounts to customers who buy packages of services from all partners.
  • Mention partners’ services when you speak to customers.
  • Pool mailing lists and send out a joint promotional postcard.
  • Share ads in local shopping papers or nonprofit event programs.
  • Promote specials among partners by distributing information to your client base.
  • Create joint coupons.
  • Sponsor a community or charitable event.

“Companies can walk their talk by thinking about the customer first, rather than the product, and looking for other ways the customer would gain convenience, savings, awareness or other benefits through the joint efforts of multiple vendors reaching out to them,” Anderson says. Fortunately, the cross promotion strategy is as good for the company as it is for the consumer.