How to Sell Promotional Products


What do you want to promote and how do you send a clear message about your product? Selling promotional products can be both fun and creative with the right amount of planning and a strategic campaign.

Effectively sell your promotional product

Identify the product's features and benefits.

You need to have complete understanding about why customers would be attracted to your promotional product. Is it because of the price or are you offering a special feature that your competitor cannot?

When it comes to promoting your product you'll also want to determine if you can tie additional incentives to the campaign. For example, if you are a bank that is promoting a special CD, should you offer a special one-time rate increase to the current promotional rate as a way to create excitement and possibly a sense of urgency. Be clear about exactly what you are offering and why are you offering it.

Pinpoint which media or sales techniques will garner the highest response.

If you have a track record of selling promotional products in the past, you may have an idea about what gets customers to respond. Sometimes it is one approach or a combination of approaches.

However, you can review past customer behaviors and general trends. Did you get a decent response from a recent postcard mailing or did customers respond to the telemarketing efforts? Possibly one-on-one personal sales is what did the trick.

Other examples of promotional product media includes TV, radio, billboards, e-mail blasts, newspaper and magazine ads, in-house merchandising and promotion, employee contests and events or parties.

Prepare to launch your campaign.

You know what you want to sell, why you want to sell it and which channels you want to use. Now you need to execute the campaign by first writing the sales copy that will appear in any print or e-mail materials.

Be persuasive and keep in mind your target audience. If you are writing to a younger crowd you can take a more casual approach whereas if you are directing your message to a more established, sophisticated group you would lean to a more direct, educational voice.

Include special graphics that mirror your company's brand but extracts the distinctiveness of your campaign.

If you are running radio or TV ads, tie your script to whatever is being featured in print. With any promotional campaign you will want continuity in the message so customers will recognize your promotion in a variety of mediums.

Promote your product.

Timing is extremely important for marketing promotional products. Typically, a promotional product has a definitive beginning and ending so getting your message heard in a timely manner is imperative to success.

Begin to send your message to your audience approximately two to three weeks prior to the actual campaign. For instance, you could run three ads, one each week, leading up to the promotional launch.

Spreading the word early will prepare your audience for the campaign launch. Try not to send your direct mail or place your newspaper ads too early because people may tend to forget that they saw your message. Be sure to market reminders leading up to the launch to ensure that everyone knows what you are about to promote.

Once you are a few days away from the actual launch you may want to saturate your media channels with the impending launch announcement. You could have a party at your company and invite customers or hold a special drawing for prizes in honor of the promotion.

During the promotional period continue to campaign for your product in both the external media and inside sales. Depending upon the time you plan to offer the product try a few more direct mail drops or continue running the newspaper ad to boost sales.

Also, your employees are one of your strongest assets when it comes to promoting products. Create an employee incentive contest tied to the campaign. Offer incentives for most products sold or run a group incentive.

Track and review your campaign.

Track your progress throughout the campaign. Be sure you include each sale in your tracking and continue to monitor the campaign if sales progress beyond the promotional period. Excel spreadsheets are excellent for sales tracking, but you should use an internal computer system that allows for tracking if you have that.

After the campaign wraps, assemble your team and review the highlights and low points to the campaign. What seemed to work best and what didn't garner the results you wanted? Why do you think customers were attracted to this product, and if you were to do this again in the future what would do you differently?

Tips & Warnings

  • Prepare your action plan before launching the campaign.
  • Have fun with your promotion--it's contagious!

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