Promotional giveaways are one of the most effective strategies to build brand awareness, increase customer loyalty, build meaningful relationships with employees and grow sales. However, it is also a significant source of wastage during public events. Businesses create products that no one wants, while some people grab every product they can get their hands on, not using them and causing landfills. It defeats creating promotional items because people forget the business's name two seconds after grabbing the freebies. There is a better approach; it's called the zero or no-waste approach. This approach is eco-friendly, and it will help you create more meaningful relationships with your niche audience. Gone are the days of fast, cheap, and throwaway promotional products; it is now time for eco-friendly, durable, and higher quality items.
What is the no-waste approach?
It is an approach to changing our product habits; it focuses on reducing, reusing, and recycling as often as possible. The initiative aims to make the Earth healthy for future generations. In the promotional products industry, it means using your budget on creating eco-friendly items and encouraging everyone, from your employees to clients and customers, to reduce their carbon footprint. When you implement it correctly, the approach leads to less pollution and a low cost for manufacturing. It is about finding ways to create and use merch for practicality and recycle it when no longer usable.
Here are five of the most helpful tips you can use for creating custom merch:
Creating high-quality, eco-friendly, sustainable products:
Many companies give away promotional products without thinking much because they have always done this, so they are in a habit loop. They create the same products they can make in the same decade-old budget. But, it's time to think about their strategies. People are becoming mature towards environmental issues and are doing their bit - even refusing to do business with a company not concerned about the Earth.
Promotional items are an extension of your brand image, and how will your business look in the eyes of the public if you are giving away cheap pens or sunglasses. Do these low-quality and low-value items align with the image you want to create? The goal of the promotional products is to build brand awareness; however, thinking people will like your business by receiving these items is far from reality.
Looking at a regular office desk, you can find many promo products like pens, stickers, etc. Most of these products provide no value to receivers' life, and it also shows the company has no idea who its customers are and what they want. Brand awareness activities are valuable and provide ROIs only when targetted towards the right people. One of the effective ways to make a better brand impression is by giving away high-quality, helpful, and sustainable products. People will like these more and think highly about your brand.
Businesses often choose quantity over quality; they want to cover more audiences. However, this logic is flawed because word-of-the-mouth advertisement is still the king. Creating high-quality products will automatically eliminate the issue; you won't be able to create a vast number of products without stretching your budget. Another advantage will be better engagement from receivers, warmer leads, and word-of-the-mouth advertising. Because of more significant incentives, people will want to come to your booth at tradeshows and events.
Avoid specifying event dates for long-term use:
Companies like to mention the date, event-specific information, or themes when creating promotional products for an event. It is incredible for brand promotion, but it makes the product less usable afterward. How often have you seen people wearing a promotional t-shirt after an event? Probably not many. It creates the problem of leftover products. Focusing on your company's general branding, like name and logo, will provide more brand visibility, and people can use them without hesitation after the event. It will also save you some marketing money in the longer run. You won't have to create so many items again if you have some leftover items; you can reuse the articles in future events.
People want to use products from the companies they like; if you are a new or small company, it is challenging to create a following where people will proudly use your promotional product showing off to other people. Many companies go overboard and create huge logos, only to find out that not many people like them. It will help if you think about what you like to wear/use. You don't have to use the max imprint area on promotional products; it's better to use a smaller and subtle logo. It would help if you remembered brand building is not a one-time effort, but it takes continuous intelligent strategies.
Keep an eye on the entire product life cycle:
Going to various events and seeing many left-behind promotional items is normal. Companies know they are not worth the time and resources required to ship them back to their warehouses. Often they are doing it to avoid the carbon footprint of back shipping. But, by doing so, companies are implying the products are cheap, worthless, and unusable again. It signals the wrong message to your audience.
It is better to think about the entire lifecycle of the promotional products you will create. Consider everything from the location of the manufacturer, warehouse/ office, event location, etc. It is only the transportation part, for every product manufacturing needs raw materials extraction, shipment, and more. Each of these processes is energy-intensive and adds to the overall carbon footprint.
Here are some ways to reduce your shipment cost:
- The number of items needed: Before going into the event, ask yourself, "how many items do you need?" You can check the event's records to determine the average number of attendees. If you have attended the event in the past, take it into your account.
- Bring a smaller number of items: It is better to bring a smaller number of things than waste; give products only to people who look like warm prospects. If you get more people than expected, you can collect their information and send products afterward or offer them a discount; the possibilities are many.
Make them optional:
One of the most effective ways to reduce wastage is to ask people whether they want the gift. Often people accept promotional items to be polite even though they do not want them. Even if you've created the most attractive promotional item like t-shirts, hoodies, socks, etc., not everyone wants to wear a branded product displaying some company's logo they have not heard of before. It is better to provide customers with opt-ins to eliminate wastage.
Please don't take it personally or overthink it if attendees decline your giveaways; there can be any number of reasons to refuse, including having the same items with them already. E.g., you go to a trade fair, and some company is giving promotional coffee mugs. Would you accept it if you know you don't have a place in your cabinet? And, it's not you can gift it to anyone - think about the negative impression.
For virtual events, it's even more essential to present attendees with a choice; if you are planning to send via mail. Please don't use surprise gift boxes - people say they like surprises, but they want them only when the items are of their choice. When the giveaways turn out to be unneeded and unhelpful, the experience will be a burden hampering your brand name. Please inform the participants in advance and provide opt-out options.
Make them sustainable/ recyclable:
Many promotional products can be created to be recyclable rather than just long-lasting. E.g., Using high-quality metallic keychains instead of using PVC keychains. These items will probably accomplish the same goals, but metallic keychains are recyclable. We understand creating regular items is cheaper and more durable, but ask yourself, "do you need a long-lasting product to achieve your marketing goals"?
Remember, our relationships with products and businesses change depending on various factors. A custom PVC keychain will last 50 years. Do you think you need that much time? Recipients use a product for 2-3 years in some cases and for a short time in most cases. A customized t-shirt or sock will last 1-2 years, but if you make them using unrecyclable materials like polyester, you are contributing negatively to the environment. Whenever possible, make the products recyclable.
Popular promotional products which are helpful and can be eco-friendly:
- Custom t-shirts: These are one of the classical giveaways at any event, and these are easy to produce with sustainable materials like organic cotton, hemp, etc.
- Custom hoodies are fantastic options for business promotions, especially in colder regions. You have a wide range of materials, including organic cotton, recycled polyester, and blends.
- Custom socks: Bamboo socks are ideal for establishing your brand name as environmentally friendly. The premium options include wool, silk, merino wool, cashmere, etc.
- Custom tote bags: One of the most valuable items you can create to promote your business with sustainable materials. Custom canvas tote bags are an item everyone can use in their life.
- Custom hats: It is another item that you can create with eco-friendly materials. These are durable, and your logo will always be visible.
- Custom keychains: Every household needs keychains, and with sustainable options like metal or embroidered, they allow you to connect with people.
Promotional giveaways are potent tools for building long-lasting, meaningful relationships with customers. You can take it to the next level and reduce waste by following the mentioned tips. Junk items in landfills won't bring value and a positive impression to your business. You will connect better by keeping your marketing goals in mind and choosing sustainable, high-quality promotional products. However, it would help if you had a reliable, expert, and experienced manufacturer. EverLighten has helped organizations, nonprofits, universities, etc., create eco-friendly promotional products for over eighteen years in twenty-three countries.
Best pricing: They provide factory-direct pricing because they own a factory and are not intermediaries.
Quality in every product: They use top-quality materials and the latest processes to produce promotional products.
Real people, fantastic service: EverLighten loves helping; they give various sustainable options, and each customer gets help from design to delivery.
Designs to impress: With their in-house designers, the design in your head is brought to reality.
No minimum order requirement: You can order any number of products you need; they accept every order without a minimum limit.
Worldwide shipping: They provide worldwide shipping with order tracking.
For more information, queries and designing, visit EverLighten.com.