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Growth Opportunities in Promotional Products

(April 2014) posted on Mon Apr 07, 2014

Ad specialties could offer a simple way to expand your sales — especially if you’re a garment decorator or sign company.


By Heather DiPrato

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Think of promo products (defined as anything you can imprint with a company logo, name, or brand—from cups and caps all the way to beer coolers and air cannons that shoot T-shirts 150 feet) as adding a side dish to your main entrée. Entering this niche industry requires a very low overhead and initial investment, especially when you already have an existing business. Often, you don’t need to invest in any new equipment or additional staff.

For screen printers, cross-selling ad specialties can be as easy as asking current customers if they’ve ever promoted their company or event using promo products. Chances are they have, since nearly every brand in America does. Or while you’re on a sales call, complement a client on the pen they are using that came from, say, their favorite coffee bar. Ask them how many times they use the pen—and look at that logo—every day. Speculate how many impressions that would add up to over time if 500 prospects had such a pen with your client’s logo on it.

Start by promoting your company as a one-stop shop and redefining yourself as a proven, trusted brand manager. Instead of initiating a conversation with a potential client by talking about price, talk about the additional ways you can help them market their business. That way, instead of going someplace else for their ad-specialty needs, the customers will come to you. You’re already putting their logo on signs, shirts, caps and other advertising vehicles, so why not on promotional products? In the end, most clients want control and reliability. It’s not always about money. They want to make sure you can manage their brand consistently. When they come in for a sign, they can leave with some promotional products as well—the same logo, with a better end result for you and for them.

Studies show that on average, customers buy signs twice a year, but invest in promotional products three to four times a year. That means that you could double the number of selling opportunities with the same client.


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