The do's and dont's of promotional product giveaways

Promotional giveaways are a great way to give back to your customers. As a small-business owner, it's never a bad idea to engage local consumers and drive brand awareness through a contest or product giveaway. Consumers always appreciate free merchandise, which is why merchants would be remiss to not have occasional product giveaways.

Promotional product giveaways are a great way to drive brand awareness in the community as well. According to research from Promotional Products Association International, 80 percent of consumers own between 1 and 2 promotional products and 6 in 10 keep these items for as long as two years. More than half of respondents use a promotional item at least once a week or more, primarily because the item is useful.

Writing instruments, computer items, and health and safety products are often listed as the most popular promotional products. However, you don’t have to spend extra money on fancy giveaways. Small-business owners can get a lot of mileage from giving away an item from their own inventory, by engaging customers on social media channels and in store.

With that in mind, here are a few “do's and don'ts” for small-business owners to consider while pursuing a promotional giveaway:

DO cross-channel promote

As a small-business owner, it's your responsibility to let people know about your promotional giveaways, whether in-store or online. Whatever your promotion, be sure to keep the message simple. Use social media and traditional media together to promote your giveaway. A recent Econsultancy report found that two-thirds of business respondents said cross-channel integration is a priority for marketing, but just 40 percent of respondents said they understand customer journeys across channels and optimize accordingly.

While a majority of business owners admittedly don't fully comprehend customer behavior across different channels, there's a remedy to this marketing dichotomy. Merchants can leverage current point-of-sale technology, such as back-end reporting, to better understand customer habits and trends. Cutting-edge POS software provides detailed reporting that offers a real glimpse into who your customers are and what drives their buying habits.

DON’T mix messages

Product giveaways are a great way to build your brand, but a few missteps could damage your image. It's important to follow-through with what you have promised in a product giveaway, or your credibility could be severely damaged. If a business sets the bar too high or over-extends itself for the sake of attracting more customers, their plan will likely backfire in the form of lower retention and acquisition rates. 

When it comes to a promotional product giveaway, the bottom line is that it's important to clearly communicate your message and the actions your customers need to take to benefit from your offering.