How did your small business do in 2013?

Your business could do better in 2014 if you utilize the technique of sending promotional products to potential customers more effectively and learn the best ways of utilizing other ways to generate new business.

As the owner of a small business and or a marketing buyer, you probably already know that a marketing plan that includes sending gifts to prospective customers works, but a study by Global Advertising Specialty Impressions details how effectively it works.

The study shows that 36 percent of consumers who received a gift from a company were more likely to do business with that company in the future. It’s really interesting that the study showed that consumers who received outerwear (48 percent), bags (43 percent), USB or flash drives (39 percent), and shirts (38 percent) were more likely to do business with companies than consumers who received other gifts.

“More often than not, giving a gift or item to an individual promotes a feeling that he/she should reciprocate for your kind gesture,” wrote marketing expert Arsham Mirshah in an article entitled “9 Ways Promotional Products WORK for Your Business.” “Giving out promotional products is also a very effective way of starting a conversation with a potential customer. Handing something over allows you to "break the ice" and engage that person in conversation and because you gave them something, he or she is likely to listen to what you have to say.”

However, just sending out promotional products without formulating a product strategy is a big mistake, according to longtime business writer and expert Richard Chapo in an article entitled “Effectively Using Promotional Products.”

“First, the promotional product needs to be perceived as something of quality,“ wrote Chapo. “Second, the product needs to tie into the same theme as your product line. Third, it helps if you can have the promotional product branded to your business identity.”


Your Promo PeopleChapo cited examples of companies that use the right marketing mix to increase their business. Companies like Your Promo People have been able to help many companies increase their business because they send prospective customers the correct quality logo products and utilize the correct marketing mix. Customers who are interested in buying technology products, for example, will be sent technology-related products such as a Flip Portfolio for iPad or a Padfolio, while customers who are interested in outerwear will be sent products such as backpacks, blankets, and bags & totes.

Generating new business, though, sometimes requires more than an adept promotional product strategy. Advertising, sales promotion, publicity, and personal selling are also excellent strategies for increasing profits. "Promoting Your Business," an article by Iowa State University’s Marketing Resource Center, details the strengths and weaknesses of these strategies.

Interestingly, personal selling is better than the other three strategies in regards to cost per audience member, delivering a complicated message, and interchange with audiences. Publicity ranks the highest in credibility because it often requires persuading knowledgeable people, including reporters, to publicize a company and its products. Sales promotion doesn’t work well with general audiences, but is very effective when it is confined to targeted markets.

The article makes it clear that small businesses should be careful about spending money on advertising because it isn’t cost effective when it comes to reaching an individual. However, advertising can reach more people than the other strategies and following up an astute advertising campaign with one of more of the other strategies, particularly personal selling, can help you generate more business in 2014.

In addition, e-mail marketing, asking current and past customers for referrals that will help you sell your product to new customers, and making sure that you have a good relationship with all of your current and past customers so you can get more business from them will help you generate more business.