According to PPAI’s 2016 Buyer Study, the promotional products industry is healthy and growing. 50 percent of promotional product buyers expect to increase their purchases in the next 12 months and a quarter of buyers dedicate over 20 percent of their marketing budget to promotional products.
This data is encouraging for sure, but what you really want to know is how you can get bigger a piece of the growing pie. Fortunately, the Buyer Study gathered much more specific data on the behaviors and perceptions of promotional product buyers.
Here are eight tips based on the study’s data that will help you sell more promotional products.
1. Expand your playing field.
Too often we have expectations about who is and is not a potential client without good reason. PPAI’s Buyer Study found that 51 percent of client marketing budgets are less than $50k and 14 percent are greater than $500k, telling us that client size is healthy at both ends of the spectrum.
Stretch your expectations and consider the benefits of diversifying revenue between both large and small clients for more financial stability and increased networking opportunities. Smaller clients can lead to new contacts, and often it’s who you know that ends up landing you the best orders!
2. Coordinate with other advertising mediums.
It may sound dangerous to ask your client about your competitors for marketing dollars, such as emails or ads. But for the brave (and smart), this can be a valuable tactic. 49 percent of clients already use promotional products with both a campaign and as stand-alones. Another 20 percent use products only in tandem with a campaign.69% of promo product buyers coordinate their products with other marketing campaigns. @SAGEQTI Click To Tweet
When you inquire about all your client’s campaign plans, such as social media, email, ads, and sales, you show that you’re aware, knowledgeable, and thinking broadly. You can also more easily coordinate with their larger campaign and find opportunities to creatively support their goal.
Ask how you can integrate with their other marketing channels. Do they run social media contests or campaigns that could involve promotional products? Do they promote their promo products in their emails? Learn about their big picture marketing efforts, and you will find opportunities to grow your involvement (and sales)!
3. Scout your competition.
These figures from the Buyer Study ought to be interesting to every distributor in the industry: 62 percent of buyer companies use two to five distributors and 18 percent use six or more. Only 14 percent purchase their promotional products through only one distributor.
Finding out why clients source from multiple distributors is a huge opportunity for you to expand your sales. Ask them regularly if they have any other needs or campaigns, or suggest streamlining their purchases with a SAGE Company Store (a client-specific custom web store). Find out what gaps they are filling with other distributors so you can offer more than your competition.
4. Promote your online ordering.
Another important insight from the study is that 35 percent of clients order online only. If you neglect website e-commerce, you risk turning off a large portion of your client base.
An attractive and e-commerce enabled website is easy to do with SAGE. Offer user-friendly online ordering with SAGE Websites. Product searching also allows your clients to explore products, and payment processing lets you offer them a seamless ordering experience. Promoting advanced online ordering features can help you capture clients who otherwise would have gone to a competitor.
5. Give them the hard data.
You can gain a big head start over your competition by highlighting data on the effectiveness of promotional products. 59 percent of buyers responded that the importance of evidence for promotional product effectiveness was “extremely important.” Another 27 percent said it was “moderately” important.
Brand recall is a great way to measure effectiveness. Ask your clients if they are tracking their promotional product campaign success, and be sure to provide industry data from PPAI’s regular industry studies to support the value of their investment.Did you know: 84 percent of people who receive promotional product remember the advertiser’s name. @SAGEQTI Click To Tweet
6. Diversify your services.
As a salesperson, you are always looking for ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors and excite your client. And the Buyer Study found several opportunities. The majority of clients value additional services, including
- creative services (60 percent),
- direct mail (56 percent),
- fulfillment (48 percent),
- and company stores (27 percent).
With SAGE, it’s easy to add services like these. Use Artwork Zone for high quality art, and your clients will never know that the designs weren’t created by you. Use SAGE Order Management to provide quick and accurate fulfillment. And offer a SAGE Company Store demo that can be up and running within hours.
7. Keep it useful.
In an industry where the options are so vast and varied, there is a temptation to constantly chase more “unique” products. But you will likely satisfy your client more by starting with common, useful products. 80 percent of buyers say usefulness is the most important feature of promotional products.
Be sure to remind clients of the usefulness of the items in your presentations, and don’t shy away from common but top-selling categories, such as wearables, writing instruments, and bags.Useful products, like wearables and bags, keep your brand within reach. @SAGEQTI Click To Tweet
8. Sell cost-per-impression last.
While the cost-per-impression of promotional products is impressively lower than other advertising mediums, it comes in last place among the characteristics that clients look for. When asked about the most important and most effective characteristics of promotional products, 74 to 83 percent of buyers instead tapped
- loyalty and repeat business,
- reaching their target efficiently,
- and audience-friendly products.
In this case, the client is always right. With a client’s limited time and attention, it’s a more effective strategy to sell these benefits of your products rather than the low cost and great value. Talk about how your bags are the most efficient way to reinforce loyalty with their current customers, or emphasize that your products are family-friendly to match their target demographic.
PPAI’s 2016 Buyer Study is a wealth of knowledge that can help dial in your sales and marketing decisions. Surprising results often signal overlooked opportunities that can help you seal the deal!