Social media platforms are by far the fastest, easiest, and most convenient place to advertise nowadays. This is not really surprising when you consider the dual nature of the Internet. Although the sheer size and global reach of the Internet’s user base makes advertising generally safe and predictable to an extent, there is always the unlikely but not unreasonable chance of striking marketing gold by having the right ad in the right place at the right time – a recipe for the next viral marketing hit. Even if the ‘five minutes of fame’ you get lasts literally only five minutes, the resulting buzz that a viral ad can bring to any brand is not insignificant, which is why some companies invariably throw low-effort, “viral” marketing campaigns at the social media wall, hoping to see one stick.
Pulling off a truly effective online marketing campaign, however, is not easy. Unlike companies who focus on cheap viral advertising, the primary objective of a proper marketing campaign is to generate solid, consistent interest in your brand over a longer period of time. It could not be emphasised enough that ‘going viral’ is not the goal here – instead think of it as an unlikely yet possible bonus. Because of the hyper-competitive nature of online markets, creativity and uniqueness is fast becoming one of the hallmarks for attracting new audiences. Companies in particular are turning towards adding fun, interactive gimmicks into their online ads that can snag people’s attentions while they scroll through the vast loads of information that flows through their social media feeds. One such gimmick that we will be discussing in this article is the addition of promotional products into the mix.
Now, you might think that incorporating physical objects into an online marketing campaign is a little unusual, and no one would get mad at you for thinking so. But consider this: why do people still buy music on CDs or vinyl records when they can buy or stream music online? Why do people still buy paper books instead of getting a Kindle or iPad and take an entire library’s worth of books with them wherever they go? Why do people still buy physical, on-disc versions of video games when they are essentially just software and can easily be downloaded? The reason for this is that people perceive physical products as being more valuable than their digital counterparts, even if they are essentially the same. From this then, we can safely say that there is some merit to attaching a physical object to a marketing campaign, and we’ll show you how to do just that.
Step 1: Pick a promotional product.
At first glance, this first step might seem simple enough; but like a lot of other first steps, this is actually the hardest one. Think of it like picking out a gift for someone you don’t really know. You don’t really have much to go on regarding what that person likes or dislikes, so the possible feedback you’re going to get will essentially be completely random. However, picking out a promotional product is not exactly the same, since you as the business owner have a bit more information on hand. Here are a few tips to help guide you to a good decision:
Align the promotional product to the business. Kind of like toothpaste and orange juice, giving away an e-book reader when your brand sells physical books is not exactly the best idea. A great giveaway item would be something that highlights what you’re selling and augments their experience with your actual products or services.
Add value to your promotional product. This doesn’t necessarily mean to get the more expensive varieties, but people aren’t against the idea of a giveaway item that is useful in their daily lives. As an added tip, try to add a bit of flair to your giveaway’s packaging; people are more likely to keep items that look or feel like gifts.
Go back to basics. Although thinking out of the box will no doubt score your brand a couple of points with your customers for effort and creativity, there’s no shame in using company-branded merchandise as giveaway items. They’re an already effective method that has been tried and tested by companies over the years.
If all else fails, use your own products. The whole point of starting a marketing campaign in the first place is to get people to buy your products. So with that in mind, some of the best products to give away are, in fact, your own actual products.
Step 2: Execute the campaign.
Once you’ve chosen the item you’re going to give away, it’s time to go online. There are a lot of variables at play in this step, which means there’s really no definitive best method for establishing a strong online advertising campaign. To help you get started though, we’ve written down a few examples:
There has been a growing trend in recent times of companies collaborating with Internet personalities and content creators (particularly on YouTube) as a way to advertise their products. We’ve seen this done often both by tech startups and by manufacturers of physical products like computer hardware, studio recording equipment, laboratory instruments, and more. The general procedure for these marketing campaigns involves the company reaching out to an online content creator to sponsor a giveaway with their products. This sort of campaign is particularly effective as most people looking for content or information about certain products would rather find it through active Internet personalities than through the product manufacturers themselves. This means that your target audience can usually be found in the audiences of these content creators.
A lot of other companies are also adding real world interactivity into their online marketing campaigns, often in the form of contests with the company’s products as the prizes. Online raffles are a tried and true way to go about it, but you can make an online contest really interesting by actually making a real contest. Get your target audience competing for a particularly valuable variant of your products – say, a special signed edition of your upper mid-range model – and let the buzz ring out all across the Internet.
If any of the above examples are any indication, it’s really anybody’s game when it comes to marketing campaigns. You can make it as simple, complicated, cheap, or as expensive as you want it to be. Whatever choice you go with, though, just always keep in mind that the goal is to promote and uphold the brand.