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Promotional Products Make Great Accessories for Online Ad Campaigns

Guest Blogger

At first I didn’t know what it was. It was showed up in my mailbox wrapped in a white plastic bag. When I opened it, I finally pegged it as a pizza cutter from Home Run Inn.

I’d never bought Home Run Inn pizza. Never ordered it. Didn’t even know the company was based in Chicago. But there I stood in my kitchen with a Home Run Inn Pizza cutter, a media kit, and a coupon to try it. I did.

What’s remarkable wasn’t the pizza cutter itself, it was how it got me to try their product.  I consider myself a savvy person when it comes to tuning myself out when it comes to advertisements. I never click a sponsored ad, use commercial breaks to use the bathroom and flip through print ads like they are blank pages.

So how does a company like Home Run Inn reach out and capture someone like me? By combining its standard promotional product with an online social media campaign.

Promotional Products Boost Digital Marketing

Like hundreds of other companies, Home Run Inn used Klout Perks to bridge the digital divide between online and offline marketing efforts.  Companies pay Klout, the social media influencer calculator, to offer “perks,” or promotional products to its members. Most people think this will make their product go viral. That’s not always the case.

In fact, the better way to look at a social media network like Klout, Facebook or Twitter is that they provide you an opportunity to offer promotional products to an audience that is increasingly disappearing from your normal marketing channels.  Klout is important not because of its silly scoring system, but because of its millions of users who actually like interacting with brands. The audience is self-selected and receptive to marketing.

Using Promotional Products Offline and Online

We all know that promotional products are by far the best form of advertising your business. I mean how many television ads, Facebook updates, Twitter links or e-mails you remember two years after you’ve seen them? Not many. But 94% of people who received a promotional product remember it 24 months later.

That’s staying power. But in the rush to catch the digital marketing wave, many marketers are overlooking their promotional product power or worse, relegating these products to “B” status.  In doing so they’re missing an opportunity to boost their digital marketing efforts and get more bang for their social media buck.  Brands are using promotional products to:

  • Incentivize fans to engage with their brand
  • Reward evangelists
  • Acquire new fans/likes/followers
  • Encourage customers to share with their networks

 So how do you combine promotional products with an online campaign? Here’s a great example:


To introduce its new product—literally a can of beans—Heinz launched a Facebook quiz app entitled “Which bean are you?” But to incentivize people to take the quiz the company used a promotional product as a prize. So they just didn’t give it away, fans had to earn it by taking the quiz. And if they shared the quiz and got 10 other people to take it they got a goodie bag filled with promo products. RESULTS: Heinz gained 30,000 Facebook fans, had 22,143 people take the quiz and reached 10.8 million people.

Promotional Products Belong with Digital Marketing

So you see promotional products don’t have to be reserved for trade shows, and offline events. They work equally well when you combine them cleverly with online digital campaigns.

What about you? What unique ways have you incorporated your brand’s promotional products in your digital marketing efforts?

This guest post is contributed by Matt Powers is an Internet Marketer for Blue Soda Promo.  He enjoys writing on various aspects of branding, digital marketing and SEO on his blog as well.  But get him on the topic of documentaries and he won’t shut up for hours.