Free gifts are a great way to build a positive relationship between a business or brand and its customer. Publishing firms, nonprofits, pharmaceutical companies and even high-tech companies all use giveaway items as a part of the sales pitch.
Even in tough economic times, businesses small and large can put the free gift tactic into play by simply using printed marketing materials. Giving away printed marketing materials such as a free calendar, newsletter or pocket-guide brochure, will let your customers know how much you value them and keep your business or product top-of-mind with customers. When designing free printed items, always remember to include your business address, Web site, telephone number or some way for customers to find you from your free gift. To distribute free gifts, you can mail items to valued customers, leave them in your storefront or office for clients to take home, or use them as promotions at trade shows and other events. Here are a few examples of how to turn printed promotions into free gifts: 1. Calendars The calendar is one of the fundamental free gifts in leading fundraising campaigns. To promote a hair salon, for example, the calendar can feature photographs of stylists at work, or portraits of finished cuts with some copy explaining what techniques were used. It makes sense to deliver or offer calendars prior to the start of the new year in January. If you create a calendar in spring or summer, you can make it a 16-month calendar with September through December available, too. 2. Booklets and brochures Use booklet and brochure formats to create useful pocket-guides filled with tips or reference information for consumers. If you are promoting a health foods store, then a guide to purchasing healthy meals might be a good idea. A local restaurant might print up some of its most popular recipes and leave the brochure at the register for patrons to take home. 3. Stickers Stickers are a fun way to promote an image or phrase that really embodies your business or mission. Think about the myriad ways you can use a sticker to advertise. Let's say you run a dry cleaning business, then a simple graphic logo of clothes hanger, coupled with the name and telephone number of your business gets the message across. Another idea, for those in the pet industry, whether groomers, veterinarians or store owners, are stickers that say "In case of emergency please rescue our cats." Offering a series of those stickers for each kind and number of pets would be valuable to pet owners. 4. Newsletters While a magazine can take a lot of hard work to write, edit and lay out, a small four- to six-page newsletter is a feasible project. Fill the newsletter with original articles or aggregated news related to your business. For the best results, design the newsletter to mimic a real publication with page numbers, a masthead, bylines and even issue numbers. Having an original publication dedicated to your business or craft will make you appear more credible in the eyes of customers. 5. Notepads Notepads are another darling of the nonprofit sector because they stoke reciprocity. Donors appreciate the free gift and feel more compelled to donate as a result. To use notepads as a free gift, choose a theme that relates to your service or product. If you are an accountant, how about an old-fashioned image of an adding machine or even a reminder of important tax deadlines throughout the year. Always be sure to include your business name, address and contact information in the design, so that customers remember you when they use the notepad.