At some point in time, most businesses will want to create some sort of promotional product to give away to their customers or even their own employees. Some businesses do an excellent job with this, many seem to miss the point however, doing the bare minimum without much thought; looking like an executive somewhere has written this potentially useful branding exercise as a necessary expense to solve as cheaply as possible.
Why use promotional products for real estate marketing?
Here are some of the reasons why real estate agents like using promotional items (also known as promo items or swag) for marketing purposes:
- Increase name / brand recognition
- Get new clients
- Generate goodwill
- Get referrals
- Increase sales
- “Breaking the ice”
Over the years people will collect all sorts of miscellaneous items with corporate branding on it. Every industry expo or careers fair will be full of people giving away their pens, hats, badges, frisbees, USB sticks and more pens. But how much of these things will people actually keep and use? Will they remember your brand?
According to research by the Australasian Promotional Products Association (APPA) 52% of recipients say their impression of the company is more positive after receiving a promotional product, 76% recall the name advertised on the product and 52% of people do business with a company after receiving a promotional product.
Some of the promotional items you get may actually become something you keep for a long time. The APPA says 55% keep the item for more than one year. Do you have a promotional item you have kept and use on a regular basis? The APPA says nearly 50% of recipients use them daily. Perhaps you have a pair of spare promo sunglasses you pull out in emergencies, a bottle opener, USB stick or a pen at your desk?
When choosing a promotional item to represent your company, you have to ask yourself “is this is an item I’d actually want to receive?”. You also have to make sure the item is relevant to your audience or makes sense in the context you’re giving them away.
Promotional pens for marketing purposes are by far the most common free giveaway. Everyone likes pens, everyone uses pens so if you’re giving them away, why not make sure you’re giving away the decent ones? When people attend a convention and get given a pen at every few stands, they won’t be keeping all of them and certainly won’t be using all of them. You need to make sure yours stands out so when someone gets home and sorts through all their promotional products, that they actually keep yours. The super cheap, flimsy pens probably won’t cut it for most people, but a nice solid plastic or metal one will end up getting used. These obviously cost more, but a quality product people may want to keep will be remembered longer than something that may not even make it home from the event.
When cheap promotional pens may succeed.
If you have an event where the likelihood of other people giving away free pens is low, cheap promotional pens will have a chance to stand out because they will be useful. Eg. If you are sponsoring or speaking at a conference, a branded pen and branded notebook could be something useful people will hold onto (for that day at least).
Free notepad and pens at Open Houses
If you are hosting an open house, free pens and notepads would be useful for the visitors to write down their notes about the property, they may continue to use that notepad for further house-hunting notes as they travel to other open house inspections.
The most thoughtful promotional gift I’ve ever received
“I used to attend a conference once a year in Las Vegas, which has a very different climate to suburban Australia. This conference attracted people from all over the world, most of which were not prepared for the dry desert air. There are always a lot of neat promotional items at this event and one time a company was giving away free chapsticks. In those conditions, it was very easy for your lips to dry out, crack and even bleed, this booth became an essential visit and in exchange for your email address, you got a life saving lip balm. This company really thought about the location of the conference and chose a product that people would actually want and would go out of their way to track down. If someone complained their lips were drying out, another patron would tell them to go see that company’s stall for a free lip balm. The word of mouth for this was great and must have helped them get a lot more leads than they would have otherwise.” – Keith Nallawalla, content marketer.
The most useful promotional gift I’ve ever received
“At another conference in Singapore a company was giving away travel power adapters in exchange for your business card. This was a week long conference with 34,000 attendees from all over the world. This booth was run by a big computer manufacturer, so they obviously had a huge budget for this as these items would have cost a few dollars each to produce, knowing how many overseas visitors were attending, they definitely chose an appropriate product, one that could even be used with their own products, such as laptops.” – Keith Nallawalla (continued)
The most used promotional gift I’ve ever received
“Again in Las Vegas, a company was giving out business card sized metal bottle openers that could fit in a wallet. I liked this so much I grabbed two. I’ve never been caught at a BBQ or party without a bottle opener since. The brand is not one I’m familiar with, but I still carry this item with me every day.” – Keith Nallawalla (continued)
Useful real estate promotional items.
The promotional items people really keep are ones that are useful, things that are too good to throw out. Here’s some that might be useful for real estate brands.
- Bottle openers that fit in a wallet (business card sized) or are on a key ring are more likely to be used than a traditional key ring. They could also be kept in the kitchen or by the BBQ.
- Key rings can be quite boring and many people may suggest against using these as giveaways. Everyone already has their keys on a keyring that they like, why would they replace it with your cheap freebie? For real estate marketing however, it actually makes sense. Whenever you give out the keys to a house you have sold or are managing, ensure that all copies of the key are given out on a branded key ring. Most people will have their own key rings already, but the spare key will probably manage to keep its ring intact. If your key ring is actually useful, like the bottle opener mentioned above, it will increase the chances of it being kept.
- Tape measures will cost a bit more than other items, but miniature tape measures can be promotional items. People will often take a tape measure from open house to open house to make sure their furniture will fit where they want it to. If you get these make sure they use the metric system!
- Gift baskets when someone moves into their new house you have sold them or they are renting, you could give them a gift basket with various products useful to someone moving in. It could include things like a branded photo frame with your company logo on it, a spare light bulb, picture hanging hooks
- Drink bottles can be taken to the gym, attached to a bike, your kids can take it school, if it’s a good one, people will probably hold onto it, or at least regift it.
- Insulated travel coffee mugs are another popular promotional item that you can easily get your branding on, people always like these.
Items that may not be appropriate for real estate marketing
- Hats have always been a popular promotional item, but your clients and prospects probably don’t care strongly enough about you to wear your brand on their head.
- T-shirts can be popular in some industries, the tech industry tend to love promotional T-shirts, but in real estate your fashion conscious leads are unlikely to wear it. However, your representatives at trade shows, auctions, inspections, open houses etc should always wear branded clothing!
- Novelty items cover a countless amount of objects, from frisbees, yo-yos, teddy bears, toy cars and all kinds of flashing objects. These can be popular at events, but if the item doesn’t have much purpose or use to the person it was given to, they might not keep it or use it in the long term. There’s a lot of fun and exciting novelty items out there, there’s probably lots that work well for real estate marketing,but the majority of it is probably junk people will forget about quickly.
Next time you are considering a promo item for your real estate marketing campaign, please ensure you think carefully before choosing a product and choose something you think will return the best ROI.