Did you have a radio ad in your pocket? How about a billboard? Do you have a billboard in your kitchen drawer? Research has shown that the chances are good that some of you have a promotional product in your possession right now. Do you have a logo’d pen nearby? Do you ever wear a shirt, sweater or jacket embroidered with a logo?
A promotional product is physical advertising. Unlike newspaper, radio, TV, internet advertising and other advertising mediums, promotional products are tangible goods that you can touch and see. Sometimes you can hear them and, yes, sometimes you can taste and smell them. They have a surface on them that can be imprinted with your marketing message and given directly to another human being.
What are promotional products? They’re ad specialties, giveaways, incentives and recognition, business gifts and thank you’s…any product that carries a marketing message that is distributed to a customer, prospect and even an employee. Typical promotional products used for marketing an insurance agency are magnets, pens, calendars and insurance card holders.
Promotional products are no longer the best kept secret in marketing. The industry is a $20 billion industry – that’s billion with a “B” – and it’s one of the fastest growing of the current marketing mediums even though it’s one of the oldest mediums.
Why is the industry growing? The answer lies in the fact that promotional products are targeted and versatile and offer a low cost per impression. Promotional products are cross between a “laser beam” and a “Swiss Army knife” when compared to other marketing mediums.
Promotional products can efficiently target every demographic and budget no matter how small or obscure the market. If you sell insurance to people in rural areas, promotional products can reach them efficiently. Could you imagine how cost inefficient it would be to run ads in traditional media to get business from this small market? For a few bucks, you could send them each a printed jar opener that would communicate your marketing message for years and years.
In addition, just about everyone hates TV and radio ads so they click mute or flip the channel. In fact, people are using On Demand and DVR’s to avoid commercials altogether. Youtube puts a clock in the corner of the ads that counts down how much time you have to spend watching an ad before you can view the content you wanted to see in the first place. Pop-up ads on the internet are just flat-out annoying. As far as billboards, how many of them do you really recall? Newspaper and magazines; they’re in the decline for their usefulness for marketing.
Promotional products offer an extremely low cost per impression because they are used in our day to day lives. Recipients welcome promotional products and they tend to hang on to them or pass them along to others. The items are used over and over again by the recipients which exposes them to your marketing message a countless number of times. When was the last time you used a radio ad? When was the last time you “lost your billboard” and someone else picked it up? Does anyone welcome more TV ads? When was the last time you sat in front of the TV and said “I wish there were more ads”? On the flip-side, you could invest about $200 on a box of pens and distribute them to your customers and they will see your marketing message over and over and over.
So, how do you market your insurance agency with promotional products?
The most important consideration is the distribution plan. You can have the coolest item ever created but if it never leaves your supply closet, you wasted your money. The plan can be very simple – you can mail the items to your customers, you can hand them out at your office when they visit, you can put them in bags and hang them on door knobs. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it gets done otherwise you will not see a return on your marketing investment.
The next decision is the choosing the product and the message. Think about your end goal. Are you looking for new business from new customers or are you looking for more business or referrals from existing customers? By the way, you’ll spend more time, money and effort prospecting for new business from new customers. Also consider the target market itself and the types of items they would find useful. Studies have found that 91% of people have a promotional product in the kitchen, 74% have at least one promotional product in the office and 55% have at least one promotional product in the bedroom. If you’re like most insurance agents, you work with the general public. Since most people have kitchens, most people work and most people go to bed at night, these types of items could be a choice to market your insurance agency.
As far as the marketing message, most promotional products have enough room for your agency name and phone number. Other items have bigger imprint areas which allows for more ad copy. If that’s the case, use that area creatively. Letting people know about other lines of business you write could help you round out the account or get more referrals.
Lastly, choose a quality product. If the imprint wears off easily or the pen stops writing after a few weeks, you wasted your money. The longer the item survives, the longer it will market your agency.