If you currently have a promotional product from a local business hanging out in your home or office, the chances are excellent that it’s part of your everyday life in one way or another. If it’s not something you actually use on a frequent basis – like a pen or a coffee mug – then it’s almost certainly something that you see at least peripherally almost every day – like a refrigerator magnet. If you’re like most people, you can probably name the company associated with that item without thinking about it very hard. That’s the brand recognition power of well-chosen promotional products at work. It can easily work the same magic for your business if you play your cards right. Even so, it’s important to realize that not all promo products are created equally. To be effective, they have to be keepers. Here’s how to make sure that yours are all that, and then some. Make It Useful The most important thing to remember when selecting promotional products is that they need to be useful – the kind of thing that a potential customer will see as a free gift – something that they really ought to hold onto – and not a piece of junk to simply toss in a drawer and forget about. That’s exactly why you see so many promotional items like pens, pencils, tote bags, t-shirts, and coffee mugs. They’re not only items that just about everyone uses on a very frequent basis, but they’re also items literally everyone could use more of. Make It Trendy What’s hot right now? What items does everyone in your target demographic seem to be all about? Take a moment to consider current trends and think about how they could be turned into promotional products that integrate your brand into people’s lives. For instance, tablets are certainly all the rage these days, so tablet users are always in search of styluses, cases, and other such useful accessories. Gourmet coffee is also a must for many people. How about good quality travel mugs to make taking coffee on the go easier? Make It Valuable People are more likely to hold onto promotional products that are attractive and which give the impression of being valuable in and of themselves. Wouldn’t you be much more likely to hold onto a really beautiful, well-weighted stapler or business card holder, as opposed to a really cheap-looking, junky one? Are you more likely to add a soft, well-made promotional tee to your weekend-wear drawer, or a thin, flimsy one? You can bet your customers feel the same way. Make It Appropriate Often, really good promotional products people wind up keeping and using aren’t random items that have nothing to do with the company’s target demographic. A good choice for your target audience is something that will fit easily into their lives while still maintaining a clear connection to what your business does. Do you run a plumbing business or an appliance repair company? Try refrigerator magnets that a client is likely to stick right there on their fridge next to their list of important phone numbers so it will be there the next time they need it. Is eco-friendliness a big part of your company’s message? Try responsibly sourced grocery totes or reusable water bottles that will fit right into an already earth-conscious lifestyle. Assessing the Needs of an Audience Every great idea for a promotional product that delivers started out as an honest attempt to really get to know the target audience. Who are your existing and potential customers? Are they young, social folks that like to go out on the weekends? Are they soccer moms with a husband, kids, and a home to take care of? Are they animal lovers? Are they health-conscious? How do they spend their time, and with whom? Once you have a clear picture of your target in your head, take some time to browse the options at a really good site specializing in promotional products. The best companies in the business offer a wealth of choices, some of which you may never have come up with on your own. Many will even help you design your products and make your final selection. At the end of the day, it pays to take your time when it comes to exploring your options. Give it some thought, assess all of your options, and maybe even take a gander at what seems to be working for your competitors. Eventually, you’ll hit on the perfect option for you.