As an online business owner, it’s easy to forget or ignore offline marketing strategies in favor of search engine optimization and social media outreach. At the same time, you understand better than anyone that in order to guarantee that your brand is recognized well above all others, you have to go that extra mile to stand out from the crowd.

So how do you add a little extra spice to your campaign with so many of your competitors copying every online marketing strategy you dish out? Get offline!

The biggest mistake online businesses make nowadays is to assume that the only way you can effectively spread the word about your website is through the internet. Yet there are dozens of traditional, yet highly effective offline marketing techniques that will help your direct site traffic grow while strengthening your overall brand identity.

Promotional products are an excellent offline marketing tool. These items are imprinted with your company logo, brand name, slogan, contact information, and any other direct advertising message that you’d like to share with your clients. Here will share with you some of the benefits of different promotional products and how to match them with the business needs of your marketing campaign.

Choosing the Right Promotional Product

Different promotional products attract different audiences. For demographic information about a variety of promotional products, check out the Global Advertising Specialties Impressions Study. It’s a great starting point for matching your promo product with your target audience. If a business is trying to reach out to young, tech-savvy consumers, for example, a custom flash drive would be a great fit for them. On the other hand, if their target demographic is right-leaning and middle-aged, a health and safety item might be a better fit.

The product that you hand out has to be practical, useful, and resourceful not only to your target audience but to the consumer market as a whole. The last thing you want is people taking what you give them and throwing it away, leaving it behind somewhere, or take it home to collect dust stored away in some drawer or closet. At worst, you want the recipient to give the item to someone they know that could use it.

Realistically, most promotional products are cheap to produce and don’t take much time to use up. That’s why you’re giving them out for free, after all. Not because they’re worthless, but because you can afford the investment you make on them. The main idea here though is to provide your audience with a promotional product that will be seen by as many people as possible while also giving them something that can actually be useful to them in some way.

From the ASI study, we can see that promotional bags generate the most impressions per item, at 5,732. Compare that impression data with your other marketing efforts. Is it more cost-effective? Sure, in some ways the impressions are less targeted, but for brand building, it’s an excellent ROI. In fact, ad specialties clock in at, on average, six-tenths of a cent per impression. That’s less expensive than TV, a national magazine, and newspaper ads.

Consider the Event

Think about your environment and your target audience when you’re deciding on the right promotional product. If you’re at an outdoor, sporty, or sunny event, try giving out water bottles (filled with water), sunblock, sunglasses, fans, or hats. If you’re at a more formal, business event, give out pens, notepads, tote bags or calculators. Vendor fairs are all about carrying stuff and writing things down, so the easier you can make this experience for people the better.

You could also give out something that directly correlates to your industry or products. For example, let’s say your online business specializes in selling Tupperware, plates, and other kitchenware. You could try giving out cake mix, cookies, fruits, or other quick food items alongside your product displays that have an imprint of your logo right on the item. Cookies and other pastries could be molded directly to look like your logo and fruits or other food items can have a little sticker with your logo right on it.

The most important thing? Be creative. Offer something truly unique. Nothing is more lucrative to a customer than something new and exciting to them. Even if it’s a common promotional product, offer it with a creative twist of your own. Be bold and “shinier” than the competition. The key to winning over an audience with promotional products is usefulness, uniqueness, and professionalism. This is a direct message to your customers that is supposed to express your gratitude to them and show how important they are to you.

Vincent Clarke is a marketing analyst for USB Memory Direct. He loves working one on one with customers to better understand their customer base and deliver products that make their branding unique and memorable.