Using promotional products to promote your distributor business is the best way to show by example how to use the products as effective marketing tools. I think it is safe to say, every distributor uses them, but sometimes deciding what item to invest in can be a challenge.

With so many options, so many price points and a limited budget, it is tempting to choose based on the best supplier deals. But it is necessary to give your self-promos some thought so you tie them in with the rest of your marketing efforts. That’s how you get the most of the investment.

However, there are certain self-promos we think should be part of your promotional strategy, regardless. Some sort of a self-promo kit.


Conversation Starters

These are self-promos you should never leave home without.

As a business owner, chances are you attend all sorts of business functions and community events. While it is expected to talk business at networking events, there are other functions where it would be inappropriate. In both cases, handing a self-promo that will be used at the very moment the conversation is taking place, it’s a perfect way to introduce your business in a creative, subtle, non-salesy way.

For example, you hand out a self-promo instead of your business card when people are exchanging cards.  Yours will not only get a second look but positive comments and the desire to have cards just like that. 

Or, say you are at a benefit dinner and you engage in conversation with someone you would love to have as a client.  Handing them out custom mints at the end of the meal will get the gratitude and interest of your recipient, and very likely an appointment for a meeting.

Other examples that have worked wonders for us are hand sanitizers to hand out at events we are attending or volunteering at, especially at mealtime.  Ans also pens to “save” someone who needs to write something and doesn’t have one.

To summarize, create a kit of useful items to always have handy to seize the moment. 

Plastic Pens

Pens cannot be more commonplace, and I’ve heard many distributors say “I don’t sell pens, or do pens self-promos”. I think this is a mistake.  Do not underestimate the power of a pen. Nearly every business invests in promotional pens, and they are in fact, after wearables, the most purchased promotional product. Why leave your clients to your competition?

That said, with thousands of options and prices, advising clients on the pens they should get can be a huge time suck. One way to simplify this is to hand out your awesome, top quality, colorful, self-promo pens by your favorite supplier. For us it has been the Javalina pens, even though we’ve tried a few others with success, we always go back to the tried and true.

A good pen sells itself. We have sold thousands of them, just by handing them out every time we have an opportunity to do so. This has also eliminated the “can you find this pen I found on some site?” I think our clients have encountered their share of crappy pens and they’ll be glad to choose one they love to write with.

Pens are also perfect to donate to charity and community events for their registration tables. This is a very inexpensive way to promote your business. Many people will get to use them and walk away with them, spreading your brand and the word about your goodwill.


Gifts For The Meeting

When you go to a meeting you are expected to show some cool, fun stuff. It is not uncommon that there will be several people from various departments at the meeting. You have a great opportunity to position yourself as THE expert creative resource for more than one buyer at the company.

As a rule of thumb, you want to have only top quality items to show. It would be ideal that the items have your logo on them, but this might not be always possible for budget reasons.

However, leaving a self-promo gift for the meeting participants is mandatory.  Make sure to have it nicely presented in a box or a bag. You can put together a package with whatever self-promos you have at hand, or it can be a single item with a high perceived value.

We have done both. For the single item we’ve tried a number of things, but the most successful one, by far, has been a journal. I don’t know what it is about journals, but most everyone loves them and receives them as if you had handed them a treasure. In most cases, they start using them right at the meeting, and a  journal becomes part of the product discussion.  That’s why this is such a great self-promo.

The only consideration is that some organizations prohibit their employees from receiving gifts. In this case, we call it a “sample package” and problem is solved.

How about you?

What do you include in your self-promo kits?