Regardless of the type of business you’re in, the major hurdle you have to leap is the memory one. You have to find a way of keeping your name in the mind of customers and potential customers, without actually being in their face.
In the corporate world, there’s the whole mini-calender, printed pen, bumper-sticker route. But we’re crafters. We want our give-aways to be just as pleasing and personal as the crafts we sell.
Basically, this means preparing some quality promo items that tie in – tightly – with the products you make.
The Basics of a Promo Item
There are a few things that every single promo item must have or do, and they’re really easy to remember:
1. Contain your phone number or website URL.
2. Contain your name or business name.
3. Look personal and match your product theme.
4. Cost very little and be super quick to make.
Consider these the four laws of the promo item if you like. There are dozens of ways of incorporating those laws into the item itself.
Promo Item Ideas
Since promo items are something we’re going to literally give away, they can’t eat into our crafting profits. The second they do that, they’ve become something much more than a promo item; they’re akin to gifting.
In its basic form, the promo item should seem like a gift to the recipient. It should be useful or so pleasing that your customer can’t help but smile when they see the little “bonus”. You should be able to make a batch of the items (we’ll call a batch a full dozen for this article) in under an hour. And you shouldn’t have to worry about how many pennies you’ve thrown into the materials you’ve used, either.
With those keys in mind, the sky’s the limit in what you can do. You’ll want to really think about the ideas you like best, and consider ways of using them so that they incorporate your particular craft. Also pay attention to what other crafters are giving as promo items. When you find something that you just ooooh over, you know that you’ve got inspiration.
Business Cards – The basic business card contains all the information we could possibly need to fulfill our promo item laws. On its own, though, a business card is pretty … well, corporate. Think about ways that you can spruce the card up with your crafty creativity, though. If you sell crochet items, consider making a small little border for the card or laminate the card with a crochet motif as decoration. Pattern writers could print a short, easy pattern on the back of their business card. Make dolls or stuffed animals? Why not try printing a sheet of business cards on printable fabric, and using the card as a “patch” on a small doll’s clothes?
Sachets – Whether you sew, crochet, or knit, you can create a sachet in no time at all. Try making a simple envelope or pocket sachet and sticking a piece of felt inside that contains a drop or two of essential oil. These will then softly scent the items you’re sending, and you can include a little card attached to the sachet that has your business details as well as “refill instructions”. The chances of that card getting thrown away are pretty low because it has instructions on it.
Useful Tie-Ins – These kinds of items are as endless and varied as the types of crafts we do, but the basic idea is that the promo item itself supports whatever it is that you sell. Many crochet and knit pattern writers whip up a bunch of stitch markers that can be given away with the patterns they sell. Someone who designs clothing for kids could include belt-loop charms or if they design for babies, a pacifier keeper. A woman I know who sells roving (the material that yarn is spun from) made a killing by letting it be known that she included handcrafted drop-spindles with her orders. The spindles didn’t cost her much time or money to make, but added tons of value to the people purchasing her wares.
How to Use Promo Items
It’s all fine and good to have a bunch of neat little extras to give away, but what do you actually do with them to prevent them gathering dust on a shelf?
There are numerous ways to use your promo items. If you are selling at a craft fair, try keeping a small basket of your selected promo items out front. Invite browsers and customers alike to go ahead and grab one. Even if they’re not buying today, that little item might keep you in mind long enough to draw them back to your products later on.
Another, more obvious way is to include promo items with your sold products. Whether you ship or sell in person, the addition of the bonus can really make a customer’s day. It says “Thank you!” in a way that words alone can’t touch.
When you offer items that are useful, like the drop spindles, show off how useful they are. This will only work when you sell in person at a shop or a craft fair, but it makes a huge impact when you use it. Instead of kicking back wondering how long it will be before the next customer comes along, get out in front and draw a few eyes by showing what can be done with your craft. The demonstration will bring curious lookers who will turn into customers – many of whom wouldn’t have considered visiting your booth until they saw you showing off your work.
Basically, try to make the giving of a promo item feel as personal as the item itself. It’s that caring touch to our crafts that help us sell them in the first place, and the extra thought of a bonus really drives the “I care” bit home.