Every time you turn around there's someone on your phone or doorstep, trying to sell you pens for you to use for promotional items. Every time they show up, you buy a few hundred or thousand, though more than likely you have a storage closet somewhere that's full of them.
That's because you've bought into lie number one: Pens are a great way to easily promote your business. The truth is a pen is good for branding your business, but it does little to promote your business. Why?
Because it doesn't do any real promoting! A pen with your logo, name, address and phone number just tells people who you are. It does nothing to make them want to use your company's product or service. Worse, it just lies around, waiting to be picked up and used-and mostly it will be used to make a grocery list, not to find your company's name and address!
Lie number two is that pens are a great way to inexpensively market and promote your business. This isn't true, and that closet full of pens should be proof enough. Yes, you can get fairly cheap promotional pens, but you know what they really tell people about you? That you're cheap!
People aren't stupid. They know a cheap item from a more expensive one. And even though they will take and even use your pen, they will not connect you to quality. If you want a pen to do that, and you do or why bother, you're going to have to buy more expensive pens that show you're a class act all the way. This kind of promotional pen costs a great deal of money, so you won't get away, um, cheaply. Quantity and/or quality will, either way, cost you money, so pens aren't really a cheap promotional item after all, are they?
Now, for lie number three. Yes, it's the big one! Because everyone gives pens away as promotional items, you should too in order to compete. Remember being in high school where everyone dressed the same way? Look back at your yearbook and you'll see that everyone pretty much looks the same. Only a few brave souls who dared to be different stand out.
Same thing with promotional pens. There are a gazillion of them out there. And they all pretty much look the same and say the same thing: logo, contact information and website URL. If you want your promotional item to “wow” your customers and potential customers, you won't do it with a pen, most likely, unless it is one killer, expensive pen that does everything a cell phone can do.
The promotional arena is just saturated with promotional pens. So break away from the herd! If you feel you have to use a writing instrument as a promotional item, look into buying some cool mechanical pencils!
They're easily available and are far more effective for promoting your business than promotional pens for two reasons: 1) Not everyone else is giving them away, so they're automatically different, and 2) (and this is a secret!) people want them. Why? They're great for kids to use in school or to do homework. And help one of today's busy, overly zealous parents out by giving them something little Jake or Jane can use, and I guarantee you'll be remembered-and better, called on for your product or service!
Cindy Carrera is a freelance author who has written numerous articles about creative promotional gifts. Learn how to choose the right corporate holiday gifts and make a lasting impression in the business arena.