The benefits promotional products can bring your business simply cannot be underestimated. In addition to helping you reel in new clients and creating brand awareness, well-judged use of branded, promotional gifts can ultimately pave the way for sustained business growth.

It's important to think carefully about your audience when deciding which promotional items to give away. Lunch bags, sunglasses and hats, for instance, may be more appropriate than writing instruments and journals if you're catering to a younger crowd.

Here are our top eight benefits of giving away promotional merchandise.

1. Improve brand awareness

Through promotional gifts, brands can market their products and services with minimal effort. Branded items, with your business name, logo and slogan, in your corporate colours, can go a long way towards fostering better brand recognition.

2. Start conversations with prospective customers

Promotional items have a way of making people stop and take notice, with the result that they become more receptive. By handing out free gifts, you effectively increase the likelihood of people listening to you.

Offering free stuff at a trade show, for example, can noticeably improve your outreach.

3. Cultivate your public image

Giving out free, useful stuff that people appreciate and will use creates a very positive image of your business and your brand, improving your reputation.

4. Encourage bigger orders

The word 'free' certainly grabs customer attention. Persuade existing customers to increase their order size, or add different items to their order, by offering a free gift as an incentive.

5. Boost customer retention

People generally appreciate - and reciprocate - kind gestures such as free gifts. This boosts customer retention, because you are winning trust (and hearts) by thanking them for staying with you.

Customers who know they're valued stick around longer, and are generous when it comes to referring others to your business.

6. Keep your business name front of mind

Specialty product giveaways are a potent lead generator. When a client comes to think about who they'll go to with their business, your business will be the first one they think of.

Even something as 'everyday' as a branded pen or T-shirt with your logo on it can help keep your business from being forgotten at buying time.

7. Recognise hardworking employees

Hard-working staff who consistently meet goals ought to be rewarded. This is important, because feeling recognised and appreciated will do wonders to motivate them and help them achieve even more.

8. Motivate your staff with incentives

Perhaps it's time your sales team reached new heights and milestones, or maybe you need your production guys to reduce waste by a certain margin. Offer a promotional incentive to reward them, and drive desirable behaviours.

Follow this advice, and you'll be well on your way to a bigger, better and more successful brand.

Thanks to Paul Ashworth