Lee Nelson is a freelance journalist from the Chicago area. She has written for Yahoo! Homes, TravelNursing.org, MyMortgageInsider.com, and ChicagoStyle Weddings Magazine. She also writes a bi-monthly blog on Unigo.com. Contact Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Best Swag For Your Buck
If you do it right, gifts and giveaways can foster greater awareness of your brand. Use these ideas to make your brokerage logo more recognizable.
October 14, 2016
Whether you’re buying promotional items to use as giveaways or thank-you gifts, there is plenty of swag out there to choose from. The key is to find the right product that will generate buzz and leave a lasting impression.
“We’ve always believed in promotional products,” says Britt Matthews, marketing and public relations director for Beachy Beach Real Estate in Panama City, Fla. The products, she says, exude the essence of her mother, Karen Smith, the owner and face of the company. But they also “have to make people happy, and they have to be things people want.”
Beachy Beach puts its logo on hats, golf umbrellas, sunscreen—even beach balls and buckets for kids. The brokerage always makes sure its gifts and giveaways are a little different from the competition’s. “We always make a joke that if we could tattoo our logo on our agents, we totally would,” Matthews says.
Kelly Gitt, associate broker at RE/MAX Platinum in Omaha, Neb., has gotten the best response from personalized gifts. “A great way to make your client feel valued is to give them something that’s just for them,” she says. Gitt also likes to give away University of Nebraska and Creighton University game schedules or send newsletters featuring recipes for tailgaters or game-day get-togethers.
But gifts for her agents are just as important, she says. Gitt will cover DocuSign costs or give agents a gift card for a free car wash to help keep their rides sparkling for appointments. Covering fees for coaching events or seminars is also valuable for agents’ professional growth and development, she says.
When it comes to brand awareness in the community, Beachy Beach will support local causes and set up booths at community events. A few years ago, the company’s booth at a half-marathon became known for having the best giveaways. Not long after that, Beachy Beach team members started carrying bags of swag in their cars, giving away goodies as a little pick-me-up for people they meet. It can be as simple as lip balm, a hat, or sunglasses. “We find that people are happiest when you do something with no expectations. The rewards are monumental,” Matthews says.
The company’s generosity comes back to them time and time again on social media. New acquaintances and complete strangers donning their company gear will tag their business page in photos on Facebook. There’s always someone showing off their Beachy Beach running shirt or another promotional item, Matthews says. “One girl tagged our Beachy Beach Facebook page wearing the company’s swag on a Guatemalan mission trip. You can’t pay for that kind of advertising,” she says.
There’s a lot of creativity in the real estate industry when it comes to marketing, and some companies that sell promotional products have noticed. Oshkosh, Wis.–based 4imprint released its tenth-edition “Promotional Products Work” e-book featuring 74 ways to get customers’ attention or reward someone for a job well done. The ideas are all based on feedback from actual 4imprint customers. Some of the more unique ideas include putting logo on alarm clocks for someone who attends an early-morning program or on phone charging cords.
“We find that real estate agents and brokers are buying promotional items all over the board,” says Becky Dillenberg, 4imprint’s marketing manager. “They buy a lot of apparel for their agents and staff because it’s nice to have something with their logo on it for open houses and meetings.” This includes blazers, outerwear, polo shirts, sweaters, and more.
4imprint offers real estate–related products, such as plastic chip clips in the shape of a house and magnetic business card letter openers. For something a little more substantial, there are all-purpose utility totes, handy for tools or crafting supplies. And, of course, all the items can be imprinted with a real estate company’s name and logo.
“Some brokers and agents are ordering printed bags and stocking them with goodies such as toilet paper, napkins, and more for home owners’ first night in their new house,” she says. “It’s a fun, different closing idea. And when it’s different, customers will remember it.”