Marketing With Promotional Mugs: Warm Up New Prospects With Custom Drinkware

Any good salesperson knows that planting the first seed of interest in a prospective customer is half the battle. Most people instinctively say “no” to sales pitches, which doesn’t make it easy to break through to new customers.

Introducing people to your brand in a friendly, approachable manner can help you get past this obstacle. Have you tried using promotional coffee mugs to speed up business growth? Mugs are functional and cost-efficient, and they provide an attractive canvas for your brand message.

When done right, promotional products drive awareness in a way that makes customers want to invite your brand into their lives. The Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) estimates that 53 percent of U.S. consumers own promotional drinkware. And 50 percent of people who own logo-ed drinkware use it two to three times a week.

Promotional mugs become part of your customer’s everyday routine, exposing your brand to a wide audience. Make your mark this year by using branded drinkware to spread the word about your business.

4 Reasons to Give Out Promotional Mugs

Giving away something for free in hopes of winning new business may seem like a risky move. Yet, promotional products consistently lead to better results than other types of advertising. Here’s why you can’t go wrong with custom coffee mugs.

1. Customers Appreciate Value

Unlike ads, promotional products aren’t obtrusive, and they don’t take away from the customer experience. Everybody loves a warm beverage from time to time, whether it’s coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. Promotional mugs offer something of value, which encourages your audience to trust and admire your business.

2. Freebies Provide Incentive

Mug with sample icon logo design for New Town Auto

It’s no coincidence that diplomats give gifts before diving into tense negotiations. A thoughtful gesture sets a positive tone for the rest of the conversation. Give customers a reason to let their guard down, and you won’t have to work as hard to get a “yes.”

Customers who aren’t in buy mode quickly shut down when they can tell you’re after a sale. Freebies have a disarming effect. They help you keep a customer interested long enough to achieve your desired goal, such as gathering email addresses or survey participants.

3. Marketing Reach Is Above Average

Every marketing campaign raises the question, “Am I really reaching my audience?” In marketing, we often focus on creating the ideal conditions to make customers more receptive. Your message only reaches your target audience when the timing and motivation are just right.

With promotional products, you aren’t asking people to spend money or make any substantial commitment. Customers have little or no reason to turn down a freebie, so your promotional message is more likely to reach its intended audience.

On average, only 20 percent of consumers discard promotional products, according to a survey by Promotional Products Association International (PPAI). By comparison, 68 percent of consumers skip online ads, 66 percent turn away from TV commercials, and 50 percent ignore unsolicited emails.

4. Branded Products Boost Recognition

If you think customers forget your business name the moment you hand over a freebie, you’re wrong. Nine in 10 people recall branding on promotional products, and seven in 10 remember the call to action.

Promotional mugs have high potential to get customers invested in your brand. Avid coffee and tea drinkers enjoy gathering a diverse mug collection. And every time they brew up a hot beverage, your branding is on display for other people to see. Not to mention, attractive or interesting mugs make great conversation starters.

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Tips for Marketing With Promotional Mugs

Promotional coffee mugs work much like a business card. They provide an introduction and a way for prospects to remember you long after the first point of contact. But unlike business cards, drinkware doesn’t get shoved into a drawer or a Rolodex.

Mugs stay out in the open where all eyes can see them. Use this visibility to your advantage by creating products with the potential to attract inbound leads.

Choose a High-Quality Product

Mug with sample icon logo design

Consumers hang onto promotional drinkware for an average of eight months, according to ASI. Make sure your mugs have a long shelf life by designing drinkware people actually want to keep.

Start by choosing a supplier with a strong track record for printing quality products. Poorly made products can backfire and make people less likely to form a good opinion of your brand. On the other hand, a premium product shows customers you value their time and loyalty.

Use crisp, legible artwork in your design. You want promotional mugs that are attractive, easy to read, and fade-resistant. Your mugs won’t have much impact if the branding looks unprofessional or starts wearing away after a few rounds in the dishwasher.

Make Your Design Interesting

It’s perfectly fine to keep your design simple with a standard logo and tagline. And for some industries, you’re better off taking a conservative approach over a creative one.

However, designs with a “wow” factor are more appealing when you have a fun, friendly, or witty brand. Companies that print promotional mugs often allow you to personalize both sides of the cup. Why not use one side to display a memorable illustration or saying that gets people excited to show off your mugs?

Include a Call to Action

In the PPAI study, 83 percent of consumers said they are more likely to do business with brands after receiving a promotional product. And 79 percent are motivated to research the brand.

Give people a way to learn more about your business. Otherwise, what’s the point of devoting your time and money to creating freebies? Include a quick call to action that tells people what to do next. A CTA can be as simple as a phone number, website address, or hashtag.

Appeal to the Right Audiences

House Stark Starbucks Coffee logo

Don’t just hand out mugs to anyone who passes by your business. Aim to get the widest exposure while targeting people who have solid connections to your audience.

Give branded drinkware to people who have 1) high visibility, 2) broad influence, 3) strong loyalty, or all of the above. Loyal employees are a good choice because they’re well-informed about your business and have long-standing relationships throughout your local community.

Loyal customers, vendors, partners, trade show attendees, and non-competing business owners also make good brand ambassadors. Many of these people are invested in your success and benefit from bringing you more business.

Feature Freebies in Social Media Campaigns

People want what they don’t have, and that can work in your favor. Use social media to promote your company merch, especially if you plan to charge for it in the future.

Posting photos to social media gives your audience a glimpse of your business culture. Have your first few customer recipients take a photo with their new mugs, so you can show others you care about customer relationships.

Mugs also make great gifts for simple social media giveaways, since they’re low cost while providing long-term value. If your mugs have a compelling design, promoting them on social media may make it easier to sell your branded drinkware to a wider audience.

If you’ve never tried to market your business with promotional products, it’s probably daunting to invest in personalized mugs. You might have a limited budget. You might have little or no room for trial and error. And you have no way of knowing whether this marketing strategy will lead to more income.

Mugs are among the most popular promotional products, with good reason. As long as there are thirsty people, you can find consumers who are happy to receive attractive drinkware that showcases your brand. Use promotional mugs to send a positive message about your brand and reel in new business.

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