Sending gifts and promotional products has always been a powerful marketing tool. It can be used to improve client retention and to reach out to prospects. The Guinness Book of World Records Most Successful Salesman in the World used to send out greeting cards to every customer and prospect on a monthly basis. He was sending out more than 16,000 cards each month, and it worked. Customers knew him by name, and they came to him for all their car-buying needs.

Outside the Box
photo credit: Adam Swank

But now, with the power of social media, gift giving as a marketing tool can make an even bigger splash than before.

I want to share a couple of stories with you of my experiences with receiving promotional products from some of my friends on Twitter.

  • 2 Bottles of Wine from St. Supery Winery—I’ve been following @RickBakas, Director of Social Media for St. Supery Winery, for quite a while now. We had a little interaction with each other, but it wasn’t on a regular basis. Then, one day Rick reached out to me for help pushing some content on Twitter. I obliged, and next thing I know, I’m receiving 2 bottles of wine in the mail. By the way, the wine truly was amazing. Thanks again Rick!

So, why did Rick send me the wine? Well, I think there are a couple of savvy marketing reasons he did so.

  1. To cement our relationship. See, you can only build a relationship through Twitter so much by @replying and DMing. Rick decided to think outside the box by sending me 2 bottles of his companies wine, knowing I’d be forever grateful and pay much closer attention to him.
  2. To spread the word. After getting the wine from Rick, I of course thanked him through Twitter, and now even felt compelled to write an entire blog post about his company’s effective social media marketing tactics.

  • Books from my followers—Rick isn’t my only Twitter follower who has reached out by sending me a promotional product. On a few occasions, my social media pals have sent me books they’ve authored or co-authored. The 2 most recent examples that come to mind are @ConvertBond and @AlisaBowman.

    The book I received from @convertbond (Lawrence McDonald) was called A Colossal FAILURE of common sense(a New York Times best seller), and it took a look at the fall of Lehman brothers. Lawrence was a former VP at Lehman Brothers, so he had an interesting story to tell.

    Alisa Bowman, who gives marriage advice at her blog, and has also collaborated on five New York Times best sellers, sent me a book she co-authored called The Skinny: On Losing Weight Without Being Hungry.

What’s my point? The point is that you need to do something different to stand out from the crowd. Sending a promotional product or a simple greeting card can put you on a first-name basis with influential social media users and your customers. It can also create a buzz, getting your name out there and driving sales.

Do you have a “outside of the box” marketing story? We would love to hear about it in the comments.

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