In today’s information-intensive world, it’s hard for any business to attract potential customers. But promotional products offer a unique opportunity to get your company’s name out to its target market — and keep it there.

The promotional items you pick are limited only by your own creativity. They can range from market-proven goods such as calendars, coffee mugs and baseball caps to innovative items such as candy and nuts, stadium blankets, toy cars and trucks, and first aid kits, all bearing your logo and contact information.

But no matter what route you take or what items you select, be sure you maximize your investment. Here are a few tips to make the most of this time-tested sales and marketing resource:
Set clear goals for your promotion. Think about what you want these products to do for your business. Should they build awareness of your company? Boost sales? Provide a way to thank your customers? Have clear goals in mind from the start so you can purchase items that make sense for your business.

Set a budget and stick to it. Putting your logo on a coffee mug or a mouse pad tells customers that you’ve arrived and you’re in business for the long haul. Avoid overspending: Identify your costs up front, factor them into your overall marketing budget and pricing strategy, and keep careful track of all expenses — especially indirect costs like shipping and handling and storage.

Seek out partnership opportunities. If you’d like to offer gifts at your event, ask one of your suppliers to share the cost. In exchange, recognize them by placing their logo on the gift. Joint promotional efforts strengthen relationships with suppliers and make a statement about your commitment.

Recognize the limited shelf life of most promotional products. Don’t buy more than you need. A lot of businesses have stockrooms full of outdated promotional items.

Promotional items can be a silent salesperson for your products or services. Keeping these tips in mind will help you make the most of your promotional items’ potential.