What is a particularly creative giveaway or promotional product that beginning companies can use to draw customer interest and improve engagement?

Mini Sopwith Camel LEGO promotional item
photo credit: InSapphoWeTrust / Flickr

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.

1. Pop-Up Stores

If you want to generate grassroots social media buzz and some press attention, running a pop-up store for a week or two is an excellent method. This can be done in many different ways, which makes it scalable enough to fit your budget. Additionally, the exclusivity and scarcity of a pop-up encourages sales and inspires customers to brag about their purchases online. Bryce Welker, Accounting Institute for Success

2. Photo Contests

If you have a brand that’s a physical product, a photo contest could be the perfect campaign to increase your brand awareness. Have customers take a photo with your product and include the correct hashtag. This will help create more user generate content and boost visibility for your brand.
Jared Atchison, WPForms

3. Influencer Promotions

New businesses can benefit by reaching out to bloggers and offer them giveaways in exchange for a feature on their blogs. However, instead of having to reach out to prospective bloggers on your own, consider targeting them through specially created ads on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. This way, you can also reach out to other writers and journalists. Derek Robinson, Top Notch Dezigns

Hand painted baseball item sold at Etsy
photo credit: Etsy

4. Giveaways for Rare, One-of-a-Kind Items

At my company, we regularly do giveaways — who doesn’t love a chance to win something great for free? However, we do try to spice up our contests by taking a normal product and including rare or one-of-a-kind items made by some of the community members we sponsor. One of our most popular giveaways was a mechanical keyboard with a custom wooden case and a one-of-a-kind Kono Fox keycap! Jacob Samuel Alexander, Kono Store

5. Unique Gifts with Custom Branding

We’ve had a ton of success with a custom-flavored hot sauce in collaboration with a local hot sauce company. We also incorporated some of our own branding and logos into the design on the bottle. Hot sauce is a great gift because it often sits out in a visible place and gets used very slowly, so it sticks around. Ryan D Matzner, Fueled

6. ‘Spin the Wheel’ Opt-In Prize

Opt-in wheels are a fun way to get more email addresses. You can have site visitors spin the wheel to earn discounts or freebies in exchange for their email address. They typically look like a wheel of fortune and depending on the prizes, can have a great conversion rate. Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

Spa product giveaway

7. Package Deals with Local Businesses

Creating package deals with other surrounding businesses ups value for both the consumer and the businesses involved. A gift basket that creates an experience (like a hotel partnering with a restaurant or movie theater to create a date night,) a spa or a getaway experience is in high demand. It creates customer engagement and positive associations with the brand names involved. Brandon Stapper, Nonstop Signs

8. A Noteworthy Informational Product

Put together a report, white paper, video or e-book that has impressive information that your customers will appreciate. You need to put some effort into this so it isn’t too generic. It doesn’t have to be long, but it should have some real research and a groundbreaking approach. Give people just enough information that they’ll be motivated to contact you to get even more. Shawn Porat, Scorely

9. Free Product or Service for Feedback

If you are just starting a company, you should sometimes give your service or product away for free (or discounted if necessary). This gets you an instant client, you get feedback on how to improve, and you can get a testimonial to help grow your practice. Just make sure the client understands the expectations for feedback and testimonial upon success. Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design

Free accessories giveaway

10. Free Accessories with a Purchase

Although people will sign up to an email list hoping they’ll win a free giveaway, most subscribers may never convert because they’re conditioned to want something without having paid for anything. Instead, offer free accessories with each purchase to further incentivize shoppers to place an order. This introduces customers to even more of your products which can increase loyalty and engagement. Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep