When I worked in retail, one of the biggest rules of helping customers was “put the item in their hands.” Instead of just pointing it out, we had to grab whatever it was off the shelf and hand it to the customer. If the customer hesitated we were instructed to just be patient and keep smiling until the customer took the item from us. This wasn’t to keep us from being lazy and saying “yeah, that’s on aisle 8” and waving distractedly behind us. We did this because it increased our sales. Why?

Because customers are more likely to buy something they are already holding.

ID-100150965Think about it: most of us were raised to not touch anything we didn’t plan on taking home, right? Our parents taught us this so that we wouldn’t destroy the stores we were permitted inside as kids. Ergo: touching/holding = sales.

This philosophy/universal habit isn’t just true in a retail environment. It’s true in all areas of business.

Think about it: you had a really great conversation with someone at a networking event last week. What was that person’s name? Raise your hand if your first instinct wasn’t to picture or reach for the business card that the person gave you!

To use a more marketing centric example: studies have proven that companies that send out small logo’d items experience a better ROI than those who simply cold call or send out direct mail letters.

The lesson here is twofold:

1. Make sure you give people some sort of physical memento by which to remember you.

2. That memento needn’t be expensive!

Here are the most popular types of “Marketing Mementos” that you can give to people when you want them to remember you and your business.

Paper Based Materials

These include the standard business cards, fliers, brochures, notepads, calendars, etc.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a bunch of these things printed up. It is easier than ever to find cheap brochure printing.

Make sure that whatever you print has your logo, your website and your contact information. If there is room, you can even increase your chances for making sales by printing a discount code on them somewhere (make sure you give that code an expiration date).


Adults love buttons just as much as kids do. Many adults actively collect buttons at the different events they attend. Pin trading, for example, is huge at pop culture and geek conventions (and at Disney!). Many vendors will create two sets of buttons (pins): a simple promotional pin to give away in massive quantities and a special button meant just for pin trading. Some will even stick their buttons to business cards just to “up” their marketing “ante.”

Many entrepreneurs and vendors will stick to the tiniest half inch buttons because those are the cheapest to print. This is certainly an option. If you want to reduce the chances of your button being lost, though, you’ll go with a larger size. An inch wide button, for example, isn’t huge but it’s less likely to live at the bottom of a bag forever.


Like buttons, magnets are incredibly popular. In this case, though, their appeal isn’t quite as mysterious. Magnets are functional as well as great for marketing purposes. People will toss them up on their refrigerators or magnetic boards and then actually use them. Make sure your magnet has all of the same basic information your fliers and business cards have.

There are lots of freebies that you can choose when you want to “put something in someone’s hand.” Remember though: marketing is about serving your customer so choose the thing that will best serve them.

This is a post by Sara Stringer

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