Successful promotional campaigns don’t happen by chance. To realize goals, promotional products programs must be carefully planned, taking into consideration the audience, budget and, of course, the desired end result.

When you’re ready to plan your next campaign, here are seven tips to help you plan a program that will meet your objective.

1. Define a specific objective.

Whether the goal is to increase traffic at a tradeshow exhibit or to boost sales with current clients, the first step in any campaign is to clarify the purpose of the program.

2. Determine a workable distribution plan to a targeted audience.

Distribution of a promotional product is as important as the item itself. Research shows that a carefully executed distribution plan significantly increases the effectiveness of promotional products. For example, a pre-show mailing to a select audience delivers more tradeshow traffic and qualified leads than simply distributing items to passersby at the show.

3. Create a central theme.

Linking a recognizable logo and color to all aspects of a campaign, from promotional products to sales sheets to product packaging, helps create an instantly recognizable image.

4. Develop a message to support the theme.

Supporting a campaign’s theme with a message helps to solidify a company’s name, service or product in the target audience’s mind. For instance, to promote its services to small businesses, a bank created the theme “Are you tired of being treated like a small fish?” and sent fish-related products to its prospects along with promotional literature.

5. Select a promotional product that bears a natural relationship to your profession or communications theme.

A good example is a company that developed a magic motif for its conference at Disney World. Attendees received magic-related products to tie in with the theme “Experience the magic at Disney┬«.”

6. Don’t pick an item based solely on uniqueness, price or perceived value.

Don’t fall prey to the latest trends or fads. The most effective promotional products are used in a cohesive, well-planned campaign.

7. Measure.

How will you know your campaign was a success? It could be based on any number of criteria from increased sales leads, number of promotional items distributed, to a gain in market share. Whatever you decide, know in advance how and when you can measure your results.

These seven elements will help you run a successful promotional campaign and help reach your overall objective.