Simple Steps to Making Money With 3D Printed Promotional Products

For this week’s video blog post, let’s talk about a topic that people would love to know more about: how to make money with 3D printing and 3D design.  One natural place to go is to the $20 billion per year promotional products industry.  This industry creates customized products that help support and expand brand recognition. I’m sure you have seen them,  these are the little giveaways you may be given at a conference, or maybe even as a  gift with purchase. Examples include: bottle openers and pens with a brand’s logo. 3D printing has already made it’s way into this industry, and I want to talk to you about some ways that it could be used even more.

You might be wondering how to sell promotional products to a company that has a software-based product?

Here’s an example: We were at a 3D printing conference a while ago and a group of executives from a large software corporation came to our booth because they were intrigued with the 3D printer running on our table. Let’s just say that this is a very large company where you probably use their products every day.  They loved the idea of 3D printing but said that they didn’t have an idea of how they could use it.

Challenge accepted!  We love finding ways to use 3D printing in places where people think that it could not be used.  In this case, these executives managed a suite of software applications that allowed people to write documents online, schedule meetings online, create spreadsheets online, and author presentations online…all in a browser.  Sound maybe familiar?  Since their products were all software based, they did not think that 3D printing would be able to help them brand their product.  

Problem solved! We showed them how a 3D model could visually illustrate how all of their products worked together, and could be used as a prop for a live action video to internally teach their employees.  Many people are more kinesthetic, or physical learners, and having a physical object to center their attention on, helps them retain the concepts more clearly.

If you want to sell promotional products to companies, here are some tips to help you work with a client:

  • Sit down with a client, draw some ideas out on a piece of paper, and come back the next day with prototypes. You can work on any further changes as needed.
  • If a customer only needs a hundred or so items for a conference, then there is no need to order in quantities usually associated with injection molding.  
  • Show them examples of 3D printed items before you place the order to ensure they are ok with the print quality. It’s not the same as injection molding.
  • Consider using a service bureau like 3D Hubs if your client cares about supporting the local economy.
  • Offer to make low volume, special versions that would be considered a MUCH higher value, and that would be meant to give away to high-up decision makers at companies they are trying to win business from.  This is an example of a 3D printed vase from that you could help create for a museum, or someone who really likes antiquities, for example.

Above all, it really comes down to how fast you can service your prospective clients, or really how quickly you can impress them with design options. Imagine yourself having your first meeting with a prospective customer and then once the meeting is over, you go back to your office, find a logo for that customer online, and then create a quick extrusion of their logo with the words “thanks” on the model. Next,  3D print that model and send it to them the very next day!  People will remember that gesture, I guarantee it, and the thing is, it’s really easy to do.  All you need is a $500 printer or access to a 3D printer, a little bit of training, and you’ve done something that very few other companies could do. This will help you stand out from the rest.

Hopefully this has given you some ideas on how you can create promotional products for clients. Thanks for joining us and stay tuned for next week’s tutorial from HoneyPoint3D.


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