6 Proven Promotional Item Ideas (Plus How To Maximize Their Reach)

Women making a graph of how to increase profit using promotional item ideas

What is the purpose of any business? To make sales and turn a profit. Now there are about a million little steps that those goals can be broken down into to guide a business owner and the staff. Your company needs a product or service to sell that meets the needs of consumers or other businesses. You need a marketing strategy to send messages to potential customers, as well as past customers, to keep your brand at the front of their minds. You also need to know how to build your team so that your business can actually run.

Promotional Item Ideas

In terms of increasing your sales, sharing your business name and purpose with the public is the first step. This is known as brand awareness. How many people know about your company and your product in a given market?

Why You Need to Increase Brand Awareness

This concept is necessary for both solopreneurs and large corporations. Even the most established companies in the world run brand awareness campaigns to introduce a new product or reach a new audience. The more brand recognition you generate, the more likely you are to generate leads that result in higher sales.

There are many ways to go about increasing brand exposure. You can run a digital marketing strategy that uses social media platforms, emails, website search engine optimization, and pay-per-click advertising to connect the brand with a broader audience. Plenty of businesses will also invest in direct mail campaigns or massive billboards near highways.

One method to increase your brand awareness, that you may not have consciously considered, is the use of promotional products. Whether or not you have thought about this strategy before, you have certainly been affected by it when other brands have employed this method. Once you are on the lookout, you will start to notice this channel everywhere you look.

How Custom Promotional Products Can Grow Your Business

There are two main aspects of any marketing strategy; a medium and a message. One unique strategy to increase brand awareness is to invest in custom promotional items. These are items that contain your company logo and/or name that people can use every day. In this case, the medium is the item itself and the message is extremely basic; we exist, and here is something that you may find useful.

A promotional item campaign might make sense for your brand for multiple reasons.

Increases Brand Awareness

When your loyal customers, employees, or random individuals use these promotional products, it can potentially expose the brand to more people who see the item and may wonder what the associated business is all about. This is a crucial step in generating more customers and raising your sales numbers.

Budget-Friendly Marketing

Depending on the size of your company, you may not have the resources to invest in endless online campaigns and other strategies for marketing. Custom promotional products might give you a better bang for your buck. Bulk order some items that will increase exposure. This is a one-time purchase that you can make. However, if you have chosen a high-quality item that people will want to use, the business could see new impressions every time someone wears or uses it in public.

Improves Public Perception

Trust is earned when it comes to convincing potential customers that you can provide what they need. Having promotional items visible in public spaces can go a long way toward building public trust in your brand. It shows the people that you have a growing presence in the local community. Also, the more people notice the brand, the more they will start to recognize it as a mainstay.

Leverages Excited Customers and Employees

People are the most important resource for any business. Without them, you cannot run your operations and there is no one to buy the product. Giving away promotional products to your loyal customers and hard-working employees will equip them to be brand ambassadors. If they use the promo items around their friends, family, or in public, that means more impressions for the company.

Demonstrates that You Value People

Giving someone a gift is a great way to show them that you appreciate them. Whether you are providing that gift to previous customers, devoted team members, or a random member of the public, you are telling them that they hold value and deserve a free gift every once in a while. Plus, this gift is something that they can use and will bring value to their day.

Best Promotional Items for Your Business

The types of promotional item ideas that you invest in should depend heavily on the industry that you are in. If your target audience would have no interest in a coffee mug, then it probably won’t be a very useful item. Here are a few of the best promotional item ideas that can increase brand awareness and build brand recognition.

Custom Clothing with the Company Logo Front and Center

Nothing is more noticeable on a person than their clothing. If they are wearing bright colors, an interesting outfit, or a unique shirt, they are bound to attract attention from others. You can take advantage of this by giving away t-shirts, hats, pants, sweatshirts, or other clothing items that contain your brand logo. You never know what kinds of conversations will start with someone wearing your shirt. Just the presence of the logo alone in a public arena can build brand recognition and cause people to become familiar with your business.

Branded Office Supplies

Everyone needs office supplies, either for school, work, or everyday life. There are plenty of promo items that fall within this category, including promotional pens, branded notebooks, sticky notes, coffee mugs, and more. Many of these promotional items are low-cost, which means you can order in bulk and use them for endless giveaways or prizes as you save money. Maybe a potential customer notices one of your custom pens on the desk of their co-worker that contains your business logo and is curious about the company as a result. There are many different type of pens you can select from.

Health and Wellness Products

Investing in well-being is a popular topic in general, but especially in the business world in the last few years. You could demonstrate that you care for your employees by gifting them stress balls, ultra-soft pillows, reusable water bottles, recycled plastic water bottles, lip balm, reusable face masks, hand sanitizer, or even a first aid kit that people can use on the go. Tote bags are unique promotional items that can perform many functions for users and can leave a lasting impression on the recipient or those who notice the bag in public. Any of these promo products could be seen and cause your company to stick in potential customers’ minds. Plus, these items can be both eco-friendly and budget-friendly.

Fun Gadgets

When in doubt, fun little gadgets can get people very excited. Slap your custom logo on a phone stand, wireless speaker, or branded headphones to make life more convenient and spread awareness of your brand to new customers. You could even give away a piggy bank to some of your employees who have children that they want to teach fiscal responsibility to. Little gestures like this could turn your brand into a hugely popular business with a great reputation.

Eco-Friendly Giveaways

Many consumers are interested in ways to reduce their effects on the environment. If you can provide them with eco-friendly gifts that allow them to live out this desire, then you could create a very loyal customer. Plus, if you set an example of caring for the environment, other businesses may follow suit. Some ideas for these promotional items include recycled material office supplies, reusable grocery bags, and small solar lights for the outdoors.

Sport-Themed Items

If you have a popular sports team in your service area, then you could generate additional interest in your brand with some sport-themed giveaways. Slap your logo on some foam fingers, koozies, seat cushions for bleachers, stadium cups, or rally towels. The bigger the presence you have at that particular sporting event with promotional items, the more people may consider buying from your business.

How to Share Promotional Items

As mentioned earlier, you need to consider your target audience when deciding what promotional products to buy. Next, you need to figure out ways to spread these items out to reach a broad range of potential customers.

Trade Shows

Trade shows are great for distributing your promotional products to others in your industry. Anyone who visits your booth could enter a contest to win a great prize, or you could bring some office supplies for great promotional giveaways. Each item that you give out increases brand exposure and displays your company’s logo to more people.

Local Events

Many businesses depend heavily on the local community for success. If this describes your company, then you need to become involved with local events. Parades, charity races, food drives, festivals, and everything in between can provide an avenue for giving away cheap promotional items to large audiences. Everything from phone stands to hot drinks in a branded plastic cup could generate an additional lead.

Employee Gifts

Showing your team members that you value them is a crucial aspect of running a successful business. After all, your business would fail without them. Coming up with gifts for your employees can serve two purposes; rewarding them for their contributions and potentially exposing your brand to others with whom they interact.

Promo items can also be a part of your onboarding process. Welcoming new employees or even interns to the team with a high-value bundle of fun promotional giveaways can show that you are glad to have them joining the crew.

Selling Them Yourself

Promotional products don’t have to be given away for free. You can also offer to sell them. Build a new landing page on your website that is dedicated to selling branded merchandise that promotes your company to the public. Bring some more expensive items to an event and reduce the usual price for people who visit your booth or brand stand. If you have a physical storefront, have a small section of the room where people can view and buy various promotional items. People love to support the businesses they care about and buying swag gives them an extra opportunity to do so.

Crafting the Best Promotional Strategy

Whether you are a small business or a large corporation, no marketing campaign should be executed without a well-planned strategy in place. Otherwise, your efforts become aimless and may end up being a waste of company resources. To save time, money, and labor on the best promotional campaign, use these tips when creating a strategy to guide your efforts.

Niche Down

The niche that your company occupies should play an important role in your promotional planning. What is your product or service and how does it benefit potential customers? When you are trying to raise awareness and connect with audiences, you need to keep your overall business purpose in mind. The best promotional strategy aligns with your particular niche. Otherwise, people might see you as disingenuous.

Know Your Target Market

The ideal customer for your product behaves a certain way. They enjoy certain types of restaurants, have a rhythm to their weekends, and make a certain amount of money. Understanding the lifestyles of your target customers is a critical component of running any marketing campaign, and this includes promotional items. Would promotional tote bags be helpful to these people or just another useless item? What items would interest them in a way that your company logo would be displayed to others because they plan to use them?

If necessary, conduct additional research into your target market to determine what their needs are. Then think of a promotional item that can meet that need.

Quality Vs Quantity

Companies with a lot of resources can afford to order bucketloads of promotional items, but not everyone has that luxury. You may need to be more strategic about the quality of products that you buy to distribute. When you are facing this conundrum, always air on the side of quality rather than quantity. It doesn’t matter how many boring pens you have handed out if no one is ever going to use them and bring more attention to your brand. Invest in a few quality promotional products that you know will see a lot of use rather than a ton of cheap items that may never see the light of day once they change hands.

Measure Results

When you run any kind of marketing campaign, you have to have a way to measure results. Otherwise, how can you learn from the initiative about what works? The same is true for a promotional item campaign. Try to collect detailed information about how these items affect your numbers. Did you start to see more people coming into the store on a daily basis? Did your referral program suddenly increase its intake? Is your website seeing more clicks than usual in the absence of any additional online advertising? These could all be signs that your promotional item strategy is working.

Include Promotional Item Ideas in Your Marketing Plan

Promotional giveaways should not be the only kind of marketing effort that you are running. However, they can be effectively combined with other initiatives to beef up their effect on potential growth.

Social Media

When you have ordered the items and want to start some promotional giveaways, you need to get the word out somehow. Social media platforms can be a huge resource to use to inform audiences about your promotional item availability. Share a link to a new product page on your website that allows consumers to purchase them. Or, run a social media contest where people can enter for a chance to win a particularly cool promotional item.

Print advertising is a broad category and can include many channels like billboards, flyers, signs, brochures, banners, and more. You can use these media to effectively deliver the news about your giveaways and grab the attention of passersby. If you are hosting a booth at a local event, an enticing sign with an eye-catching design and copy about your offer can lead to more items being distributed. Flyers could be handed out to announce your presence at an upcoming festival where people can win a free t-shirt with your brand logo. The possibilities are there if you can find a way to incorporate multiple channels with your promotional item campaign.

Email Marketing

Emails still play a significant role in the advertising world. You could run an email campaign where the first 50 people to complete an online order will receive free water bottles. Or, offer koozies that keep drinks cold or a microfiber pouch to the next 25 individuals who subscribe to receive your promotional emails. If you can use giveaways to entice people to learn more about your business or take an action that will pay dividends down the road, then you are getting more mileage out of ordering them.

Public Relations

Good PR can make a business succeed while bad PR can just as easily destroy a brand. How the public perceives you will play a huge role in whether you can continue to grow. You can combine PR and promotional giveaways by entering a corporate team into a local charity race. Every member of your team can wear the same branded jersey and then sell those same clothing items from a booth after the race. People will see that you support local organizations and will consider wanting to support your business in turn. What better way to do that than stopping by your booth and purchasing one of the t-shirts they saw?

Will Promotional Item Marketing Work For Your Brand?

This method may not be considered a top-notch marketing strategy, but there is certainly a place for it, whether you own a small business or run a large corporation. Some of the most well-known brands in the world have run effective giveaway campaigns that boosted awareness and recognition of their products or services. But small businesses have also found ways to make this marketing method work for them.

The key is to plan ahead. Your first step should not be to start designing and ordering these items right away. Take the time to come up with a winning strategy. Research your target audience, find out where you can strategically give away the items, and execute a promotional product campaign to build brand awareness and generate growth for your company.

Hopefully, you will find this article helpful as you search for new ways to promote your business and generate awareness for the brand at a higher rate. Though this strategy may not work for everyone, it can certainly be effective in the right niche and with the right strategy in place. If you’re not sure what your customer base would like, that’s okay because our team of customer service agents are the best in the business, and they can help. Simply give us a call at 1 (866) 277-RUSH (7874) or click on the chat bubble to start a live chat.