When you find a branding strategy that works, you stick with it. Custom promotional products have been used successfully by businesses for more than 200 years.

Promotional products are proven tools for branding, building a customer base and creating positive public relations.

Some of the most prosperous companies in the world rely on promotional items to empower their brand. World Wrestling Entertainment, a global entertainment company, proudly places its WWE logo on promotional products.

“We know how important it is to brand things with our logo,” explained Ian Garrison, the senior director of product development at WWE, which is famous for hosting professional wrestling events.

Approximately 70 percent of brands consider promotional items “highly effective” for achieving marketing goals. Shouldn’t you?

Do promotional products really work?

promotional products collage

Promotional products are a proven branding solution in good economic times and bad. Items such as car magnets can expose your name and logo daily!

Here are a few fantastic reasons why smart companies rely on promotional products:

Promotional items boost brand awareness

Making potential customers aware of your brand is the ultimate goal of every company and campaign. A whopping 85 percent of promotional product recipients remember the advertiser.

The term that explains the science behind brand awareness is “Mere Exposure Effect.” It means the more frequently people are exposed to something, the more they like it. Basically, our brains are less apprehensive toward things we’ve seen before such as a company logo.

When your logo is placed on a customizable hat or ceramic mug and exposed to hundreds of people over the course of a few months or more, it becomes familiar. This repeated exposure to custom giveaways leaves a positive impression on your business.

Custom items give a healthy return on investment

custom promotional drinkware on a table

One of the quick answers to the success of promotional products is proven ROI. Companies can invest modestly and reap big rewards with items such as personalized apparel and trade show giveaways.

Ads on TV, radio and in newsprint can’t come close to the high-profit margins earned with promotional products.

For the best ROI, choose promotional products that are appealing to your targeted audience. High-quality, practical items that offer real value to a consumer will bring the most success.

Promotional products are budget-friendly

Man and woman outside wearing custom T-shirts

Affordability is hands-down the biggest reason for the ongoing success of promotional products. Low-cost swag is an economical and cost-effective investment for startups and small businesses.

The average cost of a custom giveaway is less than $1. An order of 500 stress balls with your name and logo can cost less than $500. Compare that to TV advertising, which currently runs about $105,000 for a 30-second commercial spot.

Some of Totally Promotional’s most popular items — customized can coolers, promotional cups, pens and bulk lip balm — are much less than $1 each when purchased in bulk. Many of these products also include free delivery and setup.

The cost per impression for promotional products can be as low as 1/10 of a cent, according to ASI Central. For example, a customized pen that costs $1 and generates 3,000 views/impressions over its lifetime, will have a CPI of less than 1/10 of a cent. That is cheaper than nearly every other form of advertising available today.

Custom items create direct engagement

Companies make an immediate connection with customers by placing a branded water bottle or promotional T-shirt in their hands. You can’t accomplish that with a billboard!

When you give away customized products in your office lobby or at a community event, you directly project thoughtfulness. That’s a good look for any business!

The facts speak for themselves: 83 percent of people are more likely to do business with a brand that gave them a free promotional product. If they need your products or services in the future, you can bet they’ll be back.

Everyone enjoys free stuff

assortment of custom promotional products

Consumers rarely pass up an opportunity to nab free giveaways, especially ones they can really use such as promotional fanny packs, keychains with logos and first aid kits. These will please just about anyone of any age.

Here are the most influential promo items for each age group in order of product popularity:

The effect promotional giveaways have on people is based on psychology. Recipients get a certain amount of satisfaction and a feeling of accomplishment when they receive something free. Giveaways come without expectations or risks, unlike items purchased.

The biggest benefit to you is exposure of your brand. But don’t overlook the value of reciprocity. A person who receives a freebie often feels obligated to return the favor by shopping with you in the future.

Promo items have a long life expectancy

Customized tote bag with blue sunglasses

Studies show that 81 percent of people keep promotional products for more than a year; 40 percent keep them for more than 10 years! Often these items are passed down to others, which further increases their life expectancy.

Now imagine how many impressions a printed plastic water bottle or custom golf balls can make in five or 10 years. Your name and logo will get exposed to countless people everywhere these items are taken.

The selection of promo items keeps growing

customized novelty pen beside a notebook

The variety of promotional products in the U.S. was minimal back in the 1700s. It all started with good ‘ole George Washington. The commemorative buttons printed for his election in 1789 kicked off an industry that today boasts more than $23 billion annually.

Promotional buttons led to customized bookmarks, calendars, bulk bags and logo keychains. As technology advanced, print companies found ways to place messages, names and all types of designs on just about everything!

Some of the most popular custom-printed products today at Totally Promotional are custom tumblers, printed T-shirts, promotional tote bags, can coolers and Koozies®.

Across the globe, there are literally thousands of different types and styles of promotional items. From beer glasses to customized portable chargers, there is a promotional product out there for every marketing plan.

How to select and design promotional products

woman holding a custom keychain

Here are a few valuable tips for selecting and customizing your promotional items:

  • Choose promotional giveaway products that are related to your business or enhance your brand. A hospital might select heart-shaped stress balls. A door manufacturer could distribute custom keychains.
  • New companies, especially e-commerce businesses, should add contact information to the logo they place on their promotional products. Web, email and postal addresses, and phone numbers can be printed with your logo to help customers find you.
  • Don’t deviate from your logo. Use the business or organization logo, design and colors people recognize as “you.” The job of promotional products is to familiarize customers and potential clients with your brand. Consistency is key.
  • For additional advice and in-depth answers for specific promotional products, browse our FAQs.

How to use promotional items effectively

customized hand sanitizer

So you ordered the items and they look awesome! But how will you use them? Our customers use promotional products in more ways than even we could imagine! We use their feedback and our own 30+ years of experience to inspire customers like you. Here’s some inspiration:

Initiate direct business branding

Handing promotional products directly to a prospective customer makes a very positive impact on the recipient. Branding yourself in this manner is much more effective than other forms of advertising. Here are a few effective, direct marketing ideas for using promotional products:

  • Landmark anniversary celebrations
  • Advertise new items or services
  • Trade show giveaways
  • Employee rewards and incentives
  • Customer loyalty gifts
  • Creating new customers
  • New product introductions

Boost local brand exposure

  • Sporting events: Hand out sports stress balls and other fun items during half-time or other breaks in the action to associate your business with their favorite team.
  • Parades: Sponsor a parade entry and distribute customized products along the route. It’s a great way to show your involvement and support in the community.
  • County fairs: Man a commercial vendor booth and give personalized printed bags or hand sanitizer to those who stop by. Your company will be remembered for its generosity and thoughtfulness.
  • Health expos: Pair bulk lip balm and other health-related promotional items with educational flyers for attendees. Customize these items with health tips or contact information as a community service effort.
  • Career nights: Fill a basket with penscustom adhesive phone wallets and promotional sunglasses to ensure prospective employees remember you. This boosts your reputation as a local employer and can increase your employee candidate pool.
  • 5K run/walks: Sponsor the event and award winners with personalized water bottlesDrawstring bags are great gifts for participants who register early. Both items typically are kept for more than a year, giving you long-term name exposure.
  • Festivals: Offer to donate or discount slim koozies to sell at festivals as a fundraiser for civic organizations. Your actions can fuel strong public relations, and lead to increased profits and customer loyalty.

Custom products keep working for you

All types of businesses and organizations tap into custom promo products because more than half of the recipients will keep them.

Eight out of 10 consumers own at least one promotional product and will hang onto it for about two years.

A potential customer will see your logo every time they use the customized cup or magnetic clip you gave them. Also, studies show that 88 percent of people remember a name or message on a personalized product they received.

Shop promotional products and ensure your future success!

toast all your summer parties with custom can coolers

Shelley Grieshop is a former newspaper journalist who earned more than a dozen Associated Press awards for her in-depth research and writing skills. In May 2016, she joined Totally Promotional as a creative writer. She currently writes company blogs about branding, marketing, logos, wedding planning and much more. One of her life goals is to teach people when to use hyphens and apostrophes.

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