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

So why haven’t you taken the plunge? Not sure which products will benefit you the most or how to use them?

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You can put your logo or message on just about anything these days but some promotional products have a better track record than others. Knowing the facts will help you get the items that fit your needs and accomplish your goals.

Which promotional products are most effective?

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The most effective promotional products are the ones people want. If they like them, they keep them longer and you gain more exposure. It’s really that simple.

The 2019 Consumer Study by Promotional Products Association International recently named these top five faves:

#1. Wearables (29%): Personalized T-shirts and caps are top-of-the-list favorites. Other popular clothing items include customized sweatshirts, golf shirts, jackets and socks.

#2. Health and beauty items (17%): Custom lip balm and hand sanitizer are leaders in this category. Coming in right behind them are cosmetic bags, yoga mats and sport bottles.

#3. Technology (14%): Lots of great products top this fast-growing list. You’ll get plenty of exposure with customized earbuds, phone stands, portable chargers and phone wallets.

#4. Food and beverage items (9%): Custom cups and can coolers are affordable and offer low minimums for small businesses and low-budget events. Branded candies such as suckers and chocolate pieces continue to be a hit. A related trend is custom goodie bags for special events, coffee shops and boutiques.

#5. Travel products (7%): It’s no surprise that travel accessories made the list of hot items. Busy lifestyles demand mobile products such as customized travel mugs and tumblers, travel totes and bags, toiletry bags, luggage tags and umbrellas with logos.

How to select and customize your promotional products

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Here are a few valuable tips for selecting and designing 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 products effectively

expo booth with promotional products

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:

Direct business branding opportunities

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. These are great opportunities for using promotional products:

  • Landmark anniversary celebrations
  • Advertise new items or services
  • Trade show giveaways
  • Employee rewards
  • Customer loyalty gifts

How to boost local exposure

  • Sporting events: Hand out koozies, 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 bags or hand sanitizer to those who stop by. Your company will be remembered for its generosity and thoughtfulness.
  • Health expos: Pair 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 pens, phone wallets and 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 bottles. Drawstring 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 custom cups or 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.

Customer success stories

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Businesses, schools, nonprofits and other organizations continue to share their success stories with us. Perhaps these will inspire you:

MANCAN Wine, based in Cleveland, was founded in 2015 as the first canned wine company in the U.S. From the start they wanted to set themselves apart and make sure customers remembered them in a positive way. They began giving customers a free, personalized koozie (can cooler) with every purchase. It was their way of saying thank-you. Their delicious wine-in-a-can soon led to their current success as a national brand and those koozies helped pave the way.

Auglaize Mercer Business Education (AMBE) Alliance is a private organization that works with schools and students in two Ohio counties to raise awareness of career opportunities in the local area. AMBE Alliance officials use our customized lanyards for many events such as their Talent Connection Forum, which brings together businesses and students for open discussions. AMBE Alliance leaders also order custom banners and table covers from Totally Promotional to educate their audience and gain exposure.

Click here to learn how other companies and groups use promotional products.

Promotional products facts

  • Nearly 10 out of 10 people say they will go out of their way to get a promotional product.
  • 8 of 10 people say they like receiving promotional products.
  • 79% of people pass along promotional products that are no longer of value to them.
  • The average U.S. household owns 30 promotional products.
  • The cost per impression is as low as 1/10 of one cent, making promotional products one of the lowest advertising mediums.
  • Outerwear generates the most impressions (6,100) during its lifetime. Next is T-shirts and hats (3,400), bags (3,300) and pens (3,000).
  • Consumers are nearly 2.5 times more likely to have a positive opinion of promotional products than online advertising.
  • Consumers, on average, keep promotional products for about one year.

— Data provided by Promotional Products Association International and ASI Central


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