8 Ways to Effectively Incorporate Promotional Products Into Your Marketing Strategy

  • Feb 8, 2021

You’re likely to have encountered dozens of promotional products throughout your life. Perhaps you have a favorite ballpoint pen that features a company’s name and logo, or a frequently-used coffee mug in your kitchen cupboard that promotes another business. Promotional products are defined as any item that a business gives to promote itself. And while you’ve probably seen your fair share of promotional products, you may question how beneficial or effective they are for your bottom line.

The strategy of using promotional products is not a new one. The first recorded instance of these products is the commemorative buttons that George Washington gave to supporters leading up to the first United States presidential election in 1789. Since then, promotional products have flourished as a marketing strategy for businesses. But you may wonder whether nowadays, in such a technologically-focused world, promotional products are as effective as they used to be.

Promotional Products: Are They Effective?

Consider the average online advertisement. Do you really look at it and read its message, or do you do your best to ignore it completely? Most consumers have learned to essentially “tune out” traditional advertising such as commercials, and pop-up ads on the Internet are seen as an annoyance and a distraction. Promotional products, on the other hand, are typically perceived as useful gifts and are happily received by employees and customers alike.

Studies show that the average promotional product is used for about eight months. That’s a much longer lifespan than nearly any other type of advertising! It has been found that 90% of promotional product recipients remember the name of the company on the product, and a single promotional item receives an average of nearly 350 impressions each month. Now, that’s effective marketing!

However, not every type of promotional product will deliver amazing results. There are several factors to keep in mind when incorporating promotional products into your marketing strategy. Read on for our top tips on successfully advertising your business using promotional products!


8 Tips for Promotional Product Success


1. Choose your promotional product carefully.

The seven most popular types of promotional products include drinkware, t-shirts, tote bags, power banks, USB drives, apparel, desk accessories, and headwear. While these options are a great place to start, you’ll want to narrow down your choice based on your audience, goals, and budget. You’ll also want to ensure that the product you choose is related to the type of business you’re promoting.


2. Don’t forget about your employees.

Starting by distributing promotional products in-house is highly effective. Employees can become walking billboards for your company! Perhaps you provide every new hire with a swag bag containing a company t-shirt, branded pens, and a coffee mug. Or maybe the Employee of the Month is rewarded with a more high-end promotional product. Providing these products to your employees increases their satisfaction with the workplace and turns them into brand advocates.


3. Identify opportunities to give away promotional products.

There is a huge variety of potential events that you can use as opportunities to provide potential customers with promotional products. First, many businesses have dived into e-commerce and have an online marketplace or storefront. Promotional products can be sold online, which offsets their cost. Of course, trade shows and conferences are a wonderful opportunity to give away products and promote your business. Any event is improved by a piece of high-quality memorabilia adorned with your company’s name and logo. Giveaways, employee gifts, and corporate gifts are also ways that you can provide people with your promotional products. 


4. Ensure that your message gets through. 

Oftentimes, promotional products feature a simple company name or logo. But in some situations, it may be appropriate to add your business’s phone number, address, or even a slogan or tagline. Be sure to consider the impression your message gives to the recipients of the product. You want it to tell potential customers what your business is and what you’re offering, while also expressing what your company is like and what can be expected from it. It’s a wise idea to hire a copywriter who can put your ideas into the correct words.




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5. Calculate your expected return on investment. 

Considering your ROI is an important part of integrating promotional products into your marketing strategy. Many businesses make the mistake of purchasing products with the lowest price, rather than investing in products that will last longer and therefore create more profit long-term. 


Take this example of two different pens. One costs just 50 cents per unit, but it’s made of cheap materials and only holds .2 milliliters of ink. The other costs 75 cents per unit, is made of nicer materials and holds .5 milliliters of ink. While the first pen costs less, the second pen holds more than twice as much ink, so the pen’s recipient will continue to use it and see your company name and logo for a longer period of time, increasing the chances they will do business with you. Thus, the second pen is actually the smarter choice when considering ROI. 


6. Set goals and measure your results.

Of course, it’s hard to know if your promotional products have yielded the results you’re looking for if you don’t keep track of them. It’s very important to set specific goals if you want to see results. Then, after giving out promotional products, look at the numbers and see if there are any clear results. You may want to look at conversion rates for new customers, new leads, brand awareness, and social media success to gauge the results of your promotional products. You may also find that some types of products are more effective for your business than others, which allows you to adapt your promotional product strategy going forward.


7. Employ a variety of promotional products.

Rather than simply choosing one promotional product and buying thousands upon thousands of that one item, you’ll want to have a rather diverse set of products that you can aim at different groups of consumers. For instance, you could have different products aimed at potential customers, first-time customers, long-term clients, and former clients you’d like to win back. One helpful strategy is to actually allow your clients to choose the product they’d like to receive. This increases positive feelings toward your business and makes the customer more likely to come back!


8. Integrate social media into your promotional product strategy. 

The power of social media isn’t lost on anyone in today’s world. So what better way to amplify the positive effects of your promotional products than by integrating social media? A giveaway or contest is one easy way to get people talking about your company while also giving out promotional products. Giveaways typically require social media users to follow, like, and share your page in order to be entered into a drawing to win prized promotional products.


The Bottom Line

Promotional products have been used for centuries as a method of advertising companies to current and potential customers. These promotional products are just as powerful today as they have been in the past, as long as you follow the guidelines above to ensure their effectiveness! Be sure to choose your products and curate your message carefully, set clear goals and measure your results, and integrate social media for maximum influence on the market.