Choosing the Perfect Promotional Item

Promotional items can potentially be a great marketing opportunity for your business, but finding the perfect promotional item can feel overwhelming. After all, there are literally hundreds of options out there, so how do you find the one product that will fit your budget and appeal to your target audience? Here are seven of our top tips for perfect the perfect promotional item that balances quality, price, shipping speed, and more:

Identify your target audience

The first steps in deciding on the perfect promotional item are choosing a target audience that you are trying to appeal to, as well as determining what marketing goal you are trying to accomplish. Are you trying to raise brand awareness among people who have never heard of your company or are you trying to nudge current fans into making another purchase? If you have many different audiences that you are trying to appeal to and goals that you are trying to meet, then it might make more sense to do several smaller, targeted giveaways than try to choose one generic promo item that will hopefully appeal to all of them.

Identify your target audience

Decide how you will give it away

The context that you plan to distribute your promotional items in is very important as well. You might be mailing them to remote employees, handing them out at a holiday party, giving them to booth visitors at a conference, or using them as a prize for a contest. Promo items that work well for an end-of-year holiday party, such as cocktail kits, may not be appropriate for a business conference — custom Bic pens might be a better fit in that case. Keep the event top of mind when shopping for promo items so that you choose something well-suited to the occasion.

Figure out how many items you need

Most promo items have a certain minimum order quantity, which can range from as little as one single item to over 100 units for bulk products. Therefore, it is very important for you to determine how many items that you need before you make your final selection. If you’re looking at a travel tool kit that has a minimum order quantity of 50, but you only need 25 units, then you probably need to consider a different item with a lower order minimum. It’s a good idea to order a couple of extra items so that you have a small cushion in case you calculated wrong or one arrives damaged, but you don’t need to go overboard in the quantity.

Figure out how many items you need

Set your overall budget

Related to the order quantity is your overall budget, which is a big factor in narrowing down what promo item to buy. You can divide the total amount of money by the number of items that you need to get a rough idea of how much you can spend per item (just remember to deduct shipping and taxes first!). Keep in mind that many promotional item vendors offer bulk discounts; so, the more you buy, the more the price per unit will drop. Other factors may increase the per-item cost, such as opting for a full-color print on branded hand sanitizer bottles instead of a single-color screen print. All of these decisions should be factored into your cost analysis so you don’t go over your marketing budget.

Solve your shipping logistics

How quickly you need your items to arrive will also play a role in what promo items you can order. If you have plenty of lead time, you’ll be able to choose basically whatever you want. However, if you need rush production and shipping, you’ll have a much smaller selection to pick from. You also need to decide if you want the items shipped in bulk to your company, and then you will take care of distributing them yourself, or if you want the promo company to drop-ship them to different destinations for you. Not every vendor offers drop-shipping capabilities. If you need those, then prioritize them during your search.

Solve your shipping logistics

Consider the season and location

Some people plan to give out their branded items throughout the year or to send them all over the country (or even the world). In these scenarios, you will want to choose items that have broad appeal, such as food promo items, so they will be suitable for a wide variety of scenarios. However, if you are planning to use your promo items in a more targeted way, then it’s wise to choose items that will be relevant to the season and/or location. For instance, clear drawstring bags are the perfect giveaway at a sporting event, while custom beach towels are ideal for a summer promotion.

Prioritize quality and usability

You don’t want to blow your promotional item on cheap but useless items that recipients will immediately put in the trash. Ideally, your gift should solve a common customer problem and be able to be used multiple times without taking up a lot of space. You can also opt for an item that is memorable and unusual, such as a custom executive game, that will make your giveaways stand out from the crowd. Above all, you should look for high-quality products that will stand up to a lot of use so that your custom promotional items can continue to raise brand awareness for months and years to come.

What are the other criteria that you use to choose promotional items for your business? What are some of your favorite or most memorable promotional items that you have personally received? Let us know in the comments below!

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