How to Sell Promotional Products: Get Started Guide

Guide to getting started with selling promo products
Scott Kalapos on Aug 7, 2023

You'll find promo products in almost every industry: from pens available at a tech trade show booth to fancy t-shirts and hoodies hanging on the wall of an ice cream shop, more and more customers expect to be able to represent their favorite brands. Selling promotional products is a win-win situation for everyone: you satisfy your clients by providing them with something special, and you get more sales at the same time.

But how do you get started selling promotional items in your physical store or online shop? Let's go over the steps necessary to add even more value to your business by letting customers and employees wear your brand.

Create a coherent and unique personality for your company.

This might seem out of place, but you simply cannot start selling promotional products if you don't actually know what you stand for.

Are you a laid-back business or a cold-calling monster that is ruthless about getting sales? This can all determine what kinds of things you sell and what the marketing for those products looks like.

Consider your industry and customer base to determine what to sell.

In addition to thinking about your company's image, you also need to think about what your customers like. For example, if you provide beauty services, your clients would probably love some high-quality sleep masks. On the other hand, if you're a law firm, t-shirts might not be the best choice; maybe go for pens instead.

Research what other companies are doing with their merchandise.

Research other promotional products before you start selling

Now it's time to scope out the competition and see what they're doing, as this will help you decide what to focus on for your own promotional products business.

Like any other market research, you'll have the most success if you create a list of all the different items from other companies selling promotional products, then consider their marketing strategy and what they might be making in sales overall.

Build good relationships with great suppliers.

The promotional products industry is crowded; with so many suppliers out there, you need to be careful with whom you work. As in any other sector, not every business in the promo industry has the best interests of its customers in mind, so you need to do your due diligence.

Take a look at all of their websites and pay close attention to any reviews, particularly ones for promotional products that you're interested in selling too. You should also ask if they have any advertising specialties, as this can impact the quality of their work for your given industry.

Check out minimum quantities for purchase orders, as well as end quantity pricing, as this can help you determine whether it's economically feasible to work with this company.

If you're confused about any aspect of the printing process, pay attention to whether they're willing to explain it to you or if they dismiss your concerns. This can tell you a lot about how they will deal with issues if there's a problem with your order.

Invest in professional artistic services to make your promo products more desirable.

Use good art to sell promotional products and edge out the competition

Many businesses think that it's enough to just slap their logo on some hats or pens and be done with it, but this could really cost you: you might find yourself with boxes of unsold merchandise that simply gather dust year after year.

For true success in the selling promotional products industry, invest in an actual artist. Don't use AI art, because it can cause legal headaches and turn off future clients.

Build goodwill by hiring a designer to create your promo designs; if you have a more local customer base, consider using it in your market rather than looking further afield. Be sure to promote them on your website too!

Provide quality vectors of your logo and designs to your vendors.

The promotional products printer can only do a great job if they have a great version of its client's logo, so you need to optimize any designs for the correct print size.

In this case, it is almost always better to go bigger rather than smaller, as you don't want a pixelated mess emblazoned on a coffee mug or notebook. Ask your distributors what they prefer in terms of size and format so that every purchase looks perfect.

Develop price points that are in the midrange for your market.

All markets are a little different: a decent price for a smoothie joint in California isn't going to fly in a Maine diner.

Special pricing from your promotional product supplier can help keep prices low, which can help improve your sales, but be sure that you don't make your items too cheap: a lot of customers associate very low prices with low quality, and they may universalize this to your other services too.

Optimize your online shop to be convenient and easy to navigate.

At last, it's time to start selling! You should take as much care with the promotional products section of your site or storefront as you do with the rest of your business, which means thinking like a customer and organizing things in ways that make sense.

Make sure that you have a way to keep track of orders: nothing spells bad news quite like having to refund a client's order because you ran out right before they clicked "buy now."

You should start selling just a few product categories at first, then scale up. Businesses that expand too fast often fail, and this is also true when they jump into selling a ton of different promo products all at once.

Generate more sales by offering giveaways of old promo items at select times of the year.

To unlock the true power of the promotional product, you need to cultivate an image of exclusivity, which means keeping inventory fresh and getting rid of those products that aren't selling well.

Every customer loves getting something for free, so consider purging smaller items by offering them as a freebie with each sale. This is a great way to build goodwill with clients, promote special sales, and attain even greater success with your promo strategy.

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