What Are Promotional Products, and Why Are They an Effective Marketing Strategy?

Build Awareness Effectively with Promotional Products
Scott Kalapos on Jun 20, 2023

What is the most effective marketing strategy for your business? Depending on your particular industry, this answer could vary wildly between companies. Some may thrive by focusing on social media posts and ad campaigns that can be shared on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or TikTok. Others may be able to boost their sales via email campaigns. Some companies can also build their audience effectively with direct mail marketing or television advertising. It all depends on your target audience.

Reaching potential customers from your ideal population is critical to business success. If you are not able to nail down the niche you fit into, it will be difficult to cast your messaging nets in the right direction to capture as many customers as possible. For this reason, you need to know what marketing channels will connect you with the right people so that you can inform them about your product or services.

What Are Promotional Products, and Why are They an Effective Marketing Strategy?

Promotional Products for Building Brand Awareness

One marketing channel that could be a game-changer for your brand is the use of promotional items. These are tangible items that can be given away or sold to display your logo and company name in public. Why should you consider this strategy for your marketing efforts?

Consistent Visibility

When customers own branded items from your business, they become a walking advertisement. A t-shirt with your brand name and image can be as effective as a successful social media campaign at getting your name in front of more eyes. This can cause others to be interested in why this person is displaying the logo, which could lead to a conversation about your product or service. Whether you are trying to increase your influence in one small town or across the whole world, visibility is key to fostering growth for your company.

Cost Effective

If you want your name to get out there without spending tons of money on repeated online advertising campaigns, then ordering promotional products may be the perfect solution. They allow you to leverage the enthusiasm of your customers for ongoing visibility in the community. Every item that you sell or give away could lead to many "impressions" and increased awareness. For example, a person who owns a branded shirt with your company name will display your business every time they wear it in public. Give a few of these away at a trade show and your company could gain hundreds of impressions going forward.

Perfect for Events

If you ever go to a trade show, corporate event, or locally sponsored event, promotional items can be given away. This will increase awareness, get people excited about your brand, and create new customers out of thin air, especially if you give away free gifts. The recipient, even if they have never purchased from your business, could decide to go forward out of gratitude for the free item. Plus, giving away promotional products at events is rarely out of place since other businesses are likely doing the same.

Who Can Promotional Product Campaigns Benefit?

Who Can Benefit from Promotional Products

While this type of advertising can benefit businesses in any industry, there are a few sectors that could see a significant boost in their customer pool and sales as a result of this channel.

Non-Profit Organizations

When you have a mission that many people believe in, harnessing the power of promotional products could dramatically extend your reach. Customers who own promotional products are probably enthusiastic about supporting your business, and they will make great brand ambassadors when people ask them about the logo on their hats or travel mugs. Your company will gain access to more supporters with the right items to spread awareness and a loyal group of customers.

Small Businesses

When you are starting your entrepreneurial journey, word-of-mouth is crucial for your success. You may not have numerous ways to contact potential customers right out of the gate. The right merchandise can help build awareness (opens in a new window) of your brand and give you a chance to share your message with more people in your local community.

Social Media Heavy Industries

For any business that thrives on social media presence, such as coaches or health and wellness brands, promotional products can be very effective. Your followers love to support you in ways outside of paying for your product or service, and branded merchandise is the perfect avenue for that support to materialize. They would probably jump at the idea of showing off your brand in public with customizable items.

How to Use Promotional Products Effectively

The Right Way to Use Promotional Products

Promotional products may be a very effective and low-cost marketing campaign, but you have to know how to use them correctly. Otherwise, you could end up wasting money.

Quality Over Quantity

First, you need to make sure that the products you are giving away have a certain level of quality. It can be tempting to try to save money when ordering items and depend on the enthusiasm of your customers to overlook this characteristic. People get much more excited about well-crafted items with novelty value and will be far more likely to use them often if it serves their purpose well. Plus, it will last longer if it is not cheaply made. Though there is still a purpose for buying a high number of cheaper products to improve your reach, one quality promotional product could have a stronger impact on growth than twenty cheap items.

What Will Your Audience Use?

Second, you need to know what promotional products to order. Not every audience out there wants to use travel mugs, no matter how popular they are. When you understand your niche and what your audience enjoys, then you can choose items that will excite them and be used. Become familiar with your clients, understanding their behaviors and motivations so that you can draw a straight line from their needs to the promo item that you are investing in.

What Design Will Draw More Eyes?

This question has more to do with your logo and company name than the product itself. If you are going to display your business to the public, it has to be in a way that causes people to look twice. Is the design attractive and does it draw the eye? If you have a forgettable design, then no one will look twice at it and want to know more about the business. This may not matter on an item as small as a pen, but for a mug or t-shirt, you better make sure that it looks good when the design is blown up.

Who Should Receive Promotional Items?

Part of your strategy should focus on where and how to give away promotional products to achieve the best results. While the main goal may be to spread brand awareness by displaying your company logo, visibility is not the only reason to invest in promotional items. There are three very important audiences that will need your attention.

Current Customers

Building loyalty is incredibly important if you want to create repeat customers with your marketing strategies. By focusing on customers that you already have with your promotional giveaways, you can further develop those relationships and turn them into incredibly loyal clients. Unlike traditional advertising methods, promo products can bring real value to the lives of your audience members, which can earn far more credibility with clients.


The other group that you need to keep happy is your team members. People tend to be the most important resource when running a business, and you can promote your business to those that work for the company with promotional giveaways. You can give corporate gifts to all employees at a holiday party or use them as recruitment tools in a swag bag. Using promotional gifts internally can improve employee retention by creating a positive company culture. Plus, the intended recipient can then spread brand awareness by using the item, so you still achieve more visibility.

Potential Clients

Your main objective for giving away promo items is probably to gain a foothold with a potential customer. For example, a high-quality product can leave a great impression on an individual, making them more likely to consider your business in the future. Sometimes, you are playing the long game with effective promotional products, simply getting your name out there and reminding consumers about your existence. Eventually, the more they see your company logo in public, the more curious they may become about what you do.

Examples of Promotional Products to Try

With a strategy in mind that considers your audience's needs, it is time to figure out how to use promotional products effectively by making the right investment. Choosing the right promotional items will directly impact the success of your marketing goals. Let's take a look at some promotional product categories that you should consider.


Helping consumers and employees carry their things can be a simple way to provide value with your promotional products. To this end, you can use promotional items like tote bags, drawstring bags, reusable grocery bags, paper bags, laptop carriers, and other containers that make it easier for people to carry their things from place to place, including at business events, trade shows, offices, classrooms, and grocery stores.

Promote with Bags & Totes


Demonstrating that you care about the health of your target market can boost your brand reputation quickly. Some wellness promotional products you could invest in include water bottles, key chain hand sanitizer containers, stress balls, and first aid kits. These high-quality health products will show the public that your company is thinking about their well-being, earning plenty of goodwill with your clients.

First Aid Kits & Wellness Products


Tech Accessories/Office Supplies

Most people would be in huge trouble without access to their mobile devices. Since these technologies play such a big role in the lives of so many, they represent significant opportunities for how to use promotional products effectively. Rechargeable power packs, promotional USBs, mousepads, phone wallets, stylus pens, and other tech and custom office supplies are highly likely to be useful to recipients, making them the perfect promotional item. Even a business card can be a great promotional product. Companies that lean into the value of technology and office supplies with their promotional item campaign are positioned well for success.

Imprinted Mouse Pads | Office and Tech Promotional Products


Perhaps the most visible form of promotional item is branded clothing. A person's outfit is often one of the most noticeable things about them to passersby, which makes clothing an exciting branding opportunity. You could gift employees or customers with t-shirts, hats, scarves, gloves, jackets, or even socks to produce more loyalty to the company and brand visibility.

Company Logo Caps & Promotional Apparel Items


Other Fun Promo Items

Other forms of promotional products can be highly effective. Promotional drinkware like branded mugs/coffee mugs has a lot of perceived value, especially to coffee and tea drinkers. Branded umbrellas could be used for a fun day at the beach or to stay dry on a rainy day. Other branded products include chocolates, beach balls, frisbees, and other items that can produce a few laughs or a fun social event. When it comes to fun promotional products, the choices are nearly limitless.

Custom Beach Balls and Other Fun Promo Items

Let Brand Awareness Soar with Promotional Products

Getting your business in front of more eyes is key to growth. People who see your company name in public on an item of clothing or even a water bottle may be left with a lasting impression that could cause them to look up your brand the next time they are looking for a product or service that you offer. It could quickly become one of your company's marketing options that is most effective at creating excitement about your brand.

For small businesses, non-profit organizations, influencers, and even large corporations, awareness is key to growth. Consider how you could leverage the public to share the message about your services when you use promotional products. Whether you invest in t-shirts for potential clients, free products for trade shows, USB drives for employees, or other quality items, you can use promotional products effectively to grow your business. They're a good way to keep your identity strong, unlike some brands whose generic names have almost reached public domain level. 

Any questions? Contact us today and we'll get you on the road to finding the best promotional product to get your company on the road to boosting brand awareness!

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