Sean Hunt 3/24/22 11:30 AM

The Ultimate Guide to Promotional Products: Ideas, Tips and Strategies

The Ultimate Guide to Promotional Products: Ideas, Tips and Strategies

Promotional products are one of the best marketing strategies for driving brand awareness and sales.

For example, it can take a while to learn the name of new businesses or products, but 90% of people who receive a promotional product can recall the brand.

When used strategically, the ROI of promotional products is extremely effective.

  • 70% of brands consider promotional products mostly or always effective in achieving marketing goals.
  • 59% of employees who receive a promotional product from their employer have a more favorable impression of their workplace afterward.
  • The cost per impression (CPI) of promotional products can be as low as 1/10 of one cent – lower than nearly any other advertising medium.
  • Consumers are nearly 2.5 times more likely to have a positive opinion of promotional products compared to online advertising.
  • Consumers under 55 prefer promo products over all other mediums for advertising, including newspapers, radio, magazines, television, internet and mobile.

When building campaigns around the use of promotional products, you’ll want to have a well-thought-out strategy in place to ensure you get the most bang for your marketing buck.

In this guide, we’ve compiled our top ideas, tips and best practices for obtaining the best results and highest ROI from promotional products. As with most marketing campaigns, a one-size-fits-all strategy won’t work here, so we’ve broken out our recommendations into three buckets:

Let’s get started.

Promotional Products for Prospects

Promotional products are often the first impression a prospect has with your business. First impressions are vital in marketing, but promotional products must carry value in their own right, or they won’t succeed in piquing interest or building brand awareness.

However, promotional products for prospects must be carefully thought through, as they can lead to high costs and low ROI if not managed appropriately.

When it comes to prospective customers who are at the very top of the sales funnel, you’ll want to find useful, small-ticket items that won’t get tossed.

Think about little gifts, such as:

  • Cups, mugs and insulated lunch bags.
  • Products to replace disposable items, like reusable straws in a carry case.
  • Tech and smart device items (earbuds, flash drives, etc.).
  • Recreational items for off-time (balls, beach caddies, sports towels, etc.).
  • Notepads and pens.
  • Personal care and beauty items, like lip balm, for example.
  • Calendars and planners.

Get creative and choose items that make sense for your business or industry. For example:

  • Automotive: Adapters for phone charging cables.
  • Banking and Finance: Piggy banks.
  • HVAC: Hand-held fans.
  • Travel and Tourism: Tote bags.

In most cases, high-priced items aren’t ideal for prospects so early in the buyer’s journey.

There are times, however, when it may be appropriate to splurge on a promotional product for a prospective buyer. Examples of this include prospects who are further down the sales funnel or prospects that have the potential to bring in substantial revenue.

Ultimately, you have to decide if the prospect is worth pursuing and plan accordingly.

Here are our top tips and best practices for promotional products for prospects:

  • Combine inexpensive promotional products into a kit. Add a bag of gourmet coffee with a mug or include a reusable water bottle in a lunch tote.
  • Don’t keep reusing the same items. Use the lure of new promo pieces to gain access.
  • Direct mail campaigns are a great way to distribute promotional products. To ensure you don’t break the postage bank, send flat items like a calendar, mouse pad or stickers.
  • Always have something for the gatekeeper, as needed. For example, a receptionist will enjoy being thought of when your sales reps visit.
  • For events, easy-to-carry giveaways are key. What can be tucked into a pocket or purse? Pens, magnets, keychains, sunglasses, lip balm and mints are ideal.

Make sure the process for sending out promotional products is streamlined– that products are always in stock, and the packaging is professional and eye-catching. A marketing fulfillment partner can be extremely helpful since they can take care of producing promotional products, storage, inventory management, and packaging and shipping.


Promotional Products for Existing Customers

You may want to up the ante with promotional products for existing customers. When showing appreciation for events such as anniversaries or large orders, you don’t want to skimp. Examples include:

  • A landscaping business that gifts corn hole sets after the completion of a big project.
  • A SaaS business thanking customers who upgrade to their premium subscription with a “Cheers to Your Success” kit that includes glassware, a bottle opener and coasters.
  • A resort chain sending plush robes to guests that stay longer than one week.

Promotional products are ideal for communicating new products or services to existing customers, as well. For example:

  • An auto dealer teasing a new vehicle to customers whose lease is about to expire with reusable water bottles that showcase the vehicle's make and model name, as well as the dealership’s logo.
  • A marketing agency announcing a new service offering to clients with a wall calendar, flash drive and pen.

When it comes to new customers, delight and impress them with a personalized thank you note and gift. Remember to keep the value of the items in line with the amount spent. It may be easiest to assign tiers to new customers based on the amount they spend. For example:

  • An e-commerce retailer in the beauty industry thanking new customers who spend up to $50 on their first order with a branded tote bag. Customers who spend between $50 and $100 may receive a cosmetic bag, in addition to the tote bag.

To personalize the experience for the existing customers, here are some tips and best practices:

  • Know the customer’s personal interests and select promotional products that they’re sure to use. Avoid them feeling like they’re getting a generic gift that everybody receives.
  • Have a small collection of “ultimate” promo pieces for special clients and events.
  • Remember to factor in the time of year and location of the recipients, If it’s winter in New England, go for neck gaiters and beanies. If it’s summer in California, break out the koozies and coolers.
  • Use promotional products for rewards programs. For example, Fujifilm wanted to improve its relationship with its partners and drive sales. As a result, they launched a loyalty program that allowed their retailers to register purchases and receive points that could be redeemed for gifts.

Promotional Products for Employees

Your employees are not only brand ambassadors for your company, but they’re also critical to your success. Gifting promotional products to employees (sometimes referred to as a recognition program) is an authentic and meaningful way to show you care. After all, finding employees that are loyal, hard-working, and honest can be a challenge, so it is important for companies to hold on to those workers.

Use promotional products to show your appreciation and gratitude for:

  • New hire welcomes.
  • Promotions or changing departments.
  • Moving to new offices or opening a new branch.
  • Employee anniversaries.
  • Product launches.
  • Hitting sales goals or other metrics.
  • Employee of the month.
  • Special service recognition.

Employees will groan if you try to reward them with the same items they know entry-level prospects get or items they themselves handed out at events. Instead, order promotional products that are special for employees just as you would select higher-ticket items for top-tier prospects or customers.

For instance, a custom home builder could give out work gloves and a cooler to celebrate an employee’s first anniversary, while an e-commerce retailer in the wellness space might give their employees a yoga mat.

Other ideas for employee gifts include:

  • Tea brewing or coffee-lover kits with mugs.
  • High-quality backpack or laptop bag.
  • Headphones.
  • Gadgets that can make working from home easier or more comfortable.
  • Office kit, safety kit or travel kit.

Kitting is a great and affordable way to make employees feel special. For example, celebrate the employee of the month with a promo kit that includes an insulated mug, water bottle, notepads and pens, and pullover or fleece vest. When possible, give employees custom thank you kits based on their interests.

Here are some tips and best practices for promotional products for employees:

  • Employee anniversary kits should be personalized based on location, job level or function.
  • Consider where the employee will use the item since your logo will be on it. If your company is in the medical device sector, you probably want to avoid beer koozies and barware, which would be fine, though, for the restaurant and hospitality industries.
  • Try to make items unisex, unless employees can select the items they wish to receive.
  • Keep your promotional products in line with the image you want to project for your company.

When searching for a promotional product vendor, be sure they have the technology and infrastructure to store, package, kit, assemble and ship the promotional products directly to recipients, so your department isn’t bogged down with bandwidth-draining tasks. This also ensures shipments arrive in a timely manner, are professionally packaged and perfectly represent your brand.

Build Your Brand with Promotional Products from Jet Mail

Whether you’re attending a trade show, thanking employees, or building brand awareness,
Jet Mail has the right products for you. Our in-house marketing fulfillment experts are happy to help you select the perfect promotional products for every audience and occasion.

Delivering high-quality promotional products is just a fraction of what Jet Mail can do for your business. Our all-in-one marketing fulfillment services include print, mail, fulfillment and distribution, so we can orchestrate a seamless and memorable experience for your brand. Contact us today to talk with a marketing fulfillment expert.


Get Started

To learn more about our services and how we can help expedite your marketing fulfillment, start by speaking with a Jet Mail team member.