What Promotional Products Should I Order For My Business?

Promotional items, we have found, are a very polarizing topic within the marketing/business owner world. We have found that most business owners are on one extreme side of the spectrum. 

You have your first group who hate promotional products. They think they’re a waste of money. It doesn’t mean they won’t order some from time to time, but it’s like pulling teeth for them to do so. 

Then you have the business owner who is possibly too excited about promotional products. Everything has the business logo on it. Even their dogs are wearing a business-branded collars.  

Neither side is wrong or right. It is what it is. However, if you’re looking to get some promotional items for your business, we always advise getting an item of quality.

Quality Promotional Items

The best example we have of this is the ink pen. Yes, you can get a custom ink pen for 15-20 cents per item, but is anyone going to use it? Probably not.

If an ink pen makes sense as a promotional product for your business, you want to get one that will hang around and people will use it. In our time, we’ve been around many offices, and we rarely see people using cheap pens.

Those who use a pen frequently for work will seek a quality pen. You know that. If you want your pen to stay on a desk or clipped to a shirt in the field, don’t shy away from spending a little money on something that is quality.

While we use pens in this example, think about it for other items before you place your order. Get a sample and use it yourself for a couple of weeks.

If you’re getting a clothing item, get a sample and see how it fits. There is nothing worse than ordering a box of shirts or hats that will end up in the back of a closet or trash can instantly because of poor quality or overall poor fit. That $6 hat might seem enticing, but it doesn’t mean diddly-poo if no one is going to wear it.

Other Considerations

Okay, so you have your quality item picked out. Before you approve the proof, ask yourself, “Will people use this?”

Let’s take hats, for example—your business markets to white-collar professionals. Even if it’s a top-notch hat, there are 8-10 hours in the day they most likely won’t be able to wear a hat because they are in an office or professional setting. Will they use it? Maybe. Maybe not.

On the other side of the coin, let’s say your company repairs and maintains industrial landscaping equipment like zero-turn mowers, front-end loaders, tractors, etc. If you send out some quality hats to the landscape business owner and crew, there’s a good chance those hats will be worn daily from sunup to sundown.

One item we see businesses offering a lot is keychains. It makes a lot of sense if you’re a car dealership, realtor, boat dealership, or storage facility. Pop your branded keychain on customers’ keys at purchase, and there is a good chance they’ll stay there forever.

However, we see a lot of businesses that don’t hand out keys that will get keychains mostly because they are cheap. Outside of your family and possibly friends, do you think any neutral party or customer wants a keychain that says Big Jim’s Pest Control? Even if it’s high quality? Most likely not.  

I Don’t Have The Money To Get A Quality Item

Then don’t get promotional items. They aren’t necessary to run your marketing. They are a luxury item for your business.

Just remember, if you pull the trigger, make sure it’s a quality item people will use. If it doesn’t fit those criteria, it will end up in the trash, and your investment will be for not.

Our advice may seem like common sense, but we’ve seen some real head-scratchers in our time. Those folks would have dodged a bullet (and saved some money) if they had read this article before ordering. 

If you’re having trouble picking an item, contact us. We’ll help you out. We don’t sell or produce promotional items; we want to ensure you’re investing smartly and not wasting money!

William S. Campbell

With 15 years of marketing experience, William S. Campbell crafts effective and tailored strategies to help businesses succeed.

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