June 14, 2024 The Print Authority

Top 13 Must-Have Small Business Promotional Items

Did you know that 83% of customers make purchases from companies that have provided them with branded merchandise? Clearly, branded items make a big difference in your marketing strategy. When you distribute items that recipients use over long periods of time, you reap long-term benefits. 

Small business promotional products include more options than you might imagine. In this article, we’ll explain why they’re important, how they can benefit your business, and which ones to make sure you keep in stock. 

Are Custom Promotional Products Worth It?

Think about the promotional items you use every day. Maybe you jot down notes at work on a branded notepad using a branded pen, or you bring a branded shopping bag to the grocery store with you. 

These types of promotional items are incorporated seamlessly into your life, and you see the companies’ names and logos almost daily. Now, imagine that you can incorporate your brand into other people’s lives in the same way. Distributing your own promotional products makes this possible. 

When you distribute branded promotional items, you achieve the following: 

  • Increased leads
  • Increased brand loyalty
  • Increased brand recognition
  • Increased ROI

Promotional products are useful no matter the industry you’re in, but they’re particularly helpful for small businesses. 

Criteria for Choosing the Right Promotional Products

Choose print promotional items that help you achieve your goals. The items that are best for you might not be the same as what’s best for your competitors, so make sure to consider your end goal from the outset.

Let’s take a gym as an example. While a gym could distribute door hangers and chip clips, these items don’t match their potential customers’ goals. Instead, branded apparel such as t-shirts with the company logo act as walking advertisements for the gym, and recipients can wear them while they work out. 

Or think of a real estate agency that has a choice between printing branded keychains or calendars. While keychains are handy, calendars can be prominently displayed in homes and businesses, offering daily exposure to the agency’s branding. 

Must-Have Promo Products for Small Businesses

Let’s dive into the small business promotional items that make your business shine. 

1. Brochures

Brochures provide clients, perspectives, and community members with the detailed information they need about your services. With up to six panels, brochures give you the space to dive in and explain how your services benefit customers and why your business is the right choice for potential clients. 

2. Postcards

Postcards help you foreground an inspiring image or meaningful message. Whether your postcards include information about your business or are meant to be sent as mail, they spread your branding far and wide. 

3. Posters

Posters make a lasting impression. They grab the attention of people who walk by and present a single message with clarity. When you hang posters around town, you get attention and encourage people to walk in the door. 

4. Door Hangers

Door hangers help you reach new customers. They’re impossible to miss and get your foot in the door–in more ways than one — with local residents who might not have known about you before. 

5. Notepads & Tearpads

Notepads and tearpads are items that people incorporate into their daily lives, often for months or years at a time. They keep your logo and branding present in people’s minds, which works wonders for your marketing strategy. 

6. Reusable Water Bottles

Reusable water bottles are effective branding materials that demonstrate your business’ care for the planet. People use water bottles daily, which makes distributing branded water bottles an effective method to increase your brand’s presence in consumers’ everyday routines.

7. Custom Chip Clips

Who doesn’t need chip clips? Chip clips are used for years at a time, making them the perfect budget promotional items. 

8. Reusable Shopping Bags

Branded reusable shopping bags are easy for recipients to incorporate into their everyday routines. Since people use them when they go to the store, they’re also a form of free public advertising for your business. They’re a win-win!

9. Refrigerator Magnets

Fridge magnets are easy to hand out, and they keep your business at the front of people’s minds. They’re particularly helpful for businesses that people might need to call in a hurry, such as plumbing companies, medical practices, or veterinarians. By including your opening hours and phone number on your fridge magnet, you make it easy for people to reach you when they need you for repeat business. 

10. Custom Mugs & Glasses

Branded mugs and glasses provide yet another strategy to incorporate your business into recipients’ daily routines. A mug with a great design can be someone’s morning coffee mug, which means that they’re seeing your logo every single day. 

11. Koozies

Beer koozies make summertime fun. They’re small and weigh almost nothing, so they’re easy to store and simple to distribute.  

12. Pens

When it comes to promotional items, it can’t get much more useful than promotional pens. People reach for pens every single day, and if you distribute well-made pens, people will enjoy using them, and they’ll last for years. 

13. Keychains

Keychains are handy. When you distribute branded keychains, you get your logo out there and help recipients throughout their everyday lives. A well-designed keychain grabs attention, and if someone puts it on their key ring, it will go everywhere with them, and they’ll see it all the time. 

When to Give Away Promo Items 

The moment when you choose to hand out promo items can have a vast effect on whether and how recipients use them, so it’s worth considering your distribution plan from the outset. As you’re considering your strategy, here are some top moments to think about. 

  • Trade shows and conferences. Trade show attendees are looking for new businesses and connections, and your promo items help them remember you. 
  • At grand openings or anniversaries. When you celebrate a new store opening or a business milestone, you attract customers and generate publicity, making it a great time to hand out free promotional swag. 
  • During community events. This demonstrates your care for your local community, engages with your local audience, and builds a positive reputation. It’s a good idea to distribute items that are relevant to the event, such as water bottles at races or tote bags at a farmer’s market. 
  • As part of referral programs. When you offer promo items in a referral program, you incentivize participation and demonstrate the high quality your business offers. 
  • During holidays and special occasions. When you distribute gifts during holidays, you make customers feel appreciated. They’ll also be more likely to make a purchase since they see that you care about them. Make sure to distribute great products that are relevant to the season. 
  • In new customer welcome packages. When you welcome new customers with a collection of free items, you set the tone for a positive relationship and get your relationship off on the right foot. When you personalize the package, such as including a handwritten note, you further encourage loyalty to your business. 
  • During sales periods or limited-time offers. By adding a free item or two to a sales package, you sweeten the deal and encourage customers to take action. If you offer items that complement the service or product that’s on sale, even better. 

While there are many events and moments where distributing promotional items makes sense, don’t feel bound by these suggestions. Sometimes, a gift offered for no reason at all makes an even bigger impression. 

Measuring the Impact of Promotional Items

Ordering your promotional items costs money, so it’s important to measure your ROI to ensure that you’re printing the right items. Some of the methods you can use to track the impact your promotional items have include the following: 

  • Tracking lead generation. By keeping track of how many leads you receive, you can notice whether or not the number goes up when you distribute promotional items. You can even include a QR code on your items that goes to its own landing page, so you can track how many leads are generated from these codes. 
  • Monitoring numbers of calls. By noting how many calls you receive, you can understand the effect your promotional items have. 
  • Counting office visits. When people visit the office, ask them how they learned about your business. This both provides valuable feedback for you and shows visitors that you care about their experiences. 
  • Monitor sales increases. Offer a unique sales code with your promo item. You can then track how many people use that code to see the direct impact on sales. 
  • Collect customer feedback. Marketing research is common for a reason. By getting customer feedback, you can get qualitative and quantitative data showing which promo items are most effective.

Partner with The Print Authority for the best custom promotional items available. 

At The Print Authority, we print small business promotional items that generate leads. With over 30 years of providing top-quality printing for local businesses, we offer all the materials that get you noticed and drive up sales, and our custom web-to-print portals make shipping and distribution a breeze.

If you’re interested in increasing profits through high-quality promotional items, we’d love to help you reach your goals. To learn more, contact The Print Authority today!