Best Promotional Items for Small Business

  • May 31, 2022

When you want to raise awareness of your business and drum up new clients, promotional items are a great way to catch eyes and reach new people. 


Giveaways act as a tool to boost brand recognition and outreach within your community and prospective client pool. When your freebies are functional for the recipient, there’s a higher likelihood they may use the item wielding your company’s name and eventually call on your business for a service or product need.

How To Choose Promotional Items

Before reordering the giveaways you purchased last fiscal year or perusing a thick catalog of promotional options, think about what you want to accomplish with promotional items. Also, consider whether there’s an evolution in your industry or popular culture that you can capitalize on. 

Questions to ask when considering freebies:

  • What’s Your Objective? Name what matters and clearly understand your purpose in giving away promotional items. Is brand awareness your goal, or are you seeking an immediate customer conversion?


  • What’s Popular? Consider the things that land on the top of holiday wish lists and determine if they could make sense for your business. Follow trendsetters and social media influencers to determine what is rising in popularity. Or, ask for a recommendation from that one friend who always knows about the next “it” thing. 


  • What Does Your Audience Want? Think about your ideal clients, then make a list of the items that would excite them most. A paper calendar may not excite Millennials and Generation Z, but their parents and grandparents might like it. Inversely, pop sockets may fall flat for people over age 50, while rating highest for those under 15. 


  • Will It Last? Do the items you select have an expiration date like a calendar, or could they remain in someone’s home indefinitely like a deck of playing cards? Items with the greatest mileage are often wearable, functional, or tailored specifically to the recipient. 


  • What’s the ROI? Don’t just throw money into the wind with promotional items. Make sure you’re getting a strong return on your investment. Poll your customers to determine how they learned about your business and if they’ve seen or received your promotional products. If they say “no,” it’s an opportunity to give them some swag, which keeps your business top of mind and enables them to share with family or friends. 

The Best Promotional Items for Small Business

Look for novelty when selecting promotional items for your business. Choose items from more than one category, so you’re sure to have something for everyone, regardless of size, technology aptitude, lifestyle, or interest. Be sure to get opinions from others, especially those representing your target demographic, before finalizing your order. 

Giveaway item ideas include:

  • Wearables. Things like shirts, hats, fanny packs, and face masks can be practical and helpful. Plus, they turn the recipient into a walking advertisement for your brand.


  • Digitals. Everyone needs digital devices like USB drives, mousepads, rechargeable batteries, and portable speakers, and no one likes to buy them.


  • Usefuls. Things like pens, notebooks, flashlight or bottle opener keychains, and multitools are always useful and practical.


  • Drinkables. How many free plastic cups do you have in your cabinet that you use regularly? Koozies, mugs, cups, and reusable water bottles are popular and often used.

Important Qualities to Consider

There are so many options for promotional items for your small business. Your creativity really is the limit. But you want to make sure that whatever you distribute gets used. So, how do you choose?

Qualities to consider when choosing promotional items:

  • Usefulness. Provide something that adds value for your desired clients, and make sure what you’re distributing fits the location. Consider whether it’s something people can use right away or if they’d have to hold onto it until it serves a purpose. If you’re tabling outdoors at a local music festival, think about guitar picks, sunscreen, koozies, lanyards, or sunglasses – small items that people can use immediately or easily tuck into a pocket or bag. A festival probably isn’t a great time to give away large, bulky items.


  • Design. Make sure you put your promotional dollars to good use, and you invest in quality items that withstand use and time. You want to provide potential customers with an item that functions well so they use it. If you gift substandard items, people could get a poor impression of your company. 


  • Representation. Be proud of what you choose, both in the types of items and how they’re made. If sustainability or the ethical sourcing are core company values, make sure the promotional items you select reflect it.  


  • Relevance. Choose items that reflect your company’s mission, purpose, and vision. Consider items like towels, water bottles, reusable food storage bags, ice packs, and bags if you’re in the fitness space. Don’t select obscure items without a link to health and wellness. A toothbrush, book light, or pajama shorts aren’t the best promo choice for a fitness brand since they’re used in-house, and there is less opportunity for others to see the branding. 

Why Promotional Items Boost Business

Promotional items are a soft way to advertise your business and add value for current and prospective customers. Providing someone a functional, well-made, and business-aligned item often leads to increased sales and customer loyalty. 


With more than 35 years of experience in the business, Lettering Express can help you find the best promotional items for your small business. We’ll be sure to help you select unique items that leave a lasting impression and help grow your business. Contact us to get started. 

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