Promotional Product Marketing Blog

Learn the best ways to market your brand with the use of promotional marketing products. Our blog gives you the best tips on ordering the right marketing merchandise to increase brand awareness within your target market. From creative marketing ideas to case studies of how others have used promotional items to promote their brand, we give you clear direction in aligning your promotional product campaign with your overall business goals.


The Do’s And Don’ts Of Using Promotional Products

using promotional products

It’s easy using promotional products. You pick out a few cool items, get them imprinted with your logo, and hand them out to your target audience. Bam – you’re done.

Easy, right?

Well, there’s a lot more to it than that.

Using promotional products is an investment. If you want your investment to pay off, there are some important things to keep in mind.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some do’s and don’ts of using items imprinted with your logo.

Let’s start with the do’s.

DO understand your audience.

Who’s going to be on the receiving end of your promotional products? If you want your giveaways to be effective, you first have to know who will be receiving them.

Take a moment to revisit your customer profile. Looking at demographics, you should have insight such as customer age, gender, geographic location, income range, education, and more.

Digging a bit deeper into the psychographics, it’s helpful to know lifestyle information such as hobbies, attitudes, behaviors, values, interests, and the like.

So, why does all this matter when it comes to promotional products?

This information helps you in two important ways.

First, knowing these details about your target customer allows you to adjust your product or service to best accommodate what your customers need. And second, it clues you in to how to reach your customers with your marketing and promotional efforts.

If you know, for example, that your core audience is businessmen who golf and work in large metropolitan areas, it makes sense to give them golf-related items – maybe nice golf shirts they can wear on the course or at the office, or perhaps leather golf accessories.

If you’re marketing to rural agriculture workers, golf probably isn’t the best way to go. Instead, you’d want to look at items they could use in the field – perhaps a hardy pair of gloves or a custom work jacket.

When you take the time to get to know your target market, your brand appears smart and a whole lot more relevant to the people you want to reach.

Here’s an example.

One of our clients tailored its promotional products specifically for recipients. It set out gourmet chocolates on a copy of The Wall Street Journal for corporate jet passengers. How smart are these promos? It’s a small gesture, but it goes a long way toward creating a memorable experience and building brand loyalty.

DO learn from other businesses.

Take some time to study the promo items that other companies have used, and figure out why they selected those products. Are they directly related to the brand? Are they quirky and unique? Here’s a write-up on our blog that discusses this very topic.

It’s especially helpful to pay attention to the businesses in your niche. Have you noticed that other pediatricians are handing out drawstring bags for kids? Or that all the gyms in your area are distributing sports bottles?

Don’t run out and order bags or sports bottles. The idea here isn’t to directly copy your competitors. If you do this, you’re already one step behind.

Instead, take their strategy and make it better. Think about how you can improve on what they’re doing. Every time you see someone using a promotional product from a competitor, you have great insight into what customers want.

Going back to our examples above, you could give out drawstring bags with built-in water bottle pockets or distribute sports bottles with attached carabiners. The trick is to find out what works and take it to the next level.

DO think of clever ways to grab attention.

When you use promotional products, you don’t have to resort to the same old, same old. Let’s say you always set out a mug filled with pens or hand out key chains to passersby at a tradeshow. It’s what you’ve always done, and it’s what you think works.

The thing is, though, you’re missing out on an opportunity for epic creativity.

Think about ways to really make an impression on your audience. It could be the products themselves, or it could be the way in which they’re delivered.

Check out this guerilla marketing stunt heard ’round the world.

We’re not saying you have to try and one-up your competitors as DHL has done. But the brand’s stunt was anything but boring – and that’s what your promotions should aim to be.

People are busy. They’re bombarded. They don’t have time for anything that’s dull or mundane. It takes a clever approach to get noticed.

Some ways you can do this include:

Street teams or brand ambassadors. Sending people out in branded apparel to hand out freebies allows you to get face-to-face with potential customers. Your promotional products aren’t just background items – they’re front and center. Click here for a great example that any company could easily pull off.

Interactive promotions. Don’t just hand out your promos and be done – make them fun and exciting. Send people on a scavenger hunt to find your giveaways. Give out one component of your giveaway, and have prospects come back the next day for the second piece. The idea is to engage with people – not just hand out free stuff. Here’s an interactive promotion in action.

Incentives. Use promos as perks when you want your customers to do something. Are you seeking more reviews for your restaurant? Want to generate more referrals for your new business? Want more likes on your Facebook page? Motivate people to take action by offering up promotional products.

We’ve had success using promos as incentives here at ePromos, too. When we wanted to spread the word about our Facebook page, we ran a contest in which everybody who liked our page was in the running for a great Ogio duffel bag.

Sure enough, our likes skyrocketed and we boosted engagement on the page. People love free stuff, and they’re more willing to do what you’re asking if they have the chance to get it. Just make sure the giveaway is universally appealing (everyone can use a duffel bag), or something that you know your audience will appreciate.

The key lesson here is: Be creative. Out with the boring and in with the bold when it comes to using promotional products.

Now that you’ve learned some do’s when it comes to promotional products, let’s examine some of the don’ts.

DON’T be cheap.

Remember what we mentioned at the beginning of this blog post? Promotional products are an investment. Don’t sacrifice quality to save a few bucks. Your brand image is on the line. If you go for the cheapest products you can find, people will correlate those giveaways with your brand.

That’s not to say you need to shell out big bucks for your promotional items to be effective. You can create a stellar promotion and still keep well within your allotted budget – just don’t make price your only consideration.

Do your research. Think about what you want your promo items to accomplish, and what your target audience would actually want to receive.

You’ll be better off using promotional products (even if there are fewer of them) that are interesting and appealing to recipients than getting a truckload of the cheapest items around.

You know the adage: You get what you pay for. It’s true with promotional items, as well. Give your customers and prospects a cheaply made giveaway that breaks or falls apart, and you have a one-way ticket to the trash can. So much for that brand exposure you were hoping for.

Don’t cheap out. You’ll invest more money up front, but in the long run, it pays off for your brand and how it’s perceived.

DON’T weird people out.

There are some promotional products – think hygiene products or political products, for example – that make sense only for certain companies and campaigns.

If you give people something that makes them feel a little off, do you think they’ll have positive feelings about your brand? No way.

Creativity is good, but don’t cross the line and make people feel weird or uncomfortable with your giveaways. The last thing you want to do is upset your customers or turn them away from your brand.

A promotional toothbrush is a great giveaway if you’re a dentist. If you’re an accountant, well, not so much. Not only is the promo strangely out of place, but it could send the vibe that your clients have bad breath. They’d be weirded out that they just got a toothbrush from their CPA, and they’d think about it every time they interact with you.

The same thing is true with political products. Unless you’re running for office or you’re a campaign manager, it’s best to steer clear of any promo that might tip people off to your political leanings.

People are passionate about politics. If they can see that your views don’t line up with theirs, you can kiss that brand loyalty goodbye.

You also don’t want to step on anybody’s toes by handing out blatantly political items (think bumper stickers or pins with a candidate’s name) or even subtly political promos (think donkey-shaped stress balls or elephant-shaped stickers).

If you’re not directly in the political arena or striving to make a political push, it’s best to remain bipartisan. Go patriotic instead with red, white, and blue promos or American-made items.

And when it comes to hygiene products, by all means, leave the toothbrushes for the dentists. Otherwise, it’s just too weird if it has nothing to do with your brand or promotion.

DON’T hand out promos without a strategy.

Do you have a game plan for your promotional products? If you’re not sure why you’re giving them out, then don’t do it. Take some time to figure out what you want to accomplish.

You should never invest in promos without knowing why you’re making the investment. You’ll simply be flinging freebies at people with no solid goal in mind.

Here are some things to consider. Will the promotional items be used for:

Brand awareness – Do you simply want to spread the word about your business?

Customer loyalty – Will the products be given out to retain current customers?

New business – Do you hope to win new customers with your giveaways?

Employee recruitment – Is the purpose of the promos to attract new talent to your business?

Incentives – Are you hoping to use the items to motivate your audience to do something?

Thank-you gifts – Will the promotional products be used as tokens of gratitude?

Gift-with-purchase – Will the promos be given as freebies when customers buy something? (Click here for an example of a gift-with-purchase promotion we created for one of our clients.)

This is just a sampling of some of the reasons to give promo items. But it’s a good place to start if you’re unsure why you need to be using promotional products.

It’s also smart to think about what’s on the horizon for your business. You may uncover some hidden gems when it comes to distributing custom logo merchandise.

Do you have any upcoming:

  • Conferences or tradeshows?
  • Open houses?
  • Fundraising events?
  • Golf tournaments?
  • Contests?
  • Customer appreciation events?
  • Awards ceremonies?

These are all prime opportunities to get your promo items into the hands of your customers and prospects.

Does it take time to develop a strategy for your promotional products? Yes. But it’s so worth it.

You’ll have a clear vision of what you want to achieve, and you’ll have some actionable ideas on how to make it happen.

There’s More To Promotional Products Than You Think

If, a few minutes ago, you thought using promotional products was as simple as putting your logo on something and handing it out, we hope we’ve cleared up that little misconception.

Promotional products are powerful, but you have to know how to use them. Take the time to know who you’re marketing to. Pay attention to what other businesses are doing. And be creative. Promotional items shouldn’t put people to sleep – they should catapult your brand to a whole new level.

Want more? Click to see some eye-opening stats about the effectiveness of promotional products.

Do you regularly use promotional products to market your business? What other tips can you share?


Promotional Calendars: 7 Stats You Didn’t Know

You know the basics about promotional calendars. They keep your logo around for months on end, they’re perpetually useful, they’re offered in all kinds of sizes, styles, and designs, and so forth.

But did you know that calendars are the longest-lasting promotional items around? Or that they’re most popular with older consumers?

Take a look at our infographic with more useful tidbits about the promo that everyone loves to keep: the calendar.

Here’s a tip for you: Don’t wait until December to get in your calendar orders. Get started now so they’ll be ready to go long before 2015 rolls around. This way, you’ll have the best shot at securing your customers’ wall or desk space.



Coffee Promotional Products That Will Perk Up Any Coffee Lover

If you want to hear about coffee promotional products, you’re in the right spot. But first, a quick back story.

Fourteen years ago this month (June), I married my best friend. I won’t bore you this time with the romantic tale, but I will tell you I tried to be the super wife in the beginning.

I would get up with my hubby at 4:45 every morning, fix a full breakfast, and make his lunch. I thought I was doing so well until after a few weeks in, he lovingly turned to me and said, “It might be best for our marriage if you stayed in bed.”

I pressed, “Is it my cooking?”

It wasn’t. (It’s awesome. Just ask our Minnesota crew.) I wasn’t a morning person then, and after 14 years, I’m still not.

graphic 1

Of course there are several solutions to the chronic anti-morning person, but none bigger than the $100 billion commodity coffee industry (second only to oil).

Oh coffee, that sweet nectar that brings me to life every morning.

Believe it or not, I am the only coffee drinker in the house. (My husband doesn’t eat chocolate either … the things you find out after you are married!) But my husband knows me well. He gave me one of my favorite anniversary presents a few years ago – a Keurig machine. (Yes, ladies, he’s a keeper.)

graphic 2

So what does all of this have to do with ePromos and promotional products? Well, with coffee being the second largest commodity market, there is a major opportunity to be in front of your customers.

One way to do this (that’s very near and dear to my heart) is the Tervis Tumbler. These great mugs can be decorated in so many creative ways, and they bring co-branding to a whole new level.

Since I am a Keurig fanatic, I’d like to introduce you to some of our newest products: the custom K-Cup and the K-Cup case.

custom Keurig cups

Your options are endless when it comes to marketing to coffee drinkers such as me. Disposable cups, coffee sleeves, endless mug choices and more.

What coffee item can you not live without? Share on ePromos’ Facebook page.





Great Moscow Mule Recipe (And Where To Buy Those Copper Mugs!)

Moscow mule copper mug

It’s been said that the mug makes the mule. If you’re mixing up Moscow mules, there’s nothing like promotional copper mugs to keep the drink ice cold – and your logo front and center.

If you haven’t noticed, the Moscow mule is the cocktail du jour. It’s a snappy blend of vodka, ginger beer, and lime, and it’s always served in a copper mug. In fact, it’s that telltale mug that makes the drink so easy to spot.

Dale DeGroff, a master mixologist and one of the most revered cocktail historians around, has said that the drink was first served in a copper mug engraved with two mules kicking up their heels.

But why copper? The general consensus is that a copper mug keeps the cocktail much colder than a normal glass. If you’ve ever had a Moscow mule in anything other than a copper mug, you can likely confirm this.

A Look Back

The story behind the Moscow mule is an interesting one. In the 1940s, two distributors – one selling ginger beer and the other selling Smirnoff vodka – found themselves in a pinch. No one was buying their products. At the time, people much preferred gin and whiskey.

So the distributors, in what turned out to be a genius move, experimented with combining the vodka and ginger beer. They added some lime, and voila – the first Moscow mule was created.

While this is the classic version, there are many ways to mix up a Moscow mule. Some people like to add crushed mint first; others like to top it off with freshly grated ginger. And still others like to add a few drops of Angostura bitters to give the cocktail some color and aroma while not altering the flavor.

And then there’s the vodka. Smirnoff is the brand behind the drink, but Moscow mules can be enjoyed with any kind of vodka: Russian Standard, Grey Goose, Svedka, Square One, or Stoli are some great options to try.

You can also swap out the ginger beer for ginger ale (just spice it up with a little cardamom), or even rum for a totally different twist on the cocktail – it’s called a Dark and Stormy. If you like your drinks sweet, this is the way to go.

If you substitute the vodka for bourbon, it’s called a Kentucky mule. Opt for gin instead of vodka, and you have a Gin mule. It just depends what spirit you’re in the mood for.

Moscow mule printed copper mug

The Role Of The Mug

Back to the history behind the buzz. The tale goes that a third partner joined in. Needing to offload a surplus of copper mugs that wouldn’t sell, the trio brought their concoction and mugs to bartenders far and wide.

The cocktail and mugs were a hit, and the rest is history. The Moscow mule is credited with reviving the vodka industry in the U.S., tripling the sales of vodka in the 1950s.

Fast forward a few decades, and the simple, sweet cocktail has once again gone mainstream – and real connoisseurs know that it has to be served in a copper mug. A Collins glass (or any other glass) just won’t do. The mug, does, in fact, make the mule. The copper keeps it perfectly chilled, making it a must for this particular drink.

Clamoring For Copper

As the drink continues to surge in popularity once again, copper mugs have become a hot commodity at bars and restaurants. People can’t get enough of the copper mugs, and they’re starting to swipe them from right under bartenders’ noses.

Retailers can’t keep up with demand. At places like Crate & Barrel and Sur La Table, copper mugs are flying off shelves, and the stores have to scramble to keep them in stock.

So, what does this mean for marketers? Now’s the time to customize copper mugs for your brand.

There’s no better drinkware of the moment than promotional copper mugs. They’re trendy, people want them, and they’re a fantastic opportunity to put your logo in the limelight. Here are a few ways your company can use them:

Commemorative items

Copper mugs aren’t just incredibly popular this summer – they’re also incredibly versatile. They make great take-home items to memorialize any event, whether you’re hosting an awards night or a company picnic. Every time recipients reach for the mug at home, they’ll be reminded of the fun times they enjoyed at your event.

Corporate meetings and incentive trips

Are you getting the staff together for a big meeting this summer? What about treating team members to an incentive trip? Use copper mugs to celebrate the occasion. They’ll help employees bond (booze brings everyone together!), and when staffers are back home, the mugs serve as a fun souvenir of the trip.

Gift-with-purchase promotions

If you own a restaurant or bar, copper mugs are a golden gift-with-purchase opportunity. Free stuff makes people want to buy. Offer customers a free Moscow mule when they buy the mug. RaceTrac convenience stores are running a similar promotion this summer (only with soft drinks and frozen beverages, not alcohol.)

Customer service

You might be wondering how copper mugs can help you kick up your customer service, but they can. We recently came across a great customer service story on Hotwire. A reviewer mentioned that he tried to purchase copper mugs at the Four Seasons Las Vegas PRESS bar, and “all of a sudden,” they appeared in his room. Kudos to the Four Seasons for using these mugs to make the guest’s stay unforgettable.

No matter how you use them, coveted, on-trend products are great ingredients for an effective promotion to build your brand. If you want more ideas on developing a promotion using copper Moscow mule mugs, one of our Brand Consultants would be happy to help.

Click here for the best printed copper mug, and check out the recipe below to concoct your own Moscow mule.

Recipe: Moscow Mule Cocktail

3 oz. ginger beer
1 ½ oz. vodka
Fresh lime juice from half a lime

Fill your copper mug with crushed ice and pour the vodka over top. Give it a good squeeze of lime juice. Top with ginger beer and stir. Garnish with lime slice or fresh mint.

Are you a fan of Moscow mules? What do you think – does the mug make the mule?


5 Clever New Ways To Promote Your Brand

5 just released promotional products

So, you want to promote your brand. And, you want to do it in a fresh, compelling way. You’re not alone. Our customers often ask us to point out what’s new. They’re looking for those never-before-seen promos to really wow their audience.

Well, have we got some ideas for any marketer looking for the latest in promotional giveaways.

Allow us to serve up five creative items to get your brand seen and remembered. Promos stick in people’s minds – especially those giveaways that are a mix of unique and useful all rolled into one.

Here’s a selection of some of our newly released promotional items. Want to see more? Click here to shop our full collection of hot and new promotional products.

1. Large camouflage trunk logo caddy


Here’s a way to win over the heart of any outdoor enthusiast. This custom camo caddy has everything hunters and sportsmen need for transporting the essentials. When they pop the trunk and tote it around, your logo is right there.


2. Plastic shatterproof customized wine glass


Summertime is prime time for picnics, festivals, and concerts, and you know what that calls for – wine! But since glass is just so darn fragile, serve the spirits in plastic instead. These shatterproof wine glasses are BPA-free, customized with your logo, and perfectly chic for your next event. (Oh, and they’re reusable too.)


3. Mini angry mood wobbler custom stress balls


Want to get customers fired up about your brand? This logo stress reliever will do it. You can’t help but grab this peeved promo and give it a squeeze. Not into the angry face? Pick from four other moods to best suit your company or campaign.


4. Full-color single promotional coffee pods


About 83% of U.S. adults drink coffee daily, according to USA Today. Your customers are likely reaching for a cup, and these custom coffee pods will make their morning. They’re individually labeled with your company logo, and work with single-serve coffee brewers. You can also get more of the branded brew with our coffee pod packs – each one includes 18 pods.


5. Full-color 5-in-1 custom charger cord set


Everybody loves tech promos. This one’s especially handy because it allows users to charge multiple devices at once. They don’t have to worry about tangled up cords or not having the right one – it’s all right there in a colorful, convenient charger cord set that’s printed with your full-color logo.

New promos are always exciting. People love getting their hands on items they haven’t seen before. Indulge them while getting your brand come nice exposure.

What new products would you pick to promote your brand? Tell us your favorites in the comments!




The Buzz On Promotional Stress Balls

Promotional stress balls: They’re one of those versatile giveaways that everyone can use. I don’t know if I’ve ever met a single person who has not been stressed out at one time or another in their lives. It affects us every day, so why not do something about it? Squeezing a stress ball releases tense energy and immediately helps you relax, but there’s more to stress balls than just the obvious.

Make a statement with your custom stress balls! With so many unique shapes and designs to choose from, you can take a spin on your brand and stand out with the right stress ball. With over 400 stress balls to choose from, ePromos is sure to have a stress reliever to fit your needs and make your business unforgettable. Check out our 11 stress ball categories for some out-of-the-box ideas. We have everything from food to animals to people and much more.

Get Your Brand Noticed

Having a stress reliever on your desk is a great way to make your brand stand out. Naturally people will want to pick up the stress reliever, examine it, give it a squeeze and talk about it, which puts your logo front and center while leaving a lasting impression. The more memorable the stress reliever, the more memorable the brand. The key is to pick a stress ball that demands attention.

custom stressball

I can’t resist giving this dragon a squeeze. It’s so unique!

I’m guilty of this myself! One of our merchandise coordinators has several stress balls on her desk, and on more than one occasion I’ve found myself picking the dragon stress ball up without a second thought, creating a natural conversation starter.

Everyone is unique. Embracing self-expression can enhance your workplace environment. Why not let workers express themselves and show some of their personality with our mood wobbler stress balls? With five emotions to choose from, your team can select a stress ball that fits their mood or personality. Choose from happy, apathetic, angry, stressed, or wacky. They are also a great way to add some humor to your giveaways as people try to decide which mood best describes them.

mood wobbler stress balls

So what’s hot in stress balls? This is what we are raving about:

Themes that are hot include:

1. Energy conservation and technology
2. Camouflage stress balls. This is no surprise with camo prints being such a hot trend.
3. Two-in-one promos. My personal favorite is our smiley guy cell phone stand!
4. Motivational phrases. Don’t forget to check out our brand new inspiring phrases!

logo stress balls