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How to Pick Promotional Gifts that People Actually Want

Picture this. One of the visitors to your conference booth has spent the last ten hours traipsing the aisles of a sweltering hot (or freezing cold) exhibit hall, and her feet are killing her. She’s finally back in her hotel room. Even before she kicks off her shoes, she dumps her bag full of promotional gifts on the desk. What will she toss outright and what will she take home?

There’s your promotional product on the desk, and you naturally hope it will be a winner. Will it? If not, where did you go wrong in selecting it?  Is there any way to know before making your purchase which items will be a hit, and which will end up in that dreaded hotel wastebasket?

Perhaps there is. Read on for a few guidelines to keep in mind when making your selections.

Choose a product that ties in with your brand

A promotional gift should be just that, a gift, strictly for your customer, rather than simply something you want them to have. It should also tie in with your brand, and be a product you’d want for yourself. If you are selling kitchen equipment to restauranteurs, for example, give them a high-quality apron printed with your company logo, or perhaps a cutlery set. And be sure to keep the printing simple and clean, to ensure your gift actually gets used.

Get something that will be used every day

People love practical things that they’ll use all the time, like a coffee mug. If it looks unique and memorable, such as this Deco Dye Sublimation Mug, all the better. Not only will they frequently be drinking from a mug they like, at work or home, but every time they do, it will remind them of your company.

Another item that would fall under this umbrella would be mints that come in a fancy box emblazoned with your name.

And speaking of umbrellas….

Keep it seasonal

Umbrellas will be appreciated by your visitors when it’s pouring outside. And when the temperatures soar, sunglasses will be just as well received to hold off the glare. Sunglasses are great for both outdoor and indoor events, as is lip balm on those toasty days.

Go green

Who doesn’t sympathise with the plight of mother earth these days? When your promotional items are eco-friendly, they will be more valued by your potential and existing customers. The Bopp Cool drinking bottle, made of environmentally friendly Tristana, would be a great promotional gift choice. Or an Eco-friendly desk set, with handy sticky notes, flags, ruler and a pen in a trendy recycled paper box. The Tucson 2016 Pocket Diary, featuring ecological paper sourced from sustainable forests, will be scooped up by note-takers at the conference too.

Be creative

If you have budgetary restrictions, (and what organisation doesn’t), you’ll need to be creative with your resources.

One idea is to make sure your items go to loyal customers to give you the maximum bang for your buck. Inbound.org used t-shirts, which can be a bit of a high ticket item, to reward their most dedicated customers. During their successful campaign, those who made five referrals got a free one.

Another company, Reddit, made strong promotional use of a much lower priced item – stickers. They grew their brand by handing out inexpensive stickers at events and to people they saw randomly on the street. You too can hand out stickers and display them with suggested uses around your exhibit, on laptops, tablets, bulletin boards, notebooks, you name it! The sky’s the limit when it comes to stickers, and other affordable giveaways, like magnets, and buttons.

In conclusion

Promotional gifts are a great way to get your name out there, and anytime you can do so, it’s a good thing. But by putting some thought into the items you choose and treating your customers with respect, you can make sure your product is one of the “keepers” that makes it out of that hotel room and onto the plane ride home.


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