Are You Wasting Your Money? Check Your Junk Drawer for Promotional Merchandise Insights

All of us have received promotional items at some point in our lives. Promotional merchandise includes “give away” items that businesses gift their customers and/or prospective clients. These items will have a business logo and contact information printed on them.

As small business owners, most of us realize how important giving away promo items can be for our long-term advertising campaigns. The problem is knowing what to give.

From imprinted ballpoint pens that you can buy in bulk for less than fifty cents each to old world style globes with fancy brass stands imprinted with your company information, there is promotional merchandise to fit into just about any business budget. Personally, I feel that the usability of a promotional item is much more important than the cost.

If it is something that your client will never use or look at, the promotional item is probably a waste of money. What you want is something that will continually remind your customer or prospect of your business. Before spending a cent, there’s a good way to figure out if you will be flushing money down the drain with your promotions: Check your junk drawer.

I personally do not know anyone who does not have a “junk drawer” – that depository of stuff that you don’t quite feel right about throwing away because it was either a gift or it might be useful sometime in the future. I actually have two junk drawers: One is full of rubber bands, twist-its, straws, a collection of ketchup packets, and other crud that I’ll use every once in awhile or will throw out at the end of each year. The other one is full of key chains, little calculators, and refrigerator magnets that I’ve received from various local businesses. I guess you could call this my “promotional merchandise junk drawer.”

Why are they in the junk drawer? I never use them. Take a look at your own junk drawer and you’ll discover a bunch of cheap promotional items that you’ll never use. Herein is the key to what sorts of promotional items you should or should not be buying.

Giveaways that I use all the time are calendars and pens. These promotional products are not very expensive; yet, they are practical and something that your clients will appreciate and actually use. Other practical promotional merchandise that people will use on a continual basis includes USB flash drives, mouse pads, sticky pads and memo pads.

You might find that caps are an affordable promotional product that your customers appreciate. Just about anyone is going to wear a cap or hat at some point, so these promotions might come in handy for your customers.

Your promotional products should also have some bearing or relevancy for your business. For example, it would be a bit odd if a mining company gave cute little cosmetic kits as its promotional merchandise.

There are thousands of things that can be printed with your business logo or information and, of course, thousands of unique promotional ideas you can grab for your advertising campaign. The main things to consider are (a) the cost and (b) if your prospects will use your promotional gift or toss it in the junk drawer. Since the whole point of giving away merchandise is to promote your business, you want something that will continuously advertise your business to your client. A ballpoint pen with your company information has a higher chance of pulling in more business for you than a hot pink t-shirt that’s way too small for that ex-Marine client your consulting business has been courting.