Guest blog

5 tips to find the right promotional items

How to choose the right promotional item for your business

Hello, my name is Denise Strohsahl and I’m an Edinburgh-based marketing consultant for small businesses.

Jane has asked me to contribute to her blog and share some of my favourite marketing tips. So I decided to give you a few tips on how to make branded promotional items work for your business. Read on to find out more!

How to make the right choice

Whether you’re planning on attracting new business or getting repeat business and referrals from existing customers – promotional items and branded merchandise are a great way to grow your business.

But don’t just go for a generic pen or lanyard. In order for your promo products to have an actual impact, they need to represent your business and show that you know your customers!

Here are my 5 top tips on choosing the right promotional item:

branded golf bag tags
Holiday Essentials’ plywood golf bag tags

1. Have a clear goal

Before you get started, you need to be clear about what you want to achieve with your promo products.

Are you looking to attract new clients or say thank you to existing customers? Is this something for your staff or are you looking to increase your brand awareness in general?

Then decide which item is most likely to help you achieve that goal.

2. Think about your target audience

In order for your promotional items to work, they need to be relevant to your target market.

People will appreciate your give-away more if it’s something they actually use or need. And make sure the quality is good, so people can use it for years to come.

Show you care about your target audience by solving a problem.

3. Represent your brand

Of course, branded merchandise should have your logo on it and be in your company colours.

But the material, quality and the item itself say a lot about your business, too. So make sure to choose an item that reflects your values, USP (unique selling point) and niche.

Make sure your promotional items show your business in the best light.

engraving stainless steel hip flasks
The Wee Couper of Fife’s stainless steel hip flasks

4. Choose a simple & clear message

Don’t try to do everything at once. Focus on one purpose, one call-to-action for your promo products in order to get the best results.

So don’t try to squeeze in your logo, slogan, website and full contact details. Tell people what you want them to do (“Sign up now!”) and the easiest way to do that.

And always make sure that everything is easy to read and see.

5. Stand out

Don’t be just another pen at the trade show. Find a way to make your promotional items stand out.

You can either choose a unique item or simply go for a distinctive design or functionality. But in order to stand out from the crowd, your promo products should be different from the ones your competitors are using.

It’s a sure way for people to remember you and your business.


Denise Strohsahl runs Sandstonecastles Marketing, an Edinburgh-based marketing consultancy for small businesses. With over 19 years of experience, she helps business owners learn how to best market their products & services – on- and offline. She also writes a blog with practical marketing tips & advice and you can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.