5 Tips For Creating Custom Promotional Products 

by Josh Biggs in Marketing on 2nd December 2021

Even with the advancement of communication technology, custom promotional products remain to be an effective marketing strategy that can help companies build meaningful relationships with their customer following. 

Although more and more brands choose digital marketing, the value of promotional products isn’t completely lost on many. This is because having these products enable businesses to attract new clients, boost brand presence and loyalty, transform employees into brand ambassadors and build a community of followers.  

Customers generally give positive feedback when it comes to receiving freebies. According to a study conducted in the US by Promotional Products Association International, 83% of customers are reported to be in favor of receiving promotional products together with advertisements. This response shows that custom brand products are still in demand and much appreciated by consumers.  

When it comes to designing custom brand products, many companies would often source common, everyday items and then have the brand name and logo placed on each item by printing specialists. There are also one-stop shops for promotional items such as Shop Strange Screen Printing & Embroidery which offers unbranded merchandise that they could customize as per client preference. 

However, there are several factors that are important to consider before getting started with production. If you’re thinking about how to design and produce promotional products for your company, you can consider the following tips which you may find helpful.  

  1. Set Goals 

When it comes to goal setting, there may be several factors that could come into play and it would all depend on what you’d like to focus on as an organization at the time. Some companies decide to create and launch promotional items in lieu of introducing new products and services to the market. In this case, the goal of creating freebies is to attract customers and increase revenue.  

On the other hand, some brands prepare custom promo products as a way of boosting brand presence during particular seasons such as Christmas or Thanksgiving when giftable items will be timely and useful. In such cases, the goal is to boost customer engagement and strengthen the brand’s presence in the market.  

While there may be many reasons why your organization would decide to create custom brand products, the key to getting started on the right foot is to clearly define objectives for a particular campaign. 

These objectives will serve as your guide in making important decisions such as brand and logo placement, selecting the promotional items to be used, deciding when and how to launch the products, among others.  

Once you’ve clearly outlined the objectives of your campaign, you can easily work on other tasks to move your project forward. For instance, if you’re goal is to boost brand presence for the Christmas season, you can create a design for your brand name and logo which would match the occasion. 

At the same time, you can narrow down your selection of products to items of interest during holidays such as gift cards, self-care products, household items, etc.   

  1.  Study The Competition  

Promotional items are widely popular across industries, and competing businesses would most likely offer similar items. This is why it’s important to look at what the competition has to offer and see how your brand can stand out. 

However, while it’s important to know what you could do differently, you can also take advantage of learning the competition’s promotion and branding strategies which can serve as your inspiration while in the process of conceptualizing and producing your custom products.

 You can take note of what are the most interesting pieces in their product line, and think about how you can achieve the same effect with your own brand.  

Many businesses fall into the trap of choosing low-value items in an attempt to cut costs. Learning about the competing promotional items would help you avoid this pitfall, as you’d want to ensure that your offerings would be at par with them when it comes to visual appeal, function, and value.  

  1. Seek Customer Feedback  

After having a look at what the competition has to offer, the next step is to see what your customers have to say. You can do this by conducting short, quick surveys to gather what freebies your customers would want to receive as part of your promotion. If you have a brick-and-mortar shop, for example, you can use short survey forms to gather responses.  

On the other hand, you can also use your online platforms such as social media accounts and websites to ask for feedback from customers. When using your online platforms, you can post mock-up images of the items with the brand name and logo to let the customers see what the designs would look like. You can then let them choose the items that they like most to see which ones are the most popular among your audience.  

Knowing what your customers want is essential as it could save you time and money while allowing you to focus on promo items that could truly bring value to your campaign. 

4. Create Your Line of Promotional Items 

This step is crucial to the success of your promotional campaign as your selection of items could greatly influence its impact on your audience and your brand as well. Though it may be tempting to go for inexpensive items to help you cut costs, it could backfire if they won’t add value to your campaign. 

In selecting customizable products, it may be helpful to think about items that could make thoughtful gifts to loved ones and friends. They shouldn’t only be visually appealing, but also functional and practical at the same time. Additionally, you also have to consider the industry you’re in and whether they would be a good fit for your products and brand. 

Below are some of the most popular promotional items which you can consider for your brand: 

  • Bags and Backpacks – They’re great items that would give more exposure for your brand because users carry them around anywhere they go. When it comes to bags, the key is to ensure the quality of the designs and the durability of the materials used.  
  • Mugs. Tumblers and Glasses – These are ideal for any line of business or industry as they’re flexible and can be used by anyone from all demographics.  
  • Writing Materials – This is another flexible item that can suit any type of brand or industry. Though these items may seem too small or too simple, they can look interesting and giftable depending on the quality of the items and the designs used.  
  • Simple Tech Items – These can be flash drives, mouse pads, laptop sleeves, etc. Giving away tech items could be a way of showing your audience that your brand is modern and updated with the latest tech trends.  
  • Apparel – Clothing items are also great for promotions because of their versatility and functionality as well. There are many types of apparel to choose from and they can also be used in any line of business. The most popular items of choice are caps, hoodies, and t-shirts.  

Additionally, you also have to consider the industry you’re in and whether an item would be a good fit for your products and brand. For example, if you’re in the coffee industry, giving out pens as freebies can seem inappropriate and may be ineffective to promote your brand. Instead, you can give out items relevant to your product such as drink coasters or tumblers.  

5. Turn Employees Into Brand Ambassadors 

Before introducing your custom promo items to the market, you can test their appeal by showing some samples to your employees and letting them provide honest feedback. 

In this case, it’s important to let the employees see all the items that you’re planning to offer so that they can rate which ones are the most appealing and which ones need to be replaced if any. You can also let them write suggestions about what they think is missing from your line of products, or what should be improved with your current offerings.  

Apart from gathering their insight, letting your employees participate in the development of promo items could also enhance their engagement towards your advertising campaign and to the brand in general. This way, they could indirectly serve as brand ambassadors as they use the custom items and show your brand name and logo to anyone in their circle. 

The freebies could also serve as additional incentives to boost motivation and productivity in the workplace.  Either way, you’re maximizing your investment towards promotional items by boosting your brand image while taking care of your employees as well.  


There are multitudes of items and designs you can use when it comes to creating your promotional products. Given this, you’ll have to be strategic when it comes to selecting which ones would work best for the goals that you’ve set for your brand and for your organization. Also, your selection would have to be tailored based on the profile of your audience and the kind of image that you’d want your brand to have. With these in mind, you’ll be certain to come up with a line of promotional products that would best represent your brand.  

Categories: Marketing