Here Are the 5 Most Popular Promotional Items

Rohan Mathew

Updated on:

Promotional items are a big hit with customers — and why shouldn’t they be? Everyone loves getting a free gift, and as long as you invest in quality custom promotional products that will last a long time, you’ll get quite the return on your marketing investment.

Of course, you also have to choose the right promotional products. The last thing you need is to have your customer chuck your promotional product into the nearest trash can as soon as you walk away. You want them to keep it, use it, and hopefully carry it around with them so that your brand messaging gets maximum exposure. These five popular promotional items are most likely to get your brand messaging the exposure you crave.

1) Mugs

Drinkware is a perennially popular category of promotional item because everyone uses mugs, tumblers, travel mugs, water bottles, and other drinkware, and no one really cares that much what kind of design the drinkware has. Customers will take promotional mugs home or to work, where they’ll use them for a year or more — most people keep promotional products for an average of eight months, but if they really like them, they’ll use them for longer. When they’re done with them, they might even pass them on to someone else — or donate them to charity, where they’ll get your branded messaging in front of even more pairs of eyes.

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2) Pens

Pens are another thing that everyone needs and uses, but no one really cares that much what they look like. A high-quality pen that writes smoothly is just the thing to inspire brand loyalty in your customers. Everyone loves a good pen, and customers always appreciate a durable pen with smooth-flowing ink to use on a daily basis. People will carry their branded pens around with them, too, so you’ll get some more exposure for your messaging. 

3) Custom Tote Bags 

As people are becoming aware of the environmental effects of plastic bags, reusable bags are getting more popular. You’ll often see vendors stationed near the entrance of trade shows and other events, like fairs and expositions, handing out branded, custom bags to attendees. These bags then get carried throughout the event, spreading the brand messaging far and wide. 

Customers appreciate having something to put their newly purchased tokens or other free promotional items in. If it’s a nice bag, they’ll take it home and keep using it to buy groceries, carry library books, and shop at all their favorite stores. In all those locations, people will see your brand messaging prominently displayed on your custom tote bags.

4) Products Made with Sustainable Materials

These days, lots of people are willing to pay more for sustainable products; choosing promotional items made with sustainable materials reflects your company’s commitment to environmental stewardship and reflects positively on your brand. Customers will be even more interested in getting their hands on some of your promotional items. Sustainability is more than a trend — it’s the future, and offering sustainable promotional products will strengthen your reputation in the eyes of customers.

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5) USB Thumb Drives

Everyone has access to cloud storage these days, but there’s something to be said for a physical storage drive where you can access your videos, documents, pictures, and other data without the need for an internet connection or a subscription to any cloud service. A USB thumb drive, like a pen or a coffee mug, is just another one of those things that’s so useful no one really cares if it has a logo on it. 

Customers will really appreciate this free gift, which is useful and has real value for most people. They’ll keep their free USB drive and use it, often at work or school where the brand messaging can be seen by even more people. A USB thumb drive can be $10 or more to buy in most retail stores, so they’re coveted freebies that customers will use for a long time and maybe give away when they’re done with it.

Promotional items are one of the most successful and cost-effective ways to market your business, but they’re most effective when you choose the right products. Stock up on the items that customers want most, and they’ll repay your generosity by spreading your brand messaging to their friends, families, and coworkers.