Promotional products.  You’ve all seen them. Chances are you probably have been given a few. But as a business owner you probably wonder if they would be a effective form of marketing for your company, and how they can be used to attract more customers.  You might also be confused about even the process of how to get promotional products for your company.

No worries! In this article I will go over the basics of promotional products in a brief Q & A that will help uncloak many aspects of promotional products that may not be known to the regular business owner like yourself. I also provide some helpful pointers when ordering any promotional products to ease the process for you:

What are promotional products?

Promotional products are merchandise imprinted with a company’s name, logo, and/or information used for advertising, gifts, and award programs.

What are some of the nicknames I hear for promotional products?

Promotional products are sometimes also known as advertising specialties, SWAG (Stuff We All Get) and PMTs (Promotional Marketing Tools)

How can promotional products be used in my marketing?

  • Premium – give a promotional product as an incentive to do something (simple example: free hat when purchasing item X, or free shirt to first 50 customers)
  • Recognition Award – provide to customer with most points in an award system. A promotional product incentive and eligibility in a sweepstakes drew as many as 500% more referrals than an appeal letter alone (PPAI – Georgia Southern University Study)
  • Business Gift – offer up a free product for prospect meeting/info or tangible reward for being your customer. (ala free tumbler for joining mailing list or appointment). 36% of people are more likely to do business with a company after receiving a promotional product

Why are promotional products effective?

  • long lasting staying power
  • cost effectiveness
  • lead generation
  • brand recognition/loyalty

 Are they only used by large corporations?

No. A common misconception is that they are only used by big Fortune 500 company’s for events and purchased in large bulk. when in fact many small to mid-sized business owners use them as part of their marketing plans and there are many different increments that can be purchased depending on the product. The key to success is to have them included in a  direct response marketing campaign.

What are some types of merchandise that are branded?

Wearables (t-shirts, hats, sweatshirts), writing instruments, bags, drink ware, office accessories, calendars, trophies, and tech accessories are some of the most commonly used products.

I personally would try to avoid tech products if ordering in large quantities to have for an extended period of time because they can have a tendency to become obsolete pretty quick (think floppy disks and mouse pads… who has those anymore?)

How can promotional products be used for a 501c3 nonprofit?

Promotional products are an excellent way to produce incentive to donate to your cause and a great way to show appreciation to donors, while also helping to further promote your organization.

What is Vector Art?

Vector art, in short, is graphic artwork of your company logo which can be enlarged or shrunk in size without losing its quality. It is the type of artwork best suited for use to create images on promotional products. The file will be a .eps or .ai file. JPEG, PNG, and TIFF files are not usually accepted by the designer because the low quality will result in a bad transfer.

You may also hear the term “Camera Ready Art Work” which basically means no changes need to be made to the artwork or logo and can go into production.

Make sure if you have your logo designed by a graphic designer to not lose the vector artwork created so you can easily access it for future advertising purposes.

How is my logo imprinted on the merchandise?

There are many different ways promotional products can be imprinted and can have various set up costs depending on the type of product. Always ask ahead of time what the set up charge cost will be or the hourly charge if you are having the promotional products company create a logo or design for you. Below are the most common ways:

  • Screen printing -most common, quick and cost effective.
  • Pad printing -image is created on a rubber stamp and pressed onto products. Used for round items such as golf balls.
  • Embroidery – more upscale offer for wearable items. The logo is stitched into the product. Difficult for smaller precise detail. Always double check if there will be added charges for reaching a certain stitch amount
  • Etching and Engraving –laser imprinting used for wood, metal and glass products.
  • Hot Stamping, Embossing, and Debossing -logo is pressed into item, usually on leather, vinyl and wearables.

Well there you have it, a quick lesson on promotional products. If you are in need of more information feel free to contact ACK PROMOTIONAL, LLC at 813-910-4359 or  and we will be happy to help. Also, for small to mid-sized business owners don’t forget to ask about receiving your free 14 page copy of  “The 7 Essentials E Report” to learn how to maximize the results from your advertising.




Michael Ackendorf is the president of ACK PROMOTIONAL, LLC. Michael has worked under small business entrepreneurs, freelance marketers, and fortune 500 corporate leaders. His experience, diversified skill set, and personality is instrumental in helping ACK PROMOTIONAL, LLC and its clientele ascend to new heights of potential. He authors the ACK PROMOTIONAL NEWS blog/newsletter along with being the writer, producer and host of the video blog ACK PROMOTIONAL TV. He has appeared on the popular Tampa radio talk show “That Business Show” With Jamie Meloni, providing his expertise on small business marketing.