How to Market a Business

Buying Branded Promotional Items

Written by Trynka Shineman for Gaebler Ventures

Knowing how to buy branded promotional items effectively will give you a leg up on the competition. We discuss some cost-effective ways to buy branded promotional items to maximize your small business marketing results.

Buying promotional items for a company involves knowing where to buy the best promotional items but also requires that you put on your creative hat and make the most of the promotional items you buy.

Where to Buy Branded Promotional Items

The good news for small businesses is that there are a number of companies that are now offering these products in small quantities and at competitive prices.

Typically the more you order, the less you will have to pay, but sometimes small businesses can't order more than a handful to start out.

You can also use your own design and colors, rather than working with a creative consultant, which can cost money.

Use Creativity When Sourcing Branded Promotional Items

Creatively, the branded promotional items must be unique and recognizable.

First you should come up with a logo that shows what your business does. A tagline or catchphrase is also something that can be impactful. If you consider some of the most recognizable catchphrases associated with business and relate it to your business, you can start to think about what might create some buzz for you.

"That was easy" has become Staples mantra, and Nike has "Just do it." Mary Kay is known for the pink cars that salespeople used to drive around in, and the uniforms they wear. Of course these companies have the power to promote these taglines nationally, but a creative tagline, color, or logo can be on the minds of anyone who sees it locally, and that can be a windfall.

You can also go beyond just outfitting your own crew of employees. If you have your own storefront, you can sell your own custom T-Shirts, Hats, Pens or Magnets, or give them away with a certain purchase level, and have your customers out doing your advertising for you.

For example, people who receive a free T-Shirt or hat as part of a promotion or giveaway will certainly wear it out in public, and promote your company and brand for you, almost free of charge. You never know when you might have a customer interested in using products that promote your brand.

If your promotional merchandise is truly unique, it can even become a viral success and generate enough buzz so that everyone will want one. Even if that means kids at the local high school want them, you've got a small, concentrated viral marketing campaign success to your credit. You never know what might resonate and catch on, but it's worth the effort in trying.

So put on your creative hat, put together a logo, tagline, and design some custom apparel and promotional items. It's a small investment worth making.

Trynka Shineman is chief marketing officer of VistaPrint, the small business marketing company. VistaPrint ( is a leading online supplier of high-quality graphic design services and customized printed products to small businesses and consumers.

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