Tips for Choosing and Ordering Promotional Products

Choosing Promotional Products – Tips for Your Business


Here’s a quick guide to some of the key things you must do when you’re preparing to spend your hard-won cash on promotional products for your business or products.


“… but I need these for an event this afternoon!”

This is Rule number 1, without a doubt.  Promotional products manufacturers and distributors are generally lovely people and given time, will work wonders to bring you lots of lovely promotional products, proudly displaying your logo and ready to bring you a fab return on your investment. However, they’re ultimately human and need time to work (not to mention a healthy work-life balance!).  In many cases, your products are sourced from outside the UK and have to be manufactured, branded then imported; a process that can take several weeks to several months depending on the quantity. So remember to take this into account when planning your next promotional campaign or event.  It’s not the suppliers fault if you leave it too late to order. Rush-orders do happen but McMurphy’s Promo Law dictates that if something can go wrong, it will happen more often on a rush order.  The good news is that UK manufacturing of promotional products is now widespread, so many products can be turned around pretty quickly.

We give this one equal weighting with Rule Number 1 above. First of all, think about your prospective customers and build a short-list of products that you think they would like.  Second of all, make sure that all “throw-away” products are crossed off your short list.  You know the sort of thing – those annoying little ad-bugs, branded paper/poly bags.  For heaven’s sake, choose something that’s useful to your customers.  For example, if it’s going to sit in an office somewhere, ensure it offers maximum repeat exposure of your brand.  Brilliant examples of desk or office items are mousemats, coasters and mugs – always on the desk, and in full view of your customers.  This helps to ensure your brand is retained and helps to build trust in your brand with your prospective customer base. Other examples of good, hardworking promotional products are keyrings, fridge magnets, pens – anything that will find a home in the daily lives of your prospective customers.

On most good promotional products websites, you will find arwork instructions.  Please read them and if you need any clarification, most companies will be only too happy to advise.  If you have a 72dpi 25 x 25mm version of your logo in Word and expect it to print well when blown up into a 235 x 200mm mousemat then I’m afraid you’re deluding yourself.  It just isn’t going to work. If you’ve ever had any company stationery printed (business cards, letterhead paper, compliments slips etc., then the chances are that you’ll still have the artwork on a hard drive for these – if so, there’s a very good chance that it will be in vector format and can be scaled up beautifully.  Many suppliers will even help you get artwork together but you’ll need to help them out by supplying to components in a format that can be used.

When it comes to promotional products, you get what you pay for. If you go cheap, you can bet your customers will see that as a direct reflection on you and/or your business.  “Another acrylic keyring with a boring print inside? Thanks – I know just where to put it.”

Rule 1 also applies when it’s time to re-order.  Even if your re-order is identical in every way, it still has to be made to order.  If you over-order, and it’s not a perishable product of course, then they will get used up eventually. Remember, it’s better to have products available to hand and not need them than to need them and not have them. Always keep some in reserve.


This was only supposed to be a Top 5 but to finish up, here’s one more…


Your competitors may be battening down the hatches and preparing to scrimp on the rich tea biscuits and promotional keyrings but that doesn’t mean you have to (well, maybe just on the biscuits).  In fact, if THEY’RE not spending on promotional products, this could be YOUR opportunity to steal some of their customers. Just a thought 🙂

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