8 Key Promotional Materials for Every Business (2023)

All businesses, big and small, rely on their marketing plans to attract new customers and increase sales. Given that there […]

Mark Jackson

President at SwagDrop

All businesses, big and small, rely on their marketing plans to attract new customers and increase sales.

Given that there are now so many ways to promote a product or service, businesses have a difficult time deciding which marketing method is the right one for them.

However, one way that’s stuck over the years is the use of promotional materials.

They’re a key component when it comes to promotional marketing tactics, so to help you out, we’ve created a list of eight promotional materials every business should use.

Here are some of the promotional materials we’re going to share with you:

  • Business cards
  • Tote bags
  • Tumblers
  • Hand sanitizers

Plus, many more.

We’ve got lots to cover, so let’s get straight into it.

Table of Contents

What are Promotional Materials?

4 Benefits of Investing in Promotional Materials

Promotional Material #1: Writing Instruments

Promotional Material #2: Tote Bags

Promotional Material #3: T-shirts

Promotional Material #4: Tumblers

Promotional Material #5: USB Flash Drive

Promotional Material #6: Hand Sanitizer

Promotional Material #7: Writing Instruments

Promotional Material #8: Business Cards

What are Promotional Materials? 

Promotional materials are all printed, written, and graphic means of promoting a business, mainly through the company’s name and logo.

They can also be seen as promotional items or promotional products.

Moreover, those means are marketing materials that come in all shapes and forms, aiming to increase brand awareness and attract potential customers.

Whether they’re free samples or gift items, promo products can be given out at special events, conferences, and even promotional giveaways.

You could say that promotional materials are also part of a wider public relations strategy, where big and small businesses aim to create good relationships with event attendees, conference speakers, clients, and employees.

Now, let’s dive a little deeper into the main benefits of promotional materials.

4 Benefits of Investing in Promotional Materials

Companies that use promotional materials as part of their marketing strategy are more likely to have increased sales and a great return on investment (ROI).

According to the 2020 ad impressions study, when it comes to promotional face masks, one that costs $5 will have a cost per impression (CPI) of just over 0.1 cents.

It’s also reported that the average number of impressions a promo mask receives is over 4,000!

Clearly, promotional items are one of the best ways to advertise a business and increase brand recognition.

Let’s have a closer look at those benefits as well as a few more.

Benefit #1: Enhance brand recognition and brand recall 

The first benefit is the increased awareness and recognition promotional products can offer a brand.

Image Source: ASI

Brand recognition is one of those things every business seeks but is not always easy to get.

It’s the extent to which a consumer can identify a brand just by looking at the logo, a tag line, packaging, and even hearing an audio cue like a jingle.

There are countless companies with very strong brand recognition, like Coca-Cola and McDonald’s.

Obviously, this didn’t happen overnight, nor was only one marketing method used; but promotional materials played a big role in achieving this.

That’s because brands can apply their logo on an item that their customers will use regularly. 

That could be a free pen or a mug, for example.

They’re continuously reminded of the brand and are more likely to remember it when they need a product or service.

Makes sense, right?

Let’s move on to the second benefit.

Benefit #2: Strengthen and deepen customer relationships

Building strong ties with customers is key to creating long-lasting relationships with them.

That’s exactly what promotional materials do best.

After all, people love receiving gifts and when it’s from a brand they like, it adds an extra thoughtful touch and further strengthens their bond with it.

Actually, according to the study we mentioned earlier, 57% of consumers reported that they’ve kept promo products for more than five years.

That’s a pretty impressive stat and further reinforces our point that promotional materials can really enhance customer relationships.

A core reason why this happens is that customers feel like you – as a brand – really care about them and associate you with a positive experience.

Besides that, they feel like you understand their needs and appreciate them; which almost immediately distinguishes your brand from competitors.

All in all, promotional materials can really be a game-changer when it comes to creating and strengthening customer relationships.

Author’s Tip: Don’t forget to be creative and think outside the box when creating promotional materials; choosing eye-catching products can offer your brand a great advantage.

Let’s continue with the next benefit.

Benefit #3: Boost employee morale 

Building amazing and long-lasting relationships with customers is crucial, but doing the same with employees is also a vital part of any successful brand.

Branded swag does all sorts of things in relation to boosting employee morale,  including:

With over 80% of executives and employees saying that having engaged and motivated employees is the top factor that contributes to a company’s success, we understand that companies shouldn’t underestimate the power of branded swag as a way to show their employees that they are valued and appreciated.

Many companies hand out branded products to employees to thank them for their excellent performance, to congratulate, or even encourage them; after all, we all have bad days and some extra motivation is always welcome.

Whatever the case, promotional materials can really boost employee morale which will, in turn, produce better results for the company.

According to the PPAI 2018 consumer study, 97% of employees that are satisfied in their jobs and work environment are very likely to represent their company outside the workplace by wearing the company’s swag in public. 

Image Source: PPAI

How can brands harness this, exactly?

One idea is to give away freebies. 

It’s possibly one of the simplest, yet highly effective, promotional items ideas.

Another idea would be to offer them a branded swag box.

What’s better than having your employees proudly use or wear the products you gave them?

All in all, showing your employees that you recognize their hard work is essential for a positive work environment. 

Hence why promotional materials and employee appreciation ideas are always handy when brands want to motivate and thank their team members.

Let’s continue with the last benefit we have for you.

Benefit #4: Cost-efficient marketing tactic

It’s true that not all businesses have the same budget when it comes to marketing.

For instance, a large corporation can integrate social media tactics, paid advertisements, sponsorships, promotional materials, and many more into their strategies.

Meanwhile, a new business with limited funds has to be more selective when it comes to its marketing strategy; and promotional materials are often an integral part of it.

That’s because it’s cost-efficient, meaning that brands can invest a relatively small amount of money and receive great returns on their investment.

The most important reason why this happens is that when brands give promotional materials to their customers and employees, they – in a way – become brand ambassadors for the company.

Imagine going to an event and receiving an awesome branded tumbler from one of your favorite companies. 

You wouldn’t just use it at home, but also at the office, and anywhere outside.

This means that it’ll catch the attention of other people too, which further increases brand awareness. 

Promotional materials are also long-lasting compared to social media advertisements, for example.

As we covered earlier, 57% of consumers reported that they’ve kept promo products for more than five years and, according to the same study, 40% of them have kept them for more than 10 years!

If that’s not affordable and effective marketing, then we don’t know what is.

Now it’s time to move on to the list of key promotional materials we’ve created for you.

Writing Instruments

Various writing instruments can be useful for professionals working at home or in the office.

Image Source: Gemline

While it’s true that electronic devices such as laptops and smartphones are now our main means of working and taking notes, notebooks and pens still hold their value.

That’s exactly why writing instruments are a popular choice when it comes to promotional materials.

They can easily be branded and handed out at events and conferences, either alone or as part of a set, which might include more promotional products.

Additionally, they more often than not appeal to a business’s target audience; after all, every professional, individual, or student can get great use out of them.

A fascinating stat is that 50% of the promotional items owned in the US are writing instruments, such as promotional pens.

Image Source: ASI

For your next event or tradeshow, branded writing instruments are a must!

Author’s Tip: When it comes to conference and event swag, make sure to hand your swag  out before the start, so attendees have something to take notes with.

Tote Bags

Tote bags are an excellent choice when it comes to promotional materials, as they’re both useful and stylish when promoting a brand.

They can work as fantastic bags for grocery shopping, at the office, the beach, the gym, and even as a tote backpack.

Their functionality as well as their relatively large surface make it a no-brainer for brands; they can easily add their logo on them and hand them out at events or to their employees as a thank you gift.

It’s no wonder why brands are such fans of tote bags; a few examples include ASOS, Nude, and BALR.

We really can’t blame them!

According to a study, promotional bags generate over 3,300 impressions over their lifetime and 50% of consumers who received one are more likely to do business with the brand.

If you weren’t already sold on them, the fact that totes are eco-friendly gives them a big boost in popularity; they can be used for many years and are usually made out of cotton instead of plastic.

Let’s move on.


T-shirts are probably one of the first things that come to your mind when you hear about promotional materials.

They’re a very popular choice since everyone loves a nice t-shirt; you really can’t go wrong with it!

Simply make sure to have various sizes of them – such as small, medium, large, and so on – add your company logo on top, and you have yourself a beautiful promotional item.

You can go for full- or multi-color ones,  unisex or not, crew neck or polo collar, as well as with sleeves or without.

The possibilities are really endless, making t-shirts one of the most flexible promotional items out there.

Don’t forget to go for high-quality ones, personalize them, and make them stylish!

Author’s Tip: Why not use t-shirts as a fundraiser to help raise money for a chosen cause?

Let’s continue to the next item we have for you.


Tumblers are one of the most favorite drinkware items people have and they never stop being in demand.

Ideal as a summer promotional item, tumblers keep cold drinks cool and can be taken anywhere; from the office to the beach.

That’s exactly why brands love personalizing them with their logo and handing them out as promotional materials.

They’re also one of the most eco-friendly choices out there; they’re usually made of stainless steel or metal.

Tumblers combine practicality and style in one, so make sure to go for high-quality ones and keep them stylish when branding them!

Moving on to the next item on our list.

USB Flash Drive

Yes, it’s true that most people nowadays save files on the cloud, but USB flash drives still remain a great choice for tech swag.

Image Source: PCNA

They’re great for saving important files as backups or opening presentations on someone else’s computer.

Whatever the reason, you’re bound to find a way to get great use out of USB flash drives and that’s exactly why many brands love to use them as promotional products.

They’re also flexible since they come in many shapes, sizes, and colors, so brands can customize them as they wish according to their guidelines.

Author’s Tip: Flash drives are ideal for virtual and live events, conferences, and trade shows

Let’s now continue with the last product on this list.

Hand Sanitizer

Ever since the pandemic began, wellness goodies have been very popular when it comes to promotional materials and hand sanitizers are no exception.

Image Source: Gemline

If you’re looking for a product that combines hygiene and an opportunity to promote your brand, then hand sanitizers should be a no-brainer.

Firstly, it’s something that’s bound to be used by everyone; so you don’t have to worry about it not being liked.

It’s also a very flexible item since it can come in the form of gel or spray, as well as in small or larger bottles.

Even after the pandemic, you can still personalize and give out hand sanitizers at post-covid events; after all, hygiene will always be in fashion!

Author’s Tip: We suggest combining hand sanitizers with other wellness items, such as face masks.

We’re now moving on to the next material.


Post-its are great for people working at home or the office, as well as anyone studying or who has a busy schedule.

Image Source: PCNA

After all, modern-day lives can be so hectic that we sometimes need constant reminders about our tasks and chores.

That’s why Post-its – or sticky notes – are so handy; they’re so easy to use and super helpful.

You can write down a reminder for something and post it like a sticker anywhere you like, whether that’s an office desk, a mirror, or a wall.

They can be particularly useful for online meetings and presentations as well since it’s not always easy to remember your points, questions you may want to ask, or topics to discuss.

Post-it notes on the edge of a laptop screen can be life-saving!

The fact that they’re so widely used and seen on a daily basis makes them an excellent promotional material for brands to take advantage of and add their company name and logo to.

They can easily be handed out at events, work as tradeshow giveaways, or be given to employees at the office instead of handouts, flyers, and bookmarks.

Let’s move on to our next item.

Business Cards

The value business cards offer is no secret; they’ve managed to stay irreplaceable over the years.

Image Source: Design Hill

They usually contain key details such as an individual’s contact information, job role, company name, and logo, as well as contact information for the person.

What’s more, business cards are often part of a wider branding practice where companies try to be as innovative as possible and make them stand out, instead of using the same templates that everyone else does.

That’s why they’re an integral part of promotional materials that businesses opt for; they not only have branding purposes, but act as an active sales promotion item, since leads and prospects can be generated.

According to a statistic, sales increase by 2.5% for every 2,000 business cards handed out.

It’s clear that business cards are very useful promotional materials that any business or professional can offer.

Now Over to You

That’s all we have for you!

Our list of eight key promotional materials for every business is finalized and ready for you to check out before planning your next promotional actions.

There’s quite a lot to take into consideration here; such as your audience and budget, but we really believe this list will have you covered.

If you feel like you’ve made your choices and are ready to order some promotional items, you can partner with a creative merchandise company that will guide you step-by-step.

Don’t hesitate to contact us using the form below, should you have any questions.

Thanks for reading!

Featured image: PCNA

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