There are different approaches that small businesses can take to grow their business. As a small business owner, you’re probably familiar with most traditional marketing tactics. Still, a strategy you may need to be more familiar with is using promotional items.

Promotional items are branded goods or “swag” as a promotion. The idea is to send the right message to the right person at the right time. For example, let’s say you own a ski resort. A promotional item you may give customers or clients could be branded ski hats with your resort’s logo/art – distributed to promote and grow your business.

Promotional items aren’t just apparel, either. This swag could range from cookies with your small business’ logo to custom bobbleheads.

So, how can your small business use these items to raise brand awareness and expand your reach?

Our recent episode of A Little Marketing discusses how small businesses can use promotional items to grow. In the episode, Kristy Carruthers, owner of Proforma Connect Branded Goods in Kelowna, BC, joins us. Kristy gives us the inside scoop on how to use “swag” to build relationships and grow your business.

The Benefits of Branded Goods

Is giving away promotional items worth it for small business owners? Well, according to Kristy, branded items have a ton of benefits. “There are many ways to incorporate branding tools into your business. Whether it’s reaching new clients, creating awareness, growing sales, retaining clients longer – it’s endless,” Kristy says.

It also has a great ROI. Kristy mentions that if you choose the branded item thoughtfully, it’s one of the lowest-costing advertising mediums. “If you chose [the branded item] well and it’s something that they value, use and keep for a long time . . . they’re seeing your logo, they’re being reminded of your company over and over and over again for that one small initial cost.”

So overall, it’s a great way to get your business’s name out there!

Use Promotional Items to Keep in Touch with Your Customers or Clients

Promotional items not only help to promote your business, but they also promote growth in the relationship between your business and your client or customer base. In addition, taking advantage of promotional items as a small business is something unique that’ll set your business apart. As Kristy mentions, “It’s something you can do as a small business that these large companies aren’t going to be able to do at scale.”

Consider gifting items for your client’s birthday, the anniversary of your business-client relationship, or just because!

“They can hold that item, they can keep that item . . . it creates that goodwill,” says Kristy. It’s a thoughtful and kind way to remind your customers or clients that your business is there.

And a great bonus: Your clients may even post the item on social media or show it to their friends, creating buzz about your business.

Aside from the benefits of promotion and relationship building, promotional items are a great way to make your clients – and you – feel good as small business owners. “At the end of the day, if you get nothing out of it — you’ve made someone’s day. You’ve made them feel good about your company,” says Kristy, “It’s feel-good marketing!”


Learn from our other guest experts from our podcast too!