Promo University

How Many Promotional Products Should I Order?

Alyssa Mertes

Published: June 22nd, 2021

Are you ordering promotional products for the first time? If so, it may seem like a daunting process. After all, with so many stress balls, pens, and water bottles to sift through, how do you know just how many items to order?

Let this guide give you a place to start! You'll get the most accurate number possible, so you can spend your money wisely and be ready to win with this advertising strategy.

Promotional Products

What is a Promotional Product Minimum?

Promotional Products

A promotional product minimum is a set quantity you must order at one time. Every item has a different minimum, ranging from as small as 10 to as large as 500. It just depends on what you're buying.

The minimum is important to keep in mind when it comes to figuring out how many products to order. It gives you a default number that you have to meet at one time and can't always be adjusted. So if you're hosting a small networking event and don't want 1,000 pens for the occasion, don't bother looking at pens that have a minimum set at 1,000! Browse low minimum options instead.

Promotional Products

How Many Promotional Products Should I Order?

Promotional Products

The amount of promotional products you need depends on why you're ordering and what items you want to buy. Your budget is also an important factor to consider when purchasing.

Before you place an order for promotional products, ask yourself…


  1. 1) Why do I need promotional items?
  2. 2) What promotional items do I want to order?
  3. 3) What is my budget?

#1: Why Do I Need Promotional Items?

Why Are You Ordering Promotional Products?

Every event and situation is different, so it's important to think about why you're ordering before you decide how many promotional items you need to buy.

Promotional products are commonly ordered for the following:

Trade show

Freebies for a Trade Show or Grand Opening

Recommended Qty.: Promo items for 80% of the total number of attendees

52% of trade show attendees are more likely to enter an exhibit if they're offered some kind of freebie! If you're going to a trade show or hosting a grand opening, you'll get way more attention by handing out business promotional items to as many visitors as possible.

Promotional Gift Ideas:

Meeting

Gifts to Win Over New Clients

Recommended Qty.: At least 365 promotional gifts - enough for 1 new client every day of the year

Are you a lawyer or real estate agent with a new client? Let them know they're in good hands by giving them a personalized welcome gift. Order the custom gifts in bulk, and keep them in storage until you need them.

Promotional Gift Ideas:

Goody Bags

Swag Bags or Goody Bags for Events

Recommended Qty.: 1 for everyone on your guest list

Whether it's a back-to-school picnic, art gala, or graduation, you can't go wrong with goody bags for everyone in attendance. Look at your guest list and order enough bags so everyone can take one home!

Promotional Gift Ideas:

Complimentary Gifts

Complimentary Gifts With Purchase

Recommended Qty: Less than 100 as this should be a limited time offer

Retail stores like Victoria's Secret, DSW, and Bath & Body Works often offer complimentary gifts with a purchase. This is a great way to treat your customers and encourage them to spend more money when they shop at your store. Order a low quantity of logoed items as these deals are usually only good for a limited time.

Promotional Gift Ideas:

Medal

Prizes for a Game or Contest

Recommended Qty.: Less than 50 so the prizes feel more rare and special

Host a social media contest, and offer company promotional items as prizes to the winners. This is a one-two marketing move since you're getting more fans on your social channels, while at the same time giving out logoed items that will help spread the word about your brand every time they're used.

Promotional Gift Ideas:

Band playing

Merch For Your Tent or Gift Shop

Recommended Qty.: About 1 year's worth of merch so you can change the design in the future

Podcasts, movies, restaurants, hotels, resorts, bands, and many others love offering branded merchandise to their fans. As long as you have a service to offer, you really can't have too much of this gear on hand.

Promotional Gift Ideas

Christmas decorations

Corporate Gifts

Recommended Qty.: 1 promotional gift for every employee at your company

There are many special occasions and milestones that may happen at your company. Celebrate anniversaries, groundbreaking sales months, and holidays like Christmas and Valentine's Day with corporate gifts that your team will treasure forever.

Promotional Gift Ideas:

Numbered balls

Raffle Prizes in Gift Baskets

Recommended Qty.: enough for every gift basket

Nothing makes you feel more like a winner than getting your raffle number called at an event. Fill up gift baskets with a mix of logo promotional items and other goodies like gift cards, bottles of wine, and tickets to live performances.

Promotional Gift Ideas:

Team huddle

Gifts at the End of a Season

Recommended Qty.: The number of coaches and/or players, plus a few extra gifts for referees, league organizers, and volunteers

It's been a season of blood, sweat, and tears. Reward your coaches and players for their dedication with promotional gifts from your league. Did you hand everything out, but still have some leftover items? Sell them in your concession stand!

Promotional Gift Ideas:

Fundraising event

Community Event or Fundraising Giveaways

Recommended Qty: Small amount for only the visitors who seem interested and ask questions

If you're a small business or non-profit with a booth at a community fair, you'll get way more visitors if you offer freebies. Save your money, and buy only a handful of promotional giveaways to keep at your table. In this case, you can hand them out only to the people who seem genuinely interested in learning more.

Promotional Gift Ideas:

Baby Shower gifts

Favors for Events like Weddings, Baby Showers, & Reunions

Recommended Qty.: Enough for the guests who are attending

Most promotional products orders are for marketing items, but that's not always the case! Some consumers want favors for personal events like weddings, birthday parties, baby showers, and family reunions. Does this sound like you? Do a headcount of all your guests ahead of time, and order that exact number!

Gift Ideas:

Ultimately, you should order enough promotional products that no one will miss out, while at the same time being careful not to go overboard. Be realistic about how many people are going to buy or receive one of your merch items or gifts.

#2: What Promotional Items Do I Want to Order?

What Promotional Products Are You Ordering?

The items you're interested in buying will have an impact on how many you order. Most consumers end up getting a higher quantity of cheap gifts and a lower quantity of high-end gifts.

Cheap Promotional Gifts

You can order more of these cheap promotional items at one time since they usually start at under $1 each.

Pens

Pens

Pro Tip: Even though you're getting cheap pens, make sure they have some kind of bonus feature or unique element. Stylus pens, for instance, can also be used on touchscreen devices.

Stress balls

Stress Balls

Pro Tip: Match the stress ball shape to your event or business, such as banana stress balls for a farmer's market or bowling pin stress balls for your alley.

Lip Balm

Lip Balm

Pro Tip: Choose a tasty flavor that's tough to resist like mango, root beer, or strawberry shortcake!

Keychains
Sticky Notes

Sticky Notes

Pro Tip: Try to get sticky notes with as many sheets as possible so your customers can use these pads for a long time.

Plastic water bottles
Lanyards

Lanyards

Pro Tip: The attachment on your lanyards makes a huge difference. Keychain lanyards are the best choice if you're ordering them as free marketing items for an event.

Bag Clips

Bag Clips

Pro Tip: Get house-shaped bag clips if you work in real estate, or cute paw prints if you work with animals.

Silicone Bracelets
Baby Shower gifts

Splurge Items

You're likely going to order a smaller quantity of these premium promotional items since they have a higher price tag.

jacket

Apparel

Pro Tip: Order a variety of sizes from small to XL, but order more "large" since this will fit the most people.

Apron
Stainless Steel Travel Mug
2 people
Headphone
golf gifts
Messenger Bags

Messenger Bags

Pro Tip: Messengers bags in neutral colors like beige, black, or gray will appeal to the most people.

Hardcover Notebooks
Pens
Sherpa Blanket

Sherpa Blankets

Pro Tip: Keep the Sherpa blankets in plastic wraps or bags so they don't get dirty or attract lint.

#3: What is My Budget?

Items

How Do I Make a Promotional Products Budget?

Your budget is personal and will affect how many promotional items you order. Stay firm with what you're comfortable spending and don't feel pressured to increase the amount. Only you know your comfort level!

Here's how to set a promotional products budget for your business:

#1 mobile graphic #1 desktop graphic

#1: Figure out your marketing budget.

The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends spending between 7% and 8% of your gross revenue on advertising. Business promotional items are just a blip on that radar, so don't blow your entire marketing budget at once!

#2 mobile #2

#2: Think about the recipient.

You wouldn't skimp on holiday gifts for your spouse, dad, or children, right? If you genuinely want to impress people, you're going to have to spend a little extra and invest in unique, one-of-a-kind promotional items. In turn, if you're handing out the giveaways to a big crowd for free, you can get away with something that's cheaper, yet equally awesome.

#3 mobile #3 desktop

#3: Know how often you order.

Repeat customers tend to order the same promo items year after year. They use these products for preplanned trade shows or just to keep in their gift shops. Does that sound like you? Spend the same amount (or better yet less) than what you spent last time. It's also not a bad idea to order a ton of logoed items in bulk ahead of time.

#4 mobile #4 destkop

#4: Be realistic.

COVID-19 was a nightmare for many industries. In fact, 45% of small businesses earned 50% or less of their revenue from before the pandemic. Brainstorm ahead of time about how much you want to spend and then search for marketing items that work for you.

What Else Should I Know About Ordering Promotional Products?

At this point, you probably have a general idea of how many promotional items you want to order. Before you get to it, here are a few other important things you should keep in mind:

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#1: Every item has a minimum quantity.

As mentioned, you can't just order any number that you want for most promo items. Each product will have a dedicated minimum quantity that you have to meet. If you don't need a ton of giveaways, shop for low minimum options.

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#2: You'll be charged per ink color.

A majority of promo items will be customized via ink transfer, which includes 1 ink color at no additional cost. In other words, your printed logo can only be 1 color or you'll have to pay more. If you want a more colorful design, look for items that are customized via embroidery or dye sublimation.

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#3: Setup fees and shipping will affect the total cost.

A setup fee is a standard cost associated with ordering logo promotional items. It covers the factories running the machines to print your design on the products. Shipping is also another factor that will affect the price of your order, especially if you pay for a rush order.

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#4: Certain items need to be handled with care.

Let's say you're ordering gel hand sanitizer. Since it's flammable, it can't be shipped via air travel. Maybe you're getting personalized chocolate. Don't keep it in a hot car or it'll melt! There are different stipulations for every item, so don't hesitate to ask questions while you're ordering.

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#5: Drinkware should always be washed by hand.

Even if it's labelled as dishwasher safe, it's always better to wash custom drinkware by hand. The design will last a lot longer since the water is often too hot and harsh in the dishwashing cycle.

Do Promotional Products Work?

Promo Products

According to the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), 88% of people remember the advertiser when their name or logo is printed on marketing items. These giveaways work in creating awareness about who you are and what you do.

People love freebies and are always willing to buy swag when it's from a brand they love! It's exactly why Coca-Cola can print their logo on t-shirts and sell them to fans, or why franchises like Star Wars make millions on merchandise every year. Case in point, a 2019 survey found that 85% of people have bought custom branded merchandise at some point.

Fans are showing their allegiance to these properties every time they wear their clothes, buy their toys, or get excited about these logoed items when they get them for free. It's what good marketing is all about!

Promo Products

The Bottom Line

There are millions of promotional products out there, so it helps to come ready to order with a game plan. A clear idea of why you're ordering, knowing what you expect to buy, and setting a budget are all great ways to make sure you end up with the right amount!

Quality Logo Products are experts on all things printed and promotional. Let our team of awesome, incredibly good looking, and fun promo nerds help you select awesome promotional swag today!

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Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa is the Lead Copywriter at Quality Logo Products. As a promo expert, she's uncovered the world's first custom tote bag, interviewed the guy behind rock band ACDC's logo, and had a piece published by the Advertising Specialty Institute, a leader in the promotional products industry.

References

Nuphoriq. How Much Should You Be Spending on Marketing? Retrieved from, https://nuphoriq.com/create-a-marketing-budget/

Rathore, S. (2020, October 13). 45% of Small Businesses Have Earned Half or Less of Their Pre-COVID Revenue During Pandemic. Retrieved from, https://smallbiztrends.com/2020/10/alignable-road-to-recovery-report.html

Promotional Products Association International (PPAI). Promotional Products Work. Retrieved from, https://www.promotionalproductswork.org/

Prodigi. (2020, February 7). The Big Branded Merchandise Survey 2019. Retrieved from, https://www.prodigi.com/blog/the-big-branded-merchandise-survey-2019/