If you’re a printer or decorator who’s not offering promo products to your customers, you’re leaving a ton of money on the table.

The billions companies already spend on promotional products (yes, that includes apparel) continues to increase every year. In fact, industry experts estimate that corporations, organizations, schools and beyond purchased almost $25 billion in logoed goods in 2019. Of that, about a third of the spend goes to imprinted apparel. Wouldn’t you like to tap into the other two-thirds?

“Within the next five years, I see the industry continuing to grow,”  Jo-an Lantz, president, and CEO of Geiger told ASI’s Counselor magazine. “The usage of promotional products will increase and we’ll expand the definition of our industry, which could include items for resale, licensing and business-to-consumer. There will be two or more distributors and two or more suppliers with annual sales volume over $1 billion.”

That’s why now’s the time to add promotional items to your list of offerings. When a customer calls up and says, “I need T-shirts, hats, mugs and pens,” you can say, “No problem! We’ve got you covered.”

The best part? There are about 750,000 products available at wholesale for you to offer your clients, from the expected to the unexpected. (Yep, you can sell logoed toilet paper and score custom Bobblehead dolls.) You won’t even need to invest in new imprinting equipment to decorate these products! Your shop doesn’t need to decorate them at all—we’ll explain how in this blog.

Let’s jump into six strong reasons why you should start offering advertising specialties (another common term for promotional products)—and one fantastic solution to make it happen, as soon as today.

1. You’ll truly be a one-stop-shop for your customers.

Most businesses and organizations would love to score all of their logoed promo items—encompassing apparel and hard goods—from one provider they absolutely trust. Think of it as offering an even better customer experience to your customer base. You’re covering all their promo goods needs.

Plus, as you’ve learned in Business 101, acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing one. Even more compelling, you’ll enjoy a much higher success rate selling to a customer you already have on board (60% to 70%), than to selling to a buyer whose brand is new to you (5% to 20%).

If you decide to add promo products to your lineup, you’ve got an amazing opportunity to do a marketing full-court press.  You may be surprised at how quickly you’ll start capturing promo dollars from existing and new customers looking for a one-stop provider. 

2. Promo products are an easy and natural cross-sell or upsell.

For example, if a company hosts a summer barbecue for employees, you’ll suggest a gift bag with a T-shirt, fun sunglasses, sunscreen, and frisbee. Or, for a charity 5K, suggest giving participants a T-shirt, bandana, water bottle and lip balm. You can even add a logoed tote or bag to hold all the gifts, and recipients will use the bag separately many times over.

Suddenly, you’re no longer just taking an order for 200 T-shirts. You’re a solutions provider—offering a custom mix of products that your clients’  employees, customers, and event attendees will love and use for months or longer.

Besides T-shirts, headwear, outerwear and polo shirts, ASI’s latest Global Ad Impressions Study reports that writing instruments, drinkware, bags, desk accessories, calendars, USB drives, umbrellas, and mobile power banks are the most popular promo products with end-users. And, there are lots of stats to back up the effectiveness of promo products as an advertising medium. 

For example, ASI’s report says that end-users keep a logoed pen an average of nine months. That one pen gets seen more than 3,000 times by the user and others. Plus, an end-user who receives a pen is 51% more likely to do business with the company who gifted it.

That’s a pretty good ROI for a pen that costs a couple of dollars. You can provide clients with hard data that proves these products really work as an affordable marketing tool.

3. Enter new markets with decorated hard goods.

Let’s say that your sweet spot is schools: You decorate club T-shirts, sports uniforms, spirit wear, and fan wear. When you add promo products, of course, it’s a no-brainer to pitch the school with water bottles, tote bags, stadium seat pads, school supplies and other imprintable, add-on items. 

But what about industries you haven’t considered before? How about real estate, where agents might want magnets, calendars or pens for giveaways? You can tap into fancier food and wine gifts for home buyers, as well. Or car dealers, where you can pitch keyrings, car safety kits and other automotive accessories for prospects and buyers.

Promo products suppliers can help you brainstorm new industries and markets that you can break into with hard goods. They’re more than happy to partner with you to help you sell more. They’ll even share their sales pitches with you, and provide samples for you to use and show off.

4. Yes, you can rely on your shortlist of promo products suppliers.

Lots of decorators tell us that they don’t want to offer hard goods because they don’t have the means to decorate them. The good news? You don’t ever have to decorate pens, mugs, koozies, travel chairs or umbrellas in your shop.

Most promo products suppliers decorate the goods for you. So, if you don’t have a sublimation printer for mugs or smartphone cases, rest easy. You can still offer those logoed products to your customers via your trusted suppliers, who’ll decorate and ship the items to you. Some vendors will even drop-ship orders directly to your clients for you, if you want to go the most direct route.

If you’re new to promo products suppliers, there are a few ways to immerse yourself. Visit an industry trade show and walk the exhibit hall, where you can meet lots of the 3,000+ suppliers. They always have lots of decorated samples on hand, so you can get an idea of the item and decoration quality. 

Plus, many suppliers offer a huge variety of promo items, so you can link up with just a handful of providers for all of your clients’ needs.

5. Offer complete marketing proposals (with InkSoft’s help).

Think of how awesome it would be if you could pitch decorated apparel and hard goods as part of one complete solution.

We’ve got some big news: Let’s say you’re already using InkSoft Proposals to slay the competition. You’re sending beautiful sales proposals with virtual apparel mockups bearing your client’s logo. 

Now, you can pitch logoed promo products in the same proposal.

InkSoft has partnered with Polyconcept (PCNA), a leading promotional products supplier, to integrate its large selection of hard goods to our sales platform.

For example, if a resort prospect asks for a lineup of new souvenir items, you can recommend apparel, along with towels, drinkware, sunglasses, beach accessories and so much more.

6. Offer customized web stores that include promo products.

Lots of decorators create and maintain online stores for customers that range from schools to large, nationwide corporate customers. (In case you didn’t know, InkSoft Stores lets you build, maintain and fulfill all orders for your clients via an easy-to-use interface.) 

If you already offer online Stores, now you can add promo products to your core apparel lineup. 

As an InkSoft customer, when you sign up for a PCNA account, you immediately tap into special pricing so that you make a higher profit margin on promo products. You’ll receive end quantity pricing on the orders with the minimum listed quantities.

Even better, PCNA can decorate the products for you, and either ship them to your shop or directly to your client.

Again, this is a great opportunity for a marketing blitz, whether you already offer stores or are introducing it as a service. Imagine how thrilled a local business or school will be to hear that you can offer much more than T-shirts or polos on their e-site. 

The Bottom Line

When you throw drinkware, pens, bags, and other top-selling promo product categories into the mix, you really increase the value you bring to existing and future clients. 

What are you waiting for? Request your free Polyconcept account here and start selling high-profit margin promo products!


[InkSoft Online Class] Here’s Why You Need to Start Selling Promo Products