Question: Is 'Promo' The Best Search Term To Use?

Creative Instinct /Kaspars Grinvalds /montego /


 A Distributor Asks: How do you advertise your business? I feel like most people aren’t familiar with the term “promotional products.” Do you find the term “marketing” more fitting? I’m just trying to get this part of my business a little more attention.

It really depends on your audience. If you look at Google Trends, the term “promotional products” is used a lot more in Kansas than in California. So, what do they call it in California? “Swag?” “Merch?” Or, they might be more specific with the item they’re looking for such as a “pen with a logo on it.”

The term “promotional product” is still the best, broadest term to use, but tying it into “marketing” is really smart; it’s part of a business’s marketing toolkit. Then again, the term “advertising” might work better for some markets. It really depends on which term your clients use more: marketing or advertising, or something else. Are you looking into this for website SEO purposes? Self-promo? Ads? For the SEO portion, are you open to getting a professional audit? It might help you home in on the keywords and create some content that will get your target audience to your site. Check out Action Marketing; they do SEO/content marketing specific to our industry.

For the self-promo, what you call it is less important than what the message conveys. There have been a lot of discussions [on the Promotional Products Professionals Facebook page] about self-promo messaging. Check out what Whitestone Branding has done—they make some clever self-promo kits. 

Stacey Gluchman
Web and Digital Marketing Manager
Warwick Publishing Company
Hampshire, Illinois
PPAI 114154, S7

Promotional products is a widely used term for buyers searching online, along with “swag” and “merchandise.” “Marketing” is often used to refer to online marketing. You can find information on the resources section of our website about how to market your business online.

Gloria Lafont
Action Marketing
Fort Lauderdale, Florida


A Distributor Asks: I’m reserving a small exhibitor table at a women’s event this summer, and I am looking for suggestions regarding items that are appealing, usable and trending for this demographic. How do I make the most of this opportunity to promote my business? 

[This question, shared on the Promotional Products Professionals Facebook page, generated many responses that included product suggestions, such as nail files, lip balms and web cam covers. The responses featured below were among the most thought-provoking in relation to business strategy.]

Most of the time, these shows are grab and go, but I figured out how to get [attendees] to stop and talk. Give out a small flashlight; they are colorful and pretty. Don’t insert the batteries though; instead have them available and say to the attendee, “Let me put the batteries in for you.” In the time it takes for you to put batteries in the flashlight, you will learn if they are interested [in your business] or not. This worked really well for a fashion event I attended.

And, most importantly, give something away. I have contacted huge companies that I believe in and have asked if I could donate an award to the hard workers. This is getting me in the door. I would love to help with their promotional products.

Penny Fleming
Owner and Founder
Newport Beach, California

Would it make sense to buy one or a few larger products—say, a nice bag or cooler, with a cute saying on it and your logo somewhere small—and then collect information from everyone and raffle it off, rather than letting people walk by and take products without learning anything about them, and not having a way to follow up? It might create more of a buzz than a nail file, etc., because everyone will have that stuff. This idea is definitely better for standing out and getting noticed, especially with the right message and the right product.

Charity Gibson
National Account Coordinator
Peerless Umbrella Co.
Newark, New Jersey
PPAI 112666, S10

Here’s the thing with trade shows or tabletop shows: if everyone here is recommending a particular item, then how many other exhibitors will be giving out that item? Don’t you want to stand out, especially given the fact that promotional products is what you do, and you want to show them what you can do for them? Rather than thinking of them as just “women” attendees, you need to understand who they are as businesspeople. Are they decision-makers? What type of companies do they work for or own/manage? What industries will be heavily represented, if any? What is your call to action? Can you tie into the event's theme in a way that makes sense?

And don’t forget to give as much thought to what your exhibit looks like. It may just be a table, but you need to make sure that table looks interesting and inviting, and makes people want to stop and speak with you.

Rama Beerfas, MAS, CTSM
Owner and Chief Solutions Officer
Lev Promotions
San Diego, California
PPAI 218331, D1


Do You Have An Answer?

A Distributor Asks: Are there other distributors who have a business Facebook page that is not attached to their business website? I have a page, but no website, and I am looking to improve my Facebook posts. I’m curious as to what other distributors are doing in this department. 

Email your response(s) to for the chance to be featured in a future issue of PPB.  


Danielle Renda is associate editor of PPB.

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