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Updated Feb 14, 2024

The Most Popular Giveaway Items for Customers

Everyone is used to getting free keychains, pens and magnets as giveaway items. You can make your company stand out by offering these fresh new gifts instead.

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Sean Peek, Senior Analyst & Expert on Business Ownership
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Whether they’re a part of a convention goodie bag, a social media contest or a direct mail marketing stunt, giveaways are a great way to have fun and engage with your customer base. After all, everyone loves getting free stuff. However, with so many companies participating in different kinds of giveaways, making sure your items stand out from the crowd and stay out of the trash heap is key. 

Items like pens or keychains are falling by the wayside in the face of new and interesting giveaway options. How can you make sure people hold on to your giveaway items while keeping your business’s budget and goals in mind? We’ve rounded up the items that should be on your gift list and the reasons such an investment is worth it.

The benefits of hosting giveaways

You can distribute giveaway items at events or mail them in attention-grabbing packages. In either case, the advantages of offering freebies are strong.

Build brand recognition

two people stacking blocks to spell the word brand

Giveaways are an excellent way to boost your brand recognition. If you’re giving away branded items, you’re spreading the word about your business even after the giveaway period ends. Every T-shirt, stress ball and water bottle will continue to show off your company and place your brand name and logo at the forefront of people’s minds. Although the power of giveaways is initially seen during the distribution campaign, the brand recognition you continue to gain is passive yet impactful. 

Find new clients and contacts

When weighing your marketing budget, giveaways are a relatively low-cost and low-effort way to generate new clients and sales. If your giveaway is at a convention, eye-catching items can bring in passersby and spark conversations. You can even ask people to sign up for your mailing list before entering a giveaway contest.

If you offer your giveaway on social media, you’re likely to gain new followers as people share your post in hopes of winning the item. Social media has the added benefit of being a nearly effortless way to build word of mouth, as followers can quickly send your campaign post to their followers and so on. Just make sure any social media contest follows applicable laws.

Did You Know?Did you know's free marketing plan template (yes, our own giveaway!) can help you meet your organization's goals.

Gather data

A little-known benefit of conducting giveaways is the ability to use them to gather information about your audience, including their preferences and buying habits. People are reasonably careful with their data, but giveaways are a great way for them to willingly give you valuable personal details as they get something in return. 

For your next giveaway, you can even have entrants complete a brief survey regarding products or services they’d like to see in the future. There’s no better way to give your clients what they want than to ask them. 

Engage your audience

graphic of person holding a smartphone surrounded by social media icons

Regardless of what they may do for your business, giveaways are, quite simply, fun. The playfulness and excitement are what make them so successful. People think it’s fun to share giveaway posts on social media or tag their friends in them. They enjoy finding just what they need at a convention, winning something from a prize wheel or getting a surprise in the mail.

Giveaways can also be a new, interesting way to engage with your audience and show them you care for and appreciate them. Mix up the ways you’re interacting with clients and partners through different giveaways, and you’ll create some community along the way.  [While giving customers free swag, don’t forget about rewarding employees with corporate gifts.]

Think outside the (gift) box

The promotional products highlighted above will be popular for years to come, but the buzz you generate is all based on your delivery. Step back and take a look at how these unique items can work in harmony with your brand to create a value-added chance at engagement and brand building. By making promotional products a part of your marketing strategy, you provide your audience with a service that will turn them into committed longtime customers and brand ambassadors.

Grace Li contributed to the writing and reporting in this article. 

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Sean Peek, Senior Analyst & Expert on Business Ownership
Sean Peek co-founded and self-funded a small business that's grown to include more than a dozen dedicated team members. Over the years, he's become adept at navigating the intricacies of bootstrapping a new business, overseeing day-to-day operations, utilizing process automation to increase efficiencies and cut costs, and leading a small workforce. This journey has afforded him a profound understanding of the B2B landscape and the critical challenges business owners face as they start and grow their enterprises today. In addition to running his own business, Peek shares his firsthand experiences and vast knowledge to support fellow entrepreneurs, offering guidance on everything from business software to marketing strategies to HR management. In fact, his expertise has been featured in Entrepreneur, Inc. and Forbes and with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
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