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At USimprints we have served over 80,000 customers around the world over the past decade with custom promotional products in hundreds of thousands of styles, categories, shapes, sizes and price points. One of the most frequent questions our team receives, and one of our most searched questions on Google, is choosing "cheap promotional items".  

We know that most of our customers do not necessarily want something "cheap" but want a marketing giveaway that is both effective and within their budget. We encourage our clients that you can do both while making a big impact on your existing and prospective customers.

Promotional products may seem like an advertising strategy from the past, but the power of promos is still strong! A recent study by the Promotional Products Association found that across all generations "swag", as it is now commonly referred to today, is still ranked as the number one most effective form of advertising to create action.

The reach of promotional specialties is still powerful, with repeated exposure for your brand. 81% of consumers keep them for more than a year, with items showing up at the home, in the office, and even on the go. 89% of consumers have received a branded item in the last 6 months and out of those, 9 in 10 consumers recall the brand.

We will walk you through below selecting inexpensive promotional products that will not break the bank, but create marketing strategies that increases your brand awareness, encourages strong call to action, and builds more customers for your brand.

69% of respondents in a recent study said they would pick up a promotional product if it was useful.

Source : Promotional Products Association

One of the greatest benefits of promotional swag is that most people will keep and use the item for several months or even years to come, giving your brand exposure for an extended time. The key to longevity is to giveaway an item that is USEFUL, not just cheap and under budget.

The Promotional Products Association did a marketing study with consumers and asked if free promo giveaways were handed out by an advertiser at an event, mall, or tradeshow and what action would they take. 69% of respondents in their study said they would pick up an item if it was found to be USEFUL, another 23% said they would pick it up regardless of what it was.

Our top five categories of the most popular and impactful products that can be customized at a low cost include:

1. Bags

2. Technology Items

3. Drinkware

4. Stationary (journals, sticky-notes, notepads, padfolios)

5. Writing Instruments

We will break down how and why to use these items on a budget for your brand. You do not have to choose the most expensive promos to create effective and powerful awareness for your brand.


Bags are simply one of the best promotional products to purchase because you have a large imprint area to promote your logo and most consumers keep them! A recent study by the Advertising Specialty Institute reported that half of all US consumers own a promotional bag. In terms of demographics, bags are especially a hit with women. They are much more likely to own a bag than men by a margin of 57% to 42%.

USimprints has a wide selection of bags in a large variety of sizes, styles, colors, materials, and price points. The options are endless for all different needs and budgets.

Our non-woven polypropylene bags are a great choice at a low price. These bags are made out of a plastic material, they are durable, with high strength and an economical choice to manufacture bags. It is actually the safest plastic and is also heat resistant.

We recommend choosing a darker color bag and using a lighter imprint color such as white to make sure your logo stands out. If you are participating in a tradeshow, meeting, or convention, you want to make sure your brand is noticeable.

Bags generate more impressions in the United States than any other promotional product.

Source : Advertising Specialty Institute

Most Popular Non-Woven Tote Bags


There are many categories of promotional items that have not changed much in the past few decades, but one category that has exploded in popularity, innovation, and variety is tech themed giveaways.  

With more than 250 million smart phone users in the United States, there are millions of consumers who use accessories to complement mobile devices. What better place to create impressions of your brand than in a consumer's hands?

Power banks are one of the best selling tech themed items, and the price has been driven down over the past few years to make it an affordable giveaway. They are especially popular among the demographics of 18-34 and 35-44 consumers.

Marketing research from ASI asked respondents in a recent study how long they keep mobile power banks, and the response was longer than almost any other promotional product. These tech themed giveaways outpaced bags, drinkware, and writing instruments.

Other ideas for low-cost and effective tech themed swag include silicone wallets that attach to the back of a phone and give a place to insert a drivers license or bank and credit cards. These thin plastic and silicone items have a good imprint area for your branding.  

One of the newest products USimprints offers is the sliding privacy blockers (featured below) that attaches to your computer, monitor or laptop to securely cover the computers camera. The imprint area is smaller, but with valuable placement on a consumers computer, it is a lot of bang for your buck for under $1.

A few other inexpensive tech items to consider include cleaning cloths for screens, ear buds, stylus pens, mouse pads, and USB drives. If you are looking for inexpensive giveaways that attendees are sure to pick up at your next tradeshow, try purchasing technology swag. It will be a hit at your booth.

Mobile power banks generate over 1,000 brand impressions over their lifespan.

Source : Advertising Specialty Institute

Most Popular Technology Promotional Giveaways


If there is one category of promotional items that is effective time and time again, it is certainly drinkware. More than half of consumers in the United States own some sort of promo drinkware. This popular category works for brands of all industries, sizes, specialties, and locations.

Personalized ceramic coffee mugs have always been a best seller for decades, but in recent years have been eclipsed in popularity by vacuum insulated tumblers and eco-friendly reusable water bottles.

Your brand will get maximum, repeated exposure in the home, on the go, and in the office with drinkware. Research shows that more than 50% of consumers who have promo drinkware use it 2-3 times per week. Consumers also on average keep drinkware swag for at least 8 months, one of the highest retention rates for promos. Your brand will get exposure time and time again.

You do not have to break your budget by ordering custom drinkware, in fact you can find inexpensive promos to build your brand and stay in budget. Custom water bottles are one of the least expensive giveaways that are both impactful and have a great imprint area to show your logo. Reusable drinkware is both eco-friendly and useful. Customize water bottles made of BPA free plastic to show your logo and make an impact at your next event, tradeshow, or race.

USimprints has a large selection of affordable bottles in a wide variety of sizes, styles, colors and price points. We recommend finding a colored bottle to match your branding colors and imprinting your logo in a contrasting color to stand out.

If you have a larger budget to use for your next marketing initiative try purchasing tumblers that can be used for both cold drinks like water or warm drinks like coffee. Double-walled and insulated drinkware will keep your drinks hot or cold for an extended period of time.

There are also options under one dollar that are both budget friendly and useful including our plastic cups. One of our most popular customized cups include our color changing and "mood cups" that change colors when colder liquids are added. These are a hit with younger consumers, and are fun and will be held on to for months to come.

More than half of consumers in the United States who own promotional drinkware use it 2-3 times per week.

Source : Advertising Specialty Institute

Most Popular Drinkware Giveaways


One of the categories of cheap promotional items if you are on a budget that we recommend to our clients is stationary themed products. These items include journals, padfolios, notebooks and other items that are useful and get placed in the hands of your targeted customers and clients.

The cost of using advertising specialities like these are low, with the average cost per impression of your brand for less than one penny. Promos remain cheaper than most other forms of advertising by a significant amount.

Stationary and office themed items put your branding in front of potential and existing customers in the places they work, live, and travel. They are useful items that have a high rate of return on your marketing investment.

Some of the most popular products in this category include:

  • Journals
  • Portfolios
  • Padfolios
  • Notebooks
  • Sticky-Notes
  • Notepads
  • Calendars

Our top selling item in the stationary category is our custom notebooks that come in a wide selection of sizes, colors, styles, page count, and price points. Notebooks are a great option for brand recognition as a giveaway, building your corporate identity, new customer acquisition, or can even be added internally for new team member hiring and onboarding.

Personalized notebooks can be imprinted through screen printing for a low-cost decoration method. For a more quality and longer lasting impact of your brand there are also notebooks that can be debossed with your logo. One pro-tip from our team : when choosing embossing some small details of your design may not show up well due to the process of debossing. So you will want to make sure to make your design big and with as few small details as possible.

Promotional padfolios are also a low cost and effective specialty. We have a selection of padfolios in all sorts of options, with sizes, colors, and functionality to make these items useful and effective for your marketing needs. There are options that include notepads, places for business cards, and even tech friendly padfolios that can also hold tablets like an iPad.

A cheaper, but effective giveaway in the stationary category includes our sticky-note booklets that come in very handy in the office. These low cost giveaways are mostly under $1 and have a great spot to print your branding or marketing message.

Even though it may seem like calendars are a promo product of the past, they still are a popular inexpensive giveaway. Consumers in rural areas are most likely to own a calendar compared to urban and suburban markets. A recent report from the Advertising Specialty Association reported that 76% of consumers who own calendars have them displayed prominently in their homes or offices, giving your brand year-round exposure and impressions.

Consumers respond to stationary items such as journals, notebooks, and padfolios. More than 80% of respondents rank these items as useful in their everyday lives.

Source : Advertising Specialty Institute

Most Popular Stationary Promotional Products

Custom Imprinted Pens

More than 50% of consumers in the United States own a promotional writing instrument. These are universal giveaways that are popular decade after decade, and are consistently ranked as one of the most favorite promotional items to receive.

Pens and other writing swag have an incredible value when it comes to cost per impression. They have one of the lowest CPM and are one of the cheapest promotional items you can choose from with an average cost of 1/10th of a cent per impression.

There are also options that include pens that are completely or partially manufactured in the USA, options of colors of inks, and even environmentally friendly pens made out of recycled materials.

You do not have to stop at just basic pens, other writing giveaway options include:

  • Pencils
  • Highlighters
  • Colored Pencils
  • Stylus Pens

Most Popular Promo Pens & Writing Instruments