Creative Do-It-Yourself Promotional Giveaways

Creative Do-It-Yourself Promotional Giveaways

Creative Do-It-Yourself Promotional Giveaways

Is your advertising budget non-existent? Scanned your checkbook, and decided store bought promotional items were a no-go?
Do it yourself. Small business owners and organizations sometimes request items for goodie bags; this is an ingenious way to promote not only themselves but to share the "wealth" so to speak,without it costing them a dime. You could do the same;
offer to trade with other small businesses. But you generally need a minimum of fifty, and possibly hundreds or thousands of giveaways.

I scanned the internet for ideas, but found only ads. I know from experience that Oriental Trading offers bulk lots of everything from pencils to stickers to magnets cheap. Book Depot sells book remainders (new books that are overstocks or out of prints) in bulk (currently $250 minimumorder) for as little as 20 cents to a dollar each; its sister company, Book Closeouts requires no minimum, but the prices are about double. Ive even made ornaments from lace in the past, but that takes a great deal of time and effort; besides, who wants "snowflakes" in July?

The Microsoft Office/Word site offers a selection of free downloadable templates for business cards, certificates, coupons, etc., as does the HP website ( A search of the net produced templates for door hangers and bookplates, and even instructions to make miniature books from sticky note pads, with cardboard covers glued on (URL). I have created bookplates with clipart and the words, "This book belongs to ______," printed on plain white shipping labels. Combine these with one of the aforementioned inexpensive books for a double punch.

But all that costs money, and did I mention I even ran out of color printer cartridge, and my budget currently does not allow for even that? When the money runs out, the creative get going. Office supply stores stock preprinted papers for a few dollars a package, but a less expensive alternative is to create a black "frame" from clipart in a word processing or greeting card program, and center a few favorite quotes, or a poem, inside the "frame;" print on plain white paper. To save even more money, have them photocopied. I type my URL on the bottom in slightly smaller print. Rolled into scrolls and tied with a ribbon they literally stand up--and out--in goodie bags.

Craft mini books with paper, card stock, and a paper trimmer. Leave blank, include quotes, or add any poem or prose in the public domain. Or create a "My Family" journal for jotting family history. Staple the edges or the center fold, or punch holes and bind with leftover yarn or ribbon.

Or just print a list of starter questions to get a budding genealogist started; this is great for grandparents/parents/children, but who isnt interested in their family history? Create larger "books" with greeting card papers for the cover, by stapling sheets of paper, trimmed to fit, to the card in the center fold; leave them blank or create a "book of wisdom" using quotes, or prompts for family history, or tips pertaining to your particular field.

Or glue a fold-out image inside to make a pop-up business card. Cut the greeting cards in half (or thirds, or even quarters) to double (triple, quadruple) your supply, and make a wallet-size booklet. Make your own flower seed packets, using either glassine envelopes, or tiny Kraft envelopes, and add a sticker to the front you design and print yourself on plain white address labels; you can also use small plastic "jewelry" bags (check out Uline or Browncor), or the candy bags Wilton sells. Or glue a bag inside greeting cards. Gurneys sells seeds in bulk.

I found plain greeting cards at 75% off clearance; the design was discontinued. Look for bargains, and plan ahead. Create your own word find puzzles, or crosswords. Print coloring pages you make using Dovers copyright-free black and white images; for large quantities, have them photocopied at a copy shop. Print, for free, tons of stories from Project Gutenberg. Design, with clipart, award certificates, such as Worlds Greatest Mom, or Worlds Greatest Kid; or print a calendar, highlighting holidays, particularly ones pertinent to your business.

Or print coupons, and add a code so you can track where they originated from. Most people wont redeem them, so you cant lose.
Make your business cards stand out by typing a single quote on one side, and your business contact information on the other. Choose an inspirational or humorous quote people will carry in their wallet. We all know you can adhere peel and stick magnet backs to business cards, but instead of your sales pitch, print an original recipe on it, for something simple like a smoothie, or again, a quote or joke that will be posted on the refrigerator; your contact info or URL can be typed unobtrusively at the bottom.

For mothers, try a business card that reads, "Moms Time Out," or "Time Out," for when Mom needs a break. Adapt the message to fit your target audience, but everyone has "those" moments when they want the world to go away. The HP site included things like photo frames printed on card stock, and ideas like "My Family" sheets or booklets with prompts for writing ones family history, and "My Trip" sheets to record vacation memories. Apply the same idea to creating your own child identification sheets, leaving space for a photo and fingerprints, and include prompts for basic information such as name, height, weight, hair, and eye

Design a family tree for recipients to add their information. You can either draw a tree, use a clipart tree, or use lines to represent the branches of a tree. Im sure you can come up with lots more ways to utilize your printer and word processor! Always remember--there is an advertising solution for every budget. Or lack thereof!

Happy promoting!

About the Author:

Donna Turello is the author of "Everything You Need to Know to Start a Santa Letter Writing Business." Visit her site at for more information.