Become a Master of "Prize Marketing" with These 12 Giveaway Ideas for Businesses
Tips & Tricks
min read

Become a Master of "Prize Marketing" with These 12 Giveaway Ideas for Businesses

In the words of the Red Hot Chili Peppers: "Give it away, give it away, give it away now."

In the social media era, online giveaways are a-dime-a-dozen—and for good reason! Gift giveaways via social media channels are a great way for businesses to boost engagement with followers while simultaneously strengthening an online presence. Of course, the benefits of innovative giveaways are far from limited to just social media. Whether giving out custom t-shirts as rewards for mailing list sign-ups, koozies as incentives for setting up product notifications for new releases, or collaborating on an innovative giveaway with other small and growing businesses (and forging a partnership in the process,) the benefits of prize marketing are virtually endless. 

Of course, in order for those benefits to begin to take shape, prize marketing has to be done right. Too many small businesses invest already limited marketing budgets in prizes and rewards which don’t inspire action on the behalf of would-be prize winners—with less-than-desirable results. But when even the smallest of businesses think big and dream up innovative giveaway ideas, a minor investment can be a major asset. 

More than just “merch”

On top of boosting online presences and fueling mailing lists, product giveaways can serve an even greater purpose: providing free advertising for businesses. With “merch” culture at critical mass, thoughtfully-designed branded merchandise can become a full-blown fashion statement—in addition to being a walking billboard. Therefore, giving some extra thought to prize giveaway ideas can pay off in spades. 

The new year is a prime time for gift giveaways, and as businesses are looking to feed the top of their sales funnel in early 2022, they will need to think outside of the box to effectively leverage prize marketing. For those businesses looking to make the most of marketing budgets, create giveaway gifts that customers will wear, use, and love, and master prize marketing in 2022, Real Thread has put together a list of our top 12 prize giveaway ideas which will inspire action and set the new year up to be your best yet. 

1. Custom T-Shirts

Our first giveaway idea for businesses might be an obvious one: custom t-shirts from Real Thread. With extremely easy-to-use design tools and an expansive array of high-quality blanks to choose from, Real Thread lets you create giveaway t-shirts people will actually want to win. 20-item order minimums also accommodate smaller businesses, meaning everyone can get in on the giveaway action. Plus, printing practices with a reduced environmental impact (no plastic-based inks here!) mean businesses can give without worry—and winners can wear in good faith. If you’re looking to create giveaway gifts that feel great and stand out, Real Thread is your best bet. 

2. Ultra-Useful Tote Bags

While magazines and museums may have pioneered the branded tote bag trend, more and more businesses are looking to tote bags for gift giveaway items. Why? Because they’re functional, fashionable, and are carried just about everywhere. While they have recently emerged as a bona fide fashion statement, their utility goes far beyond looks—and a branded giveaway tote is sure to get its fair share of use. Tote bags are also a traveler’s best friend, so businesses that want their giveaway items to be seen everywhere from Miami, to Madrid, to Maine, should seriously consider tote bags for new years’ giveaways. Oh, and don’t worry— tote bags? We make those, too. And with both print and embroidery customization options, the design possibilities are pretty infinite.

3. Masks to Be Seen by All

Another exceptionally practical giveaway item, custom face masks ensure high visibility—and are a great opportunity to have some fun with your product giveaway marketing. As more and more people distance themselves from the classic light-blue surgical masks in favor of masks with a little more character, gift giveaways consisting of vibrant (and fun) masks become increasingly likely to inspire action. Real Thread’s custom masks are CDC-approved and extremely comfortable, ensuring prize winners will want to make them their go-to. Our tip: embrace the fun factor in favor of logomania, as a positive conversation around your business and the awesome masks you made is a major marketing win.

4. Hats Off to Giveaway Winners! 

With the surge in popularity of “dad hats” in recent years, there has never been a better time than to invest in branded hats for gift giveaways. Much like masks, to make the most out of giveaways (and ensure that your gift hats are worn,) our advice would be to lean toward an eye-catching design with subtle branding. Given the ongoing fascination with all things retro, a vintage-inspired take on your existing logo—or an actual classic logo if your business has been around long enough—will make for a stylish giveaway hat that winners won’t want to take off. Giveaway gift, fashion statement, and promotional merchandise? It doesn’t get much better than that! 

Ready to get started on an embroidered hat for your business—whether for a giveaway or other purposes? We can source/customize almost any style of hat for you—so let us know! 

5. Umbrellas That Save the Day  

Can you count on two hands the number of times you’ve been caught in the rain without an umbrella? We sure can’t! This reason alone makes umbrellas an innovative giveaway idea that is sure to boost giveaway entries and feed the top of the sales funnel. Umbrellas also offer a much larger canvas for advertising (with enough space for contact info) compared to other giveaway items. Umbrella users in places with clockwork-consistent rainy afternoons (we’re looking at you, Florida!) are used to carrying an umbrella everywhere, meaning that large promotional canvas will likely be a constant presence. Above all, when a rainy day strikes it will be your umbrella—and therefore your business—that saves the day. Talk about a giveaway gift that keeps on giving!

6. Resolution Reinforcement

A new year means new resolutions. For many, these resolutions will be centered around health and wellness, so why not use your new year giveaway to help with those resolutions? Branded water bottles can help support those looking to be more hydrated in 2022, and giveaway winners will think of your business each time they renew their commitment to their goals. To take it a step further, small businesses can look to fellow community members for a promotional partnership. Be it a local yoga studio or a smoothie shop, joining forces to support the goals of your customers is a great way to inspire action in the new year. 

7. A Cup of Joe on the Go

Want to gift useful items and be the first thing giveaway winners think of when they wake up? Then branded travel coffee mugs make for a perfect gift giveaway idea. Available in a range of colors and possessing dual functionality—keeping hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold—travel coffee mugs continue to be best-selling items and are a great way to get prospective customers signing up for mailing lists and engaging with your business. Plus, wherever giveaway winners take their coffee mug, they’ll be broadcasting your business. To take this giveaway a step further, try partnering with a local coffee shop for the ultimate early-morning survival kit. Make the lives (or at least the mornings) of prize winners better one sip at a time. 

8. Phone Protection Package

Branded phone cases can be tricky giveaway items (because everyone's got different phones these days), but when done right can make for a functional—and stylish—giveaway item. As cell phone prices grow increasingly astronomical, a phone case has never been more necessary, and even an item as seemingly simple as a cell phone case can boost giveaway entries and help your business accomplish its marketing goals in 2022. For this giveaway idea, it might be best to partner with a trusted brand in phone protection in order to create an item people want to win. Toss in some screen protectors for a giveaway that shows customers how much you care, and ensure your business will be top of mind each time a giveaway winner checks Instagram

9. Covetable Pens

Pens have been the freebie of choice for as long as promotional gifts have existed, but there is one common problem with most giveaway pens: they aren’t very good. So, your challenge for an innovative giveaway in the new year is to gift pens that people will be devastated to lose. Do product research, field test some different models, and find a pen that checks all the boxes (weight, glide, ink richness) to serve as your giveaway gift. Whether it’s by signing up for a mailing list, giving your business a follow on social media, or merely coming in to your shop for a friendly hello, people will want to get their hands on those pens—and will notice that you went the extra mile. 

10. The Coziest Hoodies on the Planet

For just about everyone there is at least one piece of clothing that sticks around through moves, gets (very carefully) retrieved after breakups, and is virtually irreplaceable. Oftentimes, that item is an unbelievably cozy hoodie that has only gotten better with time. Do you see what we’re getting at? Gifting a hoodie people will not want to take off—and will go great distances to keep around—is sure to inspire action no matter the goal of your business. Luckily, Real Thread’s hoodies and sweatshirts are some of the comfiest hoodies around and are guaranteed to wow would-be giveaway winners. Plus, our plastic-free ink allows gift-winners to take added comfort in knowing their cozy hoodie is environmentally friendly. 

11. Gifts for Furry Friends

It’s a simple fact: people love their pets. So when considering prize giveaway ideas, it’s never a bad idea to keep the furry friends in mind. Useful branded items like collapsible water bowls are an excellent promotional gift, and partnering with a local pet store on a collaborative gift basket can be a great way to show your love to man’s best friend while also strengthening a relationship in your community. Pet owners are also especially active on social media, with 1 out of 6 pet owners creating an account especially for their furry friend, so giveaways oriented toward animals have a great chance of improving your online presence. 

12. An Experience to Remember

No, you can’t print your logo on an experience. Nor can people wear an experience and think about your business each time they do. Rather, what makes gifting an experience such an innovative giveaway idea is that it removes any transactional element from a giveaway in favor of something much more personal. And while experience winners might not be thinking about your business while they enjoy their prize, a well-curated experiential prize will be something that sticks with them long after the experience has ended. With so many niche small businesses in existence today, make an effort to partner with a local business to create a small business experience giveaway that has never been done before. 

Achieve Your Goals in 2022 with Real Thread

Whether your prize marketing plan is designed to improve the online presence of your business, grow your mailing list, feed your sales funnel, or increase visibility through promotional merchandise, Real Thread is your go-to for giveaway gifts. Our broad selection of masks, t-shirts, hoodies, and tank tops paired with user-friendly design tools makes it easy to create giveaway gifts worth winning. However, if you need a hand, our team of experts in all-things-custom are happy to help make sure that your merchandise is prize-worthy. 

Explore our range of best-selling products, and get started on creating some of the most covetable giveaway gifts around! 

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