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Promotional Strategy Today

Kick It Into Gear for 2015! Spotlight: Bic Clic

by CPP Editor on 01/07/15

As businesses small and large are kicking off the New Year with fresh plans and promotions, we are highlighting several of our first quarter promotions to help you kick it into gear!

First up is the Bic Clic Stic. This is always a favorite because of the Bic brand, the amazing color combinations to choose from and the affordable pricing. And no set up charge! On sale now for .59 each, these are affordable enough to use on sales calls, at trade shows, for mail campaigns and more.

Show your colors and grab them at the first quarter sale price now. Here's to your success in 2015!

Protecting Your Customer's Credit Card Security

by CPP Editor on 01/13/14

Credit card hacking. This past month has shown us that even global corporations like Target and Neiman Marcus struggle with this issue. What can merchants do to avoid risking your customer's credit?

As small businesses, we have to do everything possible to keep our customer's credit card information as safe as we can. Not only is it good for building confidence in our business, but it's the right and the responsible thing to do. Our customers count on us for providing safety and security, and we need to earn that continued confidence.

The IT world is ever-changing and hackers always seem to find a way, but there are many things we can do to make their attempts much more difficult. Choice Promotional Products consulted Donna Broder of Card Solutions for some expert advice:

There are many things a small business owner can do to protect themselves and their customers:

  1. Make sure their employees look at the card.
    1. Check for signatures. If there’s no signature, ask them to sign the card in front of them and request to see two forms of ID, one being government issued, to verify signatures.
    2. Make sure it looks like a real card. Thieves are cheap and won’t have holograms etc.
  2. Verify the last 4 digits on the front of the card match the last four digits that print on the receipt. Many stolen numbers are re-encoded on the thief’s own card. So the name and card number on the front will not match the card number that is encoded and going through your system.
  3. Make sure, as a small business owner, that you are PCI compliant. Now you know why it’s so important. If using a terminal, the chances of being non-compliant are slim. But having the certificate will help cut down on any financial loss due to being hacked. If you’re using a POS system, it will do a scan of your system and will locate and highlight any potential open portals or insecure connections that a hacker can come through.
  4. NEVER save or store any credit card information of your customers. If you need to do reoccurring charges or re-billing of a regular customer, purchase a gateway/software that is authorized to store that information securely for you.
  5. Never allow your employees to walk out of sight with a customer’s card. That is giving an employee an opportunity to either skim the card or write down the pertinent information needed to use the customer’s card without them knowing it.
We have been fortunate to have never had an issue with a customer's card, but will continue to follow advice like Donna's. Does your business already have these steps in place? If not, today is the day to start.

* You can visit Donna's site here: http://www/

Top Ten Business Gifts Your Clients Will Love

by CPP Editor on 10/16/13

It's already late October and time to choose something irresistible for your special clients this holiday season. There are hundreds of great ideas that can be customized with your logo or message. We'd like to suggest just a few that are bound to be a hit.


Choosing a Smart Fundraising Item for Your School

by CPP Editor on 08/27/13

It's "Back to School" time, and as most parents know, along with that comes loads of paperwork along with the expense of school supplies booster clubs, fundraisers and more. Wouldn't it be great to see your school sell a fundraising item this year that wasn't double the normal price and was actually practical?

What do you usually see for sale in your school's fundraising efforts? The most common things we have seen are the pricey chocolate bars (like any of us need extra candy around the house) along with wrapping paper and related goodies that are twice the normal price. I know we justify the price, knowing we are helping the school or club, but why? There is no real reason they can't sell a product at a normal retail price, even one with the school imprint on it, and make a profit. Yes, they can offer you something you can actually use at a normal retail price. Who knew? Apparently, not many.

Some of the fundraising products that could be considered are:

Refrigerator magnetic memo boards- Add the school contact numbers and photo at the top.

Stadium cushions- Get these done for free if you sell advertising space to a number of local businesses to print on them.

Sports bottles- Practical for all ages and you can do the school colors.

Six pack coolers or insulated lunch bags- Again, these can be done in the school colors and used all the time.

Towels- Get a "spirit" towel made. Great for teams.

Polypro recyclable market tote bags- Again, you could sell ad space to multiple local businesses and get these made at no cost...all profit!

These are just a handful of the many custom imprinted products that would be great fundraisers for your school, team or club. So, is there a drawback? Yes and no. With custom printed products, you would need to purchase a minimum quantity in advance and you cannot return unsold products that have been custom printed. However, this risk is very minimal when you are choosing the right product, and the up side is that you will have something practical and priced right that people will actually want to buy.

This year, be smart when choosing that fundraising product and get the most bang for your fundraising bucks!

Top Ten Ways to Throw Away Potential Sales Leads

by CPP Editor on 06/27/13

You've done it. You chose the perfect promotional product to introduce yourself and your business to potential clients. It worked and the phone calls are starting to come in. Now, are you going to make the most of them or throw them away?

Here are our top ten ways to throw away those great leads you worked so hard to get:

  • Don't return a call in a timely manner. I can't tell you how many times we have had potential clients thank us profusely just for calling them back. Really? Seems like that is something they should expect, not the exception to the rule.
  • Don't keep up with your email. I know, that inquiry came in late in the day and you just...didn' You'll get to it tomorrow. Too bad it was a rush order and they had to take it somewhere else.
  • Don't cultivate the leads. Yes, you have all of their contact information. Have you added it to a follow up list for email specials? Set up a system for checking back periodically?
  • Don't take their budget and needs into consideration. Just sell them something that will make you a great commission this month. Sure, they may find it doesn't work for them, but after all, you made your money. (Of course, had you gone out of your way to be sure they got the best product for their budget and need, maybe...just maybe...they would have become a repeat customer for many years. Oh, well.)
  • Show up late for an appointment. That will go over real well.
  • Promise them things you can't deliver. Do they need their product by next Friday? It might not happen, but go ahead and promise it. After all, you don't want to lose the sale! (Of course, when they don't have their trade show giveaway until a week after the show, it just might not encourage them to come back to you.)
  • Don't listen. You know what's best for them, so you don't really need to listen to their wants and needs, do you?
  • Don't pay attention to detail. Sure, the sales order may have a typo or two, but what's the big deal? (Of course, that typo did cause the entire job to have to be reprinted. Oops.)
  • Don't follow up on a quote. After all, you took the time to put it together for them. If they want it, they'll call, right? (Of course, your competition made a follow up call and found out that none of the quotes were quite what they wanted. He put together a brand new quote and got the sale.)
  • Don't engage them in social media. Sure, it might keep them up with the latest products and sales, but it's

Of course, there are many more ways that you can completely disregard and waste those leads you worked so hard to get, and these are but a few.

Seriously, don't let this happen to you. It really is hard and costs time and money to get those potential clients. You owe it to yourself and your business to do everything you can to retain them. And it sure is great at the end of a long day to get a phone call from a client, saying, "Thank you. You really did a great job. We'll be recommending you."

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