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Promotional Notebooks

Promotional Notebooks: Are They a Good Pick for Brand Swag?

Swag is an essential part of a brand’s physical marketing strategy. In today’s over-saturated digital world, it can be more important than ever to make sure your brand has a presence offline as well as on. While the traditional go-to swag items are things like t-shirts and totes, there’s always room for a classic: branded stationary.

There was a time, many years ago, when every brand had their own stationary. Branded pens were handed out at every event like a usable business card. Letterhead was passed around the office and anyone who needed even vaguely official communications used it. A well branded notebook, meanwhile, proved a useful and visible way to passively promote your brand while having something useful to keep around.

The question is, are branded and promotional notebooks still a good option as branded swag, or have they fallen out of favor?

Do People Dislike Notebooks as Swag?

This is a difficult question to answer because it comes down a lot to the specifics of the individual. Some people do so much note-taking and writing that they’re always carrying a notebook around, whether it’s for research, data annotation, as an ideas scratchpad, a sketchbook, or something else entirely. On the other hand, some people do literally everything on their phones, and the only times they hold a pen are those digital pens they use to sign in certain point-of-sale systems.

So, that’s often how it works out; some people love notebooks and will use anything with paper bound together and put in front of them. Others don’t have a need for them, and they’ll either collect dust, end up recycled or in a landfill, or be regifted to someone who is more likely to use them. Even that last one isn’t a bad thing for your brand; the notebook makes its way to another individual, and they see your branding, after all.

A Notebook Swag Item

Some of you may worry that, in the current digital age, the humble notebook is obsolete. We argue that nothing could be further from the truth; in fact, while they have fallen out of common use in many areas, they can still be valuable for many people in many different careers, and some people even romanticize the idea of writing something by hand.

And really, if notebooks had truly fallen out of favor, they’d be harder to come by because they wouldn’t be financially viable to produce anymore. Yet go into any office store, any department store, any store at all around the back-to-school time, and you’ll see stacks of notebooks. They’re still used, so they’re still produced, so they’re still valuable.

Reasons Why Notebooks Are Still Good Swag Item Options

If you’re looking for more tangible reasons why notebooks make good swag rather than generalities, assumptions, and the fact that, as a swag vendor, we can tell you they’re among our best sellers, well, here you go.

They’re Always Practical and Usable

Notebooks are a utility item, and they’re used for a ton of different purposes.

A Person Using a Notebook

Several of these potential purposes include:

  • As a way to take notes during a business meeting.
  • As a scratch pad for quick math, idea jotting, networking, and simple notes.
  • As a temporary memory pad for receptionists and other phone service workers.
  • As a physical to-do list for each day at work.
  • As a school supply for school-age children.
  • As an ideas book for writers and poets.
  • As a doodle pad or sketchbook for artists.

Notebooks can be used in a wide range of different settings and for a ton of different purposes, from casual and disposable uses to treasured resources. Not everyone who receives your notebook is going to use it for the same purpose, but the variety of different purposes means that two different people in different walks of life can still make use of your notebook.

There Are Many Possible Customizations

Notebooks come in many different shapes, sizes, and styles. You can get a glue-bound or spiral-bound notebook. You can get them in different sizes, from legal pads to 5×7 notebooks to mini books to full 8.5×11 paper and many more shapes and sizes. They can have basic covers, fully leatherbound covers, and everything in between.

The paper inside is also customizable. Some customized and branded notebooks use a subtle watermark across every page. Others use a tasteful logo or letterhead-style branding at the top or bottom of each page. Some are basic lined paper, grid paper, or plain blank paper inside, but have branded covers. Some even come with pens that themselves can be branded as an add-on.

Various Customized Notebooks

It can be surprisingly important to pick the right kind of notebook for your audience. A writer’s symposium might benefit most from high-quality, durable, leatherbound composition notebooks. A conference on education for teachers or for parents of school-age children might benefit more from a traditional 8.5×11 notebook that could be used as a school supply for class note-taking or homework. Busier workers who just need something for taking quick notes, writing to-do lists, or making shopping lists might do best with a small lined notebook instead.

So, whether you want a small, tasteful watermark, a garish and eye-catching cover, or something in between, a notebook can be customized down to the last page.

Notebooks Can Be Highly Visible

One reason in particular that notebooks are useful is that many of the people who most need to use them are people on the go. They’ll be reminded of your brand every time they need to use that notebook. Others who receive a page from the book or who happen to be around when the owner is using it can often also see the brand and, depending on the design, might have their attention caught as well.

A Highly-Visible Notebook

Now, don’t get us wrong; a notebook isn’t something like a mass mail campaign, a billboard, or a TV commercial, and it’s very different from a social media or search ad. It’s a different type of exposure, and both potentially more enduring and one that may make more sense for more tangible marketing techniques than the transient digital marketing we’re all used to.

Notebooks Last a Surprisingly Long Time

Most people have a sporadic, occasional need for a notebook, whether they’re taking notes at home, writing quick shopping lists, or something else around the house. Others use them at work, but only occasionally, for weekly meetings or other check-ins with teams and management.

At the same time, relatively few people never need a notebook or at least some form of pen and paper. So it’s a good idea for most people to keep a notebook around and handy, just in case.

A Long-Lasting Notebook

What this means is that while a notebook is technically a consumable item, it’s one that is consumed very slowly. Most people need a notebook from time to time, but they don’t go through notebooks all that rapidly.

The end result is that a personalized, branded, business-oriented notebook can be a semi-permanent fixture in a person’s life or workplace for months or even a year or more, depending on their rate of usage. That means you have a branded presence in this person’s mind for months at a time. It’s small, and it’s passive, but that’s all it ever needs to be.

They’re Highly Cost-Effective

It’s one notebook, Michael, how much could it cost? $10?

Well, prices vary, but the humble notebook is often one of the least expensive forms of branded swag you can buy while still maintaining a high level of quality.

Ethix Cost-Effective Notebooks

Let’s take a look at five different kinds of notebooks we offer and their prices to show you what we mean:

  • The simple Steno pad. This notebook is spiral-bound at the top with a simple board back cover to support it. You can get 1,000 of these for just $3.33 each.
  • The striped composition notebook. This larger notebook, with tape binding, has 100 pages of useful paper and a board back. You can even customize the color of the tape! One of the most generically useful notebooks we offer; you can get 500 of them for $5.39 each.
  • The wire-bound eco notepad. One of our dedicated eco-friendly options; this notebook is made with 100% recycled paper and can have lined or blank pages. 100 of these run you just $9.59 each.
  • The ClearView SeminarPad. One of the fancier options we offer; this notebook has a clear poly cover that protects the vibrant, colorful, customized inner cover you give it. With lined, graph, or blank pages, and the option for calendar pages, you’re never without an option here. These also come with a pen and penport to hold them. You can get 100 of these for $14.79 each.
  • The Leatherbound Clark Mini-Composition Book. The nicest notebook we offer, this small composition book is bound with domestic, USA-made leather, making it extremely durable and protected from damage. 50 of these run you $18.28 each.

All of these prices are at their peak, as well; if you need larger numbers, there are always volume discounts available.

They Go Great with Other Swag

Another benefit to the humble notebook is that, while it works fine as a stand-alone piece of swag you give in low-stakes and low-value bonuses, they’re also an excellent addition to a swag bag or bundle. Handing out promotional notebooks to your first hundred customers at your grand opening is quick and easy, but handing out just a notebook to everyone who attends an exclusive annual convention feels weak.

Notebooks and Pens

Fortunately, you can buff it up by adding in other useful swag: masks, pens, hand sanitizer, a t-shirt, or anything else you want to add. You can even combine the physical and the digital and offer a notebook and a thumb drive side-by-side.

What Should You Put on a Notebook?

It’s one thing to decide you want to go with a branded notebook, and it’s quite another to decide how to brand them.

Generally, we have two main pieces of advice.

First, feel free to make your covers as garish, eye-catching, or slick and stylish as you like. The cover branding should reflect your brand; make it suit your aesthetic, carry your logo, and work without making the recipient feel like they’re nothing but an advertisement for you when they use your notebook.

A Branded Notebook

Fortunately, nearly every notebook has some kind of branding on it, it’s just usually the branding of the company making the notebook. People are used to some form of branding in their stationary, so they will accept somewhat more than they might out of a shirt or hat.

The second piece of advice is to add something to the pages if you can, but keep it unintrusive or minimal. This depends on the purpose of the notebook, though. For example, the schoolwork notebook we keep mentioning shouldn’t have branded pages, as that can invalidate its use in a school. Other notepads, though, can act as a constant subtle branding with your logo and even your website or phone number attached.

What Other Options Do You Have?

If you’re in the market for something stationary but don’t want a simple notebook, you’re in luck: we’ve got you covered there as well.

A Customized Calendar Book

We have many options in our stationary section, including:

  • Small-size calendar pads.
  • Full-size wall calendars.
  • Seed paper postcards.
  • Monthly planners.
  • Weekly organizers.
  • Calendar books.
  • Leather zipper folders.
  • D-ring binders.

And, of course, a notebook doesn’t stand on its own. Since most of the notebooks we offer don’t come with anything to write in them, you can check out our writing utensils as well. We have everything from golf pencils and full-size pencils to pens of all shapes and sizes. Pick the perfect pairing to provide patrons with proper pens and paper!

If you’re interested in branded notebooks, we’re more than happy to help. We also pride ourselves on a variety of eco-friendly, ethical, USA-made, and even union-made notebook options. We’d love to chat about the details of any and every notebook we have on offer; all you need to do is ask. And if you want a full-service design for your branding, we’ll work with you on that as well. If you need anything, just reach out, and we’ll be happy to chat.