Ultimate Buying Guide for Custom Flash Drives

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Plus 15 Ways to Use Flash Drives to Promote & Empower Your Business

When you first started looking for custom USB flash drives, you probably figured it would be a quick and easy search to find just what you needed. After all, how complicated could this tech gadget be?

Then reality hit when you encountered the abundance of information and endless acronyms and lingo, like “GB” (gigabytes) and memory chip “tiers.” Why couldn’t there be one place—or one guide—to help assist you in making smart buying decisions?

This became the inspiration for our Ultimate Buying Guide for Custom USB Flash Drives. We wanted to provide one document with all the info you’d need to make an informed buying decision. But we also wanted to take it a step further: because of who we are—a promotional products company—we wanted to show you all the ways you could use your custom USB flash drives to promote and empower your business. Ready to get started? Read on! Or if you’re ready to order now, review our full selection of custom USB Drives.

USB Flash Drives Defined

names for USB flash drivesA USB flash drive is a storage device (like a CD) that is specifically designed to write and rewrite data multiple times via your USB computer port. Flash drives are easy to use, ultra portable, and connect seamlessly with all modern computers (PC or Mac).

A custom USB flash drive is just that: one you can customize with your company logo and/or choose specific colors for the case.

Choosing the Right Custom Flash Drive

It’s important to understand the ins and Jazzy Flash drives 1GBouts of USB flash drives before placing your order. Here are questions and considerations to keep in mind as you shop around.

What is the difference between USB 1.1 and USB 2.0?

USB 2.0 is the current version or the standard and allows for much faster speeds of data download/upload than its predecessor, USB 1.1.
Today, the majority of custom flash drives on the market are USB 2.0, but it doesn’t hurt to confirm when ordering yours.

What is Tier 1 flash memory?

Although custom flash drives are not branded by a manufacturer (common options are Kingston, PNY, or Samsung), make sure that the flash memory used by your supplier is top-rated quality, Tier 1. It will ensure faster speed of your custom drives and a longer lifespan, delivering more impressions with your company’s logo.

Memory Capacity: What size is a good fit for my needs?

Custom flash drives are available with a range of storage capacity, from as low as 512 Megabytes (MB) up to 128 Gigabytes (GB). Consider the needs of the recipients when choosing memory size for USB flash drives

  1. Are the recipients tech-savvy or likely to own a flash drive already?Brookstone 3 in 1 USB Stylus Pen
    If they do, pick a flash drive at least equal to the one they already own (or consider a second function, like the Brookstone 3-in-1 USB Stylus Pen). The most common memory sizes today are 4 GB (for tech-savvy audience) and 2 GB (for others).
  2. What do recipients do outside of work?
    Storing spreadsheets or presentations doesn’t require too much space, but if the same person enjoys photography or music they will require more storage space.
  3. Consider the incremental cost.
    The price difference between 2 GB and 4 GB flash drives is about 10-20%. However, doubled storage capacity means that your customers will hold onto the flash drive much longer and actually use it! Use this handy reference to determine how much a USB flash drive can hold:

USB Flash Drive Storage Capacity Table

1 GB

2 GB

4 GB

8 GB

16 GB



















*Based on an average 5 MB song, 2 MB photo, and 100 KB document.

What gift packaging is available for custom flash drives?

Gift boxes for Custom USB drives

Custom flash drives come with gift box options, from acrylic and wooden boxes. Most come with a basic paper gift box free of charge (other options will cost extra).

How will my imprint look on custom flash drives?

Depending on a selected style, your imprint will be either screen-printed (allows to imprint multiple colors) or laser-engraved (single color).
With most flash drives, you can put your imprint on both sides. When the flash drive is in a non-standard shape the imprint location is most likely limited to one side.

What is data preloading service?Power Tip for Data Preloading on Flash Drives

Data preloading refers to uploading your own files to your custom flash drives. For example, you can upload a presentation about your company’s services, case studies, or photos of completed work projects. Most promotional products suppliers will provide preloading services free of charge. Interested in learning more about preloading services? Call our customer service at 1-800-203-9917 for more details.

What are the additional costs associated with personalizing flash drives?

Most likely promotional companies will charge setup fee for adding your imprint. Additional charges may apply if you (a) select to upload a logo and/or (b) select two or more imprint colors. Standard shipping & processing rates will also apply.

15 Ways to Promote Your Business with Custom Flash Drives

No doubt, you already have some ideas in mind for using custom flash drives to promote your business. But here are even more ideas for every phase of your business, from prospecting to re-engaging existing customers.

Note: for all of the examples outlined below, we recommend using a custom flash
drive that’s been branded with your company logo and colors.

Using Flash Drives with Prospective Clients:

1. Bring USB drives to tradeshows and give them away. Pre-load the flash drives with all of your literature: data sheets, white papers, articles, and catalogs. Trade show attendees often throw away catalogs and booklets before flying back home, but there’s a great chance they’ll hold onto the custom flash drive (especially if it’s on a key ring). Bonus benefit: This is a environmentally-friendly solution.

2. Use flash drives as a leave-behind during sales calls. For example, let’s say you create a PowerPoint presentation that you use during your meeting with a prospect. Use your custom flash drive, plugging it into your laptop. When the meeting is over, unplug and hand it to your prospect. Let the person know that in addition to the presentation, you’ve included some other files on the drive. Be sure one of the files includes a link that redirects to your website.

3. Warm up the cold call by creating a custom presentation for a prospect and sending it to them on a flash drive. This works especially well with those important clients you’re trying to get face time with. We’re not talking simply filling up the drive with info about your company. Take the extra step for a prospect you’re trying to woo and create a presentation around the prospect’s company. Now when you follow up, instead of a true “cold call,” it may actually be a little warmer, thanks to your extra effort.

Ideas in action:

  • If you’re a web designer, present three new design mock-ups of the prospect’s home page.
  • If you’re a marketing consultant, present a three-month action plan that will deliver results.
  • If you’re an interior decorator, after meeting with the potential customer and taking some pics of a room, use a 3D tool to recreate the room in a couple of ways (or create a “mood board” for the room). Load the ideas onto the flash drive and send it to the prospect as a “thank you” for their time.

4. Direct mail idea: “Plug in for Savings” campaign. Develop a target list of prospects.
Send the people on the list a custom flash drive that has been pre-loaded with a profile about your company and a printable coupon for your services. Include a personal note with the flash drive letting people know that they need to “Plug in for Savings.”

  • Hint: This idea could work well for both seasonal businesses (think landscapers, house painters) or techie businesses (think IT consultants, QuickBooks consultants).

5. Direct mail idea: “Seeing is Believing” campaign. This is similar to the “Plug in for Savings” campaign, but instead of loading a file with a coupon, load a file that shows images of recent work.

  • Hint: This idea could work well for interior decorators, web designers, general contractors (think kitchen and bath remodeling), and photographers.


6. Hand them out in addition to your business card. After a networkingBugsy Flash Drive 1GB event, the pocket full of business cards may get tossed or thrown into a catch-all container. The custom flash drive has a better chance of standing out. Make it clear that it’s not an empty drive. Have something like “Plug me in to learn more about Awesome Company” printed on it.

7. If you’re the sponsor of a networking event, like a Chamber breakfast, ask if you can leave a flash drive at each place setting on the tables. (And follow the advice above.)

Reaching Charity Event Attendees… And Others:

8. Add custom flash drives to goodie bags for charity events. Again, load them up with some useful/worthwhile info. Think about who will be attending the event and customize accordingly.

Training Employees

9. Use flash drives to distribute literature for new employees. Flash drives provide an eco-friendly way to give new employees all the information they need about the job, such as employee handbooks, holiday schedules, and other policy documents.

10. Use flash drives for ongoing employee training. Flash drives are especially useful
for businesses with multiple offices/branches. There are two ways to approach this:

  • send flash drives to the different offices with all the training materials; the person in charge can print everything onsite.
  • Or go green: provide every employee involved in the training with his or her own drive with training materials.

Engaging Current & Past Customers/Clients

11. Think digital portfolios and testimonials. This goes along with ideas #3 and #5 above. A great way to re-engage past clients or to get current clients excited about new offers is to reach out to them by giving them a flash drive loaded with images of your latest projects and a video testimonial or two.

Ideas in action:

  • If you’re a carpenter, reach out to customers for whom you’ve remodeled their kitchens. Send them a flash drive with images of recent bathroom remodeling projects you’ve completed with testimonials from customers… and then include special time-sensitive discount offer.
  • For wedding caterers put together a photo slideshow including testimonials from just-married couples. Newlyweds love to share their wedding experience. Then load the slideshow onto flash drives and give them away at the next wedding show. Recipients will continue to use the flash drive through out their entire wedding planning.

12. Think repositories for documents and tutorials. This can work well for businesses that deal in a lot of paper, like accountants and bookkeepers. Provide your clients with flash drives of documents they’ll need each quarter or throughout the year. Or perhaps you provide consulting work and have guides, tutorials, or instructions that you give to all clients. Flash drives are a great way to share this info while promoting your business at the same time.

13. Think end-of-year packages. Many businesses send clients and customers holiday gifts, such as gift baskets. Add an extra component to these gifts by including a custom flash drive that you’ve pre-loaded with a video holiday greeting from your company.

Wildcard Ideas for Games and Contests

Silver Key Flash Drive 2GB14. You’re a Winner in a Flash! Remember the contests that radio stations used to hold where the station would give away a car and a bunch of listeners would win keys, but only one key would start the car? Same concept, new digital age: pre-load a bunch of flash drives with info about your company, including a specific link to a custom landing page on your website. One flash drive will have an additional bit of info, which will be the prize revealed on the landing page to the person that won. Use these flash drives as giveaway items for prospects, at networking events, at trade shows, and at live customer appreciation events. You get the idea.

  • Variation: Make every flash drive a winner. Just mix up the types of prizes you give away.

15. Crack the Code. This is a more involved contest idea, but it could get you some great exposure. This could work especially well for retailers or for a company that has a very active fan base at conferences or trade shows. Announce to your customers that you’re holding a “Crack the Code” contest. The payoff should be big (think something like airline tickets or a trip somewhere). The “code” should be on a landing page on your site (with clear rules). You’d announce that you’re including clues on flash drives that people can obtain in-store or at company events. Either the first person to successfully crack the code wins. OR you could accept entries for a given length of time, and all successful code-crackers would be entered into a drawing. This contest has the potential to be a huge success!


We hope you found a favorite way to promote your business from the 15 tips in this Ultimate Buying Guide for Custom Flash Drives. If you have questions or comments, leave a note in the comments below.

About Amsterdam Printing

Since 1898, we’ve been providing high quality imprinted marketing products to our customers. Over the years, we’ve evolved into something more. Sure, we still provide awesome promotional products that help you market your organization. But we also strive to share all of the promotional and marketing knowledge—the tips, tricks, and tools—we’ve learned over a century in business. To that end, we’ve developed resources like this Ultimate Buying Guide as well as numerous other posts here on the blog: Small Business Know-How. We hope you’ll consider subscribing.

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2 thoughts on “Ultimate Buying Guide for Custom Flash Drives

  1. Amazing post, two thumbs up!

    It is so comprehensive and informative and will save anyone who is ready to order custom USB drives for his business a lot of hassle. Thank you so much for your awesome work.

    I will share it on my Linkedin network as I have a lot of prospect who will probably be interested in buying promo USBs. They will surely find it very helpful. Have a great day!

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