How branded promotional materials can be a boon for small businesses
While this may seem like an obvious idea, why don’t more small businesses take advantage? Of all the investments you can make to get your brand seen, branded merchandise can see better returns than most cryptocurrencies (no joke). Today, we’ll highlight why hopping on this merchandise train can be just what the doctor ordered for small businesses in any industry.
Brand equity is best explained as the level of influence a brand has in the minds of consumers and the top-of-mind value among its audiences. When polled on where consumers first saw a particular brand or slogan, most assume that it was a TV commercial or digital ad. Truth is, it was more likely from branded merchandise that they saw out in public at the park, an event, on a bumper sticker or water bottle.
Locally, car decals or window clings can be seen on one out of every three or four vehicles. A few local businesses that have taken advantage of this include the Roasters Coffee and Parkinson Butler Orthodontics. We see those stickers EVERYWHERE. These are very visible ways to get your brand in front of a lot of people.
BRANDED MERCHANDISE = ROI
Think of it this way, when you distribute branded merchandise (either free or through sales), it’s advertising. The small investment made to produce the materials is far less than running ad campaigns and will often last much longer (depending on the item). Branded tee shirts, when worn at public events such as the Fair & Rodeo or Waterfollies, are like walking billboards. These are super easy ways to build brand equity. This top of mind awareness pays off sooner AND later. When passersby decide they need an orthodontist, who do you think comes to mind first?
Anymore, you can put your logo on pretty much anything, but there are some items with more general appeal—like stickers, tees/apparel and reusable water bottles—that get the most use. With the popularity of outdoor recreation in our area, koozies are also a great product that can stand the test of time. Not all products are created equal, but have an open mind and get creative. And if you can find a product that’s specific to your industry, such as a branded wooden spoon for a bakery or branded sunglasses for an eye clinic, then all the better!
FIND A GREAT VENDOR
With literally hundreds of print vendors out there doing business online, there’s no shortage of options. Due to that end, we recommend doing a little homework, as they range in price and overall print quality. Having worked with many vendors ourselves, we have a few recommendations to get you started…
- Shirts/apparel and miscellaneous products – Custom Ink is our favorite. Quality is always great and they have a superior customer service team; an extensive list of premium and affordable brands alike; and they’ve got something for everyone.
- Stickers – We’re big fans of Sticker Mule. They’ve got a variety of sticker products and they make it super easy to submit an order. That, combined with quick turnaround times and excellent sticker quality, make them our go-to. And did we mention they make a killer hot sauce that they’ll add to orders over $100 for free? Seriously, it’s Derek’s favorite!
DISTRIBUTE + HYPE
There’s no right or wrong way to go about this, but it’s important to have a plan. Whether you’re planning on selling your merchandise or handing it out for free, decide how and where you’ll be doing this. If you’re selling your branded merchandise, consider setting aside one or two dozen that you’ll be giving away as part of a promotion (social media is a great way to promote this, as the people that follow your business are likely current customers).
If you work business-to-business, consider giving some products away to your top clients or including them as part of a holiday promotion. Again, no right or wrong way to distribute, but having a plan will make it easier to get these out in people’s hands. Check out Focal Point’s shop for some inspiration!
That’s it, it’s that easy to get your brand out there and make an impact. Branded merchandise, when done well, can be one of the best investments you’ll ever make in your brand. Now you can start using cool words like swag and merch and speak the lingo of today’s youth, and look damn good doing it!