Imagine you’re in an urgent call and the person on the other end asks you to write down a series of numbers. You struggle for a bit and finally manage to find a notepad and a pen. Whew! You thank the heavens for Dustin’s Car Wash for giving you the pen and paper combo that one time.
In today’s business landscape, you’ve likely gotten many freebies and promotional merchandise from one company or another. Being a small business owner yourself, you ask whether these items are effective marketing tools that can benefit you or simply gimmicks bordering on being a nuisance.
Here are the things you need to know about Merchandise Marketing.
Let’s talk about some stats.
According to numbers gathered by the US Small Business Administration, 99.3 percent of all businesses in Utah in 2018 are small business. There is a good chance that many of those 277,139 other businesses are your direct competitors. Standing out is a must and marketing can get you there.
Yes, a big portion of modern marketing is done on the internet. Around two-thirds of small business already have websites. Meanwhile, over half of those who don’t, plan to build one this year. Your website and overall online presence is a huge opportunity for you to dazzle potential customers with your products, but that is a conversation for another time.
Let’s talk about merchandise marketing.
Although similar, promotional marketing is a subset of merchandise marketing. The former uses merchandise as freebies and giveaways. Meanwhile, the merchandise marketing includes rewards for things like referrals and loyalty. Think of merchandise marketing as anything that involves giving away physical merchandise.
Merch is an abbreviation and the hip cousin of merchandise. The word was first used in the early 80s, but has since been gaining traction again with the growth in popularity of independent personalities and companies in social media. For many influencers, designing, selling, and giving away merch is a logical step in their career progression.
But what does this have to do with your laundry service? A lot. Those personalities understand that surrounding their consumers with (beautifully-designed) merchandise will not only raise awareness of their brand, but also cultivate customer loyalty.
How can you use merchandise to market your small business ?
There’s a line between effective merchandise marketing and being one of those (obnoxious) companies that have their logo on just about anything. Here are a few things to make sure you stay on the right side.
— Speaking of logos — sometimes, its better to leave them out of the merchandise. When rewarding a good client, you can opt to personalize merchandise for them instead.
— Pick your merchandise wisely. Ideally, your items are things that will be useful for your target audience. If your business is fixing computers, mouse pads may be great giveaways. There’s no rule against exploring merchandise outside your industry though. Just make sure your items still remind people what exactly it is you offer.
— Aim for items will longer shelf lives. You’ll want to give out things that will stay with your customers for a long time. Unless they’re seasonal food gifts. Those are very welcome.
— Reserve those gift bags for your best customers. You can welcome a new customer with a bunch of items with your name and logo on them but wouldn’t those items have more value and magnetism if they were given to your most loyal customers?
— Network with your suppliers, too. Don’t forget to have a good relationship with your suppliers as well. Chances are, you’ll have to outsource the production of your merchandise, and having friends in different packaging and container suppliers in Utah can help make your merchandise marketing adventure a breeze.
Merchandise marketing is a proven way to attract attention and keep interest. There are (maybe literally) infinite kinds of merchandise you can use to market your business. Find the best ones for you and good luck!