Wouldn’t it be nice if the quality of your business’s products or services were all that mattered? If that were true, you could just work hard and keep putting your talents and passions into the things that you do best. You could trust that customers would gravitate toward you purely on the merits of your work and that they’d keep coming back for more.
Obviously, things don’t work in quite that way. Like it or not, customers are not fully informed all of the time — and they’re not fully rational, either. A good ad campaign from a rival could draw customers to their business instead of yours. And even once you get customers in the door and show them that your business is better, you can’t assume that your customers will remember you. After all, do you remember every sort of business you visit? Do you remember if your last fast food meal came from McDonald’s or Burger King, or if the mechanic your buddy recommends was the one on Main Street or the one on First Avenue? This stuff can blend together and be forgotten so easily.
That’s why you need to invest in marketing that sticks around. You should get your business some physical items that customers will buy, take, borrow, or lose in public places. You want your business’ brand name to be floating around in town: dangling from your customer’s keys, exchanged when your customers lend pens to friends and worn on customers’ sleeves. Studies show that these techniques work. Here are the promotional items your business needs.
Pens are a promotional classic for a reason. They’re affordable, useful, and somehow manage to be unobtrusive and ubiquitous at the same time. There’s nothing over-the-top about a pen with a brand name on it, so you can expect customers to happily grab one and hold onto it. Then, those customers will see your brand name on your promotional pen every time they write a check or scribble a note.
And pens tend to circulate. Let customers leave with promotional pens, and those customers will soon lend out and lose a lot of those same pens. The pens will be everywhere, from bank counters to classrooms — and that means that your brand will be, too.
Who doesn’t like T-shirts? If you design a great shirt, you’ll see folks around town wearing your shirt just as surely as you’ll see folks proudly advertising Pepsi or Budweiser on their chests. A cool T-shirt is a cool T-shirt, and if you can make one that fits the bill, then free advertising is in your future.
Getting T-shirts with your business’ logo on them will also give you something to have employees and other company representatives wear (depending, of course, on the nature of your business and its dress code). Having all of your retail employees in the same branded shirt, for instance, can help customers identify the people who can help them and will make your business look more professional.
Your business may not be the Boston Red Sox or the New York Yankees, but that doesn’t mean that your customers won’t be willing to wear a hat with your logo on it. A classic ball cap is a perfect promotional item, because your customers will wear hats like yours on hikes, at ball games, and when they do yard work or run errands. Like a T-shirt, a ball cap is an option as both a giveaway and as part of an employee uniform.
And, of course, ball caps are perfect for baseball and softball teams. Maybe you can sponsor a team or a league nearby. Doing so is a great way to get a bunch of people wearing your promotional gear (with a whole bunch of people watching, too).