Promotional Items for Small Businesses
Everyone who has started and succeeded in running a small business has, at one point or another, had the same thought: how in the world do I compete with the big-box competitors? How do I make my business stand out from the rest?
Trust us – we get it.
In fact, we’re a small business ourselves, and we’re working to compete with some of the biggest faceless global promotional item and marketing companies in the world.
But, as we continue to work to be successful and help other businesses achieve success too, we’ve had to ask ourselves the same question: how in the world do we compete with the big box competitors? How do we make our business stand out from the rest?
Does that question sound familiar?
Here’s the conclusion we came to:
There are always going to be businesses out there that have a bigger marketing budget, a head start, multiple locations – anything that can give them a competitive advantage over the little guy (e.g. you and us.). And chances are: they’re going to be in your industry, competing for the same small target market that you’re trying to capture.
So, the big question remains:
How do you, with your smaller budget, and bootstrapped company, and limited resources, take down the big goliath behemoth intent on stealing all of your customers and leads?
The answer is simple: get creative with your marketing.
What may appear to be a weakness to some marketers (lack of brand awareness), can in actuality, be a benefit. You have a blank slate to show your customers that your business is worthy of their patronage. You can teach them why the services you provide and the products you sell are valuable.
Plus, there’s another big benefit to small businesses:
Small businesses are inherently better for the community, and communities across America prefer using their money to help businesspeople right in their own backyard rather than throwing their cash over to a faceless, nameless, Mart-like corporation.
So, now that you know this, you must be wondering: Just how do I get creative?
The answer, again, is simple: with promotional products.
Sure – we are biased because we’re a promotional products company. But the truth is, we do what we do because we know it works. In building our business, and helping businesses across the world do the same, we’ve seen the kind of success a creative, properly-chosen promotional item can bring. So we’re here to share with you three great ways to use promotional items to help your small business take on the big guys.
1. Find a way to sneak your logo into their regular routine.
Your market research should paint a pretty good picture of what your typical customer should look like. Do you know their geographic location? Their age? Their marital and family status? We’re guessing you do. And though a picture is worth a thousand words, it could also be worth a thousand dollars (or more!) if you know how to turn that information into ammunition for your marketing efforts.
Think about what kind of promotional products your typical customer could actually use and want, instead of something they can simply keep. The key here is to attach your brand to something that will attach to their routine.
Think of it this way:
Do your buyers tend to be caucasian middle-aged women over 55? Well if so, you can do your research and find that they as a group drink more coffee than just about anyone else.
So, reach them with something they actually want like a branded stainless steel tumbler. These kinds of thoughtful yet useful products that are targeted toward your demographic will help make sure your products aren’t just used, but enjoyed, daily.
2. Throw It All Against the Wall: Stand out with an out-of-the-box product choice
While so much of marketing is based on research, data, and assumptions about your ideal demographic, sometimes throwing it all against the wall and seeing what sticks is a great way to find out some new things about your customers. Just because they’re middle-aged men doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy something pretty. Just because they’re adults doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy something fun? Does it?
See where we’re going?
If you aren’t sure what might impress your customers, do what the brave creatives in the world do: try something new.
We have literally hundreds of thousands of unique products – from Virtual Reality Viewers – that can not only be customized with your business information but can also be ordered in small quantities. This kind of flexibility allows you to not only try something new, but get real feedback from real customers to see what they enjoy.
3. Speaking of Feedback: Have You Asked?
Look: anyone who has ever been in a romantic relationship will tell you: people aren’t mind readers – and neither are you. It’s virtually impossible to know what someone, or some group of people, wants all the time without asking.
So….Have you asked?
We bet you haven’t.
It’s okay! We all make mistakes.
But seriously: Don’t be afraid to ask your customers what they like about your brand, and what you may be able to provide to them that will help reinforce your marketing message and keep your business top-of-mind.
Does your business make custom rear-view mirror dangles? Well, maybe your customers would really like a brand new tire gage?
Run a small restaurant? Maybe your customers would like the chance to try and cook up your recipes at home with a customized cutting board. Plus, there’s a good chance they burn their food and head out to your restaurant! ha!)
The truth is: you don’t know until you ask.
So don’t be afraid to. Your customers love your business for a reason, and taking in their feedback will show them that you’re serious about keeping them loyal customers for life.
Those kind of relationships are the lifeblood of small businesses everywhere and will be well worth the time and effort.