Promotional Marketing Often Overlooked, But Effective

May 27, 2009
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Too often, small businesses don’t take advantage of easy ways to promote themselves.



Direct mail marketing, e-mail campaigns and even traditional advertising are tried-and-true methods of getting a company’s name out to the buying public. Nothing is more important than making sure that your company’s name-and, more importantly, what you-do is on the minds of those in the local business community. But one of the most effective ways to accomplish this will always be word of mouth and simple visibility. Too often, small businesses don’t take advantage of easy ways to promote their new or existing business in the simplest way: outfitting as many people as possible with apparel that features the company’s logo, contact information, website and slogan.

It may seem obvious, but even if your business is as small as two or three people, putting employees in apparel that showcases your company is very important for a number of reasons. First, as a business that operates in a local community, having custom uniforms or even T-shirts that show the company logo and contact information is free advertising. Second, by having a custom tagline, slogan or even a unique color scheme on that uniform, you’re more likely to stay on the minds of potential customers who will have seen it. That will then jog their memory when they are in need of your products. Finally, your employees represent your company; brand and company apparel is a way of leveraging this.

Another easy tactic is to give employees pens with your company name, brand, slogan and contact information. Employees can use the pens, but also leave them behind with customers. For example, if you provide branded pens for customers to sign receipts, customers will often take the pen with them. If branded, your pen can become a viral walking advertisement and reminder. You can even give them out if you have the budget.

The good news for small businesses is that there are a number of companies that are now offering these products in small quantities and at competitive prices. Typically the more you order, the less you will have to pay, but sometimes small businesses can’t order more than a handful to start out. You can also use your own design and colors, rather than working with a creative consultant, to save money.
,br> Creatively, the items must be unique and recognizable. You should first come up with a logo that shows what your business does. A tagline or catchphrase is also something that can be impactful. If you consider some of the most recognizable catchphrases associated with business and relate it to your business, you can start to think about what might create some buzz for you. “That was easy” has become Staples’ mantra, and Nike has “Just do it.” Mary Kay is known for the pink cars that salespeople used to drive around in, as well as the uniforms they wear. Of course, these companies have the power to promote these taglines nationally, but a creative tagline, color or logo can be on the minds of anyone who sees it locally, and that can be a windfall.

You can also go beyond just outfitting your own crew of employees-you can sell your own custom T-shirts, hats, pens or magnets, or give them away with a certain purchase level, and have your customers out doing your advertising for you. For example, people who receive a free T-shirt or hat as part of a promotion or giveaway will certainly wear it out in public, and promote your company and brand for you almost free of charge. You never know when you might have a customer interested in using products that promote your brand. If your merchandise is truly unique, it can even become a viral success and generate enough buzz so that everyone will want one. You never know what might resonate and catch on, but it’s worth the effort in trying.

So put on your creative hat, put together a logo and tagline, and design some custom apparel and promotional items. It’s a small investment worth making.

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