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Using branded merchandise to market your business
Sep 30th, 2014 by contact@ignite

You probably associate branded merchandise with huge multi-nationals and large corporations such as McDonald’s and Nestle (think of the free toys that are often found in cereal boxes or handed out at restaurants) but promotional gifts can be a great way to connect with your customers, raise awareness of your brand and boost sales.

Even small firms can benefit from using branded merchandise and free gifts can be a great way to achieve specific objectives such as encouraging customers to visit your shop or to increase awareness of a new service or product.  However you decide to use branded merchandise, you’ll need to begin by setting a clear objective suggests the Marketing Doctor when talking to Leeds businesses. Investing in branded merchandise may well seem like an unnecessary expense but provided you choose the right merchandise and combine that merchandise with clear, carefully thought out objectives, you could generate a valuable return on your initial investment.

You need to choose the right merchandise to attract your target audience: free beermats handed out by a brewery are likely to be more successful than, for example, free key rings.  Choose something creative and it’ll generate interest and help establish customer loyalty.

Image courtesy of iwdonline.co.uk via sxc.hu

Image courtesy of iwdonline.co.uk via sxc.hu

Before decided which type of branded merchandise to go for, you’ll need to spend time weighing up the costs.  Pick a reputable supplier: any reputable supplier will ask you what kind of return you are looking for on your investment and the message you’d like your branded merchandise to convey. It’s worth considering that by making a handful of long-standing, loyal customers feel valued with a carefully chosen gift can have the potential to offer a return equal to sending out thousands of direct mailings or advertising in your local paper.

The rule of thumb should be that the more you spend on the marketing merchandise, the more targeted your campaign needs to be.  Send your carefully chose merchandise out to your carefully selected customers and then keep a record of the results to give a clear picture of the success of your campaign.  Remember that merchandise doesn’t necessarily have to be sent out: branded merchandise can also prove effective when handed out at conferences, your fave Leeds marketing networking events or to clients at meetings.  If you run a shop, you could display your free merchandise next to the till, ready for customers to help themselves when they make a purchase. Face-to-face distribution also offers the advantage of helping you gauge which contacts are really worth giving gifts to. For more information, please visit: www.marketingdoctorleeds.co.uk

Rather than ordering huge numbers of one type of branded merchandise, order small quantities at first and test to see which type is the most successful.  Ask customers where or how they heard of you or why they decided to buy your product and then place an order for more of the merchandise that’s offered you the best return.

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