The bottom line goal of marketing is to help your business acquire new customers and retain recurring customers through the least expensive means possible.
Your marketing budget is the fuel, your staff is the engine; you must find the best way to produce high-quality, inexpensive fuel for your engine to produce the highest ROI (return on investment). This is done through many different ways, but if we simplify it, it basically comes down to branding and advertising. Branding helps your clients and prospects remember and recognize your brand, while advertising helps put your sales funnel in front of new prospects. If your branding is working like it should, then it should give your advertising a competitive advantage. When your ad is placed in front of a prospect, your ad should have a higher chance of winning over the prospect since they recognize your brand. The more prospects see and hear about your brand in different places (social media posts, YouTube commercials, promotional products, custom t-shirts…), the more likely they’ll be to recognize your brand and click on one of your ads. This should assist in acquiring a new client (or having existing clients repurchase from you).
Create Free Business Profiles
These days there are tons of different, inexpensive ways to get promote your brand, so where do we start? First, that will depend on the size of your company, your marketing budget, and the industry you’re in. A no-brainer is to start by creating free profiles for your business on digital marketing channels such as Google Business, Bing, Yelp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so on. Even the most low-budget startups can do this and these free profiles will help bring in organic traffic, which in turn, will in a sense help subsidize your overall marketing costs. Once you’ve setup all of your free marketing profiles, now you can start analyzing the best way to approach your paid advertising campaigns.
Remember, the goal is to be able to display (or announce) your brand for the lowest cost per impression (CPI) possible, then catch/funnel/convert those leads with an ad that’s been improved over time to have the lowest cost per click (CPC) possible – assuming you have a digital sales funnel.
First let’s briefly tackle the CPC part of this equation. Based on the clients we’ve worked with in the past, so far Google Ads has been one of the leaders in low-cost, quality lead capturing/generation. However, there are tons of other great platforms that allow you to advertise your business using CPC campaigns, such as Bing, Yelp, Facebook, Instagram, and more. These platforms place your custom ads in front of prospects looking for services you provide. Your job is to get the ad in front of the best prospects and to give yourself a competitive advantage through brand recognition. Think about it – if a prospect searches on Google and compares your ad to your competitor, will they recognize and trust you or them? Say the prospect clicks on both you and your competitor’s ad, now you’ve paid money for that click, are they going to recognize your brand and trust you with their business or will they go with your competition? Most likely, they’re going to go with whoever they recognize and therefore already trust more. You don’t want to lose a shot at a new client because no one recognized your brand, there are too many easy and inexpensive ways to promote your brand so don’t forget to do it!
Cost-Per-Impression & Branding
So now let’s tackle the branding aspect of the equation, the CPI per say. Based on your marketing budget, you’ll be able to start to see how you want to split everything up. Hopefully you have enough in the budget to be able to cover at least 3+ different marketing channels, both through digital and physical means, and have enough in each of their budgets to be able to establish a measurable “focus group” in each. Once you split up your budget into at least 3+ marketing channels, be sure to track where each lead saw your brand, this way you can start figuring out what works and what doesn’t for your particular business. If you don’t find a way to track what’s working as precisely as possible, you’re likely wasting advertising money and going to notice lackluster results from your marketing strategies. It’s much easier for a business that sells from their website to do this, but even if you only sell at a brick and mortar location, you need to find a good way for you or your staff to track this. For example, some businesses do great by advertising and branding themselves through Facebook, yet others don’t because their target market doesn’t use Facebook much. If you don’t catch this and just assume people are coming into your store because of your Facebook ads, you’re missing out on what that part of your marketing budget could actually be doing for you. So you really have to start with a few different platforms you know or have a reason to believe your clients/prospects use, then refine from there.
Why Promotional Products
One great, and virtually fail-safe “branding channel” is through the distribution of physical promotional products – anything from custom branded hats and tote bags to custom t-shirts. Promotional products are great investments since people in the United States tend to value and keep their giveaway shirts and products for years.
According to the Ad Specialty Institute, “the average giveaway shirt gets worn 4.32 times per month and earns 365 impressions per month, with an impression being any time the shirt is viewed or seen”. Let’s assume that each giveaway shirt costs your business $7 and your prospect keeps and wears the shirt for only 1 year. This means your brand gets about 4,380 impressions per giveaway shirt, and it only cost you about $0.0016 per impression ($1.60/CPM – Cost Per 1000 “M” impressions). That is a great CPM no matter what marketing channel you compare it to! With promotional products and custom t-shirts, not only does your brand get displayed to thousands of people, but the user of the shirt (or product) will also instantly recognize your brand on any of your advertisements since they see and wear your brand 4.32 times per month. This user will also naturally develop an endearment for your brand over time, which is a great way to build and maintain brand loyalty.
What the Ad Specialty Institute didn’t account for is the amount of people your brand can also reach via social media posts of people wearing your products as well. If you target the right demographic with your promo products, your brand can piggyback off the sharing of photos and reach thousands of views in minutes. In addition to greater brand awareness, you’ll also gain the trust of their followers by having them rep your name – which makes them more likely to choose you over a non-connected competitor. The point is you should 100% use and test different channels to promote brand awareness, never underestimate the power of carefully planned physical promotional product giveaways as one of them!
Now that we’ve established the importance on incorporating promotional products, such as custom t-shirts, in promoting your brand, how do you pick which company to trust with your merchandise production?
How to Pick Your Product Manufacturer
There are a handful of large, nationwide print shops, and about a thousand handfuls of small, local print shops to choose from. However, we’ve noticed different issues with both. The problem with large shops is often their higher prices and less helpful customer service. In contrast, the problem with small, local shops is their oftentimes lack of resources, organization, or sub-par production equipment. If your goal is to find the lowest price or a really small quantity, then a small, local shop might be the cheapest solution. But are they the best solution? The answer oftentimes is unfortunately no. A small print shop doesn’t cost a new entrepreneur much to start, which means that as long as they don’t hire much help and buy starter-kit equipment, they can be the cheapest in the business. However, this is not a good thing for you. Starter-kit equipment usually entails hobby-grade equipment (such as manual screen presses or low quality auto presses and dryers), which result in hobby-grade final products. At a glance the final products might even look pretty good, but chances are the print will either fade or crack much sooner than a commercial-grade product. You don’t want your clients or prospects to think you cheap-out on anything you do, so don’t let them think that by giving them a cheap promotional product.
So if large print shops are expensive and small print shops aren’t the highest quality or very punctual, who do you use to produce your custom merchandise? We’d like to think Bulk Custom Shirts (BulkCustomShirts.com) is your answer.
Bulk Custom Shirts was built specifically to address and conquer the common issues faced by small and large print shops across the nation. Bulk Custom Shirts focuses on superior customer service through dedicated product specialists that can help with anything you need digitally, no matter where you’re located. Our product specialists can help render your designs on products you’re interested in, and can help place your order so you save time and the avoid stress of something potentially coming out wrong. Since our customer support is fully digital, we save on extra office space and pass along the savings to you through our bulk all-inclusive prices. Our production facilities are also some of the best mass production factories in the nation. We only use commercial-grade equipment and highly trained production staff to produce your orders, so you can rest assured that quality will always be as good or better than any of the other top nationwide producers. Even with unparalleled customer service and commercial-grade product quality secured, we didn’t stop there. Custom products take several steps to produce, and if your facility isn’t extremely organized, orders will oftentimes be finished late or incorrectly. That’s why at Bulk Custom Shirts we have dedicated project managers that oversee every stage your order. That extra step we take in our quality control system is a huge benefit to our final product quality and makes sure our orders are never late on a hard due date.
At Bulk Custom Shirts, we pride ourselves on having the most organized project managers and most talented production teams around. On top of that, the relationships our great team has built with garment manufacturers, suppliers, and couriers over the years has helped us achieve and offer you some of the best prices in the nation on bulk promotional products. We like to think of our pricing as the “best value prices”.
In conclusion, whenever you’re ready to promote your brand and produce your next round of promotional products, let us show you why we’re the best in the business. Visit us at BulkCustomShirts.com, we’re looking forward to helping your business grow!