Branded merchandise – also known as promotional products – are products designed to help build brand awareness and generate more business. They typically have a company’s logo printed on them along with other information such as contact details or a website. Examples include bags, pens, mugs, water bottles and hats.
By getting creative with branded merchandise, you can increase the chance of generating more business. Below are just a few different ways to market your business using branded merch.
Give them away at events
At events like trade shows or workshops, you may be able to build brand awareness by giving away promotional products to people attending. This branded merchandise can serve the same purpose as a business card. However, they are less likely to be forgotten or discarded than a business card due to having extra use.
You should think carefully about the type of event before choosing a promotional product. By considering your audience and their needs, you can choose a product that people are likely to find useful and keep onto. Some examples are included below:
- When attending an outdoor event, think about the weather. Is it likely to rain? Giving out branded umbrellas to passers-by could be a good idea. Is it going to be sunny? Branded caps or sunglasses could be a better option.
- If you’re hosting or attending an event in which people may want to take notes or complete forms, it could be worth giving away branded pens or branded notepads.
- Will kids be attending the event? Or more importantly does your business appeal to kids? Branded toys like yo-yos and fidget spinners can be a fun way to get families with kids to pay attention to your brand.
- Think about the theme of the event and your business. For example, it’s a mental health awareness event or you work in mental health, objects like branded stress balls could be apt.
Offer them as a thank you gift
Branded merch may not just help you to attract new customers but could also be a tool for encouraging return business. Some companies give away branded merch as a gift as a way of thanking the customer and encouraging them to remember them.
If your business is product-based, you could give away the branded merch along with each product. For example, if you sell coffee machines, you could throw in a branded mug with every purchase to remind customers where they bought the machine. This could be packaged with the product.
Alternatively, if you’re a service-based business, you could hand them the merch as a gift after providing your service. For example, if you provide a car detailing or car repair service, you could give away customized air fresheners as a thank you gift. These could be placed in the car ready for when the customer picks up the vehicle or handed to the customer with the receipt when paying.
Make them a competition prize
Branded merchandise could even be given away as a prize for winning a competition. Such merchandise is typically not the sole prize but could be thrown in as a fun extra prize.
A good example of this could be a restaurant hosting a food challenge and handing out free branded t-shirts along with free cocktails to anyone who completes the challenge. Such branded merch could be seen as a trophy and could help attract business.
Strategically ‘leave’ them in the right places
You may also be able to leave branded merchandise in places where potential customers are likely to find them. This typically requires getting a little more inventive in order to target the right people. Some examples could include:
- Creating a branded bookmark for your chiropractic business and strategically leaving it in a library book themed around spinal health.
- Leaving a branded pen at the post office or bank in a place where people may typically need to use a pen.
- Leaving a branded cap or sunglasses advertising your seaside restaurant or bar at the beach on a busy day
Sell them at your store
Most companies give away branded merchandise for free – but there could be instances where you can make money by selling these products.
This is better suited to businesses that are already selling products as such merch can become a part of their inventory without feeling too forced. The merch should also still be relevant to the business so that people actually want to buy it.
For example, if you own a coffee shop, you could sell reusable branded coffee flasks for customers to take away. An online computer hardware store could meanwhile consider selling branded USB sticks. Branded bags-for-life are probably the most common branded merchandise that is sold by businesses.
Established brands typically have more success selling branded merch because the brand itself is a selling point. Disney and Ferrari are classic examples of brands that make huge amounts of money selling branded merch.