If your business has copious revenue pouring in with little effort and your customers keep coming back for more, then you’re probably already advertising effectively (not to mention that you’re pretty damn lucky). But for many companies, it’s tough to make a sale, especially when there are so many competitors lurking in the shadows and waiting to swoop down and steal your customers. First and foremost, before trying to market yourself to the public for the first time or before launching a new marketing campaign, you should be asking yourself a series of questions, such as: “Why should customers give my company money?” or “What can we offer people that other companies cannot?” Once you find the answers to your own questions, then you are ready to walk, talk, and think like a customer!
Okay, time’s up – you’ve had a few seconds to think! Why should customers give your company money? If you answered something along the lines of “because we sell / provide what they’re looking for”, then you may want to think a little bit longer. Customers are certainly not going to shell out their precious bucks just because you exist and you have what they need…there could be dozens of competitors that offer the exact same products and services as you, and cash-strapped or budget-savvy consumers CAN and WILL find them! The fact of the matter is that providing isn’t enough; your company needs to set itself apart somehow so that potential customers will become repeat customers and existing customers won’t move on to greener pastures.
How do you distinguish your company from all of the vicious competition out there? The answer isn’t necessarily simple or straightforward in every case, but finding a niche or a specialty is a good way to begin. Are your competitors really good at matching prices but really bad at treating their customers with respect? Kick their butts with incredible customer service! Does your arch-rival rock at advertising with a variety of media but overlook local charity drives or conventions? Attack the resources they have failed to tap! Of course, you must remember to stay as competitive as possible in all aspects of your business and not just the areas where your competitors are weak, but finding those weaknesses is a great place to start.
The use of promotional items is another popular choice for businesses to set themselves apart from competitors. You’d be amazed how thoroughly your message sticks when you have a clever slogan and interesting personalized gifts for giveaways! Whether or not your competitors are also distributing promotional products doesn’t matter as much as how you’re using YOUR custom merchandise. To give yourself the edge, try to come up with a catchy message or an innovative promotion…and then find a customizable product that fits. Or, reverse that and find your desired item and build your slogan or promotion around it! Don’t disregard “buzz-worthy” items like a Port-a-Potty stress ball or a Light-Up Yo Yo, either! The company gifts that attract customers the most are the unusual ones that they’ll want to tell all of their friends about.
Now, here’s a disclaimer for you. Yes, promotional products provide branding opportunities, but buying them won’t benefit you at all if you’re not keeping up with what your customers really want. In order to truly give people what they need, you’ll have to be creative with your advertising and quick with your analysis. I’ve visited quite a few businesses that went crazy with AWESOME promotional giveaways and piqued my interest, only to disappoint me with their crappy customer service or bogus policies later. Personalized merchandise will only help your business if you take every aspect of your business seriously!
So, why should you listen to me? Obviously, I work for Quality Logo Products and I love promotional items. Shouldn’t I be biased? Well, even though I spend my entire day immersed in the world of customizable merchandise, that doesn’t mean I’m going to sit here and tell you that simply purchasing your promotional products and having them imprinted is going to bring radical changes to your company wallet. Promotional items are proven to boost branding, but they don’t do it on their own! Attractive, customized merchandise will certainly draw in the customers, but only YOU can make sure they care about your message!
How have you set your business apart from your competitors? Do you remember any promotional items that worked wonders for boosting your sales? Tell us about it! Write your comments below. (Oh, and the adorable, butt-kicking Ninja Stress Ball featured at the top of this post? It’s available for customization exclusively at Quality Logo Products!)