We’ve recently been running a series of webinars teaching people how to get more users and customers by giving away t-shirts and other promotional merchandise. It’s a tried and trusted method, and in the video below our CEO breaks it down to help you understand how you can do it in a risk-free way.
In this short, informative recording, we looked at some great case-studies of people who have generated literally millions of dollars for their business by giving away free t-shirts, as well as given away some great tips and tricks for how you can try these methods basically risk free.
I recently spoke to someone who truly understands the power of custom merchandise for business development, and how it delights customers and, crucially, brings you new ones for just a few dollars each. It’s a relatively cheap, innovative growth hack that had huge results!
If you’re wondering how companies can use t-shirts to grow their users and build a community, then you need to check out ClickFunnels. It’s a service to help you build any kind of marketing funnel for your website. They’ve clearly thought about it a huge amount, and baked t-shirts into this part of their customer acquisition process from the very start. They’re very smart in using t-shirts to get more users.
t-shirts are a huge part of how they have built a great community around their 48,000 users.
I caught up with Dave Woodward, ClickFunnels’ Chief Business Development Officer, to find a little bit more about their super-smart incentive, and how it works for them.
Last summer, we were invited to take part in a week-long programme at Google Campus where, along with several other startups, we were given access to some of Google’s finest minds and insights.
It was a brilliant week that helped us refine a lot of the thinking we’d been doing over the previous months. And I’m only being slightly facetious when I say that one of the highlights was the free Google swag. Being the mighty world-beating behemoth that they are, they don’t do things by halves. And what we were given helped me crystalise my thinking around the benefits of promotional merchandise.
At Ramp we’re big fans of Hotjar. We use it to tell us where we’re “losing” people on our website, and where they’re clicking, so that we can make things clearer, simpler and more efficient.
Nick Heim, their Director Of Marketing described it to me as “the closest thing to telepathy for your website”, which I thought was a pretty cool description!
I’d caught up with Hotjar because we were intrigued by the way they used free t-shirts to incentivise referrals, and drive thousands of new sign-ups. We thought it was really smart…
“We launched a super-simple referral program a few years ago, and it’s remained unchanged since then”, said Nick. “It’s a gamified system that simply rewards people with swag for sending new users our way. If you refer 5 users to Hotjar, we’ll send you a free t-shirt. If you’re in the top 5 referrers of that month, we’ll send you a hoodie!”.
Keen IO are a San Francisco startup that makes it easy to create real-time data applications through the use of their API. What this means in non-tech terms is that 60,000 people use Keen IO APIs to capture, analyze, and embed data analytics into their products. It allows them to use all this data and present it in a usable way, through graphs, charts, tables etc.
Because they’re a technical product, their primary users tend to be developers. And to engage their audience they’ve hidden* a brilliant free t-shirt Easter egg in their API documentation – for our non-technical readers, this is the “manual” that their users must consult to know how to implement Keen IO’s code properly.
We all approve of motivated, engaged teams, right? Like this lovely bunch of humans from Bold.
Whether you’re a team member or someone who’s managing a team, having a group of people who enjoy working together in concerted way is absolutely critical to success. If your team isn’t harmonious and effective, you hugely limit your chance of achieving the team’s aims.
Or, to put it in another way:
“When you’re growing..[….]..the biggest challenge is getting the founders to understand that the team is the product”.
Thankfully there’s been a huge amount of research into how to improve performance, motivation, and job satisfaction in teams and organisations. There’s certainly not a one-size-fits-all approach, but there are some simple things that you can do in a quick and cost-effective way make your team’s life a little bit more fun and efficient.
One such way is through having a team uniform. And in our case, team t-shirts.
Firstly, we’re not saying you should provide a compulsory uniform of daily t-shirts for your team. While that certainly is a good potential approach in some sectors (e.g. catering and hospitality), many types of team will prefer to save the t-shirts for optional wear, or for special occasions like team-building or conferences.
But whether it’s every day, or once a year, there’s plenty of evidence that a uniform or a great t-shirt can bond your team, make everyone feel more valued. And make them better at their job!
Are branded t-shirts a justified marketing expense and one of the best best adwords alternative? There’s an endless stream of other things you could spend that money on – Facebook advertising, PPC, print, direct mail, you name it.
Now, I’ve never seen anybody dressed in a Google Adwords campaign, but a well-designed and well thought out company t-shirt can be a devastatingly effective and versatile business tool.
But here’s the big question – are t-shirts just a vanity thing, or are they actually worth investing money in? And are they really a better advertising medium than Facebook or Google?