No one has any illusions left about the economy today. The housing market, banking, the food industry are among only a few industries that have hit the skids. Small businesses are fighting for their lives, mainly because they began a small business in the aftermath of big business failure. It’s a grim outlook to be sure, but there are methods for insuring the small business’ survival. Promotional products are one of them. The small business needs visibility, superior customer service, good pricing and customer loyalty to stay alive. These items are one small way to insure that livelihood.
Free items and gifts are one of the few marketing innovations left to small businesses that big business has left behind. Big business is visible after years of marketing to make it so which means freebies are a thing of the past. Consumers are now actively looking for such items in order to make their lives a little easier in these days of crunching numbers, balancing a dwindling bank balance and making do. True, these items are in the form of pens, shirts and hats, tumblers, jackets, coolers and such, but they provide consumers with something they might not have the money to buy. The small business logo or brand on these items insures visibility in an every day setting and not just when consumers are searching for that brand.
Small businesses know that call centers, automated messages and contact us methods are getting on customers’ last nerves. They know that consumers want to talk to a real person. The company logo or brand on free items lets customers know there’s a human on the other end of the line, a human searching for the customer service that has been rapidly disappearing lately. They know the small business will bend over backward to keep the customers’ patronage and see that they are completely satisfied. This is a nice return on investment from such a simple item as a Tshirt.
The small business owner knows that to keep his customer base he needs good prices and customer loyalty. Staying competitive and providing a superior shopping experience is hard work, so the small business owner needs a method of keeping and growing his customer base. Free items are a good idea to remind his customers that there is, indeed, someone who cares about their trade. Shoppers return again and again to business who make them feel wanted and respected.
Consumers and, indeed, small business owners may not regard promotional products as psychological investments, but so they are. The small business owner knows that people need to feel less like a number and more like a human. Recognition of that humanity via free items goes a long way toward acknowledgment of his patrons’ needs so he can fulfill them. Big business has left behind such small things as a human answering the phone, so the small business owner is taking back the power of that recognition. The small business is becoming the wave of the future.
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