For fun, Kirby Hasseman and I have taken control of each other’s blog sites today. Below is Kirby’s guest blog on the brandivate site. If you’d like to read my post on his site (which I strongly encourage), simply click here.
If you are a regular reader of this blog (and you should be) you know Bill talks a lot about the importance of standing out. He should. The fact is, we live in a “me too” society and, sometimes, a “me too” industry. Whether you are a supplier or a distributor in the promotional products industry, your competition is fierce.
So Bill is right. You know you need to differentiate. You need to be bold. You need to stand out.
“Yes I get it!” you might be saying. “But what can I DO? What steps can I talk to stand out?” So if you are starting today (or if you want to start improving today) here are 3 practical tips to standing out in the world of promotional products:
1. Build Your Own Website – I know there are lots of great off-the-shelf industry options for building a website – and they serve a purpose. But what they DON’T do is show your unique company perspective and personality. If you want to look like everyone else, by all means have those be your only window to the world. But if you want to showcase your own culture, creativity and content, create your own website that tells your story, your way.
2. Create Content Consistently – If you want to be a subject matter expert you need to be creating content. That might be blogging, it might mean video, or it might be just fun pictures on Facebook or Instagram. But if you want to stand out in today’s business environment, you and/or your company needs to be making a statement. It’s not hard, but it does take effort and, as Bill would say, burning some calories. If you really want to stand out, it’s worth the investment.
Oh, and as aside, you really need to be consistent. We have all seen that company that goes crazy for about a month and then never posts again (some of us ARE that company!). Bill and brandivate are a fantastic example of consistency: Without fail, there is a new post here EVERY Monday and Thursday. That not only creates a “contract” with your audience, but it gives you deadlines as well.
3. Practice What You Preach – Are you doing a self-promo of some kind every month? If not, why the hell not? You DO believe in the value you sell to clients, right? If not, change jobs immediately. If you do, it’s in your best interest to get out there and showcase the fantastic benefits of promotional products…for you AND for your clients! Create a monthly plan and make the investment to get some creative promotional merchandise for YOUR clients. Not tomorrow, not after breakfast, but now!
Oh, and one bonus tip for you…send hand written thank you notes! I know that you KNOW this, but most of you are not actually doing it. So make it a point to send someone a thank you today, you’ll be glad to you did.
We all want (and need to stand out) in this competitive field. Hopefully these tips will get you started in the right direction.
Kirby Hasseman has over 20 years of diverse marketing experience. He is the founder and CEO of Hasseman Marketing and Communications – a full service video, marketing, and promotional merchandise company located in Eastern Ohio. His "Delivering Marketing Joy" videocast is released on YouTube every Wednesday. View past episodes and subscribe to it here.