Shirts, Stickers and Signs

A while back I had a friend who was interested in “branding” his new found business idea. Keyword is IDEA. He wanted to sell products to a certain clientele. But he hadn’t lined up his vendors, website and products. But he already wanted to come up with all sorts of marketing collateral such as shirts, stickers and even signs to help gain some exposure for his brand. But when I heard this, one thing came to mind…don’t count your chickens before they hatch.
chickens_hatch

Though I completely understand what he’s trying to do, but I tried to explain to him that there’s stuff he can do that won’t actually cost money. I told him about Blogging and Social Media, but he just couldn’t see the vision for it because he was too focused on wanting to get stuff to pass out to people.

You see, if you start blogging you’re basically building a buzz about your product, services and company. Besides it’s free and it has the best return for your work. If you have good content on your site, search engines will find you and that means when someone is Googling a product or service you offer, your chances of getting found online goes up.

Don’t get me wrong, I think branding is great, but it’s better when you have already established yourself as a company. Besides, all that branding stuff isn’t cheap, shirts can cost as much as $8 a piece with a minimum order of 100. So all that adds up. My suggestion is after you start making sales and have replenished your overhead, any surplus you have can go towards branding.

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What’s the best way to get more readers to my blog?

I recently had a friend ask me that question above since she just started a blog. There’s so many ways to answer it. But in my opinion, fresh content is the best way to get more readers on your blog. What do I mean by FRESH CONTENT? Basically it means articles and more articles.

If your blog is all about cats and kittens, then make sure you publishing out as many cat/kitten articles as often as you can. Oh but there’s a catch to all that. The content you push out has to be substantial, meaning it has to have some sort of value to your readers. That way you’ll retain them as a reader and they keep coming back to see what new stuff you’ve posted.
LOL-Poor-cat
Just think of it for a minute. You find a great blog, you follow it, but the Author doesn’t regularly update it. Maybe they’ll update once or twice a month. What eventually happens is you stop going back to the site and you forget. Well…do you want your readers to forget about you? No? Then make sure you have good articles that keeps them engaged and coming back!

A few years ago there was a blog that I followed because I loved how he wrote. He was funny, witty and his style was so unique. Then something happened, he just stopped writing. Eventually his blog failed to exist! I was actually pretty bummed out because I felt the guy had some great stuff. So if you didn’t what I’m trying to say, post articles. Preferably your own and not some sort of regurgitated news that other blogs have already posted.

Get your brand involved

One of the things I love to do on my mountain biking website is create projects or what we call “builds.” For the last 6 years that I’ve had that line of business open, we’ve created at least a dozen bike projects. Some of them are basic builds and others like the tandem is pretty complicated.

When doing these builds, it does cost money. The website does pay for much of the expenses. But often times I’ll partner up with a brand who will donate hard goods to the cause. Doing this helps off set any costs that I may incur from the project. Besides, it’s a great way for the brand to further get their name out there on a grass roots level.

Take for example this stuff you see below. That was donated by a company in SoCal called Serfas. They make quality bicycle parts and accessories. We’ve had a great relationship with Serfas for the last several years. But this was actually the first project they jumped on board with.
serfas

Why do you think Serfas donated products? There’s a few reasons why they did it. For one, it’s cheap advertising. Another reason is that it’s CHEAP ADVERTISING. Third…do I dare say it again? CHEAP ADVERTISING! Yep, you guessed it, cheap advertising. How cheap? Let’s look at that picture again. I’m guessing that items that Serfas sells is marked up to 50-80% from the landed costs. Let’s pretend that a seat that retails for $50 has a landed cost of $20. If you didn’t know, LANDED COST means the total cost to you, the company of everything included. That means, “the end cost of an internationally shipped item. This includes purchase price, freight, insurance, and other costs and may sometimes include duties and taxes.”

Ok now that we have that in mind, let’s look again at that photo. There are other items in it such as tires, grips and the already mentioned, seats. Once more, we’ll pretend the landed costs for all those items hover around $100. Now take that $100 and see if you can buy any type of advertisement online or on a print publication. I’m sure you’ll find a few deals here and there. But what you run the risk of is an un-targeted audience (more on that later). I also doubt you’ll find a place that will take your $100 so you can run a full campaign for over a month.

On the tandem project that MtnBikeRiders.com has, they(as is me and the guys) are planning on doing multiple articles, multiple rides, races and events with the finished project. So this means, what ever they do with the tandem, Serfas will get some sort of exposure…to a TARGETED audience (more on targeted audience later). Why does that matter? Just look at that $100 investment they made. It will now become a permanent part of this tandem project. Every time these guys do anything with that tandem, Serfas products will be seen in photos, articles and videos they create. Given our history at MtnBikeRiders.com, anytime we do a project, we post tons of articles on just that project alone. I’ll give you an example. Here’s a project I took on, I called it Burt Reynolds. A simple search on the site will yield over a dozen articles on that bike alone.

Back to the title. Get involved! Make a bold move like Serfas did, get involved with bloggers and see what you can do to assist in their next project/activity or event. But make sure those guys have some sort of credibility on projects so you don’t waste your time and money.

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