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!
We’re giving away a bunch of free custom t-shirts to one lucky winner this month. Just enter your email below (and share with your friends to get a load more free entries!), and we’ll be in touch very soon if you’ve won!
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.
Regular readers will know about Ramp For Good, our project to give away free (or very heavily discounted) charity t-shirts to organisations making the world a better place.
The recipients of June’s donation are Eat Or Heat, a brilliant food bank based in London. With the number of people in the UK needing to turn to food banks now at a record high, the work they do is increasingly important. Eat Or Heat is there to support them as they struggle to pay bills AND feed their families. In other words, you shouldn’t have to make a choice. “Life shouldn’t be eat or heat”.
They accept tinned and long-life foods, as well as sanitary products, and use them to create food parcels for the vulnerable in the community.
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!”.
You may remember that we recently launched Ramp For Good, our project to support organisations doing great work in their communities. By providing free or heavily subsidised t-shirts we hope to help improve their ability to be visible, raise funds, or promote themselves.
Early last week we were in the final stages of organising our next shipment of t-shirts to an organisation making the world a better place. Suddenly we got a message out of the blue from a small group of people in Manchester. They were organising a 24hr marathon of back to back matches. Their cause was to raise funds for the victims of the awful murders of people at the Ariana Grande concert in their city. They needed Manchester Marathon Match t-shirts for the volunteers who would be helping them run the event.
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!