It can be challenging to decide when to cut expenses and when to put money out in hopes that you get a big return. At my company, Headbands of Hope, we’ve played around (and, by "played," I mean trial and error) with different investments to see where we got the return.
So far, these are what we’ve found to be the most effective ways to put money out and watch it come back in:
1. Get that corner booth at your next industry show.
We attend a lot of fashion industry shows, like Accessories the Show and America’s Mart. One of the best decisions we made was spending the extra $200 to $500 for a booth located on a high-traffic corner. There, you get twice the foot traffic you would on an aisle, and you can make your display more open to both lanes of traffic.
2. Hire a PR firm.
Depending on your product or service, a PR firm may get you placement in magazines, blogs, and television shows with celebrities (we got on the Today show through ours). The keyword here is that it might happen, with the right firm and the right product story.
The problem is that most firms require a monthly retainer fee whether you get a media hit or not. That’s why it’s important to develop a strong strategic pitching plan with your PR firm right out of the gate.
3. Create a mobile-friendly site.
Sixty percent of our customers land on our site via their phones. Invest in a programmer to make your site and purchase process mobile-friendly. You don’t want to lose customers because they have to manually zoom-in to click a tab.
4. Create high-quality packaging.
We started shipping our headbands in little burlap bags with our logo on them, as opposed to standard tissue paper. Obviously, the bags were more expensive, but we found that customers included the bag in pictures they took to post on social media, because they found the bag a part of the experience.
We also found that they use the bag to keep their headbands in for safekeeping, which means that our logo stays with them.
5. Sell soft shirts.
I find it really hard to spend over $10 per custom shirt when you can easily get them for $5. However, shirts with your logo on them aren’t just a transaction to your customer, they’re a means for a walking billboard.
When you think about the shirts that you wear all the time, are they the cheap, stiff shirts with the tag that you had to cut off from scratching your neck? Or, are they the soft, comfy shirts that get better with every wash? Invest in a higher- quality shirt to increase your chances of people actually wearing them to show your logo.