Don't Miss The Boat On "Free-Ride" Marketing Messages!

November 28, 2017

It never ceases to amaze me when I visit a local coffee shop or fast-food place and purchase a drink in a blank-white container. "They just missed a golden opportunity" I always think to myself.

And the same goes for businesses that deliver or make sales calls in vehicles with zero marketing embellishment.

Yet most of these same businesses are willing to spend thousands of dollars on advertising to promote their products or services.

There are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of ways to implement and utilize what I call "Free-Ride" marketing that can make huge impacts on your company's sales results.

Free-Ride marketing is basically the effort and system to place your company's logo or marketing message in places that are going to "ride" or go somewhere anyway. And anything that goes somewhere is usually seen or touched by several or many potential customers. And the best part? Free-Ride marketing is often inexpensive to create, but has the potential to work 24 hours a day, and often has a very long shelf-life.

Here are several examples of Free-Ride Marketing:

Branded coffee cups or drink containers. These containers are often seen by hundreds or thousands of people in a small amount of time (think someone carrying your branded coffee cup on a subway or while walking through a busy area, or even sitting on a conference table full of a bunch of potential clients.)

Custom-printed Decals or Magnets. Does your business install or service equipment or provide a service that would benefit from your leaving a custom-printed decal or magnet within easy display? "Do you mind if I place a magnet on this file cabinet in case you need to give us a quick call?" Most office managers or business owners will not object to your placing a "mini-billboard" on their filing cabinet, break-room fridge, or in a very high-traffic area.

Branded shipping boxes/packages. If your company ships or delivers your products in boxes or packages, you should definitely brand these boxes or packages. It can be as fancy as a printed box or container, or as easy as apply custom decals to each box or package. Display your logo and contact info as large as possible, and if it makes sense, a short and concise line-item of your products or services.  Often time these boxes or packages are seen by a lot of people- at not additional time or cost to you other than the price of the decals or printing.

Car Magnets or Vehicle Graphics. This is one that really makes me scratch my head. I can't believe how many businesses fail to brand their delivery or company vehicles. Or even if they do brand their vehicle, it's often a tiny car magnet that is almost impossible to read.  Vehicle graphics are amazing. Once applied, your business cars or trucks become literally a 24/7 marketing machine that displays your logo and marketing message anytime it's anywhere with people.  A busy parking lot can become a huge marketing opportunity. Car magnets are very inexpensive, but even plot-cut or partial car wraps are affordable and can yield a huge return. If you really want to make an impact, consider a full car or truck wrap. With the right design, your car or truck can get noticed and become a truly huge lead generator.

Bounce-Back Coupons and Flyers. Anytime you deliver or ship a package with your product, a simple, cheap and HUGE marketing opportunity is in your hands. Every package should contain a bounce-back coupon (a discount or offer to entice the customer to purchase again soon,) a product or service flyer, or even a company catalog. If you include an invoice or shipping slip, why not print a small branded message directly on the invoice or slip? Your customer is definitely going to handle this document, so why not use the opportunity to educate your customer on additional products or services that you offer, or to entice her or him to purchase again?

Referral Offers or Business Cards. If you deal "one-on-one" with your clients, why not make the practice of giving each client or prospect a referral flyer or a few business cards? Each prospect or client can be one of your greatest sources of Ride-Along marketing. If you do a great job, these clients (and even prospects) often become one of your best sources for future business in the form of highly-coveted referrals. These clients and prospects often know other potential customers, and their endorsement can turn into a huge boost for you. Throw-in an enticement for these clients and prospects to refer people to you, and you may soon have a mini sales force turning leads your way!

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