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How to market your app or software through merch

A lot of great apps and softwares don’t get the exposure they deserve.
Ever heard of Wakely or Tunity? (Both of them are true gems, check them out!)

In this blogpost we will explain how to maximize exposure for your SaaS products with smaller budgets and more tangible returns. So if you’re all about reducing churn rates and maximizing …. ?

Experts estimate that on average there are 6000+ new apps and softwares being launched everyday single day. And pretty much all of the companies behind those apps and softwares tend to take to traditional advertizing and media to support their product.

Why traditional advertizing is not cutting it anymore.

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People are being exposed to a lot of direct and indirect ad’s throughout the day. Over the years Facebook and Google have been allowing us marketeers to pinpoint our ads on our target customers. More precise targeting thus made it easier to get our products in front of the right people. Unfortunately not all of our potential customers have unlimited budgets.

Enter Decidophobia

Daily exposure to dozens of ads of the next revolutionary app and the best new software is now leading to two things. One of those two being decidophobia [The fear of making the wrong decision]. You can try and reinvent online advertizing every now and then but in the end there are only so many strategies that work. So ultimately, all in our own niche, we’re using similar tactics to reach similar potential customers. In turn making it harder for those potential customers to pick the right products.

Partial Blindness or numbness

Call it whatever you want because either way, a lot of people have become partially blind or numb towards online marketing. Do you recall the last 3 banner ads you have seen since you have started this internet session? Do you still partake in a lot of online giveaways?
I do want to put an emphasis on ‘partially’. These techniques definitely still work, just a lot less than a few years ago.

So if not traditional advertizing, what then?

By now you should have come to terms with the fact that the access-code giveaway you had planned for tomorrow isn’t that great of an idea. Here’s what you should focus on instead.

Merchandise Marketing.

We’re not talking about run-off-the-mill sweaters with your logo on them. But apparel made out of retail grade fabrics with awesome designs, super detailed finishing and your own brand labels stitched into them.

Why merchandise marketing will work for your business.

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Apps and softwares are intangible and are ‘’hidden’’ on peoples phones, laptops or whatever device they prefer. And although a lot of SaaS companies do hand out the occasional sticker, freebie or gadget, most people will never truly promote your product.

If a customer likes your product, they might tell a friend about your software but they sure won’t start telling a random stranger on the subway about it.

EXAMPLE: Now imagine that same customer or user wearing one of your awesome hoodies, t-shirts or beanies.

1. That hoodie, t-shirt or beanie is bound to end up on social media sooner or later.

Most people tend to wear clothes when they go out, right? Whether it’s at work, at the cinema or at the bowling alley, people love to take pictures or short videos. Instagram and the likes made that super accessible and easy for us. So although it’s not directly meant to promote your product. Your merchandise and logo will be seen by hundreds often a few thousand people on social media. And that’s just one customer!

2. Do you know the number of traditional advertisements spotted on top of Mt. Everest or the middle of the Sahara?

Zero. And that won’t change anytime soon. The point is that people go places where traditional advertisements won’t always be able to go. Meaning that your merchandise marketing will even reach more people in more places.

3. Build the hype before you launch your product.

There’s a lot you can do to hype your product while building your MVP but as mentioned before as long as it’s not tangible, people might and will forget about it. So start building a loyal fanbase way before launch. You can set-up subscribe or referral campaigns in which you can reward people with merchandise. You can also throw multiple launch events or guerilla style tabling events in which you can hand out cool merch. People will most likely throw out your leaflets but they’ll definitely hold on to your branded pair of socks.

Lessons learned.

The key lesson here is that we’ve been putting to much effort and cash into the same marketing channels for too long. We marketeers basically thought people to look away from our banners and to feel indifferent when spotting our big giveaway. So it’s up to us as well to regain their attention in a cost-effective and lasting way. That’s where we believe merchandise comes into the picture. People tend to save it, wear it, show it off (based on the company and design) and that’s what makes it a great marketing tool and conversation starter. Combine this with a traditional marketing campaign and trust me when I say that if it’s any good, people will share the life out of it.

Summarized

Traditional advertizing is expensive and doesn’t tend to build lasting relations.
Branded Merchandise is way less expensive and tends to stay with people for a pretty long time.
Merchandise can go places where traditional ads can’t go.
A cool t-shirt, funky pair of socks or a branded hoodie makes a great conversation starter.
Combine merch with your traditional campaigns to get everything out of your marketing effort.
Ready to kickstart your first merchandise campaign? Get it tiger!

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