3 Dos & Don’ts For Branded Merchandise

In 2021, small businesses are going above and beyond to get their name out there! The average American sees over 2,000 ads in a day, after all, so anything business owners can do to increase their brand recognition is helpful! One of the best ways of doing this at scale is to invest in branded merchandise. A Google or YouTube ad might only be in front of your audience for a few seconds. A T-shirt or notepad bearing your logo and brand name could be seen every day!

However, there are some rules of the road to be aware of when designing brand collateral. It’s not as simple as merely creating branded products. How are you going to distribute this merchandise? Do you have a logo to put on this collateral? What audience is this collateral made for? These are all questions you should answer BEFORE you start designing any product or article of clothing!

Thankfully, our team here at JSL Marketing & Web Design has the answers!

 Read on to learn about our Dos and Don’ts of Branded company merchandise!

Branded Merchandise Dos

  • Do Incorporate Your Logo: You’d be surprised by how much brand collateral doesn’t include a logo. Displaying your brand name and contact info is still relevant, but it’s disconnected information and is thus less valuable to your business aims. A lot of human recall is prompted by colors and design more than text, which is why logos are so powerful. If you don’t include a logo alongside your brand name, you’re decreasing the likelihood that the user will recall your brand name if they see it in other advertising. This only reduces the probability that they ever turn into a sale for your brand. Trust us, include a logo to help your users recognize your brand in the future.
  • Do Highlight Other Marketing Efforts: This can be easier said than done. You only have so much space when you put your brand on an object or article of clothing, and it can be cluttered to try to put your website URL or Facebook handle on a coffee mug or pen. However, we highly encourage you to include another marketing medium on the collateral if possible. It’s a great way to promote other aspects of marketing and educate your audience about what else your brand is doing! It’s even better if you can promote your website on an object that is relevant to your industry and audience! A company URL on a branded mousepad, for instance, might be an excellent play for a company that specializes in software. 
  • Do Include A Bit About Your Brand: Again, this will depend on the circumstances of the collateral. Are you passing out branded coffee mugs at a convention? Are these items that customers can order from your site? Depending on the circumstances of how your users are getting their collateral, consider including a little printout slip with each item. This little pamphlet can quickly summarize your brand’s history, make a value proposition to your lead, and include relevant contact information. Let’s take the case of a local candy shop that passes out branded old-fashioned soda bottles during the local street fair. If this shop puts a printout within each bottle detailing the shop’s history and values, they’ve contextualized the collateral. Now, the bottles aren’t just bottles. They’re a quick summary of your brand and a reminder of that shop’s value propositions for your users!

Branded Merchandise Don’ts

  • Don’t Neglect The Strategic Purpose Of the Collateral: Companies often jump straight to the design stage without thinking about WHY they’re interested in branded merchandise. The purpose behind your merchandise doesn’t need to be to drive sales! Creating collateral for customers to buy or T-shirts for your staff as an appreciation gift are perfectly valid reasons to invest in merchandise! Just be sure to have the conversation upfront and know what YOUR why is before you design any collateral. 
  • Don’t Design Without Research: Often, business owners default to what they think their customers or leads will want without conducting any research to back up their assumptions. If you’re adding your collateral to an eCommerce store for purchase, you need to know what your customers actually want to purchase! Again, this will depend on your brand’s goal for your collateral. If you’re passing out free collateral at a sales show or local event, researching customer desires isn’t as imperative. However, you should still find some way of gauging interest among your audience, whether that’s your staff, your customers, or your industry before you order 1,000 tote bags.
  • Don’t Brand Everything: Sometimes, companies get bitten by the design bug and get excited about all the creative things they can create. While there’s nothing wrong with being excited, this enthusiasm often has unintended consequences. The point of putting your brand on collateral isn’t just to do so; it’s to put your name out there and increase brand recognition amongst your target audience. Ideally, you’re creating branded collateral that is somewhat related to your industry. A coffee company creating branded mugs or a doctor’s office passing out branded calendars with their contact information are great examples of this. These objects display a logo relevant to the audience and thus increase the odds that the viewers remember the brand in question. It’s tempting to immediately think of pens or coasters and imagine what your logo would look like, but we encourage you to think of more suitable options for your industry. 
  • Don’t Cut Corners On Cost: We understand entirely being cost-effective, and there are plenty of fantastic brand collateral options that are reasonably priced. Don’t think you need to spend an arm and a leg for unique brand merchandise. However, you do need to provide a positive user experience to the customer or lead receiving the collateral. That could be dependent on the price. Remember, the point isn’t to put your brand on everything. It’s to create branded merchandise that’s relevant to your brand. If you’re a vineyard passing out branded corkscrews at a convention, choosing a subpar producer is a risk. You don’t want those corkscrews breaking and your brand name being the only thing the user remembers about the experience. The point isn’t just to put your name out there; it’s to put your name out there and get some good brand recognition. Don’t cut corners. Trust us; it’s worth taking the time and resources to make the right brand collateral for your customers. 

Call JSL Marketing & Web Design for unique brand merchandise! We’re an award-winning, Dallas-based digital marketing, branding, and design agency! Our talented artists and brand ambassadors are waiting to discuss your next branding project and any of the following!

Concept Development

Logo Design

Brand Collateral

Print Marketing

Messaging Consultation

Branded Video Development

Call us today at 855.458.2873 to begin your next branding project!

3 Small Fixes to Boost Your Google Ad Campaign

At JSL Marketing & Web Design, we’re big believers in working smarter, not harder! Digital marketing is a field filled with shades of gray and nuance, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities to make an amazing fix with little effort! Google ad campaigns are a great example of this!

There are complicated and confusing problems to troubleshoot, but often, small fixes can cause big improvements. Think of these improvements as the first step. There will be cases where you need to make bigger improvements in order to improve your ad campaigns.

However, our top three suggestions are a great first step, since they’re low-cost, high-reward fixes. We’re all busy; luckily, these changes won’t take long to implement!

Read on to learn more!

1. Conduct Google Search Term Audits

It’s helpful to think of keywords as ‘bait’ and search terms as ‘the fish.’ Your keywords are what you select and dangle to get results. As any fisherman knows, not all types of bait are the same. Some fish will only bite for worms. Others prefer fish. The type of bait the fisherman chooses is really dependent on the type of fish they would like to catch. Likewise, the type of keywords a Google ads specialist selects will really depend on what they’re trying to catch. 

However, as any fisherman knows, sometimes you get bites you don’t want. It’s a part of the sport, but it’s still discouraging to throw lines into the water expecting one type of fish and then receive another back.

 This is where the “bait” analogy comes into play. 

Say you’re running a Google ad campaign for the hotel trade group of a Florida beach town. You’ll want to target searches around the town and the hotels themselves, of course, but this risks appearing for search terms you don’t really want. 

Much like the fisherman who gets his bait taken by the wrong fish, your campaign might be wasting clicks on users who aren’t really your target audience. 

For example, if you’re running ads around hotel search terms, your ads will probably appear to searchers looking for hotel jobs, hotel directions, and information about the town.

 To combat this bleed and ensure you’re maximizing your budget, it’s important to conduct regular search term audits. Simply select the search terms you don’t want to appear for and apply them as negative keywords to the campaign. This will ensure you’re only spending money on qualified search traffic and should increase your campaign’s click-through rate!

2. Change Up Your Landing Pages

Sometimes, the issue isn’t the ads. It’s where those ads take the user. 

There’s a couple of reasons why the wrong landing page for users who click your ads will really impair campaign performance. For one, there’s the simple explanation that search users are looking for answers to their questions or problems. If a user clicks an ad expecting to order a product, but is taken to a page about company history, they’ll be surprised and will now have to take extra steps to purchase. If the site in question is particularly cumbersome to navigate or the user was feeling unsure about their purchase, they probably aren’t checking out. 

However, the wrong landing page is also a big mistake in the eyes of Google. 

Ad relevance is a metric Google uses to ensure that the right ad is appearing to the right user. Google employs a couple of different sub-metrics to determine how relevant an ad is to a user and these are ones that a Google ads specialist can certainly work on improving if desired.

These include the use of keywords in headlines, the relevance to the search at hand, but landing page relevance is a key part of this metric. If Google doesn’t find the keywords you’re targeting on the landing page you’re driving users to, this will likely hurt your relevance. 

Ad relevance, in turn, is used to help Google assign a quality score to each ad, which in turn keeps costs low. Of course, a good Google ads specialist should be incorporating the right keywords into their ad headlines and carefully auditing keywords, but changing a landing page is usually a much quicker fix if you’re not seeing strong results. 

A great way of determining if you need to start changing the landing page is to look at Google Analytics. Driving more people to your website via ads can obviously increase your bounce rate, so don’t be alarmed if you see your overall bounce rate has climbed. 

However, if your ad landing page bounce rate is much higher than what you’ve seen in the past or is typical for your industry, then it’s probably time to try a new landing page. Even adding more photos and videos or a clearer call to action to the existing landing page could a good first step! 

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t evaluate relevance and quality score. However, perfecting these metrics is typically a long process and requires a little more experimentation. Adding the right landing page takes seconds and usually creates big results!

Learn More About Google Ads Management!

3. Evaluate Your Match Types

For those who don’t know, there are three basic match types on Google. Those are broad match, phrase match, and exact match.

Broad Match:

Your ad appears when the search query includes any word of the keyword phrase. This lets you reach the widest possible audience.

Phrase Match:

Your ad only appears when the query includes a particular phrase. 

Exact Match:

Your ad only appears for the exact keyword or extremely close variations of that keyword. This gives you the most control over who sees the ad, but this typically means the ad doesn’t appear for many searches.

If you’re struggling with a campaign, adding different types of match types and keywords is probably a fruitful step. Ideally, you should have a mix of all three types in any ad group, but sometimes, it might be a good idea to expand or shrink the amount of traffic going to one particular match type. 

For example, if you’re managing the hotel trade association campaign we mentioned earlier, adding “hotel” as a broad match keyword probably isn’t a good call. You’ll end up getting a lot of clicks for directions to hotels and people looking for jobs in the hotel industry, so a broad match type isn’t a great tactic. Phrase match and exact match are probably better match types. 

Inversely, if you’re running a campaign to try and drive applicants to a tax law firm, you might be targeting a lot of exact match keyword types around a specific type of tax law and employment in that field.

This is probably a very niche audience to reach and you just won’t get many clicks, at an affordable cost-per-click, if you employ mostly exact match here. Expanding to phrase match keywords around tax law employment and law firm jobs will decrease your cost-per-click and drive more traffic, without severely diluting the quality of that traffic. 

Google Ads Management With JSL

Again, these are small fixes that can have a big impact on your overall Google Ad campaign performance. However, sometimes you need more than small fixes. Google Ad campaigns can vary tremendously from client to client and there’s often no right way to set up and manage a campaign. It will really depend on the particulars of the client, their industry, their historic performance, and their market. 

Even the best small business owners can struggle with figuring out the right way to write copy, select keywords, audit quality scores, and optimize campaigns. 

If you find yourself in this boat, call the Google Ads experts at JSL Marketing & Web Design!

Our team’s approach is so unique because we incorporate a number of different marketing approaches into our Google ad management, approaches that make our ad campaigns stronger than the competition! Since our founders came from an SEO and web development background, we have unique insight into the type of landing page your ads need to lead to and can make new landing pages if desired! That’s a huge advantage of choosing JSL Marketing & Web Design to manage your campaigns!

We also have talented team members in the following fields:

  • Video Production: Landing pages with custom videos perform better than those without videos and incorporating the right type of video is a great way to supercharge your ad campaigns!
  • Copywriting: Finding the right combination of characters to convince a user to take an action is a tough skill set to hone. That’s especially true with Google Ads when you only have 30 characters per headline and 90 per description to Wow your reader! A lot of small business owners are capable writers and do a fine job with writing their own copy, but find that the writing that works in other advertising the business does just isn’t the right fit for Google Ads. Let our talented copywriters create the perfect ads to help reach your customers!
  • Email Marketing: Purchasing from your business is just one part of the buyer’s journey. Driving repeat business from customers is the next step! Most business owners typically think of Google Ads as a way to drive new business, but incorporating a remarketing tool into your PPC campaigns is a great tactic as well! If the goal of your campaign is to drive searchers to an eCommerce page on your site, consider adjusting your website to only allow the user to proceed with checkout after they give you their email. From there, our team can use automated email marketing campaigns to keep sending relevant messages to your past customer at set-piece intervals post-purchase. This is a great way to keep the user aware of what’s happening with your business and keep you top of mind!

Call Us Today for Amazing Google Ad Results!