A Guide to marketing and promotional products for entrepreneurial mums

promotional products

Whether you find the term mumpreneur a bit patronising or you love it the fact of the matter is there are now more mums starting businesses than ever before. Thanks, in no small part, to the arrival and development of the internet, ecommerce and online networking caregivers of both sexes are now able to put their ideas into practice and create a flexible working lifestyle. Being a startup mum obviously has unique challenges in relation to childcare, time and often budget in terms of start-up investment and ongoing turn over. Someone without any kids could potentially devote every waking hour and more to a business idea but a caregiver needs to balance their time right from the outset. This can mean that potential turnover numbers may be slightly limited until the kids are older and at school for example. So to this end, things like marketing and promotional ideas have to be very carefully considered in terms of cost and return on investment. Here is a guide to promotion branded products and marketing for this unique and amazing group of businesspeople in the UK.

Do you need to bother?

Before even starting to think about marketing and branded products etc it is really important to take a step back and think about whether or not it is needed. For a lot of startups, the initial returns are not that important. The first year is often about working for friends and contacts, selling to associates and the like. It is about the brand finding its identity and the business taking shape. Spending loads of money on branded mugs and marketing might not be a wise idea. In some cases the need to hit the ground running is clear but more often than not it is important to let your startup breath and grow. If you are already well underway then you may still not need to spend on this stuff, you may have a solid and growing referral list and spending money you do not need to is a risk. That being said it may be time to push things forward and doing a trade show with loads of branded tote bags could be a great idea. The key here is to take a moment to think about where your business is and if you need to spend money…and only do so if you have the money.

Branded merchandise

There are so many ways of describing this stuff, corporate gifts, branded gifts, branded products and more. Basically, what we mean here are nice things with your company logo on them. These can range from the usual mugs and pens to jackets, hats, water bottles, phone chargers and so much more. Gone are the days of tacky branded tat, you can get some really cool stuff now. The key when looking at this kind thing is to look for a good company, not a good product. A good company will be able to source anything you want to be guided by reviews, good customer service and your gut feeling. Companies like https://actionpromote.co.uk/ are a great example. UK-based, they have a real phone number, easy to find contact details and good reviews. This type of company will really help you and you can be pretty sure the goods will come on time and look like they should.

What kind of things to buy

When it comes to choosing products to put your branding on there are really two basic ways to do it:

  1. Choose products that you like and that represent you and your business. If you are a relaxed fun business, then go to town on fun and funky products you would use and use them as well as give them away.
  2. Choose products targeted at your desired client base. They may be very different from you so choosing things they will like is really important.

It really comes down to what sort of business you want to run or are running. Don’t be drawn into choosing items you think are great when you know your client base are different people to you. At the same time don’t order products you think the masses will like if your business is unique and reflects your own identity.

Marketing…it’s a big market

These days the word marketing covers a massive range of channels, techniques and skill sets. It really isn’t just one thing anymore. It is also an industry filled with self-qualified people. This is not a bad thing, but it does make finding the right people to work with harder. Of course, there are qualifications out there that can be very useful but don’t write off self-taught people either.

When it comes to what sort of marketing you need, there is no short answer. It is important to speak to lots of different people and aim for small agencies because budgets will go a lot further. Search Engine Optimisation can be very effective over time but does require investment, social media advertising is probably the best short-term investment as it can yield quickly if done right. Google ads are complex and very expensive and best left for bigger budgets. Magazines can still work in certain niches but don’t be talked into spending £900 on a full-page advert in a dying magazine.

Take your time

This article has barely scratched the surface, but the key take home is to stop and think and don’t make rushed choices. If you need some branded kit then think about budget, quality and what products to choose. If you feel you need marketing, speak to lots of different people, find out what sort of marketing will work and test things out. Don’t overspend hoping for results, it is better to grow slowly and feel a bit frustrated than overspend and crash out.

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About Claire Jones-Hughes

Founder and co-editor of BrightonMums.com, Claire has been blogging since 2009. She has posted on a variety of sites including The Argus, The Huffington Post and The Guardian's Comment Is Free. Known as The Contented Mummy on social media, she is dedicated to honest, unsponsored blogging so that parents can benefit from shared experience. Can also be found at www.fitfaband40.co.uk - sharing her journey to health & wellness.

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