In this 6-minute read:
- What is swag and why use it?
- Best swag ideas for auto businesses, repair shops, tire shops, etc.
- Tips for marketing with swag
Customer loyalty and brand awareness are both important parts of any marketing strategy. What are your goals to help your auto business get there? With customized swag, you can hit two birds with one stone in the marketing arena. We’ll walk you through it.
With Womply Email Marketing, you can turn customers into regulars and get more repeat business with targeted emails that send automatically when customers transact with you. Learn more when you sign up for Womply Free!
What is “swag” and why should your auto shop get it?
Swag is branded merchandise, basically anything you can slap your logo on and give away or sell. Think pens that you get from the bank, stickers that your barista gives you, or other fun freebies you’ve received from your favorite businesses.
And swag doesn’t have to be these cutesy little freebies either. You can print on apparel and travel mugs and sell them to customers who want to sport your brand.
You can also provide swag to employees to wear when they aren’t on the job.
The benefits of swag are two-fold (as we’ve mentioned): increase customer loyalty and improve brand awareness.
Everyone loves a freebie, so if you’re able to provide fun swag with your service, you could improve your customer experience and make the trip more valuable in their eyes, bringing repeat business. Plus, a customer who is impressed with your business and service (enhanced by fun freebies) is much more likely to recommend you to friends.
Bonus: swag can also improve employee loyalty when they get apparel and other items that they can use outside of the job.
Beyond loyalty, swag can improve brand awareness. When people see your customers and employees sporting your swag out in the community, that is one more view of your brand that they saw outside of your other marketing measures. Your logo can act as a conversation starter when someone says, “Where did you get that cool hat?”
Best swag ideas for auto service businesses
We’re all about finding the right swag to amp up your business, but don’t go too overboard. Stick with a few select items that fit your industry. Here are some great ideas to start with.
Hats, t-shirts, and other apparel
Apparel may be the most common form of swag out there, but that’s because it works, and people love it. You can produce hats, beanies, t-shirts, hoodies, sweatpants, and so much more.
For an auto business, a good place to start is with hats and t-shirts. Maybe in the winter give beanies and jackets a try. Apparel can be more on the expensive side when it comes to producing, so these might not all be freebies. You can sell your apparel in your shop or lobby or use them as incentives for repeat business. Maybe with each customers’ second oil change they get a t-shirt.
Today’s hipsters, neo-hipsters, ironic t-shirt fans, uber-postmodern counter-culture denizens, and everyone else appreciate cool-looking, small-town, quirky hats and t-shirts. If you get it right, your brand and shop may become a cult favorite!
If you’re looking for a place to get some t-shirts and other apparel printed, try sites like Vistaprint and AnyPromo.com.
Seeing as most of your customers likely have a vehicle of some sort, bumper stickers are a great freebie, especially if you have an awesome logo to share (maybe even some humorous taglines).
These are relatively inexpensive to produce, so you can give these away to every customer that steps through your doors.
How awesome would it be to see your bumper sticker on cars as you’re driving through town? And other people will be seeing it too!
At 4imprint.com you can get custom bumper stickers made for as low as $0.15 each.
Keychains and lanyards
If you like providing items to your customers that have a real function and some additional value to them, keychains and lanyards might be the swag that you look into.
Every car owner needs a keychain, and there are tons of options to add on to keychain swag too:
- Mini flashlights
- Bottle openers
- Mini tape measure
- Coin pouch
- Small compass
- So much more!
Visit AnyPromo.com to start shopping for your branded keychains.
If you reside in an area where it gets cold enough that frost and ice become an issue during the colder months, then an ice scraper is a great swag option for your business. Give these away as it starts to get colder. Show your customers that you care!
These range from small little card scrapers to the nice long scrapers with a brush on the other end. Check out your options at 4imprint.com.
Car phone chargers
We all need extra phone chargers for our vehicles, but never actually buy them. Be the hero and provide the phone chargers your customers need. Plus, keep your brand at the top of their mind so they are reminded of and grateful for you when their phone battery is low.
4imprint.com has a great selection of phone charger options starting as low as $0.99 each.
Everyone wants (or should want) hand sanitizer in their car in this day and age. Use that to your advantage and give away free hand sanitizer with your service or sell it in your shop. Slap your logo on it and let it be a reminder of that oil change that your customer has been putting off.
Go to 4imprint.com to get your branded hand sanitizers, starting at $0.85 a piece.
Tips for your auto business swag
Swag is a marketing strategy, and like all marketing strategies, you need to be thoughtful in how you use it. Follow these tips to make your swag work for your business.
Keep your brand in mind
Not all swag options are going to work well for your brand or industry. Something that works great for a restaurant (i.e., shot glasses and coasters) probably won’t work as well for an auto shop. Keep your brand and business in mind as you shop for swag.
Limit your options
Even with your brand and business top of mind, there are tons of options out there for cool, fun swag. As you get started, limit your options. Choose one or two items that you want to test out to see how they work first.
Then, as you find success, you can add a new item or switch it up. You don’t want to find yourself overloaded with hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of swag that you can’t get rid of.
Give each item a purpose
Make sure each item you get has a purpose, whether that’s brand awareness, customer loyalty, to make more money, or just to give your employees something branded to wear on the job. Don’t get swag just to have it. Make sure it’s going to be working for you.
Partner with local businesses to sell
If you’ve purchased some of the more expensive swag items that you intend to sell, partner with local businesses to see if they’d be willing to sell your merchandise for a small cut of the profits. As a mechanic, you could partner with your auto parts guys to sell items in his shop or reach out to local convenience stores to see what they can do.
Reward customer loyalty programs with swag
Use a customer rewards or loyalty program to incentivize customers with swag. After they get their third oil change, give them a hat, or once they’ve spent $200, give them a hoodie. Come up with some fun incentives to increase repeat business.
Use email marketing to increase customer loyalty
Beyond your branded merchandise, email marketing is a great way to improve customer loyalty. With customized messages getting sent at the opportune moments you can stay top of mind with your customers and maintain a lasting relationship.
Womply’s email marketing engine can help. You can schedule out your email campaigns and set customers up to receive reminders for service or even thoughtful happy birthday messages.
Learn more, plus get free reputation monitoring and customer insights when you sign up for Womply Free!