Never Underestimate the Marketing Power of a Free T-Shirt

[caption id="attachment_975" align="alignnone" width="800"]Free Stuff Infographic Image source:[/caption] Picture the scene: You're at a party or some sort of event. You're chatting with an old acquaintance when out of the corner of your eye you spot a table practically overflowing with cookies, finger sandwiches, and fruit platters. Free food?! Nobody told you that there was going to be free food! It's silly to get excited over something so minor, but you can't help it. A tiny little voice in the back of your brain starts shouting in celebratory glee. Even if you're not hungry, your legs move of their own accord and before you know it you've got a plate full of free food.   [caption id="attachment_874" align="alignnone" width="900"]I Love Free Stuff Image source:[/caption]   What is it about free stuff? We just can't help ourselves -- we get incredibly excited by free stuff, even if we don't really want the stuff all that much to begin with. That's why giving away t-shirts is such an effective marketing technique. People who would never dream of wearing your brand's logo on their hat or on their shirt would gladly parade your logo around town if they got the clothes for free.   [caption id="attachment_876" align="alignnone" width="640"]People Reaching for Free Shirt Image source:[/caption]   A good anecdotal example of this phenomenon comes from a chef who observed that people were waiting in line for 30 minutes just to get a free slice of pizza. The chef astutely pointed out that if any of those people made more than $6 per hour, then it wasn't cost effective at all for them to wait so long for a $3 slice of pizza.   [caption id="attachment_875" align="alignnone" width="625"]People line up for free produce at Crisis Ministry food pantry[/caption]   Handing out free shirts as part of a major event or promotional deal is sure to attract attention. People will stand in line for your shirt, and then they'll go brag to their friends about their free shirt. There's a good reason why companies hand out free embroidered clothes to people at festivals, concerts, and charity events -- it's one of the best ways out there to get people excited about wearing your brand. Just think about how crazy people get when they bring out those t-shirt cannons at sports games. It's practically an event all in itself.   But is handing out free t-shirts or free custom embroidered hats cost effective? Well, keep in mind that in the modern day and age word of mouth marketing is incredibly powerful, especially if you can get people to talk about your brand online. A few excited tweets reading, "Get #freestuff at the [Your Company Here] booth" could make the advertising stunt an instant success. From there, you can look forward to photos of happy, smiling people showing off your company logo on customized bags or hats as they post pictures of the festivities to Instagram or Facebook.   Handing out free shirts may not be as wide-reaching as a billboard, but it can help to establish a closer bond between a company and a customer. The other thing to keep in mind is that major events are the perfect places to target specific demographics. Do you own a company that makes or sells boats? Then you'd have to be crazy not to hand out free embroidered shirts at a local boat show. That's pretty much the easiest and cheapest way imaginable to find potential customers and get them excited about your brand.  
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