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How a T-Shirt Giveaway Made Nearly a Million Dollars

Updated: Jun 10, 2021


Sujan Patel, growth marketer and founder of Single Grain, challenged himself with one year to gain as many clients as possible.


Patel attributed his tendency towards laziness as the key factor to his success with the campaign.


“As soon as I started making money with Single Grain, one of the first things I did was to go out and get some T-shirts made. Not because I thought it’d be some genius marketing move, but because I knew I’d be able to wear them everyday and never have to go clothes shopping again. I started out with an order of 25-30 shirts and since this was more than enough to fill up my closet, I decided to give the rest away to friends. I posted to Facebook to see who wanted a few shirts and was surprised when I ran out just a few hours after I put up the message. Clearly there was a demand for my shirts!”


Patel quickly realized he was onto something big.


He quickly put together an email list of interested people and printed a variety of customized shirts. This allowed him to capture potential client’s emails, physical addresses, and delight them with a personalized gift. Soon, he was overwhelmed with thank you messages on social media.


The Tremendous Power of Promotional Products


Business owners need promotional products to reach potential customers and clients – it’s a fact.


Promotional items allow your target audience to remember your brand in a tactile way, potentially drawing in 500% more in referrals from customers who are satisfied with the gift.

Like a business card with visual appeal, great promotional products build name recognition, rapport, and increased brand exposure.


Patel noted three important benefits from his T-shirt campaign:


It started great business conversations

Because Patel wore his shirts everywhere, people would ask, “What is Single Grain?” He was prepared with his 30-second pitch and attractive business cards. Patel said the opportunities were astounding, “I even landed a 50k client while I was getting a massage.”


It opened doors into larger companies

Because Patel lived in the Silicon Valley area, his friends wore the shirts to work at companies like Apple, Google, HP and Wells Fargo.

Their co-workers and bosses were intrigued and asked about Single Grain. Patel attributed at least 30% of his earnings from this networking.


It significantly increased brand recognition.

His company began with no marketing budget and no hope of launching large ad campaigns. The t-shirts offered a cheap way to gain momentum. Over time, potential customers became comfortable considering Single Grain because they were familiar with the brand.


It created consumer loyalty

Consumers love products they have touch, feel, hold in their hands. The tangibility of promotional products create a sense of attachment and trust. This created intense consumer loyalty for Single Grain. Even after Patel sold the company, many of his customers continued to use his services and have followed his digital marketing blogs.


Add a Personal Touch with Your Giveaways


While the t-shirts built a great amount of momentum for Patel, he says the authenticity is what actually drove the campaigns success. When you consider giving away promotional products, remember it’s about the relationship, not just the product.

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