If you haven’t already you should check out Alexis Ohanian‘s (he’s the guy behind Reddit, Hipmunk & Breadpig) new book released by Hyperink. It’s a quick and easy read about how to create a product and company that customers love and includes a bunch of real-life examples culled from his personal experience as well as the broader startup community. Beyond building something people want, it’s important you use available tools with care including user experience design, social media, and swag to further delight potential customers. He takes the time to stress that treating your first 100 fans well can go a long way (but don’t think that means you can stop at 100). The point is to build a passionate group of users (as about 80% of the use of your product will come from only 20% of users). For obvious reasons, we particularly enjoyed his take on the benefits of using swag to make folks swoon:

“Swag: so very useful, but so often trivialized—something I personally find very frustrating. What is swag? Well, it’s asking someone, some random person who is already doing you the favor of being one of your users, to wear your logo, to wear advertising on their torso all day long. If you could put a value on that, it would far exceed the cost of making that t-shirt. So yes, pony up for the good quality t-shirt, because people don’t want to wear uncomfortable clothing. Make your swag attractive and give a damn—make it pleasant for your users to help you.

Whether it’s a sticker, a t-shirt (the standard startup swag), or a luggage tag (see the benefit of starting a travel startup with a cute mascot?), make the process of giving someone swag something special. No one is going to show off a sticker, or anything else, unless they feel an attachment to the brand. Even something as simple as giving someone a chance to ‘earn’ the item makes a difference (e.g, “Show me how much you love hipmunk by doing an impression of the chipmunk ‘flying’ with its arms”).”

Yep, he summed it up- swag rocks and can go a long way in helping to promote your company if used the right way, and that’s why we’re here. We can totally help you delight your customers! Do us a favor and if you’re thinking about working merchandise into your repertoire drop us a line (realperson@printfection.com) or check out our giveaway campaigns, which make giving merch to your fans super simple. Oh and for real, check out his book you won’t regret it.