Packaging is a key part of a good shipping strategy. Choose the wrong supplies and you’ll pay for it in product damages, wasted materials and lost business. But choose the right materials and you’ll protect your products, save on shipping charges, and impress your customers.

But that’s not the end of what packaging can do for you. Think of those supplies as blank canvases, an opportunity to create something that’ll help you stand out from the pack. Packaging, specifically custom packaging, is a fantastic marketing tool that shouldn’t be overlooked. Here’s 6 ways your business can take advantage of it:

Ship your products in custom packaging

Brown shipping boxes will always be reliable—but they’re not particularly memorable.

On the other hand—colors, logos, graphics, and photography on your packaging will never be anything but memorable. They draw the eye in and they keep it there. Imagine your shipments landing on your customer’s doorstep. There are plenty of brown boxes, but only yours is draped in color.

Whose packaging do you think they’ll open first?

And it doesn’t have to be a printed box. Custom tape works wonders as it not only seals your packaging and provides security, it also carries your branding and looks damn good while doing it. Custom labels, properly designed and strategically placed, are also just as effective at branding your shipments.

If your budget allows for it, find a way to invest in custom branded packaging. You’ll never regret it.

Match your packaging to your advertising campaigns

The word “synergy” gets thrown around a lot in the business world, but it’s a good one. It means when two or more things come together to create something that’s greater than those things on their own.

You’ll notice when a business creates an advertising or marketing campaign, they ensure several elements all match up. Their commercials, billboards, radio ads and web ads all have the same look and feel. If you’re developing a campaign like this, don’t forget to bring your packaging into the mix.

It’s likely as simple as adding a headline, a graphic, or even just a color to your packaging design.

When everything is “one”—when it all matches and feels like part of a whole—it becomes memorable, easily recognizable, and makes you look a lot smarter than your competition.

Create event or holiday themed packaging strategies

Unchanging custom packaging can become rote after a while. And customers who are numb your packaging can become numb to your promotional efforts. Creating variation of your branded packaging is an effective way to retain customer attention. And remember, if budget is an issue, you can explore options like custom packaging tape and custom label rolls.

  • Seasonal packaging (spring, summer, fall, winter) creates excitement and builds customer anticipation as they look forward to specific colors, designs and sales offers.
  • Holiday packaging (Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Christmas, New Year’s) can earn brand goodwill and cement your place in a particular holiday (think of the Starbucks holiday cup).
  • Customer-related packaging (birthday, anniversary of their first order, membership in your VIP club) shows you’re paying attention and impresses the daylights out of them.

Promote your social media presence

With so much competition out there vying for your customer’s attention, you’ll want to give them a reason to find you, interact with you, and continue to hang around.

  • List your social media accounts on your packaging. Especially the ones where you share the most content, interact the most, and have the most followers.
  • Use your main hashtags on your packaging. It’ll make customers curious about your social media presence and more likely to use them in their tweets and posts.
  • Get customers to share your packaging online. All those comments, shares and retweets are essentially digital word of mouth for your products and your business.

Add unexpected promotional elements

Customers love a great unboxing experience. The colors, textures and little touches go a long way towards making them feel appreciated. So, while they’re certainly expecting to be dazzled, they’re not necessarily expecting to be rewarded. That’s where adding promotional elements to your packaging can really pay off.

  • Coupon codes printed on the inside of shipping packaging can make customers feel clever for finding them. You can even customize them according to the sale, the customer or the packaging itself. They’re a great way to help you track where sales come from.
  • Contest elements like puzzles, games and hints can be hidden on your packaging for customers to seek out. They’ll interact with your packaging for longer, be more likely to show it off to friends, and form a stronger bond with your business.
  • Secret URLs that appear only on the packaging (and lead to discount pages, special offers and exclusive giveaways) once again make customers feel special for buying from you.

Include custom inserts and gifts

Saying thanks to a customer will never go unnoticed. It’s one of the most effective ways to build up a lot of goodwill and ensure they’ll buy from you again. And it doesn’t take much.

  • Thank-you cards are just the best. Make sure they’re handwritten, reference what they bought from you, and tell a good (clean!) joke if you can.
  • Coupon codes are difficult to resist. Personalize them (like using your customer’s name or writing them on their thank-you card) and you’re almost guaranteed a sale.
  • Product-specific add-ons never fail to surprise and impress. If they’re ordering bags of loose tea, throw in a few tea bags for them to use. See? Surprised and impressed.
  • Customer-specific samples show you’re paying attention. If they’re ordering makeup sets, throw in a few makeup remover sheets. You’ll come across as smart and generous.
  • Random gifts are always fun. Whether it’s candy, stickers or a gag gift, your customers will never see it as useless or unwelcome.
  • Promote your loyalty programs on its own promo card. Use nice printing to make it seem exclusive and offer customers a cache of bonus points to watch enrollment skyrocket.

Be sure to stop by the Custom Shop. It’s an entire suite of free and easy-to-use online packaging design tools that’ll help you create show stopping custom packaging like boxes, tissue paper, tape, mailers and labels. We can’t wait to see what you create.