Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tips For Turning Promotional Custom Products Into Successful Holiday Gifts

With the holidays just around the corner, now is the time to start thinking about gifts for your loyal customers. But how do you make your gift stand out from the crowd?

My September 24th article (Customized Promotional Items As Holiday Gifts) on gift giving gave you several ideas for some business gifts along with the criteria needed for a gift to be effective.

Now let me go beyond that & give you some tips on giving a gift to your client:

1. Keep your logo & company name discreet. While all the gifts you give should have your name imprinted somewhere on them, it shouldn't be the main focus as it is on customized promotional items. A business gift is quite different from the marketing products you give out all year or the promotions you hand out at trade shows. It's purpose is to show appreciation & build positive client relations. Anything that looks like blatant advertising will miss the mark.

2. Go beyond the usual & step outside the box. Try a new slant on traditional favorites such as food & gift cards & give your customers a gift that will go beyond the festive holiday period. How about giving the common box of candy or cookies in a cooler that can be used for lunches or drinks all year around. Remember this is a gift, not just a promotional imprinted product, so have your logo imprinted in the bottom corner rather than boldly in the middle. Another idea is an insulated tumbler or ceramic coffee filled with packets of tea or coffee & small packages of snacks or a gift card to one of the local coffee houses.

3. Avoid sending presents with a religious theme. No matter how well you know your client, it is still a good idea to stay away from anything religious. Make sure your gift is generic in nature, but still useful to the recipient. Along these lines, it's better to avoid alcoholic beverages unless you know for sure it will be appreciated by your customer. Many years ago, I learned this the hard way by giving a bottle of wine to a recovering alcoholic.

4. Send your gift on a different day. To set your gift apart, why not send it around Thanksgiving & be the first among your competition to welcome in the holidays. Or, for maximum impact, how about sending it right after the festive season & think of New Years or the first day back in the office.  There's sometimes a bleak feeling when returning to work after the holidays, especially when faced with the task of taking down all the decorations......what could be more welcome than an unexpected gift.

5. Stay away from falling into a rut by giving repeat presents. This may sound obvious, but most companies give the same gift year after year.  It's boring for your client & doesn't reflect well on you, as a business. Wow them with a new & exciting gift each year. Keep them guessing & waiting for your present year after year.

6. Keep within your budget. Pick a limit & stick to it. Gifts that appear too showy don't always have the desired effect & can even reflect negatively on your company. Talk to a professional distributor of promotional wholesale products & let them help you. They'll have unique & fun suggestions in all price ranges--afterall, that is their specialty.

7. Don't try to cut corners. Rummaging through your supply closet to find old customized promotional items you gave out during the year or past years spells disaster, not thank you.

8. Don't fall at the last hurdle. If you're sending a gift by mail or UPS, make sure you give yourself enough time to avoid unexpected delays. Also don't skimp on the packing......a damaged gift will go from the carton straight to the waste paper basket. For that extra impact, enclose a personal, hand-written note & deliver it in person, if at all possible.

Whatever gift you decide on, send something that is both appropriate for your targeted audience & representative of your company. This is only the end of October so there is still time to decide what is the best option for you without rushing into hasty, unwise choices.

Above all, make sure they're thoughtful, unique & fun to get. I hope this helps you find the ideal item.
Ronni Sherman 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Customized Promotional Items That Can Be Walking Billboards

Did you ever wish you could buy a traveling billboard & have it move around town promoting your business. Well, when you buy t-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, hats & other apparel imprinted with your business name & logo that is exactly what you are buying.

Clothing with your company name & logo imprinted on it is perhaps one of the easiest ways to advertise your business. Out of all the clothing available with a business imprint, baseball caps & t-shirts are by far the most popular. They've become more of a fad than a promotional custom product.

No matter where you are, look around you & notice what people are wearing in an informal setting......t-shirts & baseball caps with an imprinted message or logo on it. Some people collect them & that becomes their week-end or casual attire. And when they wear the shirts or caps, they are acting as waking billboards for your business--wherever they go, they're taking your company name with them. It doesn't get any easier than that.

A great place to hand out promotional t-shirts or hats is at festivals & fairs. People love to get something for free, especially something that is as useful as a t-shirt, & wearing it will bring back memories of the event where they got it. It's a free souvenir for them & free advertising for you.

Distribute them at conventions & meetings & promotional clothing can create business relationships that will last a lifetime. Speaking of lasting a lifetime......the t-shirts & caps are long-lasting promotional imprinted products. Your company identity will definitely stay with the client.

Imprinted t's & caps are also areas where sponsorship can be used to generate community goodwill as well as advertising. By sponsoring a local sports team, school function, charity, political or other event, your business can make itself known in a positive manner & be identified as a company that cares.

I have a customer who goes to local soccer games & practices & high school football games when it rains & hands out plastic ponchos with his company name on them. Next to the player who scored the winning point, he's the most popular person there. The ponchos are very light weight & can easily be toted to the next rainy outdoor event.

If you are in an area known for skiing, knit hats & headbands are good items to embroider your logo on. In a beach community? Rubber flip-flops are unique, useful & worn by almost everyone. Visors & gloves are a popular way to spread your company identity at golf tournaments.

Promotional clothing will be noticed. People tend to read them when they would ignore almost everything else. Design something unique & appealing & your company name will make an impact.

Imprinted apparel, especially t-shirts & caps, are a cost effective way to get your company the exposure it deserves with the minimum of effort. Whoever is wearing the t-shirt with your company logo is taking it places where you haven't been. People will notice you & that's what customized promotional items are all about!

Get creative & make it fun!
Ronni Sherman

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Get In The Spirit Of Halloween With Promotional Imprinted Products

It's October......it's fall......it's the beginning of the holiday season! What a great time of year! I don't know about you, but this is my favorite & I wait for it all year long. One of my best childhood memories is trick or treating in Minneapolis, MN & the sidewalks were completely covered with dried leaves. I loved the sound of them crunching under my feet.

I miss those bright colored leaves & how the trees painted a picture more colorful than any master artist could. In California they turn gold in November. But what fun now to see pumpkin patches crop up everywhere & all the pumpkin displays in the grocery stores.

Here are some interesting facts & history about Halloween.  Did you know:
1. The celebration of Halloween started in the United States as an autumn harvest festival. In pioneer days, Americans celebrated with corn-popping parties, taffy pulls & hayrides.

2. With the large increase of Irish immigrants to the US in the late 19th century, Halloween became associated with ghosts, goblins & witches. It was a tradition the Irish brought across the Atlantic with them.
3. Jack-O-Lanterns are also an Irish tradition. In Ireland, oversized rutabagas, turnips & potatoes were hollowed out & carved into faces & then lit with candles to be used as lanterns during Halloween celebrations.
4. The word "witch" comes from the Old Saxon word "wica" & means "wise one". Witches were once respected dealers in charms, medicinal herbs & tellers of fortunes.
5. The pumpkin originated in Mexico about 9,000 years ago & is one of America's oldest known vegetables. They generally weigh from 15 - 30 pounds but can grow to be as big as 200 pounds.

Want to stand out from your competitors? Get in the spirit of the holiday & give out promotional wholesale products in October that have a Halloween theme.

Here are some customized promotional items for you to give out to your customers:
1. Small snack sized chocolate bars with your name & logo on the wrapper. This is premium chocolate & will be a definite treat for everyone.
2. Life-Saver rolls, small packages of nuts or candy, bags of trail mix. The list is endless when it comes to snacks & all can be imprinted with your company name & logo.
3. Micro-wave bags of popcorn, packets of tea, coffee or hot chocolate imprinted with your logo & name. These are more unusual & will stand out because they're unique.
4. Packages of gum with your logo & company information on the package. There are 12 pieces to a pack with a wide variety of flavors to choose from. The packages are full color & have plenty of room for your advertising message.
5. Pencils that are topped with a pumpkin or coloring & activity books with tips on safety. These are perfect if your target audience is children-oriented. If local schools are having Halloween carnivals, these are good to leave off & be distributed there. Your company name will be seen & noticed for caring about your community.
6. Drinkware or candy dishes with your logo & filled with candy corn. This could be an early holiday gift for your loyal customers. Beat the crowd & give them an appreciation gift before everyone else does. Your gift & your company will make an impact this holiday season.
 7. Biodegradable plastic bags or recyclable non-woven bags. These have a fun holiday motif & list the do's & don't's for a safe Halloween along with your logo & company name. They are colorful & strong & can easily be used for trick or treat bags.

Have fun during this month of Halloween. Don't forget to take time out from your busy schedule to enjoy the holiday!
Ronni Sherman