Monday, March 28, 2011

Identical Promotional Questions From Different Professional Fields

When a client or prospective customer contacts me regarding their marketing campaign & they want to buy promotional imprinted products, most of them have a similar question......what can they hand out that will differentiate them from their competition & at the same time, will make an impact on the consumer.

Here are two actual requests I received. Both clients are in different fields, yet they have a common concern: what can they do to be different? What promotional items will make them stand out & be remembered? A promotional wholesale product can't be randomly chosen because you think it's a cool item to distribute. It needs to represent your business & still be useful to the recipient.

A director of an assisted living facility where residents are active & participate in planned activities, asked me: "When they move in we give them welcome gift baskets. I'd like to include something with our logo on it that isn't too commercial looking & is not the usual pill box or other health aid."

There are many products that would make good customized promotional gifts for residents in assisted living or retirement communities. The first thing that comes to mind are decks of cards with your logo on the back of each card. Another thought that could be a life-saver if they should fall or have a crisis when alone in the dark is a night light or tap light that has your emergency phone number.  How about a small photo album so pictures of their family are organized & close by? Hard or chocolate candy with your logo imprinted on the wrapper or a box of cookies with your name on the package are also welcoming gifts. Instead of using a basket, an imprinted candy or cookie jar could be the container & a useful gift all in one. This definitely would be a comforting touch of home.

Realtors are known for giving out notepads with their pictures on them, magnets or wind shield scrapers, but one of my customers didn't want to do this. He wanted to step out of the box & give something less ordinary. "What can I give out that is different, but still in that price range? Ideally it should be something that can be left on the front porch or door step."

The first thing that I can think of are biodegradable plastic shopping bags that are reusable. They have a large area for your advertising message plus it shows you care about the environment. And you can hang them on the door handle.  Since you want to leave these at the front door of a residence, how about something useful in the kitchen with your logo prominently displayed that they will see everyday? Some ideas are jar openers in the shape of a house, chip bag clips, measuring cups, pizza cutters, cake servers or an ice cream scoop. Hot pad holders are used in every household. An imprinted packet of seeds--flowers for the yard, herbs or an indoor plant. Here is another idea......if you have the budget, flash drives showing homes that you've sold in the area--even in this economy. This shouldn't be left on the doorstep but is good to give when you meet with a prospective client. Whatever you choose, make sure it's bright & cheerful......color will make you stand out.

The director of the assisted living facility & the realtor had different goals in giving out their promotional custom products. One was using it as a gift & one was using it as a sales tool; yet, they both helped me come up with suggestions by telling me how they were going to use the promotions. And most important, they targeted their audience. Those are two key points you need to address before buying any marketing item.

I hope this helps you decide on a promotional item that will keep your name in front of your client.  Good luck!
Ronni Sherman

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Summertime Promotional Wholesale Products

Hello spring! This week is the first week of spring & for most of us it's a welcome sign. Warmer weather & summer are just around the corner. Somehow everything looks more positive this time of year. And why not, it's the season of rebirth. Sunshine & optimism are all around us.

Bring this promising aura into your business. Now is an excellent time of year to boost your sales, create revenue & increase traffic. Look around you......what can you do to refresh your company's image? This is the perfect time to start up your summertime promotions & advertising campaigns. Sometimes a new look is needed to grab the public's attention.

Has your logo been on the same pen or the same notepad month after month? Here are a few summertime promotional imprinted products to make your brand shine:

1. Beach Balls: This is my all time's fun, it's used over & over & it has a large advertising space for your name to be seen at a distance. Your logo will bounce along the coast or in a backyard around the pool. Take it on family vacations, camping trips or a day at the beach. They take up little space before they're blown up so it's a perfect customized promotional item to give out a trade show.

2. Sport Bottles: These are great because wherever they go, so does your company name & they are taken everywhere. They're available in a wide array of sizes, shapes & colors--bright colors that will make your business stand out. They also come in a variety of options, including nalgene bottles, aluminum & stainless steel water bottles, BPA free bottles & ones that are made from recycled products.

3. Koozies: These are fun promotional custom products that will keep beverages insulated & your logo in the hands of your target audience. They are perfect for the beach, a sunday outside get-together, sporting events, convention give-aways & fund raisers. They come in many sizes that will fit cans, bottles & even wine. There's also a large assortment of colors.

4. Seed Packets: Promote effectively by giving a gift that blooms. Customized seed packs are hot, new marketing tools that provide an interactive experience & a lasting impression. They are available in a variety of types: organic vegetables, fruits, wildflowers, garden flowers & more. You can even get a money's that for an idea to promote your business! They can come with imprinted planters that sit on a desk or window sill.

5. Flying Discs: Frisbees have become a popular sport & can be seen in parks, at beaches--almost anywhere people gather during the summer months. Let your logo fly through the air & be noticed on these bright colored discs.

6. Golf Items: Whether at a private club or a public course, your company name can be seen. Your options are endless......tees, balls, markers, towels, gloves & yes, go for it--put your logo on an umbrella. Show that you care about what is going on in your community & give them out at a golf fund-raiser. Your clients & prospective customers who are golfers will appreciate anything you give them that has to do with the sport. Your company name will be seen rolling around a golf course & you will be remembered.

7. T-Shirts: The weather is warmer & people are wearing lighter weight clothing & short sleeves. T-shirts are walking billboards & they are taking your company name to places where you haven't been. Just look around you & notice all the t-shirts......most of them are imprinted & many of them advertising a business. They boldly show off a logo & what the company is all about is prominently displayed. They are worn, they are read & they are noticed.

8. Baseball caps: Wherever you go, men & young boys are wearing these caps (unless you're at the theater or a black tie affair).  And rarely will you see one that doesn't have an advertising message or logo on it. Like the t-shirts, they will also go where you won't & will vividly display your company name everywhere.

Offering promotional imprinted products during the summer months is effective because the days are longer, people are active & they are spending more time outdoors. No matter how big or small your business is or what industry you may be in, summertime promotions are a fun & wise way to boost your brand. Just make sure you hand out quality items that people will use repeatedly.

You may take a vacation this summer, but your company name won't as long as it's on products that will be seen & used by the public.

I hope this will help give your business a sizzling boost. Good luck!
Ronni Sherman

Monday, March 14, 2011

New Trends In Promotional Imprinted Products

Using advertising specialties to promote your business is a proven method to generate company identity. However, the promotional world is shifting. Gone are the days where putting a logo on a standard stick or click pen will suffice. Companies are looking to differentiate themselves & their brand with customized promotional items. Showcasing your logo on a product that reflects your brand & is relevant to the recipient has become even more important.

Following some key consumer & marketing trends when choosing promotional imprinted products can increase the success of your advertising campaign.

THE TECHNOLOGY TREND: The increase in technology, social media & mobile accessibility is affecting all industries. Everyone wants to have the newest gadget or the hottest product on the market. Align your company with this craze & look for items that demonstrate you are in tune with the times. iPod accessories, travel speakers, digital frames & flash drives are at the top of the promotional product trend list this year. Believe it or not, this catagory has items that fit most budgets.

TROUBLE-FREE TRAVEL: Traveling should be a stress-free experience, but with the change in regulations & the long lines, many people need a yoga class to destress after a day of trekking through the airport. Security friendly computer bags are a great item because there is no need to remove your computer......simply unzip the bag & lay it flat on the belt & send it through the x-ray machine. Another good item are the plastic bags TSA requires for all liquids. There's plenty of room for your logo & company contact info & if your client requires your assistance while enroute, your information is within reach. How many people are afraid of not locating their luggage? Luggage tags that light up while going down the carousel identifies their baggage & illuminates your logo.

NEW WAYS TO STAY GREEN: Ever since the eco trend started, the polypropylene non-woven bags have been an instant hit but now laminated totes are the new craze. Many are preprinted in fun,colorful designs that will make your logo stand out. Pens, an assortment of plastic items, note pads & notebooks or apparel are all made from recycled materials. Now it's easy to find a promotional wholesale product that is also eco-friendly.

HEALTH & FITNESS CRAZE: Everything centers around your health & keeping fit today. It's simple to put your company name or logo on a marketing item that follows this trend. Pedometers, travel size bottles of hand sanitizers, canisters of antiseptic wipes, tubes of sunscreen are just a few suggestions of what's out there to show your company is concerned about health issues.

A NEW TWIST TO OLD FAITHFUL: Sometimes a traditional product is what you need for your promotion. Since a pen can go from hand-to-hand like a dollar bill does, it's a very effective way to circulate  your company name. But even a pen has changed it's image to keep up with the times......there's some that have a flash drive in the barrel, gel pens, combination highlighter/pen & ballpoints made from recycled materials. Many have a distinctive design in the grip or your logo can float in the barrel. Cut-out shapes that reflect your business have replaced the square or rectangle sticky notes. They're also available with beveled edges to give your advertising message more pizzazz.

Stay in touch with current trends & choose to put your logo on something a bit non-traditional this year. It will increase the chances of your promotional custom product being used again & again & this will add to the exposure of your company.

And that's what promotional items are all about! Good luck!
Ronni Sherman


Monday, March 7, 2011

Imprinting Methods On Customized Promotional Items

After months of indecision about what promotional custom product you should hand out, you finally decide on a pen because you know it will be used & your company name will be seen.  Now the big decision & what you hope will be your final decision.......what pen will fit your budget & show off your logo best. You finally opt for bright colored plastic ones when your distributor gives you choices for, multi-color or doming.

This is not unusual & depending on the promotional gift you're interested in, you might find a range of choices available for how you would like your logo to be applied.  The decision can be made easily if you understand the different methods.  Here's a run-down of the techniques used in imprinting along with some of the items they are applied on.

As you will see, many products have options of more than one imprinting procedure. It's not as overwhelming as it looks--the manufacturers or vendors of promotional imprinted products will limit the selection for you by advising what will work the best. Many times the technique is dependent on the item chosen & the material it is made from. If you have a reliable advertising specialty company you use; they, too, will  help you decide how your company name will look it's best on the marketing item you chose.

Direct Printing:  traditional screen process printing or, where applicable, pad printing.  
    (plastic pens, letter openers, mouse pads, clipboards, tote & shopping bags)

Transfer Printing:  for fine resolution, precise registration & full wrap printing.
    (ceramic mugs & translucent plastic sport bottles, athletic & tote bags)

Full Color Printing:  for effective & stunning multi-color print; branding without compromising on design & color.
    (almost anything that can have direct or transfer imprint; paper products) 

Engraving:  for presenting our brand in a smart & exquisite manner; permanent branding which can't be removed.
    (metal pens, wooden & acrylic desk accessories, jewelry)

Foil Blocking:  high quality chrome colored finish to your logo or business name--usually in gold or silver. not all manufacturers offer this.
    (almost anything that can have direct or transfer imprint)

Doming: an epoxy dome, great for multi-colored logos & designs.
    (mostly seen on clips of pens, letter openers, bag clips)

Debossing:  indentationn of  your logo, brand or text--subtle & classy.
    (leather & leatherette products like portfolios, computer cases, passport folders)

Embroidery:  for a great one color or multi-color woven look for your logo or company name.
    (fleece apparel, polo shirts, baseball caps, blankets, sport bags, cloth portfolios) 

I hope this helps you decide how your logo will stand out & make the sharpest impact.
Ronni Sherman

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Effective Customized Promotional Items Versus Useless Give-Aways

The idea that simply giving stuff away with your logo on it will promote your business is a huge myth.  If you want your logo on a promotional imprinted product to bring company recognition, you must first steer yourself away from thinking of them as "give-aways". It's vital that you understand the difference between a give-away & a customized promotional item.

A give-away is a one way street because you are basically spending your money to fill up someone's junk drawer. A business giving away some cheap "doodad" & thinking it will create goodwill & identity for them while effectively promoting their company is making one of the biggest marketing errors possible.  It's a big mistake to give out any kind of advertising specialty with your name on it that is irrelevant to your business or the needs & desires of the recipient. That person will take it home & give to the kids or keep it at the office tucked away in a drawer. Worse yet, they could throw it out & the only person who will see  your message is whomever empties the trash.

With a give-away you gain practically nothing. And as far as building up your business or pleasing a loyal customer, no one will say, "Wow! Thanks for give me a cheap piece of junk with your name on it. I can't wait to do business with you."

A promotional item is a two-way street because your advertising message will impact the recipient's life in a meaningful & relevant way. You have to first decide who you want to target--a special group or the public in general. Are you going after your customers, prospects or both? Where will your promotional item be distributed--among the general public, a special event, fund-raiser or trade show? And does the promotional product depict your business? Should it represent the function where you're handing them out instead?

Using a financial planner as an example, here's how various promotional wholesale products can work for you after taking all the above points into consideration.

1. Placing your promotional item in a strategic area for the public to see & help themselves. The financial planner in a bank might do very well leaving engraved pens on a table for the bank's customers to take as they enter the building.  It would also be beneficial to have a booklet titled, "Managing Your Finances", along side the pens. The booklet should have the bank's name & all the contact information imprinted on the cover.  These items serve as a welcome mat for the bank & leaves the door open for future transactions.

2.  Handing out your imprinted promotion during a personal meeting with an individual. Our financial planner will need an imprinted folder to hand out when someone asks for information at his desk or he has an appointment in their home. This folder should have all the brochures & information for the prospective client's needs along with an imprinted pen & extras like a notepad or letter opener. If this individual has children, the financial advisor will rack up extra points if he includes a coloring/activity book about saving money--also showing the bank's logo. Should their budget allow, a brightly colored piggy bank displaying the bank's name would be a sure hit. The planner needs to do his homework & find out as much as possible about the person he is meeting with so his promotional items will be appreciated & used.

3. Handing out imprinted promotional items at seminars & meetings. If our financial planner is hosting or speaking at a seminar, a debossed leatherette portfolio with a legal pad & a pen/highlighter combination would be ideal.  Also bottled water with a custom imprinted label or a roll of Lifesavers with an imprinted wrapper would be appreciated & help win over customers. The audience should leave with a lasting impression of the seminar......both from the agenda & from what they are taking with them.

4. Handing out an advertising specialty at a trade show or special event. In this case, the financial advisor needs to not only think of the recipients, but also try to figure out what his competition might be handing out & try to outdo him by making a bigger impact.  It's a sure bet that someone will be handing out pens, but the list is endless when it come to promotional items that will attract attention. One idea would be a stress reliever in the shape of a dollar sign with the financial institution's name & a tagline reading: "take the stress out of your finances." A paper cube with advisor's name & logo printed on each sheet & a different tip on investing printed on each side of the cube would be valuable to the prospective client.  This is the time to put your imagination to work so you can stand out from the others--show that you're different from your competition.

Whatever you choose, your promotional imprinted product should be relevant to your audience's needs while representing your company.  In order to do this, think of your promotion as an investment, not as a cheap give-away you have to give out because your competitor is.

I hope this helps you the next time you need a promotional product.
Ronni Sherman