Monday, August 29, 2011

Why Halloween Bags As Promotional Custom Products

Wow! Where did this year go?! It just flew by & now it's almost fall. The holidays are still a few months away but it's already time to think about seasonal customized promotional items. The first thing on the  list & probably the one that will give you the most exposure are Halloween bags.

You may be asking: why should my company order these? Here are just a few reasons why Halloween bags that boldly display your company name & logo are great promotional imprinted products for your business to hand out:
  1. Imprinted Trick or Treat bags are inexpensive. They cost less than a pen or a notepad & yet more people will see your logo on these bags than on the other items.
  2. You'll get tons of exposure. Halloween bags are potentially seen by hundreds of thousands of people. This gives you a great marketing return on your purchase. They also have a large advertising area so your logo & message will be seen as children go door-to-door.
  3. They promote child safety. Most Halloween bags have safety tips imprinted in the fun, colorful designs. If your business is child oriented, your customers will appreciate that & remember you the next time they need your services. And face it, everyone appreciates something given to their kids. For added safety, look into buying the metallic reflective bags.
  4. People love getting something for free. You can't deny that people like getting a free gift, no matter how small the gift may be......just so it's useful & these definitely are. You can give out your personalized bags with each order or have a "FREE, TAKE ONE" display.
  5. Halloween is the beginning of the holiday season. It is one of the most popular times for businesses to get promotional custom products, so don't be left behind when your competition markets during this fun & festive season.
  6. The bags are reusable & recyclable. Show you care about the environment when you hand these out with your company name & logo on them. They're available in a variety of materials & sizes: non-woven polypropolene, plastic with a choice of die-cut handles or soft loop handles, metallic that are reflective at night or kraft paper with sturdy handles.
  7. Great way to promote your business--now & later in the year. You can put your other promotional imprinted products such as pens, sticky note pads or a letter opener in the bags. This way your customer will have a lasting item with your logo on it long after Halloween is over.
Your advertising message is imprinted on the back.
Keep in mind if you order the bags now, you won't get them for another three weeks--that's mid-September & that's when you should start giving them out.

Billions of dollars each year are spent on Halloween related items. In fact, it's the second highest revenue producing holiday. Get on the bandwagon & make sure you are marketing your business during this fun & productive time of year.
Ronni Sherman

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Importance Of Proofs For Customized Promotional Items

When it comes to your marketing & promotional custom products--sweat the small stuff. It's those minute details that can make or break your advertising campaign......or worse, make or break the public's image of your company.

Advertising is the main contact that you & your business have with the outside world. Therefore, you & your company must always be "on", making sure that your image professionally reflects your company & what it stands for. Above all, this must be consistent--don't waver. You have just one chance to make a first impression & once you make it, you have to keep it. Don't bank on your customers' loyalty.

Reputations & impressions can take a long time to build but can evaporate in an instant!

What do you think a client could do after spending $600+ on 1000 pens that read:

Jon Peters Hair Salon & Spa
Come To Our Saloon & Treat Yourself Royally

I changed the name of the hair salon, but that actually happened to one of my customers (before he became a customer of mine). He was terribly upset over the mistake, but owned up to the fact that it was his error & eventually saw the humor in it. Very few people have his forgiving temperament.

Below are some examples of errors in printed material--costly errors. These are actual, not made up. They're funny......we've all seen them & we've all laughed at them. Jay Leno constantly flashes them on The Tonight Show.  But they're far from being humorous when it happens to you. That's why it's so very important to be meticulously observant when you get a proof for the promotional imprinted products you order.

I don't have examples of the errors my customers have overlooked when they received their proof, nor would I ever show them to the public. So all I can show you are the mistakes that were made on other printed advertising material, but keep in mind it can just as easily happen with customized promotional items. The only way to avoid it is to carefully look at the proof.

The only cereal that can change your skin color......with that in mind, do you really care how many grams of fiber it contains?

So all it takes is a cool 5.5 million dollars & this could be yours!

Play your music & wash your clothes all in one cycle. Something I always wanted to do.

This gives new meaning to fast food......combine your entree & dessert in one course.

And just what are the 15 best things in these schools--anyone care to guess?

What a huge difference that 1 missing letter can make. Luckily the company that misprinted the billboard corrected it by the end of the day. This can happen with any printed item, including promotional products with your name & logo on them, but rarely can they be corrected within 24 hours. Some can't be corrected at all because by the time they were printed & noticed, the damage was done or the client's budget was exhausted.

It's not just typos you have to look out for. Check your graphics carefully.

Got an extra hand?

When my customers order promotional custom products, I ALWAYS make sure a virtual proof is emailed to them. It is imperative to ALWAYS thoroughly check over the proof for simple mistakes such as the above.

A customer may approve the proof after only a casual glance & like the way it looks. He'll then be irate when he gets the final product & it's misprinted. What about the proof he approved? Color looked great & the layout was what he wanted; but the phone number or the conscientiously did he check the actual copy? Please make sure to carefully read all text & ensure the layout & spelling is 100% correct before approving your proof.

A proof will take the guess work out of your advertising specialty. I hope this helps you with your next order.
Ronni Sherman

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Promotional Imprinted Products Made It To The NY Times

Last month the NY Times ran an article promoting customized promotional items. They summarized how to decide what to give & why promotional imprinted products are effective......a new slant from the reason I've stated in previous articles. This one is called the Rule of Reciprocity.

Here is the article that was in the NY Times last month:

July 18, 2011, 1:00 pm
The Surprising Power of Promotional Products

Branded: An insider’s guide to small-business marketing.

When my grandparents moved into a retirement center, I helped with the garage sale. My cousin Claire and I were joking about how best to display the odds and ends from their 60 years together when I stumbled upon a gift from the gods of high kitsch. It was a letter opener, but this was not your typical letter opener.

In the clear acrylic handle floated a mini uterus with two pills strategically placed where ovaries normally reside, alongside the drug’s name, Hormonin. This promotional product was a gift from a drug company representative to my granddad, a doctor in Laredo, Tex. I tried to imagine how this token must have been received by the taciturn Dr. Puig. “Thanks Hal, I’ll put this next to my collection of kidney stones.” Or, “Do you have that on a T-shirt in an extra large?” Highly doubtful. He probably focused on its utility and kept it right there on his desktop. Which is probably what the drug company’s marketing department was counting on.

Promotional products are, some say, the oldest form of advertising. American businesses spend $20 billion a year giving away stuff with logos, according to Jerry McLaughlin, president of Branders, one of the largest sellers of promotional products online. Which is pretty good evidence that it works. Mr. McLaughlin credits the effectiveness of promotional products to centuries old cultural norms around the rule of reciprocity. “If you give something, the recipient is honor bound to give something back,” he said. “In every language and culture, research has found there are really derogatory words for people who get and don’t give back. We humans are hard wired to respond if we get something.”

Are we really that easy? I visited with Dr. Robert Cialdini, professor emeritus of psychology and marketing at Arizona State University. Dr. Cialdini, who has written a book on the topic, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” became interested in studying the rule of reciprocity out of self-defense. “All my life I’ve been a sucker,” he said.

Dr. Cialdini observed Hare Krishna Society members in airports, watching them foist paper flowers upon travelers. As soon as travelers accepted the flowers, they became more likely to reach into their pocketbooks and reciprocate with a donation. Sociologists and anthropologists have found, he said, that there is not a single society in the world that doesn’t train its people from childhood to this rule. “Marketers take advantage of this all the time,” he said. “Tupperware parties — one of the things that happen very early on — they play games so every one at the party wins a prize from the Tupperware representative. And they feel very obligated to give something back in return.”

A well-known veterans’ nonprofit group, the Disabled American Veterans, is a case in point. When the group sends a mailing for contributions, Dr. Cialdini said, it gets an 18-percent response rate. When the same letter is sent with personalized address labels, which cost about eight cents, the response rate goes up to 35 percent. “For the cost of the address labels they get almost a doubling of return,” he said. “It’s very powerful rule and very small things can trigger it.”

How do companies find the right promotional item? Here are three suggestions:

  •  Give items that members of your target audience will use in the environment where they make decisions about using your product or service. If you go after executives in corporations, give them something they will use in their offices, around their desktop so your company can be top of mind when they make decisions. Golf-related items are exceptions because lots of business happens on the golf course.
  • Have it underscore your marketing message and differentiate your company. Mr. McLaughlin recounts a computer software client who makes antivirus software. The client put its logo on boxes of condoms and sent them to information technology types with the message, “Protect yourself, protect your computers.” Results? “Most I.T. people are male,” said Mr. McLaughlin, “and don’t really have girlfriends so that’s particularly titillating. They believe they got pretty good results.” A bit edgy for most companies, but you get the idea.   
  • Personalize them.  While we are fond of our company logos, customers really like to use items that have their names on them. “People like seeing their own name above all else", said Mike Linderman, president of Express Pens, and former chairman of the Promotional Products Association International. His company makes pens in small quantities that can be imprinted with both your company’s logo and your client’s name.
Some of the most popular promotional items these days are pens, flash drives, aluminum sports bottles, reusable grocery bags, and anything green or American made.

Did receiving the uterus-enhanced letter opener prompt my granddad to write more Hormonin scripts for menopausal patients? Can’t say, but this promotional product made it 40 years without seeing a trash bin. And it’s now in a prominent place on my desk, right next to a Charlie the Tuna desk lamp.

I think MP Mueller, of the NY Times, summed it all up rather nicely.  Now it's your turn......what can you do to make your business stand out with promotional custom products?

Ronni Sherman

Monday, August 1, 2011

Flash Drives As Promotional Products

USB flash drives, sometimes called USB memory sticks, have been becoming increasingly popular to hand out as marketing items. They are available in a huge selection of shapes, sizes & colors, not to mention memory sizes--all having ample imprint space for your company name & logo.

Some people are not sure of what flash drives are. Here is a simple explanation: they carry the information that is stored on your computer, from data files & photographs to Powerpoint presentations. If your computer crashes, all your data is stored in this one little devise so you won't lose any of your information. It's your back-up for all your files & whatever else was on your computer. They are great for moving data from one computer to another or to simply have important information on hand.

When flash drives are used as customized promotional items they can be incredibly powerful as one of the best marketing tools to promote your company identity. Keep in mind this is something everyone with a computer absolutely needs, but only a few people actually go out & buy. Your clients & future customers will appreciate & use it. The big plus for you is your company logo & name is imprinted boldly on the flash drive, itself, & your business will most likely be held in high regard every time it's used.

Here are a few examples of how to utilize these effectively 
as promotional imprinted products:

1. Handing them out with your preloaded information in the flash drive. This is especially effective at a trade show, seminar, convention or presentation. Besides imprinting your logo on the flash drive, you can customize it by preloading your information into the device. The recipient walks away with your latest brochure & pricing, a summary of what was laid out at the seminar or a preview of the presentation. A realtor can showcase homes that are up for sale, a gym can have a trainer demonstrate simple exercises to do at home or a bed & breakfast can show a virtual tour of their facility. A dentist can give tips on dental hygiene on a flash drive that's in the shape of a toothpaste tube. The options available to you are endless.

2. Handing them out as a basic sale tool. Nothing is preloaded, but your company name & logo are displayed on the device so the consumer will remember who gave it to him. Like I said earlier, everybody who uses a computer has a need for a flash drive & giving them out as a promotional custom product will score big with your customer.

3. Handing them out as a business gift. What a perfect way to say thank you & to let your client know he's appreciated. These can be either preloaded with an introduction of your office staff or maybe a special promotion or they can be left empty for the consumer to load his own information in the device. Because it's a gift, I suggest a leather or metal drive that is subtly engraved with your company name.

Want to make an impact & really stand out with the flash drive you give out? Try preshaped memory sticks in the shape of people. They can be detailed to fit your occupation & logo'd with your brand. Specialty shapes are also available for every occupation or hobby......airplane, automobile, guitar, hamburger, soccer ball, tennis racket......just name it & we'll find it.

How about a flash drive that illuminates your logo when it's in use? A combination pen & flash drive? There are so many options. Be creative so your message will pop.

This time of year is probably one of the best times to hand out flash drives because school starts at the end of this month or the beginning of next month & there isn't a high school or college student who couldn't use one of these. 

As you can see, it's easy to accelerate your advertising campaign when you add your logo to a flash drive. Save, store & share files on this reliable easy-to-use device.

Advertise in a flash.
Ronni Sherman