Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Promotinal Imprinted Products At Trade Shows

Last week I wrote an article on trade shows & how to prepare for a successful exhibit. My 8th tip was to hand out promotional imprinted products. They lure people to your booth. Everyone loves a free gift.

Promotional give-aways can even be a bigger draw than your service or product. Believe it or not, some attendees go to the show or convention, grab a few catalogs that could be of interest to their company & then go from booth to booth to see what they can pick up......they end up with more swag than brochures or business contacts. These obviously aren't the people you want to attract to your exhibit, but you still need the promotional gifts to welcome your customers & prospects.

This is not the time for you to to cut corners & give out the pens or sticky notes you hand out on a regular basis. They'll get lost with everything else being collected or mix in with other pens & note pads. Don't be an average Joe......a trade show is not the place to blend in with your competition. You need to stand out from the others & let your company name be seen & be remembered. You paid a lot to be at the exhibit so take it all the way to be successful & make an impact with your promotional custom products.

Promotional products are a great way to put your company in the forefront of potential customers' minds, even after they've left the trade show or conference.  Customized promotional items help familiarize people with your name, brand, product & service--leading to sales & referrals down the road. However selecting marketing products that your customers will actually keep & use can be difficult. At any conference, attendees are inundated with free pens, note pads & white ceramic mugs. These items are often quickly lost or thrown out before the person leaves the convention center. Promotional gifts that prospects & customers will keep & use are ones that offer value & stand out from the crowd. Yes, they could cost slightly more, but it will pay off in the long run. They will leave the trade show in a suitcase, not a plastic trash bag.

While common items like pens & note pads are popular promotional give-aways, they never stand out from the pack. Additionally, they're items that are frequently discarded due to their low preceived value. Think about the kind of promotional custom products you'd like to receive--what would you keep & use? Below are some ideas that your customers & prospects will value.

Non-woven reusable bags are my number one favorite for trade shows, seminars or conventions. Attendees will need something to store all the material they've gathered & your logo will travel the trade show floor with the person carrying the bag. It will be a traveling billboard for your company. Don't forget to add the booth number. People will stop the guests carrying your bags & ask, "Where did you get that?" That bag will also be used many times after the trade show is over--again advertising your company. Do you know that one bag has the potential of 1038 people seeing it a month? How's that for great (& inexpensive) advertising?

USB flash drives are great promotional gifts at trade shows & seminars. Attendees will need something to store all the material they gathered & your logo will be a reminder of your company whenever they use the flash drive. In addition to branding the flash drive, itself, you can also include your promotional material on the drive. If you decide to do that, make sure your data is compelling, useful & interesting or else the person will have no reason to watch it. One tip: you should select a model with sufficient storage space--if there isn't adequate memory, it could be discarded. You've wasted your money if it gets forgotten in the back of a desk drawer--better to spend a few dollars more & have the recipient use it.

Insulated travel mugs for hot drinks are a popular give-away item because they can be used by virtually everyone. However, a cheap, white, ceramic mug may not find its way onto a desk or into a kitchen cupboard. On the other hand, high quality insulated travel mugs may end up being used on a daily basis. They will go everywhere your customer goes giving your business great exposure. Think about it......during the week it's in the office where co-workers can see it & after work, it may go on a few quick errands or to pick up the kids.  Week-ends--the gym, the mall, the beach or park--the list is endless. Your customer is taking your company along & advertising for you. It doesn't get easier than that.

Water bottles but not the old fashioned plastic ones that end up in the trunk of a car or a trashcan. Water bottles have come along way in the last five years. With the upsurge of health care & staying fit, these new kind of bottles with bright colors make a fashion statement of their own. The plastic is a hard durable material that is shatterproof & doesn't retain odors or tastes. The bottles are also available in aluminum to keep drinks extra cold or in glass for a fresh, crisp, clean look. Attendees at the show are always drinking from disposable water bottles......who knows, they could end up using yours instead, as they go from booth to booth, giving you instant exposure. These have the same benefits as the insulated travel mugs above. After the trade show they go where your customer or prospect goes & that's usually to places you don't. That opens up a whole new spectrum of clients for you.

Sticky notes can be a good promotional gift if you're looking for something useful to give away. Yes, I said not to give something so commonplace because it can get lost among other pads. But there are all kinds of handy, branded cases that can house your sticky notes & even those useful sticky flags. Since they are used everywhere by everyone, you can be sure recipients of these will keep your notes close by. There's a wide assortment of cases, some for any budget & many are refillable.  Honestly, I'd make sure you invest in one that can be refilled. Some options for cases are spiral notebook types, bright colored plastic containers or leather-like holders. These just heightened the value of the sticky note & you're not blending in with the other exhibitors.

Hopefully this brief list gives you some ideas to start your promotional campaign at trade shows & conventions. Remember, if you're looking for customized promotional gifts that people will continue to use over & over, it's important that you take the time to carefully select useful, high-quality items that stand out from the crowd.

Good luck at your next trade show or convention. Hope it's a success & that your booth will be crowded with visitors.
Ronni Sherman

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

9 Tips To Remember When Planning For A Trade Show

New year......new products......new hope.  What does this mean--trade shows!

Trade show planning takes time & can add a hefty expense to your budget so make sure you are will prepared before the convention starts.

Industry trade shows, conventions & events are good places to meet existing customers, connect with prospects, keep tabs on current industry trends & see what your competition is working on. These shows are costly & require a good deal of planning & effort.

Make the most of your next trade show exhibit by reading the following 9 tips on trade show planning. The main thing is you need to be noticed among the sea of exhibitors. Your name has to be seen......boldly displayed in your booth & around the building housing the exhibition.  It's so important to stand out from your competitors so get your name out there on customized promotional table covers, polo shirts for the staff & creative promotional imprinted products that can be seen around the show.

9 Tips For Planning A Trade Show Exhibit

1. Choose the right show. While executives & their sales teams would love to go to every industry event, they can be expensive. Will your customers attend?  How many prospects are likely to be there? How much does a booth cost? What kind of attendance has a particular show had in the past? Do your homework & find the best trade show for your company. Be thorough before you send in that deposit--many times a nonrefundable deposit.

2. Ask yourself why you're attending.  Are you launching a new product? Looking to grow the business? Is it a way to keep in touch with your customers & meet them face-to-face? Want to learn about new industry trends? The answers to these questions will dictate what sort of booth or exhibit you have & how many people you need to send to the event.  It should also tell you which show will help expand your business & which ones to avoid.

3. Select a team of skilled sales people to attend the event.  Make sure the individuals you send are people oriented & will make a good impression with your customers & prospects. The members of the team should friendly, outgoing & organized--not to mention capable of selling.

4. Book your hotels & make travel arrangements. Many of the larger trade shows can attract visitors in the tens of thousands. As soon as you have chosen your convention & sales team, take care of the logistics. If air travel is involved, book it far enough in advance to take advantage of lower air fares. Most trade shows team up with hotels in the area to give exhibitors & attendees better rates......check these out before making reservations.

5. Decide on content & creativity for the booth exhibit. Keep messaging clear, concise & as direct as possible. If possible, trade show visitors need to know who you are & what you sell without having to speak to anyone in the booth. Have your merchandise attractively displayed but also easy to see & examine. Above all, don't be boring--that's an invitation for the guests to walk on by without stopping in to explore your product or service......be colorful, be creative.  This may mean a professional needs to be hired to design your booth.  Yes, it's another expense, but it's one your competition may invest in. 

6. A custom table cover will get your booth noticed. As I said above, if needed, hire a professional to build your display. If you want to attract visitors to your booth, you will need something eye-catching. If you can't afford a custom-built exhibit, something as simple as a customized promotional table cover will work. Make sure your company name & logo is large & can be seen before they enter the booth.  The table cover is your first impression, so make it a good one.  This is not the time or place to cut corners. 

 7. Design useful sales tools. Remember that visitors will be stopping by many booths in one day. Make sure you can give your customers & prospects something that will fully inform them about your company in the event they can't return to your booth. Use bold colors & graphics if you are handing out catalogs. I, personally, suggest you give out a flash drive with all your material stored in it. Put your logo on the outside & it becomes a great promotional custom product.

8. Order promotional items to give to visitors. A trade show promotional imprinted product will entice people to stop by your booth & later improve their recall of your company.  Everyone likes a free gift. Give a higher-value item to qualified leads & preferred customers to lure them into making a purchase decision. Most important, don't be an average Joe......a trade show is not the place to give out pens or sticky notes. They'll get lost with everything being collected at the show or will blend in with all the other pens & note pads. Make an impact. This is the time for you to stand out & let your company name to be seen. A non-woven bag is perfect for these shows. Attendees will need something to store all the material they gathered & your logo will the travel the show floor with the person carrying it. Don't forget to add your booth number to the promotional custom products.

9. Outfit your trade show sales team with custom apparel. Not only will a customized promotional polo shirt make members of your team appear more approachable, it will also turn them into ambassadors for the brand wherever they are on the show floor, even if they aren't in the booth.  There are other options also like oxford shirts embroidered with your logo or imprinted aprons. The main thing is that whatever piece of clothing is imprinted, your sales team should wear it everyday while attending the show.

These 9 tips should help you start planning your next trade show exhibit, but they only scratch the surface. To be sure, trade show planning is a lengthy process & could require several months to prepare. Good luck!

Ronni Sherman

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Tagline Is Your Written Logo

How many of you can tell me what a tagline is? What makes it stand out? Is it important to your business?

A tagline is basically a slogan. In as few words as possible, a tagline should get across how you want your business to be identified & remembered & still mean something to customers. They need to be able to relate to the phrase. A catchy slogan works best, but only if it can express what your company stands for & it's not forced to the point of being irrelevant.

Everyone wants to have a catchy slogan. A great tagline will keep your company in the minds of consumers & will identify your business. Think about how often you incorporated a slogan as part of your everyday speech; maybe even hummed a jingle that's used to promote a product.  Tagline identification is huge for business.

To make a tagline effective, it needs to be short......a phrase of only a few words. And most important, you need to be consistent with it & use it all times......on customized promotional clothing, printed material, if you have media coverage & on promotional imprinted products. It should be part of your brand just like your logo. Also once you have it, don't change it. It's like your written logo & needs to be a permanent part of your company identity.

Some quality taglines are so legendary that they achieve a life of their own, become bigger than the companies they're associated with & often launch their product to the top of the market. But that is rare......as rare as having your logo recognized worldwide.

Here are 30 clever taglines--many have worked their way into everyday language. Can you identify the company they belong to? See if you can recognize them all, then scroll down for the answers:
  1. A diamond is forever.
  2. Just do it.
  3. Got milk.
  4. Where's the beef?
  5. Don't leave home without it.
  6. We'll pick you up.
  7. It melts in your mouth, not in your hand.
  8. Does she or doesn't she?
  9. You're in good hands.
  10. Drivers wanted.
  11. When you care enough to send the very best.
  12. Fly the friendly skies.
  13. What's in your wallet?
  14. I'm lovin' it.
  15. We try harder.
  16. Breakfast of champions.
  17. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.
  18. The happiest place on earth.
  19. Finger lickin' good.
  20. Good to the last drop.
  21. It's everywhere you want to be.
  22. Have it your way.
  23. You deserve it.
  24. It's the real thing.
  25. Expect more. Pay less.
  26. Eat fresh.
  27. The greatest show on earth.
  28. Pleasing people the world over.
  29. M'm m'm good!
  30. Imagination at work.
  31.  BONUS:  It's your company......show it off!!!
A great promotional slogan is short, catchy & memorable. While there is no magical formula that produces a winning tagline, every quality slogan shares a few common details:
  • They have a distinct personality of their own.
  • They're hard to forget--they adhere to one's memory.
  • They possess a "feel good" factor.
  • They rarely mention the business they're promoting.
  •  Most of all--they are not used as a direct sales pitch.

De Beers Diamond Company--A diamond is forever.

Nike--Just do it.
Milk Assoc.--Got milk?

American Express--Don't leave home without it.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car--We'll pick you up.
M & M's chocolate candy--It melts in your mouth, not in your hand.
Clairol--Does she or doesn't she?
Volkswagon--Drivers wanted.
Hallmark Greeting Cards--When you care enough to send the very best.
United Airlines--Fly the friendly skies.
Capital One--What's in your wallet?
McDonald's--I'm lovin' it.

Wheaties cereal--The breakfast of champions.

United Negro College Fund--A mind is a terrible thing to waste.
Disneyland--The happiest place on earth.

Kentucky Fried Chicken--It's finger lickin' good.
Maxwell House Coffee--Good to the last drop.

VISA--It's everywhere you want to be.
L'Oreal--You deserve it.

Coca-Cola--It's the real thing.

Target--Expect more. Pay less.

Holiday Inn--Pleasing people the world over.

Campbell's Condensed Soup--M'm m'm good!

General Electric--Imagination at work.

Creative Images (Cre8iveimages)--It's your company........Show it off!!!

The most creative taglines in the world will not, alone, get you new business & new customers. That's going to take a well conceived, well executed marketing plan. A marketing plan that covers all facets of exposure including promotional custom products.

Remember, wherever your company name is, your tagline should be there too.
Ronni Sherman

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Cell Phones In The Workplace

How many of you use your smart phones at the office for things other than an occasional phone call?  C'mon, be honest.  You're not alone.  Last summer, a Harris interactive poll discovered new information about cell phone usage in the workplace.

The bad news for employers? 63% of Americans surveyed believe that people glance at their cell phones during work meetings & 74% of Americans believe people use their smart phones at work to conduct activities they wouldn't do on the company computer. These activities include:
  • 52% look for another primary job
  • 47% visit an online dating service
  • 46% look for a side job
  • 37% research an embarrassing illness/condition
  • 33% shop for lingerie
  • 24% watch TV shows, full-length feature films or sports events
  • 20% investigate plastic surgery options
  • 3% watch pornography

The good news for your brand? Promotional cell phone accessories must obtain lots of impressions throughout the work week! This seems to be the new #1 customized promotional item for 2013. More good news......there's something for every budget.

So what are the most popular techniques for sneaking a peek at cell phones? Top tactics for pulling out a smart phone at the office include:
  • 47% hiding the mobile devise under the table
  • 42% excusing oneself to go to the restroom
  • 35% hiding the smart phone in folders, notebooks or papers
  • 9% pretending to tie one's shoes
  • 8% creating a distraction

As global society becomes more & more reliant on smart phones to function, businesses should capitalize on the advertising potential of cell phone add-ons & accessories. From protective cases to charging stations & desktop phone stands, promotional cell phone accessories are fun, useful & create many options as promotional imprinted products.

So start out the new year with this new trend in promotional custom products. Here are some ideas for you to consider:

Cell phone protective case with removable strap.

Desktop cell phone stand.

Multi-use media stand w/ sticky note & sticky flag holder.

Stylus ballpoint pen.

USB car charger.

These aren't going to be shoved in the back of a desk drawer or pawned off on someone else. They are definite keepers, so put your logo on one of them & start your 2013 marketing program with this new staple in the world of technology.

Jump on the technology bandwagon & stand out.
Ronni Sherman

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A New Year......New Hope

Most people go back to work after the first of the year with optimism for the year ahead. No matter what the economy is we all hope for growth & that this year will be better than the last.
We want to be recognized as the business to go to......we want to be identified as the best in our field. One of the best ways & most economical ways to do this is by distributing promotional imprinted products that show off your logo & company name.

Start this year on a positive note & let people know who you are........that you are around & ready to be of service to them.

Most of the resolutions made on New Years Eve center around losing weight & getting in shape. It's a known fact that around 80% of these resolutions are forgotten by the end of February.

But what about your business? How many of you made resolutions to work harder hoping for bigger profits & to be more prominent in the public's eye? Or how many of you gave up before the year started, shrugged your shoulders saying: "it's the economy"? Some of the nation's largest businesses have sprung out of the depression or recession, so don't blame it on the economy & don't give up in the first couple months of this year.

Take steps to ensure you can rise above any economy. Make 2013 the year to do it!

You actually don't have to work that hard to get the attention from your clients or prospective customers. Let your logo do the work for you & take your name to places you don't go. A small investment in customized promotional items can bring about a big return. But invest wisely.

Follow these four rules about promotional marketing & chances are you will find your business has expanded:

1. A well-executed marketing strategy: Your competition never sleeps--& you need to remember that & stay on your toes all the time. You need to stand above your competition to be noticed. Keep your promotional items out there to be seen......distribute, distribute, distribute! Don't leave them in a storage closet for a special event or special clients. And most important, don't run out. Make sure you always have something on hand with your logo.

2. Make sure it's relevant to your business & of use to your customer: I've said this over & over & because it's so very important, I'll keep saying it until I retire this blog. Don't just buy something to give out because it was on sale or you didn't have time to give it more thought. A marketing item that your customer won't use or worse, stash in the back of a desk drawer or throw away won't do you any good. And they won't remember you unless it's by the junk you gave them.

3. Stay in touch & they will remember you: Your market has a short memory. Your customers are perpetually being bombarded with new offers, new products & new special deals. Your audience can soon forget you in your world of growing competition. So keep reminding them with your promotional imprinted products.  Hand them out often. Earlier I said don't run out--make sure your recipients don't run out.  People love receiving free gifts.

4. Make quality a priority: A pen is a good item to give out, but a pen that skips when it writes or won't close properly will not give your company a good image. What you give out reflects your business & what it stands for. Saving .10 - .20 on a pen could cost you a lot more in the long run. I used a pen as an example, but this goes for any promotional item you choose.

All four of the above are an absolute must if you want to succeed in marketing your business. One is not more important than the other & one should not be excluded as you execute a plan to use promotional custom products.

Hope this will be a successful & prosperous year for all of you.  Good luck!
Ronni Sherman