Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ten Places To Leave Customized Promotional Pens

Personalized pens are one of the best promotional investments a company can make. Distributing pens is also a great way to promote a fundraiser or special event. They are so versatile that they can spread your business name in any setting or at any venue.

They're small--they don't take up space, they're economical--there's a variety to fit any budget & they travel far--they go from hand-to-hand like a dollar bill. They'll go places you won't.

Not to mention, pens are useful, even now when everyone uses a computer, they are still needed on a daily basis.

But once you invest in customized promotional pens to help spread your brand name, where should you distribute them? What kind of locations will help them travel further fastest? How can you get them to people you don't come into contact with? Handing a couple out to a few people a month won't do the trick.

Consider these ten locales from your staff to local business:

1. Your employees: First things first, make sure each of your employees have plenty of pens for their own use as well as to hand out.  Think of these branded pens as multi-functional business cards!

2. Your customers: Make sure you give a couple to your customers every time you see them. Don't be stingy........the pens will help make your company visible & bring you new business. Also don't forget about the prospects. Make sure they have your pens so they won't forget about you when they need your services or products.

3. Local banks: Ask the bank manager if you can leave your pens at strategic areas around the bank so when a customer comes in, there's one handy if he needs it. Hopefully he will take it with him. It's also a good idea to give them to some tellers to hand out to customers who are business owners or in a position to make decisions for their company. Now if a bank is handing out their own pens, the manager will not allow yours to be distributed.

4. Local restaurants & coffee shops: Many local coffee shops have a corner where other businesses, artists, writers or freelancers can leave their information or show their work. Why not leave personalized pens? At restaurants offer to furnish the staff with free pens for the customers' bills. And with luck, a few will walk off with your pen. Most managers will be happy for you to supply the pens & many of them are eager to help build a stronger economy in their community.

5. Library: Libraries are spots where people often find themselves in need of pens. After all, folks rarely just sit around & read at the library--there's usually a lot of note taking. If your company is looking to draw the attention of students & college-aged kids, the library is a great place to leave your customized promotional pens.

6. Local schools: Most schools, especially the public ones, have had their budgets cut so there is little or no money for extras. When they have functions such as PTA meetings, bake sales, silent auctions offer your pens with your company name. The parents will take them home with them--another way for you to reach households you normally wouldn't have had access.

7. Trade shows: Of course, you'll want to include at least several pens & maybe a few other promotional imprinted products as part of your marketing kit at trade shows. This is the time to make sure your pens stand out........think bright colors, maybe cushy grip or gel ink. Remember, you won't be the only one giving out pens; but give a little extra thought to ensure yours is the pen people will keep & use.

8. Client meetings: Whether it's a formal meeting with prospective clients or just doing lunch to help maintain communications with a few customers, be sure to have pens on hand to offer around.

9. Special events: If you're hosting a charity event, fundraiser or a grand opening; be sure you've got plenty of pens in stock to share with attendees. These can be given out alone or in conjunction with other promotional custom products. Pens will "travel" & help your brand spread far.

10. Outside ATM machines: Take a moment to consider where you most often need aq pen & can't find one around. Chances are, the ATM is where your mind leaps. When depositing a check, you've got to endorse it first & how many of us have been without a pen at this key moment? Stop at near-by bank-affiliated ATMS--stick to to those outside the banks themselves or right inside the doors--& leave a few of your branded pens.

These are just a few ideas to show you where a pen will be appreciated & how to distribute them. You could probably go in to any local business (dry cleaners, pet shops, gyms, nail salons, body shops) & if they don't have pens of their own, ask if you could leave yours at their establishment.

Let me know if you have any other ideas. Where have you handed out your pens?
Ronni Sherman

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Customized Promotional Eco-Friendly Shopping Bags

Two question that I frequently get asked regarding promotional imprinted products are: Besides a pen, what can I give out that will last longer than a note pad? What's the most popular item--the one people ask about the most?

The answers to both of these are the same......non-woven, recyclable bags.

So let's talk about bags. They are one of the largest, most purchased items in the ad specialties industry--& with good reason. In recent years, with consumers focusing on being more environmentally-friendly, their usage has skyrocketed. The non-woven polypropylene totes are everywhere, used over & over again.

It was only a few years ago that they were sparsely used in a few food stores, usually the health or specialty ones. Now you can't go into any grocery store without seeing a lot of customers using them. With more & more cities cracking sown on the usage of plastic & paper bags, these light-weight, non-woven ones will become increasingly popular.

It's the one product you can't have enough. How many people walk out of a store with just one bag of groceries? They're recyclable, reusable, eco-friendly, water resistant & can be washed.

All positive, right? Here's the biggest plus for you......these customized promotional non-woven bags have a huge imprint area. You can blow up your logo so it really pops & can be recognized from a distance or you can add all the information you want about your business. These should be given out to everyone you come into contact with because wherever they go shopping, they're taking your company right along with them!

The newest non-woven bags are now laminated, some with a metallic finish giving the bag a rich look. Another option are two-toned bags. These stand out & will highlight your business when your logo & company name is printed on them.

 You can even get them insulated to carry fresh or frozen products home. Other bags allow you to carry more than just groceries......they have pockets & zippers.
These customized promotional bags come in all sizes which makes them adaptable to travel. It's almost spring & people are heading the beaches, picnics, sporting events. Or just everyday errands, shopping, the gym, museums......the list is endless.

Carrying items to & from work is something that most employees do, so why not have them to it in a bag with your logo. What could be better than bags & totes displaying your logo on commuter trains, subways or the walk from a public parking lot to an office building?

Most customers & potential clients judge a company based on a combination of things, including the promotional custom products they receive. With a growing awareness over the environment & the health of our planet, people are looking for companies that do their part in cutting down on emissions & using more environmentally friendly products. So another plus to these bags--you can appeal to a whole new clientele by showing you care about the future of our planet.

Thousands to millions of dollars can be spent on advertising campaigns for billboards, television, magazine & radio ads, but the fact is that a custom tote bag, starting at a low, low cost has the possibility to reach more people with your message than any other outlet.
Here's a study that was done & these results prove how the non-woven bags will give your business great exposure:

The Advertising Specialty Institute conducted a survey & reported that people who received promotional items kept them for an average of 7 - 9 months. This provides repeated & consistent exposure to your company. 

Have you given a bag to your customer lately? Chances are he’ll use it more than ten times a month & it will be seen monthly by 1038 people. That’s just one multiply that by the number of bags you ordered & then gave out in that one month.

It doesn't matter what field you're in or who your target audience is......these will appeal to just about everybody.

Now is the time to jump on the your concern for the environment while promoting your company at the same time. Start handing out the logical solution to plastic & paper bags. This is a great opportunity to expose your business to thousands of people with just a handful of bags.

Ronni Sherman

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Promotional Custom Products Do's & Don'ts

For two years I've been writing about how promotional imprinted products work. How they are one of the most economical & easiest ways to get your company visible. But I'm sure some of you are saying, "Yeah, I tried it once............."

With promotional products, the sky is the limit. But just because something can be branded or you saw an item w/ a logo & you liked it, doesn't mean that's the right product for your company. And if it's a good customized promotional item for you, there are some precautions to take so people will want it & use it.
Here are a few simple suggestions to help you make the right decision:

1. Quality: A quality promotional custom product does not mean it has to break the bank. But cutting  corners to save a few cents may mean you're wasting your money on your entire order if they aren't going to be used because they don't work, they look cheap or they aren't useful to the recipient. It doesn't do your business any good if the promotional item you gave out is shoved in the back of a desk drawer to be forgotten or tossed in the nearest trash can never to be seen again. Paying a bit extra could go a long way. The quality of a product can mean the difference between a throw-away or a keepsake. Also the quality of what you hand out will say a lot about the quality of the goods or services you offer.

2. Know Your Audience: Promotional materials should be appropriate for your audience--something they need & want. You wouldn't give a bottle opener on a key chain away at a pediatrician's office just as a CPA wouldn't have use for a hot pad holder with your logo imprinted on it. If you are dealing with the hotel or travel industry, home health care or assisted living facilities, then a deck of cards with your company name name will probably be used over & over. Water bottles are great for gyms & spas. Bookmarks & notebooks are good for book stores, schools, libraries & tutoring agencies......or that pediatrician's office that doesn't need the bottle opener.

3. One Size Doesn't Fit All: T-shirts are popular & people love to wear them. But think twice before ordering customized promotional apparel because it's impossible to predict the size & shape of each person receiving them. Unless you know your targeted audience very well, consider ordering accessories like caps or visors.

4. Political: Whether it is a local, state or national election, political promotional products can be a great way for your company to show support for your community, state or nation. But it can also lead to dangerous ground if you are promoting a specific cause or candidate while promoting your business. You can easily turn off your customers or prospects who don't agree. Avoid polarizing items that endorse an individual, a political party or an issue. Instead choose to support the democratic process while you're distributing your promotional imprinted products.

5. Child-proof: The only thing children like more than toys is putting toys in their mouth. When choosing promotional items for children, avoid small products or things with detachable pieces. Stick with larger items like coloring books, crayons, rubber balls or child-size drinkware.

6. Distribute, Distribute, Distribute: The purpose of promotional imprinted products is to get your name out among the public & to be recognized among the sea of competitors. This won't happen if you keep your marketing items for a special occasion or for special people. Your family & best friends already know about you. By keeping the products in a storage closet, you won't be known or remembered unless you invite the public to rummage through your closet.

7. Don't Blend In: You've spent time & money on your promotional gifts. Make sure they stand out & don't get lost among the other items. Make sure the recipient wants to use what you give them. Using a pen as an example, don't get a plain white pen that looks like all the others in the desk top coffee mug. A bright colored pen that writes smooth is a good choice or there are 8" pens that, surprisingly, write as comfortable as their smaller cousins. They will get you noticed. If you are giving out note pads or sticky notes,  the price generally includes multi-color imprint. Take advantage of it & design something unique & colorful. Whatever you decide to distribute, be creative & let your logo pop.

8. Check For Errors: This seems to be a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many people hand out promotional products with their website spelled wrong or have inverted numbers in the phone number. What could be worse if you customer points out that your street is misspelled? When your order arrives, take time to check for errors before you distribute them. Basically, if you used a professional advertising specialty distributor, you would have gotten a proof & the errors should have been corrected before the products went in to print. That also seems logical, but I've had clients look at the general layout & they don't proofread the copy. If you don't, trust me, someone else will & then it will be too late to do anything about it. And what does that say about the business you're trying to promote?

It is important to hand out promotional imprinted products to get company recognition & stay in the minds of your clients; but before you order take time to go over these eight points so what you order will work for you & not against you.

Good luck!
Ronni Sherman