Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Flash Your Logo & Company

I can't tell you how many times a customer will come to me asking for pens with their logo, company name, phone number, email, website & of course the tagline. They want their company bio imprinted in an area that's only 3/4" high & 2" long.  It can't be done--not on a pen.

But it can be done on other promotional custom products. There's tons to choose from that have a large imprint area, that can actually be mini billboards. There's one in particular that stands out because it's in the same price range as pens & the customer won't have to pay extra to display all his info......note pads & sticky notes.

Note pads are very cost effective & useful. This is something everybody uses whether in the office, at home or on the go. Yes, even with all the technology, these are still in demand. Every time they are used, guess who's name & advertising message will be seen?

Here are three reasons why I find these an ideal choice when you want your company name & logo out there for the public to see & you're working on a limited budget.

 Color paper will also help your pads to stand out.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when buying promotional imprinted products is wasting your money on something that won't be used by your clients or prospective customers. Note pads are used on a daily basis by just about everyone, everywhere. The good news is, the sheets from the pads go from hand-to-hand spreading word of your product or service. Office workers can jot a quick memo & give it to a colleague & at home they're used to send notes to teachers, neighbors--the list is endless. The bottom line is these are a constant reminder of your business.

Large Imprint Space:
Use of optional lines & phantom images.
This is the perfect item to get creative & show off what your company is all about. The entire area of the pad is yours to advertise if you use the center for phantom imaging. On a customized promotional note pad, you can list everything you want known about your business including a map with directions or actual photos of your product. If you have a lot to say, you can say it all on this item. For as little as .40 you can tell the world about your business. Get creative--use images to show what you're all about & color to make your logo pop.

Sticky note pad with beveled edges for added impact.

There is no end to the choice of styles that are available. There are the large desk pads that are used as weekly planners. In the smaller sizes, there are fun & unique options such as die-cut shapes & those with beveled edges. While most pads are uncovered & bound with glue, you can also purchase them with hard custom covers & spiral bound. One of the most popular choices are sticky note4s & these, like the traditional pads, come in all shapes & sizes. Memo cubes come as note pads or sticky notes & these can display your logo & advertising message on all four sides plus each individual sheet. There's definitely something to fit the personality of your business.

Let me remind you that quality is also an important component when picking out the pad of your choice. If they are poorly constructed or the imprint is inferior, that is the image you'll be projecting for your business when you hand them out.  Wherever your name goes, it says something about you.  Let it say your company's standards are all about distinction, quality & superbness.

Ronni Sherman

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

10 Mistakes With Promotional Imprinted Products

How many times have you bought something & then later, when you got it home, you realized it wasn't what you wanted after all? You can usually go back to the store & return it if you have the receipt--it's no big deal. But that isn't the case if you ordered customized promotional items & when they arrive you know it's not good for your company or your customers. Too late......they've already been imprinted & you most likely approved the proof. Before you order, you need to think it out--don't be too rash--it could cost you in time, money & clients.

Promotional imprinted products are an excellent way to promote your brand, but don't rely on good luck & hope for the best results. Don't open the box of note pads to find spacing in the wording is actually sending a message far from the one you want to get across to your customers. Or you found travel mugs at "a price too good to be true" & now you discover the caps don't fit properly......oooops, no one will use them if they leak.

Avoid these common errors when ordering promotional custom products:

1.  The promotional product you want to give away does not match you image of the brand it represents. Perhaps the item is too cheap. You don't want to promote a Mercedes with a plastic key chain. Or if you're a nutritionist, you want to avoid snack bags of dried fruit that have your logo on it & also perservatives listed in the ingredients.
2.  The demographics of your market were not considered when choosing a promotional item. The most effective promotions take into account the needs & desires of the recipients. For instance, while teens & young adults would welcome imprinted phone & tablet stands, a senior audience would be more motivated by a product that will fit their lifestyle such as golf accessories or a deck of cards.
 3. You turned down the option of a proof or worse, didn't proof-read your proof. Don't let your next promotion embarrass you. One business owner caught a spelling mistake after his pens arrived & were being passed out.

4.  Proportion of the logo to the product really isn't flattering. I know you're proud of your logo; however; as an example a big logo across the chest of a man's is fine but can overwhelm a woman's t-shirt. Also most women prefer a smaller, more subtle imprint. Another example, if you're using two logos on any customized imprinted item, make sure one doesn't overpower the other.  For instance if you're sponsoring a team & using their mascot/logo, yours & theirs should be the same size.

5.  A logo can be too "in your face" & cheapen a nice promotional product.  Sometimes these items benefit from discreetly placed logos rather than plastering it across the entire surface. Especially if it's given as a gift of appreciation or during the holidays. Engraving or embossing your logo in a lower corner can say much more than loudly imprinting it boldly in a bright color.

6.  You tried to save a few cents & underspent. Your promotional item may be the only contact the recipient has with you & they will judge your company & your product or service by what the pen, note pad or letter opener you gave them. If you found what you thought was a bargain, it may end up costing you much more than the few extra cents you should have spent on the item you handed out. What is the public's impression of you if the pen doesn't write smoothly, the note pad doesn't keep the sheets together or the blade falls out of the letter opener?

7.  The promotional gift isn't useful to the recipients--it's value is worthless. The item's usefulness is the primary reason to keep it & thus keep your company's name in front of your market. Pens, note pads, electronic accessories, bags, t-shirts, baseball caps & drinkware are the most frequently kept imprinted items because they are useful. Above all, the product has to be relevant to your company & at the same time be useful to your target audience.

8.  Sizing is too generic. Unisex promotional apparel is no longer effective if the recipient doesn't wear your message. Be sure you know the age & the basics about your audience. If you are providing a give-away at a women's event, don't give men's unisex shirts..........or any unisex shirt for that matter.  Women will only wear what fits & what they feel looks good on them.  One size does not fit all, especially with women or children.

9. Your promotional product was too political or too religious.  Unless you are targeting a certain group that is connected with political, religious or special causes don't use your marketing item to express or push your personal views. This is the best way to push your customers over to your competitors. Stop & think what you are selling......make sure it's your company & no other agenda.

10.  A joke gone wrong. Only use clean humor in a promotion when it's clearly targeted to the appropriate audience & you know others will not be offended. actually it's better not to use jokes at all--nothing can be worse than a joke that's gone flat. Show your professional side to your customers--that is what they want from you.

Keep these 10 tips in mind next time you order your customized promotional items & you should have a successful advertising campaign using your imprinted products.  Good luck!

Ronni Sherman

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Have A Ball With Your Logo

Want an economical, yet a different promotional imprinted product to hand out? One that will appeal to almost everybody & you'll see their excitement when they receive it? Something that takes up less room to store than pens & yet has an imprint space large enough to show off your logo, company name & any other info you want to display?  They're fun, colorful & can even match a theme for your business or event.  Do you know what it is?

Beach balls! Yes, inflatable beach balls.

They're fun & used over & over. How many people can walk by a beach ball without kicking or tossing it?

Have you ever been to a concert or political fund raiser where beach balls are bounced around in the audience, going from person to person, keeping everyone engaged? Spirits rise as the ball soars through the air.

They have a large advertising space for your name to be seen at a distance. Take them 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 promotional custom product to give out at a trade show.

And speaking of trade shows, here's a great way to display them in your booth to attract attention. Get two table fans & place them at each end of the booth entrance with the fan facing up toward the ceiling.  Turn them on & place a beach ball over each one & they will continually bounce in the air.

Besides the usual beach balls with primary color panels, you can get them in any color combination, metallics, translucents, solids or prints.  Your options are endless.

Customized promotional beach balls make a great window display that could work for a summer or sports themed window. In the winter different colored solid or translucent beach balls make a beautiful holiday window display of ornaments & if the lighting is right, the colors will really pop.

I have a customer who opened a couple of gyms in the area & wanted a fun & unique way to get people to know about them. They bought customized promotional beach balls in their company colors & had employees stand on the cliffs or piers overlooking the beach. They then threw them down at the sunbathers & watched as everyone, from toddler to adult, scrambled to get one.

They're good to hand out company picnics or fund raisers. A children's gymnastics facility gives them to families who sign up for summer camp or birthday parties. I've seen beach balls used as volley balls in a sand or pool volley ball game.

Since they are flat & light weight, they're easy to send through the mail as an invitation or an advertisement announcing a special or grand opening.

Beach balls are undoubtedly one of the most fun & versatile of promotional custom products. Oh & did I mention that they are very economical.

Have a ball with your logo & watch it bounce along the coastline, around backyard pools, at the lake or at a campsite. 
Ronni Sherman

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

You Can Do What The Big Guys Do

One of the most difficult tasks in marketing, both off line & online, is achieving positive brand recognition. Every time someone sees the Coca-Cola logo, for instance, they automatically recognize it regardless of whether or not they like the drink, itself. The same thing is true of the single bright red star that has become identified with the Macy's brand.  There's also the black "swoosh" for Nike, the two intertwined C's (one reversed) for Chanel & the blue & white sphere for AT&T.  Achieving that kind of brand recognition is tough & requires a huge advertising budget.

There's constant exposure on TV--but how many people actually sit through an advertisement? And if they do, it's usually considered an inconvenient interruption. Ads in popular magazines--the bigger the circulation, the bigger the cost to advertise. And how people even look at the ads or remember them later? Billboards, online advertising......all of these methods are so expensive they are out of reach for most companies.

While the average business owner will not be able to achieve such exposure, they can still get some significant recognition at a reasonable cost by distributing promotional imprinted products. This definitely works because the same businesses--the fortune 500 companies--that can afford the costly advertising also uses promotional custom products.  They do it often & regularly. And so can you.

Before you even start to think about ordering promotional items, think first, how your brand represents you. Don't just pick a design for your logo or colors that you like & think that's it, you're through with this stage. Your logo, colors & tagline will tell the world what you're all about & the message they get may not be the one you want them to receive.
  • Make sure your brand name is consistent across all platforms of communication. You want customers to be able to recognize your company & product immediately.  Uniformity is the best way to accomplish this. If you have a logo & tagline, you should use it in conjunction with your company name & marketing at all times.
  • Put your customers first all the time. Remember, you're trying to reach them with your message so establish content that resonates with them in a positive manner.  It's not about what you like best, but rather what will make people connect with your business.
  • Make sure your message is something that will stand out from the crowd. Don't do what your competitors do. You don't want someone to get you mixed up with them. Show you're different, unique. While watching TV, if you see a gecko you know you're about to see a Geico commercial or that the talking sophisticated baby represents E-Trade.
Once you have a logo, tagline & colors that represent your company, you should start to think about promotional custom products.
  • Don't go for the cheapest just to have something to hand out. You're better off handing out nothing. The customized promotional item you distribute with your company name on it will represent you--it will show how much you care about your business & the services or products you provide. What will someone think if they get a pen that doesn't write consistently or breaks as soon as it's being used?
  • Make sure your product is relevant to your business & at the same time useful to the recipient. The whole point is to have your company in front of your customer or prospect at all times. If your promotional product is useless to them, it will get shoved in a drawer or thrown out & they won't think of you at all........unless they associate with that piece of junk they didn't want.
  • Once you have your product, HAND THEM OUT. Don't save them for a special occasion or for someone special. You'll most likely forget about them & when you do want to use them, they may show their age. If you keep them in the storage closet the only way they'll be seen is if you invite the public in to rummage through the boxes.
If you keep all of these things in mind, you should see a significant improvement in brand recognition.  Good luck!

Ronni Sherman