Promotion, Marketing & Advertising

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Why Petco’s Promotion Is Perfect Fun For The Holidays


holiday promotion tips

Petco has us officially excited for the holidays. We love it’s latest promotion – and not just because we’re pet people at ePromos. Petco’s Paw Prints event is an excellent way to draw customers into stores, give them a fun experience with their pets, and send them home with a tangible keepsake.

Here’s what Petco, the pet-specialty retailer with more than 1,300 locations, is doing: It’s creating some festive fun by offering shoppers the chance to make free paw print art in its stores.

People bring in their pets, paws get pressed into clay, fun gets had, and boom – Petco just created an epic brand experience. It’s suddenly way more enticing to stop into Petco than some other pet supply store.

Pet owners leave with a great promotional product – a logo tin containing their dog’s paw print smooshed into clay – and happy feelings about Petco. People love free stuff, and they naturally feel more positively about companies that give them this free stuff.

Let’s examine what makes this promotion so great. Here’s a look at the e-mail that Petco sent to customers.

Petco promotional event

It’s timely.

The holidays are on everybody’s mind, and Petco knows it. There are snowflakes on the promotional tin, snowflakes in the e-mail blast, and an overall festive feel to the whole promotion. Petco isn’t just handing out promotional products – it’s creating a holiday event at which people get to make cherished keepsakes.

What your business can do: Play into the holiday theme with something relevant to your brand. For example, bakeries might host a cookie-decorating party and give custom cookie cutters with its holiday treats. Think about something exciting that would draw your customers in. Don’t just hand out logo products – create an experience.

It’s tailored perfectly to the audience.

Petco markets to pet owners. So naturally, a paw print keepsake is something appealing to its target audience. Petco thought about who would be receiving its promotional products, and it gave items that recipients would actually want.

What your business can do: Always think about who will be on the receiving end of your promotional giveaways. What would they like to receive? And what makes sense for your brand to give away? These are two key questions to ask any time you’re planning a promotion.

It’s fun!

Petco isn’t afraid to get any hands (or paws) dirty with this promo. This isn’t some tired, ho-hum giveaway – it has all the makings of a lively, memorable in-store event. Petco is aiming to deliver an unforgettable experience for pet owners just in time for the holidays.

What your business can do: Kick up the fun factor of your promotion by getting your audience involved. Let your customers get hands-on in some way. Lowe’s does a great job of this with its Build and Grow workshops. If you want people to participate, make it fun.

It’s smart.

Petco is offering customers a coupon – $10 off $50 – when they participate in the Paw Prints event. Shoppers appreciate the savings, and Petco has just given them an incentive to spend $50. They’re already in the store for the event, and the coupon makes it enticing to browse for pet holiday gifts.

What your business can do: Round out your promotion with an appealing special offer. It doesn’t have to be a dollar-off discount, either. Coffee shops, for example, could give out coupons for free peppermint hot chocolate during the holidays. Always consider what would motivate your customers to come back.

Petco gets a lot of things right with its Paw Prints event. It’s an engaging, on-brand promotion just in time for the holidays. Your business can get in on the holiday fun, too. Just think about your audience and their interests, mix in a little fun, and you have the foundation of a smart holiday promotion.

Is your business planning a promotion or event for the holidays? Tell us about it!

Photo credit: Flickr 


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5 Brilliant Ways To Make The Most Of Small Business Saturday


tips for small business saturday

It’s coming … Small Business Saturday. That one glorious day of the year where small businesses around the country have their day in the spotlight.

Small Business Saturday is always sandwiched in between the two other biggest shopping days of the year: Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The holiday, which falls on November 29 this year, was founded in 2010 by American Express as a day to celebrate local businesses and all they do to make their neighborhoods so great.

Last year, shoppers spent $5.7 billion with independent merchants on Small Business Saturday, according to research from American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business.

It’s not just small businesses that have embraced the day.

Forty-one governors issued proclamations supporting the campaign, and more than 3.3 million Facebook users have liked the Small Business Saturday page.

Check out these educational tidbits about shopping small:

  • 80% of every dollar spent at an independent retailer goes back to the local community
  • Money spent at a local business generates 3.5 times more wealth for the local economy
  • $1 spent at a local retailer is usually spent six to 15 times before it leaves the community

Retail sales in November and December could hit nearly $617 billion this year, according to projections from the National Retail Federation. This would be a 4.1% increase over 2013, which only saw a 3.1% increase over the same season in 2012.

Thousands of small businesses around the country are hoping to boost these numbers, and Small Business Saturday is their chance to ramp things up for the holiday season.

If you’re a small-business owner, here are some simple, smart ways to get all you can out of Small Business Saturday:

1. Educate your customers.

The shop-small movement has really picked up steam since 2010 – almost half (44%) of consumers were aware of the holiday last year – but there are things you can do on a local level to get your customers excited.

Share interesting factoids and research about the impact of small business in your social media channels and on your website and blog. The Small Business Saturday website is chockfull of information. You could also send an e-mail blast to your database of customers, letting them know about the holiday and inviting them to your store.

2. Don’t compete on cost.

You likely can’t afford to drop your prices as low as the big-box retailers in your neck of the woods, so don’t. Instead, compete on something other than price – think atmosphere or experience.

If you own a pizza joint, you could host a dough-flipping contest. Coffee shops could have sipping stations with different flavors of coffee or hot cocoa. Bookstores could aim to draw in families by holding a story time with costumed characters.

You don’t have to offer deep discounts to win over new customers – you just have to do something memorable and unique.

3. Pick a partner.

Small Business Saturday is an excellent time to co-market because you’re already part of a group of like-minded businesses.

How do you choose a co-marketing partner? Look for a business that naturally overlaps with yours.

If you own a flower shop, for example, it makes sense to partner with a local wedding business. You could collaborate on everything from social media to promotional products. You get your brand in front of new audiences and save money at the same time. Check out this article for a great example of a co-branding partnership.

4. Make it a celebration.

Small Business Saturday is a big deal. It’s a nationally recognized day with a whole country of supporters rallying around it. Dive into the day and make it fun for shoppers. Create an in-store countdown calendar leading up to November 29. When the celebrated day arrives, kick it off with some exciting incentives. Make people want to shop at your business.

Think about decorating your store with balloons, signage, and banners. Hand out products imprinted with your logo. Get on social media and use the official hashtag, #smallbizsat, to share special offers. The idea is to let the community know you’re proud to participate in Small Business Saturday.

5. Express your gratitude.

When customers take the time to choose your business over a mega retailer, show them how much you appreciate them. It doesn’t take much to say thanks. You could post a message on Facebook thanking shoppers for their patronage. Or you could hand out small promotional products – think seeded paper bookmarks for bookstores or individually wrapped cookies for bistros – as a token of appreciation.

Personal, thoughtful gestures like these will help set your business apart from mass retailers. Customers will remember that you took a moment to show appreciation, and they’ll return the favor by vising your business again.

Small businesses: This is your day. Make the most of it. It can be a challenge attracting customers to your shop – especially in the wake of Black Friday. But by approaching the day with a plan and plenty of enthusiasm, Small Business Saturday can be an amazing kickoff to your best holiday season yet.

What is your business doing for Small Business Saturday? Share with us in the comments!

 


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How To Use Promotional Products To Effectively Grow Your Business


grow your business with promotional products

Congratulations! You made your dream come true – you finally opened your own business reflective of what you are truly passionate about. That takes guts! No more working for “the man,” you are the (wo)man!

This means that it is your sole responsibility to invest the time in making sure your business becomes all that you imagine it to be. Take your business to the next level of achievement with the perfect promotional products.

Promotional products should be specifically personalized for your business. Do not choose to hand out custom candies if you are a dentist office. Those two things do not correlate, which means that customers or potential clients will be confused on your real business focus.

When ordering products, you must think of yourself in your customers’ shoes. Would you understand why exactly you are choosing that product to represent your business? It seems simple enough but, picking the perfect product can be difficult. But hey, we’re here to help you. Our Brand Consultants are ready whenever you are to make sure the products you are purchasing will have a positive effect on your business.

Another key aspect to keep in mind while searching for the perfect product is to make sure the product you choose will set you apart from competitors. Do not get me wrong, a pen is a great promotional product because it’s passed from person to person, purse to purse, etc.

But, is anyone you know going to run up to their friends at lunch and say: “Guess what! That local gym over there just gave me this awesome pen!!”

No. They’re not. They are going to say: “Guess what! That local gym over there just gave me these awesome zipper style custom ear buds! I cannot wait to use them next time I work out there.”

Maybe you do not own a gym but, you get the point. You need a product that will wow the receiver, get them talking about your business, and give them something they will genuinely enjoy.

At ePromos, we are passionate about our work – so much that it does not even feel like work a majority of the time. We pride ourselves in working with, not for, companies that feel the same way as we do and establish more successful businesses. When you pick the perfect promotional product you will know it! It will be relevant to your business proposition, it will be something that sets you apart from your competitors, and it will be something people get excited to use.

All of us at ePromos know that when you are passionate about your work, it doesn’t even feel like work.

 


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[Infographic] An Inside Look At Who Owns Promotional Products


Eight in 10 consumers own between one and 10 promo items, according to Promotional Products Association International, and six in 10 keep them for up to two years.

Okay, great. This means people actually hang on to the promos you give them – and they keep them for the long haul.

But who are these promo-packing people?

Do you really know who’s walking around in your custom t-shirts or sipping from water bottles imprinted with your company logo?

You probably have an idea (or at least you should). Understanding your target audience is critical to the success of your marketing. If you want to reach the right people with your promotional items and your message, you have to know who they are.

Luckily, the research is there for the taking.

Check out our infographic below for insight on the people who own promotional products. This provides a great overview on demographics (so feel free to share!).

The next step is digging a little deeper for psychographic information. The idea is to create a customer profile for your business. You’ll want to go beyond the external and identify customer attitudes, behaviors, interests, values, hobbies, and more.

But all that’s for a different infographic.

Glean some information from this infographic, and if you need help determining the direction to take with your marketing, we’re happy to consult with you.

Now, let’s take a look at all the people who own promotional products.

promo-products-infographic


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10 Interesting Facts About The Promotional Products Industry


At $19.8 billion, the promotional products industry is at an all-time high, according to the 2013 PPAI Estimate Of Promotional Products Distributor Sales. The last time promotional products surpassed the $19 billion mark was 2007.

Marketers are seeing now, more than ever, that promotional items are one of the most powerful and effective forms of marketing. They put your brand directly into the hands of your target audience, and they can be used for all sorts of purposes: awareness, recognition, motivation, recruitment. You name it.

We’ve compiled 10 intriguing facts that you may not know about the promotional products industry. Take a look and get to know more about the power behind promos.

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9 Myths About Promotional Products – Busted


9-myths-about-promotional-products-debunked

There are always some interesting myths swirling around about promotional products. Some marketers can spot these myths from a mile away and don’t give them any consideration.

But others are quick to latch on to the misconceptions. They become wary about using promotional products. They doubt the effectiveness of promos and sometimes write them off altogether.

When marketers put stock in the myths they hear, they’re missing out. Big time. In this blog post, we shatter nine common myths about promotional products. Read on for the myths and why they’re busted.

Myth #1: People don’t really use promotional products.

Why it’s perpetuated:

There are so many branded items out in the world, people simply don’t have use for them all. They can’t possibly use all the logo tumblers, t-shirts, and tote bags that marketers fling their way. Right? Wrong.

Why this myth is busted:

People love free stuff. And we mean love it. Eighty-three percent of consumers like receiving a promotional product with an advertising message, according to Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), and 53% of consumers use a promotional item at least once a week or more.

So go ahead – give people what they want. Unleash the promos on them. Just make sure they’re useful to your audience and relevant to your brand. Read this blog post on the do’s and don’ts of using promotional products.

promotional products myths: busted

 

Myth #2: You can’t measure the ROI of promotional items.

Why it’s perpetuated:

It’s impossible to know if all of your branded swag is really working. You hand out hundreds (or thousands) of bottles of hand sanitizer at a tradeshow. You freely give out tote bags at a career fair. You’re up to your ears in promotional pens – and you’ve been giving them out for years.

You can’t keep track of all of these giveaways and pinpoint their value – or at least that’s how it might seem.

Why this myth is busted:

Promotional products are completely (and easily) trackable. You just have to take the time to do it. You’re measuring the ROI of your other marketing efforts – don’t let promotional items fall to the wayside because you’re unsure how to track their effectiveness.

Some simple ways to measure the ROI of promotional products include:

1. QR codes (or, at the very least, unique URLs).

Create a landing page for your promotion and print the URL or a QR code (here’s more on how to do this) on your promotional giveaways. Voila – you can now track the hits/leads/sales that came directly from the products. See how simple that was?

2. Phone numbers.

If you’d rather speak to prospects than drive them to a website, just put a twist on the first idea by printing a new phone number on your promotional products. It’s easy to measure how many calls came in as a result of the giveaways.

3. A solid CTA.

When it comes to tracking promotional products, a CTA (call-to-action) is a must. Why? Because a CTA makes it super simple to measure the effectiveness of your giveaways. Print an offer directly on your promotional products, and you can see the kind of traffic it generates.

Test out different offers on different products. Dunkin’ Donuts is offering 99-cent refills when coffee fans bring in its promo tumblers, but you can offer any perk – a BOGO offer when you bring in a promotional Frisbee, 10% off your next purchase by wearing a promotional cap in store, half-price manicure when you bring in a custom nail file. (That sounds nice, right?)

Make your CTA simple and appealing, and recipients will take you up on your offer.

promo tumbler

Myth #3: Promotional products are too expensive.

Why it’s perpetuated:

Many marketers get a little sweaty-palmed when it comes to budgets. They think: “I barely have any money to promote my business … how can I afford promotional products?” As a result, promos are sometimes seen as frivolous, unnecessary.

The thing is, though, it’s not about the products – it’s about researching, planning, managing, and tracking. You’re not just throwing money into a bunch of branded merchandise and hoping for the best – you’re making an investment in building your brand.

Why this myth is busted:

Promotional products are one of the most cost-effective forms of advertising. They have a lower cost-per-impression (CPI) in the U.S. than prime-time TV advertising, national magazine advertising, and newspaper ads, and they have a similar CPI to spot radio and online ads, according to the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI).

The average CPI of a promotional product is just $.005, according to ASI. For a small investment, you can get the same type of exposure as businesses with bigger budgets. Your marketing dollars go a whole lot further with promotional products than with other forms of media. If you think you don’t have the budget for promo items, just take a look at these sale items.

promotional products myths: busted

 

Myth #4: Cheap is the way to go.

Why it’s perpetuated:

When it comes to promotional products, marketers sometimes have a one-track mind. All they want to do is get their logo in front of as many people as possible. To accomplish this, they seek out the cheapest products, never pausing to think about the impact on their brands.

Price should never be your only consideration. The products you choose are representative of your brand. Pick cheap promos, and that’s how your business will be viewed.

Why this myth is busted:

Cheaper is not always better. You’re purchasing branded merchandise – not a new phone plan. Promotional products make a lasting impression on recipients. More than three-quarters of people can recall the advertiser’s name on a promotional product they had received in the last 12 months, according to PPAI.

What you give people sticks in their minds. Do you want your brand to be associated with cheap throwaway items that will likely end up in the trash, or do you want people to associate your brand with useful, innovative promotional items that are relevant and targeted to their needs? Don’t go cheap just to save a few bucks up front. It doesn’t do anything to help your brand.

promotional products myths: busted

 

Myth #5: It’s better to invest in mainstream media.

Why it’s perpetuated:

TV ads get all the glory. Just think about the buzz that Super Bowl spots generate. Don’t forget about radio spots and print ads. Marketers go to great lengths (read: invest heaps of money with ad agencies) to churn out ads in these old-school mediums.

Well, guess what. The tides have turned when it comes to traditional forms of advertising. Mainstream media is swiftly losing its appeal – and its effectiveness. PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts that traditional media advertising will decline by a 1.5% annual rate through 2017.

Why this myth is busted:

To get your message across today, you have to be personal. You must focus on the individual. Promotional products allow your brand to get so up close with customers that your logo is in the palm of their hands.

Consumers can skip past or tune out other forms of advertising. (Who actually sits through traditional commericals these days – unless it’s during the Super Bowl?)

But promotional products stick with them. Eighty-nine percent of consumers can recall the name of an advertiser on a promotional product they received in the last 24 months, according to PPAI research.

Customers can fill up that custom coffee mug every morning and be reminded of your bakery. They can slip on that promo t-shirt and think back to the fun times they had at the company retreat.

Promotional products are incredibly personal – and that’s something that mainstream media just can’t touch.

promotional products myths: busted

Myth #6: All promotional products companies are the same.

Why it’s perpetuated:

Promotional products companies all do the same thing – they put logos on products, and then pass them on to customers for various campaigns. It doesn’t really matter which company you work with as long as you get the promos you need.

At first blush, that’s how it may seem.

But actually, not all promo companies are created equal. There are more than 23,000 promotional product distributors, according to PPAI, and they’re all different.

Why this myth is busted:

Many promo companies are small mom-and-pop shops or even one-person shops. They don’t have a dedicated art department, production department, or merchandising team. They’re doing it all themselves. As a result, there’s a good chance your promotional products won’t look as great as they could – or even arrive when you need them.

Not all promotional companies know promotional products, either. They don’t know the different factories producing the items, and they’ve never felt or used the products.

When selecting a promotional products vendor, think about it like a partnership. You want a specific person handling your order from start to finish. You want him or her to answer all of your questions and be there for you in a pinch. Here’s a good write-up on how to pick a promotional products company. Give it a read before choosing your promotional products partner.

promotional products myths: busted

 

Myth #7: There’s nothing new in promotional products.

Why it’s perpetuated:

Considering that promotional products have been around for hundreds of years (the first commemorative buttons trace back to 1789 when George Washington was elected President), it’s easy to think that everything has been done before. That there’s nothing new and fresh.

Why this myth is busted:

Well, the reality is that promotional items are constantly evolving. Promotional products are a $19.83 billion industry, and every year, thousands of new products come to market. (Click here to get a look at some of the most innovative new items to hit the promotional marketing scene.)

The 53rd largest tradeshow in the United States is The PPAI Expo, which in January 2014, featured more than 1,400 exhibiting companies in 1.1 million square feet of exhibit space. Nothing new in promotional products? It’s quite the opposite.

promotional products myths: busted

Myth #8: Promotional products won’t work for my business.

Why it’s perpetuated:

You like the idea of using promotional products, but you’re just not sure your business is cut out for them. You think they cost too much, they’re unoriginal, or any of the myths we’ve just busted above. It’s easy to doubt the effectiveness of promotional items – especially if you’ve never put them to work for your brand.

Why this myth is busted:

Promotional products can work for any brand and for any campaign – whether you want to drive tradeshow traffic, boost brand awareness, or achieve something else altogether. After receiving a promotional product, 85% of consumers do business with the advertiser, according to PPAI.

Promotional items also help you lock in new customers. Eleven percent of advertisers, according to PPAI research, increase their business even among those who hadn’t done business with them before.

It pays to use promotional products. They not only get your logo in front of your target audience, but they drive recipients to do business with your company. That’s powerful stuff.

promotional products myths: busted

 

Myth #9: Promo items don’t last.

Why it’s perpetuated:

Promotional products sometimes get a bad rap for being cheap throwaway items. (Go back to myth #4 to review why cheaper isn’t better.) They no sooner get doled out than they’re dumped in the trash or shoved to the back of a drawer. At least, that’s what some marketers think.

Why this myth is busted:

Promo items get your brand long-lasting exposure – and the research backs it up. Data from ASI shows that the average amount of time people hang on to promotional products is 6.6 months. That’s more than half a year with your logo front and center.

Here’s a look at some promotional items and how long people keep them:

  • Calendars – 9 months
  • Outerwear – 7.3 months
  • Drinkware – 7.1 months
  • USB drives – 6.9 months
  • Bags – 6.8 months
  • Caps – 6 months
  • Desk/office accessories – 6 months
  • Shirts – 5.8 months
  • Healthy/safety – 5.5 months
  • Writing instruments – 5.3 months

promotional products myths: busted

 

Did any of your beliefs about promotional products go out the window after reading this post? We hope so. Promotional products work – whether they’re used alone or integrated with other media. They get your name out there. They let people know who you are and what you stand for.

When you’re building your brand, that’s what it’s all about.

Are there any other promotional product myths you’d like us to debunk? Tell us in the comments below.