Promotion, Marketing & Advertising

TOP

Research Says These are the Best Promotional Giveaway Items


We’ve all received promotional products—pens, magnets, branded calendars. But as we travel deeper into the digital world with marketing and advertising following suit, these simple but useful giveaways are being forgotten by marketers. Research still supports that promotional giveaways are an effective way to entice and engage customers. Not convinced? The New York Times spoke to a professor of psychology and advertising, who explained that humans are wired to respond when given something. It’s just part of our cultural make-up and norms—we’re trained to reciprocate when given something. What does that mean for your company? When you give something to a customer, you’re increasing the likelihood of getting something in response, like signing up for your mailing list, or even purchasing a product you’re selling.People Happy After Receiving A Gift

This 2016 study does an amazing job outlining some of the most popular giveaways by asking U.S. consumers which products they currently owned, broken down by gender, location and more. Highlighted promotional products included writing instruments, which are owned by 50% of U.S. consumers, and drinkware, which are owned by 53%! Below, we dive into the research to give you the 5 best promotional items to consider for your next giveaway.

1. USB Flash Drives

45% of U.S. Consumers own a promotional USB drive. Even more impressive? A whopping 91% of users say that they keep them because of their usefulness in their daily lives. For a brand looking to make an impact, what more could you really ask for in a promotional product? The dream is that potential customers keep your giveaway around long enough to not only leave an impression on them, but perhaps those around them. With that in mind, think about the utility of a USB—it’s a great way to transfer digital information. So, while some folks will use it as their personal backup, others will use it to hand off information to someone else, like a colleague or friend, thereby transferring knowledge of your brand forward. USB drives are a perfect item for a corporate-oriented giveaway, including conferences and job fairs.

2. Drinkware

Drinkware includes a variety of potential items, like mugs (great for keeping on an office desk), or to-go tumblers (perfect for traveling business folks and busy parents alike). ASI’s 2016 study found that half of U.S. owners of branded drinkware use it several times every week. That is a ton of opportunity for them to not only use the product, but have your brand become ingrained in memory. If you opt for drinkware are your promotional item, quality should be an important consideration. As the research above points out, people will keep their drinkware around for a while In fact, According to a study by the British Promotional Merchandise Association, 87% of participants who received a free promotional product kept it for over a year, Drinkware is a perfect item to give away when promoting a food or drink product, as well as at sporting (water bottles) or business events (everyone needs a good office mug).

3. T-shirtsT-Shirts Are Loved By Everyone

Ah, the almighty branded t-shirt, owned and loved by 58% of the U.S. population. In fact, every age group studied clocked in at over half (56%-60%) owning logoed t-shirts. Having your brand on a t-shirt is a great way to start conversations, get noticed and make some noise. As promotional giveaways, t-shirts are versatile and work at almost any event you’d like to commemorate including festivals, tech conferences, and more.

4. Bags

In the U.S., branded bags create the most impressions of all promotional products. There are a few reasons to explain this. Unlike a mug or pen, bags are used when out and about to carry items in high-trafficked places. This gives them a fantastic opportunity to be seen, which serves to expand your brand reach. For this reason, it’s especially worth investing in a catchy design and easily recognizable logo to make sure your bag stands out when in a crowd. As for when to hand them out, they work great at conferences and trade shows (perfect option for attendees to carry all the other items they collect while traveling from booth to booth).

5. Lip Balm

Our Full Color Lip Balm Tub - 100 piecesIn the bottom of every purse lays a lip balm—or commonly, a handful of them. The popularity of this simple beauty product has surged over the past few years. In fact, a Marie Claire survey found that half of their readers considered lip balm an essential office item, and the number two item they’d pick for a desert island. That’s some serious lip balm love—making it a perfect promotional product. Like a USB drive, lip balm is small—easily fitting in a pocket or handbag, its unisex, and it’s a $660 million industry. Lip balm is a perfect giveaway item for a convention, as planes are known to cause dry skin for travelers.

When you invest in promotional products, you want to be sure it’s going to be a success with consumers. By choosing one of the best promotional giveaway items listed in this piece, you can feel confident you’ll not only entice potential customers but have a wider reach by using some of the most popular items available. As discussed, each of these products has real staying power, creating value for both the consumer and your brand. And, circling back to the top, offering useful and helpful products to prospective customers means a higher chance for positive brand engagement.


TOP

10 Fresh Ideas for Marketing to Moms


Moms have major spending power— an estimated $2.4 trillion. If you’re not marketing to them, your business is missing out. Moms make 85% of household purchases even when 50% of these products are marketed to males. However according to moms, many of the marketing strategies aimed at them aren’t getting it right.

10 Ideas When Marketing to Moms As highlighted above, getting it right with this audience has giant return on investment potential – and not just on Mother’s Day. Moms make these purchases year-round. Don’t make the mistake of pigeonholing your campaign around a single day once a year.

This amazing infographic does a phenomenal job explaining everything marketers are getting wrong when marketing to moms, while offering solutions to better engage this powerful audience. In summary? Moms (as they view themselves) are exhausted, flawed, social media savvy, and frankly, find motherhood emotionally complex. Painting them as the saint, hardest worker in the world, or being blatantly sexist isn’t reaching them. And frankly, it could be turning them away from your brand.

Below, we offer 10 fresh ideas for capturing this large audience, including both in-person and online. Whichever you choose, we caution you to really take in the infographic mentioned above, so that you don’t miss the mark with moms. Your campaign needs to be genuine, showing that your brand really gets the ups and downs, trials and tribulations, and of course, the joy of modern motherhood.
 

Marketing to Moms In-Person

 

Idea #1: Offer a Free Bonus Add-On

Consider offering a mini chair massage or small gift as a thank you for their purchase. This could be for spending a certain dollar amount over a set amount of time (for example, $100 over the course of a month), or simply as a “mom appreciation” day. Moms are constantly doing for others—namely their children. Offering them a reprieve, no matter how small, won’t go unnoticed. And hey, it just may push them to spend a bit more.

Idea #2: Give Out Branded and Reusable Grocery Bags

Our Shopping Promo Tote BagMoms are forever carrying things – diapers, wipes, snacks, sippy cups, extra clothes, blankets…the list goes on. While reusable grocery bags have surged in popularity for many shoppers, moms can always use the extra space. In the meantime, your brand is hitching a ride on someone pretty much constantly on the go.

Idea #3: Offer Kid-Friendly Deals or Promotions

Some examples could be a “kids eat free” lunch or dinner special, free kids nail painting when mom gets a manicure, or even a kid-friendly happy hour shopping deal, complete with juice and snacks to occupy them while mom shops. Regardless of the type of business you have, if you want to pull the moms in, don’t forget about their little loves, who are likely trailing behind them. Including them in your marketing strategy is a great way to appeal to moms—and hopefully win them over.

Idea #4: Offer Baby-Sitting

This is like the holy grail of sweet deals for any mom. Children are a wonder, but they’re also exhausting. Offering a short reprieve so mom can shop uninterrupted is HUGE. Ikea is a great example of this strategy in action with their Smaland, which essentially offers free babysitting while parents shop. This concept also works well in gyms and spas. If you can’t offer something as sweet as Smaland, you can still use the concept of occupying the children so mom can shop by having a “kiddie corner” space with cartoons, a comfy rug with large pillows for sitting on, snacks, and toys. Another idea? Host a weekly/monthly kiddie corner storytelling hour or craft. Same concept—mom shops, kids are occupied. Everyone’s happy.

Idea #5: Give Out Branded To-Go Tumblers and Travel MugsOur Triple Insulated Stainless Steel Custom Tumbler

Moms really can’t have too much coffee due to the combination of a busy life and little sleep. Coffee is basically a Moms lifeblood. Endear your brand to them by providing a container that not only lets them take it to-go but keeps it warm (or cold) while bouncing between work, playdates, school drop-offs, and ballet practice.
 

Marketing to Moms Online

 

Idea #1: Market to Moms on Facebook

Moms have a huge presence on social media and especially Facebook. BUT, your brand needs to be there for a reason, otherwise you’ll be ignored. Offer them something—a discount, a contest, an exclusive something they can’t get or find elsewhere. If you are asking them to buy something, make sure they can do it easily and quickly right from your ad or post, otherwise they’ll likely move on (remember, free time for a mom is usually limited).

Idea #2: Offer Free Shipping or Giftwrapping.

Everyone loves free shipping but remember, moms in-particular are buying a ton of stuff, on top of their already brimming lives. Ordering online is a huge timesaver—tack on a mom-discount in the way of free shipping and you’ll get their attention. Add free giftwrapping for moms (who are buying birthday gifts, holiday presents, teacher appreciation tokens, and more to earn a repeat customer.

Idea #3: Generate Buzz with a Social Media Campaign

Moms love sharing pictures and funny stories of their babes. Combine that with their use of social media and you’re onto something. Create a contest that relates to your product and let moms generate painfully cute content for you by using your unique hashtag. Highlight a picture (Instagram) or story (Facebook) every few days to keep momentum going over the course of the campaign, all of which (could) accumulate to a prize at the end of it (again, in-line with your product/service). Here are some great Instagram-specific ideas for a social media content campaign.

Idea #4: Build Trust from Moms

Create a marketing campaign geared at collecting recommendations and referrals. Moms trust other moms most. This is key to understand, because it means that regardless of how brilliant and convincing your campaign may be, it’s not going to compare to “real stories”. Use this to your benefit by inviting those in and making them part of your strategy. Create a point system with rewards for each review or referral. For instance, Albee Baby has a great reward program that credits purchases, reviews, and referrals.

Idea #5: Host a Contest

There are a ton of benefits to holding contests for your brand, like engaging prospective customers, and building your email marketing lists. What’s in it for the mom? A prize. Obviously, the greater the prize, the more eager moms will be to join in on the fun. Run a travel agency? A free vacation will have them practically salivating. Launching a beauty product? A gift basket of goodies for the overworked momma will be hugely appreciated. Contests can be part of Idea #3 (hashtag social media campaign) and Idea #4 (collecting recommendations and referrals). The good news—they can be done entirely online, expanding your audience across the nation, or even globally.

How moms do it all may forever remain a mystery (even to themselves), but it doesn’t mean they’re a complete enigma. Going after the mom audience has major potential due to their buying power but be sure you do so from a place of sincere care and understanding for their hectic lives. Offer solutions to their most common problems (Too much to do! Not enough me time!) and attract them with something that makes life easier for them, even if just for a few minutes.


TOP

Expert Tips: 20 Small Business Marketing Ideas


With tight budgets and limited resources, growing a small business can be a challenge. At ePromos, we specialize in providing custom printed promotional products for small businesses that are perfect for giveaways at trade shows, conventions and community events.

However, we wanted to hear from the experts, so we have assembled 20 of our favorite small business marketing ideas from professionals in the industry. Here are some tips with proven success for expanding the reach of your brand both digitally and locally.

 

1. Team Up with Businesses in Your Community

One thing I recommend for a new business is to get out there and do some cross-promotions with other small businesses in your area. This can be sponsoring a charity event, a concert, or a community festival. This is a great way for other people in the community to see your brand and get to know what your business is all about.

Matt Ruley, Owner, WFHOffice

 

2. Get the Most Out of Your Social Media Pages

Many people think of social media for socializing, and search engines for searching.

Jason Lavis, Managing Director, Out of the Box InnovationsThe search boxes inside social media websites and apps get a considerable number of searches. For example, more people search on YouTube than both Yahoo and Bing. Your company’s community and business pages will get discovered by people searching for the products and services you offer. With limited space in the title, bio and about sections, focus on adding the buyer keywords that your customers are likely to be typing. Use fewer generic words like ‘professional’, ‘dynamic’ and ‘quality’. Use more keywords like ‘kids parties’, ‘best moisturizer’, gardening supplies’ or whatever you’re selling.

Jason Lavis, Managing Director, Out of the Box Innovations

 

3. Local Events with Branded Displays

Melissa Stern, Executive Director, Comprehensive Cranium CareAs a new online small business, we found it challenging to get in front of new customers. One of our most successful early efforts was participating in local street festivals. The opportunity to have one-to-one conversations with new and potential customers is invaluable, particularly if you have a unique product and a niche market as we do. It’s also worth investing in branded assets for these events, as the visibility and brand recognition provided by having a high-quality branded setup for these events is worth the initial cost. We continue to see value from the initial investment in our setup and can use it for years to come.

Melissa Stern, Executive Director, Comprehensive Cranium Care

 

4. Get Found in Local Search

One of the best (and free!) ways to promote your small business is through local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – meaning, ranking in the “unpaid” search results that appear below the map of your local area.

Zack Reboletti, Owner & SEO Consultant, Web FocusedTo get started, create or verify your business with Google My Business, making sure to select the most relevant/specific business category and complete all available fields. Next, make sure the Title Tags on your main website pages contain 1 – 2 key phrases specific to each page, followed by your city (e.g. Dry-Cleaning Services – Chicago, IL). Lastly, get 3 – 5 relevant websites to link to your website. Quick wins often come from reaching out to organizations, associations, and any other local business entities you’re affiliated with.

Zack Reboletti, Owner & SEO Consultant, Web Focused

 

5. Don’t Overlook Direct Marketing

Jon Nastor, Creator & Host, Hack the EntrepreneurOne excellent offline strategy for small businesses is door-to-door flyers. They are simple, easy to test, and cost-effective, making it accessible for most. Direct marketing has produced billions of dollars in sales for companies – because it works. In recent years, its effectiveness has increased as more companies overlook this simple marketing method. To get the most bang for your buck, keep your ad focused on your product or service’s benefit to the customer, and test paper color, offer, and the neighborhood of distribution.

Jon Nastor, Creator & Host, Hack the Entrepreneur

 

6. Network at Coworking Spaces

Paul Davis, Owner, Paul Davis Solutions

A local coworking spot is always one of the first places I connect with other businesses. As a marketer, these B2B relationships are ideal for leads and referrals. Even a B2C business can still benefit from growing their local network.

Paul Davis, Owner, Paul Davis Solutions

 

7. Host Your Own Event

Rodger Roeser, CEO, The Eisen AgencyOne of the simplest and smartest use of limited resources is a combination networking/letter writing program. Find groups or organizations that most closely align with the types of clients or customers you are seeking and get involved. Attend the networking events, gather business cards and regularly send out direct letters to those folks to invite them to an event or some type of program you are hosting at your space – and make it something fun but related to what you do – for example, a tea, a business roundtable, a beer tasting or whatever. These direct and purposeful networking/follow up programs create a sense of trust with potential clients and not only build leads, but also build your credibility and your brand.

Rodger Roeser, CEO, The Eisen Agency

 

8. Leverage Pinterest for Your Brand

Even on a tight budget, a small business can take full advantage of social platforms, especially Pinterest.

Arya Bina, CEO, Kobe DigitalPinterest is second only to Facebook as the most popular social media platform when it comes to influencing buyers. This makes perfect sense as Pinterest users go on the platform to get inspired by items they want to buy. Once an account is set up and a business has chosen which products they wish to promote, the next step is to market their brand by creating a “board” and adding “pins”. An important step to remember is to include simple keywords, clear descriptions, and stunning images to optimize your marketing on Pinterest.

Arya Bina, CEO, Kobe Digital

 

9. Encourage Online Reviews

For a small or local business, being found online is critical to survive. Potential customers are looking for what other people are saying about your brand. That’s where online reviews come in. Not only do consumers actively seek out reviews, but because of this, Google rewards businesses with reviews with higher rankings in local search results.

Studies show that having more reviews means more leads and more sales. So how do you get online reviews? It’s not as hard as you think (and it’s cheap). All you must do is ask. The best time to do this is right after the sale. When thanking the customer for their business take the opportunity to also ask them to leave a review on Google or Yelp. You won’t get a review from everyone you ask, but over time, you will see an increase in the number of reviews.

Matt Stone, Founder, Review Ignite

 

10. Schedule Social Media Posts in Advance

A great way to marketing your small business with a limited budget is social media. You can reach thousands of people if you are using social media properly. One tool that is very helpful for social media tracking and posting is called Buffer. It is a free tool you can use to post social media posts in advance, as well as see how your posts are doing.

Samantha Walls, Inbound Marketing Manager, InTouch MarketingYou will want to spend anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour a day focusing on social media and deciding which social media posts are resonating with your followers and planning out your future social media posts. Make sure that when you are posting on social media you are not only talking about yourself and your company. You want to be a thought leader for your industry and post helpful articles, infographics and news to help your followers.

 

Samantha Walls, Inbound Marketing Manager, InTouch Marketing

 

11. Find Your Happy Customers

Deborah Sweeney, CEO, MyCorporationWord of mouth is one of the best forms of increasing your sales and it’s all free! You should already be identifying customers that have had good experiences with your business and trying to learn what made the experience so positive for them, but if you’re not, a quick customer satisfaction survey is convenient to institute and very beneficial for you. Out of these responses, find the people who really had the best experience (9 or 10 rankings on a 1-10 scale) and target them as your advocates. These people will be the most beneficial for you and are typically the most inclined to pass on good comments. Then, take your targets and encourage them to tell customers about your business.

Deborah Sweeney, CEO, MyCorporation

 

12. Try Bing for Budget-Friendly Ads

Craig De Borba, Digital Marketing Specialist, Onpoint Internet MarketingThe real challenge for a small business online is getting visitors to your website or offer on a small budget. This can be best achieved by utilizing the lower cost Bing PPC (Pay Per Click) ads and bidding on very specific phrases and exact match keywords. Paid ads are the fastest way to get visitors to a website and while most organizations are focusing on Google, small businesses take advantage of the much lower costs available to them on Bing to drive more traffic for less money.

Craig De Borba, Digital Marketing Specialist, Onpoint Internet Marketing

 

13. Partner with Relevant Businesses

Alicia Ward, Digital Marketing Strategist, FlaukLook for other businesses who target the same customers but aren’t a direct competitor and approach them for a partnership. By pooling resources such as social followings, email lists, offerings and budgets, you can create some great campaigns. Or, host events where both businesses can benefit and expose your company to a new audience. Just make sure to do your research and make sure your potential business partner is trustworthy!

Alicia Ward, Digital Marketing Strategist, Flauk

 

14. Establish Trust with Testimonials

James Feldstein, Owner, Audio DenIf your company doesn’t have an established brand, it can be challenging to get your name out there. It’s a good idea to include client testimonials or product reviews on your website. People trust the advice of your past customers. If your customers have good things to say, it’s usually a good sign. Testimonials, case studies, and reviews serve as powerful social proof that can help you attract new business and establish credibility.

James Feldstein, Owner, Audio Den

 

15. Optimize Your Blogging Strategy

One of the best ways to increase online visibility is blogging for search engine optimization (SEO). This strategy has worked well for my small business, plus I’ve seen it work well for clients that invested long term.

Erika Taylor Montgomery, CEO, Three Girls Media
Publish posts regularly: Search engines monitor websites for new content; the more you update, the more often they’ll come back and index your posts. Even publishing once a week, on the same day and at the same time, can greatly benefit your SEO.
Focus on longer articles: Many top performing posts on Google are 1,000 words or more.
Use keywords strategically: Sprinkle them throughout your post and make sure you include them in your headline, introduction, subheads, conclusion, image captions and meta description.
Publicize your posts: Share your content via social media and e-newsletters. If you have the budget for it, consider running social media ads around them.

Erika Taylor Montgomery, CEO, Three Girls Media

 

16. Share Your Quality Content on Reddit

Leverage Reddit, the bare-bones social network, for a powerful yet low-budget way to drive traffic to your small business website. Reddit has been known to jumpstart the careers of small business owners and entrepreneurs, but it must be used strategically.

Juuso Lyytikkä, Head of Growth, Funnel.ioThe social network is made up of a community of very tech-savvy readers who condemn all obvious marketing tactics. To win at Reddit, you must only share truly awesome content in small, hyper-focused subcategories (referred to as subreddits). Any attempts at overtly promotional sales tactics will likely result in negative comments and a possible ban. The key is to find your niche and dominate it with useful content that interests readers in that community.

Juuso Lyytikkä, Head of Growth, Funnel.io

 

17. Social Media Ads Are Effective and Affordable

Tracy Julien, VP of Marketing, GuidedChoiceAdvertising across the main social media platforms is a great tool you should be utilizing in your current marketing campaign. These ads are cheap and can get your business in front of the right set of eyes. The best part about social media ads is the outstanding metrics that you can use to track if your current campaign is successful or not. Also, being able to target specific people, locations, products, etc. is a great asset. Test out which platform you deem is best for your business and set a plan to execute!

Tracy Julien, VP of Marketing, GuidedChoice

 

18. Build a Referral Network

The key to building a successful referral network is to be super clear on who you work with and how you can help them. The people in your network need to be able to talk to someone and IMMEDIATELY think of you as the solution to their problem.

Shannon Howard, Senior Digital Marketing Strategist, Overit MediaI helped a local gym get clear that their market was injured athletes – often from CrossFit-type gyms. That opened the door to make strategic partnerships with local sports medicine practitioners, chiropractors, physical therapists, and athletic coaches in the area, all with a clear message: We help injured athletes recover faster in a safe, fun environment.

Shannon Howard, Senior Digital Marketing Strategist, Overit Media

 

19. Make Use of Relevant Facebook Groups

Gregory Golinski, Head of Digital Marketing, YourParkingSpaceJoin as many Facebook groups as possible, as long as they are related to your industry. Publish links to your blog posts on these groups, without spamming them. If the content brings added value to the community, it will bring traffic from Facebook group users to your website.

Gregory Golinski, Head of Digital Marketing, YourParkingSpace

 

20. Pre-Screen Customer Reviews

If the customer is king, then customer reviews are royal pronouncements from on high…usually either “off with your head!” or “I hereby knight thee!”

Chas Cooper, CEO, Rising Star ReviewsSmall business owners deserve credit for happy customers. They can get it by pre-screening customers, then asking for reviews. The idea is simple and timeless: First, ask a customer for honest feedback. Then, encourage happy customers to share their experience in a review on a major review site. For customers who aren’t quite happy enough yet, get more details about what improvements could make them (and customers like them) happy in the future. This way, you win no matter what the customer says when you pre-screen them. You either get public credit for a job well done, or you get valuable feedback to help you keep doing a better job in the future.

Chas Cooper, CEO, Rising Star Reviews

 


These 20 budget-friendly marketing strategies for small businesses can attract new customers, improve the credibility of your brand and help you make valuable partnerships in your industry. Regardless of which ideas you choose, keep in mind that one of the keys to a successful marketing campaign is evaluating the results and fine-tuning your approach.

For those interested in growing their brand with custom printing, check out our Top 100 promotional items or talk to one of our branding experts today.


TOP

5 Reasons to Use Your Budget Before the End of the Fiscal


Use or Lose Your Budget: HourGlass

It’s that time. Current year (CY) budgets are coming to a close. You’ve no doubt received or are about to receive that “final call” email from your business manager, on the hunt for invoices, receipts and accounts payable that need to be shored up before the books get closed. And if you’ve still got cash left in your small business marketing budget, it’s the time to start ordering or prepaying so you can lay the foundation for a solid and on-budget year ahead.

Spend your marketing budget now, or you won’t have it later.

Here are 5 reasons we recommend using your marketing budget before the fiscal year ends:

#1. You Can’t Take It With You…

Like all good things, your annual budget is coming to an end – and, in most companies, that means it’s going away for good. Do yourself, your team and your customers a favor and spend that money wisely. If you don’t, it probably won’t roll over, and that means you can kiss it “goodbye” now or down the road.

Remember, that budget was allocated to you and your department so you could make the most out of it. Very simply, do that. Spend your money now or, at the very least, prepay for expenses you know you’ll incur in the coming year – expenses such as promotional items, upcoming marketing campaigns, office supplies and other tangible products and services.

#2. Next Year’s Budget is On the Line

Often, marketers and other stakeholders try to be good corporate citizens and underspend. The only problem? When the next fiscal budgets are being decided, the financial folks will see you didn’t need everything you were allocated – and that means you’ll likely get less. If this year was a fluke or you floated on prior year prepays, that could be a major problem.

#3. It’s Easy to Lock in Rates

There’s a cost to doing business – and that cost tends to increase over time. Many vendors reset their pricing in the new year, which means products and services you buy in January could be noticeably more expensive than they were just weeks prior.

Do yourself a favor and prepay with trusted vendors and partners, with an agreement that you’re locking in current pricing on products and services you want and need. Not only will this help you spend your CY budget but, at the same time, you’ll save money in the year ahead – Bonus!

#4. You’re Building Relationships

Prepay with a vendor, partner or service provider and you’re signaling to them that you value your relationship and their work – and that’s powerful. Often, a simple prepay can bump you to the top of the “preferred customer” pile, and help you gain greater access, insights and opportunities – or, at the very least, you’ll be a major consideration as that vendor looks ahead to the new year.

#5. Your Business will be Ready for Action

There are few things better than crossing something off of your to-do list! Whether you opt to order premiums, coordinate marketing campaigns or stock your supply closet now, the heavy lifting is done – you’ve found and allocated the budget which, often, is a stumbling block to getting tasks accomplished. So, cheers to you – you’ll no doubt reap the benefits next year and you’ve given yourself a head start.

Ready to order branded goodies you’ll use in the new year? Call us, the Promo Know-How people  to lock in current rates and close your fiscal budget.


TOP

4 Reasons the Reusable Straw Trend is Here to Stay


Let’s face it, some trends and product launches can be flops – we’re looking at you, Google Glass and Cheetos® Flavored Lip Balm. But, while many organizations may be reluctant to get behind the latest socially-conscious trend – such as ditching plastic straws for reusable ones – it’s clear this shift is here to stay. Equally important is that your business gets on board. Not only is it the right thing to do but, but showing your customers you care, will drive more engagement, more consideration and more conversion from buyers who care, to buyers who will become your ultimate long-term customers and advocates.

So, then, the big question: WHY are reusable straws not just trending but redefining the way millions get their sip on? And why does YOUR business need to get in the mix and offer these sought-after premiums to your employees, customers and vendor partners? Here are 4 good reasons…

#1. You’re Doing THE ENVIRONMENT Some Serious Good

Believe it or not, Americans are using and tossing about 390 to 500 million straws per day. And, despite our most well-meaning efforts, those straws are ending up in not-so-great places – think landfills (where they take 200 years to decompose), water supplies (gross) and oceans (sorry, sea life).

What’s more, because many of these straws are made from polypropylene – not far off from what powers cars – dumping these straws increases greenhouse gases and drives climate change in the wrong direction. So, while it may feel like nothing to toss a plastic straw or two, they do add up fast. And as they do, their impact is felt, literally, for generations. Sip on that!

#2. You’re Doing YOUR TEAM Some Serious Good

Send your team out with a socially-conscious product, one that is on the tip of your clients’ collective tongue and you’re giving them a serious leg-up. Think about it – hand over a perfectly-package reusable straw with a quick, personalized note and nod to why you chose this forward-thinking piece and you’ve got their attention. More importantly, you’re giving that client an opportunity to show off their trendsetting, eco-friendly side, without the heavy lifting. It’s truly a win/win and, really, who doesn’t love that?

#3. You’re Doing YOUR CUSTOMERS’ Customers Some Serious Good

Think about how many times you sip through a straw in a single day. A lot, right? There’s the iced coffee en route to the office; the sparkling H2O you’re sipping desk-side; and the straw popped into your meal time drink order. The list goes on and on, and each straw is, believe it or not, super toxic.

Plastic drinking straws contain phthalates and bisphenol A – AKA “BPA.” BPA exposure has been tied to countless long-term issues including behavioral problems in kids to heightened rates of cancer, heart issues and more. When you brand and share reusable straws, you’re acknowledging these seismic concerns and telling your customers, “WE CARE.”

#4. You’re Doing YOUR Brand Some Serious Good

It’s simple – you want to be the brand that does its part and sets the trends for your team, your clients and beyond. Enter reusable drinking straws. The majority of Americans haven’t yet converted from classic plastic but, given the media buzz, most have heard about the push for a change. In other words, you’ve got a primed market out there, jam packed with people who know there’s an issue but maybe aren’t fully in the loop, or simply, haven’t gotten their hands on a reusable straw just yet.

Our advice? Be the solution and you’ll forge a serious bond personally and professionally – and, of course, you’ll be laying the groundwork to share your branded straw over a quick drink (or two…).

Check out our new collection of reusable straws and set the wheels in motion for your next great promo piece.


TOP

5 Direct Mail Marketing Myths


Snail mail gets a bad reputation for being outdated and unwanted. In reality, people love getting mail. Even in this digital age, no marketing strategy is complete without a good dose of direct mail promos. Here are just a few of the popular myths surrounding this valuable advertising channel:

Myth #1 – Customers prefer email.

Surprising as it may be, this is actually not true. In fact 77% of Millennials pay attention to direct mail marketing and nearly half completely ignore digital ads. Think about it… how many emails do you receive on a daily basis? Now think about how many pieces of mail you receive. Mail has become the thing that stands out in the crowd, the thing that is unique.

Yes, email offers targeted and timely promotions, but at some point it just becomes noise. Direct mail marketing rises above the noise. And the majority of people genuinely prefer receiving a physical offer over a digital one.

Myth #2 – I can’t track my success.

Direct mail marketing is just like any other form of marketing; when done right, it’s easy to track your success. Success is always determined by your end goal. If you’re goal is to drive people to your website, you’ll want to make sure that your URL appears somewhere on your direct mail piece. You can simply monitor traffic before, during and after the campaign, or for an even deeper look into your audience you can use QR codes that will take them to a specific landing page for you to track.

Sometimes success isn’t measured in traffic but in purchase rates. For this goal, create unique offer IDs that will allow you to trace the purchase back to the recipient. You can also include a phone number dedicated specifically to your direct mail campaign so you know anyone calling on that line is doing so because of your mail piece.

Myth #3 – No one really wants mail.

Mail is classic. There is something wholesome about going to your mailbox and bringing in the mail. It may seem like an antiquated tradition, but mail evokes emotion.

Almost half of all Americans look forward to checking their mail. And according to a recent study by the U.S. Postal Service, 98% of Americans bring in their mail the day it’s delivered and 77% sort through their mail immediately… That means your marketing is getting into the hands of consumers at a time when you have their full attention and they are really interested in what you have to say.

Myth #4 – Digital media is more engaging.

While digital media can be interactive, direct mail has a physical component that digital can never match. It provides a tactile experience and engages more of the senses, which creates a stronger connection to the material.

Plus, there are some really interesting ways you can engage people through direct mail marketing… Did you know that you can mail all kinds of items without any packaging at all? Just make sure the label is securely attached, and you can mail promos that are sure to be seen.

Myth #5 – Direct mail marketing is all oversized postcards.

We do love a good oversized postcard now and then, but no, that’s not the only option. There are tons of great ideas for direct mail promotional products… items like imprinted webcam covers, phone wallets, seed packets, bookmarks and calendars to name a few… but basically anything you can think of that’s lightweight and thin enough to fit in an envelop works well here.

You can also think outside the box – literally – and mail promos like frisbees and rubber balls with just a mailing label. This saves your customers a step and ensures your gift is seen. But if you choose to go the more traditional route and put your promo in an envelope, be sure to mark the outside to let them know there is a gift waiting inside!

One more takeaway…

It’s not all or nothing when it comes to marketing. Don’t think of it as a battle of digital versus print… it’s actually about finding the right balance in the relationship between pixel and paper. An integrated marketing strategy makes sure everything – print, web, social, mail, promos, tv, radio – is all working together to help you accomplish your goals. And now that we’ve busted some of these myths about direct mail marketing, let us help put the mail to work for you!

Promo Know-How Tip:

Don’t be afraid to get creative with your Direct Marketing efforts and think outside the box. This pest company certainly did a great job with that!