Promotion, Marketing & Advertising

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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.


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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.


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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!

 


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Promotional Products Work! #PowerofPromo


Promotional products:

Useful, tangible items imprinted with an advertiser’s name, logo or message. The perfect medium to increase brand awareness, promotional products are an incredibly powerful marketing tool since they allow a brand to connect with consumers by engaging their senses. As one of the only forms of advertising that allows consumers to interact with a brand on a physical level, promotional products often create a more memorable brand experience. Here are just a few (of many) impressive statistics that were highlighted during Promotional Products Work Week. This annual event is created by the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), and is designed to shed light on the effectiveness of promo items.

Isn’t that amazing? Promotional Products should ALWAYS be a part of your marketing mix.

Pretty cool, right!?! Interested in marketing to millenials? Click here.

Especially their favorites. Mine in particular: favorite pen, favorite bring-your-lunch-to-work bag, favorite t-shirt (for the past 7 years), and favorite umbrella.

They also happen to be surprisingly affordable – and, people love receiving them.

Marketing tips we just couldn’t resist:

Trust us, it’s worth it (pre-show). Looking to connect AT the show? Click here.

This years note-worthy choice to include with your next Direct Marketing campaign: Webcam covers. They can be mounted directly to a post card (without much additional weight), and show that you value your clients privacy.

Still not convinced?

That’s right. People remember promotional items, more so (long-term) than any other form of advertising. That’s because when given a useful item, people connect with that item and remember what’s written on it. Promotional Products really do work. Call us today, The Promo Know-How People and let us show you how to choose the right item to support your brand.

 


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October’s Best Promotional Product


October Top Promotional Product of the Month

Put your logo in lights, literally. What more could you ask for? Introducing a 3-in-1 custom light-up pen where must-have technology meets a fantastic design. This unique pen is a bright new way to showcase your logo. As a giveaway, the pen is a promo classic! The Promotional Illuminated Curvaceous Stylus Pen is quickly becoming one of the most popular new pens on the market because of its multipurpose design. This slim, sleek tool functions as a writing instrument and tech accessory stylus as well as an illuminating billboard for your logo.

Top New Promotional Product: Illuminated Stylus Pen

These innovative pens feature an interior light that will have your brand shining bright. When customers push the capacitive stylus button, this light-up pen will brightly display your logo. One click and your laser-engraved logo imprint is lit up! By the way, capacitive is just a big word that means this stylus uses the same electrical properties as the human touch to detect the user’s touch, allowing much finer scrolling precision.

A stylus also reduces fingerprints on touch-screens, so it’s perfect for use on cellphones or tablets. These innovative pens work with cellphones including iPhones® and Androids™ as well as tablets such as the iPad®. This pen comes with a protective cap for the stylus, not only to safeguard the stylus, but also to prevent accidental light activation. A simple push of the soft stylus tip turns off the light. The light runs on one small lithium ion, non-replaceable battery. Please note that your logo will stand out on the pen whether it is illuminated or not.

To activate this novelty pen, simply push the side-action button. This precision ballpoint writing tool writes in SureWrite™ black ink. The click-action, medium-point tip is activated by a push button, retracting into the pen when not in use. Prospects and employees can take advantage of its ergonomic shape by grabbing the rubberized, textured grip for hours of writing comfort. And, if you want even more functionality, we have included a metal clip to keep the pen handy throughout the entire day. This pen can be securely fastened to a pocket, on a notebook or to a book cover or stack of papers.

This pen is made of plastic and has a shimmering metallic finish in five classic colors: metallic cobalt blue, metallic dark red, metallic black, chrome and silver. There is sure to be one that matches your brand. Its bright chrome accents give this pen an exclusive look. The total imprint area for your logo is 1.5”x0.25” on the 5.875″ barrel. And you have the option of imprinting on the front as well as the back!

Illuminate Your Brand with a Light-Up Stylus Pen with Logo

This is the perfect stylus pen combo for your tech-savvy clients. Or, you can hand out these budget-friendly giveaways at a tradeshow, convention, conference or college fair. These multi-functional promotional pens will certainly make a long-lasting impression on everyone!

Light up promotional items are a hot trend — whether you’re looking for a unique trade show giveaway or for a pen at reception when clients are checking into your office. Call a Brand Consultant today and get this flashy promotional tool at the low price of $1.49 per pen. Best yet, ePromos also offers Free Shipping on this 3-in-1!


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Top 10 Holiday Business Gifts for Clients & Employees in 2017


Ready. Set. Give.

We’re here to take the guesswork out of holiday shopping for your potential and current customers. Each year we compile a list of our 10 best holiday products to help you with today’s “now trending” promotions.

Why Should I Invest in Promotional Holiday Business Gifts?

Handing out holiday business gifts helps promote loyalty and sends good cheer for the holiday season. Promotional products are often cheaper than other forms of advertising such as commercials and billboards. In fact, the average cost per impression of an ad specialty is seven-tenths of one cent (beat that expensive TV ad)! Promos have proven time and time again they are loved, used and even reused.

Gifting during the holiday season helps your company or organization rack up potential customers while leaving your current clients with the “warm and fuzzies.” It’s also a great way to demonstrate employee appreciation. Basically, it can make your brand look like a rock star.

How Does ePromos Pick the Best Office Holiday Gifts for 2017?

We’re so glad you asked! Our collection of top corporate gifts for the holidays is brought to you by our very own merchandising team in their infinite wisdom and experience. Based on current trends, historical data and insight of the industry’s leading suppliers, we’ve sifted through thousands of products to deliver the top 10 for 2017.

And here they are:

1. Copper Insulated Water Bottle
Reusable water bottles are perfect for the eco-conscious consumer. This tumbler is insulated with copper and lined with stainless steel to keep cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot drinks hot for up to six hours. Its trendy, sleek and durable design features double-wall vacuum insulation to prevent condensation while the screw-on lid helps prevent spills.

2. Soft-Touch Power Bank
Smartphones and tablets are amazing pieces of technology we just love. Their biggest flaw is the battery never seems to last long enough for our needs. Power banks such as these are the solution to this problem – a must-have for anyone on the go! Customers can keep track of the lithium battery’s life with a built-in capacity light. Its sleek design makes it easy to carry for the convenience of anytime charging out and about. Available in three metallic colors, this vibrant power bank is sure to get noticed. Plus, the gray, soft-touch strip on the end complements the large plastic imprint area calling attention to your logo. Charging cable included.

3. 3 Cubes of Gourmet Pretzels
Food gifts are always a big hit around the holidays. This beautiful presentation allows you complete customization – everything from the design of the sleeve on the box to the individual cubes and labels! And, with three different flavors of chocolate-covered pretzels as well as more “fill and cube” options available, your brand will be truly memorable this holiday season.

4. Tuscany™ Heathered Knit Beanie
Nothing keeps you cozy in the dead of winter like a beanie hat. Made of 100% acrylic knit, this beanie will impress not only with its warmth but also with your logo debossed on a classy, genuine leather patch. Its trendy, retail-inspired design will have your customers begging for more. One size fits most.

5. Carabiner Fidget Spinner
Fidget spinners are trending right now, which means everyone (of all ages) is sure to love this 2-in-1 gift! This “executive” fidget spinner is both a zinc alloy carabiner and a stress-relieving toy. The center disc is securely welded to provide optimal durability for two-minute spins.

6. Tremblant® Knit Jacket
Jackets are another winter favorite. The classic style of this knit jacket will please any of your customers with its comfort and warmth. This retail-inspired coat offers all of the great features they love at a fraction of the cost. Features include trendy thumb exits, an earbud port and a chest pocket – all in one affordable jacket.

7. Laptop Backpack
Timbuk2 does it again with this unique and stylish bag. Made of sturdy 400D polyester, it features a large main compartment, pockets galore, an internal organizer and an in-pocket key keeper. With a ventilated back panel and removable strap, it’s the ideal giveaway for both students and professionals.

8. Leather Journal
In this technology-driven age, hand-written notes are making a come-back, believe it or not. This hand-sewn, full-grain leather journal with 96 natural-lined pages comes in an individually packaged bag for a sophisticated look. Choose from 11 different waxed linen colors for the front cover “X.”

9. PopSocket Phone Grip & Stand
One of the hottest phone accessories will display your logo and allow people to talk hands-free because PopSockets give a grip to your phone. With so many uses it’s sure to gain your brand some recognition and thanks. Customers can use it as a media or video chat stand, texting, tablet or photo grip, and cord wrap – an all-in-one workhorse of a gadget.

10. Drawstring Bag Gift Set
This ePromos exclusive includes an infuser water bottle and lined notebook with pen all conveniently packaged in a heathered drawstring bag. The bag features a zippered pocket to keep valuables secure. The entire kit is available in a variety of colors to match your brand’s style. In addition, you can imprint each item in the gift set – all for just one low setup fee.

Now that ePromos has narrowed your search for the best office Christmas, Hanukah and holiday gifts for 2017, start your holiday-shopping engines, and let the giving begin!