Promotional Product Marketing Blog

Learn the best ways to market your brand with the use of promotional marketing products. Our blog gives you the best tips on ordering the right marketing merchandise to increase brand awareness within your target market. From creative marketing ideas to case studies of how others have used promotional items to promote their brand, we give you clear direction in aligning your promotional product campaign with your overall business goals.

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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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Why We Can’t Get Enough of this Insulated Wine Tumbler


Everyone loves a stainless steel water bottle or coffee mug. They’re portable. They keep drinks hot – or ice cold – for hours. They’re easy to clean. They’re good for the environment. The list goes on and on and on…

Our Insulated Wine TumblerThe reality? We’d rather be sipping on something else – a little vino, perhaps. That’s why we’re all about these Dual Wall Stemless Stainless Steel Wine Tumblers.

Like their coffee-and-water counterparts, these tumblers keep whites and rosés cool and reds at the perfect temperature. And, because they come complete with a spill-resistant lid, you’ll be able to keep everything in the cup (for once…).

This stemless, stainless steel insulated wine tumbler is the ultimate gift for any wine lover.

Wine tumblers are available in six colors – black, blue, red, silver, titanium and white. Made from high-quality kitchen-grade stainless steel, these tumblers look, feel and act the part – they’re sturdy, sleek and ensure the wine is always perfectly sippable. They can be printed with a colorful logo or laser engraved – a gorgeous and HOT trend we recommend you try.

Ideal for camping trips, outdoor concerts, picnics and, simply, hanging with friends and family inside or out, these branded tumblers are the perfect gift for clients, customers, vendors and employees. Kick things up a notch by gifting recipients with a pair of tumblers, or pairing that pair with a great bottle of wine. It’s the ultimate way to raise a glass even if you can’t be there.

And if you can be there? Bring your own stainless wine tumbler and toast to your latest achievements, your newest partnership or, simply, that it’s finally Friday (or Tuesday or Wednesday…).

Cheers!

Looking for other drinkware ideas for clients? Check out our ultimate, best-selling all day sippers, side by side.


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4 Reasons Why Popcorn is the Ultimate Holiday Gift


Reasons Why Popcorn is the Ultimate GiftWe’ll just come right out and say it: This is THE BEST popcorn we’ve ever had. Ever. Ever.

It’s savory.
It’s sweet.
It’s melt-in-your-mouth good.

Even popping the lid on the 3-Way Gourmet Popcorn tin (which, BTW, has two gallons of popcorn in it) is enough to push taste buds into overdrive. And, no, it’s not an exaggeration. Because this is the exact same popcorn which flies off the shelves at luxury retailers and gourmet grocers.

This is THE popcorn – the popcorn that will spoil you and your clients for all other popcorns – F-o-r-e-v-e-r. This is the popcorn you want as your corporate holiday gift – provided you can snag enough bags before the seasonal crush.

Until then, we’ll keep tearing into our own bags, taking note of favorite flavors, colors and combinations. Here’s why…

#1. The Flavors are outrageous

Cookies & Cream? Sriracha? White & Dark Chocolate? White Cheddar Truffle? These aren’t just any flavors of popcorn. These are our wildest snacking fantasies come to life – and this is good. Very good. And these amazing flavors are a big reason this popcorn has won us and our clients over. They’re just plain fun. Who wouldn’t love to get a bag of cool, creative, delicious popcorn, delivered to their desk heading into the holidays? Exactly…

#2. And there are tons of them…

The 3 Way Popcorn TinSpeaking of those flavors, we offer our gourmet popcorn in nine flavors, plus the 3-Way tin which includes the classics – cheddar, caramel and old fashion butter. The single-pack custom gift bags are available in:

● Kettle Corn
● Peanut Butter Cup
● Sriracha
● Cheddar
● White & Dark Chocolate
● Cookies & Cream
● White Cheddar Truffle
● Chipotle
● White Cheddar

Our goal? Work through all nine flavors – which shouldn’t be too difficult. Do yourself and your clients a favor and opt for a few different flavor combos if you don’t go for the tin. This will allow you and your recipients to mix, match and find their ideal snack mix.

#3. Salty, sweet…enough said…

There’s just something about the salty/sweet combo that we can’t get enough of. The 3-Way tin is a slam dunk on that front, with two savory and one sweet option built in. But, with these smaller-sized custom gift bags, it’s easy to send a savory/sweet combo pack to a client. Some of our go-tos? Cheddar + Kettle Corn and White & Dark Chocolate + White Cheddar Truffle, for starters. We also love Cookies & Cream + Peanut Butter Cup. Yes, it’s more sweet + sweet, but the peanut butter gives it just enough salt to satisfy the cravings. In a word, YUM.

#4. They’re the perfect size

The BEST Cookies and Cream PopcornThe tin is perfect for sharing – or not. But the custom gift bags are a great desk-side snack. Unwrap the ribbon and you’ve got just over two ounces of amazing gourmet popcorn at your fingertips – literally. It’s great for a post-lunch snack, great to bring to meetings and events as a “thank you” and great for those long road trips, plane trips and train trips during the holiday season. In other words, these popcorn packs will be a welcome holiday addition for your clients, scoring you tons of brownie points – or should we say “popcorn points” – all year long.

Do yourself a favor and grab a free sample or two, then get your orders in ASAP. There’s a reason luxury retailers and boutique grocers opt for this gourmet popcorn. Grab a bag and you’ll see why.


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Teach Your Employees to Use a Planner


We live in an ever-growing digital world. While it’s true that our smartphones and countless apps can house almost everything we need on a daily basis, it doesn’t mean we should totally ditch paper—especially when it comes to productivity. The good old-fashioned paper planner remains the secret ingredient to many successful and efficient professionals.

Teach Your Employees to use a PlannerUnlike your smartphone where you jump from app to app, a planner houses everything you need between its jacket. Whether you use a planner to organize your personal or professional life, you’re sure to notice the benefits it provides. In fact, research has shown that the act of physically writing something down helps you better retain the information. Planners are also a great way to detach from the distracting ‘always-on’ atmosphere of living in a digital world while remaining productive.

Providing your staff with a planner is a fantastic way to usher in some Zen-like mindfulness without halting efficiency. In fact, a study in India showed that when employees spent a mere 15 minutes at the end of the workday logging their day—what went well, where issues cropped up, goals they may have for the next few days—they were more productive than employees who didn’t use a planner. Keep in mind that if you’re going to gift planners to your staff, make sure you also spend some time teaching how to use them. Initially, those unfamiliar with paper planners may become frustrated or feel like it’s an extra chore in their workday—not realizing the benefits they can ultimately provide when used correctly. Not sure where to start? Check out our helpful tips below!

How to Choose a Planner

When purchasing a planner for use company-wide, you want to choose one that is as flexible as possible to ensure it will be relevant across different divisions. Luckily, we offer an array of handsome planners that will fit any job requirements, from customer service to sales or HR. Still looking for a few ideas when choosing one that’s right for your company? Here are some things to consider:

Consideration #1: Portability

Castelli Weekly Tucson Custom Pocket Planner - HorizontalWhen investing in paper planners for your staff, we bet it’s important to you that they use them, instead of collecting dust in an office drawer. For this, we can’t stress enough that you choose one with the ease of portability—especially if some of your staff is often on-the-go. Even if your staff is in-office all day, they still likely need to attend and document meetings during the week. Make sure the planner isn’t left behind by purchasing one that’s small and convenient enough to carry around without feeling burdensome. You might even opt for one that fits in a pocket!

Consideration #2: Customization

Again, if you’re purchasing across departments, you need something that is flexible. The best way to do this is to choose an option with customizable features so that employees feel it’s relevant to their specific role and daily tasks. This will allow them to tailor the planner to their needs, increasing the likelihood that they’ll embrace it.

Consideration #3: Blank Spaces

Blank spaces in a planner create any opportunity for individuals to add what they want. We already mentioned the idea of having employees draft daily or weekly positives and negatives (a great way to reaffirm value, boost confidence, and provide opportunities for growth), which is perfect to do across blank pages. They’re also helpful for those that prefer sketching diagrams, charts, or designs.

Consideration #4: Inspirational Spaces

Life gets busy, which can sometimes be a drain on energy and productivity. Choosing a journal with interesting or inspirational quotes (or spaces for individuals to add them in) is a great way to provide daily affirmations and boost egos. Ultimately, we all want happy staff, and a daily inspirational quote can be a quick source of positivity.

How to Use a Planner Effectively

Without further ado, here are 5 tips on how to get the most out of planners in the workplace:

Tip #1: Use It Daily

Planners are the most beneficial when they’re part of your daily routine. Plus, the more you use them, the more helpful they become. Just like you might start your workday off with a cup of coffee, reviewing and updating your planner will help center your day. This reminds you of what’s coming up later in the week and helps fit everything in on a month-long view. They’re also a great way to re-focus and give yourself (and your eyes) a computer break.

Color Code Within Your Planner to Stay OrganizedTip #2: Organize by Color Coding

Color coding your planner is a great way to quickly capture and organize what is going on in an instant. For example, you might use blue to indicate meetings, green for deadlines, and red for personal appointments.

Tip #3: Look for Gaps

As noted previously, planners are great because they house everything you need to do or be reminded of in a single space. Another benefit is that you might find areas where you are over- or under-spending time and energy. Maybe you’ve got a calendar full of to-dos for everyone else, but nothing concerning time for yourself. Or, professionally, you’ve got a ton of meetings and reminders for one project but are accidentally ignoring another in the meantime. By looking for gaps or holes in your day, month, or plan, you’ll have the opportunity to gain better balance in your schedule.

Tip #4: Use the Notes Section

Organizing your calendar is a dream with a paper planner, but it’s equally useful to use the notes section too. This is a great place to reflect on how everything in your calendar is working out, and where there might be room for improvements. The note section can also be a great space to record quick and important observations to explore later.

Tip #5: Embrace the Non-digital

Your planner may not be able to give you 15-minute meeting reminders the way Outlook can, but they are great to combine with online organization tool. In the modern office, there can be very few opportunities to sit with paper to plan, organize, and reflect. Embrace the planner for not only that, but its lack of a glaring screen!

We hope these tips have given you some insight into how beneficial a paper planner can be for productivity, as well as how you might choose the best one for your staff—and be sure to share our tips with them once they’re in-hand!


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How to Design Your Own Shopping Bags with ePromos


Branded gift and paper shopping bags are an effective and cost-efficient strategy to spread brand awareness. For starts, they’re practical in a way that a billboard or online advertisement can’t be yet achieve the same marketing goals – impressions – on a more personal scale.

A custom shopping bag also has surprisingly long-lasting power, as most customers will reuse a quality bag a few times. This only serves to further your reach. With an attractive, eye-catching logo or design, it’ll be used until it’s practically falling apart.

Many Shopping Bags Options To DesignCustomized shopping bags are a natural fit for a retail store, but they certainly have use beyond traditional brick and mortars. Professional trade shows and conventions, holiday parties, and other events where you’ll be handing out gifts are all occasions to increase your brand reach by using a customized shopping bag. Unlike whatever freebies you’ll be passing out, a shopping bag stays in view for passersby to see.

With over 20 years of service under our belt, ePromos is one of the top promotional product distributors in the world. Our credence is 110% satisfaction for every customer we partner with, from concept through product delivery.

Below, we’ll walk you through the process of designing a gift or paper bag with us online. Then we’ll give you a refresher on all the specialty services we offer for companies, organizations and nonprofits of all sizes and industries.

How-To Design Your Custom Shopping Bag

Step 1: Browse our selection of gift and paper shopping bags, right from the comfort of your office. No catalogs to sift through or phone calls to make (unless, of course, you’re into that). All 85 choices, from translucent frosted bags to glossy laminate finishes, are at your disposal as soon as you click on the link.

ePromos Shopping Bags Page

NOTE: We offer free samples for all gift bags. Once you decide which bag you like, request a free sample. We’ll even let you choose which color you’d it to come in. The bag will be imprinted with artwork selected at random, to give you an idea of how a logo/branding looks on it. We’ll ship it out to you right away, so you can see the product in person – we know you won’t be disappointed.

Step 2: Select a color. Some of our bags, such as the brown recycled kraft promotional bag, are only available in a single color, so no selection will need to be made. We recommend choosing one based on your artwork or messaging, as well as your brand personality.

ePromos Buying Process - Choosing a Color

Step 3: Select a quantity. Keep in mind, the more you order, the greater your savings will be per bag. When you enter the quantity needed, pricing will automatically adjust! Right on the product page you can see 1.) How much you’re paying per bag, 2.) The discount received, and 3.) The total cost for your order – all in an instant.

ePromos Buying Process - Selecting Quantity

Step 4: Now comes the fun part: customization! At this step, you’ll be taken to a new window to choose ink colors, fonts, and any other visuals you’d like included. You can choose to add text, an image or both. You can type right into our text box and change the font, make it bigger, bold it, italicize it. All can be reviewed online in seconds flat.

ePromos Buying Process: Adding Artwork

For customers that prefer us to create a design or other artwork, there is also the option to click “Let us do it for you!” at this step. You can click on “Contact me” and continue to check out, and our design artists will get to work creating your dream branding.

Whichever option you choose at this step, you will have the option to send us “Special Instructions” where you can tell us anything you’d like to help us bring your vision to life.

If you experience any trouble with this step, you always have the option to click “Contact Me”. This allows you to finish checking out, and then connect with one of our design artists to discuss the best way to hand off your text and image for customization. Whether you choose to upload your text and image during Step 4 or ask to be contacted, you’ll receive an eProof mock up in 1-2 business hours for your review. We will never produce anything without your explicit approval of design.

Should you experience any confusion, please don’t hesitate to call or “Chat Now” with us. We have product specialists on standby to help sort out any issues you may face while placing your order.

Step 5: Click “Add to Cart”. At this step, you can review your order to ensure everything is correct. To make any changes, click “Update Customization” to go back to Step 4. When everything looks good, enter your zip code for an estimate of delivery date and shipping fees. You’ll have several options, from UPS Ground to Next Day Air Early.

If you need to rush your order, we can work with you to get it out the door as soon as possible. Please note, rush items may have limited availability in color options, but we’ll do our best to get you exactly what you want.

ePromos Checkout: Add to Cart

Step 6: Click “Proceed to Checkout”. Here, you’ll enter your shipping information and choose your shipping method. You’ll also have the opportunity to create an account at ePromos, which gives you $50 off your 1st order! Here you may also choose to use your own UPS account or request a “guaranteed delivery by” date. Once completed, you’ll be given an estimated delivery date as well as the total shipping charges. If you’re happy with those, click “Save and Continue”.

ePromos Order Process: Selecting Shipping

Step 7: Next, you’ll be prompted to either sign in or check out as a guest, and then add in your billing, shipping and payment information. Options here include using a credit card, purchase order, money check, or wire. You can also opt to “Save and Pay Later”. After filling out your preferred payment form, click “Save and Continue”.

ePromos Checkout Process - Credit Card

Step 8: It’s time to review your order! You’ll want to pay extra attention that all information you’ve entered is correct, from bag style and quantity to shipping address and delivery. If anything is amiss, simply click “edit” to re-enter any information requiring updating. If everything is correct, click “Save”.

ePromos-Place-Order

Step 9: This is your order confirmation page! You’ll be given an order number. A Brand Consultant will be in touch with you shortly to discuss next steps, as well as email you an eProof of your order to approve. Remember, we won’t begin producing your custom bags until you approve the eProof we send you.

ePromos Confirmation Page

Collaborating with ePromos Specialists

When you choose ePromos to produce your custom shopping bags, you’re not just ordering with us – you’re working alongside us (but don’t worry, we’ll do all the heavy lifting). We make every effort to ensure we’ve captured your vision. There are several ways to collaborate with our team, who is eager to get to work on your customized goods!

Logo Design – If your branding is still a work in progress, we can help to complete it! Our team of talented graphic designers will whip up 5 unique designs and 2 revisions for only $300 with any order. We’ll incorporate any ideas or special requests you might have into the design, too. If this is the route you’d like to go, when placing an order, simply click “Let us do it for you!”. Our team will contact you in 1-2 hours to get started on your brand-new custom design.

Artwork Services – Not in love with your current design? Let our graphic artists create a new one for you or polish up your existing material. We can work from rough sketches, a simple description, or through a quick conversation. Bonus: we offer free simple typesetting of your name and message.

Promotional Product Rush¬ – Need your order now? We know you’re probably freaking out, but we’ve got good news. We have over 4,000 products that can be shipped out in 1 business day, and shipping methods as early as Next Day Air Early. You’ll be paired with a Promotions Specialist who will handle all the logistics of getting your order out the door ASAP – and accurately!

Business Gift Packaging – Packaging can be a logistical nightmare for businesses, which is why we’re happy to provide it for our customers. Whether you need special embellishments or additional assembly, we can make it happen. We’re custom experts – let us take care of it for you!

Online Company Stores – Selling your own branded gear and apparel is a huge feat… and a lot of work. Let us shoulder the work by running your virtual store and supplying your custom products. We’ll take care of everything from inventory management to shipping, both which save you warehouse space and man-hours. You’ll receive regular up-to-date sales and inventory reports that outline what’s selling, and when it’s time to reorder. To get your online store started, send us an email at storeteam@epromos.com.

Custom Merchandise – Need something you can’t find anywhere else? We’ve got you covered. We can work with overseas resources to get your hands on products no one else has. This is a fantastic way to make sure your promotional products stands out against the competition. All you need to do is shoot us an email to get started, at specialaccounts@epromos.com.

Your ePromos custom shopping bags (and any of our products!) are designed to your every specification. We work hard to ensure every customer is a happy customer. We look forward to taking your shopping bags to the next level with our custom branding process. Start browsing our selection of paper gift bags or plastic gift bags today!


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5 Things to Consider When You’re Buying Reusable Straws


5 Things to Consider When Buying Reusable StrawsWe admit it – when we first made the leap and started using reusable straws as an alternative to plastic it was a big transition. It sounds silly, but since our juice box days, we’ve always just taken and tossed out disposable straws. They’re easy (and we like easy) but something about seeing that poor turtle with one stuck up his nose, made us think – we need to contribute to a change.  Businesses need to contribute to change. People need to contribute to change. We dove in here at ePromos, and no doubt, it’s been a game-changer. You just FEEL better knowing that you’re making a difference.

That said, WE KNOW – you’ve heard the stats, you understand the reasons to ditch plastic and, maybe, you have been kicking around the idea of incorporating reusable straws into your business. So, let’s skip the “why-it-matters” diatribe and jump right in to the “2.0” of it all – specifically, what to consider if you want to go all-in on reducing plastic waste and going with reusable straws.

Consider This: Paper vs. Steel

Stainless steel has quickly become the ubiquitous reusable straw, and with good cause. These go-anywhere, do-anything straws are super sturdy and work well in both hot and cold drinks. And, because they’re made of stainless steel, they can be tossed into a reusable baggy and toted around all day long without risk of bending, chipping or tearing.

Of course, there’s something to be said for paper – it’s NOT plastic, specifically. While you’re still tossing paper straws after a single use, they do disintegrate and are considered “recyclable”. But, if your purpose is to go the extra mile, re-use and make more of a statement, stainless steel might be a better option.

Consider This: Silicone/Steel vs. Steel/Steel

Still not sold on stainless? We get it – we’ve heard everything from a fear of chipping teeth to the fear of too-hot drinks burning sipper’s gums and lips. So, in this side-by-side example, consider the alternative. You could opt for a “true” stainless steel straw which, again, has become the standard on the reusable front, or a silicon-tipped option which softens the experience – literally. Either way you’ll get the same benefits, all in a compact and environmentally-friendly package.

Consider This: Straight vs. Bent

The age-old debate: straight versus bent straws. If you’re a kid or a kid at heart, this one’s a no-brainer – bendy straws are where it’s at. But let’s consider the pros and cons to each – because, believe it or not, there are tangible benefits to sipping straight or on a slant.

First, the bent or “bendy” straw. They were designed in the 1930s, with the express purpose of helping people who couldn’t belly up to the bar and bend their heads enough to sip from a straight straw.

That’s still the perk of the bendy straw – it’s easy to drink from almost any angle. But before you rule out the classic straight straw, consider this – bendies can be a bit shorter than straight straws, making it tougher to get that very last sip. With a longer, straighter straw, sucking up that last bit of milkshake/cold brew/green juice is easier, cleaner and more efficient.

Consider This: Length

Most straws range from about seven to 10 inches. The consideration? See the bendy versus straight debate, above. If straws are on the longer side it’s easier to get your sip on all the way to the bottom of the glass, can, or bottle. But, at the same time, a longer straw can be tougher to maneuver, especially if you’re shorter or tend to sit lower at your desk or table. Like the other considerations here, there’s no right or wrong – just what you and your clients prefer sipping-wise.

Consider This: Packaging vs. Package-free

The final piece of the puzzle: how you’ll package (or not package) your branded straws. Think about it – if you’re doing your part to curb waste and save the environment, you may consider opting OUT of elaborate packaging. Or, opt for packaging that does double-duty – a reusable straw with a case of some sort. Our customers seem to love bank bags to use for this purpose.  It’s a win for you (don’t you look generous…?), a win for your client who scores a bonus gift and a win for the environment. Really, what could be better since the reusable straw trend is here to stay.

Check out October’s Product of the Month. Contact an ePromos expert to learn more and explore your options now.