Take a look at these great specials on totes, acrylic cups, stainless steel tumblers and hand sanitizers! Special pricing ends February 28th, 2012.
Sales and Marketing
With Memorial Day now behind us, it’s time to look for some great ideas for your summer promos. Below are just a few of our favorites for the summer of 2011!
CamelBak Water Bottles
According to Green Your Way, Americans consume approximately 50 billion bottles of water per year, and the majority of these bottles head straight for a landfill. That’s a lot of waste. And in our minds, a wasted opportunity. Promoting your business with reusable water bottles is both eco-friendly and effective. Many styles and materials exist for promotional water bottles, but our favorite is the CamelBak Water Bottle. These are BPA-free and made from Tritan Copolyester. CamelBak is a popular and trusted brand by camping enthusiasts. Imprinted with your logo, this is an item your clients will keep and use for years to come.
For additional suggestions, we offer Nalgene Water Bottles, aluminum water bottles, stainless steel water bottles, and a broad assortment of BPA-free hard and soft plastic water bottles.
Fiesta 12-Pack Kooler from Koozie
Summer is an excellent time for travel, picnics and days at the beach or the lake. And it’s important to keep your food and beverages cold. Made by Koozie from 70D nylon, these high-quality insulated bags feature a front zippered pocket, watertight main compartment capable of holding 12 cans, and 1/4″ foam insulation. Available in green, black, red and blue. A useful item that offers repeat exposure to your logo and promotional message.
A great choice for outdoor events and company picnics would be a custom printed BBQ Set. Promotional BBQ Sets are available in dozens of styles, configurations and price points. This particular set includes a durable 300D polyester carry case with zippered closure, exterior storage pocket and 12″ webbing handles. Set components made of stainless steel with hardwood handles and include spatula, fork, tongs, basting brush and four skewers. Your logo can be imprinted on the outside of the carrying case to make this an excellent promotional gift.
Shady .5 oz. Sun Screen with Carabiner
Protecting your clients in the hot summer sun is always a great plan. We offer a variety of sun screen products, and our favorite is the Shady Sun Screen with Carabiner. Available with your choice of SPF15 or SPF30 sun screen, these promotional bottles are handy as they can clip directly to a golf bag, backpack or purse with the attached carabiner clip. Sun screen is water-resistant and sweat-resistant.
Mesh Beach Chair
Nothing says summer like a Mesh Beach Chair. This low-slung beach chair is designed for complete comfort and relaxation. Includes a padded headrest, mesh insert in seat and 210D nylon carry bag with white strap and drawstring. The chair is made from powder coated steal and 600D polyester. Available in your choice of red, royal blue and khaki. The headrest and carrying bag can be imprinted with your logo.
Totes come in all shapes, sizes and colors. And now you can get a tote that looks like a baseball! This tote is 19″ diameter x 6″ deep, and made from durable 80 GSM nonwoven polypropylene. This is an eco-friendly product as well. The nonwoven polypropylene is 100% recyclable and made from 40% pre-consumer recycled product. Features 28″ handles. This would be a great gift at outdoor events, baseball tournaments, company picnics and festivals.
Additional tote options include a variety of shopping and insulated totes made from nonwoven polypropylene, cotton canvas and polyester.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Snap Promotions announces the launch of their new website and online promotional products catalog titled Customizable Promotional Items.
“This new website is the first in a series of online resources we’re planning to launch over the next few years,” says Kristin Eldridge, president of Snap Promotions. “We’re very pleased with our new online catalog.”
Featuring more than 300,000 promotional products, Customizable Promotional Items offers everything from apparel to promotional pens.
“The broad range of products will be very appealing to our customers,” continues Eldridge. “Many of our clients like to do a little window shopping for ideas. And while we will continue to offer our traditional printed catalogs and consulting, this will be a nice complement to our business and resource for our customers.”
People often think of promotional products just as something used by the marketing department. But promotional products have many uses beyond typical marketing. We often work with multiple departments within a business including human resources, public relations, sales, and yes, marketing. Here’s a list of the top ten uses for promotional products.
Top 10 Uses of Promotional Products
1. Brand Awareness
3. New Customer / Account Creation
4. Public Relations
5. Employee Relations
6. Not-for-Profit Programs
7. New Product / Service Introduction
8. Employee Service Awards
9. Customer Referrals
10. Internal Promotions
Learn more about promotional products from our Promotional Products Fact Sheet.
Looking for some great gift ideas for your customers, employees or prospective clients? Well look no further. We’d be happy to send you a copy of The Gift Book 2010. This catalog features hundreds of promotional products and corporate gifts at many price points. Just a few of the products featured include custom wine bottles, holiday gift tins, chocolate boxes, desk accessories, clocks, photo frames, watches and art glass. Fill out and submit the catalog request form to get your copy today!
Help spread the word, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And if you’re supporting a charity or local fund-raising event, we have the perfect products to help you promote your business and raise funds for breast cancer awareness. Often these fund-raisers include golf outings and other sports events. Here are just a few ideas for incorporating pink products in your next event.
Pink Aluminum Sports Bottle: A PBA-free water bottle is perfect for 5k fund-raising runs and walks.
Pink Foam Hockey Puck: Hockey teams at all levels can give out pink foam hockey pucks with information on breast cancer awareness.
Pink Mini Replica Baseball Bat: Bats can be sold at games or online. Neat fund-raising product for baseball teams to raise money and call attention to the cause.
Pink Boxing Gloves: Boxing promoters can use these gloves in a promotion to “punch out” a cure for breast cancer.
Pink Polo Shirt: Real men wear pink, and polo shirts are ideal gifts for October golf tournaments.
Pink Tie: Corporations big and small can provide pink ties to male employees to wear during October.
Golf Balls with Pink Ribbon: A great tee gift giveaway at golf tournaments.
Pink Mini Football: Pro, college, high school and club teams can raise awareness by selling logoed footballs or by tossing them into the crowd during halftime.
Auto Racing Kit: Includes sunscreen, pain reliever, antacid, wet naps and earplugs, all in a pink pouch. Hospitals, doctors and breast cancer awareness activists can hand the pouches out at race tracks during October races.
We belong to one of the local BNI chapters, and this week is Kristin’s turn to give the group presentation. We discussed a number of topics for her presentation and eventually settled on ROI and target marketing. So I thought it would be a good time to touch on these subjects here as well. This is not intended to be an in-depth discussion, but a group of ideas to get your wheels spinning in the right direction.
Return on Investment (ROI)
I’m sure most of you are already familiar with this term, but in case you’re not, ROI is the cost of a marketing campaign relative to the profit generated during a certain period of time.
Now ROI doesn’t have to be rocket science, though it’s sometimes a challenge to develop a trackable plan. As a marketing professional, I try to break down the ROI of every marketing opportunity we consider. For our business we start by asking ourselves a few simple questions. How much revenue must we generate to break even on this opportunity? (Though your goal shouldn’t be to break even, it’s important to know where this tipping point is located.) And what is our projected revenue from the marketing investment? If we can’t answer these questions, then it’s probably not the right opportunity for us. Or if we don’t expect revenues to reach certain levels, we look for other opportunities.
If you’re unable to measure the results of your company’s marketing plan, you need to reconsider your plan. You need to develop a plan that is measurable, and you must track the results. Can you be successful shooting from the hip? Sure. We all know business owners without a plan who have enjoyed spurts of success. But that’s a tough way to achieve success, and it’s particularly tough to thrive over the long haul without a good, measurable plan.
Too often have I seen business owners give little thought to their target audience. If you’re a plumber, your target audience for a marketing campaign should not be “anybody with water pipes in their house”. The broader the audience, the more difficult it is to develop an effective marketing campaign. The more you refine your target audience, the more likely you are to succeed with your next promotion.
Your targeted audience should coincide with how you position your company, and the image you want to portray. A plumbing company can do many things. Is your strategy to be the cheapest plumber in town? Is your strategy to be the company that specializes in installing high-end bathrooms? These would be two very different lists of prospective customers, and in turn, would require significantly different marketing campaigns to be successful.
This is where we start to combine our trackable plan with our target audience. How many sales must you generate for your plan to be successful? What percentage of your audience can you convert into a sale? The more refined your target audience, the higher the return you should expect from an effective campaign. Having trouble making these predictions? That’s OK. Once again, that’s why it’s so important to track the results. Not every plan will generate the results you expect. And when presented with the same opportunity again, you can make even wiser decisions because you tracked the results the last time around.
One of the reasons promotional items are effective is because they’re typically used to promote to a more refined target audience. Remember, the more refined your audience, the higher your expectations should be to convert prospects into customers. Where a radio spot or TV ad is broadcast (transmitted to a large undefined group), think of promotional marketing as narrowcast.
Good luck, and happy marketing!
A couple weeks ago we discussed some of the most popular platforms for social media for a small business. (View this post.) The focus was on a company blog, facebook and twitter. This week we’ll dive into strategies for the development of content for these platforms.
Most of us involved with small business have to wear multiple hats and don’t have the luxury of a full time copy writer. Hopefully you have somebody on your staff who can do a little writing. If not, there are some options for you that we’ll explore in a moment.
Step One: Be an Expert
Give some thought to what type of content would be valuable to your customers and prospective clients. What type of knowledge do you have that they do not? Obviously you don’t want to give away all of your trade secrets. But at the same time, if the content doesn’t have value to your customers, it won’t be effective in grabbing their attention.
Let’s pretend that we’re a garden nursery, and that our primary business model is to sell plants, trees and shrubs. Don’t limit yourself to writing just about your specific products. Your content will be even stronger if you can also write around the periphery of your business — a great technique for not giving away all of your knowledge for free. The content needs to relate to your business, but this will open up the doors to many more ideas than if you limit yourself to only your core business. A few story ideas might be “Know when to fertilize your lawn” or “Grasses that grow well in Kansas”.
Develop a list of potential story ideas. This is a great time for brainstorming ideas. Think about seasonal topics. Broad industry topics. And of course stories that relate to your specific products. Add to this list whenever new story ideas come to mind. Many of them you may never get around to developing into useful content, but the act of brainstorming and developing lists will help develop new ideas to write about.
Step Two: Cross Platform Content Development
So you’ve decided how you can portray yourself as an expert in your field, and have developed a list of potential story ideas. Now give some thought to how you can share your content across different platforms. Do you do a company newsletter, either a print version or an emailed version? If not, this would be a good time to consider doing one. You’re already going to be developing content, and newsletters remain an effective way to promote your business. It’s not social media, but as small business people we must find ways to work efficiently and effectively. And sharing content across multiple marketing and social media platforms is a great use of our limited resources.
So for our nursery we’ve decided we want to write an article on what types of plants thrive in direct sunlight that bloom during the summer months. (Can you tell I was gardening this last weekend?) For our newsletter, we’re going to write an extended version of this content — anywhere from ten to twenty paragraphs of information. This fits well into our company’s printed newsletter as our feature article. Keep the article informational, and not salesy. It’s OK to give it a little personality if you can, but the point is to develop content that is useful for your customers.
After this is done, you can now cannibalize the content for the rest of your media needs. If the content isn’t too long, you can use it on your blog, or condense it to a more blog-friendly length. Use the first few paragraphs in your e-newsletter with a link to the complete article on your website. Post some short quips on your facebook page — you might even be able to pull multiple short quips so that you can post content on facebook on several different occasions from this same story. And finally, you need a few very short quips for tweets.
This is a fine strategy for what I would call your core content. Your feature articles. Spend a couple hours writing an article then use it across all of your promotional platforms. But you’ll also need to develop some shorter content for your social media as well.
Step Three: Quick Hits
You will need to mix in some quickies into your social media. This is the best place to let your personality shine. Where your newsletter needs to be a bit more serious, let your hair hang out a bit with your facebook posts and tweets. Comment on special things that are going on at your business. Maybe you’re excited about a new product and want to share a picture and a quick description. Maybe you want to let people know about a special award you’ve received, or a community project you’re involved in. Or maybe you just want to say TGIF!
Let me give you a quick piece of advice: people like to do business with people they like. Let them get to know you better through your posts and tweets. Let them see some character and some personality.
Help! I Can’t Write!
So you say that you can’t write? And nobody on your staff wants to do it either? There are options. If there’s a college in your area, make friends with somebody in the journalism department. College students need experience, and often come cheap. Look around your community, there are probably a number of freelance writers who work from home. Do you belong to any trade organizations? They may have outlets where you can buy content or hire writers. And there are many online communities of writers where you can post your needs for a freelance writer.
Well what are you waiting for? Get to it. And happy marketing.
Research has shown that scent enhances consumer product memories. According to the website Lets Get Scented, “Scent marketing is becoming an incredible tool as brands discover the role scent plays in connecting with customers on an emotional level. It is most effective when combined with other sensory triggers, such as sight, sound and textures to create a unique customer experience. Scent can trigger a memory or desire that influences a purchase decision. Across industries, businesses are using scent as part of multi-sensory marketing strategies to enhance customers’ experiences of a location and its products or services.”
The promotional products industry has been expanding into scented products. One of my favorites are these new Good Scents Pens. They’re available in several wonderful scents including chocolate chips, mocha latte, strawberry fields, vanilla dream (my favorite), green meadow, lemon zest and orange crush (available soon).
And better yet, these pens are made in the USA with 50% renewable plastic. Eco-friendly and USA made make these pens a Scentsational promotion.
Sometimes just getting started with something new can be intimidating. Social media sounds a little scary. And many small businesses are still trying to discover how they can implement social media into their marketing plans. It’s really not that difficult. And it doesn’t have to be that time consuming. But it does take a little understanding and planning.
You’ve probably heard of Web 2.0, but have wondered what it means. It simply signifies the second generation of usage of the Internet to convey information to clients. If you think of Web 1.0 as simple websites — basically brochures online — then Web 2.0 is the next step of actual interaction online with your customers. Today we’ll cover some of the basics of the most commonly used systems for interacting with your customers online: blogs, Facebook and Twitter.
Blogs have been around so long that people tend to forget about them as part of Web 2.0, but they’re an important element of your online marketing plans. For years we’ve instructed companies to find ways to make their website informative and useful. Ways to keep the content fresh and up-to-date. And ways to keep visitors returning to your website. A blog is an excellent vehicle to do just that. Though we’ll discuss next time more in-depth ways to develop content for a blog, think about what type of information would be useful to your clients and prospective customers. Think about how you can position yourself as an expert with valuable knowledge.
There are a number of ways to create a blog. There are online services such as WordPress and Blogspot that make it quite easy to start a blog. But the best method is to add a blog directly to your website. There are a number of benefits to adding the blog to your site. In particular, it allows you greater control of the look and feel of the blog, and the search engines will like your site more if the blog is part of your site. I suggest the blog to go somewhere like: www.YourSite.com/blog/. You can check with your hosting company to see if adding the blog to your current website is possible. With many of the national hosting companies, adding a blog to your site is as simple as a few clicks.
I’d give you a link to our blog, but you’re already on it!
I have to admit that I’d been a bit slow to embrace Facebook. But now that I have, I’ve certainly found it to be enjoyable. It’s allowed me to re-connect with plenty of old friends. And it has opened up doors to plenty of potential customers.
You want to make sure you setup what Facebook calls a “fan” page, and not a personal page, often referred to as a profile. With a fan page, anybody can view the content on the page. And anybody with a personal Facebook profile can “like” your page. Once a person “likes” your page, which for them as as easy as a mouse click, when you post something on your fan page, it places the comment on your fans’ news feed.
You can view our Facebook page here.
Facebook made a recent change to how customers interact with your fan page. In the past, they used to refer to this as “become a fan”, but now it’s just a “like” button on your fan page.
As far as I’m concerned, the jury is still out on the effectiveness of Twitter for a small business. Though I would still implement this as part of your Web 2.0 marketing plan. Twitter is a way to quickly and easily convey small bits of information to your followers. People with Twitter accounts decide to “follow” people and businesses. And when the people and businesses they follow tweet, post a comment on their Twitter account, the tweet shows up in the follower’s Twitter feed.
The drawback is that unless most of your customers are college students, they’re probably not using Twitter. But many businesses are beginning to use Twitter, and it’s better to be on the front of this curve than behind it.
You can view our Twitter account here.
Integrating Web 2.0 into your company’s marketing plans is smart business. Learning how to develop content is the next step in utilizing social media for a small business. Next time we’ll talk about how to develop content, and how to efficiently and effectively utilize that content across your different applications. So until then, happy marketing!
Cartoon from Gapingvoid.