Guidelines For Designing Labels, Stickers or Decals

labels-for-business   Stickers, labels or decals are used by most companies large, medium and small. You probably thought you could just order anything and it would work.  Well, I hate to tell you but you would be incorrect.  Following are some important items to consider before designing and ordering your labels, stickers or decals.

What type of label, sticker or decal do you want?  On a roll, individual or on a laser sheet? If they are on a roll do you need them perforated between each label?   If your labels are on a roll do you need a specific quantity per roll?  Do you need a certain core size for your roll?   Mailing labels, or catalog labels are usually on a laser sheet 8 ½” x 11″.  Labels that will be hand applied to bottles, paper, catalogs or packaging are typically on a roll or individual.  Individual cut labels or decals which are the more expensive are used typically when you are handing them out or using them for name tags, conventions, window stickers, political purposes, etc.

What size and shape of label do you need? Keep in mind the product you are going to be placing the label, sticker or decal on and make sure it fits and looks size appropriate.  They are available in all shapes – rectangles, squares, circles, ovals, specialty shapes and custom shapes and sizes.  I would recommend doing this before you start the design process so that you know what area and shape you are working with.

Design – what are you placing the label, sticker or decal on?  If you are using these on a colored background keep that in mind.  Ex. If you are placing on a jar or bottle will the container be white, clear, blue, brown, or green?  If it’s a catalog is the background black, red, blue, etc.?  You want your design to look nice and show up on whatever you are placing them on.  Keep the color of the object you are placing these on in mind while you design your background color and create your entire design.  Also bear in mind if you need the label, sticker or decal numbered or printed with a bar code.   You can also choose from a very large selection as far as the color of stock you have them imprinted on.  Some examples are green, blue, yellow, white, silver, gold, neon, or clear.  This is not inclusive of all the colors.  Additionally, you can choose a foil background or a foil imprint.

What are you applying these to?  It is extremely important when ordering labels to let the company know what you are using these for.  Different adhesives are used for different products.  Ex.  If you need a theft deterrent product they use a different material as well as a different adhesive.  If you are placing them on glass, metal, plastic or paper they need to know so they can use the proper adhesive.  If you do not want permanent adhesive it is critical that you let them know or if you want the newer repositionable adhesive they need to know that as well.

Environment – Where will you be using these labels?  If these are used in a warehouse under bright light and you use a neon paper label that neon color will fade out.  If you use a vinyl product with a laminate coating it will protect your label and imprint. If they are being used outside or in an industrial capacity a different material and finish will need to be used.  If you are using these indoors on a catalog or mailing envelope you can use white litho that cannot be used in an outdoor environment.   Last example . . . if you are applying these to a container that may get wet, oily, dirty or you may have wet hands you will need a vinyl product with a coating.  Different stock, adhesive and finishing are used for each application.  You need to be sure and specify where you will be using them for these reasons.

Submitting artwork – I can never stress enough, proof, proof, and then proof again.  Have several people review the art before submitting it to be printed.  Prior to submitting please make sure your art is at a minimum dpi of 300.  Specify PMS colors if applicable.  Vector art is required unless you have a photo type design that is printing full color digital.  If you need more info on vector please check out my article What is Vector Art? It can be found at  http://ezinearticles.com/?What-Is-Vector-Art?&id=8051441

Hopefully, following these guidelines will help you achieve a seamless project.  If you do have further questions don’t hesitate to contact us or you can check out numerous label options on our web site www.Form-Tech.net.

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How to Gain More Referrals

Would you like to open doors to new clients?  Would you like to have existing customers help you with that by giving you referrals?  thank-you-for-your-referral

Are you a great company?  Are you responsive offering quality service and products?  Do you do what you say you are going to do?  If not, you must first correct this.  You must be all of the above for people to want to refer you to others.  Do you provide a product or service to fit or solve your customer’s needs?  Do you check with your clients to see how you did or ask if there are any ways in which you might improve or serve them better? If they give you suggestions to improve do you listen to them and implement some of their ideas?  Cultivate strong relationships with your customers, be an expert in your field and be a team player with your customers.  In the other words you both need to help each other out.

Do you give referrals?  Your customer will be more apt to give you referrals if you send referrals their way.  You know the old saying “it’s better to give than receive.”  If you start giving referrals, your customers will be more inclined to give you referrals therefore helping to grow your business.  This benefits you both.

Networking – Do you venture out of your office and network through local networking groups, Chambers, Associations?  If there is a business you would like to be connected with do you ask others in your networking groups, church, friends or your social media contacts if anyone can give you an introduction? Have a well-thought out process and goals for pursuing new referrals.  This can dramatically increase your referral business. Introductions are much more likely to lead to business.  If someone introduces you, they are qualifying you and your business  making it much easier for you to obtain a new client.

Connecting –  It is especially difficult in today’s business world to connect with the right person.  More and more organizations are having departments do their own purchasing making it very difficult to even find out who the correct contact person is.  This is especially true in medium to larger corporations.  If you are fortunate enough to meet or sell to someone else in the company ask them to introduce you to others within the organization that might purchase the products or services you sell. Read the business journal or local newspaper, search the internet to see what companies you might be interested in selling to are doing.  You might see an opportunity where you can help them with your services or products many times a name may be mentioned in the article.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you – Do you express your appreciation when someone does send you a referral?  That is such a compliment to you and your business when they think enough of you to refer you to a friend or contact.  Let them know how grateful and appreciative you are.  I know some businesses send a small gift to the person giving the referral, others acknowledge with an e-mail, phone call or Thank You card.  However, you choose to do it be sure and tell them how honored you are that they thought enough of you to refer you and how much you appreciate them. Additionally it’s nice to let them know rather you were able to do business with the person/company or not.  You might say something like “Thank you very much for referring me to John Doe.  I spoke with him and he was very pleased that you introduced us.  I’m so happy we are going to be able to work together.  I really appreciate your thoughtfulness.  Are there any others that you can think of I might be able to help out?”

Implement the above steps, develop and implement a sound plan for pursuing new referrals and watch your business grow.

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Unique Executive Gift Ideas

When you are assigned the project of purchasing a gift for an executive do you struggle with what to purchase for that great client, corporate executive or executive team?  Maybe you need a special gift to recognize an individual that is retiring, received a promotion or a team that achieved all the company’s goals. Perhaps your company or organization has some super volunteers or sponsors you want to acknowledge and give a big thanks too.

So many companies give a present without putting any thought into it, they just purchase something so they can say it’s been done and cross it off of their “TO DO” list. I had a lady just the other day say ”It doesn’t matter what it is we are just handing it out.”  My thought when she said that was, then why even bother.  I encourage you to give those special individuals a unique gift that will mean something to them.  Get creative, put some thought into it, use it as an opportunity to build goodwill.  Ask yourself . . . do you want it to be an inspiring gift, an executive office game they can have fun with and relieve a little stress, a personalized executive gift that is useful, golf gifts, something they can place on their desk and see every day?

Following are some suggestions for unique executive gifts that will make a person feel special and appreciated.  These gifts are great for volunteers and clients as well.

Leather Journal                                                    Leather Coaster Set
Leatherette Journal                                            Executive Tote Bag
Executive Messenger Bag                                 Steel BBQ Set
Newton’s Cradle Game                                     Executive Indoor Golf Game
Calfskin or Leather Planner                            Unique Desktop Clock
Magnetic Puzzle                                                  Cheese Board Set
Executive Wine Set                                            Executive Puzzle
Gyroscope Clock                                                 Executive Desktop Roulette Game
Leatherette Mahjong Set                                 Backgammon Set
Chess Set                                                              Rosewood Card and Dice Set
Slate Coasters                                                     Metal or Wood Business Card Case
Rolling Overnighter Case                                Executive Gift Baskets
Mont Blanc Pen                                                  Swarovski Bracelet
Wood Valet Box                                                  Leather Computer Briefcase
Wheeled Duffle Bag                                          Wheeled Backpack
Waterford Crystal                                             Men’s or Ladies Watches
Custom Chocolates                                          Solar Powered Backpack

Of course, there are hundreds of items that make a good executive gift and I have mentioned just a few categories.  Maybe one of these executive items will resonate with you, give you a few  ideas or at the least somewhere to start your planning.

Remember when you begin planning to ask yourself does it need to be gender specific, what age group is this intended for, and what is your intent?  What do you hope to achieve?  Do you want to lighten the mood, make them feel really special, or are you like me and want to give a practical, useful but unique gift?  If you want your item to stand out and be memorable, stay away from the gifts that are given over and over.  Example, a lot of companies or organizations will give volunteers a jacket or an umbrella.  If your company or organization wants to stand out from the crowd try to make the item you choose unique.

If you need further assistance, we specialize in finding the perfect unique gift to fit your requirements. If you are looking for an item that is special, classy or you would prefer a fun item we can help you find the best item to fit your need so that your company or organization is remembered and appreciated by your recipient.

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Golf Tournament Fundraising Ideas

Golfers have the choice of many tournaments.  Help them choose yours by making it more attractive than others.  Offer them something new and fun.  I have had several individuals tell me that their company has reduced the amount of golf tournaments they can play in.  That is very crucial for you to understand and it makes it critical for you to add value to your tournament to attract golfers.  Keep in mind while planning, most golfers want to come out to have a good time, make a few wagers, and have a few drinks.

Start Planning:
How much money do you wish to raise?
What type of player are you trying to attract?
Which golf course best suits your needs?
How much are players willing to pay?
Are you offering enough value to achieve your goals?

There are numerous ways to make the most of your golf tournament.  Player registration fees and sponsors are just the beginning.   Below are just a few fundraising ideas to not only increase the money you raise but to make your golf tournament more fun and exciting so that the players will decide to play in your golf tournament again next year.

Ways to add value and increase the amount of money you raise:

Contests
Hole-in-One: Standing at the Tee box, whoever sinks the ball in the hole with just one hit or you can designate a certain hole as the hole-in-one hole.

Longest Drive: Whoever hits the ball the farthest and stays in the fairway wins this one.

Closest to the Pin: This contest typically takes place on a par-3 hole and the tee shot landing closest to the pin wins!  You will have to assign someone to keep track.  This is an opportunity to get sponsor interaction; the sponsor can have one of their employees keep records and interact with the players thus giving him more exposure.

Putting Contest:  Putting contests are always great additions to a nonprofit charity tournament and are usually played during registration time but may be played throughout the game. They are mini tournaments-within-a-tournament and players love the opportunity to show off their putting skills. The buy-in for these events is usually $5 or $10. If players want to play again, they may do so for another fee unless you have an extremely long line.  There are several variations to this but probably the most common is to have a sponsor (maybe ask them to participate and help with this for added exposure) and combine the money raised from the event tickets or you can purchase insurance to provide a grand prize of up to $10,000.  You can start out eliminating golfers by having them sink a putt 10 – 12 feet away, if they make it move up to a 30′ and then the final putt should be approximately 50′ – 60′.  Coordinate this with your golf course and make sure they do not charge an additional fee for setting up a putting contest.

Vegas Golf Fundraising Pack: #1 Fundraising golf game.  This is a great way to raise money for your tournament.  It comes complete with 8 poker style chips (Birdie, 1 putt, trees, 3 putt, water, sand, 8 ball, & wild card chip with the name and logo of your sponsor or charity (or whatever you would like) printed on the back.  This is a fun and competitive game and can raise $3,000 to $5,000 more for your event.  If you would like more details on this check out the video on my website www.form-tech.net.

50/50 Raffle: This is always fun and easy.  Sell tickets at registration and throughout the day.  The most common amount is $1.00 per ticket or six tickets for $5.00.  Keep announcing what the $ amount is up to throughout the day to create more interest.  At the end of the day draw a ticket.  The winner receives half of the pot.  Ex. If the pot is $200.00 they would receive $100.00.  Your event would keep $100.00.  Many times if it is a charity event the winner will donate their winnings back to the charity.

Sponsorship
Practice Greens: A sponsor can host a one-on-one interaction, allowing golfers to play a quick putting game.  Again, great exposure for a sponsor.

Golf Carts: Recruit sponsors for the golf carts, reducing your overhead.

Golfer Gifts: If you have an event planner please don’t listen to them if they say all they need are balls and towels.  Most golfers have lots of towels and many are very particular about the ball they play with.  Look for something they will use every time or that is unique and that will stand out from the other tournaments available to them.  Brand golfer gifts with the tournament logo or sell the opportunity for sponsor representation.  It has been proven that golfers have an increased perceived value of the entire tournament through the contents of the attendees’ gift bag.  Instead of requesting sponsors to donate items for the gift bags, build the purchase of promotional items into the sponsorship proposals.  This generates a more favorable mix of products and more value for the sponsors while increasing the perceived value of the round of golf.  Have the sponsors logo printed on some of the giveaways.  There are numerous nice golf kits created just for high perceived value golf tournaments.

Drink Cart: A sponsor can help offset the cost or offer a cash-bar on the course.

Mulligans: A mulligan is a “do-over.”  Sell mulligans as a fundraiser . . . golfers can buy three for a set amount.

Silent Auction: Collect from sponsors popular items that attract interest and make for some lively and fun bidding.  Golf lessons, a new putter or irons, restaurant gift certificates, spa services, sports memorabilia, golf lessons, free golf game, weekend get-a-way all are some very nice options.  Be sure and promote the auction in your marketing materials.  Maybe mentioning a few hot items ahead of time.  Have the items set up and ready to go before the tournament begins so everyone can have a look before they hit the course and wander through the items as they come off the course.

Raffle: Months before your tournament reach out to sponsors for a really nice raffle item and sell raffle tickets at registration and throughout the day.

50/50 Raffle: This is always fun and easy.  Sell tickets at registration and throughout the day.  The most common amount it $1.00 per ticket or six tickets for $5.00.  Keep announcing what the $ amount is up to throughout the day to create more interest.  At the end of the day draw a ticket.  The winner receive half of the pot.  Ex. If the pot is $200.00 they would receive $100.00.  Your event would keep the $100.00.  Many times if it is a charity event the winner will donate their winnings back to the charity.

There are so many fun ways to increase your revenue.  Consider just a few or implement all of the ideas above.  Whatever you decide to do I hope you have a fun and successful Golf Tournament.  If you would like a more in depth Golf Tournament planning guide please visit my web site www.Form-Tech.net and download our complete 12 page guide.

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Ways Promotional Products Can WORK In Your Business

Are you wanting to grow or expand your business or maybe raise employee moral?  Give your new hires a gift, make them feel welcome?  Promotional products are unparalleled in their ability to attract new clients, increase brand awareness, promote a new product, reward and motivate employees, promote Health and/or Safety Campaigns.

Here are a few studies to back up the effectiveness of using Imprinted Promotional Products.

Spread The Word
Promotional product incentives produce valuable referrals from satisfied
customers. A survey conducted by Louisiana State University indicated
accompanying a request for referrals with an offer of a promotional product
incentive drew as many as 500% more referrals as an appeal letter alone. The
results speak for themselves!

Enhance Marketing Campaigns
Adding a promotional product to the media mix generated favorable attitudes
toward a print ad in all cases. The use of a promotional product as the
advertising medium alone achieved maximum impact, up to 69% increasing
brand interest and 84% in creating a good impression of the brand.

Positive Impact On Brand Image
Recipients of promotional products have a significantly positive opinion of a
business through:
• Increase in positive overall image
• More positive perception of the business
• Higher likelihood of recommending the business
• Higher likelihood of patronizing the business
Source: PPAI Study: Promotional Products Impact On Brand/Company Image Conducted by Georgia
Southern University

Gifts That Keep On Giving
58% of respondents keep a promotional product anywhere from one year to
more than four years. Even if the recipient uses the item only once per week,
that’s a minimum of 52 impressions made over the course of a year with the
possibility of more than 208 during a five-year window.
Source: PPAI Study: Effectiveness of Promotional Products As An Advertising Medium

Fun and Handy
People love receiving promotional products, there’s no denying it. Whether it’s a
little boy playing with a yo-yo from the local bakery to a woman carrying a tote
from her nail salon, promotional products are appreciated and welcomed in all
walks of life. 90.4% reported either currently owning or possessing a
promotional product received within the last 24 months.
Source: PPAI Study: Effectiveness of Promotional Products As An Advertising Medium

Studies have shown if you do a mailing and have some little something in the envelope people are more likely to open that envelope and read the contents vs. throwing it away unopened.  People love to receive free gifts.

Your challenge might be in picking the product that is right to promote your business, product, Safety Awareness Campaign, Health Program, or motivate employees.  You need to make sure you connect with an experienced, hands on promotional consultant that will provide the best solution to fit your situation.  Their expertise can help you come up with just the right product.

You want to make sure that the individual receiving your promotional product will use it, keep it, display it on their desk; whatever your intention was.  If you want the item passed on ink pens are great for that.  You never know who might receive or see your ink pen.

If you are at a Trade Show you will have a lot of competition so you want to make sure you have an item that will draw attendees or provide something useful to them.

Use promotional products to print coupons, QR codes, or Thank You on.  There are limitless ideas for the use of promotional products so take advantage of this immense marketing tool while making the recipient feel special.

If you would like more ideas check out our web site http://www.form-tech.net or give us a call.

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Employee Health Wellness Program

Employee health wellness programs are designed to encourage healthier lifestyle behaviors in your employees and reduce your health care spending. The  focus is on preventing illness and injury, promoting health and productivity, and lowering the total cost of health care. A successful employee health wellness program benefits employers by developing and maintaining a healthier, more productive workforce and community.  It benefits employees by improving their health both physically and emotionally.

Health wellness programs at work are intended to improve and promote health and fitness they are usually offered through the work place, although insurance plans can offer them directly to their enrollees. The program allows your employer or plan to offer you premium discounts, cash rewards, gym memberships, and many other types of incentives to participate. Some examples of wellness programs include programs to help you stop smoking, diabetes management programs, weight loss programs, and preventive health screenings.  Some employers offer discounts on your health insurance premium if you meet certain requirements.  Ex. Walking a certain amount of steps, working out a certain number of days, meeting weight guidelines, quit smoking.
Healthy employees cost companies less. Studies have shown that employees that participated in programs were less likely to leave and seek other employment.  Employees are absent less, savings on health care costs, greater productivity, higher morale, and employee pride are just a few of the benefits of health promotion & wellness programs.

In the past wellness programs were viewed as a nice perk, not a necessity. Times have changed and evidence shows they are successful both to employees and in employers bank accounts.  With the Affordable Health Care Act, companies can use wellness programs to decrease their enormous health care costs and provide healthier more productive employees.  It’s a win win.

Every company or organization should have an expert who develops and implements a clear, comprehensive wellness program.  Be sure and check HIPPA regulations.  Programs are created to reduce health risks, improve quality of life, enhance personal effectiveness, and benefit the organization’s bottom line.  You can’t just implement a program it has to become a companies way of life.  Health & wellness programs are always a work in progress.  I’ve read that Virgin Mobile has meetings with no chairs. Of course, you need to make the meetings brief and to the point.  Encourage use of stairs if you have them.

Some ways of encouraging employees in health & wellness programs are:
Offer a discount on their insurance premium.  Memberships (or discounts) to fitness clubs, provide healthy snacks, having walking meetings, have a team contest, start a stretch break or two every day, provide incentive gift cards.  Put up fun posters with healthy tips throughout your workplace to keep healthy living to the forefront. Give out apple stress balls to promote healthy snacks.  Offer discounts on activity trackers and set specific goals.  Use exercise bands to promote exercise.  Provide health journals to employees to keep track of progress on their goals.  Celebrate with a Health & Wellness Day with fun games and play. Have a company 10K walk and provide FM radios.  Compile a healthy company cookbook or provide each employee with one that is already printed.  If you want a really fun, competitive prize have a team challenge (team that loses the most weight, inches or exercises the most) with a nice large prize for the winning team.  Maybe the prize could be a trip or a night out on the town in a limo.

Once you get started, you will find employees motivate one another and it grows outside of your company to friends and family.  What a great start a healthier life.

If you would like more ideas for make your worksite health & wellness program a success you can check out our website www.form-tech.net, look under showrooms – health & wellness program ideas or give us a call.  We would be happy to help you.

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EDDM Cost Effective Marketing

Are you looking for cost-effective ways to market your business, product or cause?  Have you ever heard of EDDM?  EDDM is Every Door Direct Mail ™ this is a program that USPS has come up with. Designed to help businesses deploy promotions and advertisements to a targeted area, this U.S. Postal Service program allows you  to have your mailer hand delivered to every mailbox along chosen routes. Whether you’re a big company, a small business, a foundation, school, or charity this program provides a marketing tool designed to have your message hand delivered to every door within a specified mail route with postage rates as low as $.157.

You can use Every Door Direct Mail® Service to: 
Reach a location without a name or address
Send out local or national mail campaigns
Build traffic
Seek new customers
Promote a new service or product
Potentially increase revenue
Reduce mailing cost
Permit is not needed

Here’s how it works, you choose a zip code or specific carrier routes and the USPS carrier will drop your mail piece in their mail box.  You must mail at least 200 within that zip code or route and no more than 5000 per day.  Pretty simple huh?

It’s a win for your marketing solutions.  There are guidelines to follow, of course, but if you don’t want to buy a Postal Permit and purchase a current and accurate mail list of addresses in a particular city or neighborhood, and you want to reach every address, EDDM is an excellent low cost solution.  There are no individual names or addresses on your mail piece they are just hand delivered by the postal carrier.

EDDM is a great marketing tool for Realtors, doctors, dentist, restaurants, pool service, hair dressers, alarm companies, anyone wanting to target a specific zip code or neighborhood.  This is a great way to promote and drive traffic to your website, social media sites, apps, etc.

Are there drawbacks to EDDM?  Yes, it’s not a one size fits all marketing solution. You CANNOT mail what the USPS describes as either “postcards” or “letters.” (The USPS defines “postcards” as being at least 3.5 by 5 and no more than 4.25 x 6 inches, and “letters” as being at least 3.5 x 5 and no more than 6.125 x 11.5 inches.)  The mail piece MUST BE what the USPS describes as a “flat.” (The USPS defines “flats” as being at least 6.125 x 11.5 and no more than 12 x 15.)  We currently produce postcards, flyers, and sell sheets that meet USPS standards for EDDM.  For specific sizes, paper weights, layouts or more detailed information visit our website www.form-tech.net .

If you or your business are looking to market to a large or broad geographic area there are probably more cost effective ways to do so.  This program is meant for those wanting to target a specific small area.  Ex.  you own a mattress store and you would like to target neighborhoods surrounding your store or you are a health care professional wanting to target the surrounding area. This would be a good option for your business.  If you are a Tennis Club looking for only people that play tennis in your area there are better avenues to pursue to target that small niche market. EDDM would probably not be the most cost effective method of marketing for you.  It would be a great way for a Homeowners Association or School Districts to send their newsletter out without having to have and maintain current names and addresses.

One downside I see is you cannot send to just businesses.  So if you want to target businesses it will also be delivered to any residences in the area you have chosen.  You do have the option to choose to only deliver to residential addresses or you may have your piece delivered to both residential and businesses. Hopefully, USPS will eventually change that so that you may deliver only to businesses should you so choose but it is not available at this time.

This may or may not be a drawback.   It is the responsibility of the mail carrier to remember to place one mail piece in each mailbox since they are not sorted in with all the other mail.  So you are reliant upon that mail carrier to remember to put your piece in the appropriate box.  There is no way of tracking this on the USPS site.

Some suggestions in order to measure your success might be to place a coupon, QR code, or app on your piece and measure your results that way.  Print your website on the piece and if you have a large increase in web traffic then you might know it was driven from your mail piece.  If you are a new business and send to the residents around you of course, you should always ask them how they heard about you in order to measure your marketing.

I feel that USPS has done a good job with the information they provide on their website concerning EDDM and their instructions are fairly easy to read and follow.  If you are looking for a new way to market and this looks like it might be a good fit, I encourage you to check it out further.  We have more information on our website www.form-tech.net of course we always welcome your calls or the USPS site does a really nice job of explaining.  www.usps.com  Every Door Direct Mail.

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Helpful Catalog Tips

Catalogs are great sales tools, designed to generate leads or direct sales. Many businesses still use catalogs to market, list and sell their services and products.  They may offer their catalog on a flash drive or CD but it’s still a catalog. In this world of social media and e-mails catalogs are still a very popular and effective way of advertising your services, business, and products. For many, a catalog is a key tool in their marketing plan, enhancing other initiatives like email and social marketing and other printed products, such as brochures, flyers and postcards. Catalogs are  also a great way to present a lot of information to your customers and potential customers. Studies have shown catalogs last longer in businesses and homes of customers, where they scan and refer back to them for ordering and product knowledge, keeping your product, services, and company information in front of your client.

Before you run to the printer and print a catalog there are some things you need to know:

1.  Research –
Do you know who your target audience is?  If not, you need to figure that out.  Evaluate whom you want to send your catalog out to in order to obtain the most return on your investment.   BEFORE you do anything else ask yourself the following questions:
A) what age groups are I targeting?
B) am I marketing to a male/female group?
C) what income level is my target audience (if applicable)?
D) if targeting businesses – what type business would use or benefit from my product or services? Make an extensive list.
E) is there a specific geographic area? Ex. 50 mile radius
Additionally, survey your customers to find out more about what they purchase, would they like to see you carry any other products/services?  Ask them if you have good customer service or do you need to improve?  Your goal should be to provide to your ideal customers something they find beneficial and valuable, while at the same time providing excellent customer service.  Without good customer service you can forget it.  Customers want and expect good customer service.

2.  Details-
OK, now you know who your target audience is.  You probably thought the hard part was over.  Sorry, it’s just beginning! Now you need to figure out what products or services you want to include in your catalog in order to obtain the most return on your investment.  Pricing for catalogs has gotten much more economical with new printing methods but you still don’t want to waste your time or money.  Review your sales reports, and see what your top selling products are.  Do you have a new line of products you want to introduce?  Are there new products you want to add from customer requests?  How many pages would you like your catalog to be?
Do you previously have a catalog? If so, review it with all this in mind and edit it.

3.  Placement-
We have all gone into stores, and notice the “best sellers” are placed near eye-level, usually in a prominent location so that they get your attention. Think of your catalog in the same way. You want your “best sellers” or maybe your new items to be placed in a very prominent location with a very flattering layout and nice clean copy. They would probably appear near the front of the book, unless you do a really nice center page layout.

4.  Copy-
As well as making your catalog look good visually you want to make sure you write good catalog copy that sells.  In order to create good copy you must understand why customers buy from catalogs.  Below are six reasons customers purchase from catalogs:

A.     Saving money is the number one motivator for anyone to order your product or services instead of your competitor’s.  Your catalog should stress cost savings. Place this on your cover, on your order form, on every page of your catalog, on each item where it is applicable.  Get creative if you can retail vs. your price.

B.      The buyer wants to make sure they are buying the correct product from a reliable vendor.  How do they determine this?

Make sure your copy has clear and concise specs for all products or services listed.

Use testimonials.  Include quotations from satisfied customers who praise your products or services in your catalog.

Guarantee.  Offer a refund or replacement, if your product or services should fail to perform as promised.  Remember – ALWAYS offer good quality customer service.

List a few facts about your company or product – years in the business, number of employees, number of locations, annual sales, etc.

C.   Customers buy products for a few reasons: to resell the products at a profit, as a gift, or to use them for their business, personal use, or home. In your catalog copy you must stress the benefit your customer will receive by purchasing from you. How he can make money, save money, quality service, an exceptional quality product, streamline production.  You get the idea.

D.      Have you ever heard the saying “If it’s free; it’s for me?”  Everybody likes freebies – it doesn’t matter if they are a business executive, a group of buyers accustomed to freebies, or your sweet little ‘ole grandmother.  Your catalog could offer the buyer a free gift in exchange for his order.  If you do this display the gift prominently on the cover and make sure it’s a personal gift, not a discount or gift of merchandise to the company.

Popular gift items might include a gift card, pen and pencil sets, flash drive, calculators, mugs, USB charger, stylus pen, pedometer, T-shirts, or stress balls.  Get creative, if you have a unique or popular item use that shape or idea.  Ex. An electric company could give away a nightlight in the shape of a light bulb or if you promote a “better idea” in your catalog you could utilize a light bulb shape.

E.      Fulfill a Need or Want. A good catalog is a tool to use in order to obtain valuable and much needed information regarding the product.  The more your catalog and its contents fulfill a need or service, the more likely the buyer is to order from you – again and again and again.

F.      Solutions; your buyer isn’t looking for a specific product.  He’s not you ask . . . he’s looking for a solution to a problem he or she has. Take advantage of this, be a problem solver.  Have products or services in your catalog that show you can solve their problem, save them time and money.  Again, stress the benefit to them. Offer convenience, make it easy. Can you say Cha ching!

It’s time for you to learn what makes for good copy.  Be descriptive, paint them a picture, be precise, clear, and specific.  Don’t be too technical unless the product or market requires you to be.  State benefits or problem solving features for each item or service.  Don’t crowd your pages, keep it nice looking and easy to read.  Pick a clean font with easy to read colors.  Keep in mind your catalog pages must be divisible by four unless you want to have a blank page for notes.

Make it easy for them to order.  List a web site, phone number, e-mail, any contact information where they may place an order. Make it very clear.  Some companies put the contact/order information on the bottom of every page of their catalogs.  If you only put your contact/order information in one or two places make your order/contact info very prominent.  Make sure it stands out.

Oh and did I mention, tell them how your products or services will benefit them. Stress what’s in it for them.

Once you have completed all of the above you are ready to get your catalog printed.

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Trade Show Tips and Ideas

It’s TRADE SHOW SEASON and a perfect time to consider ways to draw people to your booth. First you must determine the actual result you are looking for. Do you just want to bring traffic (numbers) to your trade show booth or do you want to attract qualified people to your trade show booth?  Would you like to capture their contact information and follow up with them in order to close a sale and hopefully obtain a new customer? Prior to your trade show get a list of attendees and do a pre show mailing (postcard), promote on Facebook and send out Tweets to promote your booth prior to the show.

Some of the most popular trade show giveaways are unusual, light up, or are interactive. Want to attract attention at your next trade show? Following are some suggestions for you to consider.

1) The recipe is simple… Provide a tasty treat (candy, cupcake, nuts, popcorn, etc.) and back it up with branded materials that compliment your theme so your audience remembers you!  Ex. Cupcakes have a cupcake themed booth, popcorn have a popcorn themed booth.  If you are marketing to the masses.  Rent or invest in a popcorn machine.  I’ll find you anywhere if you have popcorn and so will others. If not, marketing to the masses you may want to be more target specific.

2) Laminated Luggage Tags – You must have a laminator for this and some preprinted luggage tags with your logo and contact info.  Ask attendees for their business card and laminate it for them.  Everyone can use a luggage tag and now they have your contact info on the other side.  This also provides you with an opportunity to talk with them while you are making their luggage tag.

3) Microfiber Cloths- Ask the attendee if they have their cell phone handy, open up a microfiber cloth and show them how to use it on their phone. Microfiber cloths are very useful and work well on so many different things, glasses, MP3 players, tablets.  Your logo and information printed on the cloths are sure to be seen over and over.

4) Flavored Lip Balm – Have a “guess the lip balm flavor” contest at your booth. Let the attendees write their “guess” on the back of their business card (or on cards you supply). Have them visit your website to see what the winning flavor is and who the winner is. You will need to make the prize something worthwhile, such as $50 cash or a gift certificate to get them to visit your website!  This not only drives traffic to your website you get their contact information as well.

5) Light Up Products – Would you like to attract visitors to your booth with less effort?  Light up products will do that for you.  Have a few flashing key chains, light up necklaces, or cubes laying out and people will stop by just to see what is flashing.

6) Pedometer – More and more people are using pedometers so why not take advantage of that.  Give away pedometers and ask attendees to return to your booth when the pedometer shows 5,000 steps to receive a nice prize. This not only has them returning to your booth to retrieve their prize but they will tell others thus driving additional traffic to your booth and they will continue to use the pedometer and see your logo over and over.

7) Fortune Cookies – Would you like something creative?  Get some fortune cookies with your custom fortune in them.  You can put cleaver predictions in them or put coupons in the cookies. This is a fun and creative way to drive traffic to your booth.

8) Variable Printing – There are a number of items (mints, hand sanitizer, lip balm)  that can now have your logo and information printed on them and be numbered.  You can then have a contest and pull out a number.  You can announce this at the show or again have them go to your website, enter their information and then see who the winner is.  I would recommend offering a nice prize for this in order to make them want to go to your website.

9) Tote Bag – Give away a nice tote bag with your information prominently printed on it and offer a random prize of $50 – $100 for whomever is carrying it on the trade show floor.  Someone from your company will walk up and randomly select a winner.  This encourages them to advertise for you and again they will tell others thus driving traffic to your booth.

10) Stylus Pens – There are so many nice stylus pens out now and they are extremly reasonable.  Everyone would be happy to receive a nice stylus pen to use on their phone or tablet.

If you would like to have expanded ideas check out our website or call us.  We would be happy to help you find the perfect giveaway for your trade show event.

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Promotional Products As a Marketing Tool

Check out your desk top, look inside your desk drawers, gaze around your office. Do you have a promotional product with a logo imprinted on it?  How about your pens, your mouse pad, calendars, ruler, or “sticky” notes?  Imprinted products with a logo are everywhere and usually within easy reach. These imprinted products are used to promote a company or organization, their products, services or program.

Promotional products are popular because they are useful, tangible and long lasting. I have a strainer from the 70’s (still in use) just to let you know how long some items hang around.  But the million dollar question is . . .  how effective are imprinted promotional products when it comes to influencing or changing an individuals perception or attitude towards a company or organization and the products or services they offer?

A study was conducted in 2004 by PPAI and the results are enlightening.

The study randomly surveyed over 800 business travelers at the Dallas/Ft.Worth International Airport. Following is some interesting data obtained from those that were surveyed:

•    71 percent reported receiving a promotional product within the last 12 months. Of this same group, over 33 percent actually had the promotional product on them or with them.

•    76 percent of those surveyed could recall the name of the advertiser on the promotional product that they had received in the past 12 months. In comparison, only 53.5 percent of this same group of business travelers could recall or name an advertiser they had seen in a magazine or newspaper in the previous week.

•    52 percent of those surveyed conducted business with the advertiser after receiving their promotional product. Of those who had not done business with the advertiser that gave them the product, almost half stated that they were more likely to do business with the company that gave them the product, and 52 percent reported having a more favorable impression of the advertiser after receiving the promotional item.

•    One of the key advantages of using promotional products, as proven in this study, is the frequency of exposure. The more the item is used and the logo message is exposed to the user, the lower the cost per impression for the advertiser.  And as we all know repetition is key – the more they see your message the quicker they will recall your business or product when the need arises.

Promotional products are an immensely cost effective way for companies to engage new and existing customers. If you have previously used promotional products as a marketing tool none of the above comes as a surprise to you.  You are already aware of the incredible brand recognition and recall power they have.  If you haven’t used promotional products as a marketing tool for your company or organization now might be the time to consider using this highly effective tool for your marketing.

To obtain the most bang for your buck with promotional items be sure and strategise.  Know your target audience and gear your imprinted promotional item to something that will benefit or be of use to them.

I’d love for you to weigh in on the promotional items that you have used and how they worked for you.  Please let me know your thoughts.

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