Author Archives: nationalpen

A Cold Beverage Warms the Heart

beverage holdersBaseball games, the Fourth of July, late night bonfires, summer soirées, can you feel the essence of summer? The common theme in all of these events is the cold libations. However, there’s no summer killer like warm beer. While ice coolers are great to initially chill the beverage, there aren’t many options once the can has been cracked or the bottle has been opened. A cold beverage is such an essential aspect to any summer event and people rarely obtain these beverage cooling items on their own. Don’t you want to be responsible for keeping the summer festivities alive?

Summer is the perfect time to transition your promotional items to the beverage cooling category. Your clients and employees will appreciate that your company went that extra effort to provide the chill and keep the party going.

Not only will your company name be viewed by the recipient, but everyone who attends the summer event will know that you provided possibly the best contribution. The Handy Hugger koozie is perfect for keeping cans chilled. Using bottles? No problem! The Bottle Buddy is a long necked bottle insulator that is equipped with a zipper closure to accommodate standard 12oz bottles. For cooling larger bottles such as wine, the Flexi Bottle Chiller is the best option.

To make sure that all of your clients’ beverage cooling needs are met, order a combination of all three. All of these products can be branded with your company logo, contact information or message. What a perfect, season appropriate, way to promote your business!

Customized Beach Balls Will Help “Inflate” Your Marketing Results

16" Beach BallWork a sunny and fun marketing angle with customized summertime beach balls from National Pen

Promotional marketing tools are an important component to any marketing manager’s toolkit – so why invest in customized beach balls this time of year? And, how can these entertaining gifts help you to increase sales and customer loyalty? For obvious reasons, this time of year draws a distinct connection to outdoor activities like picnics in the park and days at the beach. The late spring and early summer season is perfect for getting out and moving around at parks, playgrounds, sporting events and more.

Beach balls make tremendous marketing tools, no matter how you categorize your industry or business line, and they are perfect for your upcoming, warm-weather marketing campaign. Think about a local baseball team’s summer afternoon game – a beach ball playfully dancing among the spectators. Or, consider your own family outing to the beach and the resulting good times that are had when your custom beach ball is swatted around on the sand. There are so many venues that are perfect for having fun with a beach ball, and a customized unit from National Pen will help you market your business while the recipients are simply having fun.

The concept is simple – your brand name, logo, company title, or contact information will be prominently displayed on the beach ball for all to see. This means that your company information will be front of mind while others are simply having fun with your custom beach ball. This positive correlation between good times and your business will help reinforce the notion that you are the right organization to partner with. And, since summer get-togethers are often social events, you’ll find that your beach ball will make the rounds among several guests. This also contributes to better brand recognition and enhanced market awareness for your company.

When it comes to building and sustaining client loyalty, customized promotional gifts like beach balls, coolers, caps, and other summertime focused gifts will keep your business relationships engaged with your brand throughout the busy summer season. Beach balls also make great gifts for your employees and can be brought and used at company picnics, summer group outings, or simply sent back to your team as a thank you for their continual hard work.

The possibilities are endless, but the time to strike is now. Custom beach balls are well-suited to the spring and summer months, so consider ordering promotional beach balls today – you’ll surely see a lift in your business!

National Small Business Week 2014 – May 12th – 16th

Small Business WeekIn honor of National Small Business Week – help drive additional focus towards your small business by revamping your promotional marketing plan

In 1963, the Small Business Administration (SBA) began officially recognizing the incredibly powerful role that small businesses play in our economy by launching a National Small Business Week campaign. Often held during the spring, this week is dedicated to the entrepreneurs, leaders, and dreamers that so often comprise the ranks of small businesses in America.

According to the SBA: “Activities will include forums and panels discussing trends in small business, business innovation, financing, growth, matchmaking events, as well as networking opportunities and award ceremonies.”

Small businesses in the US provide 120 million jobs. That’s according to a recent Forbes article that highlights the importance of small businesses to the domestic economy. The SBA reports that between ’09 and ’11, small businesses were responsible for 67% of the new jobs added to the market. And, small businesses currently make up more than 99.7% of all employers in the US. More than half a million new small businesses are created each month in the US, and the method in which these businesses are starting is changing, too. In 2013 alone, more than $2.7-billion was raised for new business ventures via crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter!

While many small business owners find that there simply isn’t enough time in the day to think about things like National Small Business Week, this may be the perfect opportunity for business owners to truly reflect on the difference they’re making in the lives of their employees, customers, and stakeholders.

Over the past 51 years, the SBA has chosen one week out of the year to showcase incredible businesses – so why not use this as the impetus to solidify your marketing approach? With promotional products from National Pen, you’ll be able to increase your brand awareness, strengthen your market share, and create positive, lasting experiences for your clients, prospects, and business relationships. Just three years after the SBA began recognizing National Small Business Week, National Pen was officially created!

Choose from numerous marketing options, including customizable pens. Pens are available with your choice of logo or company imprint – perfect for supporting your marketing efforts during and after this small business focused timeframe. Choose from discounted ball point pens all the way up to more luxurious desk sets. Various promotional office supplies, drinkware, home and automotive gifts, stationery, bags, and more are available to reinforce your marketing activities and help you win more business. During National Small Business Week 2014, partner with National Pen to help you grow your business and gain market share. Your customers and employees will thank you!

Easy Stretches for the Office Worker

office exercise.jpgTell me if this sounds like you. Every day, you are constantly at your desk. The only time you ever leave your cubicle is to use the bathroom or eat lunch, and even then, sometimes you work while you eat! After all, if you don’t finish the work, who will? It doesn’t take too long to feel overwhelmed with endless projects. However, sitting long at your desk for too has proven to be detrimental to your health.

Professor Alan Hedge, a professor of ergonomics at Cornell University, recommends the 20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, stand up and take a 20 second stretch. He says, “Just 20 seconds away from your computer screen reduces fatigue and increases blood circulation”.

Here are some simple stretches you can do throughout your work day to keep your energy up:

1. Shoulder Shrugs – You’re most likely typing at your work computer throughout the good majority of the day, as stress and tension build up in the neck and shoulders. In order to prevent further strain, remember to squeeze your shoulders as hard as you can and roll them up to your ear and then down. Repeat for 8-10 reps.

2. Back Stretch – Give yourself a nice big hug by placing your right hand on your left shoulder and left hand on your right shoulder. Then, deeply breathe in and out.

3. Spinal Twist – With your feet planted on the ground, contract abs and twist your body to the right. Twist as far as your body will allow without compromising your hips from being square. Grab the sides of your chair and hold for 15-30 seconds. Then repeat on the other side.

4. Abdominals – Reach your arms above you and lean back. Your chest and chin should both be pointing towards the ceiling.

5. Neck Stretches – Start by sitting tall in your chair, with your head directly over your shoulders and your shoulders directly over your hips. Slowly lean your right ear over your right shoulder and breathe deeply. Then switch to the other side.

Of course, you can always use stress balls to relieve achy hands or calm nerves.

By practicing these exercises, you can help your energy levels and stress while you work!

5 Custom Products that Everyone Should Have in Their Car

The Convention FlashlightPeople’s cars are often filled with clutter, so try helping your customers fill their cars with these useful items that they will be extremely glad to have.

  1. A Document Case

Having your documents organized and neat is important. If you are ever involved in a traffic stop, it is necessary to be able to quickly locate all of the necessary documents. This custom auto document case comes in a variety of colors to help easily identify it in your glove compartment. 

2.   A Tire Pressure Gauge

Ever see that low tire pressure light pop on when the weather changes? Having a tire pressure gauge is really important. Accurate tire pressure helps with gas mileage and vehicle efficiency. This Mini Tire Pressure Gauge Keychain offers the convenience of being on your keys so you will never be in the car without it! 

3.   An Emergency Tool

While we never hope to be in an emergency, it is important to plan for one. This Auto Safety Tool offers a seatbelt cutting blade and a steel pointed head that could break glass should your vehicle become submerged in water or be in another emergency situation.

4.    A USB Car Charger Adapter

Nearly all electronics charge through a USB port. That is why a USB car adapter makes the top 5 list. Having battery in your cell phone is a safety precaution, and one that is easily taken. The Dual USB Car Charger supports the simultaneous use of two USB inputs allowing you to charge your phone while you charge another electronic device.

5.   A Flashlight  

This one may seem like common sense, but do you have a flashlight in your car? A flashlight comes in handy during an emergency or even if your phone falls underneath your seat.  The Convention Flashlight is a powerful, compact flashlight that also has a built-in pen.

All of these items from National Pen are easily branded with your company’s logo and contact information. Your clients and employees will be grateful that you are providing them with these items that help promote safety and are extremely useful.

Turn Up the Heat on Your Advertising… It’s Beach Season!

Handy Hugger Can CoolerAs your promotional item order time is approaching, so is summer! Consider giving your clients something really useful. Beach items tend to not get thrown away because of their seasonality and functionality. People are usually going to the beach on vacation and everything they don’t have to buy means more funds for the fun!

The Beach Buddy Mat functions as a tote bag while unzipping to become an even more functional beach mat!  It is equipped with an inflatable pillow, a front pocket and is available in a variety of colors.

Similarly, the Handy Hugger and the Bottle Buddy are also great for the beach as they keep drinks cool in the hot sun.

Even more so, and probably more importantly, all of these items can be customized and branded with your company logo and information.  So while your clients are soaking up the sun, everyone at the beach is soaking up some of your brand awareness.

Let’s Get Physical…With Marketing!

Translucent Tumbler - 16 ozAll types of marketing have a common goal: remember the message.  With one message, and several different types of learning comprehension, is your marketing really resonating with all of the different types of learning? Research on the different learning styles is abundant. However, all of the countless categories and sub-categories tend to fall into three main groups: 

  • Audio
  • Visual
  • Physical

The breakdown of advertisements within these groups is overwhelmingly weighted towards visual and audio. Every magazine, billboard, television commercial, radio ad, and Internet ad only have the opportunity to offer audio and visual advertisements.  Audio and visual learners comprise 95% of the population, which accounts for the weighted marketing efforts.

But what about the physical learners? The audio and visual advertising aren’t resonating with people who have positive cognitive association with touch. There is an opportunity to break through all of the audio/visual clutter for this portion of the population and give them an advertisement that they will appreciate and remember.

A promotional item with your company logo or contact information is often overlooked, but it might be the key to reaching this elapsed audience. Research shows that selecting an item that the consumer would find useful accompanied by a utility time greater than or equal to three months will increase the amount of impressions and consumer loyalty.

Something like a custom USB hub or travel coffee mug are just two examples of items that offer utility and repetitive use that are easily branded with your logo.  If you are interested in getting physical with your marketing one of our customer service representatives can help you chose the promotional item that is right for you, your business, and your consumers. Give us a call!  1-866-900-PENS (7367).

The Best Promotional Marketing Items Also Make Great Gifts!

7 LED Flashlight Key ChainPromotional marketing supplies that provide real utility are in demand these days!

Utility can be boiled down to a simple analogy. Which of these two marketing items would provide better exposure for your brand and a prolonged marketing push for your business – chocolates in a custom printed foil wrapper, or a small LED flashlight sporting your company logo? While there is no denying the positive impact a box of chocolates can make on the morale level in the office, an LED flashlight can continue to deliver real utility for years. And, the positive associations with your logo will extend far beyond the moment the gift is received. An LED flashlight in the glove box of your car will help your clients navigate a dark parking lot safely, can help them gain easier access to their front door, and can even assist them in a roadside emergency situation.

If you’re considering ordering promotional marketing items to help grow your business and increase market penetration, keep utility in mind. Your clients and prospects will find repeated use for customizable gifts like USB flash drives, rulers, tape measures, flashlights, piggy banks, tote bags, bottle openers, and more!

If you’re in the construction trades and are looking to improve your market position, consider a gift of a carpenter’s pencil, tape measure, multi-bit screwdriver pen, carabineer, level, multi-function knife set, or auto safety tool. Any of these gifts are guaranteed to be used often – with your logo and company information right out front for all to see.

Customers or prospects in the financial services industries will love to receive customized piggy banks, calculators, laptop bags, or coffee/travel mugs. Those who are on the road frequently may find great utility from a variety of office themed promotional giveaway items. And the best part? They’ll provide a wealth of marketing exposure for your company by deploying your gifts in the field!

At National Pen, we pride ourselves on offering more than just the best value in promotional giveaway items – we also house a massive assortment of truly useful marketing gifts that will help you get your message across loud and clear.

The Evolution of Tax Preparation Methods

1040 formFrom the mighty pen to the decisive keystroke – doing your taxes has changed somewhat over the years

For most of us, preparing our income taxes generates a mixed bag of emotions. For starters, recent surveys have shown that over two thirds of American adults feel that they do not adequately understand the tax code and don’t feel comfortable filing their own taxes. This demonstrates that there is a definite need today for professional tax preparation and accounting services. Whether you owe money or are anticipating a refund, filing income taxes and completing the necessary tax preparation forms is a must-do. But how has the actual process of tax preparation changed over the years? Read on to find out!

The computer has emerged as the best way to complete and file income taxes

Up until a decade or so, the majority of Americans who completed a tax return on their own used a pen and a tax return form obtained from the local post office, library, or tax office. Tax code publications were available that allowed self-filers to study the tax code, look up their specific tax liabilities, and complete the required forms by April 15th. The problem with filing a return yourself, and bypassing the available computer programs today, is in the higher rate of mathematical errors and the ease at which tax code changes may be overlooked. One of the biggest changes seen over the past ten years is the proliferation of electronic filing.

In 2004, the IRS reported that 63% of tax filers used an electronic means of data transmission – versus filing a paper tax return form via US mail. In 2010 the percentage increased to 70% (or nearly 100 million taxpayers), and in 2013 nearly 90% of Americans paid someone to complete their tax returns – often electronically filed. The proliferation of highly accurate and easy to use tax software, as well as the knowledgeable counsel that is available from tax professionals, has led to little reliance on the traditional pen and ink tax return form.

Interestingly, surveys have indicated that the majority of Americans would rather cut their own hair than complete their own personal or business tax returns. And, the IRS reported in 2012 that the average amount of time an individual spent on completing his or her income tax forms was twenty-two hours – thirty-two if a schedule C or E was involved. Taking into account the relatively low cost of tax preparation, it hardly seems beneficial for one to file his or her own taxes these days.

Modern tax return software and tax form preparation techniques make it simple to accurately and quickly complete all of the necessary tax forms for you or your business. No longer should you drive across town to pickup the requisite forms, complete the mathematical calculations yourself, and get that all-important tax return in the mail by April 15th.

Most individuals and businesses these days could benefit greatly from the sage advice of a certified tax preparation specialist. The US tax code has seen more than 5,000 changes since 2001, and it now tips the scales at more than 4 million words. To put that in perspective, you’d have to read the entire Harry Potter book series four times to match the length of the US tax code. Qualified tax preparers will ensure you receive all of the qualified deductions and tax breaks that you are entitled to – all to help you maximize your refund and minimize your tax liability.

If you are a certified tax preparer, an accountant, or a bookkeeper, visit the National Pen homepage today to view all of our promotional marketing gifts that can help you build your book of business and retain your existing portfolio of clients. Contact us today to see just how easy it is to grow your business through our existing array of tax promotional gifts.