Category Archives: Marketing Tips

How to Ensure Your Insurance Marketing Stays Top of Mind

In today’s competitive market, it can be hard for any company to stay top of mind, let alone an insurance company. But once people find insurance they like with costs they can afford, it’s likely they’ll stay loyal for years. They will also be more likely to refer them to their friends, family members, and co-workers.

Insurer with Paper Cutouts of Insurance CoverageThis means whether or not your target audience is actively looking for new insurance, you still want to stay top of mind. Word-of-mouth is still a great marketing resource for insurance companies, which makes it important for the majority of people to have familiarity with your insurance company. If they are a current customer, you want their loyalty. If they are not yet a customer, you want them to switch from their current insurance provider to yours. How do you achieve this?

In today’s world, online marketing is a strategic, impactful way to make it more convenient for customers to sign up for insurance with you, but there are still some tried and true tactics that will keep them on board and walking through your door. Here are a few main promotional insurance products and marketing ideas that will help you maintain your customer list and make it continue to grow.

A Token of Appreciation

Let your insurance customers know how much you appreciate their business and loyalty. Send a small gift with a personalized note saying how thankful you are to have them as a customer. Focus on the season to coordinate your gift giving. For example, during the winter holiday season, think about sending ornaments. When it’s warm outside, Koozies are a smart idea perfect for picnics, the pool, and other summer activities. Then again, everyone can use basics like hand sanitizer or lip balm; choose what you think your customers will value most.

If someone has been with your insurance company for several years, think about sending an anniversary gift for bigger milestones like five or ten years of customer loyalty. The sincerity behind what’s given is what will make the biggest difference. It will make your customers smile and remind them why they choose your insurance company in the first place.

Group of People Mingling at Networking Event

Host a Networking Event

Partner with a few other local businesses, and host a networking event that’s linked to the chamber of commerce or other professional organization. When you start with your own professional circle, it can lead to more opportunities and give visibility to your company and its offerings. Ensure you are well prepared with the event with plenty of promotional insurance products like pens, business cards, and perhaps, individual swag bags to give away to attendees so they remember your name.

Use this as an opportunity to connect with others in your community and share referrals, but also to make your branding stand out in a memorable way. Get creative with the kind of products you hand out. It doesn’t have to be all office supplies. Choose a mix of tote bags, magnets, can coolers, mugs, and other items that will be useful and enticing by those in attendance.

Perfect Your Customer Service

Excellent customer service helps your product speak for itself. Besides affordability, there isn’t a lot that differentiates one insurance company from another, which is why consumers often choose the company who has the service they like best. Friendly, helpful customer representatives can make or break it. Keep in mind, reports show it takes 12 positive customer experiences to erase a poor or unresolved one.

Filing insurance claims or understanding insurance policies can be an overwhelming and frustrating experience. By having team members who make your customers feel comfortable and important, it will create loyalty for life. A great “face” to your company is one of the best products you can have.

Couple Planning Insurance Coverage with Agent

Help Your Customers Plan

Planners or calendars will help make your insurance company memorable, because for people who follow a schedule, they are constantly looking at their calendars to set appointments and remember important events. If that calendar has your company’s name and logo on it, then it’s easier to be on the top of their mind. When someone wants an insurance referral, you are the first company they say.

Make it an annual event by sending out calendars or planners to both current customers and a potentially new client base in your area. Send these out at the same time every year, and your customers will not only come to expect to receive it to replace their old one, but will appreciate the gesture as well.

Get Clever with Your Messaging

Using shaped magnets is an easy way to entice people to come in and sign up for an insurance plan or learn about the other types of insurance you offer. Maybe you have customers that use you for car insurance, but didn’t realize you also provide renter’s insurance as well. Pinpoint these types of opportunities where your services could help people further.

With shapes like light bulbs, hearts, homes, and even cats, you have options to speak to your audience in a way that is engaging and fun for them. It’s an affordable way to encourage your customer base to come visit you in person to update their policies, add other people to their plans, or let them know about insurance services you offer.

Know Your Audience

You have to know your audience no matter how you choose to market. Do you know where they are going for information? Is it convenient for them to come into your office? If not, create a reason that will benefit them or encourage them to stop by.

Separate messages that you send to current customers from the ones you send to your list of potentials. Also, don’t underestimate the power of one-to-one communication. Even if you do not have a lot of foot traffic coming through your door, it doesn’t mean you can’t be walking through the doors of other offices, campuses, and businesses to share your knowledge about insurance and the types of policies you provide.

Always make sure you have extra promotional insurance products in your car so you can have them ready whenever needed. Whether that’s an impromptu networking happy hour or a client meeting scheduled on the same day, you will want to be prepared to represent your company and keep your brand top of mind as much as possible with stellar insurance marketing.

Creating the Perfect Tradeshow Experience for Your Brand

Looking to maximize your brand’s tradeshow experience this year? Keep the following dos, don’ts, and must-haves in mind when formulating your plan for your next expo hall visit.

Aerial View of a Tradeshow Hall

You’ve made the wise choice to attend a tradeshow to highlight your business and increase market penetration. The plan is sound – show up, bring free goodies, talk to the attendees, and you’ll go home with a stack of leads that will surely keep you busy until the end of the year. Right? Well, not exactly.

Many business owners and sales team leads learn the hard way that participating in a tradeshow doesn’t always equate to a successful event. Instead, the before, during, and after segments of the tradeshow experience must be managed in a very deliberate manner in order to net positive results.

Let’s look at some of the ways to create the perfect tradeshow experience for your brand, focusing on three key areas – before, during, and after the show.

Before the Tradeshow

You’d never walk into a sales meeting unprepared, so why do so many of us feel like we can waltz into the expo hall and tradeshow experience without a well-defined plan? Here are four of the key considerations to make prior to attending an exposition or tradeshow:

  1. What is my goal?

    Before considering the tradeshow route, ask yourself – what is the ultimate goal here? Break down your priorities into the following categories to help plan your strategy:

    1. How many attendees do I want to talk to/attract to my booth during the show?
    2. How many leads do I want to generate from the show/what is an acceptable conversion rate?
    3. Do I want to sell products or services directly to the end-user at the show, and what supplies (contracts, forms, etc.) do I need to bring along?
    4. Am I promoting my business, increasing awareness of my brand, or launching a new product?
    5. How much revenue do I need to generate from the show to net an acceptable ROI?
    6. What is my overall budget for the show and how am I going to pay for it?

     

  2. Is this the right show?

    The next thing to investigate is which tradeshow most ideally marries with your specific business plan. If you’re looking to net a big boost in short-term sales (i.e., making sales at the actual tradeshow), you may want to consider a smaller show where you won’t have 15 other competitors alongside you. Tradeshow organizers often publish statistics on past attendees, so you can glean whether your target market will actually show up for the event, too.

    And, if you can’t afford to pay booth fees and the litany of other expenses that pop up during a tradeshow, you may want to preserve your marketing budget and opt for a smaller regional show. Also, consider travel costs when planning which show to attend. This may be a big expense if you’re bringing along several team members.

  3. Who can I trust to help run the show?

    One of the most important aspects to maximizing the tradeshow experience is positioning your best people in front of potential clients – and this might by you.Before committing to the tradeshow and sending a deposit to reserve your space, ensure you have plenty of support from your sales and marketing groups to help man the booth, interact with attendees, and act as a support system for anything you may need.

    You’ll want to make sure no key players are on vacation, have travel restrictions, or otherwise cannot attend – you need all your leaders in place.

  4. How do I create awareness early on?

    It is imperative that you not only create awareness of your involvement in an upcoming tradeshow, but that you also specifically invite members of your industry to visit you on-site.

    You can create an incentive for appointments booked at the show or contracts signed during the event to promote attendance. Provide all the necessary details to make finding you at the show as easy as possible, such as the booth number, dates of attendance, and a map detailing how to find you at the show.

Business Professionals Attend an Exposition

During the Tradeshow

Now that you’ve committed to attending a tradeshow or exposition and have a firm idea of what results you need to see from the event, it is time to discuss how to manage the actual event. Let’s break it down into two key areas: what to bring and what to do.

In terms of what to bring, you’ll have to consider your specific business line. Here are the top 10 basic items you’ll want to have in your tradeshow booth:

  1. Tape

    Duct tape, masking tape, and Scotch tape. You’ll find a million uses for these during the show.

  2. Refreshments

    Keep your tradeshow booth stocked with water, soda and snacks. Leaving the booth leaves you underprepared for visiting clients and prospects, so tote along snacks and drinks that don’t require refrigeration, aren’t messy to eat, and aren’t too pungent.

  3. Pens

    Bring ten times more than you think you need. You’ll need them for signing up attendees for raffles, meetings, and other activities, and 70% of the pens you bring will inadvertently wind up in attendees’ pockets. Invest in company-branded pens to net an immediate marketing boost.

  4. Business Cards

    Though the standard business card will at some point seem a little quaint, there is still a definite need for something tangible to hand to a client. Another option is to hand them an alternative business card, like a business card magnet, a USB drive business card, or something similar.

  5. Marketing Materials

    Make your brand stand out with customized tablecloths, banners, and other marketing collateral. Take advantage of every flat surface on your creative tradeshow booth design and display your brand on the back wall, tabletop, and even on the entrance mat.

  6. Sealable Containers

    You’re going to gather a lot of client information during the tradeshow, and information security is incredibly important today. Don’t be the business that leads to a leak of confidential information. Seal attendee data, sign-up sheets, and other relevant information in a locking container or secure document holder.

  7. Laptop

    Tradeshow attendees want to be able to access your information electronically, so have at least one laptop computer available to log on to your site. Better yet, a tablet is even more effective because it allows you to interface more freely with a visitor to your tradeshow.

  8. Cords

    Bring all necessary extension cords and charging cables. Most tradeshow booths only come wired with one 110-volt outlet, so bring a power strip, extension cords, and all charging cables. It is incredibly expensive to rent or borrow electrical supplies at tradeshows – so plan ahead on this one.

  9. Wellness Items

    There are going to be long days, so tote along breath mints, hair care products, cough drops, a nail file/nail clippers, cold medicine, aspirin, bandages, and more. You’ll be prepared for any minor mishaps that may occur. And don’t forget some hand sanitizer and lotion. Hopefully you’ll be shaking a lot of hands, but that certainly reinforces the need for personal care items to keep you and visitors healthy.

Now let’s talk about what to do. Your activities and behaviors during the expo or tradeshow are the single biggest driver of success, so make sure you:

  • Create One-on-One Time

    The average tradeshow visitor spends 5-15 minutes in a tradeshow booth. You have to make that prospect feel valued and appreciated in very little time, so ensure you have dedicated one-on-one space in the booth to speak privately. Tradeshows are loud, noisy places; create an oasis for your valued visitor and they’ll feel like their potential business is important to you.

  • Monitor Your Team

    Keep tabs on the way your team is working the expo booth and the tradeshow, in general. They should be outside the booth as much as possible, interacting with attendees in a polite, inviting, and positive manner. Listen to make sure they are asking leading questions that will drive conversations and engage potential clients. This is their time to turn on the charm and deliver.

  • Create Excitement

    Order promotional gifts that feature your logo, business contact information, or promotional message for pennies on the dollar, because the benefit of spotlighting your brand long after the tradeshow is over is priceless.

Tradeshow Attendees Shaking Hands

After the Tradeshow

Organized individuals often fare better when managing tradeshow results. Here’s the bottom line – you’ll talk to a lot of people during a tradeshow or exposition, and you’ll gather a lot of information about them during the event. By creating an organizational system that funnels attendee data into clearly defined categories, you’ll find follow up is easier and conversion rates will be higher. To create the best possible client experience, make sure you keep the following post-tradeshow activities in mind:

  1. Follow Up

    Make sure you follow up within days after the event. This timeframe is critical. Make contact via email, social media, written letter, and phone, if need be.

  2. Nurture Leads

    Assign leads gathered at the tradeshow to specific individuals who will have the best chance of converting the prospect.

  3. Ask Attendees to Sign-Up

    Keep the connection alive long after the tradeshow is over by inviting attendees to sign up for your newsletter or emails. You can provide a small incentive for doing so, like a promotional gift or discount on future sales.

Creating the ultimate tradeshow experience isn’t as simple as it sounds, but by planning ahead, involving the right people, investing in appropriate marketing collateral and promotional tradeshow gifts, then executing a strict follow-up plan after the show, you’ll maximize your time spent at the event.

Dental Marketing Confidential: How to Impress New Patients

Creating a successful dental marketing campaign is vitally important to your practice. If done effectively, it can alleviate apprehension in prospective new patients. Here’s how marketing for dentists can shine a light on your practice and build trust with new patients.Toothpaste on a Toothbrush

It’s amazing how much thought must go into operating a dental practice. It takes hard work, serious upfront capital, and an acute understanding of dental marketing techniques that work well for the industry. The bottom line when it comes to any business is to welcome guests warmly, keep people happy, and create patients/clients/customers for life.

Patient satisfaction is linked to several key components. When it comes to creating a lasting, positive impression, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is my dental practice clean and well-maintained?
  2. Does my staff operate with the same positive tone and engaged manner that I do?
  3. Do I offer all the services my clients expect from a contemporary dental office?
  4. Do I have systems in place to organize and manage my existing dental patients?
  5. Is my decor inviting, and is the office a comfortable place to wait for dental services?
  6. Do I offer promotional dental marketing gifts or items of nominal value to reward loyalty or entice first-time visits?
  7. What makes me unique when compared to the other dental practices in the area?

These questions are a great place to start, but it is crucial to include one overriding theme across your considerations: Few people like getting dental work done, and many have an associated fear of the dentist. This makes it all the more important to do all you can to minimize patient apprehensions and create the best impression possible.

Alleviate Patient Anxiety

Let your guests know you’ve considered their comfort level and have made proactive steps to minimize their stress and anxiety levels. Simple visuals like fresh flowers, fish tanks, serenity fountains, or interesting art displays can help put patients at ease. Try to keep the high-pitched whir of dental tools from permeating the waiting room by playing soft background music, and reduce barriers between front office staff and the waiting room. In fact, the “front-desk window” is considered a stress trigger for many patients. Openness is a good thing to create a more relaxing environment.

Dentist and Happy Dental PAtient

Make Patient Comfort a Priority

Provide small pillows and blankets for patients who are undergoing longer procedures to enhance their comfort level.  If they must stay in the chair for an extended period of time, offer personalized lip balm to minimize chapped lips, common with longer dental procedures. Also, consider the temperature in the room. Patients often report dental offices are too cold.  This is often attributed to lack of patient movement rather than a low ambient temperature. In addition, consider the needs of parents who have arrived with small children. A television and kid-friendly movie can help, as do toys, books, games, and other child-focused items.

Provide a Gift

To ensure your patients remember you long after they leave the office, provide them with a small dental kit to take home. Most dentists with an eye for marketing opt for a promotional gift that combines real world utility with a manageable unit cost. Often, patients will receive a new toothbrush and toothpaste. Think about including a miniature customized calendar that can be used to track their dental appointments throughout the year. There are dozens of high-performance promotional gifts that can make your dental office stand out.

Growing your dental practice can be made easier by leveraging effective marketing techniques and paying special attention to the new patient experience. Focus on the fundamental considerations above, and you’ll boost patient loyalty and ensure repeat business for your valued practice for years to come.

Church Marketing that Spreads the Word & Grows Your Congregation

Here’s how to boost the excitement around your next service and attract and keep more people through innovative church marketing ideas.

Young Churchgoers in a Prayer Circle

Believe it or not, your church organization has its own “brand.” Just as we associate sleek design features and fast technology with Apple or sporty aesthetics and high performance with BMW, your church says something, too. How you define and communicate that message are fundamentals in building your church’s identity. By spreading that message, you’ll better engage your current congregation and continue attracting new members to your community.

Church Marketing Ideas

If you’re unsure about what kind of growth strategies can help your faith community, these five tips will help put you on the right path for starting your church marketing plan:

  1. Create Custom Church ProductsReligious Organization Journals

    People can sometimes be shy about reaching out to people they don’t know. By giving church members tools that enable them to easily create conversations, you’ll drive more people to your house of worship. Have them give away customized notepads or other inexpensive, yet effective promotional church products that invite others to come to your church with ease. A research study performed by Church Central discovered that 9 out of 10 unchurched people would go to church if simply invited. Choose giveaways that will find their way onto people’s desks and refrigerators, like promo magnets, pens, or other small, useful items.

  2. Maximize Social Media

    Use the largest and most accessible marketing channels to tout the benefits of your church by taking to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to connect with the community. Publish a new blog post each week for your website, then link to it via your social media accounts. This will help keep members informed on updates and inspired to continue attendance – especially if they’re new to your congregation. Make sure you favor quality over quantity when it comes to social media.

  3. Order Printed Religious CalendarsJourney of Faith Religious Wall Calendar

    Design customized stick-up calendars that can be sent to prospective church goers in the area. Calendars are perfect for tracking church events, special services, religious holidays, and more. Sending these religious calendars to your existing congregation can improve the percentage of members who turn out each week. Additionally, by targeting non-members, you can also increase the odds of more members of the community finding out about your church, while also providing them something of value.

  4. Sponsor Educational Classes

    Use your existing space to support ongoing classes, which can range from financial literacy to parenting classes. Donate meeting space to community groups to increase awareness of your community. A solid church growth strategy should, in part, focus on driving prospective members to the church via events that bring together diverse groups with shared interests, like food festivals, musical concert series and seasonal celebrations.

  5. Show Your Funny Side

    You’ll attract positive attention when you lighten up the mood with a funny or lighthearted video that can be posted on your website or social media. It doesn’t have to be silly or cartoonish, but it must be memorable. Show people your church is relatable and inviting. This can help reinforce the unique identity of your faith community. Seek out volunteers from those who are interested or might have experience filming and video editing.

Getting the message out about your church doesn’t have to be a chore. By using a good mix of the church marketing ideas listed here you’ll put more members in the pews each Sunday without breaking a sweat. Need fresh ideas to help your church growth and marketing efforts? Contact National Pen today!

7 Real Estate Agent Tips for Real Estate Marketing

Now that we’re well into 2017, it’s a good time to get going on the New Year’s resolutions you made at the beginning of the month if you haven’t started yet. These realtor tips should get your resolutions in full swing.

Real Estate Agent and Couple Looking at Homes

Setting goals and making resolutions is a great practice in theory, but in order to make any real improvements, they must be followed by action. Due to the hectic nature of the real estate world, it can be easy to sweep work resolutions under the rug and carry on with your normal practices and habits. But, staying organized and better managing your real estate business will help you to become more in control, which can only lead to good things this year.

Realtor Tips for Success

In an effort to help you maximize productivity, we’ve compiled seven real estate agent tips that will help you get a grip on any disorganization and chaos in your everyday life and make you a top agent in 2017.

  1. Make the Most of Your Open Houses

    Holding open houses is key for real estate agents to attract possible buyers for their clients. Open houses require a lot of preparation such as multiple client meetings, scheduling, real estate marketing, making sure the house is ready to show, creating and printing copies of brochures, etc. Once this hard work is done, make the most of your scheduled open house with a featured giveaway. This giveaway should include a product the viewers will value, like a customized reusable bag, which will also accomplish promotion of your brand.

  2. Send Memorable Mailing Campaigns

    Real estate is a competitive game. Any seasoned real estate agent knows clients will not simply come to you without any effort on your behalf. With so many buyer options, you must distinguish yourself in every way possible to avoid getting lost in the shuffle. In order for your real estate agency to stand out, it’s important to reach clients through a variety of outlets.

    Some have discounted mail as an obsolete form of communication, but it is still an influential way to efficiently reach a vast number of potential clients. Offer a product potential future clients will utilize, while keeping your brand front of mind. Your mail campaign should include unique, customizable home-shaped magnets, which deliver a personalized message and is an inexpensive option for tight real estate marketing budgets. Unlike a business card, these magnets will not be overlooked and thrown out with the rest of the promotional mail. Instead, potential customers can easily affix them on the fridge and automatically serve as a reminder when they need a real estate agent option.

  3. Never Miss an Appointment

    Between the many forms of communication today and the variety of obligations real estate agents inevitably deal with daily, time management and scheduling can be tricky. Staying organized and on top of your meetings is imperative to continuing good relationships, retaining clientele, and being seen as a professional and knowledgeable real estate agent.

    While most everyone has forgotten to follow up or has been late to an important appointment in the midst of a busy schedule, doing so will no doubt lead to negative associations for you and your brand. This type of behavior can damage your clients’ trust in your competence as their realtor.

    This can sound a little intimidating, but all you need to stay organized and composed while on the job is a calendar. Note all your appointments, follow ups, and reminders on a desk calendar. You’ll be able to juggle the never-ending to-do list much better when it’s all organized in one spot.Office Setup with Laptop and Mug

  4. Always be Prepared

    No real estate agent ever has their smartphone far from their reach. How did anyone ever live without these magical handheld computers that seem to be involved, in some way or another, in our entire lives? A main part of the real estate business is talking on the phone – whether you’re calling potential homebuyers, communicating with sellers, or everyone else in between.

    Ever since the smartphone surfaced and dominated the communication industry, we use our phones even more than calling. We use them for everything from checking emails to setting reminders. Because of this dependency, never allow your phone battery to reach that dreaded one percent. Keep a portable phone charger handy and avoid the stress of missing that next important sale.

  5. Stand Out with Events

    Promotional events are a great way to attract homebuyers for your clients, as well as networking with potential future clientele. To ensure you make the most of your efforts of putting together and marketing a promotional event, make the best impression possible with everyone you encounter.

    Use promotional products, such as banners and signs, to stand out and encourage attendance. It gives you a chance to highlight your brand in a positive way, while also catching the attention of those in attendance and others passing by.

  6. Keep in Touch

    Ongoing communication helps to build positive relationships and increase referrals and repeat business. To help manage your time spent connecting with clients, prioritize the people in your database who have proven to be most valuable to your business. Send your bests clients a luxury tumbler set to express your appreciation for their ongoing business with you. Treating your best clients to special treatment is a great way to reinforce and even strengthen those profitable relationships.

  7. Cover All the Bases

    Real estate transactions are notorious for their complexity, which is why your knowledge and services are needed by so many. Closing a deal involves large sums of money and a complicated process. Once you have seamlessly executed each step for your clients including negotiations, inspections, etc. – you have finally reached the closing process.

    These involve contracts that need thorough review. Don’t drop the ball once you’ve reached the home stretch, and always come prepared with extra promotional pens on hand for clients to use when signing their closing documents. It may seem minor, but it helps those final steps to the finish line go as smoothly as possible.

These seven real estate agent tips will show your clients how prepared and professional you are. They will help you stay on top of your realtor game in 2017, while also providing real estate marketing value to you at the same time. That seems like a win-win to us.

5 Simple Tips to Give Your Logo Love

Place your logo on products that are both functional and meaningful to help with brand placement that will get the word out about your business and help your audience fall in love!

Hand Drawn Logo with Love Theme

A brand’s logo placement is a key consideration when crafting the ultimate promotional marketing campaign. Just ask Starbucks. They had to repaint many of their delivery vans because its corporate branding changed from “Starbucks” to “Sucks” when the sliding door was open – making for the infamous Starbucks Sliding Door Van Fail. This is a popular example of a good logo placement gone wrong, which then changes how the public associates this messaging with their brand. Determining your logo placement requires a good amount of thought and TLC for a successful campaign that will have your customers falling head over heels in love with your company.

Logo Tips for Placement Dos and Don’ts

You can’t just put your logo on anything and everything without considering a few factors and logo tips. When you’re planning your upcoming promotional campaign for brand placement, ensure your logo is prominently displayed for all to see. Aim for a location that makes sense, and on products that pair with your brand’s overarching mission.

Here are some do’s and don’ts to make sure your brand placement is highlighted appropriately:

  1. Do:

    Take advantage of promotional gifts like calendars and day planners, as they can be customized to showcase your logo on a part of the product that isn’t affected when someone turns the page or flips to a new month. Make sure the logo placement or brand information is positioned where it will deliver maximum exposure.

  2. Don’t:

    Pay for advertising space without considering how appropriate that space is for your brand placement. Billboards and larger advertising initiatives can quickly eat up a tight budget. Consider the cost benefits before putting your brand on display.

  3. Do:

    Place your logo on items that can serve as alternative business cards. For example, a small, inexpensive flash drive makes a powerful promotional giveaway item because you can store your catalog or other relevant company data on it, saving paper and printing costs. Your customers and prospects will see your logo prominently displayed on the drive each time they access your company information.

  4. Don’t:

    Sacrifice quality for quantity. It may seem like an easy solution to put your logo on anything and everything possible, but make sure you’re attaching it to well-made promotional items that will readily associate your brand with something that has tangible value.

  5. Do:

    Align your logo with trends. When creating a promotional marketing campaign, keep in mind that tactile gifts are becoming increasingly popular these days. Stress balls are especially fun as a small but simple gift that can help raise brand awareness, while helping other decrease their stress.

When you’re ready to create greater visibility for your brand, keep in mind you not only have to create a great logo, you always have to place it in the right spot. By following these logo tips, your audience is sure to grow to love your brand even more than before. For more information about promotional marketing gifts, browse our catalog of customizable items and see where your brand logo placement will make the most impact.

One Week Until Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday

 

If you’re a small business owner and haven’t yet prepared for the upcoming Small Business Saturday (SBS) event on November 26th, you shouldn’t count yourself out. Sure, it pays to begin the planning process a few months ahead of time, but you’ll effectively pull this SBS off by considering some of these last-minute marketing tactics that have proven effective over the past several years. Consumers spend an average of $15 billion on this important day of the year for small businesses – will you get a piece of the action?

Below are 5 tips to prepare for next week’s Small Business Saturday!

Create an Offer and Push It

Use your social media pages to connect with your existing fan base and valuable prospects, then deliver a Small Business Saturday offer they can’t refuse. Becuase social media topics and messages tend to spread like wildfire, this medium can help you overcome a lack of time. Make the offer unique or truly advantageous for the shopper, then get it promoted immediately.

Ensure You’re Staffed with the Best

While this may seem obvious, you absolutely must staff your business (whether it’s e-commerce or a physical location) with individuals who are customer experience focused and will help you earn repeat business. Small Business Saturday isn’t about a one-day sales extravaganza. Rather, it’s all about creating new connections with clients who will hopefully become repeat customers. Arm shoppers with customized tote bags to use while in the store and/or to take with them as they go.

Get on the SBS Map

Maximize your business’ visibility during this important event. Go to the American Express website and add yourself to their map of businesses participating in Small Business Saturday. Then, head on over to Google My Business and register your company right away. You’ll start to appear on computers and mobile devices as potential clients search for relevant companies in the area.

Create a Blog Post

Provided you’ve already invested some time creating an online/social media profile, you’ll want to get a blog post out to promote the event. Link to the American Express Small Business Saturday page to add some weight to the event. Then, post about the history of the day and how important small businesses are to the national economy. You can even include the promise of a gift within the blog post – have the reader bring you a screenshot of the post and then offer them a $10 gift card back on any $100 purchase, or $25 on a $250 buy. They’ll likely spend the gift card with you, anyway.

Host a Holiday Open House

Plan a small event in your store or business with holiday sales, treats, and drinks for guests to enjoy while they shop. Put together simple gift bags filled with homemade cookies, bite-size candies, or a mason jar filled with ingredients for hot cocoa for the first 50 shoppers.

There are just a few days left until Small Business Saturday, so get your business ready, your inventory stocked, your employees prepped, and your marketing out there – and make it a great holiday season!

Building your Brand – Basic Fundamentals of Turning your Idea into a Business

You’ve done it.  You’ve finally decided to launch your business.  Now to get your name out there so you can have customers.  You have all these skills, but running a successful business requires more than just knowing the service you provide, it requires getting your business brand out there.  ready. Set. Go.  Here’s what you need!

Name

“Keep it simple stupid,” The saying our mom’s have been telling us our whole lives.  A name should be easy for your customers to remember, and even easier to spell.  Anything more and anything less and your customers will either never find you or not remember.

Logo

A lot of money has gone into studies about colors and shapes, but realistically, your logo should reflect your company. The best thing to do is think about all your favorite brands, gather up images of their logo and ask yourself what comes to mind when you look at their logo.  Do you think the person who created this logo wanted you to feel this way?  From there, write down what you like and try to incorporate it into your logo.  Once you have a prototype, think about investing in graphic design help from a professional.  Meet with them, tell them your vision and list out the qualities that inspired your prototype and w3atch them bring your logo to life.  Try to give them as much detail and direction as possible to keep cost down and money in your pocket.

Business Mantra

What solution are you providing? If you’re a lawyer, are you helping win cases?  Of course, you are just like all the other lawyers out there!  So what makes you different?  Is it your pay as you go pricing or your ability to communicate the law to the average Joe?  Think about the solution you provide, how you are going to deliver it and why they should choose you.  Write it down, and more importantly, make sure your business practices this every day, from you the business owner, to every employee who represents you.

Start Small, Build Big

If you are a lawyer, everyone you know and interact with should know you are a lawyer. Going to the grocery store and you strike up a conversation with someone, give them your card.  If you can’t sell your service to the people around you in your daily life, then throwing money at high dollar marketing plans will be risky.  If you say things like, “they won’t buy from me because they know me too well.”  Well then ask yourself, why they don’t trust you and work on yourself to build your brand and gain their trust.  Sometimes convincing the people that know you best will be your toughest test, but overcome those obstacles and you will set yourself up for success.

Do It yourself Marketing vs. Paid Marketing

There’s time to go cheap and there’s times to spend the dough. Knowing when to and when not to can be tough.  But like step 4, start small and test.  Exhaust all your free options and take the lessons learned from them to figure out a solution for paid marketing techniques.  Perhaps contract work out to test again new theories you are not experienced with.  When you find someone or something that works, invest smartly and capitalize.  Many programs these days offer simple, easy to use paid marketing techniques for business owners looking to develop this skill set.  Watch the videos, contact the company and soak up as much knowledge.  Facebook business offers simple solutions but find someone with success using their programs so you can know what you are getting into.

There’s probably a million more things to list and even more to do, but starting with some basics to help you develop a roadmap to success will keep your wallet full and your knowledge growing.  Good luck!

Selling for Business Owners who didn’t know they would have to Sell so much when Running a Business

You wanted to open up a mechanic shop, a photography business or restaurant.  You love working on cars.  You can find the beauty of how light should reflect off the subject you are photographing.  Your friends have been raving about your chef skills for years and you never have leftovers after a night in the kitchen because everyone eats it all like it’s their last meal.  Whatever your skills are, you have now accomplished the dream of opening up your own business.  Now to keep that dream alive, you realize, you have to sell that dream to investors for money, your coworkers to work hard and your customers because you need their consistent business.

In this article, you’ll get the basic fundamental tools you’ll need to learn, or at least get comfortable selling. 

Greet

More than just hello, the greet starts as soon as the customer sees you or your business. Clean appearance, dressed for the occasion and an organized look even before saying hi will get you started on the right foot.  Make eye contact, shake hands sternly, and say “pleasure to meet you!”  After pleasantries, the most important aspect is to ask an open ended question, meaning, ask a question that can’t be answered with a “yes or no” response.”  For instance, if you’re a photographer, and someone ask what are your rates, before answering, get the customer invested by asking some simple question such as, “what kind of pictures are you looking for me to take, who are you giving them to, and what inspires you to take these?”

Understand

When the customer answers your questions, don’t interrupt, but listen. Absorb as much as you can and find things to build on.  Find what the customer truly wants from her interaction and experience with you and find a way to deliver the desired results.

Evaluate

Think, think, think – it’s okay if you don’t have an answer right away, just make sure you are asking questions to drill down as deep as you can to find what your customer wants. Gather all the info, confirm you have everything correct and then think about how you can match your service to her expectations.

Suggest

Now you have a few options to suggest and suggest away! It’s best to give customers a few options, at different price tiers so they can make the decision on how much to invest. Perhaps you baseline package offers what the customer wants, but a premier package solves a customer’s future issues making it easier for them in the long run.  Always suggest based off what they ask for and mention as valuable to them.  Never guess or assume what they need or don’t need as you are still trying to gauge a customer’s level of interest and readiness to buy.

Take Action

You’ve listened, you offered different packages and now you know what the customer is interested in. Time to take action.  This is the step most people are often afraid of.  They don’t want to come off as pushy and aggressive, but at the same time, you know you’ve offered a great deal and the customer just needs some reassurance.  To go along in our mock example, a suggestion could be during the negotiation process, to start snapping a few fun photos of the person on the spot. Show, sample and give them the fun, light hearted feeling of working with you.  Show the pictures to them share some more ideas and ask “what day do you want to take pictures?” or “a deposit today will lock in your date, do you want to use cash, check or card?”

Re-evaluate

The customer still isn’t ready. That’s okay!  Rome wasn’t built in a day.  If it still doesn’t work, list out the entire customer’s request again, and explain how each request is solved by your product and service.  Suggest they look up your reviews.  Offer them a low cost incentive for purchasing today or within a 24 hour period.  Tell them to talk it over with their spouse but make sure they have all the info in a clean offer letter with an incentive to purchase sooner rather than later.

Referral

Great news, they purchased. Your work isn’t done yet.  After fulfilling your customers request and making sure they are satisfied comes round 2. Ask them if they know anybody who could use your service.   Perhaps even offer a discount or finder’s fee.  Ask to be tagged in their photos on social media.  And last but not least, ask them for a review of your services on your website or social media accounts.  Always ask for a referral.

How Premium Gifts can uplift Employees

Premium gifts serve the basic purpose of your standard gifts, to reward good behavior and encourage your employees to strive for more.  Encouraging this type of behavior will make your employees feel respected and appreciated.  It will also help determine who wants to develop their career for the long term. Here are some reasons to give your employees the not just gifts, but Premium Gifts!

Thank you gifts

Numerous studies have often said employees love when their manager tells them “good job!” A thank you gift can go a long way to improving employee morale. It doesn’t have to be over the top or too expensive either.  It just simply has to display how thankful you are to have them on your team.  Consider a pen and journal set with a special thank you message.

Top Performer Gifts

everyone knows the saying of “Show me the money” but sooner or later, your staff will want to be recognized as the top worker bee.  Reward the person, the department or the company who performs the best.  Maybe it’s a special coffee mug, stainless steel water bottle or portfolio for them to show off around the office.

Most Improved Gifts

Keep morale in the office high by showing you notice the people putting in effort, trying to develop their skills and taking on challenges they once hid from.

Consistent Award Gifts

They show up every day, rain or shine, with the same can-do attitude. They put out the “fires” at work and find ways to still make the office life enjoyable for the people around them.  Need them to work a little late and they have no problem.  They are your consistent performers who you cherish.  Show them why you love to have them in the office.  Deluxe Lunch bags or ice coolers that resemble them grabbing their “lunch pail” and hard hat for a great day of work is a gesture to show how much they are cherished by your organization.

Team Award

Did accounting figure out a way to save on spending?  Customer Service find ways to keep customers coming back for more?  Or maybe sales knocked their quota out the park?  Reward the departments that show the best results and let their team celebrate together. Its important to foster an environment of winning together and rewarding the victories.