Category Archives: Marketing Tips

Do Your Part, Raise Awareness!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Breast Cancer has touched and afflicted the lives of many, and it is during this month that we all should take time to acknowledge this devastating disease.  Whether you are a fighter, survivor, or somebody that has been touched by the disease, we should all take part in raising awareness to promote hope, further inform those around us, and seek advancement in medicine for a cure.

How can one become involved?  There are many ways this October to become involved in the fight against Breast Cancer.  Whether through charitable acts, joining a fundraiser, or simply donning the pink ribbon to show your support, anyone has the power to raise awareness.  The most important factor in becoming involved with the cause is to show your support with kindness of heart and dedication.  You can find further information about National Breast Cancer Month at the National Breast Cancer Foundation: (http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-awareness-month?gclid=CPejhoy71rICFad7QgodgEwAJA).  The website gives in-depth information about what the month entails and highlights possible ways to raise awareness and get involved.

National Pen and Breast Cancer Awareness!  We at National Pen extend our thoughts and respect to all of those who have been touched by this dreaded disease.  During this month, National Pen is dedicated towards informing those who follow us about the importance and significance of spreading awareness.  We are taking a first-hand approach through the products we offer (Breast Cancer Inspired!) and our involvement with those who share in our business activities.  Our Breast Cancer inspired products allow you, your business, consumers, and others to show support through actively raising awareness.  Help combat this disease and raise awareness through our products!

Show Your Support by Promoting Awareness:
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http://www.pens.com/drinkware/11-oz-ceramic-mug/mug

Also Check Out Pink NFL Pens:
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Let us all remember to do our part the rest of this month in raising awareness.  Each day is another step forward, and through our support and recognition we can help raise hope to all!

It’s National Thank Your Customers Week

The first week of January is usually a busy week for everyone. We set business and personal goals, get excited about the promises of a new year, and are often just taking time to catch up after the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. This week is also National Thank Your Customers Week. As you begin 2012, remember to take a moment to thank those who supported your business in 2011. Everyone likes to feel appreciated.

Showing your appreciation can be as simple as writing a personal note to your best customers. Include a favorite inspirational quote to help set the tone for a great year. If you didn’t get a chance to give thank you gifts last month, here’s your chance. Personalized calendars are a timely option. You can also give gifts that support your customer’s resolutions for the New Year – a lunch bag to pack healthy meals, a duffle bag to take to the gym, or a new padfolio or business card holder to get organized.

However you choose to thank your customers, make sure they know you value them. Keep your message personal and memorable, and you’ll be off to a great start!

Get ready for Small Business Saturday

Saturday, November 26, has been dubbed Small Business Saturday – a day all about supporting YOU. For the second year, US consumers will be encouraged to shop small and support the local businesses who continue to create jobs and boost our economy.

Next weekend marks one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year so make sure you make the most of it. Check out tips on how to promote your business in the days leading up to this event and take advantage of the opportunity to put a lasting message in the hands of the new customers that come through your door. There’s still time to use our Rush service to purchase personalized gifts that ship in just 48 hours.

Our tried and true Contour pen with bright full color designs is both impressive and practical. And it’s Made in the USA!

Our Monthly Patriotic Pocket Planner is a great way to say “thanks for your support” all year long.

However you choose to welcome your customers, we hope that Small Business Saturday is a huge success for you. Kudos to American Express Open for rallying us all to support small businesses nationwide.

How you can make small marketing dollars equal year-round advertising

One of the easiest ways to keep your message around month after month is with a promotional calendar. Calendars don’t get thrown in a drawer, they get coveted wall space, and they are a unique way to display your personalized message. Cost-effective and budget-friendly, calendars are a great way to show your customers and prospects you care. They make great holiday gifts and are the perfect way to generate goodwill and brand awareness at the same time!

We offer a variety of calendars and planners to fit your brand, your budget and your look!

Our most popular option, the Reflections Wall Calendar, offers style and stunning graphics for a fraction of what you would think.

For a touch of fun, choose the Mickey and Friends Wall Calendar with colorful Disney designs.

The Translucent Monthly Pocket Planner comes in vibrant colors and will help keep your ad message in the hands of your customers and prospects all year long!

The Bristol Deluxe Weekly Planner with a FREE pen is sure to impress everyone who receives this elegant planner.


No matter what your budget or your style, there is a calendar out there for keeping your business in view 12 months a year. Tell us what works best for you and your business!

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Guarantee Your Sales!

Have you ever taken a plunge on a new product and realized it just wasn’t what you were hoping for? I know I have, and as a direct result, when I do my online shopping, I look for a guarantee. Though it might seem like a big risk as a small business, guarantees can actually pay you back with more sales, customer loyalty and buyer confidence.

When customers are looking for which product or service to choose, a guarantee might be the deciding factor – offering the risk-free purchase they desire.

Some of the other benefits of offering a guarantee are:

Customer Buying Confidence – offering a guarantee ensures customers they can purchase with you with no need to worry

Increased Sales – If someone is not 100% sure of their purchase, this might give them the final push they needed to complete the sale.

Give you a leg up on the competition – This can be a real differentiating point between you and your competitors – so use it in your advertisements and marketing!

Internal quality control – In order to make sure these guarantees don’t have to be used, this can create a way to ensure the best service and product you offer is consistently being delivered – a sort of check and balances for your internal team.

With a good product or service and a sound guarantee in place, you are sure to see sales skyrocket!

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The Power of Word of Mouth

Word of mouth marketing has been a proven tool in generating interest, traffic, awareness and ultimately – sales. But how has word of mouth marketing changed in the past few years? With the advent of the internet, information is literally at your fingertips in a matter of seconds. Wide searches and reviews can generate foot and internet traffic for retailers and businesses.

However, one of the most important advances has been the use of social media for businesses. Forrester analyst Augie Ray recently wrote Word of Mouth and Social Media: A Tale of Two Burger Joints. This article discusses how two wildly popular restaurants rose to success – one over the course of 10 years, and the other – in just one year. How did this happen, and how can we all learn from this success?

- Twitter and Facebook engagement – get followers and fans and talk to them…it’s a quick, informal and viral way to disseminate information
o Offer prizes for contests such as trivia, scavenger hunts, pop quizzes, and holidays
- Use social media for promotions to drive and retain loyalty
o Offer special deals, sales, or insider information to encourage your customers and
prospects to visit often and enjoy the site
- Create videos on YouTube – product, sales, events…the possibilities are growing every day!
- Focus on time, not money.

Social media requires very little money to be successful, but it does require time. Devote time to creating interesting and compelling tweets and posts, and responding to your interactions. This type of activity fosters some of the most powerful word of mouth success available.

So get out there and be social start with us!

Sizing Up Your Competition

When formulating a marketing and sales plan, one of the best places to start is with your competition – what better way to get a feel for what is working, what you can do better, and how to set yourself apart? As Steve Strauss discusses in his article How to Research Your Competition, using marketing research and competitive analysis is key in understanding the market landscape.

So just how should you research your competition?

1. Start with their website – it should contain history, product or service positioning and other useful information.

2. Do physical research – visit their store, call their customer service or purchase from them…what better way to see how they do business than to become their customer?

3. Speak to their customers – either literally or though their reviews and feedback.

4. Attend industry events – where they might present, attend or share information.

In short, once you do your homework, knowing what the competition does right (and wrong), can help you set your business and strategy apart and give your business the boost it needs.


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Going Green – for your environment, for your business!

Being eco-friendly and saving our resources is not just an environmental issue. It’s also a great way to save dollars in your business, and reach out to your customer and client base. Some obvious benefits of following the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” adage are: saving our environment, reducing waste, and saving money.

But what are the not-so-obvious benefits?

Why not use your ad message in a “green” way – like putting your imprint on a Shopping Tote? Many stores encourage the use of re-usable shopping bags, and some even charge for bags or boxes. What a simple way to keep your name and message in view!


Many offices are also downsizing their disposable supplies – that means no more Styrofoam coffee cups for some. Put your message on their morning coffee mug and encourage business and saving the environment.


Use these simple products to have an additional (and eco-friendly) way to stay in touch with your customers, and show them you care them, AND the environment!


For more tips on green business tips, visit http://www.business.gov/expand/green-business/.


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Trade Show Pay-Offs

In the world of small business, trade shows can be some of the best investments that can be made. They offer an opportunity for live interaction (and in recent years, virtual interaction) with fellow business members, customers, partners and vendors within your specific field. Networking, advertising, learnings and demonstrations are carved out for a customizable experience for each attendee or exhibitor.

How can you make the most of these shows? Joanna Krotz discusses her strategy with Microsoft in her article “9 Steps to Making Trade Shows Pay Off”. She outlines key points, such as creating a strategy, research, having a backup plan and getting noticed. In the strategy of getting noticed at trade shows, there are a few schools of thought, however Krotz suggests a dialed-down, more personalized approach. Rather than overwhelming attendees with flashing lights and massive displays, she suggests using personalized coffee mugs with company information as a give-away with plenty of fresh coffee available at your booth. Also, she recommends collecting business cards to raffle off a single high-value item.

No matter how you decide to use Krotz’s tips, trade shows, if done right, can provide fantastic ROI in the form of leads, sales, relationships and thought leadership.

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Cross-Promotion for Small Businesses

Small business owners are often faced with the challenge of how to most effectively market their business with restricted budgets and resources. An article on bestsyndication.com titled 5 Ways Small Business Can Cross Promote, outlines the top 5 steps for making the most of your marketing dollar through collaboration.

1. Find complimentary business
2. Make an offer
3. Combine Mail-outs
4. Create a combination display
5. Link your site
This is an interesting approach to collaborative marketing. Often times, complimentary businesses or strategic partners pair up at tradeshows and conferences or in advertising campaigns. Perhaps a little ‘out of the box’ thinking can help uncover other uses for this team marketing methodology.

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