Category Archives: Marketing Tips

5 Holiday Small Business Marketing Strategies for Growth

The influx of holiday decorations popping in stores in early Fall (if not sooner!) makes it known that both big and small businesses think about the holiday season much sooner than the actual holidays on the calendar. And for good reason, people want to feel prepared.

Business Owner Standing Outside of Small Business

By the end of September 2016, 14% of Americans had already started their holiday shopping, and 1 million people were already completely finished with their shopping lists. Holidays retail sales also increased by 4 percent year-over-year in 2016 to reach $658.3 billion spent in November and December, the prime of the holiday season.

Is your business ready to handle the influx of traffic? Do you have strategy to attract new visitors to your store, while also catering to your loyal customers? Do you know how to grow your business activity during the holidays? Here are 5 small business marketing strategies to increase your growth during the busy holiday season.

  1. Expand Your Product Line

    What products will you have ready for sale specifically for the holidays? If you don’t have brand new items to introduce, think about repurposing your most popular items as part of a bundle that’s perfect for gift giving. Or, think about adding a homemade element to your available products. Brainstorm with your team about ways you can use the products you have and make them more relevant for the holiday shopper.

  2. Promote a Stress-Free Zone

    In-store holiday shopping can create quite the frenzy rather than feeling festive. Create a mini stress-free zone in your store complete with coloring books, colored pencils, stress relief balls, and fidget spinners. Set up a table with refreshments inviting guests to sit down and take a few minutes to relax or let them take a stress relief item with them to go. This will invite people to linger in your store longer and find an extra benefit of adding your store on the must-visit list.

    Woman Doing Holiday Shopping Online

  3. Sell Through Different Channels

    While brick-and-mortar stores should take full advantage of the additional foot traffic thanks to holiday sales, don’t forget about promotion on your social media channels and via email as well. Set up a small business marketing strategy to keep customer constantly engaged throughout (and beyond) the holiday season. Ideas might include a countdown to savings promotion where each day a new offer is revealed on your Facebook or Instagram page. Make sure your communication aligns both online and offline to avoid confusion, meaning if you’re selling an item for 25% off in an email campaign, confirm if it’s exclusive to online shoppers or if it will be honored in-store as well.

  4. Host a Holiday Event

    Small Business Saturday is the biggest day of the shopping year for small businesses, but don’t miss out on other opportunities to get your products in front of a larger crowd. Research fairs, festivals, and pop-up shops in your city and set up a booth or co-sponsor an event to draw more people to your business. Customize a business banner special for the event and set up a table that will entice people to stop by. Holiday-themed treats, swag bags, and an eye-catching setup are all good ideas to attract shoppers.

    Even if people can’t make the event, it still puts your brand front and center when they’re thinking about their holiday shopping lists. The goal is to get more people to your store to buy your products, but it may not be from a singular communication. An invitation to a fun event is one way to draw attention to your business during the busy season.

    Small Business Storefront with Holiday Sale

  5. Have a Sale

    This business strategy continues to work because everyone loves a sale. This is especially effective if you are in direct competition with other small businesses around you. If you are selling similar products, what aspects will help you stand out? Most likely it’s going to be lower costs. Having a sale can also be a strategic way for you to make room for new inventory once the holidays are over.

Using Small Business Marketing for the Holidays

When it comes to business strategies for small businesses, the unique aspects of your business that will make the most difference. What do you have to offer that your competitors don’t? What will make you stand out this holiday season? Discuss these strategies with your team, and decide how to grow your business by applying them and making the them work for you. Stock up on customized merchandise today to help power you through the holiday season – and the days of holiday shopping leading up to it!

Tricks of the Tradeshow: Gimmick-Free Trade Show Tips

Winter is coming – and with that come the last quarter, end-of-the-year trade shows. On average, businesses attend 22 regional trade shows and 14 national trade shows every year. Rather than fight the fatigue of conference and trade show overload, embrace it and make it a successful wrap up to 2017.People Walking Through Tradeshow HallBy now, you and your team may be tradeshow pros, but it never hurts to have a refresh to deliver your best impression and make your attendance a success. You don’t have to rely on all the flashy gimmicks or over-the-top presentations. Stick to what’s worked in the past and amplify it. Give tradeshow attendees an experience that is engaging, educational, and entertaining.

Here are three areas to cover before you set out on your final work conferences of the year and trade show best practices, tips and tricks to keep in mind and take into 2018.

Review Booth Etiquette

First impressions are everything, which is why your team must be on top of their game with every work conference. Even if people are casually walking by your booth, it doesn’t create a good impression if everyone has their head down distracted by their phones or computers.

  • Conduct staff training pre-conference.

    One way to prepare for upcoming events is by conducting role play of possible interactions with customers or potential clients. This will help your team feel more confident in how to address questions and represent your company in the right way. Also, schedule staff training whenever someone new is added to the conference travel team. Don’t miss the opportunity to put your best professional face forward.

  • Finalize dinners and event sponsorships.

    Coordinate how you will be connecting with your audience beyond the conference room floor. Is there value in becoming a sponsor of the conference or hosting a special happy hour or dinner with select attendees? When reviewing your fourth quarter budget, creating a more personalized experience [link to personalized experience blog] can help you stand apart from the competition.

People Manning a Tradeshow Booth

Update Tradeshow Booth Display

Your tradeshow booth setup is the first thing conference guests will see. Ensure your visual display is as eye-catching and interesting as your product or service. A poorly designed tradeshow both may indicate to a passersby that your team is unprepared or uninteresting. Visually engage visitors with well-planned trade show displays for the ultimate experience.

  • Finalize tradeshow booth additions.

    The shell of your trade show displays and all the supplies you need for setup should be ready to go, so now’s the time to add the final touches. This can include a new customized banner, updated business cards, or swag bags filled with additional personalized items to provide value for anyone who stops by your booth. Visualize the setup and create a checklist to ensure all items make it to the show.

  • Confirm shipping arrival dates.

    With any trade show, there is always last-minute inclusions or swap outs that need to make it to your final destination. Check the shipping schedule deadlines to ensure all your equipment and furniture make it to where it needs to go. If you are taking your own transportation to the show, use your checklist when packing up your vehicle.

Implement Guest Interaction Trade Show Best Practices

The way you talk with your co-workers is usually far different from how you would interact with work conference guests. Here are trade show best practices to keep in mind and relay to your team when it comes to guest interaction:

  • Friendly is key – but exude extra professionalism.

    Most tradeshow attendees are meeting you for the first time and may not relate to your sense of humor or jargon.

  • Maintain personal space.

    Although the excitement of the trade show floor can be contagious, make sure you are presenting a welcoming vibe rather than an overbearing one.

  • Introduce yourself.

    This may seem obvious but initiate a connection by introducing yourself and your company position.

  • Don’t do all the talking.

    While you may feel like you need to get as much information out as possible, take time to reflect on what those who stop by your display are saying or asking.

Expo Hall Visitors Walking to Next Exhibit

Trade Show Tips and Tricks for Success

  1. Make sure your freebies serve a purpose.

    Conference swag is a staple of the showroom floor, but is the trade show merchandise you’re giving away providing value? As an example, since winter is the height of cold season, attendees will likely be extra appreciative of hand sanitizer freebies, which you can customize with your business name.

  2. Create an interactive booth space.

    The tradeshow floor is all about interactions, so make your trade show displays inviting by offering an element that makes people want to stop by. Whether it’s a prize wheel, scratch-off giveaway, or mobile device setup to demonstrate your product/service, people don’t want to see what you have to offer. They want to experience it.

  3. Focus on quality over quantity.

    In some instances, it’s not about sharing a laundry list of everything your company provides. It could be an introduction of one new product/service. It can be focusing on one new feature or a special exclusive to tradeshow attendees. Gauge your audience per conference, and select the best of the best of what your company has to offer.

As you finalize your trade show strategy for the rest of 2017 and the upcoming winter conferences, remember to keep the experience authentic and gimmick-free.

Shop Trade Show Merchandise

Why Personalized Marketing is Essential for Small Business

Small businesses typically do not have the budget, manpower, or resources that bigger businesses have. However, if you’re a small business, you can make up for this by adding marketing personalization to your efforts.Group of People Receiving Personalized Marketing MessagesWhether your customers are visiting you online or in-person, they are looking for a personal experience when shopping. What current efforts do you have in place that speaks to your target audience’s specific needs and wants? How are you making it personal for them?

According to research conducted by Infosys, 86% of shoppers say marketing personalization has at least some impact on what they purchase with 25% revealing that personalization significantly influences what they purchase. That’s a large chunk of customers you might be missing out on simply because you aren’t adding a personal touch to your small business marketing. Not to worry, you can fix this and update your strategies just in time for the busiest shopping days of the year!

  1. Personalize Your Message

    Think about who you are trying to connect with before launching your next marketing campaign. If you identify targeted audiences you think will find value in your products, you can better position your messaging to speak directly to them.

    For example, if you are in the salon business, maybe one of your targeted audiences is the stressed out parent who needs to take time for themselves during the hectic, end-of-the-year season. Alternatively, if you sell insurance, maybe your messaging is geared toward parents who want to protect their families.

    Rather than thinking in terms of buying and selling, think in terms of providing answers to questions and solutions to problems. When you take the “business” aspect out of the equation for a minute and hone in on what your customers need, you’ll find personalized marketing strategies come more naturally. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

    • Include the recipient’s first name in each email campaign you send out.
    • Include language that speaks to how a person is feeling across all your marketing copy.

      Examples: “Feeling stressed out? Let a [salon service] help you relax.” or “Protect the most precious commodity you have – your family –  with [personalized business products for insurance].”

    • Segment your audiences and send promotions most relevant to them.

      Of the hundreds of ads your customers will see this holiday season, an offer specifically catering to their interests is the one that will produce the positive results you’re looking for.

    Personalized messaging is essential so you can target different audience segments with the products or services they need most rather than taking a one-size-fits all approach that misses the mark.Man Shaking Hands with Trade Show Attendees

  2. Personalize the Trade Show Experience

    One of the biggest advantages of attending trade shows or open market events is the opportunity to speak one-to-one with customers who are already familiar with your brand and those who are new to your products and services. While your physical presence already makes the interaction more personal, this is an opportunity to further personalize your company, small business products, and services in way that leaves a lasting impression.

    Make the most of your end-of-the-year trade shows while preparing for the upcoming season. Also, local vendor festivals and holiday markets are popular this time of year. Add a personal touch no matter which events you decide to attend to better connect with your audience and make your brand memorable.

    • Show instead of tell.

      Set up a product demo, if applicable. Even if you’re in the business of selling a service rather than a tangible product, guide attendees through the process. Show how simple, convenient, and valuable it is.

    • Create a welcoming space.

      Host a raffle or free giveaways with personalized marketing products at your trade show booth. It will entice people to stop by and chat with you longer while boosting your brand’s visibility.

    • Know your audience.

      A convention-style trade show has a different vibe and different expectations than a local vendor show. Adjust your “presentation” to accommodate the audience you are going to be talking to.

    Personalizing the trade show or vendor market experience is essential to connect with new audiences who may not have as much familiarity with your brand.

  3. Small Business Owner Putting Together a Marketing Personalization Strategy

  4. Personalize Your Merchandise

    Decide what makes your brand memorable. When you’re a small business, it’s all about making the personal connection to encourage loyalty from customers. As Small Business Saturday creeps up, create personalized business products and create ways for people to interact with your business in a fun and engaging way.

    • Personalize tote bags emblazoned with your logo, company name, or tagline.

      Fill it with local treats, coupons, and other small items that won’t make your budget suffer and will make your shopper feel special. You can also use this giveaway as messaging to direct your online audience (via email or social media) to your physical store. “First 25 customers to visit us this Saturday will receive a free tote bag full of goodies.”

    • Customize a banner and host a pop-up shop.

      If you’re hosting an event somewhere other than your store, you’ll want the brand recognition to remain with you.

    • Create a direct mail campaign with branded stress relief products.

      Stress is common among the holidays, so why not address it in a fun way and offer your customers a promotion or offer at the same time.

    Personalized marketing through merchandise is essential to strengthen your brand presence in the market and help create loyal customers through a genuine connection.

    Small Business Personalized Marketing Strategies

    This holiday season, create a marketing personalization list and check it twice to ensure you are providing a special shopping experience for every person who interacts with your business. You can achieve this by personalizing your messaging, the trade show experience, and your merchandise.

    Continue this one-to-one connection through your interactions online, over the phone, and in-person. Rather than the one-and-done shopper, you’ll find with marketing personalization, you’re more likely to create customer loyalty for a lifetime.

Attending a Summer Work Conference? Bring These 10 Items

Work conference season is in full swing, which means ample opportunity to get your company’s brand front and center among both peers and (potential) clients. Meeting Professional International reports there are approximately 1.8 million meetings and professional events every year in the U.S.

Businesspeople Attending a Work Conference

When conference planning for the rest of the year (and into 2018), consider creating a checklist of what materials to pack, so you know the plan every time you go. If your company is a sponsor or vendor of the event, this is a prime opportunity to showcase your value and have one-on-one connections with decisions makers and others interested in your services or products. Make sure you have enough marketing collateral that will differentiate yourself from competitors to make the best impact before, during, and after the conference.

If you are just planning to attend a conference, you’ll still want to ensure you have what you need to market yourself and your company in the right way, especially during networking times. Work conferences are a good mix of learning and collaborating; consider what you can bring to the table. As a conference planner, vendor, attendee, or all three, don’t forget to take these 10 items on your next work conference trip.

  1. Notebooks

    Generally speaking, work conferences are like one big study session. There are thought leaders from every industry who come to speak to attendees about developments in the business, answer questions to frequently seen problems, and announce anything new and exciting upcoming within the industry. It is a lot of information at once, and in short, attendees will want to take notes. While it’s possible they’ll be taking notes on a laptop, sometimes pen to paper is still the best way to go to jot down a few memorable quotes or stats in a notebook.

    Per one NPR article, note taking with a pen trumps laptops since most people who use their laptops try to take down the information verbatim. Those who use pen and paper process the information first, which helps with retention, in order to highlight what’s important and why it matters. Using branded notebooks for giveaways at your booth is an easy way to display your company’s name and make it visible amongst a sea of likeminded individuals.

  2. Banners

    Vendors or companies with a conference booth should consider having a customized banner to call attention to their setup. Most likely, there will be a limited space for a table, chairs, and marketing materials. The trick is to make your setup stand out from the rest on the conference room floor.

    A banner that displays your logo, tagline, or something else eye catching in front of your work conference or tradeshow booth will make people pause an extra second before moving onto the next booth.

    An additional bonus is that when packed well and preserved back in the office, you can get multiple uses for the banner to use at other work conferences or non-conference events, such as volunteer activities and outdoor outings

    People Taking Notes at a Work Conference

  3. Flash Drives

    If you are the conference planner for your company, think about the type of conference you’re going to and what would be valued most as a giveaway item. A flash drive could be highly coveted among many industries – plus, it takes up very little space. Anyone who uses a laptop for their job can find use in having one. Even if they don’t use one at work, most likely they have use for it at home.

    If you have brochures or a special promotion during the conference, save it to the flash drives you give out. That way, people can receive the information digitally, on their own time. It will help eliminate waste, and reduce the likelihood of your flyer or paper handout from being thrown away.

  4. Phone Chargers

    In addition to taking notes, networking, and attending breakout sessions, it is likely those who attend a conference will be checking emails, texts, and social media channels on their phones. A phone charger is ideal to have in your bag when attending a work conference, since most sessions last an entire day and outlets and breaks could be few and far between.

    A basic charger can be a fun, useful giveaway at your booth, but also having a couple on hand for those in your company attending the conference will make sure you are connected throughout the day. Nothing is worse than watching your battery charge go down with a good part of the day still left to go. Conserve your battery when at the work conference, but have backup ready too.

  5. Seasonal Swag

    As a conference vendor, or when you send a sales team to represent you at a tradeshow, it can be challenging to stand out. One way to be more memorable with thoughtful conference planning is to match with the season and create clever collateral based on an upcoming holiday or even the work conference location itself.

    As an example, if you’re headed to sunny California for a conference, a relevant swag bag item could be a pair of branded sunglasses to enjoy during their quick stop at the beach. Plan your conference attendance in advance and perform research to match your marketing materials with the conference theme and/or destination.

  6. Water Bottles

    Water bottles are one of the most popular conference items because they’re convenient, useful, and keep people hydrated throughout the long days. The value of the water bottle is its resourcefulness, but what makes it a keeper? One idea is to add extra goodies in the bottle like a flash drive, pens, or candies. You can also slip in tickets in the bottles redeemable for a prize, discount, or free service at your booth.

    Businesswoman Presenting at a Work Conference

  7. Hand Sanitizers

    With so much networking when you attend a conference, there will be plenty of closed in spaces and hand shaking. It’s not a bad idea to carry hand sanitizer to fight off germs. Again, here’s your chance to get creative with branding personalization. Consider going a step further, and get your business card printed on the hand sanitizer. Your business information will surely be more recognizable in this way than battling an endless pile of business cards.

  8. Earbuds

    Earbuds are a more unexpected conference item that may be well received, as many people may have flown in for the event. According to a publication from the S. Travel Association, there were 457.4 million business trips in 2016 with 38% specifically for business and meetings. Research also shows 33% of all domestic business travelers are going by plane. A pair of foldable headphones doesn’t have to be costly, and can also make for a good raffle item, if you want to create a swag bag to give away to a lucky winner. Even as an attendee at a work conference, it is an easy opportunity to display your branding in a fun and functional way.

  9. Candy

    It is rare when someone turns down free candy. From mints to jelly beans to lollipops, the options for sweet goodies are endless and can be a great incentive for people to stop by your booth as they make their way through the conference floor. The sugary pick-me-up may be just what they need to get through the rest of their day, and they will surely remember and be grateful to the company that gave them a sweet treat for stopping by the booth.

  10. Pens

    Sounds too simple to be true, but how many times have you been in a situation without a pen when you need it most? Pens are not as commonly carried as one might think, so having extras doesn’t hurt, especially if it’s a quality one. Pens are also often passed around or loaned to a friend, spreading your message to a larger network. Keep the branding simple on the pen with an email or social media handle to make connecting with you easy.

Equip employees with collateral every time they attend a conference. Company t-shirts and branded office supplies are inexpensive, but can be effective. Consider the audience, the participation, and the goals of every conference you go to, because most likely, they will slightly differ. When it comes down to it, successful conference planning and execution involves engagement over everything. It is nice to have swag to help break the ice or use as an incentive, but it’s really the personal connection that will help form new professional relationships. Friendly interaction is the added unspoken “item” you don’t want to forget as you hit the work conference circuit this summer.

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 Logo 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.