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Top 10 Reasons to Work with a Promotional Consultant
Bulky catalogs. Endless web searches for marketing items. Researching the best promotional items for your target audience. Yes, you could use your time scouring through bulky catalogs and chasing down your best pricing on promotional products online. But, that costs you time, and what if you aren’t sure what products would be best for what you are trying to accomplish?
An experienced promotional consultant will help answer your questions — even those you might not think of or didn’t know you should ask. He or she will help you create a program that will get you results, save you time, and conserve dollars for additional marketing strategies.
Here are 10 reasons why you should consider using a professional promotional consultant.
#1: Promotional consultants do more than push products.
Successful promotional campaigns don’t happen by chance. To realize goals and achieve results, promotional programs must be carefully planned, taking into consideration the audience, budget and, of course, the ultimate result to be gained. Yes, you can buy a product anywhere, but an experienced promotional consultant partners with you to solve problems, plan programs, and get results.
#2: Professional promotional consultants have access to vast product research resources, including an extensive database which contains more than 700,000 quality products.
Yes, you can find a mug online, but a promotional consultant can find HUNDREDS of mugs, in a multitude of colors, sizes, shapes, materials, designs, etc. Have you saved money if you purchase mugs that are not the right color? Is it worth the extra savings if you get mugs that break due to inferior quality?
#3: Promotional consultants are in tune with the latest trends, including hot items and the newest products.
Many online services show you the products they want to sell; a qualified promotional consultant will listen to what you want and help you find the right product for your needs. A qualified promotional consultant can add creativity, innovation, and imagination to your overall program to achieve your desired goals.
#4: Your promotional consultant is more than just a salesperson.
Chances are you will buy promotional products more than once in your career. Once a company uses a promotional consultant, this relationship often continues for years. Why? Your promotional consultant is someone with whom you have worked, someone you know and trust. In many cases, companies use the promotional consultant as part of the creative team, even including him or her in marketing meetings.
#5: Personalized service is the role of a promotional consultant.
A professional promotional consultant invests in the relationship with each client. When going online, your selection is what the internet company decides to make available. When you work with a promotional consultant, product selection is determined by your needs and goals, enhanced by the experience, creativity and recommendations of the promotional consultant who has your best interests at heart. Online, you’re a faceless, nameless buyer. With a promotional consultant, you’re a client with your own personal shopper, receiving service along with ideas and prices. When you order online, who monitors your order and your deadline? Your promotional consultant has your interests in mind. Seldom do you receive this kind of personalized, “hand-holding” customer service from an unknown online company.
#6: Industry promotional consultants can offer experienced advice on how to imprint items.
You may have found the perfect key chain, but will your logo imprint on it? Will it be recognizable? Some things don’t work, or something else might work better. A qualified promotional consultant can explain the best printing process for your program, your imprint, and the product you’ve chosen.
#7: Trained promotional consultants can save you money in the long run.
Often, a price you see in a generic catalog or on the internet does not cover many hidden costs, such as set-up, imprint duplication, shipping, etc. A promotional consultant can help you avoid unexpected and unbudgeted costs by quoting the total price upfront.
#8: Promotional consultants will work with you to get your artwork imprinted properly.
Say you want your company’s logo embroidered on a golf shirt. How do you insure it will be done properly and with the correct colors? A trained promotional consultant can work with you to insure accurate transfer of your artwork, including correct fonts, size, spacing and many other important factors. And your promotional consultant’s commitment to quality customer service will guarantee your satisfaction with the finished product.
#9: Professional promotional consultants can assist you in developing a workable distribution plan for your products.
Distributing a promotional product is as important as the item itself. Research shows that a carefully executed distribution plan significantly increases the effectiveness of promotional products. But what if the cost of distributing your product is more than the product and more than your expected ROI (return on investment)? A promotional consultant can help you avoid unexpected problems like these.
#10: Promotional consultants are the experts in their field.
When you’re sick, you want a doctor who has the specialization and training to help you. PPAI promotional consultants like Star Bullets Signs & Marketing meet the highest qualification standards in the industry and display “The Mark of a Professional.” In addition, the MAS (Master Advertising Specialist) or CAS (Certified Advertising Specialist) designation after a promotional consultant’s name means the consultant has earned the industry’s only official certification. There’s no need to spend all your time on the internet or searching through catalogs. Your promotional consultant will come to you — At Star Bullets, We make house calls!
5 Reasons to Consider Promotional Products
Promotional products are unparalleled in their ability to attract new clients, increase brand awareness, and show gratitude for your current clients and employees. Even with the rapid advances of content and digital media, we know promotional products are still a workhorse in marketing.
We’ve heard phrases like: “You have to give to get” and “You have to spend money to make money,” haven’t we? But what, exactly, are we supposed to be spending our money on?
They are a proven, cost effective way of marketing your company to a large, diverse audience while doing minimal work. Even if this sounds efficient, you might not be completely sold on this marketing tool. Consider the benefits of adding promotional products to your marketing plans.
1.) Opening Lines of Communication
The law of reciprocity: Give, and you shall receive.
A study by L.J. Market Research found that 52% of participants who were given a promotional item ultimately did business with that company. And, the remaining 48% of participants said they would be more likely to do business with that company in the future because of their gesture.
Giving out promotional products is an “ice breaker,” a very effective touch point in engaging with potential and existing customers. Because you handed them something, he or she is likely to listen to what you have to say.
2.) Drawing Attention
“Hey! Look at ME!”
Perhaps the most powerful word in marketing is “FREE”, so why not offer free things? Not only can promotional products help open lines of communication, but they can also get people to you all on their own!
Your trade-show booth can only be viewed from so far away, so how do you reach people all the way on the other side of the convention center? Include an interesting, creative promotional product offering at your booth, and those who receive one of your items will generate interest to visit your booth!
3.) Promotional Items Have Longevity
“How do I still have this thing?”
Printed and television advertisements might run for a few weeks, billboards for a few months, but promotional products are unique in that one item alone could potentially continue to advertise to new target markets for an unlimited amount of time.
Whether you hand out note pads, pens, t-shirts, USB drives, hand sanitizers, etc., these items are not large or expensive and are useful. Because they are used practically every day, it is favorable they will have long term market exposure.
L.J. Market Research completed another study that interviewed random business travelers in airports across the United States. They found that 71% of the participants said they had received a promotional product sometime in the last 12 months. And, of that group, 33% of those participants had that product on their person!
Unlike traditional advertising, promotional products never stop collecting impressions because they are constantly in use or being passed, or re-gifted, from one person to another. The cost per impression using promotional items is drastically less than that of traditional advertising.
4.) Increase Brand Recognition
Over, and Over, and Over!
Brand recognition requires repeated exposure to the brand name, slogan, and logo. It’s about how others see your company. Seeing the same thing over and over again is often one of the best ways to remember something and that’s where promotional products come in.
According to L.J. Market Research’s study, 76.1% of people who received a promotional product can recall the name of the advertiser that they received in the past 12 months. And, 52% of participants in the study did business with the advertiser after receiving the promotional product.
5.) More Positive Brand Exposure Than You’ve Ever Had
You are awesome!
Brand reputation can sometimes take a lifetime to develop into one that is particularly positive. Why not cut down on that time by using promotional items? 71% of participants in a study done by Louisiana State University could remember the company’s name that gave it to them. You can bet these people also had a favorable impression of the company as well, simply because of their gesture of goodwill.
Promotional items can also be given to employees to reward goals met, accomplishments and even just hard work in general. That particular employee will then, more than likely, continue their hard work at an equal or greater level because of the feeling of appreciation they received because of the gift.
Expand Your Company
Seriously what are you waiting for?
You’ve read the data, read some compelling examples, and it’s time partner with a promotions consultant who will help guide you into uncharted waters. While digital media propels us forward with content marketing, promotional products are still effective and deliver a favorable ROI.
What’s on Your Mind?
What’s on Your Mind?
When your business is the first business that comes to mind as a place to find a particular product or service, you have achieved what is called “top-of-mind awareness.” Top-of-mind awareness is built and reinforced through repetition.
What business do you think of when someone says, “golden arches?” McDonald’s. Or, what about the retail store that uses a red bull’s eye as its logo? Target.
Eighty-five percent of your customers live or work within a five-mile radius of your business. As the drive their morning and evening commutes, take their children to and from school, errands, and shop, they will travel by your location about 50 to 60 times a month.
Take advantage of the opportunity your repetitive traffic brings. By commanding their attention each and every time they drive by your business with a compelling, unique sign, you’re building top-of-mind awareness and branding your business. Make sure you include your signage in your overall marketing strategy.
For example, a Volvo dealership in Oregon always includes in its radio ads its address, followed by the phrase “under the big blue Volvo sign.” When people see the big blue Volvo sign they remember the commercial, and people actually look for the big blue Volvo sign when they need to make planned visit at the dealership.
Another form of repetition is key to effective branding. The name of your business, your logo, company colors, tag phrase, etc., should be consistent on your signs, letterhead, business cards, and print ads. No variations, be consistent.
Top-of-mind awareness is a coordinated effort to build consumer recall and recognition and to advance your brand and business to the forefront of the consumer’s mind. As our commitment to customer service, Star Bullets Banners & Signs is available to help its clients with business branding. Contact us today at 765-203-9111 for a free consultation!
A Fresh Start for Your Signage
Signs are everywhere, which is one reason why we overlook them so easily. While small business owners know they need signage, they think of signs as solely a marker that identifies their business. Because they are underutilizing the earning potential of their signage, they can’t fully realize the potential earnings of signage
Your on-premise, focal-point sign should identify your business, mark its location, and communicate the right image of your company. But, most importantly, it should communicate exactly what you are selling.
So, let’s take a fresh approach as we unpack the ABC’s of effective signage in a three-part series. At the very least, your sign should accomplish three goals:
- Attract new customers
- Brand your business
- Create impulse sales or interest
How Can We Attract New Customers?
Research indicates that 85% of your customers live or work within a five-mile radius of your business. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, 18.6% of the population relocates annually.
This means small business owners face a perplexing reality: every year you’re losing customers that you must replace with new ones, just to break even. Not a sound business model, is it?
If you only want to sustain your business (perhaps you plan to retire soon), then simply maintain your current customer base. If you want to grow your business, then you must increase your customer base. The quickest, easiest, and most economical way to attract new customers is with signage.
Building your Brand & Image with Signage
The first impression is the most important.
How many signs do you walk by without even noticing them? Your store and/or company sign is the first thing a consumer will see. It can say a lot about your business. Most business owners take signs for granted because they see them as simply an indication identifying the company. As a result, the potential of what your signage can accomplish becomes underutilized. Signage is more than just a sign, it is a key element to your marketing strategy.
Fact: signage is the least expensive but most effective form of advertising! A sign that is designed and placed well will essentially help boost your sales. How exactly does this happen? Signage has a big impression on people and makes them feel like they can trust the company and feel comfortable and confident entering the building. Your exterior sign should identify your business, mark its location, and convey the right image of your company. But, the most important thing it should communicate is what you are selling.
But don’t stop at a perfect exterior sign! When your exterior sign gives the customer reason to stop in, be sure to have flashy, well designed and well placed interior signs as well to make the atmosphere arousing to the first time customer.
So make your signage unique and stand out against the competition and ensure it conveys your image and message of your marketing strategy. A flashy, well designed and well placed exterior sign will pay off in the long run.
Wood You Ate at This Resturant?
Would you be willing to reserve your vacation with an upscale cruise line that offers “luxry accomodations” or provide your contact information to an online business that asks for your “adress” in the contact form? Maybe not. Even if you don’t think your customers care about spelling errors, they may notice your lack of attention to detail.
Inconsistencies, poor grammar and sentence structure can be just as unprofessional as spelling errors. Most businesses appreciate quality writing, and when mistakes occur it is generally not due to apathy. Rather, business writing errors occur due to a combination of the lack of proofreading skills and an inadequate proofreading process.
Whether you are proofreading a brochure, magazine advertisement, banner, sign, or graphics in general, here are some tips to help you avoid embarrassing errors.
- Use your house style. Simply said, adopt a standard of consistency for your message so that everything appears to have been written by one voice. Be sure to use consistent graphics and colors. Changing the proportions of your corporate logo to “make it fit,” is a bad practice. Be consistent.
- Right in front of your nose. While information such as numbers, percentages, and money tend to be reviewed with a fine-tooth comb, don’t overlook headlines or forget to display your logo and contact info.
- Create the design, then proofread it. It’s important to distinguish the difference between design-editing and proofreading so that you don’t find yourself in an endless cycle of designing and re-designing. Whereas design-editing allows you to find and correct errors and clarify your message, the purpose of editing is to check for mistakes that may have occurred during the editing stage. A proofreader should correct errors that are missed during editing.
- Sign off to reduce cost. Any changes that are made late in production are likely to cost you money. Insist on a proof of your design before your project goes into production. Keep in mind that design revisions are not edits to correct errors – they are revisions that will typically cost you additional money and threaten the risk that you could miss your project deadline.
- The eyes have it. When we write, we tend to see what we intended to write, not what we actually wrote. Utilize spell checking tools when available, and make sure your proofreader is not the designer.
Here’s Your Sign…Increase your Visibility
Last week we noted that even though your investment in exterior signage may seem lofty, it is one of the most effective ways to spend your marketing budget, according to the Small Business Administration. Once you have reviewed local sign codes, provisions for signage in your commercial lease, and architectural considerations of your building, you can begin to assess two important elements – conspicuity and readability.
Let’s begin with some helpful terms.
Conspicuity: This pertains to the sign’s capacity and ability to stand out or be distinguished from its surroundings and easily discovered by your clients. In other words, conspicuity addresses issues that are related to your client noticing and being aware of your sign. This can include the contrast between a sign and its background. Your client (and potential clients) need to be able to differentiate your sign from the surround background.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to measure conspicuity. Your sign may catch the eye of several motorists, while a pedestrian may walk by your sign without ever noticing it. One reason a sign will be conspicuous to one person and not another has to do with whether or not the person is looking for a particular business or a certain type of business. Someone who is ready to eat lunch is much more likely to notice a restaurant than someone who is simply driving to work. A person with a special preference for the color green will be more likely to notice green signs than another person who is neutral toward the color green.
Businesses need their signs to be noticed and remembered, but many times the sign competes for attention because it is positioned among many other visual stimuli, similar-looking stimuli, or a combination of both. Star Bullets Banners & Signs™ will partner with you to determine effective placement of your signage.
Readability: While aesthetics play an important role in the readability of any sign, people may only glance at your sign for less than a second to understand your marketing message. A creative message that includes inventive fonts, trending colors, and interesting graphics may grab attention, but you need your message to be readable. Here is the general rule for the appropriate letter height that you will need to ensure your sign is readable. A good rule of thumb is every 1 inch of letter height provides 10 feet of readability.
|Letter Height (inches)||Distance for Best Readability (feet)||Maximum Readable Distance (feet)|
Here’s Your Sign
Without question, your business investment in exterior signage is significant. According to the Small Business Administration, commercial and retail signage is one of the most effective ways to spend your marketing budget.
Star Bullets Banners & Signs™ prides itself in offering marketing expertise to assist clients in the design process to ensure that your sign investment will have maximum readability, making the best use of your marketing dollars. The purpose of any sign is to convey a message. If the message is to be understood, it must be noticed and read. Essentially, we are addressing two factors in effective signage – conspicuity and readability.
Beginning with the preliminary considerations, here is part one of our sign tip series.
1. Review the local sign code
Since signs are regulated by local government agencies, carefully consult and read thoroughly your local sign codes. This information will define the allowable sizes. Codes are in place, in part, to facilitate efficient resource allocation, enhance traffic safety, beautify retail and commercial districts, and stimulate the local economy. If in doubt, contact your local Star Bullets representative. They will be able to help you navigate the governmental red tape and may even be able to get the permits for you.
2. Review the sign provisions and addendums attached to your commercial lease
Confirm what type of signage is allowed, how/if it may be attached to the building, what colors are allowed, etc. Inquire about any building permits that may be required for sign installation. Again, you local Star Bullets representative can help with this.
3. Consider the architectural elements
Take note of all awnings, columns, contrasting brick work, or any building feature that could reduce the size of the sign, impede readability, or create installation problems. It’s much easier to address structural considerations during the upcoming design process rather than incurring additional costs under tight deadlines during the installation process.
Next week…tips for increasing the visibility and readability of your sign message.
Designing and Maintaining Vehicle Graphics
While a moving advertisement will bring your business more attention in the marketplace, you don’t want to spend money on vehicle graphics that will not bring immediate and long range success to your business. Carefully consider the graphics and how they will be applied to your vehicles. Skipping the planning step would be a waste of your time and dollars. Check out the following tips to learn more about how to design and maintain effective vehicle graphics.
- The five second rule. The primary purpose for using graphics is to cause your audience to pay attention to your vehicle. Most people who view vehicle graphics will give it no more than five seconds of attention. You will need to distract them from whatever else they were planning to do and cause them to look instead at you images and message. Scientific studies show that people are likely to look at the color red more than any other color, so carefully consider red in your design.
- Provide necessary information. Because your vehicle will be moving, keep in mind that your audience will only briefly see your message in most cases. Make sure your graphics serve a good purpose, and you include pertinent information so that your audience has enough information about your company, such as the name, phone number, and line of business. It is not helpful if your audience remembers your logo but cannot find your company to contact you for potential business. Make sure your graphics enhance and reinforce your line of business for greater impact.
- Less is more. Resist the urge to place a lot of information onto the space. Too many graphics or too much text can cause confusion and appear chaotic. Utilize the space you have to promote your company name, logo, contact information, and line of business.
- Keep it clean. Because you are appealing to a diverse audience, remember that different people will be offended by different things. Avoid using graphics and language that may offend others.
- Routine vehicle washing. Always make sure your vehicle looks clean and professional, making your business stand out and memorable. Most vehicle graphics can be cleaned using a mild car wash detergent and clean water, and followed up with air drying or a microfiber cloth. Be cautious about using mechanical brushes, pressure washing the vehicle, or harsh cleaning chemicals used in some care washes. Over time, these types of washing can degrade the face film causing the graphic to lose luster, fade, crack, and chip. For removing stubborn pollutants or debris, contact Star Bullets – Banners & Signs for special instructions.
How to Choose a Retractable Banner Stand
Business owners have utilized retractable banners (also known as pop-up displays) for several years for office displays and trade show booths. The vertical advertising medium continues to meet a business owner’s ever-changing needs – dynamic visibility, cost efficiency, reusability, portability, and easy to assemble and disassemble. Over the years the market has been flooded with product choices, including retractable banner stands. So, how do you choose the best product that will serve your needs?
- How often will the banner(s) be used?
Think in terms of its total life-span (e.g., a one-time event or multiple campaigns over an indefinite period of time). Also, consider how frequently the banner(s) will be assembled and disassembled, if it will be displayed in one location for a long period, or if it will be moved periodically. These considerations will help you to determine what type of hardware you need. If you plan to display your pop-up banner in a static location or use it for a one-time event, a budget banner stand probably makes sense for your investment. However, if your banner will need be used for a long period of time or will be assembled and disassembled frequently, you may want to consider a higher quality banner stand that will extend a warranty on manufacturing defects.
- Indoors or outdoors?
Outdoor banners stands can be used indoors, but indoor stands are not durable enough to withstand wind and inclement weather conditions. Outdoor banner stands are designed to endure any type of weather, and they feature scrim vinyl to help resist graphic fading due to sun exposure.
- What is the best size?
If you are using the pop-up banner for a trade show exhibit, you will need to know how much room you will have in your booth. A 5’ wide banner is a popular choice. However, that size might disrupt the flow of traffic in a 10’ x 10’ booth. In that situation, a 31.5” stand would be a better choice. Or, you might want to consider one large back-wall display comprised of three smaller banners to optimize the space and achieve the marketing presence.
- How often will the banner need to change?
If you foresee a need to rotate your marketing message, a banner stand that features an interchangeable graphic cassette would serve you well. While slightly higher in the initial cost, these stands allow you to change the banner as often you wish and hassle-free. Whereas, traditional banner stands are designed for one use only.