Is Your Marketing Plan Scoring a Hole in One?

Regardless of the size of your business, you can expect that you will be approached by local organizations to sponsor community events, fundraisers and other special initiatives.  Many merchants embrace the opportunity to connect with the community as an opportunity to generate publicity for your business but also as a forum to develop rapport and goodwill with your target clientele.

 

Often, the greatest platform for business is not a cash donation, which might secure you a live mention or printed recognition in the event program.  Instead, when you have the opportunity to offer a donation “in kind” you have an opportunity to best maximize your visibility to that new audience but also give them a sample of your wares which may serve to improve your odds of seeing a return on that marketing spend.

 

As the temperatures start to climb and Albertans itch to get outdoors, golf tournaments are often a great venue for you to ensure that your brand is seen by both participants as well as event organizers.  If you are in a business that offers services or products that may be attractive to that clientele, sponsoring a local tournament with an in kind donation could put your product line in front of a whole new demographic, one that understands the importance of quality and the prestige of being ahead of the pack.

 

If your marketing plan is considering sponsorship of your local golf tournament, here are some strategies to keep in mind:

Consider products that are not disposable

While it would seem that golf balls bearing your brand are an obvious choice, consider your own participation on the local links.  How many times have you lost a ball in the rough or on a water hazard?  Has the value of that ball inspired you to seek it out rather than replace it?  Though golf balls are an implement used by golfers, their value as currency is very low.  How much value is your logo to your clientele if it’s sitting in the bottom of a watery ditch?  The same applies for tees or the short pencils kept at each hole to keep score.  Instead consider products that are likely to be retained and valued by those lucky enough to get their hands on them.

 

Be Mindful of the Quality

The greatest advantage that merchants have by pursuing an in-kind donation instead of a cash sponsorship is that it allows them to offer a sample of their wares.  When you put a product bearing your logo into someone’s hands, you want them to take note of the quality and not to discard it before packing their golf bag into their vehicle and heading home.  If a player has had a good day on the course, a prize donation of logo’ed glassware might serve as both a great reminder and conversation starter as that participant relives the story at social gatherings for years to come, forever attaching your brand to that fond tale.  For the lucky recipient, both the quality product as well as the treasured memory become entwined.

 

Set Yourself Apart from the Pack

If you have ever been to a local tournament for fundraiser where local merchants have donated items for prizes or a silent auction, have you ever found yourself rather dis-satisfied with the slate of items that is up for grabs?  Consider not only what products will make people readily think of your business and brand, but what they aren’t seeing from other vendors.  If they are not already familiar with your brand, they may not wear a ball cap or golf shirt with your logo embroidered on it.  Be creative with your selections.  With the growing number of products and novelties available, you don’t have the break the bank to stand out from the crowd, you just need a little imagination.  At Laser Screen Printing and Embroidery, we can help to introduce you to some innovative product lines that will set you apart from the crowd.

 

Your product choice is intended to build relationships

While many merchants may be hesitant to become a visible sponsor for local events as it opens the door to an endless parade of requests from other events, projects and causes, it is important to remember why you are putting your name out there in the first place.  You are attaching your name and your brand to events and building a rapport with event organizers that encourages them to keep you in mind and to reach out to you.  A successful sponsorship should see those organizations encouraging their patrons to support the sponsors that are responsible for the successful events, and under the best circumstances should inspire those organizers to become familiar faces in your business to ensure that they can call upon your support next time.

 

By reaching out the first time as a gesture of goodwill, you invite the host organization to do the same.  Look at many of the successful annual events around Edmonton and take note of some of the ongoing sponsorships that come from small business.  That shows you that the exchange of support has successfully fostered that relationship over time.  It is important to remember that in the sponsorship game, it is often hard to directly calculate the return on investment in dollars over a single year, relationships take time the grow.

 

How Do You Get Started?

If you have been considering sponsorship as part of your marketing strategy but aren’t sure where to start, that’s where we can help.  As Edmonton’s leading provider of promotional products and branded apparel and specialty ware, Laser Screen Printing and Embroidery can help you to customize a marketing product line that won’t break the bank, but will create value for your investment.

 

We encourage you to browse our website, give us a call or drop by to see our showroom to find the ideas that will help you expand your business profile this year.  Our team has worked with many business owners just like you to identify the products and ideas that will elevate your visibility in the Edmonton market, without breaking the bank.  Let’s get started.

Building Brand Awareness with Custom Products

Building Brand Awareness with Promotional Products

 

Let’s face it, in a city of over 800,000 like Edmonton, building brand awareness to become a household name to the customers that mean the most to you can feel like a formidable challenge.  There is a lot of competition within your industry, but there is also a pull on consumer attention from a variety of other influences as well.  Promotional products can be used as an effective means to reach your audience in an impactful way that will create a connection and start to establish your brand presence in the market.

When you consider your investment in promotional products that will have the desired result, here are some of the criteria to consider:


Advertising current services.

There are thousands of promotional merchandise items available on the market, but consider which ones best associate to the current line of products and services that you offer.  If you are a firm that promotes healthy lifestyle choices, probably your message isn’t best conveyed on a logo’ed ashtray.  What is it that you do and who are your primary customers? Those two questions might help you to identify a promotional item that best aligns with your brand to ensure rapid association.

 

Marketing a new service or product

The expansion of your business to present new products and services to your clientele presents a great opportunity to develop a promotional products.  Issued in step with the launch of your marketing strategy, these products serve to create an immediate awareness of something that you hope to become known for.  Especially if you have established your business in the community and are well known for a specific type of service, putting a product in a client’s hand expresses a personalized invitation to give you a try in your new business line.

 

Remind Customers of What You Do

One of the worst mistakes that someone can make in business is to get comfortable with the notion that previous marketing efforts have ensured that “everyone knows us already”.  Marketing is an ongoing function in business, so from time to time, it may make sense to simply remind people about what it is that you do.  A promotional item that draws that ready association to your business and your brand is a worthwhile investment.

 

Build your reputation in the community

It could be that your promotional item is an in-kind sponsorship to another community cause or organization that residents are passionate about.  Maybe as a sponsor for the local minor sports team, your logo appears on the magnet listing the season’s schedule.  While only indirectly promoting your own business, you are establishing a connection with an activity that their family is involved with/may be passionate about.  It helps to establish goodwill and trust in your community.

 

Your employees become ambassadors for your brand

Used in the course of routine business and to establish good will with your potential client base as well as to reward your existing clientele, your employees can feel more empowered to represent the brand by giving away these promotional items.  The more voices carrying your message within your market the better.

 

Ready to get started?  Are you looking for ideas?

Whether you have a specific promotion in mind or are curious about what products are available that can help you meet the objectives outlined in this article, we invite you to drop in and see us for your greatest selection of promotional products in Edmonton.  Call us, reach us by e-mail or come visit us in our showroom to develop promotional products that will create a measurable result for your brand awareness in the city and wider trade area.

Get Creative With Your Business Cards

Get Creative with Your Business Cards

Standard doesn’t have to mean boring.  That is especially true when you start to design your business card.  For decades, even in the face of many changes in business technologies and processes, the business card continues to be a staple of communication among professionals to exchange contact information.  But just because the avenue of communication has been pre-determined, that doesn’t mean that you’re limited to doing the exact same thing as your competition.  Your card can be as individual as you are to set you apart from the deck.

 

Consider Your Colors

When you think business cards, what commonly comes to mind as a white cardboard rectangle with black text and maybe a splash of color via a logo emblazoned on the top corner.  Several years ago, this may have been simply a matter of economy – as full color gloss printing was a much more expensive option to pursue.  Now, with the evolution of printing and the accessibility of color, you have a full slate of options to ensure that your card doesn’t get shuffled into a pile that includes your competitors.  Consider colors.

 

Color has been find to inspire emotion in the viewer.  You can use this to your business advantage to help generate a connection with your new contact through your card alone.  Consider these colors and how they are used by popular brands that you know:

  • Red declares excitement.  It is considered youthful and bold
  • Orange is friendly, cheerful and confident
  • Yellow communicates optimism, warmth and clarity
  • Green is peaceful and is associated with growth and health
  • Blue communicates strength, trust and dependability
  • Purple is used to convey creativity, imagination and wisdom
  • Gray is considered a neutral color but is used to communicate balance and calm

 

Pictures are Powerful

The philosophy that a picture is worth a thousand words is especially true when you are thinking about business cards.  You have limited space to communicate your message, so when you can include a head shot, to attach your face to your name, or use the flipside of your card to simply display a photograph that sells your product or service, imagery can be a very powerful component to ensure that you remain atop your client’s mind.

 

Consider more “active” designs

Start with a blank card and look at it to identify how you could bring the card itself to life.  Maybe additional flaps that fold over one another to create a 3D representation of your products and services could be the eye catcher.  A relator or architect might consider small fold over walls that turn your business card into a miniature show home.  This type of innovation brings your card to life.

Maybe the inclusion of a QR code which can be scanned by a smart phone and direct customers to a website or a video about you and your business can give your card more power to promote what you have to offer.

Consider that while you should be mindful that cards larger than a standard size might be problematic for a customer or colleague who files their cards in a business card portfolio, that doesn’t mean you are restricted to cards of the same shape or that will fill the entire frame.  If you own a pizzeria, maybe your business card is shaped like a slice of pie.  Photographers might include their message on a transparent panel in the center of the card which projects with light onto a wall.  There are many creative approaches to business cards out there that are changing the way we look at the standard tools of communication for business.
In Edmonton, business cards are a focus of the work that we do at Laser Screen Printing and Mero Sportswear.  We welcome the opportunity to discuss your ideas and to share from our portfolio of completed work to help you develop a one-of-a-kind format that is sure to turn heads.  Give us a call, drop us an e-mail or visit us in the showroom to get started on developing a business card that belongs at the top of the deck.

On the go Promotional Products

Branded Products Make Both Dollars and Sense

Promotional Products Make Both Dollars and Sense

When you are looking for an effective vehicle to help promote your brand without breaking the bank, the first option to consider should be promotional products.  With a wide variety of products from the practical devices that will be used in the home or office every day to the unique conversation starter that creates an immediate association with your business, promotional products offer a slate of options that are as individual as your own tastes.  Here are some great reasons you should be thinking about including promotional products in your marketing strategy:

Your customers and employees become brand ambassadors

Let’s face it, as active as you are in promoting your business in person and through all of your marketing channels, you can’t be everywhere.  Word of mouth can be a powerful tool, so putting a clever item in the hands of your satisfied customers can lead to them talking about their experience with others and driving more traffic through your door.  Additionally, encouraging your staff to freely distribute items over the counter when potential customers come into your store, even if they are just browsing, will help to create a favorable first impression and probably a second visit to make a purchase.

Your brand name and phone number are now readily at hand.

One of the biggest challenges that any business has is ensuring that their message is hitting home with their customers.  Will they retain that flyer they received in their mail box?  Will they remember the ad they heard on the radio while driving to write down the info when they next stop?  Everyone loves a free gift and a promotional product is more likely to be in the home where it is seen every day, perhaps even on a product that gets used by everyone in the home on a regular basis.

Promotional items keep you top of mind and can be a great conversation starter

Consider the impact when colleagues are talking about their collective successes over the past year and are mentoring others to achieve the same success.  Those professionals that have used your services can readily point to your business as a provider they have had success with in the past.  The right item, placed on a desk top can be a curiosity that begs further explanation or discussion and before you know it, your business is on the tongues of a room full of business people that may be in the market for your services.

Look around your own home.  What do you see?

If you’re still not convinced of the power that promotional products have to find themselves into the homes and offices, take stock of the products that are in your own home.  Maybe you have a wall calendar from the local insurance agency or financial institution, perhaps a local plumber is affixed as a magnet on your refrigerator.  Whose pen do you have in your desk drawer?  Chances are a quick search around your own home or office will reveal dozens of businesses and brands that you didn’t realize.

Let’s continue the conversation.  Visit us at Mero Sportswear at 5615 – 94A Street Northwest in Edmonton, or check us out online at merosportswear.com  We can help you expand the reach of your brand with a selection of popular promotional products and handy devices that will get people talking.

Making a Brand Association with Business Products

Making a Brand Association with Promotional Products

You want your customers to think fondly of their interaction with you and the quality of both the products and services that you have provided them.  How will you maintain that relationship?  You’re certainly not going to call up those customers on a weekly basis and shoot the breeze.  What if there was a way to ensure that they were regularly reminded of you and in a manner that allowed them to share their positive experience with others?

The ability to do that is within your reach when you incorporate the use of promotional products into your marketing strategy.  With the wide variety of items that are available, you can even customize what you have to offer to set yourself apart from the pack and reinforce your brand at the same time.

Think about your core business

What is it that your company provides?  Do you provide personal or business solutions for people on the go?  Then think about what other needs that travelers might have that allow you to further become a part of their daily lives.  For the busy traveler or commuter, a travel mug or water bottle might be an essential piece of their everyday equipment.  You could further expand upon your rapport with that customer by issuing a branded drink container that they will see and use every day.

The same principle can apply to any business.  If you are in the business of outdoor leisure – perhaps as a camping outfitter, a recreation vehicle dealership or even a manufacturer of back yard fire pits, a great item to add value to your customers might include a durable camp chair with your logo to demonstrate the complete package of services that are offered by your firm for those who actively enjoy the outdoors.  Your logo and name on the back of the chair or arm rest becomes a conversation starter and an indirect referral to others to explore how you stand out from your competitors.

What do you know about your customers?

Besides patronizing your business, what other common traits do your customers have that might create an idea for a valuable promotional product that would be appreciated by as wide an audience as possible?

For students or working professionals, a portable memory stick or an external hard drive might be an essential piece of kit that they use every single day.  To attach your name to the work files and personal data that they hold most dear might ensure that you are putting your brand in front of their eyes daily.

How do customers typically connect with you?

Don’t forget that while you are issuing a promotional product to a customer that knows about you, as they spread the word directly or indirectly, they are going to cross paths with customers that you haven’t met yet.  When customizing your promotional products, be sure to include the main methods of contact.  That might be a phone number, your business address, a website address, or information on your social media page for them to seek out for further information.  What’s the point of putting your name out there if you aren’t helping people to easily get in touch?

 

We can help you create a strong brand presence with your present and future customers through promotional products.  Visit us at Mero Sportswear at 5615 – 94A Street Northwest in Edmonton, or check us out online at merosportswear.com.

Let’s Make Your Business Card Unforgettable

In business, the standard currency for communication in most professional and social settings is still considered to be the classic business card. Even in the modern era of technology where we can reach out to our contacts electronically, the exchange of business cards is still recognized as a required gesture to build rapport when we first meet new clients and contacts in the workplace or at a trade show.

But, if you have ever attended a large conference or trade show where you made dozens of contacts with new people, what you may find is that the stack of business cards you have collected starts to become an indistinguishable pile of names, phone numbers and contact information that all seem to blend together.

Through the exchange of a simple business card, what can you do to ensure that you will stand out from your competitors when they take your card? Is there anything you can do to elevate your first impression from the very issue of that item of social currency? Here are five clever hints to ensure you leave a lasting impression.

Remember you’re working with a visual medium

Yes, you will pay more to be a little artistic with your card, but this is an investment that will pay off if you are strategic.  Look at the business cards that have been handed to you during your career. Which ones stand out the most? Consider the use of bold colors, images, and create a card that grabs the reader’s attention. Steer clear of the boring white background and black font and incorporate your brand and logo. A double sided card allows you to present a stronger visceral image on the front and dedicate the reverse side for your name and contact information.

Photography

Remember the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words? Re-enforce the interaction that you have with your contacts by putting your own headshot on your business card. This can help the visual learners among your new contacts to more readily remember where and when they met you when you follow up at a later date. You see this commonly with realtors and financial advisors as putting your face out there to the public helps to build credibility and trust with your clientele.

Preview your specialty/philosophy

Do you have a unique approach to your trade that resonates with your current clients? Don’t be afraid to be bold and include that vision as part of your card perhaps as a brand image, or included as a thought or text bubble on the front of your card accompanying your photo. What do you represent in your industry? Why should clients put their faith in you? Include that verbiage on your card and it can be a very powerful draw for the people that you meet who share your values and vision.

Think beyond the 2×3

In a world that is saturated with millions of standard two inch x three inch business cards, don’t find yourself in a position where you feel that you need to fill in the blanks on that traditional rectangle.  Take the opportunity to experiment with other shapes even a subtle change can mean the difference from someone accepting your card and jamming it into their pocket without looking at it or taking a moment to focus on what you have just presented.

Why can’t your card be in the shape of a square or an oval if that better communicates how you’re different from your competitors in the field? You may want to consider that someone who maintains a large directory of business card contacts will want to slot this into a standard business card rolodex or binder so if you can still accommodate the slot for the cards that others are issuing, that may have the best chance of being retained over the long term.

Consider your industry

Ultimately, the look and feel of your card may come down to the type of industry that you’re in. A As part of a larger corporate environment, the brand standards may already be established that allows for very little flexibility. A However, as an entrepreneur, or as the brand manager for your firm tasked with finding new ways to creatively engage the market, your field may influence the design of your business card. A trucking industry business card might be a fold over card that includes the look and shape of a truck in your fleet, a greenhouse might offer a card that doubles as a sample pouch for seeds as a gift to new contacts, or in the hospitality industry promoting your night club or restaurant, you might consider a business card that bears the appearance and shape of a coaster. A There is literally no limit to the creative direction that business owners are taking with their cards from photographers that have developed a transparent card that appears like the view through a camera lens, or a home builder that has brought their brand to life with the silhouette of a home as a fold over format, showing the yellow glow of the flipside of the card through the windows.

We have just what you’re looking for

At Laser Screen Printing and Embroidery we have helped individuals and companies to create the unique look they are looking for in Edmonton with their business cards. A Working with a wide variety of top suppliers across the country, we can find the products that will meet your expectations while observing your available budget. A Give us a call or drop in to see us in person and let’s explore what’s happening in your industry and how we can contribute to helping you deliver a dynamic first impression that is sure to be remembered. A From concept through to the printing and delivery of a stunning card right to your hand, we guarantee that you’ll be excited to get out in front of new clients and put your card in their hand. A Call us today.

Stand Out From the Crowd At Your Next Trade Show

A trade show can be one of the most dynamic and exciting environments to showcase your business.  The energy is electric and the pulse of the event beats at a high tempo, but it is easy to get lost in the shuffle if you don’t arrive prepared and ready to introduce your brand and product to hundreds or thousands of new potential customers.  Among a field of your competitors, how can you be sure to stand out from the crowd and demonstrate a measurable return on your investment for participation?  We find that many of our clients getting ready for their first Edmonton trade show or for their first foray outside of the city have questions about how they can maximize their investment of time and money at trade shows.

Here’s some of the best advice that we can suggest:

Make a Game Plan Before The Show

Participation in a trade show shouldn’t be an expense on your ledger that you simply have to write off as a marketing expense.  Just like any other day in the office, taking your business on the road to a trade show should represent opportunities for you to make at least as much in sales as you would be not having visibility on site.  If not, it may not be worth your investment of both time and money.  While show promoters won’t guarantee the volume of sales that you can secure as part of their show, advancing your business requires more than just the exposure that these events can offer.

In advance of the event, market your involvement to your customers and your following on social media.  You may also want to send out an e-mail to some of your key contacts to make them aware that you will be one of the exhibitors on site.  This provides a great opportunity for you to promote an exclusive promotion that will be available only at the show to inspire interest for people to attend and connect with you.  Get creative – maybe you want to offer a bonus promotion to existing clients as well as something introductory for new customers that are finding out about you for the first time.

You should also take time to educate yourself about which of your own direct competitors are planning to attend.  This will help you to consider how you might set up your booth to differentiate yourself from those companies and avoid a duplication of similar engagement activities that those marketers might employ.  Additionally, make plans for who you will connect with at the show to expand your network, source new suppliers or promote your services to other merchants that may be in the market for your product or service.  Growing your business is about more than just the engagement with customers who will be touring the show floor.  Approach the event as an opportunity to meet and network with professionals from a variety of fields.  You never know what conversation might inspire some new ideas for the growth of your company.

Your planning should include preparation to sell.  Bring all the tools that you need to conduct business and convert interest into sales from the trade floor.  Innovations such as Square which allow for credit card payment processing directly through a mobile phone has been a great resource for merchants who take their product to the market on the road.  But also consider pens, receipts, order forms and quote documents that you use most commonly to conduct business.  Don’t lose sales by showing up unprepared to meet the needs of your potential customers.  That includes having a sufficient inventory on hand of some of your popular products so you can capitalize on impulse buys on the show floor.  Trade shows do create a sense of urgency for buyers, but if you don’t appear to be prepared to meet their needs, you may not get a second chance to make the sale.

If you plan to use technology at the event such as running audio or video, you may want to ensure that your booth has that capability and that you will be situated nearby an electrical outlet as required.  You may also wish to keep your mobile device charged up if you are using it to process credit card payments or using it to scroll through your website or other online resource for engaged buyers.  You might also choose to post regular updates, photos, videos to your social media page to promote your attendance at the event and share highlights with your network.

First Impressions Are Key

The activity on the trade show floor can create a bit of a sensory overload for patrons.  Every ten feet is another exhibitor that has paid a significant sum for the opportunity to get in front of those attendees with hopes of selling their wares.  You can give yourself a strong start by ensuring that your displays, backdrops and banners are bright and eye catching.  Invest in a professional design that you can use to your advantage in any environment.  Remember, that the point is to create brand awareness, so your name, logo, and slogan should be prominently featured in a manner that doesn’t get lost in the mix.

When trying to capture the attention of new customers that are not familiar with your brand or your product, this is not the time to be humble and modest.  Instead, make sure that your booth design includes mentions of anywhere that you have received media attention.  A notation of “As Seen On …” can lend to your credibility with your customers instantly and increase curiosity from people who want to find out why you have this momentum behind your business.

Create a lively environment in your booth.  Consider that a booth with the table across the front and someone seated behind may not convey the most welcoming message.  A small change such as running your table along the edge of your booth with all of your sample products and literature, allowing your booth staff to stand and engage people at their eye level without any barriers will be more inviting.  Assign your most enthusiastic, outgoing and approachable staff for the event and make sure that they are wearing your brand logo to represent the investment in your brand and the professionalism of your team.  Your booth can set itself apart from neighboring displays by communicating fun.  Maybe even incorporate music as a sound track to your day, which can attract attention and also help to stave off complacency among your staff who are committed to long hours in a single position.