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Plan Before You Invest in Promotional Products

In my 29 years of marketing experience, I’ve noticed there are many pre-conceived notions about promotional products and not all of them are accurate or helpful for you when you’re growing your business.  Promotional items can serve many purposes and this should be one of the first questions to ask – what is the reason for the item?

Oftentimes, we may know that, but we’re not sure of what items fit that need the best.


Thumbing through catalogs and trying to find the “needle in the haystack” is the approach many business owners, marketing directors and others are left to, once they decide why they want the product.  This can be frustrating and difficult, not to mention time consuming.

Ultimately, it can be a huge waste of resources if you don’t pick an item that will be used moving forward – or will be a good representation of your company’s brand or message.
plan before you invest in promotional products
One thing many people often overlook as a valuable promotional item is a unique business card. Go to any networking event, and you’ll find these are still a valuable marketing and connecting tool. Also consider other items that are used every day such as water bottles and thumb drives. These popular and useful items could just as well have your logo printed on them. It’s all about staying in front of your potential client, and the longer you plan in advance for your event, the more selection there is, and the lower the cost.

Consider This: Coffee mugs might seem boring or too common, but have you seen a desk or a person without one?

It’s important to plan before you invest so that you:

  • Find the perfect item(s) that represent your brand
  • Leave a memorable and unforgettable impression
  • Have an effective sales tool and marketing tool long after you’ve left
  • Provide your audience a tool that connect them to you
  • Don’t over-spend or under-purchase
  • The recipient is left with a favorable reminder of you and your company
As you know, business is super-competitive, and you want to utilize every resource you can to attract attention to your audience, connect with them and leave a lasting positive impression on them – so they come to you when they’re ready to buy.

Judge Advertising is a national distributor of top-quality promotional products, trade show giveaways and corporate gifts. Our staff is committed to you, our client, and everything we do is designed with you in mind. We believe nothing is a greater reflection of success than a repeat customer, so we work with the utmost care to ensure everything turns out exactly right. At Judge Advertising, we are coming up with super-creative ideas that inspire and WOW!! Plus, with our low rates and company-wide commitment to service, ordering from us is easy and worry-free.

Ask the Expert - July Interview

Recently, I was interviewed by Andy Greider with LinkedInsite.com on the topic of “How to Use Promotional Products to Serve the Growth of Your Business“. I share some interesting tips that will help you attract attention, and grow sales in the MP3 audio file below. Take a listen, and please share your thoughts.



Judge Advertising is a national distributor of top-quality promotional products, trade show giveaways and corporate gifts. Our staff is committed to you, our client, and everything we do is designed with you in mind. We believe nothing is a greater reflection of success than a repeat customer, so we work with the utmost care to ensure everything turns out exactly right. At Judge Advertising, we are coming up with super-creative ideas that inspire and WOW!! Plus, with our low rates and company-wide commitment to service, ordering from us is easy and worry-free.

2014 Event Inspiration: 19 Trends for Trade Show Booths

by Mitra Sorrells

Before you develop plans for your company’s next trade show booth, consider these 19 tips on industry trends from several exhibit designers from around the United States.

Engagement

1. Exhibitors are exploring new methods to reach attendees before they hit the show floor by creating “wow” experiences at the airport beyond the monitor graphic or hanging banners. Errol Ahearn, vice president of executive administration for design at Global Experience Specialists, says: “I was waiting for my luggage, along with a few hundred others, after a long flight to Vienna.
All eyes watched as the baggage carousel finally started and the first bag on the belt wasn’t a bag at all but a small house with graphics on it. Everyone realized it wasn’t their bag but a clever branding campaign for a local hotel. As the tiny house rounded the circuit, all the monitors in the area ran a video commercial on the campaign. This was a powerful branding lesson that could work for any exhibitor or organizer. The combination of 3-D props, video graphics, and sheer surprise makes this a hit for 2014.”

2. Some clients are simply leaving the trade show floor. Jeff Hirouji, lead designer at DisplayWorks, says the company is using hotel ballrooms to get its clients away from the bustle of the show floor, tell a unique story, and create environments where clients can meet, talk, and recharge.

3. Years ago, if the structure was cool people would come to see what was going on. Now, according to Tom Yurkin, experience designer at Freeman, exhibitors have to make it relevant to the viewer.

4. Millennials and other target audiences want to be heard, says Mike Ellery, senior vice president for creative at Sparks Exhibits and Environments. They don’t want to be spoken at; they want to be part of the conversation. Providing opportunities to listen and to allow for contribution to the larger conversations about products and services is key to creating advocacy within the audience for any trade show exhibit.

5. Engagement is very data-driven. Nick Simonette, vice president for sales at Czarnowski, says his company scans badges at each point of engagement to take visitors down a specific path. Technology is used to figure out how people move within the space.

6. It's important to have a clear understanding of what post-show actions you are trying to drive with your audience, as well as how the action will be achieved, says Dave Sherman, vice president for creative services at Derse. The key to driving those actions is following up and making it easy for your audience to take the next step, no matter how small. Social media and other digital communications will play a huge part. Without giving this step careful attention, much of the value of trade show efforts will disappear.

Design

7. Simonette says he is seeing more straight-line architecture, which is easier and less expensive to set up than designs with shapes and curves. Colors are cooler, and clients are starting to incorporate light wood tones, but in a restrained way. “You don’t want to look like a bank,” he says.

8. Lounge spaces within the booth, with phone charging areas and comfortable seating, are becoming more popular, Hirouji says.

9. Whether clients want to foster brand awareness, build advocacy, or close sales on the exhibit floor, it's important to have a comfortable, well-equipped space for meetings that provides an appropriate amount of privacy, Ellery says. As for materials, fabric, plywood, and laminate are increasingly being replaced with more textural and “real world” materials that provide a comfortable, familiar, and authentic experience.

10. Incorporating live entertainment in the exhibit can help emphasize your brand's message and create a lasting impression with attendees, Ahearn says.

11. “In walking around different trade show floors, I have noticed that wood finishes are making a comeback,” says Dat Don Nguyen, 3-D designer at Plus Studios. “For a while, they were considered dated, and many booths were going stark white. The wood finishes really warm up a space.”

12. Consider how each element in the design can serve a purpose. For example, Sherman says he has seen semitransparent fabrics that, when combined with the right lighting, can offer one image or message from a distance and another when close up or when approached from a different angle.

Budgets

13. “The economic upheaval of the last several years imposed leaner budgets on many exhibitors. The result is smaller, more efficient exhibits and an increased focus on R.O.I.,” says Jared Joly, owner of Exhibitors Choice. “The days of big, heavy, hard wall designs are virtually gone. Simpler designs from aluminum frames with lightweight fabric graphics are more common. Exhibitors benefit from smaller, lighter packaging that results in reduced shipping and labor costs.”

14. “Several of my clients have 'scaled back' in order to 'scale up,'” says Alicia Rosen, director of client relations for Plus Studios. “They are really looking at the shows they attend to see if they are actually good shows for them or if they were just going because they’ve always gone or because their competitors go. They have also looked at their booth space sizes and gone smaller when possible. This has allowed them to cut back on the number of shows they attend and the amount of money they spend on booth space, allowing them to spend more money on cool booth designs for the shows they do go to.”

15. It's more important than ever to make sure the budget is spent on active brand and product engagement and less on costs that are not apparent to the target audience, Ellery says. Cost-saving options that will likely grow in popularity include lightweight materials and alternative approaches to flooring, fabric architecture, and structures, such as eliminating counters once used for computers and printed materials.

Technology

16. Yurkin says iBeacon, Apple's indoor positioning system, will be “the next big thing.” The system can pinpoint an attendee's location on a trade show floor and notify that person about products and companies within its vicinity.

17. “Many of my clients have been leaning towards electronic picture frames as a way to display product information, rather than a static graphic. It saves money in the long run and it’s green,” Rosen says.

18. As the cost of LEDs and digital signage continues to drop, more exhibitors will make use of these products since they can be updated easily and reused from one event to the next, Ahearn says.

19. The use of tracking technologies will continue to grow. Sherman says exhibitors should be using R.F.I.D., N.F.C., and other sensor technologies to not only gauge attendees' behavior, but to also trigger information displayed on screens and other media.

Judge Advertising is a national distributor of top-quality promotional products, trade show giveaways and corporate gifts. Our staff is committed to you, our client, and everything we do is designed with you in mind. We believe nothing is a greater reflection of success than a repeat customer, so we work with the utmost care to ensure everything turns out exactly right. At Judge Advertising, we are coming up with super-creative ideas that inspire and WOW!! Plus, with our low rates and company-wide commitment to service, ordering from us is easy and worry-free.

Direct Mail: The Idea Pack












Judge Advertising is a national distributor of top-quality promotional products, trade show giveaways and corporate gifts. Our staff is committed to you, our client, and everything we do is designed with you in mind. We believe nothing is a greater reflection of success than a repeat customer, so we work with the utmost care to ensure everything turns out exactly right. At Judge Advertising, we are coming up with super-creative ideas that inspire and WOW!! Plus, with our low rates and company-wide commitment to service, ordering from us is easy and worry-free.

When Less Is More: 12 Ideas for Subtle Branding at Events

By Alesandra Dubin

If overt logos are the wrong medium to communicate a message, take a page from these brands’ smart strategies for understatement at events.



Judge Advertising is a national distributor of top-quality promotional products, trade show giveaways and corporate gifts. Our staff is committed to you, our client, and everything we do is designed with you in mind. We believe nothing is a greater reflection of success than a repeat customer, so we work with the utmost care to ensure everything turns out exactly right. At Judge Advertising, we are coming up with super-creative ideas that inspire and WOW!! Plus, with our low rates and company-wide commitment to service, ordering from us is easy and worry-free.

VIDEO: Power Up Your Marketing Campaigns

In this episode of The Joe Show, Managing Editor Joe Haley shows off a host of new items that can power your upcoming campaigns. Looking for a fun promo for sales meetings? How about a great item for spring charity walks and runs? Need an idea to pitch to construction companies?



Judge Advertising is a national distributor of top-quality promotional products, trade show giveaways and corporate gifts. Our staff is committed to you, our client, and everything we do is designed with you in mind. We believe nothing is a greater reflection of success than a repeat customer, so we work with the utmost care to ensure everything turns out exactly right. At Judge Advertising, we are coming up with super-creative ideas that inspire and WOW!! Plus, with our low rates and company-wide commitment to service, ordering from us is easy and worry-free.

8 Tips for Designing an Effective Trade Show

 

By Mitra Sorrells

More people are attending trade shows, according to the Center for Exhibition Research, and that trend is expected to continue. The design of the show floor impacts how attendees and your exhibitors will experience your show.

Carol Fojtik is senior vice president of Hall-Erickson, a company that designs and produces more than a dozen trade shows each year for groups such as the American Library Association, the American Society of Safety Executives, and the National Mining Association. Here are Fojtik's tips on how to lay out an effective show floor.
 
 

1. Create a fair environment for everyone
We alternate where we place the large island spaces—for instance in every other aisle—so we are alternating large and small exhibitors throughout the floor, and then the smaller exhibitors can feed off the traffic that is drawn to the large exhibitors.

2. Distribute the traffic
For example, angle the entrance unit to the show floor. This way people don’t automatically head through the main aisle. It makes them decide whether to go left or right, so no one aisle gets the first surge of attendees.

3. Eliminate dead space
Make sure exhibitors face other exhibitors or have exhibits across from them so no one is facing blank wall. Even for island exhibits that are open on all four sides, we want to make sure we place booths on all four sides, otherwise attendees just won’t walk back there.

4. Get creative with columns
Columns can be a challenge, and we try to keep the exhibit spaces column-free. If they do have to be in the booth, sometimes you can get permission from the facility to allow the exhibitors to turn those columns into advertising spaces.

5. Consider the layout of cross aisles
Jogging the cross aisles prevents people from just crossing the hall from side to side down one aisle, so it gives exposure to more exhibitors. If the cross aisle runs directly to an exit, you may not be able to move it.

6. Give attendees a reason to linger
This can be done in a variety of ways, such as encouraging exhibitors to do live demonstrations or placing an education theater on the show floor. Networking lounges or V.I.P. areas are also effective.

7. Create product pavilions
This can be a single display of new products available at the show, or you can have multiple displays scattered throughout the floor. Sometimes we also tie in a contest, for example asking attendees to vote for their favorite new products.

8. Strategically place food concessions
Food draws traffic, so keep that in mind.

Judge Advertising is a national distributor of top-quality promotional products, trade show giveaways and corporate gifts. Our staff is committed to you, our client, and everything we do is designed with you in mind. We believe nothing is a greater reflection of success than a repeat customer, so we work with the utmost care to ensure everything turns out exactly right. At Judge Advertising, we are coming up with super-creative ideas that inspire and WOW!! Plus, with our low rates and company-wide commitment to service, ordering from us is easy and worry-free.

How to Make Your Events Live Stream a Social Sharing Tool

 by Mitra Sorrells

ORLANDO Organizers of the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship realized the power of the Internet last year when the event’s live stream garnered more viewers than the show’s broadcast on ABC. So this year they enhanced the online format by adding social sharing options to the Web coverage of events that took place Friday through Sunday at the Orange County Convention Center.

“We want to reach more people to give them a better idea of what a dog show is all about,” said Jenifer Borke, Eukanuba’s digital and community manager for North America. “Last year’s inaugural live-streaming drew more than 1.3 million views. With the world going more digital and online, more and more people are viewing things on mobile. So it’s just a good way to get the word out about the show, and it’s not something that has ever been done at a dog show before.”
 How to Make Your Event’s Live Stream a Social Sharing Tool - See more at: http://www.bizbash.com/how-to-make-your-events-live-stream-a-social-sharing-tool/new-york/story/27664#sthash.bMf22cdD.dpuf
Organizers worked with B Productions, a company that provides live-streaming of events, to add what it called a “look-share” capability to its online coverage. While the live video filled the center of the streaming site, the left side of the window served as a virtual photo album, automatically populating with images of each dog in the ring. With one click, viewers could share their favorite images on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, and anyone who then clicked on those shared images would be taken back to live.eukanuba.com, the show’s online platform. The right side of the screen showed a feed of tweets with the #celebratedogs hashtag.

In addition to live coverage of the primary events, organizers also videotaped the preliminary judging of all 190 breeds and the agility and obedience competitions. Within two hours of these events, organizers posted the videos online and included sharing options. To make it easier for breed clubs and dog fanciers around the world to share the show’s activities automatically, organizers provided instructions on how to embed codes for the coverage onto Web sites and blogs.

Organizers estimate they provided more than 300 hours of live and videotaped coverage, but they are still tallying data for online views and shares. The week of activities at the convention center, which culminated with the championship events over the weekend, included more than 16,300 entries. This was the show’s largest event, occupying one million square feet of space in the convention facility.

Judge Advertising is a national distributor of top-quality promotional products, trade show giveaways and corporate gifts. Our staff is committed to you, our client, and everything we do is designed with you in mind. We believe nothing is a greater reflection of success than a repeat customer, so we work with the utmost care to ensure everything turns out exactly right. At Judge Advertising, we are coming up with super-creative ideas that inspire and WOW!! Plus, with our low rates and company-wide commitment to service, ordering from us is easy and worry-free.

5 Ways to Market Your Business for the Holiday Season

by KMurray, SBA.gov

The holiday season is quickly approaching, and the time is now to make sure you get the most of your marketing efforts to help secure sales success in the coming months.

Here are a few budget-friendly ideas to help get you started.

1. Social Media Contests
If your small business has a social media presence, contests on Facebook and Twitter are often a popular way highlight your brand and engage with customers, reminding them that your product or service is available – and a potentially great gift idea. With a few rules, a clever hashtag and incentive such as a prize or discount on your offerings, you can drum up excitement about – and draw people in to – your business.

2. Extra Appeal for Your Loyal Customers

Take this time to make your loyal customers feel extra special – it may come back to you by way of additional business and referrals. Without breaking the bank, you can provide special offers, sneak previews, free shipping or secret sales.

3. Special Events or Open Houses

Make your small business stand out by hosting an open house or special event at your store or restaurant. Use it to showcase holiday season gifts, menus and merchandise so customers can get a glimpse of your seasonal goods in advance. Pair the browsing with light refreshments – a mug of hot cocoa or a glass of cider – to get people in the holiday spirit. On their way out, give a special offer or coupon that invites customers back to make their purchases at a discount.

4. Holiday Help

This is a great idea from Illana Bercovitz at Small Business Trends: use social media to offer helpful tips during a stressful holiday season. Consider your industry, product or service and related advice you could offer to make customers’ lives easier. “Everyone appreciates useful advice and your customers will thank you for pushing content that makes their holidays slightly less stressful,” Bercovitz says. Use an original hashtag to maintain brand awareness across platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

5. Email

Although it’s often considered overused, email remains inexpensive and easy to implement when it comes to maintaining contact with existing customers. That’s a key to remember – to be effective, email marketing should be used with folks you have already done business with or who have expressed an interest in your business and have requested email from you (otherwise known as permission marketing).

Keep these tips in mind if you plan to use email to support your holiday marketing efforts:

+ Keep the e-mail short and sweet. Link directly to the content of interest so you make the process as easy as possible for your customers.

+ Clearly state the email’s intent in the subject line. For example, "A Special Offer Just for You. Thanks for Your Business in 2013.”

+ Be festive in your design. Appeal to the sights of the season with a special design for the holidays.

+ Follow online marketing rules. Don't forget that online marketing is regulated, so whatever tactics you employ be sure to follow government guidelines that apply to list management, SPAM and other guidelines.


For more great holiday marketing insight, check out this recent post from guest blogger Rieva Lesonsky, “Start Now to Plan Your Holiday Retail Marketing Campaign,” and our 2012 web chat with Caron Beesley.

How to Increase Traffic to Your Tradeshow Booth

by Lew Hoff

As an event organizer, retaining exhibitors is an important goal. What keeps exhibitors happy and keeps them coming back? Attendees.

Let’s consider how we can get attendees and exhibitors engaged with one another in a meaningful way. “Stamp my card” so I can qualify for a prize drawing is not a meaningful way. “Give me a pen” is not a meaningful way. “Hi, I see you are from Sheboygan”, is not a meaningful way.

When you are exhibiting at an event, it’s important to cut through the clutter and stand out. If you are going to exhibit at a trade show, why would you NOT look at it as a money-making opportunity?  Oh, I’ve heard the lame excuse: “Everyone knows our company.” Assuming that “everyone” does (an unlikely assumption), does “everyone” know the full range of your products and services? Have you established a relationship with “everyone”?
 judge advertising promo products
By assuming that “everyone” knows your company, you are making the further assumption that there are no new entrants in the market, no new prospects. Even in the highly unlikely assumption that everyone does know your company, perhaps some of your customers have new people who are just looking for the opportunity to shake things up, like finding a new vendor to replace you.

If your organization offers products that people need or want, it is improbable that no one will visit your exhibit. It is unlikely that not a single visitor will represent a real, live lead.

Here's two high-tech ways to make your booth the most popular at your event.

1.) Be the Charging Station.It's shocking that so many shows don't offer attendees a charging station. Especially with intermittent Wi-Fi that tends to really drain your phone battery while searching for a signal charging up is a necessity. Even when a show offers a charging station it is often just a power strip and a table. Instead offer a charging oasis to drive traffic.

Key tip: Don't waste this opportunity. Have a video demo on loop at the charging station for your captive attendee audience, after the video is over, ask what their business challenges are and what they came to the show to find.

To become the charging station you'll need:

· Two power strips.
· High/pub table, two stools.
· iPad or video monitor.
· Multi-Charger. Try the ChargePod, for $39.95, you can charge up to 6 devices at once with one outlet. Has interchangeable tips and is compatible With 3,000+ devices.

2) Be the Wi-Fi Hot Spot. At your booth, create a broadband cellular hot spot, using a MiFi. What's a MiFi? MiFi stands for "My Wi-Fi". A MiFi device can be connected to a mobile phone (cellular) carrier and it provides internet access for up to ten devices. It costs around $50 a month. Check out Clearrecommended by David Pogue of the New York Times.

Judge Advertising is a national distributor of top-quality promotional products, trade show giveaways and corporate gifts. Our staff is committed to you, our client, and everything we do is designed with you in mind. We believe nothing is a greater reflection of success than a repeat customer, so we work with the utmost care to ensure everything turns out exactly right. At Judge Advertising, we are coming up with super-creative ideas that inspire and WOW!! Plus, with our low rates and company-wide commitment to service, ordering from us is easy and worry-free.

17 Skills For Highly Effective Tradeshow Events

  by Ken Krogue, Forbes

Earlier the other morning I finished a webinar with my friends Peri McDonald and Becky de Loryn’ from salesforce.com, the cloud computing juggernaut.

They asked me to do the webinar with them after they had read another Forbes piece I wrote called “The 12 Commandments of Incredibly Successful Tradeshows,” with the 14 “Tradeshow Sins” in the comments.

Our company got attention from setting appointments with 1057 people at the Salesforce.com Dreamforce tradeshow in San Francisco before the tradeshow even began. Salesforce loves to help their partners any way they can and thought these skills would be very valuable. (In this economy we need all the help we can get!)
They acted as if nobody has ever done that before.

In fact though, most companies don’t even think about setting appointments before an event. We don’t go to an event if we can’t set enough appointments to pay for it in advance.

They asked me if I would be willing to put together a summary of the specific skills that we have found to be highly effective and efficient in pulling off events that actually bring results.

At tradeshows we used every one of these skills or strategies:

1) Know exactly what you want:
Before you begin any campaign ask yourself or your team, “What are we trying to accomplish?” If you are planning a tradeshow; do you want leads, awareness, customer relationships, or market leadership?

2) Stand up and be ready: Many exhibitor staff we watch at a tradeshow sits down behind a table. Don’t do that. Get out front with the people. Push the table back against the booth wall if you have a table and stand up, be ready. Don’t be caught sitting. Your company is paying thousands or tens of thousands for you to be there for very short periods of time. You can rest later.

3) Always use the most assertive media: Nothing is better than face-to-face. A tradeshow is the ultimate opportunity (besides executive seminars) to get lots of prospects and customers in the same room for face-to-face discussions. Right after face-to-face are phone discussions, then high impact mailers, then LinkedIn inMail connections, then LinkedIn messages, then direct social media messages (like Twitter), and finally email.

The strategy is to bridge people from passive to assertive media. Tradeshows are ideal if you get as much mileage out of your face-to-face meetings as possible.

We have even been able to take people from initial awareness to a closed sale right at our tradeshow events.

4) Stand out: At tradeshows we try to grab a good location. We use unique color schemes. Our data-driven targeting and social media strategy helps us stand out.

The biggest key is to give really great presentations!

For years we brought all you can eat chocolate, the real good stuff, to get people to hangout in our suite or meeting room.

Give something away that is really cool, but only if people are qualified to buy what you have, and let you spend a few minutes to educate them. Zig when others zag.

At last years Dreamforce, we gave away nice sweatshirts. Domo (Josh James) gave away Skull candy headphones… to qualified prospects only of course.

5) Target people specifically: Define who you want to meet by title and function at the tradeshow. For us it is sales directors over inside sales who’s teams uses salesforce.com. Then specifically search for them in your database of past tradeshows, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. We use predictive analytics to know who to call and when to call in our targeting.

6) Treat appointments like appointments (because they are): Get on the phone 3-6 weeks before the event and invite these people to meet you at the show. Set specific appointments during every spare minute during the exhibit.

We like appointments at weird times…. like 10:35 a.m. I learned that at FranklinCovey, the largest time management company in the world. People don’t forget appointments at unique or weird times.

Set appointments at meeting rooms and other locations when people can’t get into the exhibit area.

Keep an appointment database (we recommend the Salesforce CRM) when everyone is coming to meet you. Follow up immediately at the show if they miss the appointment.

7) Know your key questions: Track all of the questions that you get asked at your booth and summarize the answers to them for everyone who works at the booth or meeting rooms.

8) Learn the business card pocket trick: I keep my own business cards in my right pocket. I hand them to people and ask for their business card. I write notes on their card that qualify them. Then I put them in my left pocket. A little human ingenuity goes a long way.

9) Point out your coolest feature: The old adage is “features tell… benefits sell!” But that is from old school sales trainers, who are right, but it doesn’t work at tradeshows.

Cool features grab people’s attention.

Think of it this way. When you walk through a sales tradeshow with 100 different booths, every one of them promises to help you sell more and save money, don’t they? But what do you go home that night and tell your spouse about? It’s the booth with the coolest features.

Cool features grab attention, that’s what you are doing at a tradeshow.

10) Remember that clarity trumps persuasion: Besides the cool feature, you need to be to be clear when you tell people exactly what you do. Be simple. Be specific. Only after you are specific should you use metaphors in your language.

11) Use judo, not boxing: This skill is very interesting. Judo uses the momentum and weight of an opponent against them by going their same direction, then shifting them in the direction they want to go. Observe and listen, then take the conversation the way they were taking it. Don’t just jump in and start spewing your canned speech. It’s like going to Nordstrom’s, they don’t run up to you and say, “May I help you?” They watch where you go, and start the conversation based on the context of where you go in the store.

12) Be assertive, not aggressive: Assertive is somebody who is willing to introduce themselves to anybody who walks by, aggressive is somebody who won’t let them leave and won’t let them get a word in edgewise.

Introverts struggle with this; extroverts do it naturally. Just remember, it’s your job, and everybody else who is doing it right is being assertive.

13) Be dramatically specific: When you give statistics or case studies, don’t use round numbers. They seem made up. When you tell people about your technology, tell them 58.7% improvement in contact rates by calling with local call ID, NOT you will improve by half. When you set an appointment, say 10:45 on Friday morning at the bottom of the entry stairs… not I’ll meet you in the morning in the entry way.

14) Divert a river, don’t dig a well: Have one of your staff stand out in the traffic flow and move them to the booth (divert traffic). Don’t sit behind the desk and yell out to them (create traffic.)

15) Tell an emotional story that people can relate to: This is so powerful. I just sold my home to a family who told me a true story about how they would use my home to raise their three little boys. It tugged at my heartstrings. I had 7 different offers in two days (the market is really good, theirs wasn’t even the very best. But my wife and I wanted this family.)

16) Follow up immediately: InsideSales.com learned the power of doing this after our landmark research with Dr. James Oldroyd and Kristina McElheran of Harvard Business Review. Together we found that you need to respond to leads very quickly. Real time is optimum, 5 minutes is best practice, and 1 hour starts getting too late, a day later is way too late.

Do we always pull this off? No. But almost.

This same skill of immediate response is profitably applied to immediate follow up. Our reps start keying in business cards right at the show, and finish up that night in the hotel rooms. Ideal is to move people to a meeting room and follow up in real time, next best is to set appointments right at the show for the days following the show, and minimum is to get the business cards into the system and following up that night with an email, LinkedIn connection, and a phone call the next day.

We at InsideSales.com invented a technology we call ResponseAudit, where we go to a company website, put in a fake lead with a real phone number and email address, and track how fast and how persistent their salespeople are in responding to those leads.

We have now done this over 16,000 times.

The average company takes 39 hours and 22 minutes to make their first attempt at calling back a lead.

17) Be pleasantly persistent: The other landmark research that Dr. Oldroyd did with Dave Elkington, our CEO, was to determine that sales people aren’t nearly persistent enough.

The average sales person only makes 1.5 phone calls attempts to follow up on a lead that comes from the website. Our research shows the average sales rep should make 6 to 9 attempts. We make 12 to 15. We only leave 3 voicemails and send 3 emails though, or you become a pest. (Full disclosure: we use our own patented technology to accomplish our immediate and persistent follow up.)

Only 27% of leads ever get contacted!

Brief and debrief: I learned a process from the United States military and my background in the Boy Scouts of America. I tell the story in one of my articles called “Great Presentations: Tips from Great Presenters for Scouters” of the book “Flawless Execution” by James D. Murphy, or “Murph.” He teaches that if fighter pilots always brief each other prior to a mission, they then engage in the mission, then they immediately get together afterwards and debrief so they can learn and improve. Their name and rank are on patches on their flight suits have Velcro. When they walk in the debriefing room, they symbolically tear off their names and ranks and leave them on the table at the doorway. Then they can be blunt and honest and forthright, not worrying about repercussions.

Take really good notes.

In the same article, skip down to #46, and read more about how fighter pilots and Boy Scouts improve after every event, read the oatmeal story.

This is one of the most powerful skills you can learn to put on world-class tradeshow events.

Plan WAY ahead: FranklinCovey at one time was the largest training company in the world. While there we learned that with 8 weeks of lead time, you can pull off almost any event. Now don’t get me wrong, in a huge venue like the Moscone Center in San Francisco, that salesforce.com uses every year, you need to play a year or more in advance.

Rinse and repeat: As you are getting ready to plan a new event, pull out the notes from your debriefs, and make sure you review them in time to plan for the next event.

Good luck! Please add other skills you have found are highly effective in the comments.

Judge Advertising is a national distributor of top-quality promotional products, trade show giveaways and corporate gifts. Our staff is committed to you, our client, and everything we do is designed with you in mind. We believe nothing is a greater reflection of success than a repeat customer, so we work with the utmost care to ensure everything turns out exactly right. At Judge Advertising, we are coming up with super-creative ideas that inspire and WOW!! Plus, with our low rates and company-wide commitment to service, ordering from us is easy and worry-free.

Free Items Have Higher Perceived Value Than Paid Products According to New Study

 judge advertising promo products Promotional products have an advantage over retail items when it comes to user impression, according to new research. An upcoming article in the Journal of Consumer Research has found that end-users place a higher value on a products given as a free gift with purchase than they would if those same items were made available at a low cost.

Many businesses, from cosmetics to automobile retailers, use promotional products as free gifts to entice sales. In "Free Offer ≠ Cheap Product: A Selective Accessibility Account on the Valuation of Free Offers," researchers Mauricio M. Palmeira (Monash University) and Joydeep Srivastava (University of Maryland) wanted to determine what importance users placed on those items, and if receiving the items for free changed their perceived value.


Palmeira and Srivastava conducted a series of studies where some consumers were offered an item as a free gift, while other subjects were offered that same item at a discounted rate. The results showed that on average, users who received a free item estimated its value to be higher than those who paid a discounted price for the product.

In one study, participants were offered a free or discounted package of spaghetti with the purchase of a jar of organic tomato sauce for $8.95. They were then asked how much they would pay for the spaghetti individually. People offered free spaghetti were willing to pay an average of $2.95 for it, but those offered the spaghetti for $0.50 were only willing to pay an average of $1.83.

The writers suggested that when an item is given as a free gift, end-users equate its value to that of the brand giving the product; when they pay for an item, they assume the value is relative to the amount they were charged. If a high-end electronics company offers a phone accessory for free with purchase, consumers assume it isn't cheap, but they may believe that same item is cheaper if they are charged $1 for it.

"Promotions with low discounted prices devalue products more than free offers," the authors write. "In fact, free offers may not devalue products at all when they are paired with an expensive purchase, as consumers will use the price of the focal product to estimate the value of the supplementary product. If Mercedes-Benz promotes a car with a free GPS system, we expect the GPS to be high quality."

The full article with research will appear in the December 2013 volume of the Journal of Consumer Research.

Judge Advertising is a national distributor of top-quality promotional products, trade show giveaways and corporate gifts. Our staff is committed to you, our client, and everything we do is designed with you in mind. We believe nothing is a greater reflection of success than a repeat customer, so we work with the utmost care to ensure everything turns out exactly right. At Judge Advertising, we are coming up with super-creative ideas that inspire and WOW!! Plus, with our low rates and company-wide commitment to service, ordering from us is easy and worry-free.

10 Ways to Boost Postcard Response Rates

   Postcards are the most inexpensive form of direct-mail marketing, yielding high response rates when designed effectively. Unlike sales letter packages and even brochures, postcards are delivered at face-value and have the highest likelihood of grabbing attention before they hit your prospects’ trash cans. The key to earning a high response rate with postcards is to grab attention fast, then compel your prospects to take the next step in the purchasing process.

The following are 10 ways to boost response rate with direct-mail postcard marketing:
1. Use an outrageous photo on side A

Side A is your attention-grabbing side typically containing a headline or question with an evocative photo to compel prospects to take a closer look. Try picturing someone benefiting from your product or service in an obscure, funny or emotional setting to intensify the attention level. For instance, you could show someone using their cell phone camera to take a photo of a co-worker who has torn their pants while bending to pick up papers. The headline could read, “Capture all the rip-roaring moments forever.”

2. Create desire on side B

Side A works to compel prospects to turn your postcard over, so side B should focus on the features and benefits, introduce or elaborate on your offer and present a call to action. This is where you make your pitch and persuade your prospects to take the next step.

3. Give personal contact information

In today’s e-world, most postcards send prospects to online landing pages and websites to continue along the path to purchase. You could boost response, however, with a toll-free phone line to field responses or — even better — give them your direct number. This is a particularly useful method with real estate agents, insurance brokers and other professionals who often deal with clients in a one-on-one, face-to-face setting. Imagine a postcard with your photo and number one it: “Are you really covered? Call me today to find out.” No matter what, make it easy for prospects to take the next step in the purchasing process by prominently displaying your phone number and website URL.

4. Make it a coupon

If your offer includes a discount or free gift, ask your prospects to bring the postcard in with them to redeem it. Even better, include a short survey they must fill out to redeem the prize to help you collect demographic information — such as spending habits or whether or not they own a pet — that you don’t already have. Not only will you be able to track your results, you’ll discover new emotions and lifestyle attributes you can tap into with subsequent direct-mail campaigns.

5. Present your offer in big, bold letters

If your offer is truly great (and it should be if you want your prospects to respond) then make it known right away. Some effective postcards without photos simply emphasize the copy.

6. Send an invitation

The most effective direct-mail postcard mailers don’t attempt to sell prospects straight from the postcard. Rather, they compel your readers to take the next step in the purchasing process. Try designing and writing your postcard as if it were a formal, personal invitation. You could host an event or seminar that would interest your audience, or simply invite them to visit a website. In either case, the next step is where you’ll make your sales pitch.

7. Ask a question

A great way to get your prospects to turn from side A to side B is to ask a question on side A, then bury the answer toward the end of side B. Make it an evocative question that they’ll want to know the answer to, and then force them to read through your side B copy to get to the answer.

8. Demonstrate performance and product differences

When comparing your product or service to the competition, try using an evaluation of some sort to emphasize that your stuff outperforms the competition. You could incorporate this into the overall theme of your postcard. A good graphic designer can suggest ways to do this.

9. Flip flop side A and B

Traditionally, side A is reserved for your photo and headline, while side B contains the pitch along with the stamp and address. A relatively new idea in direct-mail postcard marketing is to put your photo and headline on side B. The theory is that most postal carriers look at the address before delivering mail, and therefore place mail with side B facing up in the mailbox. This means your prospects will see your attention-grabbing side first.

10. Don’t skimp on the paper

When it comes to postcards, the paper they’re printed on is just as important as the design itself. If you use low-quality paper that is flimsy or worn, your prospects will equate that with your products and services. Make sure your paper is thick, and try using a gloss or matte finish for a credible, professional touch. This grade-A appearance of your paper can build trust and increase your response rate dramatically.

Marketers have tried many variations of the aforementioned techniques to boost response throughout the years. Don’t forget that the foundation of your success is in your mailing list and in your offer. If you’ve got those things right, it’s time to incorporate these other elements with persuasive copy and sharp design to boost your direct-mail postcard marketing response rate.

Judge Advertising is a national distributor of top-quality promotional products, trade show giveaways and corporate gifts. Our staff is committed to you, our client, and everything we do is designed with you in mind. We believe nothing is a greater reflection of success than a repeat customer, so we work with the utmost care to ensure everything turns out exactly right. At Judge Advertising, we are coming up with super-creative ideas that inspire and WOW!! Plus, with our low rates and company-wide commitment to service, ordering from us is easy and worry-free.

by the DFS Group

The 12 Commandments Of Incredibly Successful Tradeshows

   1. Never go to an event that you can’t generate more leads than you will need to pay for it… before you get there. We keep every contact and lead from years past and we reach out 6 weeks ahead of a trade show or an event and make appointments before the event even begins. Last year at Dreamforce 2012, we set 1057 appointments before the show even started. We walked home with 1900 qualified leads and 20,000 partially qualified leads. Use social media like crazy. LinkedIn LNKD -0.82% and Twitter are awesome. Chatter is incredible if you are going to a salesforce.com event. But don’t spam. Just get to know people and meet them at your booth.
2. Look sharp… be sharp… And be kind… Be assertive and talk to everyone, and have your entire staff do the same. Don’t sit down. Don’t leave drinks and food around the booth. Be kind. Never be a jerk like many of the old timer sales types I see who still believe that outdated model of disqualifying is as good as qualifying. They almost push you out of the way if they don’t think you are important. In todays age of social media one person’s disgruntled voice can carry far and wide. Go watch “United Breaks Guitars” and learn what happened to the perceived value of United Airlines when one employee treated one person, a musician, poorly. The first YouTube video Dave Carroll made about his experience has 12,966,705 views and counting.

3. Trade leads with every other vendor at the trade show. Why? If you get 1800 business cards, and they do also, now you have 3600. 10% or 20% may overlap. That’s ok. Way more than you got on your own. And many of those vendors can become prospects or great partners. Competition is awesome!

4. Never go to a show that you can’t speak at. Enough said. And sitting on a panel with 4 other people isn’t the same as speaking, but it’s better than nothing. If you can’t speak, make your own event that you can speak at and invite everyone in your database to come hear you speak at the show. Oh, and speak well…

5. When you speak, don’t pitch your stuff. Grow your industry. If your content and research is really good, people will flock to you. If you sell your stuff on stage, they flock away from you. If you help them provide answers to difficult questions, they turn to you to help them in their business. But people hate sitting through a sales pitch masquerading as a seminar… don’t do it. It hurts you. Have faith in your content and value. I get asked all the time in my seminars, “Ken, what is it you guys do? Research? Consult?” Then I tell them, but I take it offline after the seminar is over.

6. Always have your own event(s) going on at the same time. We do what we call a ResponseAudit on every known attendee at the show. About a month ahead of time we do a “secret shopper” on their website by putting in a fictitious lead and tracking how fast they respond (immediacy) and how many attempts they make (persistency.) Then we do a press release with the top 50 responders, give awards and benchmarks, and make people aware of their lead response practices. It’s a great ice breaker. We also do dinners and press conferences in the evenings of big events. We have done these ResponseAudits 16,000 times. We have a research team of 6 constantly doing this to help companies be aware of how well they manage their leads.

7. Set appointments for people to come meet your executives. They will be there anyway, put ‘em to work meeting the people and adding value to the discussions. This one of our favorite things. We keep Dave Elkington, our CEO, and myself, Michael Critchfield, our VP Sales, Dave Orrico, our VP over Enterprise, busy… very busy.

8. Give cool SWAG away that matters and pulls well. Make people sit through a 20 minute presentation to get a $55 sweatshirt. Why? You must educate Interest into Need, and only people with Need buy from you. Interest is the counterfeit of Need. Interest without Need wastes more time of your salespeople than anything else. Interesting and compelling bait on the hook catches a lot more customers.

9. Be audacious and memorable… but smart… and relevant. Don’t pay for mermaids to swim in glass tanks in your booth that have nothing to do with your business. But it’s ok if you are having a Hawaiian vacation for partners who send lots of leads to have Samoan fire dancers and Hawaiian hula dancers at your booth.

10. Have your best lead generators at the event… And make it a game! Invite your reps to shows and watch for the ones who really earn their pay. The others can stay home next time. Have contests, set goals. Gamify your tradeshow.

11. Promote the event like it’s your own… because it is. Every year we drive hundreds of attendees to all the different trade shows we attend. We even will pay for passes for great customers, prospects or media to join us there. A rising tide floats all boats and you should give back to your trade show partner.

12. Respond as fast as you can to all requests, and set appointments right at the show. Every rep should be typing or scanning in business cards at the show or at the latest in their hotel room that night. Get back with people quickly. Even better, set appointments during the show so you are on your prospects calendar. A business card scanner is great.

Judge Advertising is a national distributor of top-quality promotional products, trade show giveaways and corporate gifts. Our staff is committed to you, our client, and everything we do is designed with you in mind. We believe nothing is a greater reflection of success than a repeat customer, so we work with the utmost care to ensure everything turns out exactly right. At Judge Advertising, we are coming up with super-creative ideas that inspire and WOW!! Plus, with our low rates and company-wide commitment to service, ordering from us is easy and worry-free.


by Ken Krogue, Contributor, Forbes

Using Edibles as Promotional Gifts for Events

Some people might argue that using promotional food items creates short-lived goodwill, but leaves the recipient less likely to retain a lasting impression.  We disagree!  Whether sweet, salty, savory or subtle, using gourmet food as part of your promotional approach during events will have your recipients talking long after they leave.

Gourmet food gifts are versatile!  There are many different ways to incorporate promotional food items into your events, and the type of events that they work for can be limitless.  Here we will take a look at some of the most popular occasions for adding food gifts:

Tradeshows

The history of trade shows can be traced back to ancient times when merchants were encouraged to display their reserves for the purpose of strengthening commerce and prosperity within the empire. The model has evolved over time as a way for exhibitors to display their goods and services, as well as expand their customer base while retaining current ones.
 
Trade shows are a great way to hand out samples of new or current products, helping create a “buzz” in the industry. But what happens when you are promoting a service rather than a good? What happens when it’s not cost-effective or size-appropriate to distribute samples of your product? You still want to send your visitors on their way with a reminder of our business, don’t you?

Using a high-quality gourmet treat branded with your logo or information is a great way to spark an impression and generate goodwill. Trade shows are often day-long (or even multi-day) events. A small treat can be just the pick-me-up they need! Not sure what to offer? Try the new Maple Ridge Farms line of Individually Labeled Gourmet Snack Packs!  Consider using these items for goodie bags at tradeshows, meetings, and in hospitality suites.

Room Gifts

Often when organizations are planning large events such as annual meetings, retreats and conferences, their attendees stay in hotels for the duration.  In this situation, having the hotel place a special treat in their room is an easy way make the event memorable.  This is another great opportunity for promotional food gifts.  They offer something delicious to welcome the attendees during their stay, while often sending them home with a small memento of the occasion.

A simple idea can create instant gratification and residual value.  A San Jose computer company placed Gourmet Cheese and Sausage Assortments in rooms prior to the arrival of sales reps attending an annual meeting.  A note was placed in each food gift saying, “Welcome to our National Sales Meeting.”  The reps enjoyed the cheese, sausage, crackers and candy while at the event, and then took home the fire-branded cutting board as a memento of the meeting.  For the recipient, it certainly beats “hotel food,” and their appreciation level toward the giver – you or your client – will soar.  For you, that means a healthier bottom line.

But your ideas don’t need to stop there.  If your client plans a meeting where someone is left at home, gifts sent to a spouse will generate goodwill.  An automobile manufacturer hosting a meeting for dealers timed the delivery of a box of Chocolate Almonds to arrive at homes during the meeting.  An enclosed card stated, “Thank you for lending us your spouse.”

Commemorative Items

When you are looking for a unique gift for recipients at an event such as a grand opening, reunion, corporate party, picnic or other gathering, don’t discount food gifts!  Distributing “munchies” complete with a branded logo during the event helps to create a impressive experience for every person in attendance.  The idea is to appeal to their senses, striking an emotional chord.

One distributor came looking for something exceptional to be handed out at an annual golf event.  They knew they could go with towels, tees, or water bottles, but that had been done before.  They wanted something fresh.  After talking through a variety of options, they decided on a Maple Ridge Farms Wooden Collector’s Box filled with Jumbo Cashews and English Butter Toffee.  The lid of the box was then fire-branded with the event name, logo, and date.  The boxes served as a treat during play and provided a token of the day to take home with them.

Other Ideas

Although tradeshows, room gifts and commemorative items are among the most popular uses for promotional food gifts outside of the holidays, these events are hardly the limits.  Don’t forget about table favors, purchase incentives, invitation ride-alongs, or simply a token of appreciation.

Judge Advertising is a national distributor of top-quality promotional products, trade show giveaways and corporate gifts. Our staff is committed to you, our client, and everything we do is designed with you in mind. We believe nothing is a greater reflection of success than a repeat customer, so we work with the utmost care to ensure everything turns out exactly right. At Judge Advertising, we are coming up with super-creative ideas that inspire and WOW!! Plus, with our low rates and company-wide commitment to service, ordering from us is easy and worry-free.


by Molly Neises on Maple Ridge Blog

Effectively Marketing Your Business through Trade Shows


Where can you make connections, cement relationships, find potential customers and keep up to date on your industry-all in one place? At a trade show, of course.

Even in today's online world, meeting people face-to-face is still important to building a business. A trade show lets you come in contact with hundreds or even thousands of prospective customers, vendors and partners. But effectively marketing your business at a trade show requires some smart strategizing. Here's what to do.

Pick the right trade show. The costs of exhibiting at a trade show can add up quickly, so you want to make sure you're selecting a show that will pay off. TSNN.com and Tradeshow Week are comprehensive directories of trade shows worldwide. Search for shows by date, industry, event name or even location. Your industry trade association may have its own show, and will be able to tell you about other relevant shows.

If your budget is limited and you can only go to one show, you'll most likely want to focus on the biggest one in your industry. Don't just judge by size, however. Contact the show organizers or visit the Web site to find out how many attendees are expected and what kind of attendees they will be. For example, if you sell business-to-business, make sure you don't end up at a show where most attendees are consumers, or from the wrong industry. Find out what other companies will be exhibiting. Also ask other business owners what shows they've found most useful in the past.

Before the Show:

Set goals for the show. What do you want to accomplish at the event? Make your goals specific and quantifiable. Do you want to talk to 250 potential clients? Leave with contact information for 100 qualified leads? Get at least 10 orders?

Plan your logistics. Once you register, the show organizers will give you detailed information about booth options and technical requirements. Think about everything you might need for your booth - from signage to sample products to laptops for making presentations. No detail is too small to ignore. Know what's included in your booth space rental and what's not. How many outlets will you need to power your computers or other devices? Is it worth springing for a fancier booth or bigger signage? Figure out the costs of shipping everything you'll need.

Sweat the small stuff. No detail is too tiny to consider when making your exhibit run smoothly. If it's not included in the list of items provided to attendees, you probably won't get it-so don't assume you'll be able to find things like scissors, tape or an extra extension cord at the venue. Bring them along.

Staff adequately. Your staff is part of your marketing message, so make sure they're dressed appropriately (business casual is fine for most trade shows), high-energy and friendly people. Rather than just sitting and waiting for people walking by to talk to them, the people in your booth need to reach out and engage passersby. You should have at least two people in your booth at all times, which means you really need at least three people so one person can take breaks.

Bring marketing materials. First rule of trade show: Bring twice as many business cards as you think you could possibly need-and then bring a few more. If you're doing it right, you'll always run out. Also figure out what type of marketing materials you should bring for the goals you have in mind. This could be brochures, samples of your work or your products, forms people can fill out for more information. Promotional products such as pens, caps and tote bags are always huge hits at trade shows. To get the most from these, ask for something in exchange by having the recipient fill out a form with their name, e-mail and other information.

Get known as an expert. Most trade shows feature seminars, panels or workshops. Share your expertise by offering to participate in an event that's relevant to your business. You'll have a chance to promote your business and will meet lots of new contacts.

Socialize. Much of the key business of trade shows takes place after the exhibit booths close. Don't hole up in your hotel room; attend mixers and make plans to meet up with other attendees for drinks or dinner. If you're on Twitter, it's easy to find out what people are doing and start to build relationships.

After the show:

Follow up. If you don't follow up on the leads you obtained and the contacts you made at the show, all your work will be for nothing. Follow up within two weeks of the event; any longer, and you'll have faded from their minds. The specific follow-up depends on the relationship you want to establish. If a person expressed interest in buying from you, follow up to set up an appointment for a sales call or presentation. If they could be a potential partner, ask about meeting for lunch. If they're just someone you'd like to keep in touch with in the future, send a quick e-mail saying that you enjoyed meeting them, refreshing their memory about your business, and including your contact information in case they've lost it.

Not sure you want to spend the money to travel to a trade show right now? Consider exhibiting at a virtual trade show, which is held online. A virtual show can run the gamut from an online directory to a 'virtual world.' Typically, it has all the same elements of a real-world show, such as booths, seminars, and spaces to socialize online with other attendees. You man your booth from your computer, interacting with attendees via e-mail, message forums and chat. Attendees can view digital versions of your marketing materials. Seminars, discussions and keynote speeches are given using videos or podcasts. Just like trade shows in the offline world, virtual trade shows are held for a limited time-usually one to three days. The benefit is there's no travel time, virtual trade shows cost less to attend, and you can staff your booth yourself without ever leaving your office.

Judge Advertising is a national distributor of top-quality promotional products, trade show giveaways and corporate gifts. Our staff is committed to you, our client, and everything we do is designed with you in mind. We believe nothing is a greater reflection of success than a repeat customer, so we work with the utmost care to ensure everything turns out exactly right. At Judge Advertising, we are coming up with super-creative ideas that inspire and WOW!! Plus, with our low rates and company-wide commitment to service, ordering from us is easy and worry-free.

by Rieva Lesonsky, Community Administrator

Creative Summer Marketing Ideas

Summer is here and it’s time to take to the streets. In the summer, your customers feel festive and spend more time outdoors. So, it’s the perfect time to get outside and get creative with your marketing efforts. Here are some ideas to try.

Take part in a community event. Summer in most towns is packed with fun runs, street fairs, music festivals, outdoor movie nights, concerts in the park…you get the idea. Contact your chamber of commerce and your city’s parks and recreation department to find out what events are planned for the upcoming few months. 
Decide which events are likely to attract your target customers, whether that’s health-minded seniors, parents with toddlers in tow or Millennial music fans. Once you’ve chosen some events with potential, you could:

● Sponsor the event in return for your name on flyers, programs or banners at the event

● Host a booth at the event and give out free samples or sell your product. (Be sure to collect contact information with a signup sheet or fishbowl to collect business cards).

● Donate product to the event (a health food store could donate healthy snacks for refreshments at a fun run, for example)


Host an event for your customers. Get creative with a barbecue or beach party for your best clients and prospects. Or consider springing for something more adventurous like a Duffy boat rental or a wine tasting afternoon at a local winery. This can be a way to reward your best customers, learn more about their needs and provide them with networking opportunities that will lead to more referrals and more business. You don’t have to be a B2B business to make this work. If you own a retail store or restaurant, host a summer-themed event for your most loyal customers, like a special shopping night where they get to shop after the store is closed, or a special five-course dinner and wine tasting on a night your restaurant is usually not open.

Join with other business owners. If your business is in an area with lots of foot traffic, consider joining with the other business owners to hold a sidewalk sale or other outdoor event. Get with your chamber of commerce and plan how local businesses can attract foot traffic to the area. This could include:

● Having a sidewalk sale where each store puts specials out on the sidewalk and offers deals to draw customers inside the store as well

● Hosting a “stroll and savor” event where local eateries sell small samples of their menu items outside on the sidewalk

● Hosting a music night where local musicians play inside restaurants or shops and “busk” out on the sidewalk to attract passersby


There are many other ideas, from closing off the street to cars and hosting an arts fair or classic car show, that can bring foot traffic into your shopping area. Brainstorm with other business owners to generate the best strategies for your area, and work with your city to be sure you get all the appropriate permits.

How will you market creatively this summer?


by Rieva Lesonsky, via SBA.gov

6 Steps to Building Lasting Customer Trust

  Thanks to the Internet, today’s promotional product clients have product information, pricing, and customer reviews at their fingertips 24/7. And thanks to the current economy, they’re also more cautious about how they spend their hard-earned marketing dollars.

That’s where customer trust comes in. By putting a little extra effort into showing prospects that you are a trustworthy, honest business, you can really stand out from the competition and make a long-term connection that could result in repeat business. Here are six steps to get you started:

1. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and think about what they want to know before they do business with you. What questions might they have about your products? About your processes, policies, deadlines, timeframes, prices or additional charges? Write this information up in a clear, understandable way and make it easy to find on your website and order forms. Or answer common questions in your blog posts, newsletters, or in short videos you post to your website.

2. Share your history. Tell the story of your business — how it got started, key milestones, and what your mission is. If your company is new, highlight your professional background and what led you to this industry. By sharing your company’s history and mission you can demonstrate expertise, commitment and longevity.

3. Be open. If there’s an issue or delay with a customer’s order, tell them quickly. Explain the cause and what’s being done to remedy the situation.

4. Monitor what’s being said about your company online and spend some time building a positive online reputation.

5. Use customer testimonials and case studies. People trust the experience and recommendation of other customers more than they do advertising. Sharing feedback from happy customers can give you a competitive edge.

6. Focus on “upserving.” It’s important to shift your focus from upselling to “upserving” - going the extra distance to create a memorable customer experience. In contrast, upselling a customer to a product they don’t really want or need can cause them to distrust you.

What steps do you take to build customers’ trust in your business?

Judge Advertising is a national distributor of top-quality promotional products, trade show giveaways and corporate gifts. Our staff is committed to you, our client, and everything we do is designed with you in mind. We believe nothing is a greater reflection of success than a repeat customer, so we work with the utmost care to ensure everything turns out exactly right. At Judge Advertising, we are coming up with super-creative ideas that inspire and WOW!! Plus, with our low rates and company-wide commitment to service, ordering from us is easy and worry-free.

Reprinted with permission from Promo Matting.

Extending Your Brand Through the Office and Beyond

 Extending Your Brand Through the Office — and Beyond  
Take a look around your office. Think about how you answer phones and the communications you send out. Now think about your clients’ offices and retail locations. What image do they project?

How business looks and operates is an important aspect of the company’s overall brand image. A brand should be reinforced through every interaction with clients and prospects. This includes:

1. Greeting. How are the phones answered? What impression does the hold music convey? How are visitors welcomed when they step through the door? These should consistently convey they professionalism and helpfulness of a brand.

2. Communications. All letterhead, invoices, business cards, website and marketing materials should have a clean, uncluttered, and consistent look. This means always using the same colors, logo treatment, and one or two fonts.

3. Décor.
Again, simplicity and consistency are key. Remove all clutter and keep the space well lit. Use brand colors as an accent, if possible. Convey the company’s solidity through logoed pens, mugs and desk items. And consider a custom logo mat. Not only will it be one of the first things visitors see when they step in the door, it will also keep floors clean and safe.

4. Responsiveness. Back it all up with action. Respond quickly to customer feedback and inquiries via phone, email and the Internet.

Remember, it’s all about attitude. Even a small business can appear big by consistently conveying professionalism and helpfulness at all customer contact points.

Judge Advertising is a national distributor of top-quality promotional products, trade show giveaways and corporate gifts. Our staff is committed to you, our client, and everything we do is designed with you in mind. We believe nothing is a greater reflection of success than a repeat customer, so we work with the utmost care to ensure everything turns out exactly right. At Judge Advertising, we are coming up with super-creative ideas that inspire and WOW!! Plus, with our low rates and company-wide commitment to service, ordering from us is easy and worry-free.

Reprinted with permission from Promo Matting.
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