Getting A Business and Marketing Plan For 2012

 

For most businesses, 2011 was better than 2010; however, it was overall a stagnant year for most companies. The outlook for 2012 shows a year similar to 2011. Therefore, it is more important than ever to revise your business plan and have a firm marketing plan in place for the new year. It’s easy for businesses to get lax and complacent with their marketing efforts during spikes in business. Then when it gets slow, most business owners hit the marketing very hard. This pattern continues to repeat itself lending ups and downs throughout the year in sales. The most effective way to keep a steadier sales pattern is to continue your marketing even when you are busy. This will help prevent those slow times. Now for many small businesses, the owner is the “marketing director”, the “customer service representative”, the “accountant”, and the many other hats required for the business. However, strictly following your marketing plan is a must to keep a steady cash flow.

Within your marketing plan, I suggest a good mix of promotional products, print ads, local sponsorships, social media, email newsletters, and online marketing. Some companies benefit from doing direct mail campaigns and others benefit from TV or radio commercials. In your marketing plan, be sure to specify 1) What task you are doing, 2) When that task should be done, 3) Who is responsible for doing the task, and 4) How much will that task cost. After your plan is finalized, print it and hang it on your wall right next to your computer monitor so you will see it everyday. Be sure you are tracking results of each marketing task so you will know whether or not to continue or discontinue that particular task. Revise your marketing plan as often as necessary.

If you don’t have a marketing plan, be sure and create one now. If you don’t, you are leaving your business at risk for failure. Spread out your marketing efforts to reach your target audience with as many communication channels as possible. A good mix or promotional products, printing, social media, text message marketing, and good old fashion phone calls will make sure all communication means are used. With the right plan and the ambition to stay on plan, your business will be successful.

Holiday Gifting To Your Employees

 

So we have come to that time of the year when you have to think about Christmas gifts for your employees. How much is enough? What should I get them? These are both questions that makes you ponder. Each answer is dependent on how valuable that person is for your company. I can say this for sure, “Don’t get them a Jelly of the Month Club membership.” Employees always like cash. When sales are where they need to be, I give out Christmas bonuses around the beginning of December. Then my employees can use that to buy Christmas gifts for their families. I’ve never heard a complain yet from my employees receiving cash. Other companies like to give actual gifts. When selecting gifts, make sure and get something useful so it will be used frequently. You might as well brand it as well with your company logo. Don’t forget that you have to market to your employees just like you have to market to potential clients. Your employees are your biggest assets so you have to make sure they are on board and ready to refer clients. Below are a few idea for Christmas Corporate Gifts:

  1. Wine Gift Sets – Let’s face it, we can all benefit from a little drink every now and then.
  2. Custom Coolers – Coolers always come in handy.
  3. Laptop Cases – Cases for laptop computers are great gifts for those traveling or bringing their laptop to and from work.
  4. Flashlights – A good flashlight is always useful. Don’t skimp here; make sure you get a good quality light.
  5. Candy & Nuts – Who doesn’t like a candy or nut gift basket at the end of the year? Diets are blown anyway this time of year.
  6. BBQ Items – Men love a good barbeque set.
  7. Corporate Awards – Reward your top producing employees with a premium award so they can proudly display the award on their desk.
Whatever you do for your employees, make sure they know their importance to you. Happy shopping!

Dumb Promotional Products

 

With over a millions different promotional products in my database that we have access to distribute, we often come across some funny items and some that are just plain stupid. I recently came across one of those products that have a good concept but failed to think about it logically before producing.

Custom Flip Flops with Bottle Opener

Custom Flip Flops with Bottle Opener

Custom printed flip flops by themselves are great promotional giveaways, especially for outdoor or beach events. However, whoever thought of adding a bottle opener to the bottom of the sole obviously did not even think about the practicality of the location of the opener. What type of crap is on the bottom of your shoes. I know just from personal experience in my life, I have stepped in dog crap or someone’s giant wad of chewing gum that has been baking in the sun. Any of you who have ever walked in a men’s public restroom know that the wetness around the urinal is not leftover mop water. So after knowing what you step on through the course of a day, are you going to take off your shoe and expose the top of your beer bottle, where your mouth goes, to the filth on the bottom of your shoes? I think not. NOT a good design. Whomever invested in the idea is either kicking them selves or being kicked by a business partner. Maybe for their next design, they can just build in bottle openers on the urinals of restrooms at bars. This is just another prime example of why you should detail out your plan before acting. This little oversight should have been caught well before they were even close to production.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gear Up For High School Soccer

 

For many high schools, football season is winding down and soccer season is gearing up. Soccer is an action packed sport full of excitement. However, for the majority of schools, it is not as heavily funded as football programs. Therefore, it is very important for local businesses to sponsor high school soccer teams. One great way to sponsor is to buy mini soccer balls for the cheerleaders to throw out at games. Mini soccer balls are fun for the crowd to catch and help increase the amount of cheering if thrown into the crowd after each goal scored. With most sports, it’s always good to keep the crowd cheering to help energize the players. Soccer Ball Clappers are great soccer spirit items to help keep the cheering going and the noise level high. Spirit items are great for fundraising to raise the money for new uniforms and training equipment. Full size soccer balls are great items to have in the booster club store. They can be printed with the team name and mascot and generate lots of money. Soccer has been becoming increasing more popular in the U.S. and is by far the most popular sport in the entire world. Therefore, be sure and support your local high school soccer team by attending games and buying sponsorships.

Mini Soccer Balls

Mini Soccer Balls

Soccer Ball Magnet

Soccer Ball Magnet

Soccer Clapper Noisemaker

Soccer Clapper Noisemaker

 

10 Ideas For Custom Christmas Ornaments

 

If your Christmas tree is anything like mine, it has a collaboration of ornaments on it spanning back 30+ years. Some of the ornaments are homemade items I made in Bible school when I was a child. Some of the ornaments were gifts from family and friends. Some of the ornaments I bought on clearance the day after Christmas. And some are custom Christmas ornaments with various logos from companies that I have done business with as well a few from companies for whom I have worked. Below are just a few ideas of how you can use personalized Christmas ornaments for your business:

  1. Give them out each year to your employees. It is important to market to your employees so they will continue to be enthusiastic about your company. Change up the style and color each year so your long term employees get a great collection of ornaments.
  2. Give out premium Christmas ornaments to your top clients. Premium ornaments such as crystal ornaments are much more expensive than the promotional type, so they are typically reserved for top clients who bring in significant revenue for the company.
  3. Give out promotional ornaments with a purchase. For example, spend $25 and receive a free Christmas ornament. Promote this in your email newsletters, mailers, and social media pages.
  4. Decorate a Christmas tree in your lobby with nothing but custom printed Christmas Ball ornaments with your company logo. The repetitive logo is great for branding and will be seen and remembered since it will be plastered all over the tree.
  5. If your business participates in a Halloween Trick or Treating event, give out custom printed Christmas ornaments in trick or treaters’ bags. Make sure you also give out candy too to keep the little tots happy. Some of you may think it’s crazy to think about Christmas so early, but think about it; Christmas is less than 60 days from Halloween. Plus, most people these days begin Christmas decorating the day after Thanksgiving. So what better way to begin promoting your business for the holidays?
  6. Sell your custom printed Christmas ornaments at your place of business and donate 100% of the proceeds to a charity of your choice. Not only will this be a great philanthropy project, but it will also make your company look good and give you marketing exposure year after year when your customers hang the ornament with your logo on their trees.
  7. Hold a daily Facebook contest to engage your fans and giveaway a free Christmas ornament to each winner. Not only does this help your branding, but it requires locals to actually come into your store to claim their prize. The more often they come in your store, the more likely they are to make a purchase.
  8. If your company is well-known and has products or services in demand, sell them to your customers. Not only is it great for marketing, but it adds a little extra 4th quarter profit.
  9. Include a custom printed or engraved ornament in a mailer to customers on your mailing along with a special holiday coupon. For best results, make sure and get ornaments that are flat and easily fit into an envelope to save on postage.
  10. Just give out your custom printed ornaments to all your clients and potential clients that you come in contact with. Go crazy and spread your brand.
Custom printed Christmas ornaments come in many different styles, shapes, colors, and price ranges. There are ornaments to fit every business, whether large or small. Get your holiday spirit and promote your business at the same time.