Imprinting Class: Embroidery

Embroidery A large majority of my blog posts involve me harping on the importance of putting your logos on promotional products. Now, I know that you know what promotional products are (giveaway t-shirts, stress balls, padfolios, koozies, bags, pens, etc.), but what do you know about the actual imprinting processes? This is part one of an informative series about those processes. Today’s lesson: embroidery.

The MacMillan online dictionary defines embroidery as “the activity of decorating cloth with [colored] stitches.” That’s easy enough. A design – in this case your company’s logo – is sewn onto fabric. But how do we get from your logo on paper to having it sewn on a cap?

First the logo must be converted into stitches, a procedure that we call “digitization.” This involves figuring out exactly where which type of embroidery stitch will be used, how letters and symbols will be connected to one another, and logo sizing. It’s an involved process that ultimately determines how much your embroidery will cost.

Once the logo has been digitized, an accurate stitch count is determined. That is, we know exactly how many times the needle will need to pass through a piece of cloth to achieve an embroidered logo. Higher stitch counts are more expensive than lower ones because they require more time on the embroidery machine and they use more thread.

But price is not decided by stitch count alone, the cost of embroidery is very dependent upon quantity. Setting up the machines for each logo is a lot of manual labor, so if you are only sewing your logo onto 6 polos (Gossett Marketing’s minimum order quantity), then the price will be higher than it would be for 500 shirts. Basically, if the cost of the setup is amortized over fewer shirts then the price is higher.

And that’s what it takes to embroider your logo onto fabric! Leave a note in the comments below if you are interested in embroidered promotional products.

Click on this YouTube video to see an embroidery machine in action:

Thank Those Who Refer You

If you’ve ever read this section of our blog before, then you probably know that the Gossett Marketing team is very involved with networking. We do so through our local chamber of commerce, running and golf groups, and more recently via Twitter and other online channels. You get it: we’re out there, we network, and we want you to do the same! So what if you are already a networking pro? How can we help you take it further?

Well, if you are networking successfully then certainly you are getting referrals. You’ve met so many business contacts through your efforts and you have made such a great impression on them that they want to help you grow. I sincerely hope that this is the case, and if it is, then kudos to you! Other than assisting the individuals and companies to whom you’ve been referred, what do you do when you’ve received a glowing recommendation from a business contact? One thing that I like to do is to say thank you with a hand written note and a gift – nothing extravagant, just a token of appreciation that makes me stand apart from the pack.

One gift that I’m loving right now is a nice metal pen inscribed with my referrer’s name. Sure, you can give them something that is imprinted with your company’s logo, but personalizing the pen helps to ensure that they do not lose it, plus it shows that you took the time to think about them – you’re not just giving out a promotional product that is taking up space in your gift closet.

If you know your referrer very well, then you can give him or her something more personal. Does he enjoy wine? Then what about a pretty corkscrew or bottle stopper? Or if she’s a golfer, then a ball marker would come in handy. Maybe she talks about her dog all of the time – get Fido a colorful bandana! The world is your oyster, I’d just be sure to have any of these items imprinted with your company’s name to keep you top of mind.

If an individual takes the time to refer you and your services to his or her business contact, then certainly he or she deserves a thank you. If a thank you and a smile go far, then think about how much your referrer will appreciate a thank you and a gift! And every time they use that present, you and your company will come to mind.

referral

July 4th Promotional Products

Apron

The 4th of July is coming up. Of course it is a day in which we all celebrate the birth of our nation, but it can also be a day to celebrate your brand! Give your customers and employees one (or more) of the promotional products listed below – they’re perfect on the 4th and all summer long:

Caps: protect your customers’ skin with an embroidered cap.
– Beach Towels: your logo can be huge on these!
– Sunglasses: it’s always great to have an extra pair.
– Coolers: ideal for picnics or days at the beach.
– BBQ Tools: yes, you can put your logo on these too! Great for, well, barbecues!
– Hand Fan: they’re inexpensive and have a large imprint area.
– Sunblock: put your logo on high quality sunblock, something everyone should use.
– Matches and Lighters: your employees have to light their grill and sparklers.
– Koozies: they work for beer or soft drinks.

If you’d like some additional ideas, contact the Gossett Marketing team! Have a safe and happy Independence Day!

And to get you excited about the holiday, watch this amazing fireworks display on YouTube:

The Simplest Business Tip

Woody Allen Woody Allen once said, “80 percent of success is just showing up.” He has a point, but he should also add a caveat about showing up on time. I’m about to get on my soapbox, so brace yourselves…

Do you have friends who always seem to show up late or cancel plans at the last minute? I did, but to be perfectly honest, we’re not really friends anymore because I never see them! I also have some suppliers that are frequent cancellers. They schedule appointments to show off their new product lines, then either call at the last minute to postpone or cancel, or they don’t show up at all. Guess what? I don’t give them business unless I absolutely have to!

Now, I’m not saying that I’m the perfect friend or businessperson who never has to change an appointment; however, I do try to limit it. Actually, at Gossett Marketing we make a point of planning our days so that we have plenty of time to get from meeting to meeting (although sometimes Miami’s traffic tries its hardest to throw off our scheduling!). It’s not that we’re uptight, we just respect our customers’ time: doing so is important to business and, well, it’s just polite.

I know that this is just about the simplest tip that I can give anyone, but it’s a pet peeve of mine so I thought I’d get it off of my chest. Does anything that your customers/coworkers/fellow business people do really irk you? If so, please tell us in the comments below – maybe we can change their behavior!

Bolster Your Business Card

Business Cards

To me, networking events can be overwhelming. I meet dozens of new contacts in a short period of time, and, not being particularly good at remembering names or details of new people in general, I often find it difficult to recall too much about a person once he or she walks away. That’s why I love individuals with good business cards.

I like a card that gives me more than just a company’s name, person’s name, and his or her contact information. Give me a clue about what you do! For instance, my card tells you that I am an Account Executive at Gossett Marketing and that we deal in “Creative Promotions & Products.” It also indicates the professional organizations with which we are affiliated – Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, Advertising Specialty Institute, Promotional Products Information Center, etc. You get the drift.

Aside from content, I love unique designs that make me take notice of my new contacts’ business cards. I recently received one that had a space for notes on the back – no more writing tiny, later-illegible notes to myself! Some have beautiful graphics that are spot varnished. Those are always memorable to me. Others are in unusual sizes or shapes. That style of card isn’t my favorite because it won’t fit in my business card holder, but it does stand out, and there’s something to be said for differentiating yourself. And I actually once received a nail file that served as someone’s card: it’s still in my handbag!

Your business card might be the only thing that your new contact can remember about you, so it should make an impact. Keep that in mind the next time you re-order!

Do your cards stand out? If so, please tell us why in the comments below.

Great Promotional Marketing Tool

UM Sunglasses
Although we try to make it as easy as possible, I understand that purchasing promotional marketing products can sometimes seem like a daunting task. You’re generally buying thousands of items at once, so you definitely want to get it right! No one wants 2,500 bags in a color that clashes with their logo! The good news is, we are now able to provide “virtual samples” prior to your order. These virtuals show a particular product, in the color that you prefer, with your company’s logo in the location and colors that you’re considering.

Virtual samples are a great tool that we can offer, at no cost, for most of our promotional products. So if you like to look before you leap, ask your friendly Gossett Marketing representative for virtual samples prior to placing your order!

If you look above, you can see a virtual that we provided the University of Miami for some really fabulous sunglasses. The virtual below was for Royal Caribbean International – it’s a notebook with several different imprint methods. Pretty cool, huh?

If you’d like to see some virtual samples for items that you’re interested in, leave a comment below or shoot us an e-mail!

Royal Caribbean Notebook

5 Ways to Use Pinterest to Promote Your Business

Pinterest

By Grant Tilus

As a small business owner you may already be actively promoting your business online through your own website and various social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and possibly Pinterest. While all of this may seem overwhelming, it is important to take advantage of each of these tools to grow your business.
Since Pinterest is the newest social media platform chances are you haven’t spent too much time “pinning” for your business. Here are five ways to help you get started using Pinterest to promote your business online.

1. Pin Your Stuff
Pinterest is all about visually displaying what inspires and interests you. With the recent explosion of easy-to-use photography applications, such as Instagram, it’s easy to take pictures of your products and services to pin onto your Pinterest board. Consider pinning pictures of your products to show the utility that will come with your purchasing your products.

2. Pin Your People
Today businesses need to be able to connect with a company as well as a product. Wouldn’t it be nice to have people lined up outside of your store for a new product launch just like at the Apple Store? Show off your organization’s culture with photos of work, special events, or anything else that you feel your customers could relate to.

3. Pin Your Deals
Similar to running a coupon in the newspaper, pinning deals on your boards are great ways to entice people to buy. It’s a win-win scenario even if only one person takes advantage of it because there’s no upfront cost, unlike printed coupons.

4. Pin Your Most Popular
This is a great way to brag about your business, and yet, not just be a show off. As your customers engage with your pins, take notice of what is becoming most popular and create a pin board of those products.

5. Pin Trends
To help get your creative pinning juices flowing check out sites like PinFaves or Repinly. Take note of what types of pins are getting the most attention in your industry and choose ideas from that to get started.

Creating uniquely clever original images that link to your business is a great way to use Pinterest to promote your business. As the number of users increase, Pinterest is quickly becoming one more major social media network that you can’t ignore. If you are not yet an active user, join Pinterest right away.

Grant Tilus is an Inbound Marketing Specialist at Rasmussen College. He is responsible for creating superior content and blogging about different degree programs ranging from Entrepreneurship to Internet Marketing. Feel free to connect with Grant on Twitter and Google+.

Connecting People via Twitter

Connecting People If you’ve ever read this blog, then you know that I love Twitter. I love that it lets me connect Gossett Marketing to people all over the world so that we can learn from one another. I love that, even though we don’t know each other in the real world, I interact with so many people who I consider to be friends. I just really love it! One of my favorite aspects of Twitter is the #FF mention. For those of you who are unfamiliar with micro-blogging, a #FF mention is a tweet that someone sends out to his followers to suggest that they follow you. These messages are typically sent out on Fridays, which is why the alliterative hashtag abbreviation was born.

Not to brag, but our Twitter handle, @marketngtidbits, tends to get a decent number of #FF mentions each week. The vast majority are from our aforementioned Twitter friends, and they often give a reason as to why they think their followers might be interested in following us. For example, last week someone #FF’d us and a couple of other Twitter handles and suggested that people follow all of us for marketing information. Another friend said that his followers should check us out because he thinks we’re engaging. These people use their #FF messages as min introductions, which I think is the best way to handle the hashtag.

Then there are people who send out dozens of #FF mentions for no reason. These tend to be long lists of names – maybe a dozen if space allows – that give absolutely no reason for following the individuals who are included. When I see those lists, even if they’re from a fellow Tweeter who I respect, I almost always ignore them. If you don’t take the time to write down why I should follow them, then, well, why should I follow this huge list of people? If you’re at a networking event and you introduce one associate to another, do you simply state their names and walk away? Probably not – I’ll bet you give a little bit of background, even if it’s just a sentence or two. You should do the same thing on Twitter! You can say even less (literally just a couple of words), and it goes a long way towards making your #FF introductions more meaningful.

Remember, the key to being successful on Twitter is to act like a human. Just because you’re on a computer, your networking should still feel personal. So for #FF mentions or any other interaction, put the “social” back into “social media” networking!

Wacky Promotional Products

Sports Drink Dispensers

If you’ve ever read the “Promotional Marketing Tips” section of our blog, then you probably know that I’m a big advocate of promotional products that are useful, but also those that are distinctive. For the most part, I think that giveaways should be handy because the more times a logoed promo item is utilized, the more times your logo will be exposed to new audiences. However, not every practical product is going to be used because, well, sometimes practical can be dull. Take a white t-shirt as an example: it is certainly functional, but it’s pretty boring – this might not entice its recipient to wear it, so your marketing dollars are wasted.

As you can see, the majority of the time I (like everyone at Gossett Marketing) advocate taking a unique-but-useful approach to promotional products. But every now and again I like to throw you a curveball – a totally wacky promo item that enhances your marketing because it’s a weird conversation piece, not because it’s practical at all. And boy do I have one of those for you today!

While perusing the most recent Advantages magazine, Danette stumbled across a sports themed drink tube. It’s a drink dispenser with a 100 oz. capacity that is designed to showcase a particular sport. You’ll notice that the image above has a football helmet for a base, but there are also hockey, baseball, and basketball options. Now, I’m sure that these dispensers aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I think that they are excellent giveaways for teams. I can imagine the Miami Dolphins or Miami Marlins putting their logos on the base of the football or baseball versions, respectively, and giving them to season ticket buyers to either utilize at their tailgate parties or to simply have at home – perhaps in their “man caves” or memorabilia rooms. Whether they are taken to events or they sit on a shelf, they’re going to attract attention, which will definitely get the teams’ logos noticed by sports fans – and maybe that will motivate them to, in turn, buy their own tickets!

I truly believe that the majority of your company’s promotional marketing budget should be spent on practical but distinctive items; however, it doesn’t hurt to go a little crazy every now and again. Maybe sports-themed drink dispensers aren’t for you, but I know that, no matter what your industry, there is something fun and unique out there that can serve as a conversation piece and enhance your marketing!

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