Here it is again the end of the relaxing summer. Here comes the bills for school, back to school accessories, the count down to the holiday gifts and the searching out of that perfect holiday getaway. The common theme is Money and plenty of it. There was a time when any business just needed a sign outside their door and poof, people came in to buy from you. Twenty or thirty years ago it was unheard of for a lawyer, doctor, dentist and accountant to advertise for business. These were safe professions. Get into grad school and you were set for a comfortable life. Those days are over! Welcome to the cold hard life of the twenty first century.
Yes there is competition these days in every field but the successful people are those who don't sit back and get complacent. What this means today is that you must reward your present customers and give them a reason to stay with you and also entice new customers to give you a try. The first problem is dealing with your existing customers. Never take a customer for granted. A long with great service people appreciate when you let them know they are special and not just a number. Salespeople used to take customers out to lunch. Outside of a handful of people, most people I know have incorporated their lunch hour into their standard working hours. If you do take a lunch, chances are it is a quick one and you're back to the office or doing some personal errands. How then do you thank your existing customers. The market for promotional products has exploded in the last 15 years. Buying buyers today is not acceptable, what is acceptable is giving them branded gifts or moderate token gifts at periodic times like holiday periods or product launches.
If you want to get into the game, you must come up with clever give away which is useful to the recepient and which doesn't scream your compnay name to the point that they won't use it. The most repeat impact you can have is with coffee mugs or calendars. Even with computer programs a lot of people still like to have a nice agenda where they can write important names, that won't be wiped out with a computer virus. There are literally close to one million different items available. On my company web site you can browse over 700,000 items. My web address is www.solutionsink4u.com. How about giving out a thank you gift for long time patronage. Think of something personal they might like and have the packaging branded, either with a label or custom bag or box. Today the biggest companies, The Gap, Sharper Image, Coach, Movado, Mont Blanc, American Apparel, Bella, Cutter and Buck, Cross, and Nike are all in the promotional product industry. Hotels have gotten in the act giving their better clients umbrellas when it's raining and customized chocolates on their bed before they retire. Going the extra mile really does help you retain your customer. Everybody must be competitive but you don't have to be the cheapest. People remember the nice touches.
The second use is to attract new customers. Here you have the conventional way of advertising, newspapers, magazines, flyers, direct mail and cold calling. These are effective but tend to be expensive and the return rate you get for your investment tends to be low. A mass mailer with a response rate of 1.5% is considered a success. Consider for a moment that 98.5% of the people ignored your message. For the large companies it's built into their advertising budgets. Tricks for medium and small business are to target smaller more defined prospects and spend more per prospect. The overall cost of your campaign will be much smaller and the response rate can be as high as 10 to 15%. An effective way to peak interest is to offer a specific discount to some or to come up with a contest with a prize where no purchase is neccessary. Contests are fun, people always like to win something and win or lose they tend to remember your company's name or message associated with the contest. Today there are exciting ways to hold a contest on the web. People like the annonimity, have the freedon to register on their timetable and tend to see all the other stuff you have on your web site. Create your website in a way like an IKEA store, where the customer must see all your product before they can leave.
Other ways to capture this defined prospect market is to have give aways at industry conventions. The captive market are your ideal customers . Firstly give aways bring people to your booth and secondly nice give aways are retained in their possession for a long time, reinforcing your company name. There are products today to meet any budget and are well worth the investment. if you land 1 or 2 good customers because of the promotional product it tends to pay for itself, ten fold at least.
If these ides make sense, but you still are unsure of what to do next, give me a call at 514-337-2238 or visit us on our web site at www.solutionsink4u.com, yes we have a contest on our web page. We practice what we preach. Best of luck with your magic wand. Steven Schneidman
Steven Schneidman has a B.A. in Psychology and an M.B.A., he has worked as a finance professor and at a major Canadian Bank. He has owned and owns 2 successful printing and promotional product companies.