Promotional products and direct mail

We still love to get mail. With technology continuing to drive rapid change in marketing and communications planning, traditional media is not disappearing. In fact, mail is thriving.*

With the average unique open rate for direct mail at about 90%, and over half of the population finding printed marketing the most trustworthy of all the channels, then it’s clear it’s still set to be a valuable marketing tool in 2017.

With this in mind, here are five promotional product ideas that are perfect for sending in the mail.

Video Card

Incorporating some 2017 tech advances, this is a new product that is looking like a winner for 2017. Video cards allow you to showcase your brand in a visual way but with the convenience of a direct mail piece! Portable, easily charged and easy playback means this could be the promo product of the year – watch this space.

7 inch video cardPens

Yes they might seem old school, but the pen is still one of the most popular promotional products. You don’t necessarily have to stick to a standard ink faithful – pens on the market now include USBs incorporated in the tips, novelty pens that act as screen cleaners and stylus options to make using your phone a bit easier.

Power-Man-PenDrinking Bottles

OK you’re probably thinking how am I going to mail a water bottle!!! But we are talking about collapsible versions that collapse flat when empty – ideal to keep in a handbag or glove box for a refreshment emergency. Versatile, compact, easy to carry.

folding bottleMagnets

Why not turn your business card into a magnet? This way it can easily be stuck to the fridge and seen every day instead of being chucked in a drawer and forgotten about. This is a low cost promo product that is still surprisingly effective – promotional fridge magnets are kept on average between 6 – 8 years!

1 Fridge Magnets

Confectionery

This is a nice little gift to get people talking or as part of a seasonal campaign such as valentines, Easter and Christmas. From cake pops to mints and nostalgia sweet pots this range is growing in popularity. Nothing like some jelly beans to put a smile on your face!

Jelly bean Pillow pack


*Royal Mail Research

How to use promotional products

The industry is vocal about the benefits of using promotional products and research from the British Promotional Merchandise Association clearly backs this up. Stats from the recent PSI Event, the leading European trade show of the promotional products industry, say that the industry is growing.

The PSI Institute surveyed 1,958 companies in Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, France, Italy and Spain, and the report confirms that notion.

Altogether, 76 per cent of suppliers (prior year: 62) and 67 per cent (60) of promotional products consultants in Europe recorded year-on-year sales increases in 2016. By contrast, 14 per cent of suppliers (24) and 15 per cent of distributors (20) registered a drop in sales. The majority of companies expect sales to grow over the course of the next five years. The figure for suppliers is 87 per cent (84), for promotional products consultants 84 per cent (83).

So, we know companies are deploying promotional products as part of their marketing campaigns but what and why are they buying and using promo for?

Awareness

Free giveaways are commonly used at tradeshows and events are great for creating awareness and reminders about your brand. Products such as USB drives, pens, mugs, calendars and diaries have all shown to be effective in enabling people to recall a company name or message.

USB StickLoyalty gifts

Sending your most loyal customers a branded gift to say thank you, as a Christmas gift or just to celebrate a date in your company history, not only keeps you in their minds but shows they are important to you. 64% of recipients say that receiving a promotional gift makes them feel appreciated.

jsm-0529Employee incentives

Why not reward your employees for outstanding service, for a long work anniversary or as an employee of the month award. Promo is a good alternative to a monetary gift – and small things can make an employee feel valued:  a branded uniform or a welcome pack for new staff with branded pens, paper, tech etc. can go a long way.

employee-awardFundraising

Promotional products have been used as fundraisers for years – because they are effective! It’s a great alternative to asking for money and the products give the supported something to keep as a reminder as well as something useful to encourage others to donate.

charity


These are just a handful of examples of how to use promotional products, but the opportunities are endless…..clubs and schools, souvenirs, retail pack promotions, direct mail, product launches….ask us today how we can help with your next campaign!

 

Supplying Artwork for Promotional Products

So you’re ready to order your promotional products – what happens next?  One of the most common questions we are asked is “How do I need to provide my artwork?”

Here are some of the important things you should think about to make the process a bit smoother…

What should you print on your promotional products?

What is the print area? Each product will have a specified dimensions so you know how much room you have for your promotional message. A pen will obviously have a smaller print area than a notebook for example. Simple is best – a clear logo or strapline will stand out much better than a complicated paragraph of text.

Want a specific colour? Keep in mind that you want your message to stand out – so a good contrast (e.g. white on black) is important.  Some promotional products can be pantone matched if you use particular colours in your logo. This could be the product itself or the colour used to print on to the product.

Pen Print Area example

Supplying your artwork

“We need your artwork as an AI or EPS file” is a common phrase you will hear when ordering promotional products. But what exactly does it mean and how does it affect your order?!

The preferred format is a vectorised eps/pdf file. Vector art is created using vector illustration software such as Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw. These programs create points, lines, and shapes for artwork that can be scaled without any loss of quality. There may be extra time and cost involved if you need this done for you.

These are some of the common artwork issues we encounter:

  • A jpg file placed into Illustrator document is not vector format – it’s just an image saved with a different file extension and is not suitable
  • Fonts not converted to outlines and images not embedded -– it means that if you use a particular font and we don’t have it, then we may have to substitute it for something else. The same for the image, if it’s not embedded then it will be missing when we open your file
  • Images taken from a website – these are usually saved at a low resolution so are not good enough quality for printing purposes. We recommend looking at stock image websites you can purchase high resolution images from if you are stuck

outlinesSigning off your artwork

We always send an electronic proof so you can check you are happy with positioning, spelling etc on your promotional product. It is important to carefully check everything is correct as, once signed off, your order goes into production.

 

Popular Personalisation options

Printing – the most common and cost effective technique which can be Pad Printing (applying ink with a pad) or Screen Printing (applying ink using a stencil on a material screen)

Engraving – Involves the use of specialist computer machinery that carves the logo into the product. Great for metal products.

Embroidery – stitching your logo onto material products such as t-shirts, caps or bags.

Debossing – a heated metal plate leaves a hollowed impression of the artwork/logo on the item. Suitable for leather and PU products like notebooks and folders.

Foil Blocking – Using a similar technique to debossing, but adding a colour foil to the plate which imprints on to the product. Silver and Gold are popular choices.

Doming – Using a self adhesive label.

print techniques
C: Laltex Group

Talk to an expert! We can guide you through the whole process, and make sure you get the most out of your promotional products. If you need some help with your artwork, please call us or email artroom@jsmbusinessgifts.co.uk

Why do branded promotional products take so long to produce?

Ever wondered why branded promotional products take so long to produce?

Ordering promotional products and branded gifts is easy right. You just stick a logo on a product – how hard can it actually be? It’s a common misperception that it is just a case of getting a logo, choosing the product and placing it on there, but there is a little bit more to it than that….

Is the product in stock?

out of stockCheck your timing: So you’ve seen a product you think will be fantastic for your campaign or giveaway, but sometimes that product might not be available or it can’t be produced in time for your deadline. Leaving things to the last minute is common but planning in advance and leaving enough time to get your items makes the whole process a lot less stressful!

Do you have the right artwork?

artwork failDesign makes a difference: Most promotional product companies will ask you to provide a vectorised EPS/PDF for your artwork. If you are not a designer then it’s probably likely you won’t know what this is.  Vector art is created using vector illustration software such as Adobe Illustrator. These programs create points, lines, and shapes for artwork that can be scaled without any loss of quality. There is extra time and cost involved if you need this done for you.

How will the product be branded?

emboss exampleLooks are everything: There are numerous branding options available and which one can affect the look and price of your promotional product. One colour or full colour? Screen printed or digitally printed? Embossing or foil stamping? What colour options are available? Does the design fit with the product chosen? Your design will need to be ‘set-up’ ready for imprinting on your product – whether its plates for printing, producing the block for embossing or a programming a machine for embroidery.

How many will you order?

moneyMoney matters: Budgets are squeezed, we are all trying to get value for money but you can find great products at a great price without skimping on quality. If you buy promotional products on a regular basis, check how much you could save by buying more – there are generally savings to be made buying in bulk. Think about a fulfillment service that can store your products until you need them if you are limited on space. Do your research and remember that you want your gift to be kept for a long lasting impression.


Promotional products are constantly evolving and there are now lots of products on the market that can be branded in a short amount of time, when you are on a deadline, or something has come up last minute.

But, to get the most out of your order here are some things to think about – using this simple checklist:

  • What are you hoping to achieve? Generating sales? Increasing traffic to your website? Promoting a new product or sending an invitation?
  • What is your budget and how much time do you have?
  • What information do you want to communicate? Can you fit your copy on a standard product, or do you need something more bespoke? How big is the print area on the item?
  • What colour product do you want? Do you have specific pantone colours?
  • How can it be branded? Do you want a specific effect or finish?
  • How many are you looking for? (most products have a minimum order quantity. Think about quantity as usually you can get a better price for buying in bulk.)
  • Do you have artwork? Do you need to ask a designer for your artwork?
  • Will you get an artwork proof? This shows you where your logo/design will be positioned on your item. Its extremely important to check all the details are correct – images, spelling, colours, position – as once you approve this then your item will be produced
  • What are your delivery requirements? Will you be handing your products out at a tradeshow? Can they be mailed easily? Do you need a bespoke package to send to your customers?

Talk to an expert! We can guide you through the whole process, and make sure you get the most out of your promotional products. Contact us today!

Top 5 Bestsellers – October

INFOGRAPHIC

THE TOP 5 BESTSELLING PRODUCTS IN OCTOBER

What promotional products are people buying? Want some inspiration for your next campaign? Then check out the list….

Bestsellers in October