Tag Archives: USB

20Aug/19

If You Don’t Have a Company Online Store Yet – You Need One!

Should You Be Using a Company Online Store?

If you do not yet have a company online store, you probably should get one! Company online stores have become a popular, efficient, and effective way to offer employees (and even customers) a place to buy unique branded items.  Whether you just want to provide your employees with some fun items to show their pride in their workplace or you want to provide your managers and employees a one-stop-shop for employees to choose your branded promotional products and apparel as a requirement of their job, a company online store is an ideal solution.  

Curate a Strategic Company Online Store

One significant advantage of creating your own company online store is that you get control over controlling your brand’s identity and style.  You can control things like style, color, finish, etc.  Additionally, you can further a message about your brand.  For example, if you are a gym, you can offer promotional gym bags, towels, yoga mats, and hoodies that uniquely exemplify your brand’s style.  This is important because people are bombarded with marketing messages thousands of times a day so you want to create a unified, cohesive branding strategy and an online store will provide the ideal platform on which to do so.  

Let Employees (and Customers!) Show Their Company Pride

What is better than using custom apparel and swag to proudly represent something that you are a part of or support?  There are so many ways, large and small, to show others you are proud to be an employee of a great company, or that you love a great company with branded promotional products and apparel.  Every time someone wears or uses a promotional item in front of someone else at work, in a store, in a restaurant, or anywhere else – they see your branding and it reinforces your brand identity.  

Start a Company Online Store with Connect the Dots Promotions

At Connect the Dots Promotions, we are continually looking for unique and diverse ways to assist you with strategic marketing solutions.  We can help you choose items for your company store, design the style, and help you offer your employees and clients a modern and convenient way to source branded promotional products.  Once complete, your company online store can live on its own website or you can embed it into your website for enhanced functionality.  Starting other forms of online stores can be expensive, complicated, and frustrating which is why we love how effective, efficient, and convenient it is to establish your own company online store.

20May/19

Proposed China Tariff Will Have Major Impact on Promotional Products Industry (and Customers)

Forget Winter, the Tariff is Coming and it is Far More Ominous!

Proposed China TariffUsually, it is a hot new product making the buzz in the promotional products industry but right now the buzz is all about the proposed China tariff.  The proposed tariff will have a widespread impact on various industries, including a significant impact on the promotional products industry.  At Connect the Dots Promotions, we love to share our latest projects or interesting products with our clients and industry peers, but we also believe it is important to have a conversation about how important this proposed tariff is and examine just how wide-reaching the impact will be.

Trump Administration Proposed 25% Tariff Will Impact Everyone

If you have not yet heard the news, the Trump administration proposed 25% tariff on products imported from China.  Make no mistake, this is a HUGE tariff.  Not only is this tariff threatening businesses but, unfortunately, it is threatening widespread impact on our customers because it will lead to an increase in prices. 

USA Today explains what is at stake with the proposed China tariff increase, “The trade war with China could cause prices to rise on everything from toys to clothing, but it also could lead to ‘widespread store closures,’ according to a report by UBS.  The investment bank’s analysis said tariffs on Chinese imports could put $40 billion of sales and 12,000 stores at risk…’We think potential 25% tariffs on Chinese imports could accelerate pressure on these company’s profit margins to the point where major store closures become a real possibility.” Earlier this month, the Trump administration increased U.S. tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports from 10% to 25%. The president has also threatened to add a 25% tariff on almost all the remaining $325 billion in goods shipped in from China… ‘We’re going to continue to do everything we can to keep prices low,’ said Brett Biggs, Walmart’s chief financial officer and executive vice president, during a call with reporters Thursday. ‘However, increased tariffs will lead to increased prices we believe for our customers.’”

Proposed China Tariff Will Have a Big Impact on All Businesses & Their Clients

Proposed China TariffThe proposed increase will certainly impact large retailers like Walmart, but it will be an even larger strain on small businesses.  While we still have not seen exactly how this proposed China tariff will play out exactly, if it does go into effect as planned, it will most likely lead to increased prices. 

Because of this, and because we love our clients so much and don’t want to see their marketing impacted by this, we highly encourage our customers to consider looking ahead at the next 6 months – 1 year and consider what they have planned for marketing and promotional products.  If you have not yet, start planning your marketing calendar out and considering if now is a good time to order for fall, back-to-school, holidays, end-of-year, or other occasions for which you might want promotional products.  By ordering sooner rather than later (before a new tariff is implemented), you will take advantage of lower prices that will no longer be around if the tariff goes into effect.

Plan Ahead to Avoid Paying Higher Prices If Higher Tariff is Enacted

At Connect the Dots Promotions, you can always count on our dedication to you, our client.  We have been well aware of the proposed tariff for some time and are anticipating the potential increase by researching American made products and other sources to keep costs low but, unfortunately, if the tariff does go into place, it will likely mean increased pricing.  If you are interested in discussing your marketing plan, alternative marketing strategies, or investing in promotional products now to avoid

31Jan/19

Why the 2019 PPAI Expo in Las Vegas Was a Must-Attend Event!

2019 PPAI Expo Recap

2019 PPAI Expo2019 PPAI ExpoWe are home from the PPAI Expo and wow – we saw so much, learned even more, and had a great time connecting with old and new friends!  It was great to attend the 2019 PPAI Expo with our whole team because there is so much to take in and we were able to have three sets of eyes.  Also, having three people let us be very organized about what we saw, learned, and visited!  Every year at the PPAI Expo is a great experience and 2019 certainly did not disappoint.

 

 

Preparing for Year Ahead with the 2019 PPAI Expo

2019 PPAI ExpoWe love that the PPAI Expo is at the beginning of the year because it allows us to see the latest and greatest products while our clients are preparing marketing strategies for the year ahead.  We have projects on the horizon for clients and, knowing that, we were able to connect the right products with the coming projects.  

 

 

 

What We Saw at the 2019 PPAI Expo

2019 PPAI Expo 2019 PPAI ExpoTech promotional products have been popular for a while and this year was no exception.  Wireless chargers for phones are all the rage.  They are easy to brand and everyone needs a phone charger.  The upside of a promotional wireless phone charger is that it will likely be used often so your brand will constantly be in front of whoever receives your promotional product.  Additionally, we saw some cool octopus-style charging cords that can charge multiple devices, of different kinds (smartphone, laptop, tablet, etc.), at once.

 

 

Our Takeaways from the 2019 PPAI Expo

2019 PPAI ExpoThe best part about the 2019 PPAI Expo is not necessarily the event itself, but all that we learn and take home to our clients.  We are most excited about a movement in our industry called PromoCares.  With PromoCares, all of our clients have access to supplies in our industry that give back to others in some way.  If you’ve read our blog before, you know that we believe strongly in not just connecting the dots for our clients but serving the community in which we live and leveraging the power of our clients to support organizations that give back. 

We cannot wait to share all that we learned at the conference with our clients.  If you are planning your 2019 marketing calendar or are ready to plan your next promotional products campaign, we at Connect the Dots would love to meet with you. We would be happy to share with you about the latest and greatest products in our industry and how you can utilize promotional products to promote your business and encourage brand loyalty.

25Jun/18

High ROI on Promotional Products

What Type of ROI Can Promotional Products Offer?

When choosing marketing and promotional products, it is common to wonder what the ROI (return on investment) will be.  While this is understandable, there is no set formula for what works best in marketing.  It is impossible to predict what a promotional product’s “ROI” will be, particularly because in marketing there are different types of promotional product ROI.  To label a return on investment as only monetary would be significantly simplifying the impact that promotional products can have for your business.

What Exactly Constitutes ‘ROI’?

First, it is important to establish what ROI can mean for your business.  There is obviously monetary ROI – when a promotional product converts to a sale.  But, promotional products can also foster goodwill and enhance and extend your branding efforts.  Think about the marketing real estate of someone’s desk.  If someone sits at their desk every day then that is tremendous opportunity to market your brand if you can take up even a small portion of that real estate.  Calendars, notepads, mousepads, mugs, Bluetooth speakers, pens, and more that sit on everyone’s desks can be custom branded. Each time that person sits down at their desk they will see your logo.  This creates brand recognition/recall, fosters goodwill because they remember that you gave a gift, and may just be the reminder they need when they need your product or service to give you a call.  That is tremendous and diverse ROI!

Diversify Your Definition of ROI to See the True Potential of Promotional Products!

In addition to utilizing someone’s desk real estate, you can strategically use promotional products as creative marketing tools that create brand recognition and help you grow your social media presence.  Branded wearable promotional products are great to hand out at events.  You can encourage people to snap a pic and tag you so that they can win a prize.  Another fun way to increase social media engagement is to encourage people to snap a picture with your logo any time they see it.  For example, if they are out at the bank or a local restaurant and see your branded pen on the counter, they can take a picture of it and tag your social media profile to win a prize.  This enhances the ROI on a relatively small investment in a promotional pen and creates a grassroots marketing movement for your brand.  When discussing branded promotional product ROI, it is important to look at all the different ROI types and potential with any given item so that you can maximize your marketing budget!

11Jan/18

Connect the Dots Is Attending the 2018 PPAI Expo

2018 PPAI Expo: January 15-18, 2018

2018 PPAI ExpoThe PPAI Expo 2018 is this weekend and Karie, Marcie, and Kim could not be more excited to attend this year’s event.  We always love attending this event because it is a great time to learn about the latest and most exciting promotional products, receive industry education, and enjoy a time connecting with other industry professionals.

This year, the PPAI Expo is going all out, “In 2018 The PPAI Expo brought more than 12,000 distributors from more than 4,500 companies together under one roof for the five-day event.The PPAI Expo features more than 1,200 exhibiting companies showcasing more than a quarter million products over 1,000,000 square feet of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, the fifth largest convention center in the U.S.”

2018 Promotional Products

We will be on the 2018 PPAI Expo floor on Tuesday and Wednesday. If you have heard of a product or marketing tool or are just looking for something in particular, let us know!  We will go “shopping” at the show just for you!

Attending the PPAI Expo 2018 is going to be a great time to see the newest promotional products and marketing tools.  Thousands of suppliers attend the event and bring products they want to highlight or that are a current trend.  There is over one million square feet of trade show exhibit hall and hundreds of products being showcased at the event including new promotional products, green promotional products, incentive promotional products. There is literally every promotional product you could want or need, for every industry! Additionally, there are also a wide array of promotional product price points for any marketing budget.

 

2018 PPAI Expo Education

In addition to looking at thousands of new 2018 promotional products, we will also be receiving education.  Monday will be a day filled with education for Connect the Dots.  There are many opportunities to gain industry knowledge and keynote luncheons with outstanding speakers.  It is always nice to gain additional industry insight from fellow marketing industry professionals.

The popular saying, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” will not be true of our trip to the 2018 PPAI Expo in Vegas. We are excited to bring back everything we learn at the PPAI Expo so that we can continue to provide our clients with the best service and promotional products available in 2018!

02Aug/17

Christmas in August? Start Planning Your Holiday Marketing Campaign Now!

promotional holiday giftsTemperatures are hot outside but did you know that it is already time to be planning ahead for the holidays?  When strategically planned in advance, your marketing campaign will be well-executed and successful.  During the holidays, the mall isn’t the only crowded place.  Every business wants custom branded promotional holiday gifts or logo products at the end of the year.  This rush tends to lead to a lot of panic and rushed decision making. Also, you may potentially experience a delay in getting your items if production times are slow because of volume.  We may be used to instant gratification but if you want great custom holiday promotional products items don’t wait!  To give promotional gifts to employees or customers during the holidays, you need to start planning now.

Think You Don’t Have the Budget for Promotional Holiday Gifts? Think Again!

promotional holiday giftsMany businesses think they don’t have the budget to do a gift during the holidays but that is a misconception.  Investing in promotional holiday gifts and a strong holiday marketing campaign can pay off big for your company, as the U.S. Small Business Administration points out, “According to a 2013 survey by Constant Contact, participating in holiday season marketing is a rewarding venture for small businesses, with 52 percent of respondents reporting that new customers attained during the holidays become repeat, loyal customers…Constant Contact also reports that only 31 percent of small businesses surveyed start planning for the holidays between two and three months in advance. Now this doesn’t mean that these businesses won’t be ready, but it’s more than likely that the campaigns and events that they run will be pretty generic. Without planning, these campaigns won’t take into account what’s worked well in the past (and I don’t mean gut feelings, but real, hard metrics). They also won’t allow much time for originality, no matter how creative you think you are.”  Often, if you plan ahead you are able to secure the best pricing and availability on your promotional holiday gifts.

Strategically Market Your Brand During the Holidays

promotional holiday giftsWhen you plan ahead, you can discuss you can carefully weigh your marketing options.  This will allow you to tailor a marketing campaign and promotional products to your brand and customers. There is more than simply celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah or the Holiday Season in general in December.  Get creative with your marketing and make a memorable impact!  October is Breast Cancer Awareness month so consider ordering promotional products to give to employees or survivors.  Halloween is in October and why not have a little fun with your promotional products?  Also, both Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving are in November and offer unique opportunities to promote your business. Avoid the headache of having your promotional items delayed or backordered because of the seasonal rush. Maximize your 2017 holiday marketing campaign and start planning for your promotional holiday gifts now!

12Jul/17

Promotional Products and Spiritwear for Schools and Universities

Create School Spirit with Custom School Promotional Products and Spiritwear!

It may feel like summer has just begun but it’s already time to start thinking about your “back to school”! And we don’t just mean school supplies, we mean school marketing.  Every type of school or any size needs promotional products to encourage school spirit.  There are many different kinds of school spiritwear and school promotional products.  These products pump students, parents, and school sports fans for the new school year!  Promotional products and spiritwear generate school spirit, goodwill, excitement, loyalty, and more!  Sell your school promotional products and spiritwear in the school shop. And, give your custom promotional products away for exciting promotions or to alumni and donors as a gift for donations!

school promotional products apparelThere are certain school promotional products and spiritwear that are great for any type of school.  For example, t-shirts are a great promotional item for any school. They can help entice parents to join an elementary school PTO or PTA which all schools need. And, promotional apparel is great for teenagers in high school or young adults in college.  Parents are always proud to represent their child’s school so a school cannot go wrong ordering school t-shirts.  Additionally, promotional pens are useful for any school because people always need pens!  And, as an added bonus, if the pens get left somewhere it will help promote the school to new people!  To continue, bookmarks make a great promotional product because they are inexpensive yet useful.

school promotional products stadium seatThere are many promotional products or spiritwear items that work well for high schools or colleges (though many would still be great for elementary schools as well!).  If your school has an athletic program, great spiritwear is a must!  Hats, t-shirts, and sweatshirts are some of the most popular.  But, don’t forget the fans and tailgating crowd!  Custom printed logo folding chairs, seat cushions, umbrellas, misting fans, water bottles, or coolers are sure to be crowd-pleasers.

Additionally, when ordering promotional products for high schools or universities it is a great idea to stock the school shop with many “school staples.”  These can include promotional notebooks, logo pens, calculators, rulers, tote bags, backpacks, highlighters, sticky notes, staplers, flash drives, coffee mugs, and more!  Every student needs many or all of these things so why not provide them an opportunity to purchase them with your school’s logo on them or give them out as gifts to students!

school promotional products earbudsFinally, promotional products and spiritwear do not have to be all serious or studious, have some fun!  Some fun promotional products for schools or universities include logo sunglasses, footballs, Frisbees, headphones/earbuds, stress ball, mascot plushes, or phone charger/power bank.  Seeing students wear spiritwear or use custom promotional products creates an atmosphere of loyalty, fun, and excitement.  Prospective students will want to be a part of that kind of community, donors will want to give donations, students will feel like they are part of something fun and exciting, and parents will want to participate.  Contact Connect the Dots to order your school or university promotional products now to be prepared for the new school year!

03Nov/16

Top 10 Corporate Holiday Gifts

As the year winds down, it is important to remember to thank employees for the past year of dedicated service and customers for the past year of patronage.  Corporate holiday gifts have become an anticipated ritual in the workplace because they bring a smile to everyone’s face and make people feel appreciated.  But, we know that they are not just a nice gesture, they also strengthen business relationships and boost company morale.

Rather than wait until the last minute and have to rush or pay to expedite freight, now is the time to find a special way to say, “thank you”!   We know that every business is different and we want to help you find the right gift that will leave a lasting impression.  At Connect the Dots Promotions, we have carefully curated a list of “Top 10 Corporate Holiday Gifts” to help our customers this holiday season. These holiday gifts are a fiscally responsible way to make your employees feel appreciated and valued while simultaneously promoting your brand.

Top 10 Corporate Holiday Gifts

  1. Travel Mugs

106677_1Whether you opt for a stainless tumbler or any other kind of insulated tumbler, everyone can appreciate having another place to keep their drinks warms or cool.  Not only are they useful, but they are an attractive way to promote your brand wherever your employee or customer brings their travel mug.

 

 

  1. Zippered Tote

106117_1A grocery tote is eco-friendly, very handy and comes in a variety of sizes and styles.  Upgrade to an insulated tote to help keep perishables cool and insulated.  Your employees will be sure to thank you for their useful holiday gifts that prominently display your company’s logo!

 

 

  1. Water Bottle

101041_1There are water bottles in every imaginable size, shape, color, and style you can imagine.  There are traditional water bottles, canteen-style water bottles, fruit infuser water bottles, plastic water bottles, stainless steel water bottles, and so much more!

 

 

  1. USB Drive

104786_1gb_1A USB drive or thumb drive makes bringing important files with you easy with a compact, branded case that is easy to throw in purse, briefcase or right in your pocket!  Make it even easier to never forget your USB drive and gift your employees or customers with a keychain USB!

 

 

  1. Padfolios

101683_1From subtle and sleek to bright and fun, there is a padfolio to meet your needs.  Your employees and customers need to write things down so why not gift them with a custom-branded padfolio in which to do so?

 

 

  1. Drawstring Backpack

108194_1Whether your employee or customer is headed to the gym, going for a hike, running to the store, or going on a trip, they are sure to reach for something to carry their things in.  By gifting thing with a promotional drawstring backpack they will not only have something to carry their things in, they will bring your brand with them wherever they go!

 

 

7.  Apparel

108592_1We carry a diverse selection of apparel in a variety of price points and styles for any climate.  During the cooler winter months your employees and customers will enjoy keeping warm with a promotional jacket or fleece vest with a stylish and subtle embossed or embroidered logo.

 

 

8.  Blanket

112997_1Carry-along blankets are incredibly popular and for good reason – everyone can use them.  Whether bringing them along to your child’s soccer game, toting them to a picnic, bringing them with you to an outdoor even to keep warm or packing them in the car for a trip, a carry-along blanket holiday gift will get a lot of use and be greatly appreciated by employees and customers alike.

 

 

9.  Planner or Calendar

103415_1A planner or calendar is a great, universally-appealing gift because everyone needs to keep track of their schedule.  While many people use their phones for some calendar-tracking, the traditional calendar is far from dead.  Many people appreciate having a calendar they can throw in their bag or sit on the desk so they can jot things down and see their schedule right in front of them.

 

10.  Pen

103860_1Who doesn’t love a nice, stylish pen?  Everyone loves a pen that writes well and with our promotional pens you can gift your employees and customers with something very useful while also promoting your brand.  And bonus, you will keep your business in the mind of employees and customers every time they use that pen, providing constant marketing!