Make Connections

Make Connections

Selling today is a lot harder than it used to be, your prospects are being bombarded with more disitractions and messages every day. Breaking through the static and getting their attention is difficult to say the least. Everyone seems to have an opinion on the best way to get through and get noticed – create a unique subject line, provide a call to action, offer something free, make it easier for them to buy. All great advice but first you have to win their attention in order for them to read your subject line, see your call to action or want your free item.

Free image

Promotional products offer you the advantage of not only gaining their attention but in keeping it for days, weeks and even years. Promotional products were ranked the #1 most effective form of advertising to prompt action across all generations. What this means to you is, no matter what the age of your target prospect you can connect with them with the use of promotional products.

Now you’re asking yourself how? This is where your unique subject line, call to action and free offer come in. By combining these items with the power of a promotional product you can gain your prospects attention and keep it. It goes beyond just sending them a pen or notepad, what you want to do is create a theme, tell a story with your introduction. By tying in the right promotional product, you can create an anchor with this product that creates a connection with the prospect and they with your message. This connection is made again and again every time they see or use the product you tie in to your message.

A simple “bumpy” mailer or a custom mailing will get that connection started. Bumpy mailers are just that, envelopes that are bumpy from the promotional product inside. Everyone opens a bumpy mailer, it’s like a box of Cracker Jacks, you have to see the prize inside. Custom mailings can include special boxes or packaging that help present a more high-end offering.
We have worked on both scales and each are equally successful.
Below are a few examples of how a “bumpy mailer” might look, you only need to add a business card, envelope and a stamp.

These mailers incorporated what I like to call Anchor Cards, cards that contain a Anchor card imagemessage or offer that you want to convey to the recipient. We tie the promotional product to the message, this way every time they use your “gift” they will remember why you sent it to them. This creates a more powerful connection than simply adding a letter and the item.

For higher end offers you can opt to go with custom packaging like the examples below. Here we created custom boxes with messaging on the inside and out. Anchor cards were utilized with these mailings as well. The one in the middle even included a sound card that was activated when the box was open, even the promotional item was used as part of the introduction. The item featured was a voice recorder that each salesperson recorded a personal message on and a note inside requested the recipient simple press the Play Button.


As you can see by both styles, you can do a lot more with promotional products than just hand them out. You have the opportunity to make valuable connections, connections that will keep you in touch with your prospects and clients long after they open their mail.


















An Invitation

Invitation post header

Less than 8% of trade show exhibitors utilize one of the most advantageous tactics in getting real prospects to your booth, a simple invitation. Sending something as simple as an invitation to stop by your booth while at the show can go a long way in turning prospects into customers, an invitation makes you feel important and wanted. Who doesn’t want to feel that way?

Invitation envelope

Many feel the added cost isn’t in the budget when this is the first thing that should be in the budget after the initial booth cost. After all, the reason for going to the show in the first place is to have prospects stop by your booth. How many times have you thrown a party without inviting guests?

An easy way out is sending an email, but recent statistics show that fewer than 9% of email is even opened anymore. We have become so accustomed to scanning and dumping email we delete an incredibly high number of important messages. The best invites are a personal letter or postcard that you ask them to bring to your booth. The reward can be a special gift or a discount on a future order – anything to get them to hold onto the letter or card. This is a great way to track the response rate of both your mailing list and the popularity of the show you are attending. Based on the number of cards received and the occasional “I received the card but forgot to bring it” you can get a percentage of invited prospects to ones you simply scanned at the show. Having them hold onto the card also provides you constant “top of mind” status with the card on their desk until show time.
One thing about the invite – don’t sell your product or service. How many parties do you like to go to where you know you are going to be sold to? Keep your invitation light and fun. Give them a trivia question to remember about the city the show is in or fun facts about the people that will be at your booth. Make it more personal and less business and it will seem a lot more inviting. Pushing your products and services to entice them does just the opposite, it turns prospects off because they think a visit to your booth will be an even harder sell. If you have a new product or service you are launching, create a question or two that your product answers. Just don’t answer the question on the invite – let them come to your booth to learn more. Reserve your selling to the show floor, let the invitation be just that – inviting.

Another idea that works very well is to turn the invite into a game. Prospects love this tactic and often make it a point to visit these booths first. The temptation to win is just too great to keep them away. There are a number of ways to turn the invitation into a game piece. Create a scratch off card that they must use a special coin at the booth to reveal their prize. This gets them to your booth and then gives you added time to interact with them as they scratch off their winning card. Provide several levels of prizes that can be won and then offer a second chance drawing by adding their email to the card and dropping it in a bowl for a drawing at the end of the show. You can stipulate that they need to be present to win the top prize to create a festive atmosphere to close out the show.

There are several ways grab attendee’s attention and create a fun and exciting atmosphere. These types of promotion can really add to the feeling of your booth, people are generally more excited – both attendees and your own booth personnel. The attitude of your own employees actually creates pull to other prospects that did not receive an invite and draws them into your booth creating even more opportunity.

An invitation makes it much easier for both your prospect and employees to engage with each other. Neither one feels threatened or predatory, making the sales interaction more relaxed and enjoyable. The tradeshow attendee is now in a much better mood to buy.





Your Guide to Creating Multi-Sensory Brand Experiences

Sensory Marketing Header

When people think marketing they automatically think “visually”. While it is true the majority of marketing is made for the eyes, with the ears as a backup for audio, there are other senses at work that are just as important and can have an even longer lasting effect on the brain.

Marketing is all about creating an experience that will be remembered by the audience – a sale, specifications of a product, even a catchy jingle. Marketers want to entice you, entertain you and make you a customer. We are bombarded by visual marketing on a daily basis – multiple studies claim we see from 1,000 to 20,000 marketing images a day, one study sums up that we only take notice of about 247 images of those we are exposed.

Times Square image

That is quite a lot to take in and remember. What if we were to engage our other senses? Picture the following scenario. You book a hotel online, strictly based on location and your price point. A couple weeks go by and your trip comes up and you check into your hotel and get to your room. On the table is a welcome card that contains hotel branded lavender bath salts with an invitation to sit back, relax and enjoy your stay. After a long flight, a luxurious soak in the tub is just what you need. You draw a bath, add the lavender salts and let the fragrant scent lull you into a state of relaxation. Months later you smell lavender and are immediately reminded of your hotel stay, their brand captured in your memory.

A simple gesture of free bath salts with a company name has now linked their brand to a positive emotional response. This is what we call creating a sensory marketing experience. While the visuals of the card may not be remembered the scent and small gift of the bath salts were, solidifying your opinion of that hotel brand. In the digital age we can’t be nailed down to one form of marketing. Traditional advertising is easily blocked, forgotten and put aside. To build strong emotional connections we need to engage the recipient and drive preference with more than visuals.

So, how important is sensory branding, and does it really work?

According to the 2005 book “Brand Sense” by branding expert Martin Lindstrom, 83% of current advertising appeals to the eyes only. Visual advertisements (think billboards, print ads, web banners) are being processed in the cortex of the brain, which is responsible for a person’s thoughts and actions. Smell and taste, however, are linked to the limbic system which is responsible for forming memories and emotions. If a brand can integrate smell and taste into their advertising efforts, they are going to make an unforgettable impression and can even influence a customer’s purchasing habits.

sensory iconsThe science behind sensory marketing is solid and increasingly more and more marketing firms are including the discipline in their media offerings. As for its effectiveness, Nike increased purchase intent by 80% just by adding scents to their stores, and gas stations that emitted the smell of coffee near their pumps saw coffee sales increased by almost 300 percent! Appealing to the senses is proven to be effective, and this is where branded merchandise is the most cost-efficient way to do so.

This is not to say traditional advertising doesn’t have a place, it will always be the favored form of marketing. What you need to consider is that if you have an opportunity to utilize branded products or promotional items, your message has a greater chance of sticking with your target. Traditional advertising only makes impressions when it is running. Once the contract ends or the image is out of sight, many times it’s out of mind. Take a simple promotional tote bag, in an average year the message will be read over 5,700 times – no contract, no territory, a walking billboard for your brand.

So, what can you do today?

Step out of the box, examine your use of marketing and see where you can incorporate a taste (mints, custom flavored lip balm), sound (earbuds, Bluetooth speakers), smell (bath salts, candles) into your marketing mix. Create a memorable impression that can create a brand experience.

At Proforma, we specialize in creative branding and can assist you in identifying which branded products will best suit an overall sensory branding initiative. Let’s face it, to be memorable in the digital age with ad blockers you must stand out, create an experience and a feeling. Let’s create a sensory journey your consumers remember, let us help you create a Brand Experience.

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4 Tips for Tradeshow Giveaway Success

TradeshowImage courtesy of PPAI

Many of us have been to tradeshows where we’ve been given bagfuls of promotional products by exhibitors that are designed to create goodwill and positive brand imaging which hopefully leads to a business relationship. Some of these giveaways capture our attention because of their uniqueness, quality and usefulness. Others are ‘circular filed’ before they leave the building. Therefore the challenge for those of you who exhibit at shows is; How do you choose a promotional product that has a long shelf-life, will be a lightning rod for attendees at the show and will simultaneously give your brand and marketing message maximum exposure?

The answer? Show that you C.A.R.E.

Category? Pens, caps, bags, office accessories and drinkware represent over 40% of the promotional products industry. People use these products. The trick is to find an item within one of these categories that meets your standards for quality, creativity, usefulness and end user appropriateness. Avoid anything that’s perceived as ‘seen that done that.’ Choose bright colors or unusual shapes and sizes to spark interest.  Remember the goal:  Select an item that your prospect will use and use often. Frequent use will lead to more impressions and greater brand awareness.

Appropriate? You also want to consider audience appropriateness when choosing a promotional item. You probably wouldn’t give a fridge magnet to a CEO, a mouse pad to fishermen or a $1 tape measure to a professional builder. Similarly you will help the prospect connect your brand with the service you provide when you tie the item to your industry. Financial services companies often give away calculators, pens

ROI? The key to developing an impactful marketing and advertising strategy is to utilize best practices that maximize return on investment (ROI). To that end be aware that the average cost per impression of an ad specialty item is $.004 versus $.019 for newspapers, $.033 for a national magazine and $.019 for primetime TV1. In addition, the recipient of a tradeshow give away has typically been prequalified by virtue of their show attendance making them a highly targeted prospect which will drive up the effectiveness of your campaign. If your giveaway accentuates your value proposition it will drive up your ROI further. If you claim to be a Mercedes or even a Toyota in your industry space don’t give out anything that reminds the recipient of a Pinto.

Entertainment? In order to increase brand awareness an effective tradeshow give away must be functional, attractive, have longevity and whenever possible contain a fun factor. The ultimate goal is to create buzz, visibility and for prospects to positively engage. It’s working if you see ‘em smile….and a smile is your best referral source. At the very least the item must be useful. Usefulness means your brand, contact information and marketing message are being seen over and over by your target audience which increases the likelihood of them calling you to place an order.

Show that you C.A.R.E. and you will reap a harvest of goodwill with prospects and clients and propel your brand to higher and higher levels.

Provided by Woody Kaye – Proforma Blog

The One Thing You Are Probably Not Doing That Can Super Charge Your Next Tradeshow

There are always things we know we should do but for some reason never do them. Like eliminating one thing from our diet or walking for ten minutes a day. The reasoning is there and the proof it works is solid but we just don’t do it. When it comes to putting together a good show there is definitely one thing that rarely gets done… inviting people to see you at your booth – a simple invitation.

In a recent poll it was reported that less than 10% of exhibitors let their customers know they will be attending an upcoming tradeshow. The majority of those exhibitors send a single email. What if I told you 70% of tradeshow attendees prepare a list of vendors to see BEFORE going to a tradeshow. Are you on their list? Do they know you will be there? Do they know what to look for at your booth?

Another big factor for ROI at a tradeshow is the conversion of leads into sales. 75% of the leads gathered at tradeshows are never followed up, mainly because salespeople see no reason to follow up. If they knew there is a 50% conversion rate of booth leads that received a pre-show invitation they just may change their minds. That’s right, when people have a reason to visit you over simply walking by; they have a reason to buy.

Here are a few tips to Super Charge your next show.

3 months before the show, send out an email to your prospect list and have each salesperson send out an invitation to their client list. Make it simple; tell them the show you will be attending, your booth number and you are looking forward to seeing them. If you have a new product or service coming out, tease them, don’t sell them yet.
One month out send an actual invitation, it can be a simple postcard or a creative invite to learn something new at your booth. Include all the relevant information and maybe throw in a good reason to stop by or set up a meeting. Offering a special incentive to meet at a specific time has shown to be major game changer for landing top prospects.
Two weeks out send one more email telling prospects and customers you are looking forward to seeing them and include anything new that may have popped up since the invitation was mailed.

Want to push this a little farther? Make it a contest, who can get the most prospects to stop by the booth. Have the prospect reference something on the invitation, have them place stars by your name on a chart at the booth. Including the prospects and clients in on the contest makes it fun for them as well.

That’s it – a simple invitation can help you convert 50% more of your tradeshow leads into sales. Think that will pay for the show?

Adding Video to Your Marketing Mix

As our attention spans “increasingly decrease” getting and keeping our prospects and clients attention becomes more difficult. Unfortunately, many companies feel adding video to their marketing mix is a lot of work when it really doesn’t have to be that way.  First of all, you don’t want a video over 60 seconds long. Second, creating video doesn’t have to include actors/people and special effects like you see in movies.  A simple animation can go a long way in grabbing, keeping and directing your prospects/clients attention away from the competition. You will be surprised that some videos can be produced for well under $1000.

The following video is one we put together to grab and keep your attention and show how easy it is…

White Board Video
    Whiteboard image

So, did you watch it to the end? If I had to bet, I would say you watched the hand finish printing out my contact information. That’s engaging.

Below are a few statistics about using video in your marketing:

46% of people say they’d be more likely to seek out information about a product or service after seeing it in an online video.

Of the 80% of Internet users who watched a video ad, 46% took some action after viewing the video.

  • 26% looked for more information about the subject of the video
  • 22% visited the website named in the video
  • 15% visited the company represented in the video
  • 12% purchased the specific product featured in the video      

The enjoyment of video marketing increases purchase intent by 97%, and brand association by 139%. 

Video equals higher viewer retention, the information retained in one minute of online video is equal to about 1.8 million written words.

 59% of senior executives prefer video over text. 

Having video on the landing page of your site makes it 53% more likely to show up on page 1 of Google.

 The average user spends 88% more time on a website with video. 

Give us a call to get more information and find out how affordable video really is to add to your marketing. You will be amazed at the difference it can have on your message.

What’s Your PVO?

One of my favorite marketing stories has to do with A1 Steak Sauce. On the bottle it says to “Refrigerate After Opening” but when you go to most restaurants that serve A1 it is sitting out on the table or counter. How can this be? A while ago the makers of A1 were trying to figure out how to get their sauce used on more than just steaks. They knew they had to get it in people’s hands more often to experiment on other foods but how? They discovered a study that showed the average person will open their pantry or cupboards an average of 1-3 times a day, the place where A1 was normally kept. The refrigerator though was opened an average of 4-8 times a day. By placing the “Refrigerate After Opening” at the top of the bottle they now get their product viewed over 4X more – increasing their PVO – Product View Optimization. Getting their product viewed more consistently proved to be the trick as people began using A1 on more than steaks – because it was there…  What simple trick can you do to get your PVO up?

8 Typography Tips For Printing

There are many things to consider when putting together a print piece, one of them being typography. Typography is the art and technique of arranging type. If done right, it can be inviting to readers and help better express the message you are looking to convey. Here are some tips when thinking about typography for your client’s next print project.

Stylizing Type
Avoid using the “feature” buttons, like bold and italicize. Instead choose a font that offers different weights and styles. Using features can cause nipping issues, font substitution, or text reflow, all of which will alter your design intentions.

Don’t use too many typefaces
Often times when creating pieces, it’s tempting to use many type faces and styles. This can make the piece look overly complex and difficult to read. A good rule of thumb is to use 2 or 3 typefaces and styles. Pick one header and stick to it and be sure the body is all the same font.

Always be sure your message can be easily read. Avoid using dark text on a dark background color and don’t use light color fonts over images.

Adjusting the spacing in text can make it more inviting. Leading is the spacing between the lines of text. Opening up the leading can make text easier to read. Kerning is the spacing between characters. Typically, it should be even. Some software applications will differentiate kerning when you have a capital letter followed by lower case letters.

Background Colors
Keep in mind the background colors you are going to be using. They may make text hard to read, especially if using a small font size. Beware of vibrating colors such as green type on a red background and consider sticking to grayscale tones.

Text Size
Be sure to take into consideration the size of the text you are using. If you are going to use titles, make them large and bold. Also, smaller text often conveys a more sophisticated feel (but be careful it’s not too small to read).

Reversing Out Type
When reversing type out of process color, be sure to avoid using small font sizes (less than 10 point) as the background color will ‘swamp’ the text area.

Serif vs.Sans Serif
Serifs can get lost, especially with process color at small sizes. Use San Serifs if you are looking to use a smaller font.

Courtesy HC Miller

Expand Your Message with Packaging

Add more ROI to your promotional product use by increasing your brand messaging.

Request: A client we work with on a regular basis had its largest show of the year coming up and really wanted to make a push and impression on the attendees. They were looking to hand out several different gifts based on the type of contact that stopped by their booth.

Our Solution: We knew hiding the gifts under a table and “popping” them out when needed did not work too well. It always gives the gift a carnival type of feeling and with no gifts showing some possible customers might not stop. We came up with three ideas based on the type of prospects they described would be stopping by and then designed packaging that could be displayed without showing the gift. We selected items that would be in the client’s price range with the packaging to stay well within budget but still add additional value.

The packaging allowed the client to openly display items and set up a very nice display that enhanced the booth and multiplied the branding of their location. With the addition of the packaging the client was able to increase the messaging space from beyond a simple logo on a product to a “full” message that the recipient would see and remember long after they left the show floor.

The Results: Attendees were intrigued with the product display and stopped just to see the packaging. They mentioned that even employees from other booths stopped by to comment on the look and traffic. Our client was thrilled with the results and stated it was the most leads they received from a show to date. They now utilize packaging for all of their promotional needs.

“It’s one thing to give a customer or prospect a gift with your logo but when they have to open packaging with our brand on it, it just adds something.” Scott A.

Let us assist you with your next promotional need and
demonstrate the power of packaging. You will stay
within budget and double your ROI.

Product Spotlight – Desk Accessories

For some people our desks are the one place outside of our beds that we spend the most time. This is the perfect place to keep your brand top of mind to your employees, clients and prospects. Remiond them why they are here, who is there for them or where the answer to their problem is… all while they sit at their desk.

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 Research provided by the Advertising Specialty Institute, ©2012, All Rights Reserved.