Want Big Sales This Holiday Season? Target the Corporate Gift Market

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

If you really want to guarantee big sales this holiday season, one market you’ll want to consider targeting is the corporate market, and you will want to start preparing for it now.

how to get corporate gift sales

According to a report from the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI), last year companies were planning to spend $43 per customer (or prospective customer) on Christmas gifts and $50 per employee.

Typical gifts for customers were food baskets, bottles of wine, and desk accessories. Typical gifts for employees were gift cards, food/beverages, apparel and cash. 68% of corporate gifts will bear a company logo (for obvious reasons).

Therefore, do you offer a product and/or service that would be suitable as a corporate and/or employee gift?

How to Make Sure Your Products Work for Corporate Gifts

  1. Personalization – It would really help your chances if you allow for personalization of your product as companies do use corporate gifts as an advertising medium.
  2. Gift Packaging – If your products already come pre-packaged, ready for gift giving, you will be saving the company time and money.
  3. Quantities – Don’t approach a company with 500 employees if you can’t turnaround high quantities of product in a short time.
  4. Delivery – Companies will want to start sending out their corporate gifts in early December, and hand out employee gifts in the first two weeks of December, so you will have to be able to meet these deadlines.
  5. Distribution – The company may want you to actually send the gifts directly to their clients, so make sure this is a service that you can offer.

How to Get Corporate Gift Sales

  1. You are best to approach local companies as they will typically want to support another local company.
  2. Employee gifts are usually sourced by the human resources department, so start there by hand delivering a sample (with gift packaging) and price list (with discounts for quantities ordered) to the Human Resources Manager (find names on LinkedIn).
  3. Mention to the HR Manager that your product/service would also work well as gifts for clients, customers and prospects, and they will likely pass this information along to the Sales Manager.
  4. Printout references and reviews from previous customers to give them some assurance as to the quality of your product/service.
  5. Make sure you understand the company’s business, their customers and their employees. For example, if the majority of their staff is young women, they will not be interested in men’s wallets.
  6. Approach companies in early October. September is too early and November is too late.

Need more ideas on how to successfully market your online shop? Be sure to check out my Ebooks below.

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© 2015 Gail Oliver, Attention Getting Marketing. All rights reserved.

 

Tuesday’s Ask Gail: How Do I Draw Customers to My Booth at Fairs, Shows & Festivals

ASK GAIL: ANSWERING YOUR SMALL BUSINESS QUESTIONS

ASKgail

Hi Gail,

I am a marketing manager for a new home improvement company.  I typically generate leads for our sales team by participating in various fairs, festivals, home shows, and other local events.  I need a way to draw potential customers to my 10 x 10 booth.  How can I stick out from my competitors?  We do simple giveaways that they can visually see, but I want to be different. Any ideas??  Please help!!

Loren K.

HomeImprovementSelect.com

Hi Loren,

I love this question! Here are some of my suggestions:

  • People tend to bring their kids to these things (don’t want to pay for a babysitter) so you need to keep the kids busy in your booth so the parents can stick around longer. I would make one wall of your booth a chalkboard and let the kids go crazy.
  • Nothing pulls people into a booth more than free food and beverages. Offer something less ordinary, like espresso, cappuccino or one of those large glass drink dispensers and they can help themselves. Plus, if you give them a drink they feel slightly obligated to look around your booth while they finish it.
  • You want to collect leads, and the best way is always through some sort of ballot box (you can capture names electronically through an iPad as well). The draw has to be attractive, such as a daily draw for a $200 Home Depot gift card (since these are home renovators attending the show).
  • Instead of useless swag give a useful handout, like a checklist of all the things you need to do to your home to prepare it for winter. This is something people are more likely to keep, even post on the fridge. Make sure it is well branded with your company’s info.
  • Have a fun mascot that kids can pose with (with your company’s name somewhere on the mascot that won’t get hidden behind a posing child). Then encourage their parents to post the photo to Instagram (maybe doing this gives them a second ballot in the draw). Posting the photo to Instagram gets your company seen by their followers.
  • Get the word out in advance on social media by tweeting out to people attending the show to bring a digital photo of their home for a free, on the spot transformation (you bring the photo into an editing program and quickly swap out windows, doors, siding, etc. so they can see the possibilities). Show the before and after transformations up on a big screen for all to see.

I could go on and on, but this is a good start. Best of luck! Gail

Need individual marketing advice for your small business? See my Marketing Services page for my very affordable options.

© 2015 Gail Oliver, Attention Getting Marketing. All rights reserved.

The Holiday Gift Guides You Really Want to Get Your Products Into

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

If you sell products online and want to take advantage of those huge holiday sales, then I highly recommend you re-read my post of two years ago, Why You Should Be Pitching Your Products for Holiday Gift Guides Now. However, today I want to give you a more current suggestion for getting holiday gift guide publicity.

how to get your products into holiday gift guides

Popular Pinners

You want to pitch to the lifestyle bloggers who are excelling at creating beautiful, comprehensive, and highly pinnable gift guides for Pinterest. One of my favorites is The Everygirl blog. Their gift guides are really well done, great at attracting attention on Pinterest and getting thousands of repins, not to mention turning up first in Pinterest search results. Other bloggers whose 2014 holiday gift guides also got huge circulation on Pinterest last year include:

All of these blogs create gift guides for every family member, every type of interest, so don’t be afraid to pitch your own category. Some of these blogs were also part of a mass marketing effort last year by a group of lifestyle bloggers, all promoting each other’s holiday gift guides, creating even wider exposure by tapping into each other’s social media following.

YouTube Vloggers

I have a feeling we will be seeing a lot more holiday gift guides on YouTube this year. Many popular “vloggers” (people with popular YouTube channels) last year did holiday gift guides that were viewed by millions of people. Granted, most of these vloggers and their audience tend to be young, but they are recommending gifts for mom, dad, boyfriend, boss, your pet, etc., so it is a wider market than you think. Vloggers are known to get paid for endorsements, however, you should still pitch to them asking for consideration as an artisan/indie seller, and hopefully they haven’t completely sold out and would still recommend your product because they like it, not just because they got paid to say so. You would likely have to send them product to show. Here are a few vloggers who had popular gift guides last year:

Need more ideas on how to successfully market your online shop? Be sure to check out my Ebooks with hundreds of my insider tips and tactics for publicity, social media, promotions and more!

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© 2015 Gail Oliver, Attention Getting Marketing. All rights reserved.

Tuesday’s Ask Gail: How Do I Maximize Any Publicity My Business Gets?

ASK GAIL: ANSWERING YOUR SMALL BUSINESS QUESTIONS

ASKgail

Hi Gail,

My wind chimes have been chosen to be on a TV show called, Blog Cabin on the DIY Network. The episode is yet to air, but they have put a video up and links to my Etsy shop. I would like some advice on how to use this exposure to market my bells both on Etsy, social media and in my wholesale business. What would you do if you had the exposure?

Thank you,

Bruce at Earthwind Stoneware

Hi Bruce,

I always tell my clients that publicity may not transpire into the results they want right away, but it does offer a lot of opportunity for your business over time. Here is what I would do with your appearance on Blog Cabin:

  1. Include the links to the video clips in your email signature with a call to action line such as, “Recently featured on the DIY Network’s Blog Cabin, see the video here”.  An email signature program such as WiseStamp will allow you to do this.
  2. Add the video links to your Etsy shop’s About page, along with the same line “Recently featured on the DIY Network’s Blog Cabin” to create credibility.
  3. All of the social media sites – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest – allow you to post videos, so post the video to each site letting your followers know, “We are honored to have our wind chimes featured in this week’s episode of the DIY Network’s Blog Cabin” and be sure to tag #DIYNetwork #BlogCabin @DIYNetwork on all posts. They will likely share/retweet with their followers.
  4. Go to the DIY Network’s Facebook page and post a message and/or comment on the post in which that episode is featured and thank them for including you.
  5. Do the same on their Instagram and Pinterest pages, adding a comment, sharing and liking if they post the video.
  6. When you post/tweet the video to social media, also include the @Etsy tag in hopes that their social media people take note of your appearance on the show and feel it is worth sharing on their social media sites.
  7. Add any publicity you get to the back of your business card. This helps when handing it out to local shops for wholesale orders.
  8. Approach a business writer at your local newspaper to see if you can turn this publicity into more publicity i.e. “Local business owner’s products to be featured on national television show”. Local press coverage will help to create interest among local shops for wholesale offers.
  9. Ask the DIY Network if they have a “badge” or logo you can use on your site and in your marketing materials that says, “As seen on the DIY Network”. 

Best of luck!  Gail

Every Tuesday I answer your questions, so send yours to attentiongetting@gmail.com. 

© 2015 Gail Oliver, Attention Getting Marketing. All rights reserved.

Tuesday’s Ask Gail: How To Maximize Radio Ad Dollars

ASK GAIL: ANSWERING YOUR SMALL BUSINESS QUESTIONS

ASKgail

Hi Gail!!

For my husband’s brokerage business he has traded his services for $7,000 worth of radio advertising.  He was thinking of having them interview him or a recent seller that used his services.  How do you advise we use these radio marketing dollars?

Thanks!

Melissa

BDMConsulting.ca

Hi Melissa,

First of all he was smart to barter. I always recommend small businesses barter their products or services to get any kind of advertising – radio, print, online, in-store, etc.

Since his consulting business involves business coaching, instead of an interview where he is asked general questions about what he does, I think it would be better if he took questions from listeners/small business owners, sort of what I am doing here. It is a good way for him to show his expertise and that is more likely to lead to future business for him. Not sure how far the $7,000 will go, but if he could do a 10-minute Q&A every Friday at the drive home hour, say for the month of September, that might be a good lure for listeners and benefit the radio station as well.

Otherwise, instead of spending the money on ad time (which would also mean you have to create an ad, which can be costly), you could simply ask the radio station to say your company’s name in various sponsorship type announcements. For example, “Today’s weather is brought to you by BDM Consulting. If you need business coaching or are looking to buy or sell a business, visit them at BDMconsulting.ca.” You can sponsor traffic reports, local entertainment news, whatever they have an opening for. This could get your name heard several times a day, and repetition in radio is always a good thing.

I hope that helps!

Gail

Every Tuesday I answer your questions, so send yours to attentiongetting@gmail.com. 

© 2015 Gail Oliver, Attention Getting Marketing. All rights reserved.

Try This Old Marketing Trick to Sell More Products and Services

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

I was in the drugstore yesterday and I saw an annual back to school favorite called the Teen Value Pack, which consists of 10 different skin and body care products from various brands packaged together in a box for a value price of $9.99 (retail value $42). Even though my kids may only need half the products in the packs (my son isn’t old enough to shave just yet), I still bought them because I felt like I was really just paying for one product and getting the rest for free.

Screen shot 2015-08-06 at 2.00.45 PM

The lesson here is that consumers love getting value for their money, and love getting many items at one expenditure almost feeling as if some were free. So, have you thought about bundling together your products and/or services?

There are a few advantages to this old marketing trick:

  • The customer might be more likely to go for the bundle because of the overall cost savings, allowing you to sell more product to one customer at one time, and hence make more money overall.
  • It is a good way to introduce new products and create future demand
  • You can take advantage of various selling occasions or events to create bundles or value sets around, such as Back to School, Having a Baby, Going on a Trip, New House, etc.

It can also be a way to quickly expand your customer base. Back when I was working for a computer software company, we wanted our customers to start buying the CD version of our software because it was much cheaper to produce. But a lot of people didn’t have CD-ROM drives in their computers (we’re going way back here). So the company bundled the CD version of the software with a top-notch CD-ROM drive (they worked out a deal with the manufacturer to buy them at a really good price). They packed the software and CD-ROM drive together in a box and called it the Blockbuster Bundle for the same price as buying the software on its own and they sold like hot cakes. Why not, it was a chance to essentially get a free CD-ROM drive. The end result was not only did we successfully get our customers to upgrade to CD-ROM, but we got a ton of new customers in the process.

So come up with a bundle that makes sense, offer it at a value price where you still make a decent profit, make it a limited time offer, and see what it does for your business.

No Sales? Get a Marketing Critique of Your Business for Just $99 and I’ll Tell You Why

© 2015 Gail Oliver, Attention Getting Marketing. All rights reserved.

My Latest Surefire Tip for Getting Publicity for Your Business

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

Do you ever get frustrated trying to get publicity for your business with the media outlets specific to your industry? For example, fashion magazines are besieged with requests from vendors to use their products in editorial, so how good are your odds? But you do have other choices. Have you ever thought about stepping away from your industry’s mainstay magazines and blogs, and try a different approach?

How to get publicity

Let’s say I owned a restaurant, I would typically be trying to get a review or included in articles from local magazines, lifestyle and travel blogs, and as such would be competing with many others for the same editorial. However, consider a story pitch that would work with a different type of publication and have the same effect.

For example, I was recently planning a trip to Boston and I searched on Google for “Top restaurants in Boston”. One of the articles that came up was from the business blog, Business Insider, entitled “The 10 Best Restaurants For A Business Lunch In Boston“. Do you see where I am going here? Would you normally expect to see restaurant suggestions in a business publication? But this article makes sense for this particular type of publication.

Maybe you have a pet products business. You are likely always targeting the pet-related media. However, earlier this year the men’s fashion magazine GQ ran an article called, “The Ultimate Dog Accessories for a Gentleman’s Best Friend“. Would you have thought to pitch to them?

If you own a resort or tourist-related business, I imagine you are always trying to get featured with the travel media. However, Time Magazine ran an article last summer entitled, “7 Great American Vacation Spots That Won’t Bust Your Budget” as part of their money feature, and it listed and linked to several hotels, restaurants, bars and attractions.

What if you sell beauty products and you have had no luck with the beauty editors at the popular beauty blogs. But did you know that Shape Magazine, which typically focuses on fitness-related editorial for women, also has regular beauty editorial, even an annual beauty awards?

I hope this gets you thinking about how you can increase your chances of getting publicity for your business by targeting non-industry media with a story relevant to their editorial.

MORE TIPS: Those who got my July Marketing Calendar knew #NationalCheeseCakeDay would be trending big on social media today. Tomorrow look for #BlueMoon to be trending on Twitter & Instagram and probably into the next day.

Remember, send me your marketing or business questions for Tuesday’s Ask Gail to attentiongetting@gmail.com.

© 2015 Gail Oliver, Attention Getting Marketing. All rights reserved.

Tuesday’s Ask Gail: Does My Business Need to Be on Every Social Media Site?

ASK GAIL: ANSWERING YOUR SMALL BUSINESS QUESTIONS

ASKgail

 

Dear Gail,

I find social media overwhelming. How often do I need to be on, and do I need to be on every social media site?

Sincerely,

Frustrated Business Owner

This question (from a small business owner who asked to remain anonymous) is one I get asked a lot. If you are a one or two-person business, no, you don’t have to be on every social media site, just the ones that your target market frequents the most, and the ones that are generating the most sales for you.

Now, it is important to note that I say sales, not traffic. I have certain social media sites that bring me a lot of traffic, but not necessary new customers because the typical small business person who frequents this social media site (I won’t name the site) seems to just be looking for free advice and is not looking to really invest in their business. My customers are actually found more through the social media sites that don’t bring me the most traffic. I know this because I will see the customer first show up in my follower list for this social media site, then they approach me about my services.

Look at it logically. If a social media site is bringing you 5,000 visitors a month, for example, but you are still getting very few sales, then I would say that this social media site is not effective for you. Don’t be lured in just by high traffic numbers; you want customers not visitors.

There are also certain demographics that frequent certain sites. Be sure to read my post, Which Social Media Site To Use For Your Business.

As for how long to be on social media each day, I would definitely invest 1 to 2 hours if you can, and use some of the automated social media scheduling programs like HootSuite to make your life easier.

Remember, I do offer a Social Media Plan that will help you maximize your exposure and stay organized.

Gail

Every Tuesday I answer your questions, so send one to attentiongetting@gmail.com or fill in the form below:

 

4 Easy Tips to Help Your Business Succeed on Social Media

by Gail Oliver, Online Small Business Consultant

Social media is all about interaction. So, if you are a business on social media here are four easy ways to make sure you are maximizing your presence there and reaching more customers:

BUSINESS TIPS SOCIAL MEDIA

  1. Respond to Comments – On Facebook, Instagram and Twitter you can reply to comments on your posts, photos, tweets, etc., and you should, especially if someone has asked you a question. I know I can forget to do this too, so make a point of setting aside a half hour at the end of the day and go through your notifications and make sure that you respond to every comment as well as if people have even mentioned you on their social media site. If people have retweeted your tweets, say thank you and/or return the favor. You never want to look inactive or that you don’t care, so take the time to respond.
  2. Comment, Like & Share – How good are you are taking the time to comment, like and share on the social media posts that appear in your feed? When you comment, like or share someone’s Facebook post, your name is now seen by their followers. I have actually had people tell me they found me on Facebook based on a comment I made on another site’s Facebook page. Plus, a lot of the time when people see that you liked, shared and/or commented on their content, they will return the favor.
  3. Follow Back – Again, take that half an hour everyday and go through your list of new followers and make sure to follow back. Now, I am not saying you have to follow everyone who follows you because sometimes you will have people follow you that are spammers or maybe not appropriate content, so use your discretion, but if they look like a potential customer, a potential business alliance or someone in the media, follow back.
  4. Analyze What You Are Posting & When – Take some time at the end of the week to go through your social media posts and see which content was the most popular. What was liked the most, commented on the most, shared the most? Now try to analyze if it is the actual content and/or was it a particular day that was popular, or a particular time of day? Both Pinterest and Twitter have pretty good analytics at the ready for you. For Twitter, click on your avatar in the upper right hand corner (for Pinterest, it is the gear icon) and then go to “Analytics” on the menu. You want to stick with the content that is working for you, and then schedule it for the days and times that seem to offer the best chance of sharing.

If you are on social media today expect to see #Disneyland60 trending as it is their 60th anniversary and on Sunday it is #NationalIceCream Day (both are tips I gave in my July Marketing Calendar).

Have a great weekend … Gail 

Tuesday’s Ask Gail: How Do I Reach Out To Bloggers?

ASK GAIL: ANSWERING YOUR SMALL BUSINESS QUESTIONS

ASKgail

Hi Gail!!

I am a small business owner for custom apparel (screen print & embroidery) in Montgomery, IL. I’ve never reached out to a blogger to see what the process is to get a featured spot or even mentioned on their blog. Can you please let me know if this is common and how the process works?

Thanks!

Yvonne Tarnowski

BellaMonograms.com

Hi Yvonne,

Your question is a popular one. A few things you should know about bloggers. A lot of people contact me to be a guest blogger on my site, but I don’t take guest posts for two reasons. 1. This blog is my main way to advertise my consulting services, so I really need the voice of the blog to be my own. 2. My feed is picked up by other sites that only approved myself as a writer, so I can’t start feeding them other people’s posts. So make sure before you approach any blogger that they don’t have these similar issues.

The first thing you want to do, before you approach any blogger, is to follow their blog as well as follow them on all of their social media sites. Make it look like you’re a fan.

Then, when you pitch to them, pitch a story idea that would involve your business, don’t just pitch your business and expect them to find a way to incorporate it into a post. Keep your pitch short (I personally don’t have time to read more than one paragraph), save on the flattery (bloggers, and the media in general, know what you are looking for so cut to the chase) and then – and this is the most important piece of advice – tell them what you are going to do for them in return.

What do I mean by that? I get a lot of people asking me for mentions and when I ask for one back such as, “Will you then mention my blog on your Twitter page”, for example, they act like I have some nerve and then go on to say how the people who handle their social media pages are very picky about what they post, etc. As soon as I get a response like that I hit delete. This is business. Don’t ask another business to go out of their way and do a favor for you and you have no intention of returning the favor. It’s the old you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.

Therefore, you want to always say that you will promote any mention a blog gives you to your customers as well as on your social media pages and even ask (as someone wisely did to me the other day) “and if there is anything else I can do to promote your business, please let me know”. If you get the mention, follow through. Thank them in comments, thank them on social media, circulate the post on your social media pages, circulate other posts of theirs on your social media pages – trust me, you can’t say thank you enough. They will remember that.

I write effective pitches for clients all the time, whether it is pitching to the press, a pitch for a Kickstarter campaign or to get a wholesale deal – just ask me for a free, no obligation quote at attentiongetting@gmail.com. Need to ask a lot of questions about your business? Sign up for a 30-minute phone consultation

Best of luck! Gail

Every Tuesday I answer your questions, so send one to attentiongetting@gmail.com or fill in the form below:

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