How to Celebrate Your Employees Who Work Remotely

Man Pictured from Behind Sitting at a Desk with a Laptop on his Left and a Monitor in Front of Him During a Team Video Call

It has been a little over a year since many companies went from working in an office to working remotely. This change in operations has meant a change in company culture for many businesses, and many companies have had to get creative in maintaining open lines of communication, employee morale, and a feeling of comradery among teams at work. One way to keep up morale and help employees feel like they are part of a team, even from their respective home offices, is by utilizing employee appreciation initiatives. If your company is one of the many who have decided to continue remote operations, either temporarily or permanently, here are a few ideas for celebrating your employees who work from home:

• Virtual team lunches or happy hours: Most food and beverage delivery companies allow you to send virtual gift cards. Send your employees each a gift card that they can use to purchase a meal or alcohol delivery, and then get together over your conference call platform to update everyone on company news, play games like bingo or trivia, or just chat and catch up.

Send your employees branded company swag that they can use at home: From logoed mugs and mousepads to polo shirts, drink tumblers, and more, branded business promotional items that your employees can use at home and while on video calls helps them to still feel like part of a team while remaining separate. Some items can even be useful for employees who have video calls with clients, because the clients can see your employees using or wearing the items that have your logo on them while on the call, which helps to reinforce brand identity!

Create an employee recognition program: It goes without saying that employees who feel appreciated at work are happier at their jobs and even perform better. Set up a program for recognizing your employees’ achievements, whether it is a submission form that can be used to send in compliments that are compiled and distributed on a regular basis, an email chain that is used to call out everyone’s accomplishments periodically, or even a lottery that is held on a periodic basis to choose one employee who is spotlighted and wins a special prize.

There are many ways to celebrate your employees while working remotely, from virtual get-togethers and logoed business promotional items, to recognition programs that celebrate achievements and more. While working as a team may look a little different from our home offices, we can still find ways to feel connected and make sure our co-workers and employees are appreciated!

5 Ways to Boost Your Trade Show Presence

Trade shows are a great place to find new customers and build relationships to help your business grow. These events are often industry-specific and not open to the general public. Most of the people who attend trade shows are company representatives in a position to influence purchasing decisions. The Center for Exhibition Industry Research found that 86% of trade show visitors are decision-makers.Trade Show Booths

Before signing up for your next trade show, it’s crucial to do some preliminary research and figure out what will be the goal your company wants to achieve during this event. Your company may be launching a new product or service, or they may be looking to get feedback on an existing offering, or they may simply want to generate new sales leads. Whatever the objective is, you will need to find out what type of audience will be attending the event. After you figure out who will be attending the event, you’ll be able to determine the best ways to attract them to your booth.

Participating in events requires a substantial investment and advanced planning is necessary to guarantee a good return on investment. Redefine success and step up your 2020 trade show game by focusing on these five event marketing strategies.

  1. Reach out to attendees before the event. Build interest before the event by sending emails to encourage attendees to visit your booth. It may seem unnecessary, but doing this will plant the idea in their heads to stop by your location when at the event. You can say something as simple as, “Stop by with our booth with your business card for a chance to win a prize.”
  2. Invest in a memorable trade show booth. Choosing the right event company to produce your display is just as important as selecting the correct trade show to attend. That’s where Allegra comes in! We can help you think of every detail, from graphics and flooring to lighting.
  3. Invest in proper signageSigns are often the focal point of any booth and they are responsible for representing your brand. Make sure you have enough signage not only in your booth but also around the event floor to help people locate your booth. Use eye-catching graphics to draw potential customers and communicate the value of your products and services. There are many different types of signage that work well for events, from trade show banners to ceiling and flooring graphics.
  4. Pick unique promotional items. With today’s printing advancements, the possibilities are endless when it comes to the type of products you can brand. Use this opportunity to your advantage by picking an unusual giveaway. Giving people something unexpected they haven’t seen before will give your company an edge over other exhibitors. The items companies distribute at events should always be useful, valuable, or entertaining. Trends to keep in mind in 2020 when picking out promotional items are: self-care or fitness items, eco-friendly products, tech accessories, weather-friendly attire, and brain teasers.
  5. Make your booth fun and interactive. An excellent idea to attract people to your booth is to offer a convenient service. An example of this would be to set up a cell phone charging station. Since most people will probably be using their phones, they are likely to stop by and use the station. Another idea to make your booth more interactive and fun is to invite people over for games in exchange for prizes. People are more likely to spend some time with your company if you are providing an experience they can enjoy.

Allegra has the experience and expertise to save you time and money with trade show displays, banner stands, giveaways, and more. You don’t need a big budget to make a significant impact! We’ve helped lots of companies just like yours. And they’ve been kind enough to give us a 5-star rating in return. That’s a win-win!

For quality and service you can trust, contact your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail location today!

10 Customer and Employee Appreciation Gifts for the Holidays

Employee Appreciation GiftWith the holidays just around the corner, many businesses are looking for creative ways to let their customers and employees know they care. Larger companies with substantial budgets have standardized strategies to reach as many people as possible, but smaller businesses have a significant advantage when it comes to showing their clients and employees some holiday appreciation.

Never underestimate the business impact of excellent customer care. Herein lies a rare advantage that favors smaller operations. A new study revealed 61% of millennials expect to shop at small businesses in 2019. One of the reasons behind this is they understand the positive impact supporting local businesses has in their communities. Another reason is they enjoy the personal customer service they experience at a small business.

Customer and employee appreciation strategies don’t need to be costly. They simply need to be creative and consistent. Is the retention worth it? Absolutely. Ian Altman, a contributor at Forbes.com, says: “It’s always a good idea to show clients your gratitude.” And according to a business satisfaction report by Knack “Employee gifting can play an important role in employee retention in a tight labor market.”

Appreciation and recognition initiatives should be a must for every company. When formal and informal
recognition is built into your business, it can help you retain customers, improve sales, and retain top performers in your organization.

If you are looking for budget-friendly options to recognize customers or employees this holiday season, check out these ten creative ideas.

Customer appreciation gifts and retention ideas:

  1. Send a card. Custom cards or postcards are always thoughtful and often unexpected. Use them say thank you after a customer makes a large or repeat purchase or sends an important referral your way. While email may be efficient and easy, nothing tops the touch and feel of a personalized, handwritten note on high-quality stationery or a notecard with your logo embossed or foil-stamped on the front.
  2. Bring lunch. For companies dealing with business-to-business clients, bringing lunch to their location can be a great call. You can use this as an opportunity to bring some branded promotional items like reusable lunch totes, water bottles, or travel tumblers.
  3. Extend the goodwill. If you want to go above and beyond for a client, invest in a customized gift. This appreciation gift can be something reusable your client can continue to use. For example, a branded crystal candy dish filled with treats can create an opportunity for your sales team to refill on subsequent visits.
  4. Get personal. If your customer data includes birthdays, anniversaries, or other significant dates, you can build in recognition beyond holiday-related occasions with personalized offers and gifts. Do you have any clients who are into fitness? Branded pedometers or exercise mats are a great way to show them your company cares.
  5. End on a high note. Year-end holidays are a prime time to send customer appreciation gifts. Printed wall calendars are still well-received despite having many other electronic options. Other welcome desk accessories include journals and portfolios or electronics, like power kits or Bluetooth speakers.

Employee appreciation gifts and retention ideas:

  1. Be specific. Acknowledging an employee of the month is good, and it can be even better if you include a branded gift as a reward. Go for trendy promotional products such as: drawstring backpacks, headphones, or travel blankets.
  2. Encourage peer recognition. Enable your employees to acknowledge one another for going the extra mile or being a team player with whimsical “high five” trophies or golden tokens redeemable for office perks.
  3. Put it in writing. Recognizing people in writing can help you raise morale and encourage productivity. Make a point to give shout outs and reward those employees who embody your company values. Send a company wide written communication highlighting their personal stories and achievements.
  4. Tie rewards to company goals. Get the most from your employee appreciation program by linking some awards directly to your goals: increasing sales, improving customer service, or identifying cost savings. Traditional plaques and crystal trophies can instill pride in your organization.
  5. Remember remote employees. Reinforce the sense of connection of remote workers by including them and leveraging your online capabilities. There are many ways to do this, for example, feature them on your social media pages, your website, or include them in your monthly companywide emails.

Before the year ends, try some of these small investment ideas; in time they will pay big dividends for your company. Your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail location offers many promotional product options to support your customer and employee retention strategies.

Promotional Products Hit the Right Notes with Your Target Audiences

With a quick scan of your desk, countertop or closet, it’s likely you’ll see one or more promotional giveaways or gifts from a range of companies or organizations: those you support or already know, and those who might like to know you better.

You’re not alone. North Americans – men and women – own an average of nine or 10 ad specialties, according to the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI).  

Icon set of promotional gifts and souvenirs.

Marketers have long known that logoed items are a cost-effective way to generate brand awareness and good will among their target audiences. Per ASI:

  • 85% of consumers say they remember the advertiser who gave them an apparel item, like a shirt or hat.
  • Consumers are nearly two-and-a-half times more likely to have a positive opinion of promotional products compared to internet advertising.

Tried-and-true and on-trend

Perennial favorites, like writing instruments, bags and drinkware, are typical giveaways for events or tradeshows.

You can update these go-tos with materials that match the preferences of your guests, customers or employees. Consider bamboo pens and cotton bags for all, or leather cell phone wallets and steel tumblers for promising prospects and peak performers.

Tip: Use “usefulness” as a guide, as practicality is the top attribute of a promotional product for about eight out of 10 consumers followed by attractiveness, especially if it’s wearable. USB drives and mobile power banks, are also appreciated. Nine out of 10 say they’d keep both because they are useful, says ASI.

The opportunity has grown for logoed apparel that can be worn in and out of the office with relaxed dress codes in the workplace populated by more Millennials who may prefer informal dress. A stylishly muted tone-on-tone logo placed on a quarter zip sweater, lightweight Henley or fleece jacket is a step up from jeans and t-shirts while still comfortably casual.

Strategic direct marketing

Promotional marketing is moving from tactical to strategic to generate leads or gain referrals. Enclosing a promotional product in an envelope or box to create a lumpy mailer capitalizes on a natural curiosity to want to find out what’s inside.

Choose an item that resonates with your target audience by matching their interests and be sure it supports your offer.

Here’s an example: For a membership drive, a high-end health club might send a brochure and cooling towel to a list of homes within a 20-mile radius, featuring a creative call-to-action: Step out for our Open House and save $100 on your first-year membership.

While there is always a place for brand awareness generated by inexpensive giveaways, a lumpy direct mail campaign should include measurement. Tracking the mail response rate and conversions will help you determine success.

Contact your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail location and let our promotional product pros do the shopping for you. With thousands of items from which to choose, we can save you time and money. P.S. Direct mail marketing is our specialty, too!

Promotional Products that Make for Great Gifts this Holiday Season

Set of office accessories. It is isolated on a white background

The holidays are the perfect time to spread good will and remain in the minds of your customers moving into the new year. What better way than with a gift that shows them you care?

Considering that 81 percent of people keep promotional products for more than a year, now is a great time to show your customers and employees some appreciation. Here are several branded gifts they can get excited about and use all the way until next season, creating buzz for your business:

Travel Mugs
Gift your customers and employees with a branded travel mug and a box of tea, hot cocoa or a bag of coffee. Finish with a gift card and bring some warmth to the office. Reusable and easy to tote around, they’ll promote brand awareness wherever they go.

Activewear and Outerwear
Fun, functional and trendy. These are the top three reasons why people keep promotional products, according to a study conducted by researchers at Relevant Insights. How about a branded quarter-zip or a fun logoed scarf, knit hat or ball cap?

Improved health and fitness are two of the most common New Year’s resolutions. Customers and employees will both appreciate workout towels, bags and water bottles.

Calendars
Sure, there are plenty of digital options for calendars. Yet according to research by the Advertising Specialty Institute, 76 percent of consumers who own calendars say they display them prominently in their homes or offices. Topped only by umbrellas (14 months), calendars are kept longer than all other promotional items (12 months) and tied with mobile power bands.

Desk Accessories
New desk accessories are perfect for ringing in the new year. Logoed sticky notes, a pen and pencil set, and notebooks are all items that can be put to immediate use. Incorporate these little tokens of your gratitude into your holiday gifts to remind your VIPs how valued they are this holiday season.

Looking for inspiration on how your business can spread some cheer this holiday season? Contact your local Allegra today to find the perfect gifts to add to your promotional marketing mix.

3 Ways to Inspire Your Team

Business owners and managers who set lofty goals know it takes many contributions – large and small – across all areas of the company to reach them. And that takes cultivating an environment where your team members are motivated and engaged.

Inspire your team

As much as you may understand your business and what it stands for, communicating that effectively to those around you can be tricky, especially when you’re juggling multiple demands on your time. Here are some areas where you can make a difference right away:

  1. Live your mission.
    A mission statement or value proposition describes what you do and how it differentiates you from your competitors. Your values define who you are. They don’t change even as the business evolves.
    Everyone on your team should be regularly exposed to your organizational values through visual reminders and storytelling of values in action. From small posters or handouts for individual workspaces, to large wall and window graphics, keep your core messages front and center by incorporating them in your office décor.
  2. Get off to a great start. 
    Consider this: According to the Work Institute’s 2017 Retention Report, first-year employees are at the highest risk for turnover, and it takes up to six months for their value to offset the costs related to hiring, onboarding, compensation and benefits. Get everyone off to a great start with a “feel-good” welcome kit, including items like a logoed shirt, business cards, a personalized coffee mug and more. Distribute an employee handbook as a tangible source to seek out company policies; they’ll appreciate having a printed version for quick reference. Additionally, how your organization is perceived internally and externally is influenced by the consistency of your communications and delivery of your brand message, so be sure to maintain a unified image. You’ll want to keep it consistent across print, digital and in-house signage.
  3. Show appreciation.
    According to a survey by Reward Gateway, nearly six out of 10 respondents say they would prefer to work for a company with a culture where they receive recognition over a higher-paying job where they didn’t receive any. While acknowledging an employee of the month is good, better yet is rewarding your team members in the moment. Drawstring backpacks, headphones or travel blankets with your company imprint are great ways to show appreciation for a job well done. And enable your employees to acknowledge one another for being a team player with whimsical “high five” trophies or tokens redeemable for office perks.

Inspired to bring your team together? Contact  your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail today for office materials, logoed products and gifts, and more.

4 Ways to Improve Customer Retention

The Harvard Business Review suggests that it is anywhere between five to 25 times more expensive to acquire new customers than retain them depending on the industry. Here are a few considerations as you develop what works best for your company’s retention strategy:

Customer Retention

  1. Keep VIP customers happy.
    Track the buying patterns of your best customers and reach out with personal communication if they lapse. A dormant accounts survey may be the first step to determine the why behind their absence: needs have changed, moved their business to a competitor or there’s some level of dissatisfaction that should be addressed.
  2. Start a rewards program.
    According to a Bond Brand Loyalty Inc. report, 76 percent of shoppers think that loyalty programs are key to their relationships with businesses.Small businesses can use customer loyalty programs to reward customers who regularly buy products and/or services to incentivize repeat sales.
  3. Give special offers.
    Customer appreciation strategies go a long way when it comes to customer retention. From branded gifts and personal notes to promotional giveaways and birthday cards, regular customer appreciation activities are tangible ways for your company to show appreciation that can generate positive sentiment and measurable brand loyalty.
  4. Don’t forget the follow up.
    According to DMNews, 53 percent of consumers feel that it’s important for businesses to recognize them as the same person across all channels and devices. Engaged customers are likely to remain long-term customers, so gear your small business’ blog content, emails and other communications with customers in personal ways that keep their attention.

Interested in bolstering your customer retention strategies and driving brand loyalty? Contact your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail today.

Three Ways Promotional Products Can Elevate Your Direct Mail Campaigns

Direct mail is an effective way to stand out from the digital noise and reach your key audiences. One tactic to increase your direct mail response rate is to make your mail more appealing by giving it shape, compared to a typical flat mail that people receive every day.

Three Ways Promotional Products Can Elevate Your Direct Mail Campaigns

According to a 2017 Data & Marketing Association report, a dimensional mailer can outperform a flat mailing by up to 300 percent, and at 5.49 percent, has the highest response rate of any direct response medium. Already a strong performer, your direct mail can benefit from an added lift with the inclusion of promotional products.

Here are three key considerations when integrating promotional products into your direct mail campaign:

  1. Keep it useful. Pick a product that is useful, making it more likely the recipient will hold on to it. A Global Impressions study from Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) shows that eight out of 10 consumers rank usefulness as the most important attribute of an advertising specialty.
  2. Make it memorable. ASI reports that 85 percent of consumers remember the advertiser giving them a promotional product. Include your logo on the product and brief contact information, like a website or phone number.
  3. Save your budget. Promo products have a lower cost-per-impression (less than a cent) than TV advertising, national magazine advertising and newspaper ads, and are comparable to radio and internet advertising, says ASI.

The message is clear: For your next targeted direct mail campaign, say “not this time” to plain envelopes, and try a box or tube. They can be customized and printed with a key message or theme.

Looking for ways to lift your direct mail marketing and drive greater interest and response? Contact your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail for assistance.