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ASI Promocar - Promotional Products Everywhere!

Filed under: Fun

Guest blogger Dawn Marie is ASI’s PR manager and creator and driver of the ASI Promocar, part of a year-long PR campaign to drive attention to the promo products industry.

Looking for promotional products when you’re on the road is like looking for Waldo. At first, you might have trouble seeing them. Then, you see them everywhere:

The toiletries at the Hyatt Regency in Long Beach, CA, where the ASI Promocar (#ASIpromocar) was on display before setting off on its cross-country PR tour. The snazzy red sunglasses worn by a woman lunching at Argentine Grill in North Hollywood, who said she got them from her school, University of Redlands, and loved them so much she wore them every day (watch video).

The big bowl of giveaway matches at Boa restaurant in Santa Monica. The coffee mug at the Laurel Canyon house where I’m staying. Even the big bold “Cali” T-shirt sported by the MC of the hip hop group entertaining the crowd at Santa Monica Pier.

I still haven’t seen Waldo, but I sure am seeing strong evidence supporting Advantages magazine’s recent research report that sales of promotional products in California grew 7% from 2013 to 2014, for a total of $1.7 billion.

Swag on, dude.

–Dawn Marie

ASIPromocar Makes A Pitstop In Cerritos, CA – A Blessing In Disguise

Filed under: Fun

Guest blogger Dawn Marie is ASI’s PR manager and creator and driver of the ASI Promocar, part of a year-long PR campaign to drive attention to the promo products industry.

Sometimes, unexpected detours turn out to be blessings in disguise. After the #ASIpromocar left the Long Beach, CA show, bound for a 2,700 mile cross-country trip back to ASI’s Philadelphia HQ, I decided to do due diligence and check all the fluids. In the darkened hotel parking garage. At 11 pm. After a 14-hour work day. Thinking I was topping off the washer fluid, I mistakenly filled the coolant overflow. Oops.

Luckily, the crew at Browning Mazda in Cerritos, CA were delighted to help, getting me quickly back on the road after a coolant flush. I did have a little fun with them first, saying with a straight face when I pulled in,  “Who do I see about an even trade,  the Promocar for, say, an MX-5? (a $28,000 sports car, as compared to my $3,500 used Protege).

Promo PucksOnce over the shock, serviceman John Cemore waxed enthusiastic (Watch Video) about #promoproducts, testifying to their undisputed value to auto dealers everywhere. Proudly, he showed off 2 logoed hockey pucks he got years ago, which remain front and center on his desk to this day.

As I prepared to leave, the entire crew gathered round for photos, saying  “This is good stuff. Wow. Gotta show this to the grandkids. It’s certainly different. Love this.”

The best part? Their reassurance that despite its 190,000 miles, the #ASIpromocar is ready to rock the open road. Stay tuned…

–Dawn Marie

Twitter Hashtag Tips - How to Do it Right

Filed under: Social Media

Hashtagging Tips

By Vincent Driscoll, ASI

Too often I’ve seen tweets in my feed that are less utilitarian in nature and seem more like a spammy pound-sign party.

Example: #Tips on how to #Help #Clients increase #Social #Media following.

If you’re guilty of composing tweets likes this, haphazardly hashtagging every other word without any clue why, then I have just one thing to say to you: Stop, you’re doing it wrong!

By definition, tweets lend themselves to a single thought, which is why the character limit is 140. That’s very little room to work with, especially when you consider you also need room for spaces, hashtags, account tags (@) and links. So you have to be precise in your messaging and succinct in your execution.

Hashtagging – which involves adding the pound sign (#) directly in front of a word (or multiple words without spaces) – is a clever way to turn words or phrase into searchable links. This basically allows you to organize content and track discussion topics based on those words and phrases, and should be done only to supplement your message.

For instance, if I’m tweeting out a video that showcases new promotional products for the tech industry, this is how it might look:

Check out some great new #promoproducts for the tech industry. #TechGadgets

My message is clear: I’ve got a video I want you to watch that showcases the latest and greatest in promotional items geared toward the technology industry.

And my execution of the message is supplemented with two hashtags that could further assist my followers: the first one (#promoproducts) takes you to discussions and links about promotional products; the second one might help you locate discussions and links about tech gadgets.

So if you’re a distributor who sells to tech, my tweet might very well be a three-pronged launching pad to find some great new techie products.

On the opposite end of the helpful spectrum is the example tweet I posted earlier. If I were interested in learning more about social media and I read this tweet, then  clicked on one of the hashtags – let’s say #Tips – it would take me to any and all content hashtagged #Tips, not just tips about social media. Finding tips about how to change my oil is about as helpful here as tips about how to swing on a vine. It’s too broad a hashtag and probably won’t get clicked on.

With a little thought, I could re-write this tweet to maximize the impact of the hashtags:

#SocialMediaTips on how to help clients #IncreaseFollowing. [LINK]

#Tips has now been turned into #SocialMediaTips and narrows your search. #IncreaseFollowing is a common phrase in the social media realm and is specific to your topic. Including the link, your tweet now has three solid pieces of content that can help followers track down information regarding your message.

Here are a few other tips on how to hashtag in twitter:

  • Keep hashtags to a minimum in tweets – no more than 2-3 max
  • Hashtags should be easy to remember
  • Hashtags should not be too long
  • The more unique your hashtag, the better

Thanks for reading! And as always, please let me know your thoughts by posting a comment below.

Why Facebook Page’s Like Totals Dropped And How You Can Find Out How Many

Filed under: Uncategorized

By Vincent Driscoll, ASI

If you’re like me and manage a Facebook business page, you might’ve noticed a “small dip” in your overall Page Likes recently. According to Facebook, the drop in Likes is due to the removal of memorialized (deceased) and voluntarily deactivated accounts from your page. The vanishing Likes aren’t legit anyway, says the social media giant, and will result in better consistency and business results going forward.

Ok, but how do Page Admins calculate this loss?

My business page — Advertising Specialty Institute — which has been active since 2009 and has over 7,000 Likes, lost 165 Likes or just around 2%. How do I know this? I found out the total number by downloading an Excel spreadsheet from the Insights tab of my Facebook Page, like so:

  • Go to your Facebook Business Page
  • Click on the Insights tab above your cover photo
  • In the upper-right, you’ll see an “Export” menu item – click that
  • Select “Page Data” for the month of March; File Format should be Excel, then click Export Data
  • Open Excel spreadsheets from your downloads and look at the tab called “Key Metrics”
  • In Column B you’ll see “Lifetime Total Likes” – this is where you should see some inexplicable Like drops (see image above) that cannot be accounted for in Column D’s “Daily Unlikes” (not shown)
  • Subtract the two, minus any Daily Unlikes for that day, and the difference will be your drop in Page Likes (I had 1 Daily Unlike during this time)

For my Page, the drop in Likes happened between March 6 and March 7 even though Facebook claims the drops will be after March 12. I’m sure it’s just a general date when you’re dealing with millions of Business Pages, so it might be different depending on your page.

However, the amount, though small, is not accounted for in the analytics. So what does that mean? It means that if you track Page Likes for your company, like me, you will now have to factor the loss into your future stats. Two percent may not seem like a lot, but if you’re tracking to a goal it could mean the difference between success and failure.

And for those of you who have yet to see a drop, it might not even have happened yet … so keep your eyes open!

PS - If you’ve noticed any discrepancies in your Page Likes, let us know how many by posting below!

Super Bowl XLIX Poll Results – Favorite Seahawks Sacked

Filed under: Fun, Poll Results

Now that we can close the book on one of the best, most exciting Super Bowls in history, it’s time to look at how well our users did in our annual www.asicentral.com Super Bowl Poll.

Not unlike myself, the majority of voters (58%) figured that the Seattle Seahawks would repeat as Super Bowl champs by defeating the much-maligned and heavily scrutinized New England Patriots (42%). Had it not been for late interception on the 1-yard line, majority would have ruled; instead, one of the worst play calls in the history of the Big Game had the underdog Pats riding high in the end.

Here’s how our users voted (total votes: 65):

Super Bowl Poll Results

Tech Guru Steve Wozniak Inspires on ASI Radio

Filed under: Fun, asi radio show

Steve Wozniak“You have to have a drive behind innovation, you have to have an end goal,” said Apple co-founder and visionary Steve Wozniak, a very special guest caller this week on ASI Radio. “And if the path to get there is difficult, you have to be creative. (And never discount a little luck!)”

These were just some of the words of inspiration Wozniak — who will be the keynote speaker at the 2015 ASI Show Orlando — used in his 20-minute interview. Brand loyalty, hands-on education, the evolution of business … all topics broached by “The Woz” during the show. And when he wasn’t talking business, he was dishing about his favorite apps and talking tech with our very own IT guy and first-time interviewer Jason.

Want a little expert advice on how to innovate? Then you need to watch this show!

Sales Tip of the Week - Connecting with Clients

Filed under: Fun, General, Sales Tip

boredWhat do you do when you are talking to someone and realize you’ve “lost” them?  Advantages magazine says it takes one simple question to bring them back.

If she’s fidgeting, she’s stopped asking questions — maybe she’s sneaking glances at the clock—ask this question: “What is the most important thing we should be discussing today?” You will instantly connect with what really matters to her—and the conversation that ensues will help her see you as relevant and valuable.

Sales Tip of the Week - Success Stories

Filed under: Fun, General, Sales Tip

successAdvantages magazine says there’s a limit to how many bold claims you can make about your company and product results, but there is no limit to the words of praise you can put in the mouths of your delighted clients.

Use case histories of your clients’ success stories about the benefits they received from your service or product. When you are using their actual dialogue, you can say much more glowing things about yourself and your company than you could if the words were your own.

Prepared for the Future – An Intern Reflects On Her Time at ASI

Filed under: Fun, General

Rachel AbrahamBy Rachel Abraham

I have had some time to reflect on the opportunities and accomplishments I have made at ASI. It has been such a rewarding and an invaluable experience. I was not familiar with the promotional products industry at all prior to interning here, but I was eager to learn and expand my writing. I was definitely nervous about starting this new endeavor, but it turned out just fine — better than fine. The guidance, colleagues and assignments made this summer enjoyable.

I never had a full time position as a writer before interning here, but I had taken on a few online internships while working as a cashier after graduating college. It seemed I would never find something truly satisfying, but then came the email notification from ASI. When I first came across the application for the editorial intern position, I knew this is what I needed to get my foot in the door and to get hands on experience in writing. It was the ideal position for me because I majored in print journalism.

The internship included a free week trip to New York City and housing at NYU where I had a fantastic view of Manhattan! I received training from the Dow Jones News Fund in business journalism. It was an intense and exciting week with guest speakers, quizzes on current events and article writing. While in New York I visited news media, such as: the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and NBC Nightly News. Bonuses included the chance to be a tourist and explore the city by trying different restaurants visiting Times Square, and visiting the September 11th Museum.

I went through mixed emotions my first day at ASI, but I quickly became relaxed by the way I was treated. Michele Bell and the other members of the Editorial department helped me get acclimated to the new work environment. Sara Lavenduski, my fellow colleague and a former Editorial intern, was always available to help if I had any questions and gave me some great pointers. I have written for ASI’s award winning magazines and have had to meet deadlines. For example, I contributed to Trend Alerts for Wearables. I also profiled designers and their fashion and covered Fall/Winter trends for Stitches that I just saw in the newest publication. Check it out!

There have also been many perks. It did not hurt that there was an on-site Starbucks that helped with those afternoon cravings. But aside from that, I have had the chance to assist with fashion photo shoots, and see the behind the scenes of how models prep. It was fascinating to see the collaborative effort that was made to create those outstanding shots. I also attended a Phillies game for Joe Haley’s 20th anniversary at the company and participated in a painting party. We even had a wine and cheese party showcasing our artwork. I can’t forget about decorating an “ArtCar” for three days with different promotional items for the ASI Chicago Show. It is been a great way to spend my summer where I also befriended my fellow interns, Corrie Purvis and Virginia Lucas. I’ll never forget our walking breaks around the building!

The overall experience has been one I could not have expected. I now have another great addition to my resume. I appreciate the knowledge I have gained and the people I have come in contact with. Thanks to ASI, I feel more prepared and confident in my future.

Sales Tip of the Week - Engage Prospects

Filed under: Fun, General, Sales Tip

engageIf your prospect says she can source the product you’ve recommended cheaper online, don’t be insulted. Advantages magazine says engage the prospect to learn more.

Do they have a specific product alternative or online seller in mind? What kind of service, guarantees or support does the online vendor provide? Oftentimes, buyers are “star struck” by pricing they find online. What they haven’t necessarily factored in is how valuable the ability to pick up the phone and talk to you can be if they have a problem or concern. Perhaps there’s a difference in product quality or imprint method or ability to meet a deadline. Review the choice with your prospect to be sure they’re comparing apples to apples.

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