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Top 10 Worst Passwords To Use

Filed under: Education, Fun, General, Tip of the Day

Data SecurityData breaches and security seem to be in the news a lot lately. LinkedIn and Target were recently hacked, and now Apple has come out and admitted a serious security flaw in its mobile operating system.

Now more than ever, distributors have to be absolutely sure that their customer information is protected. Counselor‘s cover story for March is all over data security and how you can protect yourself. Read on for more, and in the meantime here are the Top 10 worst passwords to use.

  1. 123456
  2. password
  3. qwerty
  4. abc123
  5. 111111
  6. iloveyou
  7. adobe123
  8. admin
  9. letmein
  10. photoshop

15 Tips to Increase Sales in 2014

Filed under: General, Tip of the Day

Sales Tips for 2014If increasing sales is on your New Year’s resolution list, what have you done differently so far in 2014? Anything?

If the answer is ‘no’ then perhaps we can help. The January edition of Advantages magazine just happens to be the Best Reps Issue, which means it’s loaded with tons of great sales information, including tips and advice from 20 of your peers who, collectively, are responsible for about $157 million! Check out this issue now … and in the meantime, here are 15 quick tips on how you can increase your sales in 2104.


For the complete list, with explanations for each tip, click on the story “15 Tips to Increase Your Sales in 2014“.

3 Tips for More Quality Leads

Filed under: Tip of the Day, Wearables

In a perfect world, sales reps would get heaps of warm leads from their marketing department, leaving plenty of time to cultivate a sale. Unfortunately, that’s too often the exception and not the rule, and the rep is frequently the one coming up with the leads.

Generate Leads

In this month’s Wearables‘ Business feature, Staff Writer Christopher digs up some great ideas on how sales pros can generate leads quickly and effectively. Looking to get more quality leads? Then this article is for you! In the meantime, here are three quick tips to better leads:

  • Start a blog: According to HubSpot, companies that blog six to eight times per month double their lead volume.
  • Get active in the community: Coaching, volunteering at community clean-up days, helping out at local fundraisers for reputable organizations – all are great ways to broaden your network of contacts and connect with potential customers.
  • Improve your Website: Populate your site with content – videos, blogs, articles – that positions you as a promotional products expert. Frequently update the site and optimize it with relevant keywords to help you rank high in organic searches related to promo products and your locale. – CR

Promotional Product Spotlight – 5 Facts About Drinkware

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Promotional DrinkwareWhen you think of branded drinkware, what comes to mind? For many people, the answer might be water bottles and mugs. For me? Beer glasses!

One look inside my cabinets and you’ll see why. Pint glasses from Guinness, Sam Adams, Troegs — who knows, maybe even a Pabst Blue Ribbon (yeah, I just admitted that ) — all own important real estate on my shelves, constantly reminding me which beers I’m partial to.

The Global Advertising Specialty Impressions Study, Version 4, is now live and filled with tons of interesting facts, charts and data about promotional products. Check out the study now, and in the meantime, here are 5 facts about promotional drinkware:

  • Branded drinkware is just as likely to be kept in the office as in the home
  • Consumers under 35 own the most promotional drinkware
  • More women (24%) than men (17%) own branded drinkware
  • Democrats report owning more drinkware than Republicans and Independents
  • 21% of all U.S. consumers own branded drinkware

6 Tips for Better E-Mail Marketing

Filed under: Tip of the Day, Uncategorized

E-mail MarketingNot long ago I got an e-mail from my personal e-mail service thanking me for 15 years of dedicated commitment to their product. “Has it been that long?” I thought. Wow, I’m old.

Needless to say that in those 15 years, I’ve seen my share of e-mails, especially the marketing ones that have seemingly been around for as long as the Internet. Each day for the past several years I can count on some kind of offer in my inbox — usually from Old Navy, Barnes & Noble or Men’s Wearhouse — and I’ve become quite adept at separating the wheat from the chaff. Ninety-nine percent of all marketing e-mails I get go right into the trash, so the ones that I do open really have to be good for me to get all the way through to a transaction.

And as more people become e-mail savvy like myself, this behavior is the rule, not the exception.

So how do you succeed with e-mail marketing? This month’s Advantages magazine article titled “Rules of Attraction: Get Them to Commit” is full of great tips and advice on how to not only succeed with e-mail marketing, but with blogs, videos and social media. Read this article now, and in the meantime here are 6 great tips for better e-mail marketing:

  1. Subject line is critical: either pique their interest or get right to the point.
  2. Have a clear call to action: make it obvious what you want them to do.
  3. Drop the jargon and corporate speak; be human.
  4. Never send an e-mail with a “do not reply” address. Make sure you give people a chance to respond.
  5. Include images, but not too many. When e-mails are too visually cluttered, people can’t absorb it all.
  6. Maintain good segmentation of your e-mail list, with different lists set up to meet the needs of different clients.

How’d They Do That? Filling and Labeling Gel Hand Sanitizers

Filed under: Fun, Tip of the Day

With the change of weather already taking place in the Northeast — last Saturday morning I rode my bike in 40-degree weather! — it’ll soon be cold & flu season. And with that, personal hand sanitizers will be popping up quicker than a Miley Cyrus joke.

This month’s edition of Advantages magazine contains a Strategy feature that explains in visual detail how those little bottles of gel hand sanitizer are filled and labeled. Compliments of Humphrey Line Inc. (asi/62050).

Click here for a larger PDF.

Hot Trend – Hoodies and Sweatshirts

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Hoodies and SweatshirtsNow that fall is nearly here, cool-weather apparel is all the rage. And nothing is hotter than hoodies and sweatshirts.

This month’s issue of Wearables magazine launches a new section called “Trends” where you’ll find the hottest apparel and accessories, along with tips and advice on how to sell them. Included in September: Leopard Prints, Motorcycle Jackets, Varsity Jackets, ID Bracelets and, of course, Hoodies and Sweatshirts. Click on the article for more, and in the meantime here are two tips for selling hoodies and sweatshirts:

  1. Consider the audience. All sweatshirts are not the same. When Daniel Broudy, vice president of sales for Clayton Kendall (asi/162968), is selling to a client in construction, he will recommend a brand like Carhartt that has a strong reputation in that industry. “In the collegiate market,” he continues, “I would recommend a more fashionforward line such as American Apparel (asi/35297) or Alo (asi/35950) which have sleeker designs and nice brand recognition.”
  2. Pay attention to the details. Turning casual inquiries into sales means providing exhaustive details about product specifcations and issues such as shipping arrangements, all while patiently working collaboratively with the client. Did the client want color-contrast laces? Companion hoodie and crew-neck styles? Don’t gloss over the small stuff. “Getting larger orders takes time,” says Salmaan Andani, director of business development for Jerico (asi/63304).

Eight Ways to Fail at Social Media

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Dislike ButtonAh, social media … when used correctly, it can be a powerful marketing tool for your business. But use it incorrectly and you can be losing more than just your hair.

This month’s “Sales & Marketing” column by Kenneth Hein in SGR breaks down the top ways a business can fail with social media. Want to succeed with your social media endeavor? Then you simply must avoid doing these 8 things! (Click on the article for more in-depth coverage):

  • Make sure you bore the crap out of all of your followers.
  • Hit them hard over the head with a hard sell.
  • Be repetitive. Be repetitive. Be repetitive.
  • Just go at it without a plan, you’ll be fine!
  • Use every social media channel known to humankind, poorly.
  • Just use Twitter once or twice and then let it lie dormant.
  • Just let the intern handle it.
  • Pick a battle with trolls.

Selling Pens – 4 Tips for Winning Against the Web

Filed under: Education, Tip of the Day

Sell More PensAccording to the 2013 Counselor Sate of the Industry, the top competitor threat to distributors are websites that sell promotional products, and that includes pens.

Good thing for you, though, there’s Counselor magazine!

In the September 2013 issue — the one devoted entirely to the writing instrument — there are some great articles about promotional pens and how to get the most out them. In the article “Black and Blue Battle,” writer Betsy Cummings goes in search of ways to combat the those Internet companies that sell so low. Check out that article now for some great advice, and in the meantime here are 4 great quick tips you can use to win vs. the web:

  • Tout Service Offerings: Online vendors may promise every service distributors offer, but it’s unlikely they offer the personal, individual attention to detail that marketing execs have come to expect from their distributors, not to mention insight into promotional product strategies. It’s important to remind clients about the limitations of online sellers.
  • Push Unique Products: Yes, many distributors sell the same products, but by working with preferred suppliers, they can partner to offer exclusive product offerings and decorating techniques, shutting out encroaching online firms.
  • Call Out the Competition: It may seem like the pen selling online for 10 cents less is an amazing bargain, but buyers be warned: Web-based companies offer low pricing one day and jacked up pricing the next. Or, they might have hidden charges such as multiple set up fees.
  • Don’t Cave: It may be easier said than done, but sometimes the best way to handle a client who keeps demanding cutthroat pricing, a la the Web, is to cut them loose. Match Internet pricing and you may be committed to those margins forever. Often clients who opt for companies they’ve found online come crawling back to distributors admitting the service and products were inferior.

3 Tips for Keeping Up to Date with Product Safety

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Product SafetyIf you haven’t been paying attention to product safety in the promotional products industry, you’re missing a growing trend: sell children’s apparel that doesn’t meet regualtions, pay a hefty fine. Or, in some cases like Hung Lam, president of Miami-based LM Import-Export Inc., go to jail.

Just today Counselor PromoGram is reporting that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has announced that retailer Ross Stores has agreed to pay a $3.9 million fine for repeated violations regarding the sale of children’s apparel with drawstrings.

But what can your business do to ensure you’re selling products that meet industry regulations? For starters you can read this very helpful Q&A with Prime Line CEO Rick Brenner on what distributors need to know today to ensure products they provide to clients are safe. Also helpful: this month’s Counselor feature on ever-changing category that is kids’ products.

And in the meantime, here are three tips to help you keep up with regulations:

  • Define It: It’s likely obvious that a garment is for kids only, but it’s important that distributors make sure the products they’re selling are deemed youth apparel and certified as safe – either with labeling or certificates that pass CPSC standards.
  • Stay On Top: Selling youth apparel nationwide could certainly expand your market share and boost your bottom line. But remember to follow the regulations of the state into which those items are being sold. Certain states like Washington, Maine and California have aggressively tackled safety with greater manufacturing scrutiny. Websites like SaferStates (www.saferstates.com) and the home page of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (www.cpsc.gov) can provide links to a wealth of information on banned substances and state actions.
  • Know Your Suppliers: One of the best ways to ensure your products are safe is to work with suppliers who make youth apparel safety their top priority. Ask for testing certificates, and use suppliers trusted by other large-scale distributors within the industry.

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