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Promotional Items on a Budget

Marketing trainers always stress that we need to market constantly. I have heard suggestions that include inserting business cards with bill payments, leaving pens at restaurants, sending calendars to clients, and wearing logo apparel everywhere we go in public. These marketing tactics definitely can work. Several restaurant servers now carry my business card in their wallets. And I have been approached in parking lots, and was recently waived over by a police officer, all because of my car magnets. 

Although potentially successful, promotional items do cost money. This can be especially challenging for small home-based agencies that are working with tight marketing budgets. One-stop shopping for a variety of reasonably priced promotional items can be found at Vista Print (http://www.vistaprint.com/).

Start with the number one weapon in your marketing arsenal – your business card. Vista Print offers standard and premium business cards, with a large selection of designs, and the ability to print on both sides. If you really want to stand out, you can upload your logo and design your own unique card.

Vista Print also provides the opportunity to take your marketing further, with coordinated items like letterhead, envelopes, postcards, note pads, address labels, magnets, banners, and even gift certificates. You can pick and choose what fits your marketing needs, and your budget, with no minimum quantity requirements.

You can also customize rack cards, mouse pads, pre-inked stamps, brochures, presentation folders, sticky notes, note cards, lawn signs, and much more.

Ease of Use

Vista Print’s website is easy to use, even for those that are artistically challenged. If using one of their stock designs, you can customize text (bold, italicize, underline, increase or decrease the font size, etc.), add additional text boxes, as well as move them around. Uploading your logo and creating a design from scratch does not require much more expertise.
Pricing

Sign up for Vista Print’s email notifications and you will be notified of their free and discount promotions. Past offers have included 250 free standard business cards, 100 free small postcards, and a free small car magnet.

Quality

Not all Vista Print items are created equal. I have been happy with the quality of several items (car magnets, business cards, postcards, envelopes), but less impressed by others (t-shirts, key chains, pens). Better quality versions of these items can be found elsewhere, but often with a minimum quantity requirement, unlike Vista Print. For pens, I have been happy with Myron Pens (http://www.myron.com/), and for polo shirts, Queensboro (http://www.queensboro.com/). 

Overall, Vista Print provides decent options for agents just getting started in the business, as well as those that are seeking good promotional items that won’t break the bank. They are definitely not the only promotional company out there, but they provide a decent product for a reasonable price.

(Susan Schaefer is the owner of Ships ‘N’ Trips Travel (www.shipsntripstravel.com) located in Brentwood, Tennessee, and specializes in leisure travel with a focus on group travel and charity fundraisers. Through their division Kick Butt Vacations (www.kickbuttvaations.com) she focuses on travel for young adults under 35. Susan can be reached by email at susan@shipsntripstravel.com or by phone at (888) 221-1209).

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