Get Back To Basics With Your Marketing

It’s a crazy time to try and market your business.  On the one hand, you don’t want to be seen as insensitive or tone deaf to the current health and economic challenges that are facing the country.  On the other hand…payroll.  Your organization still has bills to pay.  And when this is over, you want to have a business to market!

Madison Avenue has decided the best way to do this is to let everyone know that “we are all in this together” (even though we have been ordered NOT to be together).  They remind you that these are “unprecedented times,” and we should not worry because no one is touching our pizza after it leaves the oven!  What?  I wasn’t worried about that…until now!

And while it’s tough to know exactly what to do and say during these “unprecedented times,” I think we are over thinking it.  It’s time to get back to basics with your marketing.  Here are a few quick tips on how to market your organization now…and always.

Decide WHO Your Customer Is

One of the biggest challenges I see with companies is when they try to market to everyone.  Not only is that impossible (and expensive) it makes for boring marketing.  If you identify exactly who your target is, you can create compelling marketing and content that resonates with them.  In addition, you find that your message does not need to be everywhere.  It needs to be where your perfect customer is…and there only.

Explain What Problem You Are Solving

Every good business was created to solve a problem.  The lemonade stand was created to quench your neighbor’s thirst on a hot day.  The pizza shop was started because people are hungry (and don’t want to cook for themselves).  Whatever the problem is that your organization solves, make sure you let your customers and prospects know.  So many times we are concerned that we might be “overly salesy” and we make our prospects guess what we do.  Don’t do that.  Make sure it’s clear what you have to offer.

Add Value Where You Can

Once you let your customers and prospects know what you have to offer, it’s a good time to add value.  I still believe that the Give First Economy is in full swing.  You have an opportunity to be generous here.  Help your prospects.  Give them information to help them solve their problem.  Not only will it establish you as the expert in the field, but it will build integrity and trust with your audience.

Cover Your Branding Foundation

This is a good time to look at your marketing and make sure the foundations are covered.  Is your website up to date?  Do you have flyers, brochures, and print materials that tell your story (consistently with your website).   Does your team look like a team?  Once  you have created that ideal customer, you need to make sure you are showing up the right way to them, all the time.  If you need some help with this, please reach out to us and we can help.

Make Your Offer

If you have identified your customer, explained the problem that you solve, and have added value, then please don’t forget to make an offer.  It doesn’t have to be over the top.  You don’t have to be in their face.  As a matter of fact, if you have take the other steps, it would be weird if you did NOT ask for the business!  This is not the time to “get the digits” from your prospect and NOT make the call!  Make your offer and give them a chance to do business with you.

It’s a great time to get back to basics with your marketing…and these are some ideas to get you started.  If you want to dig deeper, feel free to sign up for our (FREE) 5 Day Marketing Course here.  Oh…and make sure you never miss out on our content.  Head to our blog page now and see what you have missed.

Products To Re-Open Your Business

It feels like we have all been captured in some sort of weird time warp over the last month.  We have been asked to work from home, or not work at all.  Businesses that were not essential were shut down…mostly.  But this past week Governor Mike Dewine (who seems to be one of the nation’s leaders on response to the Pandemic) has announced that Ohio will begin to open back up on May 1st.  Dewine was optimistic, but cautious.

Dewine said, ““We want to do this in a thoughtful way that engenders confidence and ensures customers and employees are safe.”

If you are like me, this is welcome news!  I am excited to get back to work!  And let’s face it, I am excited to turn the “business faucet” back on.  Small businesses, which are the backbone of the economy, need to create revenue again.  On the other hand, I want to keep my customers, my employees and my family safe.  We all do.  So I put together a list of a few products to re-open your businesses in a safe and responsible way.

Face Masks

If you had told me 3 months ago I was going to be wearing a face mask every day, I would have told you “I don’t think so.”  But as we have learned, a lot has changed as comedian Julie Nolke hilariously explains to her past self here.  The reality is, face masks are very likely going to become the new normal for a while.  We are all going to need them, and probably more than one.  And if you are opening a business, you are going to want your employees to have them.  Not only will it help keep your team members safer, it will also provide your customers some piece of mind as well.

branded face masks products to re-open your business

So if you are going to need face masks for your team, why not make them an intentional part of the employee wardrobe?  Your team probably wears a shirt with your logo on it (if not, why not?), so why not provide them with a branded face mask as well?

But if May 1st is the deadline we are all shooting for (and I know I am), then time is of the essence.  There are some great branded options on face masks, but production time can take up to 4 weeks.  So if you want to provide employees a comfortable mask (that they will actually wear) and have some branding impact, now is the time to act.  If you are interested now, please contact your HMC rep or click here to shop now.

Hand Sanitizer

There has been a run on hand sanitizer across the country, and the same has certainly been true in the Promotional Product industry.  But suppliers across the country are working feverishly (too soon?) to make more.  While the production time for most orders is between 6 to 8 weeks, it still makes sense to get it ordered right away.  In addition, the perceived value of branded hand sanitizer has never been higher.  I talk about the importance of perceived value here.  

branded hand sanitizer products to re-open your business

So when you are able to hand out sanitizer with your logo on it, you will be showing your heart…and hand out gold.  If you are interested in getting some ordered now, please contact your HMC rep or click here to shop now.


In any time of crisis, communication is key.  Whether through direct mail, video, social media, or email, it’s more important than ever to keep your customers and prospects in the loop.  But what happens when you get them in the store?  That is where having proper signage can be a huge factor in communication…and safety.  Especially in a retail setting, these are essential products to re-open your business.

counter sign products to re-open your business

In order to make sure you help keep your employees and customers safe, you should consider having signs in your space that encourage social distancing (think stickers for your floor).  You could have standing signs that talk to customers about what you are doing to keep them safe or even have a sign at the counter to remind them to be safe.

products to re-open your business

Either way, you want to make sure you communicate to keep everyone safe.  If you want ideas about signage options for re-opening, please contact your HMC rep or click here to get your order going right away.

For more guidelines for “Opening Up America Again,” check out this document from NPR.  The goal is to not only get the country open for business again…but to do it safely.  If we can help you in any way, we want to do just that.  Again, if you are interested in any of these products to re-open your business, please check out this shop that we have set up just for this.

Make sure you stay up to date with all of our content here.  And if you want to use the next 5 days to work on refining and improving your marketing, consider taking our FREE 5 Day Marketing Course here.

Brand-ecdotes: Jay Sabine

At Hasseman Marketing, we are proud of the team that helps us “Deliver Marketing Joy” each and every day.  So we wanted to introduce you to some of our peeps with our series we call “Brand-ecdotes.”  Today we get to meet Jay Sabine.

jay sabine and family

What is something fun that not everyone knows about you?

There’s always music playing in my life!   In the background at home, or blasting from the speakers in the car (with the windows down of course), through headsets as I work in the yard, or my favorite – sitting around a fire with my family having “dance offs” and seeing who can “sing” the next lyric. I was lucky enough to be raised on the classics, so I am doing my best to continue that and share my love for a “great song” with my boys – as often as possible.

What is your all-time favorite Promotional Product and why?

Simple answer: the one that works best for the client’s agenda. My responsibility is to try to learn as much as possible about their campaign and then provide suggestions & ideas for them. Most clients already know what they’re looking for (hopefully),but more importantly they’re searching for a trusted partner to provide reliable products within their budget. Each opportunity generates it’s own list of best product solutions.

What is the current product you use all the time?

I’m a big Lip Balm & Hand Sanitizer guy!  I usually have both either in my car, house, bag or with me in my pockets. (I cannot go without lip balm – it just doesn’t feel right.) For promotional use: I think both are great trade show hand outs and sales call leave behind items. With custom label options you can create seasonal campaigns to keep your current message top of mind and mix up your rotation of products – leading to more impressions at an extremely competitive cost.

What is a company or brand that you admire and why?

Michael Jordan… Mars Blackmon… late 80’s/early 90’s… Black & White media… “It’s Gotta Be The Shoes!” The launch of Nike Air Jordan! It forever changed sports, clothing, marketing, etc.… and still competes today with brands born from this campaign.

What is your favorite part of “Delivering Marketing Joy?”

The evolution of the partnership. I appreciate the client that values promotional products, but hasn’t yet utilized all the benefits in their marketing strategies. Working in support of them, providing answers, taking one burden off their plate and delivering results to meet the expectations. The success of the collaboration isn’t judged until the next opportunity or re-order is presented and the cycle begins again.

If you want to learn more about us and the Hasseman Marketing team, check out our About Us page here!  And…you can always become one of our VIP’s.  Just sign up for our VIP newsletter here.

Add Proven ZIP To Your Direct Mail

add zip to direct mail

 Gary Vaynerchuk said “Marketers ruin everything!”  Keep in mind that Vaynerchuk is a marketing guy.  But he points out that as soon as marketers find something that works, they (we) tend to use it to death until it becomes a nuisance.

Consider email.  We used to get excited each and every time we got an email.  We read every single one!  Now we can’t wait to hit the “delete” button so we can get rid of the nuisances.

The same can be true for many forms of Direct Mail.  Direct mail is historically a great marketing tool for small businesses.  It still can be.  The problem is, this is a case where some marketers have ruined it for the rest of us.  We know this as consumers.  Where do you open your mail?  Many of us answer that question, “Over the trash can.”  We are standing there (mentally) hitting the delete button on marketers.  Tell the truth, you are probably almost stunned these days when you get a real, sincere piece of mail!

So what can you and your company do?  You can stand out…that’s what.

One way you can stand out is to get noticed before you hit the “circular file.”  To do this, some marketers will create direct mail that looks like a real card.  Some will even go to the lengths of having someone hand write out the envelope.  This is a good news/bad news proposition.  The good news is, handwritten envelopes DO tend to get opened.  And if you have a small group you need to send a message to, this is a great way to make sure they see it.  The bad news with this tactic is if your customer opens mail thinking they are getting a personal piece of mail, and it’s just an ad, it can backfire.  You seem disingenuous, and the customer will likely (sometimes subconsciously) resent you and your company for it.

Another obvious way to get your message seen before it hits the trash pile is to scrap the envelope.  You can send a colorful postcard or a flyer without putting it in an envelope.  I actually like this tactic for some campaigns.  But this idea too, has shortcomings.  First, you are usually limited to what you can include on the space you have to imprint (especially with a postcard) AND you are never quite sure what condition your marketing pieces is going to arrive in!  Again, sometimes this is fine.  But sometimes these limitations are just too annoying.

One of the best ways to ensure a successful direct mail campaign is to incorporate promotional products WITH your direct mail.   The results of this math equation should really get your attention. Direct Mail + Promo = Marketing Gold! But why does this combination work so well?  Let’s get to it.

Getting It Open

First and foremost, using a promotional product can help you create what I call “bumpy mail!”  Bumpy mail (or dimensional mailers) are packages that are odd shaped or bumpy.  This unique shape calls to the customer or prospect “open me!”  Curiosity will help you “kill the cat” because your potential client will want to know what is in the package.

But don’t just take my word for it!  Let’s take a look at a study done in 1993.  This study, done by Baylor University, sent packages to 3000 school administrators.    They were divided into three groups.  The first group received an envelope with a sales letter, sales collateral and postage-paid business reply card   The second group received an envelope with similar contents plus a promotional product.  The third group received all of the contents listed above, delivered in a box with a die cut slot, instead of an envelope. The results (as you might expect) were impressive.

Those who received a promotional product in a dimensional package responded at a rate that was 57% higher than those who received the same promotional product in an envelope!• Response rates for the dimensional package recipients were 75% higher than for the group who received only a sales letter! In case you were skimming, you might want to read that last line again.  Response rates for the dimensional package recipients were 75% higher!  Wow!

Now I can hear those “Yeah-But” folks now.  “Yeah but the cost of shipping is going to be higher for that piece.”  Of course it will be!  But how much is a 75% increase in response rates worth to you?  Remember a key word here.  This is not a 75% increase in OPEN rates.  This is RESPONSE rates!  If you can’t increase your sales (and overcome in the increase in shipping) with that kind of response rate, you need to seriously reconsider your sales offer!

The Lasting Impact

Here’s the thing…if I ended the post with the above information it would be enough.  But the best part about adding a promotional product to your direct mail is I get to say “But that’s not all folks!” I have always wanted to say that! The fact is, when you add Promo to your Direct Mail, you get all of the other benefits of promotional products AFTER your customer opens the offer!

  1. Remember the Rule of Reciprocity: Customers feel good about you and your company when they receive something from you.  By adding something of value to the direct mail offer, you create a sense of value.  This creates a better opportunity to sell to this client long term.
  2. Totally Targeted: This promotional piece is still super targeted. You have reached directly into this prospects home or office…and are communicating to them there.
  3. Lasting Impression: You have now created a long term advertising message (if you chose the product correctly) long after the postcard, letter or flyer has been thrown away.

Find Your Watermelon

Years ago I was in a sales training seminar with a Promotional Products Industry expert, Cliff Quicksell Jr.  He told a story about a young industry professional that needed to get a message to only 6 people.  She needed to get it to them…and she needed to make sure they did NOT throw the letter away by mistake.  This young pro, as Cliff tells it, took a Sharpie and wrote the message on six watermelons…and sent them! “She had a tough time with the post office,” Cliff said.  “But she finally got them to take them. So I ask you.  You come in Monday morning and there is a watermelon on your desk.  Do you read it?”

I love that story!  The message is clear.  Find your watermelon! While you may not have to send giant fruit (though that would be awesome), you better stand out.  Promotional products can help you do that in a cost effective, results-based way!

This post is an excerpt from the book Delivering Marketing Joy. You can purchase that here on Amazon. 

Consider the Cost of Bidding

When creating a promotional campaign, you want a creative powerful promotion that will wow customers and affect human behavior.  That is what a great Promotional Products campaign can do…affect change.  The best campaigns can create an increase in direct mail opens, engagement on social media, create a safer work place or increase sales!

But in addition to making sure you create a campaign that “hits the mark,” most organizations want to make sure they are getting a fair shake on price.  No one wants to over pay…and no one wants to be taken advantage of!   In order to solve this concern, many organizations create a bidding process to ensure the best price.  While this is understandable, in theory, it’s important to consider the cost of such a campaign.

Yes…there is a cost.

First, it’s important to note that if the first part of this equation is NOT true (you have an effective promotional campaign), then the second part (the cost) really doesn’t matter.  You are now just spending money to spend it.  No good would come from that…agreed?

So if you have a trusted promotional advisor (and if you don’t, we can help!) then their job is to help you create those effective campaigns.  The best relationships like this are like partnerships.  You share the themes, goals, and budget with them (if you don’t create them together) and they provide you ideas that help you reach those goals.  It’s a win-win, because you get great ideas (hopefully) and they get the business.

But when you take their creative concepts and bid them out on the individual products, it’s a different relationship entirely.  The relationship becomes entirely transactional.  That is fine (if that’s what you want) but you start to rob yourself of the value of the advisor.

If you take your partners ideas and bid them out, they are not likely to bring you ideas again.  And if they do, they won’t put the time and effort into them.  After all, you have told them (by your actions) that the ideas are not what you value.  So they may decide not to provide you ideas at all.

“Let me know when you decide what you want,” they might say.  “Then we will be glad to provide a bid.”

What does that mean, in dollars and cents?

Let’s say your hourly rate is $15 per hour.  In order to get a creative and effective promotional campaign, you could easily spend a day looking for ideas.  Then you might spend another day going through bids to make sure they are accurate (and comparing apples to apples).  So that’s two days of your time.  In most cases, pricing between competitive promotional distributors is going to be close.  So you might save a nickel per piece.  If you ordered 1000 of whatever promotional item you decide on, you have “saved” $50.  But you spent $240 to do it.

Of course this does not factor in your creativity.  It doesn’t call to attention that a good partner is probably attending industry shows (and seeing the latest and greatest promotional items) and you are not.

But at the end of the day, you have lost a free, trusted, creative, outside source.  It’s a choice.  And it’s yours to make.  Of course if you don’t have that trusted source, that’s a different conversation.  But if you do, you might be wise not to drive them away.

So just ask yourself…what is your time worth?  Because, my friends, there IS a cost to bidding.

Want to make your marketing better?  Sign up for our 5 Day Marketing Course here.  We teach you how to find the perfect customer (right when they need you) and how to tell your story to them.  And if you want more content just like this, head to our blog page nearly every day.