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.

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.

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.

Fall in Love with Promotional Products

Fall is the perfect time for small business marketers to make a bold move that leaves lasting impressions on current and potential customers ahead of the busy year-end holiday season.

promotional products

One of the most effective and cost-efficient ways to increase your brand’s awareness is with promotional products. According to a recent Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI)
study, the cost per impression of promotional product marketing is lower than that of television, magazine and newspaper advertising.

Take full advantage of the seasonable opportunities this autumn by adding these trending promotional products to your marketing mix:

Logoed Long-sleeved T-shirts
Data from ASI shows that 88 percent of consumers report remembering the advertiser who gave them a logoed shirt or hat. When you’re looking for an affordable and effective way to make a lasting impression this fall, tailor your branded apparel strategy to the change of season and temperatures experienced in many geographies. Long-sleeved shirts and fleece pullovers are warmly welcomed.

Travel Coffee Mugs
Whether it’s used for coffee, hot cocoa or tea, a quality hot beverage travel mug is a necessity for brisk autumn days. Not to mention, is there anything better sipping on a pumpkin spice latte in the fall? Both practical and reusable, logoed travel coffee mugs are a popular promotional gift or giveaway year-round and are sure to help keep your current and potential customers warm.

Branded Stadium Blankets
Fall marks the return of football season. An essential component to enjoying those Friday night lights? Staying warm. Boost your brand’s visibility by bundling up customers in a branded blanket to keep them cozy and reminded of you.

Need some inspiration for jazzing up your business’ promotional marketing mix this fall?
Allegra’s team of seasoned multi-channel marketing experts can assist you in choosing the perfect promotional items that are guaranteed to leave a positive lasting impression.

Step Up Your Swag to Build Brand Awareness

For building brand awareness, one of the most effective tools is logoed promotional products. According to a
2016 study by the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), approximately 87 percent of marketers credit promotional products with helping them to reach marketing goals.

build brand awareness

In today’s multi-channel landscape, what can brands do to get their best ROI out of this proven advertising tactic?

Here are some tips to put a new spin on the promotional merchandise in your marketing mix:

Higher tech, higher impact
When connectivity rules, logoed tech accessories are fun and functional for all. Consider branded USB drives, smartphone coasters or stylus pens as giveaways at your next event.

Packable, practical promos
A recent blog
post from ProForma shared that logoed merchandise such as bags, backpacks and totes are favorites among consumers. Prized for their practicality, bags and totes are often used for travel and errand-running, leading to wider exposure and reach. For the environmentally conscious, logoed canvas shopping bags or eco-friendly materials are appreciated and remembered.

Health is wealth
Logoed fitness and wellness items such as infusers, blender bottles, yoga mats and towels and ear buds resonate well with most audiences. Not to mention, this type of logoed merchandise serves as the perfect employee incentive and is a great internal marketing tool for workplace wellness initiatives.

Balance promotion and purpose
With so many choices, picking the best logoed promo products can get tricky. Shop with purpose. Give event attendees and targeted audiences something that they’ll be able to use. Research continues to show that people appreciate usefulness most.

Finding the right promotional products to build brand awareness can be time-consuming. Let us lend a hand. The promotional merchandise pros at
Allegra can help you make a lasting impression; always on time and on budget.