Q:I am running a computer on-site service business for home and small business clients. I was wondering what kinds of promotional materials are more effective than others. I got a catalog that sells pens, mugs, mouse pad, etc with company's info printed on them, but I'm not sure what I should go for. Love to hear you guys' experiences.
A:Have you ever used a service based on reading their phone number from an ad on a pencil, pen, mug, mouse pad, etc.? I find that most people that pick this stuff up just pick it up to get something for free. They never intend to actually use the service. Leaving a mouse pad at a client site might be good for follow-up service. The big question is how to get in contact with a customer in the first place. Each business has its own best way to advertise. Computer people that I have talked with say that they are surprised at how many calls they get from yellow pages ads. I've had good luck using scratch pads. If you have a friend in the printing business they might be able to work out a deal where they use their "trim" to print your scratch pads. If not, you can have them done at any printer, print on an 8.5 x 14" paper, assorted colors, cut the paper into 8 pads, and have them padded in batches of 50 sheets. You can even do the padding yourself to save money. Have "To Do List" printed on the top and your info on the bottom inch of the pads. Everyone seems to enjoy getting scratch pads, I've never seen anyone thro them out. You get exposure from the person keeping them on their desk, and exposure to the person who gets the note. I have a friend in the same business. He uses very little in the way of promotional material. A good, solid design on his business cards, lots of networking, and a postcard campaign in a couple of light industrial/commercial areas in the city have worked for him.