Top Tips To Avoid Promotional Product Scams

Here is a guide for all of our product re-sellers out there, top tips on how to avoid being scammed by clients.

Unfortunately there are people looking to scam you in practically every industry. Scammers are figuring out how to bypass security features just as quick as companies are inventing new security protection. So learning how to spot a scam is extremely important no matter what kind of business you work in. The only full proof way of protecting yourself from most scams is to be aware of what a scam is, and what isn’t.

No matter what industry you’re in, there will always be numerous types of scams that you will be vulnerable to, and the promotional product industry is no different. One of the most common scams in the promotional product industry is orders that are filled using stolen credit cards. The payment will go through, and the scammer placing the false order will receive the product and/or services. However, once the victim of the stolen credit card notices their money is missing, the company distributing the products will lose the money used to pay for the fraudulent order, as well as the product.

Believe it or not identity theft is also something of concern in the promotional product industry. Stealing the identity of both distributors and suppliers is something that has become increasingly common. Unfortunately there are some states that make it easier for scammers to access confidential company information that can be used to steal the company’s identity. They can even change information so the company address become the scammers address. Pretty unsettling, right? It goes without saying that knowing how to pin point a scam is exceptionally vital in these states.

Identifying a Scam

Unfortunately, bringing a scammer to justice after the damage has been done can be quite difficult. However, there are certain things that will give a scammer away before they have a chance to affect your business and your bank account.

We have listed some general tips and traits that will help you pick up a scam immediately:

  1. Do Not Open Unknown E-mails

General rule of thumb is that you don’t open e-mails from senders you are not familiar with. This is very important because sometimes it takes something as simple as opening an e-mail to give them access to everything they need to scam you. In fact, if you don’t know the sender very well, you shouldn’t open an e-mail that you were not expecting. If you think the e-mail may be legit, contact the company or customer to verify the e-mail before actually opening it.

  1. Never Open Spam

Replying to spam is always a bad idea because most of the time it leads to either a virus, spyware or worse. So if it looks like spam you shouldn’t even bother opening it. Be sure to explain all of this to your employees. It does no good to just assume everyone knows that’s not a good idea.

  1. Pay Attention To Punctuation and Grammar

Most fraudulent e-mails that are sent with the intention of scamming you will have poor grammar. Sometimes the mistakes will be subtle, and sometimes they will be extremely obvious. So if you’ve already opened the e-mail and you’re questioning whether or not the e-mail is genuine, study it for grammar and punctuation errors. People that run respectable businesses and companies want to be professional. So sending a simple e-mail with grammar mistakes is rarely something any established company would allow.

  1. Be Cautious With Large Orders Placed Online

Anytime someone new to your customer base places an order online you should be extremely cautious and take extra security measures. A very large order of various different products (or an abnormally large amount of one product) is a red flag that it is a scammer. They want to make a large order at once because they know they will most likely not be able to order from that place again, among other reasons.

  1. Never Trust Anyone Asking For Personal Information

Don’t ever give personal information about you or your bank in an e-mail. Anyplace that will need personal information from you will never try to acquire it through an e-mail because they are aware of the security risks. So never divulge any important information to anyone that asks for it via e-mail.

  1. Devise Your Own Personal Security System

You should sit down and create a list of certain steps you take to ensure the security of you and/or your company. Make sure all of your employees are completely familiar with your personalized company security rules. That will reduce your risk of getting caught in a scam. You should also make copies of the security steps that you want followed for all of the employees in your company. That way you know everyone knows the security procedures. You can do things like enabling encryption on your e-mail account, keeping your anti-virus up to date, never leave a window with personal information open longer than you need to, and anything else you can think of that may be helpful.

  1. Always Question An Order Going to a Personal Address

If a customer places a large order and requests it to be delivered to a home address, consider this a red flag as well. It is very rare that someone will place a large order for their company or business, and have it shipped to their home. Now that doesn’t mean that it can’t happen with an honest customer, but you should always take extra safety precautions.

  1. Verify The Authenticity of All New Companies

Anytime you gain a big company client you should do some research on their company to make sure it is not a fraudulent company with a bad reputation.

  1. Always Double Check Customer Information

Always check to make sure the phone number and address coincide with the address and phone number on the company’s web site. If it is different do not proceed with the order until you get things cleared up.

  1. Check All New Credit Card Accounts

Always research new credit card accounts to make sure they are legitimate. Most scammers use credit cards, so it is important that you do this with all new customers.

  1. Beware of Common E-mail Addresses

If the customer claims to be a big company or business, but has a common e-mail provider like Hotmail, msn, yahoo, etc., do some research on them before allowing the payment to go through.

  1. Familiarize Yourself With All New Customers

If you have no idea who this new customer or company is, try to find someone that has done business with them before.

  1. Never Release The Order Without A Signature

Make sure the carrier that is delivering the order knows thata signature is mandatory for the release of the order. If it turns out to be a scam, you’ll have their signature. If they don’t sign, you have your merchandise.

  1. Request A Copy of Their Driver’s License or Photo ID

If you have a copy of every new customer’s driver’s license, you can compare the address on the credit card, the website, and the ID.If all of this fails at least you have a copy of their ID. For extra safety measures you can even enforce an authorization form for credit cards, which requires a signature.

  1. Use AVS And CVV

AVS is Address Verification System. CVV is Card Verification Value. This will help catch anything you may have missed.

5 Books That Will Change Your Outlook on Business

Reading books is something that will never go out of style. Especially when it comes to learning about something like business, or self-improvement. Books allow you to easily see what you are reading inside of your head, which sometimes makes it easier to soak in information. So, you can never read enough books that may improve the way you do business. The times and the way people do things will always change, so there is always going to be something more or something different you can learn that may help your business. Even a small tip or trick that you pick up can sometimes mean a world of difference for your business.

Although you’d be more knowledgeable the more information you soak in, your schedule probably limits the amount of books you have time to read during your spare time. There are a wide range of different types of books aimed at improving the way you do business. However, that doesn’t mean that every single one is worth your time. So you will want to start with a few books that you know will be worth the read. We have put together a list of books that will help you improve the way you have been doing business.

  1. “The Effortless Experience” by Nick Toman and Rick Delisi

Regardless of what type of job you have, customer service is always an important skill to have. At some point, most people will deal with customers and/or clients numerous times throughout the year. So it is imperative for everyone to have good customer service skills. After all, without the customers most of us wouldn’t have a job. “The Effortless Experience” is filled with different tips and tricks that will help improve the most vital part of any business or company, customer service. You can test and repeat each tip that is written in this book, so you can experience the effectiveness of the book first hand.

  1. “The Ten Faces Of Innovation” by Tom Kelley

This book teaches you to think outside the box and look at things from a whole new perspective. In “The Ten Faces of Innovation”, Tom Kelley shows multiple strategies that will help you rise to success through creativity, and innovative thinking. This book will show you the benefits and endless possibilities when you keep an open mind.

  1. “The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything” by Stephen M.R. Covey

Trust is everything, in every aspect of your life. When people begin to lose trust in you, the way they look at you begins to change, and they don’t think of you with high respect. If someone was to show their boss and colleagues some untrustworthy behavior, the likeliness of them going anywhere further in that job diminishes. In this book, Stephen M.R. Covey teaches you how build trust with your business relationships, as well as the trickledown effect it will have on your life as a whole.

  1. “Welcome To The Real World” by Lauren Berger

This book is a good read for anyone in the business and/or corporate world, but it’s an especially good read for beginners. In this book, Lauren Berger helps you cope with the expectations of the real business world, versus somewhat fictional expectations you might have had. One of the things that she mentions in this book is how to be self-learner, self-teacher, and self-starter. This is very important because there are going to be times that you’ll be ‘thrown to the wolves’, so to speak, and the only way out will be for you to figure it out on your own.

I had gotten a promotion once and assumed that I would have extensive training, so I’d know exactly what to do. The reality of it was there were some things I was never even shown, let alone taught how to do. There were a lot of things I had to learn about by myself, and had to make sure I learned how to do a good job of it as well. If I wanted to keep my promotion and prove I could handle it, I had to learn, teach, and do myself. I had to become a self-starter. This book is excellent at helping you cope with curve balls like the ones I have just mentioned.

  1. “Rhinoceros Success” by Scott Alexander

This book explains that if you want something you have to go full force and charge it like a strong rhinoceros. Not many people that have achieved great success has done it by staying quiet and meek. Most truly successful people got where they are because they had to be strong, persistent, and went after what they wanted with vigor. This book will build your confidence up and teach you how to charge your goals with persistence and tenacity.

Lanyards: Often Overlooked Definitely Not Overrated

You may have heard of lanyards before, but may not know what exactly it really is. The truth is you probably know them just as neck straps, key cords etc. They are the seat belt looking necklaces that ID cards, VIP cards, and name tags hang from. Actually, lanyards have many many different uses. Gym teachers, coaches, and referees may hang whistles on them, while a janitor may hang his keys on the end of one. Security guards also use them to hang swipe cards and all access passes on. Custom Lanyards make great promotional gifts as well.

Below is a list of some of the most common uses that lanyards have.

Warning: its a big list!

Hanging ID Cards and Keys

Lanyards are most commonly used by employees that work in an array of different fields. Security guards and police officers can use them to visibly wear their ID, badge, and/or access cards. Janitors, company caretakers, and management can use them for keys as well as identification, coaches can use them for hanging whistles, and the list goes on and on.

Academia and educational use

Lanyards are known to be used at schools that teach students of all ages. They are used on various kinds of school trips, school functions, orientations, and more. School athletic teams commonly wear them to support school spirit. Teachers and school staff are also known for using lanyards for identification/name tag purposes.

Trade shows and business exhibitions

Although trade show security guards are known for wearing lanyards, they are also used to help security determine who is a legitimate paying visitor, and who is trying to get a free ride. Traditionally, you will be handed a lanyard with proof of payment after you have paid the greeter at the entrance. Company vendors also use them to promote their company and/or brand, which also makes it easy for the visitors to pin point the workers from each individual company.

Business and college seminars

Printed lanyards are frequently used at seminars for multiple different reasons. However, all of the lanyards used for different things at seminars have one thing in common. Promotion. Company names, brands, logos and/or phone numbers can be printed on the lanyards, making them great promotional gifts to both perspective clients and staff.

Business and corporate functions and events

Lanyards are common at most company functions. It is important to clearly identify yourself and the company you’re representing at big business gatherings, such as conventions. They provide a convenient and visible place to wear a company ID, and they can be customized to promote your brand

Entertainer or promoter ID (VIP/ backstage passes)

Entertainment promoters are usually looking for talent and leads in crowded places. It’s extremely important for them to have printed ID cards at least a VIP pass on them that are visible, so their perspective clients can pin point who they are. Promoters also hand out lanyards to staff and security, etc. at events that they are overlooking.  They’re even used to give out VIP passes to people.

Charity and fundraising events

Charity events are also known for using lanyards for identification and promotion. They are known to be handed out to guests as a souvenir as well. You’ll often see the speakers at the charity event wearing a lanyard with their name on an identification card at the end.

Novelty store sale item or merchandise selling

A lot of novelty shops and gift shops sell lanyards. They may have funny or trending remarks or pictures printed on them, or they may have the name of the town on them.

Student or teacher identification

School faculties come in contact with new students every year, which is why it’s important for them to have a visible ID with them at all times. Lanyards are commonly used by school staff to hang an ID on them. Coaches and gym teachers commonly use them to hang a whistle around their neck as well.

Camps and excursions for kids

Lanyards help team leaders at youth camps to be organized and in control of the children’s whereabouts. They can be used to help identify either the children or the staff, and they can also be used to carry whistles. Although the group leaders will commonly carry a whistle, they are known to be handed out to children as well. This is so if they get lost, they can stay still and blow the whistle until someone comes and finds them. Sort of like communicating from a distance without a phone.

Get your own lanyards custom made

We have got you covered when it comes to custom branded lanyards and a massive variety of ID accessories and promotional products in Canada.

Trade Show Booth Ideas For Better Client Engagement

So this is good! You have booked a 10×10 foot slot at the (insert your industry here) annual trade expo. There is one little problem, your going to be competing for attention with 50+ other exhibitors, you start thinking, what exactly can we do to show people what what our company does and why they should choose us. Well I am going to tell you about the 5 most popular items in our arsenal of trade show display solutions on offer, these are tried and tested by our clients – the majority of which have contacted us just to let us know how well their event went.

First off though, a bit of background about these kinds of items

Trade show display items?

Any company worth their salt won’t go out to an event they have paid money to attend with a camping trestle and some brochures, your not going to gain positive attention or the trust of visitors with this kind of strategy. So this is why people are choosing custom branded solutions like banners, signs and even interactive displays which I will go into a bit further along in this guide. So let’s cut to it, here is my 5 tips for a successful trade show booth.

1: Get interactive with an iPad or Tablet display

iPad Tablet Stand
The iPad stretch display is very popular at events.

Research is showing that the majority of the worlds people are becoming used to scrolling on touch based devices. Its nothing for someone to click onto a galaxy tab, iPad or similar and browse your interactive catalog or your website.

Set up one of our stretch display stands with the interactive iPad and some takeaway catalogs for maximum engagement.

These are also great because even if your staff are busy with other booth visitors, people can interactively browse your products and services without the need for that staff member to hand out material. I call that marketing on auto-pilot!

2: Enclose your space but not too much

Media walls are a newer product that is becoming extremely popular for indoor events where your company is allocated a fixed area for their display. They allow you to enclose your zone and show people a clear boundary where your display ends and another company’s begins. They also provide a good central point for a display table or service counter.

Curved Media Wall
Above is a 10 foot wide, curved media wall with a full color print. These are extremely good at garnering the attention of bystanders and potential customers.

With one of these walls placed at the rear of your area you can divide yourself from other exhibitors and ensure people don’t visit the wrong company! They also offer a huge branding area for presenting your services, employ a graphic design company or even supply us your marketing material from previous print jobs and our team will mock up the perfect media wall for your event and show you prior to production.

3: Make sure your staff wear uniforms

This is pretty elementary but so many companies won’t send their staff to a convention in uniform. A shirt, jeans and good pair of shoes is fine but you really need your staff to match and be seen. Even when they are not at their station, Printed t-shirts are a good option if you have a lot of people in your team and not a big budget. If you are sending 2-3 staff members out for the day get them into something like a good snag resist polo shirt with an embroidered logo or a button down might also work. Ask your staff their thoughts, they still have to be comfortable and able to do their job after all.

Lanyards You could try some branded lanyards. Get a short run of lanyards made and have your staff wear them with their ID passes or event credentials on display, If you get some extras you can give them to people who visit your stall.

Giveaway items never go unnoticed, people love free things and something they can actually use after the expo is definitely a winning bet. I will cover this below.

4: Give people free stuff

Okay its not quiet as simple as giving away stuff. Its got to be branded stuff and its has to be usable by the recipient. There is a reason promotional pens are still ranked the #1 promotional product in the world. They are in use, every single day without fail.

Promotional Products Canada

Yep lanyards, protein shakers, stress toys, tools and even sunglasses and key tags are an awesome items. You can even get a printed tote bag to throw it all in, say you are a building company and someone enquires about a house design, pop a brochure a pen and some business cards into a branded bag and send them on their way with your information in their hot little hand your chances of them engaging your company to provide.

5: Light it up

Bring some lamps and try to get a powered site for your booth, I have also seen people using hanging tube lights and even white Christmas lights to draw attention.

Alternatively you can purchase little battery powered lights that are specifically designed to clip onto a media wall or banner, just ask our team about these. They are a great way to illuminate your brand. Combine with vibrant printing and some good old fashion customer service and you have yourself a wicked trade show booth that won’t go unseen.

Talk to our people for more information and tips

I hope these trade show booth ideas have been helpful to you, if you would like to chat more about getting your company branded the right way then we are on standby to assist, visit our home page and have a chat via our live chat app or send us an email on [email protected] We don’t mind having a chat about your trade show booth needs and we are able to quote you a custom price in minutes.

Promotional Product Ideas & How to Use Them

Effectively Choosing (and Using) Promotional Items

Every business has to use advertising to remain relevant and familiar to their potential customer base. Even globally recognized brands continuously run huge marketing campaigns even when they have made no changes to their products or updated any of their services. This is necessary because it is easy to be overshadowed by the competition or forgotten about by even loyal customers. Along with traditional print and media advertisements many businesses also use Promotional items as well. This type of advertising is used in nearly every industry and by companies of all sizes. Free items are loved by everyone and they are a guaranteed method of getting noticed and being remembered.

promotional-items

Choosing Promotional Items

An endless array of products are available for use as promotional gifts, but your money is wasted if the item is not useful or appealing to the recipient.

Merchandise that looks outdated or has no purpose is unlikely to be kept long enough to provide any value. Companies have the most success when they choose functional, popular products that are inexpensive. Common choices include our custom USB drives and embroidered caps as they are worn daily, pens and stationary items are hot property too. These items are easy to find and to personalize, but they are only a small selection of what is available. People will retain any item longer if it provides them with a service, is easy to travel with or is something they want to display in their home or at the office.

BrandingAdding Your Brand

No we don’t mean the old school cattle brand, We just liked that picture. The most effective Promo items are those that appeal to the customers that the company is seeking. A garage may pass out branded tire gauges, a medical facility could offer hand sanitizer with a branded sticker and a computer repair shop can send out USB drives. The item should be appealing, allow the company to add their name, logo and contact information and be something relevant to the product or services the company supplies. Something that has no relevance or is inappropriate to the person that receives it could have the opposite effect of what was intended. There are some exceptions to this rule, especially when the items are used as holiday gifts or are handed out during a local event.

Distributing the Product

There are numerous ways to distribute gift items to former, current and prospective customers. Many businesses reserve their promotional products to use as trade show giveaways. Trade shows are a great opportunity to hand out samples and gifts, but since most companies only attend a handful or less each year it restricts the number of people they reach with this type of advertising.

Sponsoring local events and providing promotional products for gift bags at the event are helpful. Consider ordering custom items solely for this purpose. For example, handing out bottled water with branded labels to runners at a charity 5K shows community spirit, provides people with something they will remember and is fitting for the event. Set up an attractive display at fairs or in the mall.

We put this into practice ourselves and are heavily involved with local sporting events and fundraising activities around Cambridge and surround zones.

Ask for permission to put up a table at the event. Consider these opportunities to be a type of small, personal trade show. Include free gifts for anyone requesting more information or scheduling an appointment. Send out gift items with Christmas cards to previous clients or include something small when someone requests an estimate. A display of pens on a reception desk helps to remind customers of their experience and provides them with the contact information they need to make their next appointment.

Bonus link: 50 Helpful resources for planning and promoting an event

Using Materials Wisely

Smaller companies that are finding it difficult to afford promotional items in addition to all of their other expenses need to look for ways to use what they have more effectively. Retail shops could offer unique branded shopping bags that customers will want to keep and reuse like a non woven tote bag. Restaurants could provide reusable take out containers with their logo. This method makes every promotional item functional for both the business and their customers. However, it is important to realize that even the cheapest giveaway item can have impact if it is done correctly. Simple and very inexpensive items like magnets, chip clips and even temporary tattoos have been successful for some organizations.

Bonus link: Marketing on a shoestring on NasDaq

Promotional products typically advertise to many more people than just the ones that are given the items. Promotional pens are left behind in shops and restaurants for others to use and take home. Branded clothing is viewed by every person that the wearer meets. Calendars guarantee at least 12 months of exposure to everyone that is in the room where they are displayed. These items are a feel-good gift item when initially passed out and act as an advertisement for as long as they are in use. Because they have the potential to be seen so frequently and by so many people they should always be carefully chosen and customized. Make certain the company name and contact information is legible and the product is visually appealing.

Read to browse promotional items? Visit our home page and begin your promotional adventures today!