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Use It or Lose It! Wise Ways to Spend Your Year-End Budget Surplus

Great Products You Can Get Last Minute

Have you thought about how you are going to spend the rest of your department budget before the end of the year? Not only do unspent budget dollars typically get lost at the end of every year, 2009 budgets are in danger of being slashed drastically at the end of this year – thanks to the recession. Budget-makers are going to be on the lookout for any area that they can make some cuts – and unused budgets are the ideal candidates. Don’t let your budget go to waste – we’ve put together some ideas that will not only help you use those left-over dollars, but use them effectively.

NOTE: Do NOT “waste” your budget – the last thing you want to do is throw money around on items that aren’t useful. You want to make sure you are cautious about what you are buying. Follow the tips below and you should be fine.

Tip #1Restock / Stock-up on Essentials

The first rule of practical year-end spending is to focus on the essentials – what do you use around the office every year that you will need again in 2009? Restocking and stocking-up on the products that you use every year is smart, useful and a great use for your budget dollars. Here are some products that are usually on the top of everyone’s essentials list:

  • Pens. Promotional pens are by-and-large one of the top-selling promotional items on the market. Companies continue to use pens because they provide great value at exceptionally low prices and are very easy to stow away until they need them again. Your employees, clients, and prospects use them regularly so this should be one of the first things you should stock-up on for the new year.
    ePromos Value Pick: Retractable Comfort Grip Pen
  • Notepads. Notepads and memo cubes are desktop staples that aren’t wavering in popularity. You’d be hard-pressed to find a desk where there isn’t some kind of scratch or note-taking pad. These items are extremely popular for the office and are very easy to store – making it perfect to stock-up on for next year.
    ePromos Value Pick:Post-It ® Half Cube
  • Calculators. The calculator is another desktop classic that gets a lot of attention at the end of the year. Put your company in front of your clients by imprinting your name and logo directly onto one of these budget-friendly calculators. These products work especially well in financial and accounting industries.
    ePromos Value Pick: Slimline Translucent Calculator

Tip #2Anticipate Future Needs

Does your company run an annual conference or trade show, give out quarterly incentive gifts to your salespeople, or customer appreciation gifts for the holidays? By purchasing these products NOW rather than next year, you are not only effectively using your leftover budget, but you are also proactively thinking about your future projects and getting a head start on them.

Thinking ahead + leftover budget = great results!

Tip #3Lock in 2008 Pricing on Your 2009 Promos

Okay we cheated, this isn’t really a tip as much as it is one of the major benefits of buying your promos now rather than later. January 1st marks the first day of industry wide price increases on all promotional products. If you’ve followed tips #1 and #2, then you will be completely ready to take advantage of tip #3. Not only will you be using up the budget that you would be losing anyway, but with the price savings, you actually get more for your money than if you waited.

Bonus: We just put over 3,000 of our best products on sale through the end of the year. These are some of the most popular and bestselling items on our site – perfect items to use for your end-of-the-year spending.

Niche Twist Pen w/ Eyeglass Screwdriver

Aquos Sport Bottle

Reusable Shopping Cart Bag

Conference Portfolio

Make an effective use of your year end budget, and take advantage of these great year end closeouts.

National Thank Your Customers Week

No matter what industry you’re in or who you cater to, there is one New Year’s resolution that every company should adopt: the habit of thanking customers for their business and rewarding their loyalty! Start the New Year off on the right foot by putting together a memorable promotional campaign for National Thank Your Customers Week, which takes place during the first week of January in 2009.

This weeklong event is a great time to get in touch with customers to show you appreciate them. Giving away simple but useful items like non-woven tote bags, office supplies, or custom apparel is a nice gesture that helps to further cement business relationships. Running a “thank-you” promotional campaign also gives you an opportunity to talk with your clients so you can gauge their business needs heading into the New Year.

When choosing products to express your thanks, it’s a good idea to pick items that also help to build your brand in the process. Gifts like desk clocks and wall calendars are great examples of effective thank-you’s that your clients see on a daily basis. With an effective campaign during National Thank Your Customers Week, you can improve your company’s reputation and increase the odds of new sales in the New Year. Good luck!

Plan ahead and take advantage of the following promotional opportunities.

Want the full list of promotional events? Check out our promotional calendar.

January 2009

February

March

Nothing is more crucial than having a trusty ice scraper on hand on a cold, ice-covered winter morning. In cold climate regions these classic products are found in just about every vehicle on the road. Putting your company name and contact info on an ice scraper is a great way to keep your customers thinking about you during their frozen times of need.

The traditional “old school” ice scrapers are still around, but there have been some fun and unique improvements in recent years. Take a look at these 3 scrapers to see how this promotional classic has evolved:

Classic Ice Scraper – 3″ Blade

This classic ice scraper is the type everyone is most familiar with. Tried and true, loved and adored, this heavy-duty plastic scraper busts through thick stubborn ice with no problem. Features a 3” clear plastic blade.

Ice Scraper Keychain

This unique version combines the functionality of classic ice scrapers with the convenience and portability of key chains. Giving your customers an ice scraper keychain is a great way to ensure your brand stays with them at all times. The tool is tiny enough to keep comfortably on hand for unexpected cold spells.

Hand Mitten Ice Scraper

This ingenious design will have you and your customers saying “Why didn’t I think of that?” This scraper features a built-in suede mitt with pile lining to keep your hands warm and dry while you chisel away at the ice on your windows. It doesn’t get much better than this!

Winter jackets and fleeces make great gifts in the winter, but when you are thinking about winter apparel on a budget, you can’t find anything better than promotional gloves, hats and scarves. These inexpensive apparel items are a part of every winter wardrobe and welcomed by any customer or employee that gets bundled up for the cold. Here are three really “hot” winter apparel items that should fit cozily into your budget.

Ear Warmers: Stretch Tech Fleece Ear Warmers by 180s

These custom ear warmers from 180s were a huge hit in the retail market – which make them even more popular to use them in the promotional product market. Your recipients like receiving gifts that are fashionable and trendy, but not as much as they like getting them for free.

Scarves: Pure Cashmere Scarf by Red House

No winter wardrobe is complete without a high quality embroidered scarf. This imprinted winter apparel item is trendy, useful AND inexpensive – all adjectives that any budget conscious buyer wants to see.

Gloves & Hats: Snowball 3-Pack Set

Gloves and hats are winter essentials, you never want to get caught in the cold without them. That’s why they make an absolute perfect giveaway item. Your corporate gifts would be perfect with an inexpensive set of all the necessary winter gear.

Online Store Helps Non-Profit Citizen Schools  Reach New Levels of Success

Citizen Schools comprise a national network of middle school apprenticeship programs that connect adult volunteers and youth through hands-on learning projects after school. The non-profit operates at 37 program sites throughout California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina and Texas-with more sites on the way.

ePromos has worked with Citizen Schools since 2003; over the years our staff and theirs have developed a close business relationship. That’s why, when the Citizen Schools marketing team set out to ramp up visibility with an aggressive branding campaign and a new online store, they turned to their ePromos Account Executive Lonni Ornstein.

Solution: Fill the store with promotional products to please many stakeholders

Lonni helped the Citizen Schools’ team get the store up and running, and filled with just the right selection of promotional products in categories geared toward different groups and purposes. Various sections of the store would offer:

-Outreach and appreciation gifts for volunteers and investors, including imprinted hats, picture frames, travel mugs, memo cubes and gift bags;
-Gifts and products to increase visibility on campus, including bumper stickers, polo shirts and folders; and
-Useful promotional products perfect for students, including pencils, notebooks, shirts and water bottles.

Result: Online store brings big increase in student and volunteer enrollment

The new online store had a major impact on name recognition and branding. Citizen Schools’ investment in the online store has been attributed to helping raise student enrollment from 2,000 to 3,500-it has also been attributed to nearly doubling the volunteer base from 1,500 to 2,800. The Citizen Schools’ team also expects that, as the store is introduced to more and more users, the apprenticeship program will continue to grow-and to touch the lives of more and more children nationwide.

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- Raj Kilaru, Sriven Technologies, LLC
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ePromos Promotional Products, Inc. is proud to provide promotional products and corporate gifts to thousands of companies and organizations around the world. As real promotional items experts, we stand behind our quality and service with a 110% guarantee on all our promotional products. Call us today and let us help you with your company logo merchandise needs. To learn more about promotional products, and how they can help your marketing campaigns, check out our promo education center, promotional marketing guides and our promotional products blogs. Our promotional case studies blog features real marketing projects and the promotional items that created successful results for their promotions. This year ePromos is celebrating fifteen successful years in the promotional products and logo apparel business. Find the right promo product today!

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