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Promotional USB Flash Drives – Do You Box

Posted by USB2U on 30th October 2014 | Permalink

Having been around for 10 years some people have already suggested that promotional USB flash drives are past their sell by date and the market is in decline. In reality nothing could be further from the truth. Continued falls in the price of flash drives coupled with high levels of competition in the market have actually driven sales up over the past few years and the appetite for promotional flash drives continues unabated.

Companies, schools and universities are increasingly finding novel ways to use their flash drives. The relatively cheap access to gigabytes of data storage is fuelling their creativity. If you’re given a promotional flash drive today then expect, in most cases, for it to be crammed full of media files, data files, product sheets, social media links and so on. If you’re the company buying promotional drives then you’re in for a pleasant surprise when you discover how much £2 – £3 per stick will buy you! (Certainly compared to just 2 -3 years ago)

With costs of the core product falling its perhaps no surprise that more and more people are spending an extra 20p – 40p to get a printed gift box to go with them. And don’t think for this trivial amount of money you’re going to get something tacky because you’re not – surprisingly this will buy you a plastic magnet box printed with your logo and supplied with a custom fit foam insert to fit snuggly around your drives!

If your USB flash drives are going into a media pack or just handed out at a trade show or sales event then a gift box might be overkill but if you’re handing them out as a “thank you”, perhaps to delegates or speakers at a conference then they are better given away in a gift box.

Bear in mind that the large, flat surface offered by the box gives you lots of scope to print larger and more complex images than you can typically print on the flash drive itself. So if you’re want to reinforce your marketing strap-line or perhaps print out your phone number and website then doing it on one side of the box is a great option.

If you are interested in getting some gift boxes for your branded USB flash drives its worth keeping an eye out for any special offers from USB drive suppliers. In a highly competitive market it’s common for suppliers to occasionally offer “free” printed gift boxes with orders of a certain quantity.

Promotional USB Flash Drive Gift Boxes

Promotional USB Flash Drive Gift Boxes

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Flash, Bang Wallop what a USB Stick

Posted by USB2U on 29th October 2014 | Permalink

One of the great things about going to an organised party is the growth in the use of Photo booths. Whether it’s a wedding an office Christmas party, an “off-site” works bash/sales gathering or a children’s party then don’t be surprised to when you turn up to find a Photo Booth.

Originally these types of booths were confined to the dark corners of bus and railway stations. They were the sort of place you’d go to get a passport photo taken on the cheap and whilst you might mess around in them with your mates it was a stretch to ever see them being used the way they are today.

Don’t think drab grey box sitting in the corner of the room either. No, todays photo booths are big bold and bright and are often branded in the colours of the company hiring them (if it’s a corporate bash) – they’re there to inject some fun, some humour and levity into the proceedings and to encourage people to get together and “bond” in front of the camera – often helped on with ample supplies of dressing up props and drink!

The photographs produced by the booths might not win any awards in terms of composition, style and setting but what they will do is supply photos that will give everyone a bit of a laugh and something to talk about around the table. They’re great fun and with prices to hire them starting at only a few hundred pounds they’re definitely worth looking at if you’ve got an event coming up in the near future.

If you want a Photo Booth but don’t want the hassle or worry of organising it then there are lots of companies that will take care of everything for you including encouraging participation and usage of the booth on the day. A good place to start is www.photobooth4you.co.uk

The photos from your “shoot” will typically be delivered on a classic print strip or 8” x 6” photo but increasingly Photo Booth companies are now offering digital copies of the photos on branded or custom USB memory sticks. These are not only great mementos but they make uploading the images onto your Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest pages really easy!

If you’re a Photo Booth operator and you’re looking to offer your clients a branded USB memory stick option then please give us a call. We’d love to work with you.

USB Sticks for Photo Booths

USB Sticks for Photo Booths

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Promotional USB Memory Stick Price Volatility

Posted by USB2U on 8th September 2014 | Permalink

It’s particularly difficult time to be buying promotional USB memory sticks at the moment. It’s not that there are any fundamental issues with supply it’s just that the pricing is all over the place.

The biggest problem is the weakness of the pound (£) against the dollar ($).

Pretty much every USB stick in the world is manufactured in China and USB memory sticks are traded in dollars. So if you’re a UK company (as we are) and you’re looking to import stocks from China then the exchange rate is critical in terms of setting price and margin. Ideally you also want reasonable levels of stability so that the prices you quote can be supported for more than a day or two. At this moment the pound is in “freefall” against the dollar so it’s a brave supplier that will hold their prices for any more than a day or two!! Not ideal for all parties.

The problem, no surprise, is the forthcoming Scottish Election on independence. With the polls now suggesting things are going to be very very close the uncertainty over the future of the UK has cast a long shadow over the currency markets. In the past few weeks the falling pound has resulted in a 6%+ increase in the price of imported USB memory sticks.

USB Memory Stick Prices Rise on Back of Scottish Election Worries

USB Memory Stick Prices Rise on Back of Scottish Election Worries

Unfortunately the next few weeks are likely to see the pound come under further pressure so price volatility is going to be with us for the foreseeable future.

Whilst all of this is going on the seasonal changes the usually impact the promotional USB market are also happening. It’s around now, as buying chase their Christmas stock that prices start to rise. So we’re about to see a “double whammy” of currency instability coupled with annual price rises. The combined effect could lead to prices increasing by around 20%.

Our advice is to buy now. Talk to your supplier, negotiate the best price you can get but don’t hang-around whilst you’re doing it. When you have a price you’re happy with then get your order confirmed and lock in the price. The exposure on the price/currency volatility is then your suppliers responsibility and at the moment they’re going to be in a very uncomfortable place.

Hopefully after the election things will settle down but at the moment there is just so much doubt and uncertainty about that it would be a brave man that would bet on it.

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USB Lanyards & USB Name Badges – Ideal for Conferences & Seminars

Posted by USB2U on 14th August 2014 | Permalink

If you’ve got a conference, seminar, press event or show coming up any time soon then one of the many challenges you’ll have to wrestle with is how you make sure that the attendees can be identified easily. Of course you’ll also be expected to supply them with copies of the speakers’ slides and notes together with any associated Press Releases and marketing material.

In today’s security conscious world the identification of people attending an event is of paramount importance. You need to know that the people attending have actually been invited, they are who they say they are and once identified to you as the organiser that other attendees can easily identify who they are, who they work for and ideally what position they hold. The obvious way of doing this is to go through a sign-in process and the attendees with a name badge – a version they either pin to themselves of a version they attach to a lanyard.

At larger events a common technique is to add a Barcode to the name badge so the badge holder can be “scanned” and identified at various points around the event (handy for controlling access to VIP areas or just for tracking who went where).

If you use a USB Name Badge or USB lanyard you can get all the benefits of a standard badge and lanyard but with the added benefit of supplier the badge holder with a digital copy of the speakers notes, slides etc.

USB Lanyards and USB Name Badges

USB Lanyards and USB Name Badges

A USB name badge can be pre-printed with the attendees’ details and can include a bar code or QR code. Or, to keep it simple you could continue to use the current style/type of name badges you use today but substitute the usual lanyard with a USB lanyard – these can be printed or embroidered with you logo and marketing message as usual.

Either way you get a brilliant way of distributing all of your marketing material to every attendee. No more printing of speakers’ notes and slides, no more building a secure website login to allow attendees to login and download them – just load them up onto the USB lanyard or USB name badge and you’re done. The “uploading” of the data can usually be done for you free of charge by the USB suppliers you just need to have your data ready before they are ready to deliver them to you.

An added benefit of using a USB flash drive solution is that they tend to be retained by the recipient so you get much more continued brand exposure than you ever would with a regular name badge or lanyard.

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USB Wedding Favours – Recent price drops make them an attractive idea

Posted by USB2U on 13th August 2014 | Permalink

If you’re one of the thousands of happy couples that are going to tie the knot this year then amid all of the euphoria, stress and excitement that you’ll be going through there will no doubt be a million and one things for you to organise to make sure your happy day goes to plan.

The big things tend to be easy to remember (the church, the registry office, the rings, the dress, the venue and the flowers etc.) but it’s the little things that can get overlooked or they can just burn hours and hours trying to get them just right. Of course finding the suppliers for everything on your wish list is never easy!

If you’ve decided there’s enough budget left to provide Wedding Favours to your guests then there are literally hundreds and hundreds of ideas you could consider including the old favourites of chocolates, sweets , cup cakes and keyrings – most of these, if you include a nice little box to put them in are going to cost around £5 each. If you want them personalised then typically you’ll also need to add the cost of the artwork set-up and print costs which can add another £20 – £30.

Another option, and one that is gradually gaining in popularity, is a USB Flash Drive Wedding Favour.

USB Wedding Favours

USB Wedding Favours from USB2U

USB flash drives, and in particular engraved wooded USB flash drives have become really popular with professional wedding photographers who are now using them instead of DVD’s – the tend to buy them in “bundle” that include a printed or engraved box and the end results look stunning.

Having seen them some couples are now looking at buying these Flash Drive and Box bundles and using them as wedding favours. The boxes and sticks can be fully personalised and of course the one thing you can do with a memory stick favour that you can’t do with any other type of favour is to pre-load them with tons of digital files – so for example you could pre-load a little movie saying “thanks” to all your guests and load that on the flash drive. Or, you could put together a collection a montage of photos, music and videos that tell the story of who you are, how you met, how the relationship blossomed and finally images from the Hen and Stag do (if you dare!)

All of these files can be copied onto each USB drive by your supplier – typically at no extra costs.

Custom USB sticks for Wedding Photographers

Custom USB sticks for Wedding Photographers

With prices for USB flash drives falling you can expect to pick up a really nice engraved wooden USB memory stick for £3-£4. USB2U have some lovely packages on their photography site which are well worth a look at.

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Branded USB Sticks from USB2U are Gilt-Edged Promotional Products

Posted by USB2U on 6th August 2014 | Permalink

Promotional products have been with us for over 200 years albeit the first “gift” was just a button that was handed out to encourage voters in the USA to elect George Washington to office! In the subsequent two centuries things have gotten a little bit more sophisticated but in the UK it was only in the 1950’s that things really started to take off and companies began to harness the power of promotional gifts.

Today tens of thousands of companies give away promotional gifts with a value that runs into the hundreds of millions of pounds every year! They give them away to promote what they do, what they sell or just to help build their brand and develop customer recognition and loyalty. Promotional products are typically printed, engraved or embossed with the company’s name, logo or marketing strap line.

They’re commonly used as a “give-away” at trade shows, exhibitions, sporting events, conferences and as part of marketing campaigns where recipients might for example be asked to sign up to receive email offers from the company offering the gift.

In 2012 the BPMA (British Promotional Merchandise Association) commissioned a piece of research on behalf of its members to establish what the most popular promotional product was. The results from 1,000 respondents not only showed that promotional gifts had an incredibly positive effect and were, more than any other form of medium, likely to engender brand loyalty and encourage buying behaviour.

They also showed that the most popular product to give is a USB memory stick closely followed by the more humble mug!

Gilt Edged Promototional Products from USB2U

Gilt Edged Promototional Products from USB2U

So, if you are looking for a “gilt-edged” promotional product (something defined as high grade, top quality and with very low risk) then you won’t go far wrong with a promotional USB memory stick! There are lots of different styles and models to choose from and with prices (in volume) starting from well below £2.00 per unit they’re not going to break the bank either.

Unlike other give-aways they can also be used to hand out loads of information about products and services. Simply pre-load the USB sticks with files, video clips, photos, price lists etc. before they are handed out! These days you don’t even have to worry about the grunt work of loading the data onto each USB stick – just hand the data files to your supplier and they’ll do the rest for you and usually they won’t charge for this value added service either!

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It’s All In The Packaging

Posted by USB2U on 17th July 2014 | Permalink

You could have the most aesthetically pleasing Promotional Memory stick, some highly interactive data, accessories galore, but all this good work can be diminished if it does not have appropriate packaging or no packaging at all.

One of the key things to consider when ordering Branded USB Memory sticks is how these are going to be handed to the end users and the impact and statement you want to make. The right packaging not only protects the USB memory stick, but it also shows them off in their best light, offers print space for additional branding, storage for the user and the opportunity to add other items within the packaging such as a leaflet or business card.

A montage of photographs of different USB Memory Sticks with branded packaging

Packaging for USB Memory Sticks - Availaible from USB2U

There is now a plethora of packaging options for you to consider that can be clustered into the following:

No / or Basic Packaging. If you already have packaging to insert the Branded Memory Stick into then they can be despatched with no packaging. However you should ensure they are either placed into individual bubble bags or in trays to avoid them scratching.

Small Cardboard Box. This entry level box protects the USB memory sticks and is very cost effective. Most suppliers will provide these free of charge. Looks great printed.

Boxes with Windows. These are ideal to show the Branded Memory Sticks off in their full glory as the branding can be positioned to appear in the window.

Tin Boxes. These give the Promotional Memory Drive greater gravitas and make ideal executive gift boxes.

Wooden Boxes. These are really in vogue and work particularly well with wooden memory sticks. Great option for the Photography Market.

High Gloss Boxes. Looking for something which allows for a large expanse of print and in full colour?  These would ideal.

Blister Pack. If the Branded Memory Sticks are for retail use then blister packaging may be the solution. It allows the memory sticks to be displayed and a printed card inserted.

Other things of note:

–        All boxes can be printed or engraved with a logo or marketing message.

–        Make sure the size of the packaging will allow for any accessories e.g. Branded lanyard.

–        If foam is used to hold the memory stick in place then ensure this is cut to the exact profile.

–        Ensure that you order your packaging with the memory sticks otherwise the cost will be higher.

–        Suppliers are now offering packaging in recycled material – worth asking.

 

If you have ever had the opportunity to open a brand new Apple product you will know the important role packaging plays in the perceived value of the product and quality of what’s inside. A useful rule of thumb for your Branded USB Memory sticks.

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USB Promotional Cards – Drive More Sales

Posted by USB2U on 20th June 2014 | Permalink

Even today when we are immersed in social media and blitzed my marketing emails there is still a place for a well designed and well targeted print campaign. Often though the objective of any printed material is just to entice or encourage the reader to go to a web site and either buy something, read something or watch something so the challenge is how to “engage” with the reader and make sure they do this.

There are several options to achieve this the most basic of which is to print the details of the website on the printed material and hope the reader finds it and types it in correctly to their browser. A step up from this is to include a QR code on the brochure or leaflet – when scanned with a QR code reader on a smart phone or tablet this will take the customer directly to your web page(s). This is a reasonably popular option with marketers but for lots of people they have no idea what a QR code is, how to use is and many won’t have a QR code reader installed on their phone or tablet.

There is a third way and whilst it’s new it is beginning to gain some momentum. This new “third way” to embed a removable USB “key” into the printed material (see image below). The USB card simply “pops” out and when inserted into any USB port on a PC or Mac will automatically open the users browser and go directly to the landing page pre-programmed into the web key.

Promotional-P@per-USB-Cards

Promotional-P@per-USB-Cards

Unlike a QR code a Web Key (that looks like a USB stick) arouses interest and almost universally people that are given one of these packs will succumb to the temptation and plug the USB Key in. Your challenge is to make sure the webpage they are taken to is compelling, has offers and deals that encourage them to stay on the pages and ultimately to complete whatever transaction you are trying to conclude.

Do this and do it well and you should see something like a 40% uplift in your messages impact! So taken by this product were the judges of European Promotional Products Industry that they awarded it with their Promotional Gift Award in 2013.

The P@per USB Cards have been designed by Paris based Pixika and are now available in the UK exclusively from USB2U. At USB2U we can take care of the printed material, the USB web keys, the pre-loading of the links and we can even offer you a comprehensive conversion/tracking solution.

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What are Grade A USB Flash Drives and Should I Buy Them

Posted by USB2U on 14th May 2014 | Permalink

Promotional USB Flash Drives have been around for over 10 years now and the appetite for them shows no sign of abating. This year millions of them will be given-away in the UK alone prompting the obvious question of what are we doing with them all and isn’t the market saturated by now?

Their continued popularity seems to be fuelled by the fact that prices relative to the amount of memory inside the flash drive (and more memory equals greater usage options and increased desirability) have fallen dramatically and businesses are forever finding new and exciting uses for them.

Whilst lots are still just handed out at trade shows, conferences, seminars and press events today Professional Photographers have adopted them in preference to CD’s and DVD’s. Distributors are using them to send out large catalogues and price lists around Europe, 3D and 4D baby scan companies are increasing giving out (or selling scans) to parents on USB drives. House builders are handing them out in show homes pre-loaded with videos, price lists and interactive applications to help the buyer choose their new home – the ideas and opportunities for their use seem endless!

However, if you are about to start the process of sourcing promotional USB flash drives for your own project then be prepared to be slightly bamboozled by the amount of choice you’ll have and the sheer number of companies looking to sell you USB sticks. Your immediate challenge will be to try and get prices (very few companies quote them on their web sites because they prices are so fluid) and having got prices it’s then a question on trying to work out if you are comparing “apples to apples”.

Promotional USB Flash Drives from USB2U

Promotional USB Flash Drives from USB2U

Whilst USB flash drives can all look the same on the outside there can be huge differences on the inside and it’s what’s inside that to a large degree will determine the price, the quality and the performance of the USB stick (performance = read/write speeds, number of read write cycles the USB stick can perform). It’s also not uncommon for some unscrupulous suppliers to sell fakes – they’ll make a 128MB drive look like an 8GB drive and you’ll only find out when you try to load your files onto them and read the same files in another PC. In simple terms it’s a jungle out there so be careful!

One phrase you’ll see popping up all over the web sites of USB suppliers is “Grade A” – the inference being that they only supply the best quality product and that their product is somehow superior to others that don’t supply “Grade A” USB Flash drives. It’s a phrase and pseudo “standard” that was introduced a few years ago to try and help buyers differentiate the good from the bad BUT there is no regulation over its use, there is no independent authority that makes sure the “standard” actually means anything. Nothing is tested, no rigour is applied, anyone can and does use the phrase and it’s down to the buyer to challenge with the seller exactly what they mean by it and to understand how to check when they ultimately receive their USB sticks.

“Grade A” is now a largely hollow and vacuous marketing statement that means very little. It’s banded around by lots of companies and unfortunately clung onto buy buyers to reassure themselves that they are buying the best in the market. Sadly in many cases they are being duped – we know because we often end up picking up the pieces when things go wrong!

Our advice is to buy locally, buy from a supplier who has a hard fought for reputation in the market and who is not going to put it (and your relationship and brand) at risk by selling you rubbish.  Check out 3rd party review sites to see what other customers are saying, do basic checks like using Google Maps to check out the suppliers address (you’ll be surprised how many companies that look great on their web site operate from a residential house) and if you can run and Experian, Credit Safe or Equifax check on the company to check their financial stability – if things do go wrong and you need to claim against the long warranties on offer then you need to have some confidence that they are going to be around to honour them!

At USB2U we use “Grade A” as a statement in our marketing because the market dictates that we do but in our case it’s true – we are careful not only to specify the standard and grade of flash memory used in the manufacture of our USB sticks but we also specify the controller chips and the capacitors – all 3 components are critical in terms of performance and reliability and if you skimp on these then you undermine any intent to supply top quality promotional USB flash drives.

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Best Promotional Product for Trade Shows, Seminars and Conferences

Posted by USB2U on 8th May 2014 | Permalink

With the upturn in the economy and a general feeling of wellbeing slowing making its way across the county lots of companies will this year start to reignite their marketing and advertising activities. Many will be dipping their toes back into exhibiting at trade shows, lots will be organising seminars and conferences and even more will be looking to attend such events.

If your company is exhibiting or organising an event then at some point you’ll no doubt be considering whether you should invest in promotional products to support your sales team at the show/event.

Whether you measure it in terms of money, time or resources, exhibiting at a trade show is a large investment and as such it’s critical that this commitment is fully optimised. Lots of energy tends to get put into the location of the stand in the exhibition hall, the design of the stand, the lighting and who’s going to staff but often important things like giveaways and collateral for the show tend to get overlooked.

This is a mistake because whilst an on-stand promotion, a competition or a promotional product won’t make or break a show it will certainly help to maximise your investment. When you’re competing for the attention of potential customers against hundreds of other exhibitors its vital that you equip you sales team with all the tools they need and a giveaway that pulls people onto the stand and gets them talking to your sales team is key.

Promotional USB Flash Drives

Promotional USB Flash Drives

Your challenge is to decide what the best promotional product for your company, your sales team and critically for your target audience. What give-away is going to deliver the greatest footfall onto your stand and what’s going to get your product and company to stand out from all the others?  If you’ve ever attended a show then you’ll know only too well that at the end of the day you leave with tired legs, heavy hearts and laden down with carrier bags full of brochures. As an exhibitor you need to “wow” the attendees and ideally secure an order on the stand. Failing that you need to get them interested enough so that when they get back to their desk they recall your company and remain open to further dialogue about your products/services.

The problem is that there are lots of inexpensive giveaways that you could consider including printed bags (which double as a “walking advert” for your brand), printed pens (which cost pennies). There are even sweets that can be printed with your brand and help get people to approach your stand.

With all of these simple ideas there is very little carry through post the event, there is no incentive to use them on an on-going basis and they don’t deliver much information about you’re company or products.

Much better to use a promotional USB flash drive with your brand or logo printed onto it and more importantly with your company brochures, pricing and promotional videos loaded onto it! Not only are promotional USB flash drives much cheaper now than they were a couple of years ago but they can be delivered (printed and data-loaded in as little as 48hrs)

More fundamentally research undertaken by the BPMA shows that of all the promotional gifs given away people prefer to be given memory sticks and they will keep them and use them after the show. This is good news for your brand because it means money spent on promotional USB sticks will lead to on-going brand exposure and of course your sales material will be there every time the flash drive is inserted into a PC!

USB2U deliver promotional USB flash drives in as little as 24hrs so if you do leave things right until the last minute don’t panic!

 

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