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Don’t sleepwalk into the Branding of your Promotional USB Memory Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 14th January 2015 | Permalink

It’s all too easy when you’ve been tasked to source some USB memory sticks with your logo on to just go for the most popular type of USB stick (the capless twister model), choose a standard colour (most often black) and then get your logo printed on one side of the stick. Easy, job done.

Of course there is nothing wrong with go down the same path as everyone else and let’s face it no-one ever got fired for buying the “safe option” BUT will the safe option really be the best thing for your brand, your company and you specific campaign or initiative. Why not throw off the shackles or at the very least loosen them a bit and think outside of the box. After all there are hundreds of different flash drives on the market to choose from and most can be branded in a variety of ways and all of them can be presented in a range of different packaging options – the variations are almost endless.

Maybe that’s the problem. Does too much choice lead to indecision, fear and delay. Perhaps it’s just easier to go down the path of least resistance and buy a simple black twister just like everyone else. Arguably its “only a memory stick” so why bother spending too much time on the decision – just get it done, cross it off the to-do list and move on.

Branding ideas for USB Memory Sticks

Design Ideas for Promotional USB Memory Sticks

The counter argument is that your brand is one of the most valuable assets of your business and how you present and position your brand is therefore incredibly important. Brands have a personality and are the face of your business and you should do everything you can to ensure that any piece of marketing that carries your brand (or logo) dovetails into the values your brand represents. These will have been hard won and developed over a long time and adherence to your companies brand guidelines and values is critical. You might be happy just buying a simple black twister USB stick but ask yourself if your brand manager would be.

Our advice is don’t sleepwalk into your flash drive branding and buying decision. If it’s too hard or you don’t have the time yourself then let us help. It’s what we do, we know what’s available in the market, we know how products can be printed or engraved and we have a pretty good eye for what works with any given brand or design. WE don’t charge for this, we do it in-house and we’ll simply play back to you a range of different options for your consideration. There is no obligation to buy.

Custom USBs delivered to you in a flash from USB2U

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Chinese New Year 2015 will Create a 5 Week Black Hole

Posted by USB2U on 7th January 2015 | Permalink

February 19th 2015 might be the official day for the start of the Chinese New Year but the impact of New Year holiday on the supply of promotional USB memory sticks will last significantly longer than just one day!

The year of the Goat (or sheep depending on your own personal interpretation of the Chinese Animal Zodiac charts) will, for many workers in China, usher in the start of a 2 week holiday that combines New Year festivities with the Spring Festival. It’s a period for families to reunite, to spend time together and to celebrate. There will be plenty of fireworks, plenty of food (in particular fish which is believed to bring wealth in the coming year) and loads of red decorations and lanterns (the colour “Red” is strongly associated prosperity.

The strong desire for families to reunite during this period in a country as vast as China throws up all sorts of logistical challenges and the travel networks become incredibly busy with people spending hours/days trying to get home to the provinces.

In previous years the New Year holidays have resulted in the factories that manufacture promotional and electronic goods like USB sticks closing for a few days but this year the closure period is longer and the “wind down” and “start-up” periods are considerably longer!

The net effect of this is that there will be a period of 4-5 weeks when it will be impossible to get any orders for promotional USB memory sticks shipped out of factories in China. The last day for new orders for many will be the 5th February but the earliest these will then ship from China to the UK will be the 4th March. Even when shipments do start again the factories (and transport networks/couriers) will have to handle a significant backlog of orders that will cause more delays and the inevitable chaos that comes post Chinese New Year!

Our last day for new orders at USB2U is the 26th January (this is for orders that have to be with you before the start of Chinese New Year). Orders placed after this date will arrive around the week commencing 9th March! Clearly this is a huge break in what is normally a very slick and quick supply chain so our advice is to get your orders in now!

To try and deal with the inevitable chaos that ensues every year we will carry lots of USB Memory Stick stock in the UK which we can print (or engrave depending on the product) and which we can deliver in as little as 24hrs (worldwide).

 

Chinese New Year - USB Sticks

Chinese New Year – USB Sticks

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Chinese New Year WILL disrupt supplies of Promotional USB Flash Drives – Please Plan Ahead

Posted by USB2U on 31st December 2014 | Permalink

We say it every year and every year we give the advice a little earlier because every year, without fail, Chinese New Year has a huge impact on the supply of promotional products like USB flash drives.

Don’t get confused, we’re not talking about the 1st of January which starts off the New Year on the Gregorian calendar that most of us use. No, we’re talking about Chinese calendar and in 2015, according to this calendar; New Year is on the 19th February!

The date that New Year is celebrated changes every year because it’s based on the Chinese lunar and solar calendars but it always falls somewhere between late January and mid-February. In 2015 it’s particularly late (in 2014 in was on the 31st January) and it will be the Year of the Goat (every new Chinese year is marked by an association with a zodiac animal).

Chinese New Year 2015 - USB Memory Sticks

Chinese New Year 2015 – USB Memory Sticks

Why is Chinese New Year an issue for us in the UK? Well if you’re a buyer of promotional products then it’s vital you understand the impact Chinese New Year has on the supply chain of promotional goods into the UK (and the rest of the world). Pretty much all promotional products are manufactured to order by factories in China and the finished items are then air-freighted in in a matter of days. Outside of New Year everyone gets used to lead times of 7-10 days but during the annual Chinese New Year “shut down” the lead times can be as much as 6 weeks or more!

So, if you have a sales event, a marketing campaign or a trade show scheduled for February or March 2015 and you are planning to use promotional items like USB flash drives then to make sure you get them you need to order them early!

Problems develop because China takes its New Year celebrations very seriously. We’re not talking about a 1 or 2 day break but rather a 2 week shut-down! Factories and offices close, couriers stop working and pretty much everything comes to a standstill. Employees travel thousands of miles to be with their families for the duration of the holiday and for once all things work related take a back seat.

In practice what this means is that everyone rushes to place orders on the factories before the holiday starts so the factories will typically impose a “last order day” around 2 weeks before the start of the New Year. This allows them to process all orders and get them shipped before they close. On their return to work 2 later they then face a huge backlog of orders and it can take several weeks before things are up and running smoothly again.

It’s the same with the International couriers and freight handlers – the closer it gets to the 19th February the more likely it is that it won’t go anywhere for 2 weeks.

Our advice and it’s the same every year is to plan ahead, get your order(s) in early and remove the stress from your life. If you do leave things too late then you’re going to have to find a local company that carries blank stock and has the capability to brand it up for you. Unfortunately , very few companies carry blank stock of flash drives in the UK and when they do the stock tends to be limited to a couple of standard models and memory sizes and your choice of colour will be limited.

At USB2U we’ve been supplying branded USB flash drives since 2002 so we carry the scars of past Chinese New Year’s! Because of this we always buy in lots of blank stock so if forward planning is not your forte give us a call.

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Kick off your 2015 Sales & Marketing Drive with Promotional USB Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 29th December 2014 | Permalink

Now that the Christmas festivities are finally behind us its time to start to focus on plans to push your business forward in 2015. For any business looking to grow there are some key areas to focus on and these include developing your brand, getting your on-line presence right (including your Social Media profiles) and coming up with clear and cohesive plans to drive your sales. All easier said than done of course!

Interestingly promotional USB flash drives have regularly been used by companies, large and small, to achieve all of these primary objectives so if you’ve never thought of using them in your own company then perhaps 2015 is the time to give them some serious consideration. With prices falling and memory capacities increasing there really has never been a better time to buy.

For less than £2 – £3 per USB stick (each fully branded with your company logo) they can be pre-loaded with tons of information about your company and the products and services you sell. They can carry videos, product sheets, price lists, dynamic links to your website and your Social Media sites (Facebook, Google +, Twitter etc.) and much, much more. With a typical 4GB to 8GB of space to play with on your average promotional USB stick there is not going to be any shortage of storage space but even if you did find you needed a 16GB stick you’re typically only talking about an extra £1 or so!

Top Quality Promotional USB Memory Sticks from USB2U

Top Quality Promotional USB Memory Sticks from USB2U

Of course the benefit of extra storage space on any promotional USB stick is not so much about what you can pre-load onto the stick before you give it away but it’s about giving your customers (and prospective customers) something they want to hang onto and use. Arguably the larger the USB drive the more likely it is to be kept by the recipient and used again and again to store and carry their own data on.

In terms of brand development giving away a much sought after promotional item with your logo on is a great idea and if you give away a USB stick that is stuffed with lots of useful information and has spare capacity for the user (so you get the benefit of repeated brand exposure) you really will help to give your sales a well needed boost.

Of course they are not a panacea for any fundamental failings in your business offerings and positioning but for many companies they are a key part of their annual sales and marketing strategy and have been for many years!

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If you’ve Still Got Budget to Spend in 2014 – We Can Help

Posted by USB2U on 19th December 2014 | Permalink

Time is ticking and if you work for a company, university or local authority and you’ve got money left in your budget to spend this calendar year then you’re going to have to get a move on and use it. It’s not unusual for budgets to be allocated on a yearly basis (on a calendar year) and typically such budgets are granted on a “use it or lose it” basis.

If this sounds like you then we’d love to help you spend your money. Our core products (Promotional USB Memory Sticks and Promotional Power Banks) are incredibly popular and can be used to support all manner of sales, marketing and educational activities. So, if you have cash left to spend then investing it now in our products rather than losing it would be a sensible decision.

We can work with you in one of two ways:

  1. We can take your order and invoice you before the end of 2014 and then deliver your USB sticks and/or Power Banks as and when you need them. We can even send them out to you in batches with different branding on each batch to reflect different activities you might want to use them for in 2015. Whether you pay for them in 2014 or on 30-day terms (meaning you’ll pay in 2015 but from your 2014 budget) is entirely up to you.
  2. We can take an order from you now and we can print, deliver and invoice your order before then end of this calendar year. We know for some companies it’s critical that goods are actually received within the budget period to allow the budget to be used. Not a problem. Even at this late stage (19th December) we can still print and deliver a wide range of promotional products before the end of the year.
USB Rush Order for 2014 Budgets

USB Rush Order for 2014 Budgets

If this is something you want to do them given the date it’s critical that you get in touch with us as quickly as possible. We are open all through the holidays (with the exception of 24th and 25th December) and we’ll still be offering our “next day” Rush Service throughout.

Don’t worry if your haven’t got all of your artwork and data files ready (assuming you need your USB sticks data-loaded) because our in-house design team can sort all of your artwork out for you and we can data-load right at the last minute (just before we ship your order).

USB2U – we do last minute .com

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Best Time to Buy Your Promotional USB Flash Drives is NOW

Posted by USB2U on 9th December 2014 | Permalink

As Christmas approaches you’re no doubt thinking about your own shopping and what presents to buy for friends and family. In the run up to Christmas personal shopping tends to take centre stage. Even if your job is to source promotional products for your company for 2015 it can be difficult to focus on work acquisitions when the pressure to make sure you get “just the right” gift for you loved ones looms large.

However to ignore the buying opportunity in the market now for items like printed USB memory sticks (printed with your company logo on) is likely to be expensive. Maybe not expensive for you personally but expensive for your company who will pay more for any USB sticks purchased in January rather than December.

The smart, savvy buyer will know that the pricing of USB Memory Sticks follows broadly the same trend every year and they will pick their moment to get the maximum return for their spend. There are two “windows” every year when pricing is low and that is now (in the run up to Christmas and the end of January) and in the summer.

USB Flash Drives

Promotional USB Flash Drives

Pricing is historically low now because there is less demand (the Christmas effect). The factories in China that manufacture flash memory have already sold and shipped their Christmas stock and as a consequence there is an over capacity of production capability and stock. But, leave it too late and things take a dramatic turn and the reason is Chinese New Year.

In 2015 most USB flash memory stick factories will stop taking orders in mid to late January in preparation for their annual two week closure to celebrate the New Year. So, there is a buyers “sweet spot” from now until mid-January. As you might expect the laws of supply and demand are driving this and as we get closer to the factory closures the prices and panic levels rise!

Our advice, and we say this every year, is to buy now. We understand that not everyone has budgets released until the New Year but we can work with you on that. We’re happy to take orders now and lock in your price at today’s rate and only invoice you next year when your budget is available. If you’re good for terms (and we offer terms to the majority of our customers) then you won’t even have to pay for them until February 2015!

Go on – get ahead of the pack and bag yourself a bargain and reduce your stress levels at the same time. Trust us – buying promotional USB flash drives at any point around Chinese New Year is not for the faint hearted.

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Are you paying enough for your Promotional USB Memory Sticks?

Posted by USB2U on 2nd December 2014 | Permalink

We know it’s a bit of a strange question but it’s a question posed in all seriousness. If you’re primary objective when going out for quotes for promotional USB memory sticks is to get the best possible unit price then you need to do so with a very clear understanding of the potential risks you are taking.

Buying purely based on price and price alone is risky and it’s particularly risky when it comes to buying flash drives. The problem with these particular products is that it’s not what on the outside that counts which means you can be sent (or shown on a website) lots of lovely images of USB memory sticks printed with a logo on but what you’re looking at is the outer case only. The case (or shell as the factories refer to it) is relatively inexpensive to manufacture and pretty easy to be made to look good. But, the real value is what’s on the inside – if you want you USB sticks to perform and last (or even work from the get go) you need to make sure that under the skin are good quality components, e.g. Grade A flash memory and Grade A Controller chips.

The big problem is that even if you ask for re-assurances that the cheap price you’ve been given includes Grade A components the stock answer tends to be “Yes we only ever use Grade A components” – so how do you know? How really know when comparing prices that you are comparing on a true like for like basis? The honest answer is you don’t know and you won’t know until your order arrives and even then you’ll only know if you thoroughly test them and you know what tests to do and how to interpret the results.

Capless Twister Style USB Memory Sticks

Capless Twister Style USB Memory Sticks

To avoid being scammed (because this is what it is) we strongly recommend that you buy from a trusted supplier (check 3rd party review websites, check Goole Earth to see where their offices are – you’d be surprised how many so called “leading suppliers” operate from a back bedroom, check companies house and check the Terms and Conditions of supply and what options you have to return your order if things go wrong!).

Remember that when you buy promotional USB memory sticks with your brand/logo on they immediately become mini ambassadors for your company and as such you want them to look good and perform. What you don’t want is for them to fail, to corrupt any data loaded onto them or even worse to damage any PC or Mac they are plugged into!

It’s incredibly tempting to always go with the cheapest price you get but like most things in life you ultimately get what you pay for and saving a few pennies on something that is going to carry your brand is not always the best option.

At USB2U you’re in safe hands. We’re in our thirteenth year of trading (most of them selling USB products and specifically printed flash drives), we’re based in Northampton in the UK, over 2,500 real customer reviews (good and bad) on Trustpilot, thousands of reference customers across all industry sectors, a dedicated team of 20 staff, a QA process that is second to none and we don’t take any payment up-front when you place your order and for a significant proportion of our customers we offer 30-day payment terms!

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Unlike our USB Credit Cards the Real Versions are taking a Hammering Today!

Posted by USB2U on 1st December 2014 | Permalink

With Experian predicting that consumers will spend £451,000 a minute today it’s a pretty safe bet to say that credit cards are going to take the brunt of the punishment! Let’s hope the website of the leading retailers (and the payment companies that handle the on-line transactions) can cope today otherwise we’ll be in for another day of frustration and carnage.

If your shopping today is restricted to buying promotional USB flash drives for your company’s next marketing campaign then hopefully we can help you with a slightly more relaxed shopping experience. We’ve got over 100 different styles of memory sticks on our web site and lots of them we hold in stock in the UK so we print (or engrave) them to order and deliver them in a day or two (not weeks). By managing most of our orders in the UK we have much greater control over the quality of the finished product and more importantly we don’t expose quite so many customers to the risks of flying in their orders from China.

With the political turmoil in Hong Kong escalating we’re getting increasingly nervous about the knock on effect on our time critical shipments. Our levels of anxiety are not helped by the extra scrutiny that Chinese customs are now enforcing on all shipments! Equally the regular delays to consignments entrusted to international freight handlers like UPS are making life just a little difficult. Now is not a good time to be a “just in time” importer or a shopper trying to bag a pre-Christmas bargain!

USB Credit Cards

USB Credit Cards

Our advice is to de-stress your life (and to some degree ours) by ordering your promotional flash drives from the range we hold in the UK. This includes our USB Credit Card model which we can offer in a range of different memory sizes and which we can print in full colour on both sides (with full colour bleed to the edge of the card). They come in a range of different memory sizes and not only can we turn them around in just 24hrs but we can also pre-load any data you might have onto them as well (at the same time).

As a finishing touch they can be supplied in a leather like printed (or embossed) wallet. These add only pennies to your order but they’re a great way to elevate the overall impact the cards make when they are handed out.

USB Credit Card Wallets

USB Credit Card Wallets

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New Home Sales Supported By USB Flash Drives

Posted by USB2U on 17th November 2014 | Permalink

Over the last couple of years it’s been interesting to see how many estate agents and builders have started using USB flash drives as a way of marketing their houses and new developments.

We’re not suggesting for a minute that this is part of a trend that will see all marketing of home move to flash drives in preference to traditional paper brochures, the web and the local newspaper but, they clearly do have a place in the mix of marketing options available. After all, we have to assume that where they have been used that they’ve been successful because in many cases the same agents and developers come back time and time again to place repeat orders.

Large national builders with lots of housing stock to move are using USB flash drives with their logo printed on as a “hand-out” or “give-away” in their shows homes or at prime sites where there is a good footfall of people that match the demographic of their target customer – think major housing developer with promotional staff handing out flash drives in the hundreds at the exit of Dockland light railway stations (which just happen to be adjacent to a development they are marketing!).

USB Sticks for Property Developers

USB Sticks for Property Developers

By pre-loading the flash drives with lots of interactive media including individual property details, prices, floor plans, video clips, links to their website and social media pages together with lot of information of the local area (amenities and schools etc.) the developers are able to impart lots of information quickly and relatively cheaply and they do so in a way that is easy to receive.

The real beauty of putting all of this on a flash drive rather than just printing it (apart from the obvious weight, costs and environmental benefits) is that people find it incredibly hard to throw them away – brochures that are handed out have a nasty habit of being stuffed in the next bin but flash drives, particularly those that have a reasonable amount of storage space on them are typically kept and used!

So rather than being an expensive marketing gimmick developers and agents have quickly learnt that used correctly and with the right amount of information pre-loaded onto them, that promotional USB sticks can be a strong addition to any sales and marketing program.

Arguably the same is true when selling any high value product but the housing market, and specifically the sector involved in the sale of new developments to your city types is one that has tapped into the opportunity with some gusto.

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Did We Mention Our Free USB Gift Box Offer – You Need To Be Quick Though

Posted by USB2U on 20th October 2014 | Permalink

Just in case you hadn’t heard we’re currently running a promotion where you can claim free gift boxes for your promotional USB memory sticks. The boxes can be printed with your logo (or any other message you want) at no extra cost –that’s no artwork set-up fee, no printing fees and no charge for the boxes themselves –they’re free! Honestly.

Ok, to be fair there are some caveats to the offer and these are:

  1. The offer is only running on orders placed this month.
  2. You need to order a minimum of 25 USB sticks to qualify and we’ll supply (at your request) one printed gift box for every USB stick you order.
  3. We’ll print the box on one side with whatever design/logo you supply and this can be different to the design/logo that we print on your USB sticks.
  4. The offer applies to our Standard White Gift Box only.
  5. The offer does not apply to any orders placed using our “Rush Services”
Free USB Box Offer

Free USB Box Offer

Putting your promotional USB memory sticks in an attractive gift box can really help to lift the perceived value of sticks. As a promotional gift we know from lots of research that they’re a really popular and people just like being given them. Load them with useful data and leave a bit of space for their own files and they’re even more popular but package them up in a branded gift box and they’ll look even more appealing.

As with any “gift” the packaging and presentation is ever important. It can elevate a “so what” gift into the realms of being a really memorable gift. We’re not suggesting our printed white gift boxes will deliver loads more sales for you or get you a significant uplift in plaudits but what they will do is just make your “give-aways” look more professional and the extra space they offer will help you to get a clearer marketing message out. Let’s face it the print space on a standard USB stick is quote small so the additional space available on a gift box allows you to get creative and include those strap lines that you’ve invested so heavily in!

If nothing else a printed USB gift box will allow you to get your website URL and contact phone numbers out into the hands of your customers!

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