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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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Gotta Show – Get some Promotional Wooden USB Memory Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 16th October 2014 | Permalink

Have you got a corporate event coming up soon? Maybe you’re about to invite the press to a launch of a new product or perhaps you’re getting ready to exhibit at a trade show. If you are then it would be prudent to ensure you have something to hand out to the attendees.

Why? Well let’s face it if you’ve gone to all of the trouble and expense of organising these events and you’ve invested a significant amount of time in making sure the right senior executives and other key personnel attend then it makes sense to ensure they leave not only remembering who your company is but also what you have to offer them.

No one is saying you’re going to secure lots of new business simply by giving them a promotional gift and equally you stand no chance of influencing a journalist by handing them a USB sticks or power bank (however amazing or cute they might be – the gifts not the journalist!) But, it is incredibly important at these events that you engage with your audience and ensure they leave with all of the information they need to either make a buying decision or to write reviews on your products/services.

One option would be to go down the “fun”, cheap and cheerful route and hand out basic items like pens, bags or mugs – all of these simple promotional gifts work to a degree albeit many of them have a tendency to end up thrown away or discarded in the back of a cupboard.

What they don’t do because they are fundamentally inert objects is provide any more information about your company. At best you can typically get you brand, web address and phone number of them and possibly, depending on the object, a couple of small images of your products.

Promotional USB memory sticks on the other hand go significantly further because they can be pre-loaded with lots of information about your company and your products. The information can be interactive, it can be include videos, product sheets, press releases,, price lists – anything! Bearing in mind that most memory sticks that are given away today have around 4GB of storage on them there is loads of scope to get creative..

By loading this type of information onto a USB stick you’ll also save the cost of printing tons of material so if you’re clever about what you load onto them the flash drives will actually save you money!

If you accept the argument that you should/ought to offer a promotional item at your event(s) then you should put USB memory sticks at the top of your list.

There are loads of different designs and styles to choose from and the eco-lobby are also accommodated with a growing number of flash drives manufactured from sustainable wood. These are a great option if your company is pushing an environmentally friendly message and of course they work really well when you load electronic copies of your documents onto them rather than print them!

If you like the idea of something made from wood but USB sticks are not your thing them what about wooden Power Banks – OK, they don’t have quite as many argument in their favour but they are the current “hot” give-away.

Wooden USB Memory Sticks

Wooden USB Memory Sticks

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Hang onto your Hats if you’re about to buy Promotional USB Memory Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 15th September 2014 | Permalink

At USB2U we’ve been supplying promotional USB memory sticks for nearly 13 years and because of this we’re pretty good at understanding when things are likely to get challenging in the market.

We’re about to enter such a period and it has nothing to do with the forthcoming vote on Independence in Scotland albeit the uncertainty around this has caused a bit of a spike in prices because of the pound has fallen heavily against the dollar.

No, the turbulence we’re about to experience happens every year and it is holiday related. Not ours but the factories in China that manufacture the flash chips and assemble the USB memory sticks. The holiday in question is one of the biggest taken in the year – The combined “National Day and Golden Week”.

National Day is celebrated on the 1st October and whilst the official holidays break is only 3 days it tends to be extended into the week-end with most factories and offices closing for at least 1 week. This extended holiday allows their staff to return to the provinces to spend time be with their families.

Whilst a week might not sound long the problem is that people panic buy in the lead up to the holiday, the factories get rammed with orders and the whole mess that ensues can take weeks to sort out. Of course when the factories return from their holidays they have the double whammy of trying to deal with orders not fulfilled before their holiday and handing the backlog of orders that have built up during their holiday!

Chinese National Holiday - Promotional USB Sticks

Chinese National Holiday – Promotional USB Sticks

The cut-off day to get an order sent from the factories in China before they close for their holidays is the 25th September. If you miss this date then they won’t start working on your order until the 6th October when they get back to work. The reality is that on this day they’re going to be handling a large back-log so the usual turnaround times will be extended. You could, depending on when you place your order, be looking at a 4 week lead time!

Our advice is to get your order in now. Don’t wait. Get your place in the production queue secured. The longer you leave it the more likely you are to be disappointed. If you wait until next week then beware of any promises you are given on delivery.

Buying locally will de-risk your order and ensure you get your promotional USB memory sticks when you need them but the challenge will be finding a supplier in the UK that holds stock and has the capability to print or engrave them. A small number do but typically those that do only hold a very small range of products and a limited range of memory options.

At USB2U we’ve learnt over the years that customers need support during this period which is why we hold large quantities of USB sticks that we can print or engrave in-house. We also offer a “Super Fast” 24hr turnaround service on a wide range of USB sticks, a service that is designed to get customers out of trouble.

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We’ve Smashed Through 2,000 Reviews for USB2U on Trustpilot

Posted by USB2U on 30th July 2014 | Permalink

As a relatively conservative British company it’s not really the done thing to brag but we’re so pleased to have broken through 2,000 customer reviews for USB2U on Trustpilot that we couldn’t resist the urge to post an update about it on our website. It’s a big milestone for us and the fact that the vast majority of our reviews rate our service and products as “Excellent” is something we’re really chuffed about!

We started using the independent review service provided by Trustpilot a couple of years ago. We did it (and we have to pay for the service) because we wanted to give our customers a chance to comment on the service and the promotional USB memory sticks they receive from us.

At the outset we had no real idea what the reaction would be. We felt that we were offering a good service, it’s certainly something we strive to do and the team here at USB2U put their heart and soul into trying to give our customers the best experience they can. But without actually asking our customers for their feedback we were really just guessing what people might be thinking and of course if there were issues with our service we were never going to find out. OK, we might get the odd one or two customers providing feedback but by introducing a trusted and independent 3rd party to manage the reviews we’ve found that customers are much more willing to provide feedback (good and bad).

We’re by no means perfect and we’ve picked up a few negative comments over the last couple of the years. Mostly it’s been where we’ve dropped a catch or made a silly mistake – we’re all human and with the thousands of orders we handle ever year the odd one or two errors are bound to creep in. We’ve taken these on the chin and when they do happen we use the feedback as constructively as we can to make changes and improvements or our processes. Any negative feedback hurts but more importantly if a customer has taken the time to write it then it typically means they’re pretty unhappy and we’d rather know about this so we can deal with their issues and make sure we get it right next time.

Our current ranking based on just over 2,000 reviews if 9.7 out of 10 which of course we’re delighted with! There are simply too many to highlight and post here but if you are interested pop over to the Trustpilot site and have a browse through the reviews – we can’t moderate or adjust them, all we can do is ask/encourage customers to say a few words and rank us.

If you are looking for trusted UK supplier of promotional USB memory sticks then checking out 3rd party review sites like Trustpilot is a good place to start!

Promotional USB Twister Flash Drives

Promotional USB Twister Flash Drives

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Stick-It USB Flash Drives – Ultimate Promotional Flexibility

Posted by USB2U on 2nd July 2014 | Permalink

What a brilliant idea! As their name implies these Stick-It USB Flash Drives simply stick onto anything and turn even the most mundane brochure, flyer, instruction manual or press release into something much more interesting.

They come in a wide range of colours (see image) they’re easy to use and apply (they have Scotch Double sided tape already applied to them) and when they’re stuck on they don’t come off easily. They’re available in a range of memory sizes (usually 128MB to 16GB) and they’re incredibly easy to use.

stick-it-USB Flash Drives

stick-it-USB Flash Drives

You get all the benefits of standard promotional USB flash drive but in a form factor will compliment and enhance your existing communication material. Although they are typically used unprinted there is scope to print a message or instruction on them albeit the text/logo would have to be pretty small. Some companies have printed the message “pull here” or “slide out” on them or on the brochure they are being attached to help the user understand what they have to do to use them albeit most people “get it” straight away.

The opportunities they open up are endless. If for example you send out user manuals with your products you could now attach a Stick-It USB flash drive to the manual and include on it all the software files (assuming it’s a product that needs software), videos on how to use the product, FAQ’s, instruction manuals, and embedded links to your website(s) to keep the user engaged and updated.

Equally if you have a press event/product launch and you want to add a bit of pzazz to it then these Stick-It USB flash drives are something that you can add quickly and easily and they “lift” a paper press release into something much more interesting, usable and more importantly memorable. You can load them (right at the last minute) with copies of the presentation slides, speaker notes, videos, product brochures, pricing plans white papers, competitor “knock off” sheets and so on. With 8GB to 16GB to play with frankly there is scope to provide tons of information in a truly interactive format.

They’re also really handy for breathing new life into existing marketing material. If you want to change the pricing, change the manuals etc. then just change the data you’ve loaded on the flash drive – Simples!

We carry these in stock in the UK in a wide range of different colours – call us if you’d like a free sample!

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Promotional USB Memory Sticks – Struggling to decide what to buy

Posted by USB2U on 1st July 2014 | Permalink

Promotional USB memory Sticks remain incredibly popular. They’ve been around now for over 10 years and whilst their dominance as the promotional gift of choice has been threatened over this time they still remain the preferred option for many businesses, school and universities. Millions will be given away in the UK alone this year but globally the number will run to hundreds of millions!

Part of the reason for their continued popularity is because they grown-up with us over the last 10 years. Back in 2003/04 when businesses first started to use USB sticks for promotional purposes they only had around 16MB (megabytes) of storage on them and there were only a small handful of designs to choose from. Today thousands of models are freely available and typical memory sizes are anything from 4GB to 64GB! – that’s significantly more storage than you’d get on any average PC 10 years ago and now you can give it away on a USB stick for a couple of pounds!

Promotional USB Memory Sticks - Spoilt for Choice

Promotional USB Memory Sticks - Spoilt for Choice

If anything the challenge for anyone looking to buy a promotional USB memory stick today is too much choice. Go to any company’s web site selling promotional flash drives and there will be all sorts of styles and designs to choose from. They come in plastic, wood, metal, leather, cork and rec-cycled paper/card. Designs range from “standard” shaped USB Drives to bottles, barrels, keys, pens, credit cards, wristbands, bottle openers, hearts and batteries. Even then if there is nothing that quite matches what you need you can commission your own 2-D or 3-D design!

If you go down the “design your own” route then pretty much anything is possible and there are some great examples on the web of just how creative companies have become at designing custom USB memory sticks.

Of course it you really can’t decide then you could just buy a few of each model! This can be an expensive way of buying your promotional USB sticks though because understandably there are set up costs/design costs that have to be absorbed into the unit cost of each model. But, if you’re buying say more than 100+ of each design it won’t be as bad as you think!

The benefit of buying several different designs/styles is that some work better than others for any given promotional activity or audience. Wristbands tend to work better with the youth so they are popular with schools and universities (and great for fresher fairs or recruitment fairs). On the other hand USB credit cards work better with a professional audience so lend themselves to business seminars and conferences.

If really not sure then get yourself some samples (they are normally supplied free of charge) and that way you can conduct your own market research!

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Buyer Beware – Promotional USB Memory Stick Scams are Rife

Posted by USB2U on 26th June 2014 | Permalink

It’s not quite made it onto Rogue Traders just yet but you do wonder how long it will take before the scams that are rife in this sector are exposed to a broader audience than we can achieve on our blog site.

The problem for anyone buying USB memory sticks is that it’s relatively easy to mislead and to end up buying rubbish. The big problem is that on the outside a fake USB stick can look genuine BUT it’s what under the skin of a USB stick that really matters and not how good they look on the outside. You can’t even trust the brands printed on the outside of the USB sticks because these are easy to fake to!

The Chinese factories will produce any shape of USB you want and print any logo on them – rarely are questions asked about who owns the brand, if there is permission to use the brand and so on. Consequently if you wanted to buy USB flash drives that look exactly like say a Kingston Flash Drive then no problem – how many do you want tends to be the only question asked and then it’s just a question of how much (or little) you want to spend on the internal components!

The fakes might look like the real thing but when used don’t be surprised to discover that the claimed 16GB flash drive only contains 4GB of flash memory. When you plug it in and check the properties of the flash drive it might look like a 16GB but the try and load 16GB of data onto it. If you have bought a 4GB USB drive that has been “masked” to look like a 16GB then when you load more than 4GB of data onto the drive you’ll get a “disk full” error message. Masking is a common problem and because very few people know they have an issue until they’ve been using the sticks the scammers often get away with it.

The other common issue with fakes is their build quality and data transfer speeds. Most fakes use cheap, grade “B” flash memory components many of which will be recycled. As you can image the problem with these components is that they have a high probability of failure and they typically have slow read/write speeds.

Promotional USB flash drives are sold to companies, school and universities in their millions every year and whilst they are ordered from local suppliers pretty much every USB memory sticks will have been manufactured to order and flown in from China.

Pressure to reduce prices and win business has seen some unscrupulous local suppliers of branded USB memory sticks supply “masked” sticks and pass them off as drives of a higher capacity. The only way to be sure that you are getting what you are paying for is to load one of the USB memory sticks to the limit and check that you can load 4GB of data onto a 4GB USB Memory Stick. You’re never going to get access to 100% of a 4GB drive because some of the capacity is used to manage the way the USB stores its data but you should be able to use around 95% of a 4GB drive.

We strongly recommend that you buy from a known and trusted local supply. Ideally choose a company that has been around for a good number of years and who are not going to disappear overnight. You want to buy from a company that is financially stable and is going to be there stand behind any guarantee that’s on offer. A 10 year guarantee is only any good if the company is still around to claim against it!

If you buy from direct from China and pay up-front (as you will have to) then you open up a whole additional set of risks/issue. Only an option for the brave or the foolhardy.

 

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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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