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Re-formatting Promotional USB Memory Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 14th May 2015 | Permalink

If you’ve been lucky enough to be given a promotional USB memory stick then there’s a strong likelihood that it will have lots of data already pre-loaded onto it by the company who’s giving them away. Typical files pre-loaded onto a promotional USB tend to include videos, copies of presentations, product data sheets, press releases etc. etc. Usually these files are not “locked” because to do this they’d have to be loaded onto the USB sticks during the manufacturing process so, they’ll just be normal copies of files that can be deleted.

If you want to remove these pre-loaded files so that you can use all of the available space for your own data (after you have fully read and absorbed the content put on the sticks of course – it’s only polite) then it’s pretty simple.

The best way to erase all of the files on a USB memory stick (including any hidden files) is to format the stick. At the end of the format process it will be completely clean of all data and you’ll then be able to create folders and sub-folders to transfer your own personal data back into it.

Promotional USB Memory Sticks

Promotional USB Memory Sticks

To format any USB Memory Stick just follow these simple steps:

Step 1 – Transfer any Data from the USB stick to your PC

We strongly recommend that you take a copy of the files on the promotional USB stick before you format it. Just drag and drop the contents from the stick to your PC (or Mac). Formatting your USB memory stick completely erases the memory stick so if you want any of your data then its critical you copy it first. Once you’ve started the format process there is no way back so please check any copies of the data before you start the process.

Step 2 – Formatting your USB Memory Stick on a PC

This is pretty straightforward but it does worry some people because if you get it wrong you can end up formatting the hard drive of your PC (Ouch!). To get started just “click” on the Windows “Start” icon in the bottom left hand corner of your PC and then click on “My Computer” (or “Computer” in Vista or Windows 7). Once done your PC will perform a quick scan and show you all of the drives (hard drives and external memory devices like USB Sticks) installed or connected to your PC.

You need to identify the drive that has a “Removable Disk” icon. – click on it to be absolutely sure it is your USB Memory Stick. Once you are sure right-click on the “Removable Disk” label. From here you will see a small drop down menu that includes the option to “Format” – click this.

At this point a dialog box will open giving you a couple of options; Leave the “Quick Format” option unchecked because this will make sure absolutely everything is deleted and deleted without errors. Click the “Start” button on the dialog and wait for your USB memory stick to be fully formatted.
Step 3 – Re-load your files

Once your USB Memory Stick has been formatted you’ll have a blank canvas to work with. Its recommended that you then create folders and sub-folders to copy your saved data back into to and that you then get into the habit of saving your data in a structured and organised way.
If you’re a Mac user you can still format your USB Memory Stick as follows:

Load up the “Disk Utility” program. You’ll find this in the “Utilities folder” which you access via the “Applications folder”. Your USB memory stick should be in the list showing a white drive icon. Click that icon and select the “Erase” tab on the main window to start the erase (format) process.

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And the Winner is…..

Posted by USB2U on 8th May 2015 | Permalink

The votes are in and they’ve been counted and audited and we’re finally able to announce that the most popular promotional USB memory stick is the Twister!

It was a secret ballot; so secret in fact that even we didn’t know it was happening. The methodology we used was simply to look at the thousands of orders we’ve taken in the last 12 months calculated which USB stick had the largest number of orders. We looked at the data in two ways; how many orders were placed for Twisters and how many actual Twister sticks were sold – it was head and shoulders ahead of its nearest rival.

Did the results come as a surprise? No, not really. The Twister USB Stick (also commonly referred to as the Swivel or the Rotate) has been the best selling promotional USB stick of the last decade. Lots of new models have been launched and have tried to challenge its dominance during this period and whilst some have survived and are still bought in reasonable numbers none have come close to the sales of the humble Twister.

Its popularity is down to a number of very simple things; it’s relatively small, it has no cap to lose, it comes in hundreds of different colours and it’s easy to use. The fact that it sells in the millions means that its cheap (well, cheaper than some of the other models) and easy to get hold of – pretty much anyone who sells promotional USB memory sticks will carry the Twister. They’d be daft not to.

Promotional USB Twister Flash Drives

Promotional USB Twister Flash Drives

Ironically there are lots of other flash drives with a larger print area to work with, plenty are also smaller and of course there are others that also don’t have a cap to lose but for some reason the basic Twister model has seen them all off and remains the favourite.

At USB2U we always carry the Twister in stock in the UK and its typically available in a range of different colours and memory sizes. We offer it as part of our “rush” service which means we can get them to any customer (printed and data-loaded) in as little as 24hrs – less if you can collect them from our Northampton office.

We also offer engraved versions of the Twister – we simply change the “clip” the section that rotates or “twists” (hence the name) and replace the standard silver clip with a coloured anodised clip that we can engrave. Some customers prefer these because there is no chance of the engraved logo rubbing off over time.

The reality is we didn’t need any pollsters, or market research to tell us what the winner would be – we knew, almost instinctively that the Twister would still be crowned the winner of our popularity charts. Long may its reign continue.

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Power Banks – Might be needed on Election Day more than ever

Posted by USB2U on 7th May 2015 | Permalink

Today is one of those days when more people than ever are likely to want to stay connected to the web. Yes there will be some voter apathy during the 2015 General Election but many pundits are predicting a surge in voters with more than 70% expected to cast their vote.

If the weather holds fair and the sun comes out then it could push the turnout into the high 70’s, which is what happened when the sun came out in 1992. By comparison when it rained in 2001 the turnout was only 59%!

To be fair today’s election turnout is expected to be strong irrespective of the weather because it is going to be a close run thing and people do appreciate, more than ever, that their vote will/can make a difference.

If you’re a keen observer of the election, the process and the results then in our connected world you’ll want to keep in touch with what’s happening via your smart phone or tablet (that is assuming you’re not near a TV or you’re away from your PC/Mac). The problem with this is that Smart Phone batteries do have a nasty habit of running out pretty quickly particularly if you’re permanently using multiple applications to keep a check on the news, Twitter, Facebook etc. etc.

If you’re a journalist or blogger out and about reporting on the election then you’re usage is going to be even heavier and you’ll almost be able to see your smart phone battery draining in front of your eyes!

One of the ways to keep connected and make sure you don’t miss out on any of the action today as it unfolds is to make sure you have at least one Power Bank with you. For the uninitiated a Power Bank is like a glorified re-chargeable battery that you plug into a PC (or main socks using an appropriate adapter) to charge and then plug into your smart phone or tablet when you need to re-charge them! Simple.

Promotional Power Banks

Promotional Power Banks

They take about 2 hrs to fully charge but they’ll restore a completely dead smart phone back to life in a few minutes and fully charge the smart phone in an hour or two. They’re being touted as a great saviour for long journeys and holidays but they come into their own on days like today when you know you are going to be using your phone or tablet more than usual and you’re not necessarily going to be able to recharge them from the mains.

If you’re really lucky you might be given one free of charge because lots of companies are recognising the advantage of getting Power Banks branded up with their logo and giving them away as a promotional gift. Why? Well the best promotional gifts are ones that people want and find useful, that they use on a regular basis and that boost the brand of the company printed on them.

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UK General Election – Not Helpful for Promotional USB Memory Sticks Prices

Posted by USB2U on 6th May 2015 | Permalink

With less than 24hrs until the voting starts the election is still too close to call. What is certain is that most of us a fed up with the on-going discussion, debate, speculation and dissection and we just want to get on with it and deal with the inevitable fallout when it comes. It’s clearly not going to be pretty and it’d be no real surprise if we end up doing it all over again in a few month time because of a vote of no confidence! Sigh!

We faced a similar uncertainty following the last election (although arguably this time its going to be much worse) and last time the financial markets reacted badly with share prices tumbling and the £ (GBP) falling in value against most other leading currencies including he $ (USD).

The financial markets are already pretty fragile not least because of the on-going issues with the Greece bailout and additional and prolonged uncertainty in the UK is likely to push things over the edge.

For any company looking to buy promotional USB memory sticks or custom USB flash drives in the short term this is bad news. The vast majority of USB memory sticks in the world are manufactured in China and the factories that manufacture them all expect to be paid in $’s (USD). So, any weakening of the £ (GBP) against the $ (USD) is going to mean an increase in prices coupled with a lack a stability in terms of pricing. It’s bad enough now that prices are only held for around 3 days but when the markets enter a period of sustained uncertainty then prices for USB sticks (which are driven to a large degree by the currency markets) can change daily!

As a company this will be our 3rd General Election (we set up the company in 2002) so we’ve a reasonable amount of experience of dealing with the challenges they can pose. To try and protect our customers we have forward bought a large amount of stock and we’ve protected ourselves for some time against currency movements. We want to provide as much as a cushion as we can against the uncertainties we (and our customers) are likely to be faced with over the coming months!

So, if you are looking for USB memory sticks printed of engraved with your logo and perhaps a great looking gift box to put them in then we’d strongly recommend getting in touch with us at USB2U – not just now because of the elections but at anytime!

USB Memory Stick Prices Rise on Back of  Election Worries

USB Memory Stick Prices Rise on Back of Election Worries

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Boost Your Sales With Promotional USB Memory Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 28th April 2015 | Permalink

Are your sales are faltering and lagging behind forecast. Perhaps they’re just in need a bit of a boost or is it something more fundamental about your proposition that needs challenging? Maybe you’ve got a new product or service that you’re about to launch or perhaps you’re looking for something to help entice potential customers to your stand at a show or event?

If any or all of the above apply to you or your company then one of the best ways to increase the awareness of who you are, what you do or what you sell (and hopefully drive your sales) is to give your customers something for free. This could manifest itself as a competition or prize draw but typically it takes the form of a “promotional gift”. Ideally any promotional gift needs to be relevant, it needs to have a high-perceived value and it needs to be useful enough for the recipient to want it and to want to use it on an on-gong basis.

The market is full of promotional products including branded caps, mugs, pens, sweets, keyrings, umbrellas and T-shirts but one of the most popular promotional products is a USB memory stick – The most recent survey carried out by the British Promotional Merchandise Association (BPMA) on behalf of its members found that 45% of the respondents considered the USB sticks the best to be the best product with 64% ranking them the most useful (64%). Pretty compelling statistics!

There is now a huge range of USB sticks to choose from, they all look fantastic when printed with a logo and of course they (unlike most other promotional giveaways) can be pre-loaded with tons of sales and marketing material, dynamic links to web sites, video clips, presentations and so on.

Prices of promotional USB sticks have also fallen over the last few years making them even more attractive as a giveaway. If you buy one of the more basic models in a high enough numbers and with a low(ish) memory (say 128MB) then you’ll get them for around £1.50 per unit!

Whilst they won’t be the right choice for every company, product launch, trade show or PR event you can’t escape the fact that continued re-use of USB sticks, which in turn generates brand awareness, brand loyalty and which then hopefully creates a brand advocate and increased sales is exactly what most companies want from any promotional product!

Equipping your sales force with branded USB memory sticks to hand out as they met their customers is a nice touch and a great way to enable them to “thank” their customers for their on-going support.

Capless Twister Style USB Memory Sticks

Capless Twister Style USB Memory Sticks

 

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USB Card e-books

Posted by USB2U on 24th April 2015 | Permalink

They may only make up a very, very small proportion of e-book sales but if you can get your hands on one they might be worth hanging onto for collector value if nothing else.

To be fair most of the USB Card e-books that we see (or produce and supply) at the moment seem to be used as part of the PR campaign to launch the books. The cards are printed up with the book sleeve and an electronic copy of the book is pre-loaded onto the card before being handed out to reviewers, journalists etc.

Of course the books could be downloaded from the Internet but if you want to distribute copies of the book before the public release date and you don’t want to go to the trouble is setting up secure website with logins and download options etc. then the USB cards are a good way of controlling the books distribution. You can’t stop the book being “uploaded” onto a public sharing site but that’s a risk however you distribute digital copies of anything!

e-books on USB cards

e-books on USB Cards

There is a real novelty factor to e-books being supplied for review this way and if they’re posted out its significantly cheaper to pop a very thin (2mm card) into a standard letter envelope than pay for a package post.

The opportunity for e-books is not just limited to works of fiction. Arguably the concept lends itself better to the supply of complex technical manuals, large product catalogues where significant amounts of data are often needed (much of which could be complimented by videos and presentations).

A classic example was an International TV brackets manufacturer who every year posted out a hard copy of their new brochure and distributor/re-seller prices lists across Europe. Because of the weigh of the catalogue the shipping costs alone were £10 per brochure. They didn’t want to put everything “on-line” preferring instead to send something tangible – moving to a USB Card that was pre-loaded with the catalogue saved them 80% of their costs.

With around 32GB of memory available on some of the larger capacity USB cards the amount of information you can include in an e-book is staggering! The trick to think outside of the box and come up with innovative ways to take full advantage of the flash storage on offer. Don’t worry about the grunt work of loading the data on the USB cards because your USB memory stick supplier will take care of this for you and most won’t charge if you get your data files to them early enough in the order process.

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10 Good Reasons Why You Should Buy Printed USB Memory Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 16th April 2015 | Permalink

Despite the continued growth in use of cloud based data storage services you can’t escape the fact that USB memory sticks are everywhere these days. Long gone are the dominant days of the CD and DVD. USB memory sticks are now the most popular way to save, store and carry data files. They remain a key business tool for many and they continue to play an important role in the daily life of hundreds of thousands of students.

The rise to dominance has not been quick. The first commercially available memory sticks hit the market back in 2002 and the first generation used the original USB 1.0 standard, they had a typical storage capacity of 16MB and they were typically boring, rectangular “lumps” of plastic – the focus then was on functionality and not design.

Skip forward 13 years and today USB sticks (or flash drives as some people prefer to call them) have evolved into a much more sophisticated product that is available in thousands of different styles, designs, colours. More fundamentally they use the latest USB 3.0 standards, they are fast and by comparison to the first generation products they carry HUGE amounts of data – basic models now have storage capacities of 4GB or 8GB but 256GB are available.

In the midst of all of this development and market growth Memory sticks have also become incredibly popular promotional giveaways. Here are just a few reasons why:

1.     Brand development and brand exposure – Branded USB Memory sticks are a fantastic way to get your brand in front of an existing or potential customer. They’re a popular product and people just like being given them

2.     Content delivery – With the vast amounts of storage on offer they are a great way to deliver content. The data can be passive (PDF files for example) which the user would need to click on to view or interactive for a more immersive experience.

3.     Keepsakes – Branded USB Memory sticks make excellent ‘keepsakes’ and there is a high probability that users will save their own information onto them thus making them a valuable asset with high-perceived value.

4.     They’re pretty cheap to buy – The cost of flash memory (the heart of any USB stick onto which the data is saved) has fallen dramatically over the past few years. As a result USB memory sticks have become a more attractive promotional option for many. If you buy in bulk they’ll cost less than £2 per stick (printed and with data loaded)

5.     There are now thousands of designs and styles to choose from and if none of the “standard” shapes are suitable its relatively easy to get a fully customised (bespoke) solution, you just need to build in a couple of extra weeks into the lead time and be prepared to pay a little more for them.

6.     Fast delivery – delivery times are now as little as 24hrs, which includes the printing of a logo so if you are pushed for a branded solution/gift in a hurry they might be suitable.

7.     The minimum order quantity for fully printed/customised USB drives is only 25 pieces.

8.     CD / DVDs are now seen as old hat and are a technology that few companies now want to associate their brand with whereas USB memory sticks are seen a new, innovative, and to some degree “sexy” and are the “new kids on the block”

9.     The technology that USB memory sticks are built on is well established and is highly reliable.

10.  There are lots of suppliers of branded USB memory sticks in the market today so they are relatively easy to source and the increased competition has kept prices low and quality high.

 

USB2U - Your Trusted Supplier of USB Memory Sticks

USB2U – Your Trusted Supplier of USB Memory Sticks

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Reviews of USB2U Push Towards 3,000 on Trustpilot

Posted by USB2U on 31st March 2015 | Permalink

Confidence is one of the key factors when you’re buying from a company that you deal with over the Internet. Confidence that you’re in safe hands, confidence that you’ll actually get what you ordered and in time for when you need them and confidence that should things go wrong (as they occasionally do) that the company is able and willing to front up and deal with the issues.

Of course it’s not unheard of for companies to exaggerate claims about their capabilities to stretch the truth a little or to flat out lie about what the quality of what they are selling and to avoid dealing with any post sales issues or queries that might arise.

In an age when a great looking website can be thrown up in a matter of hours/days its relatively easy for anyone to claim they are the “greatest” supplier, that they have “thousands of satisfied customers” and that they can deliver top quality products in a matter of days. But, should you trust everything you read on a companies own website and take it as fact?

Printed Twister USB Sticks

Printed Twister USB Sticks

Before you place any order for promotional products (like branded USB memory sticks) that are going to carry your brand and logo on them we’d strongly advocate that you try and validate some of the comments claimed on the companies website that you plan to buy from. It’s one thing having a bad Internet shopping experience when you’re buying something for yourself but trusting your company’s brand and reputation to a 3rd party based purely on what they say about themselves is to put it mildly “a little risky”.

The Internet not only enables the little start up companies to compete with the bigger boys BUT more fundamentally it gives a strong voice to customers to share their shopping experiences (good and bad) with other prospective customers. Just as you’d use a site like Trip Advisor to review a hotel or holiday company before you make a booking we’d strongly advocate using 3rd party review sites like Trustpilot to see what customers are saying about suppliers of products like branded USB memory sticks.

Arguably such review sites (providing there is a critical mass of reviews and providing they are recent) are a safer way to gauge the capabilities of a company to deliver against their promises.

At USB2U we strongly encourage all of our customers to review the service they’ve received from us on Trustpilot. We already have around 2,9000 reviews and we expect to smash through 3,000 reviews in the next couple of weeks. So, if you’re thinking of ordering your branded flash drives from us then don’t just take our word for how good our service is check out what thousands of customers are saying – we’re currently ranked as “Excellent” with a trust score of 9.7 out of 10.

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Tins aren’t what they used to be – Well at least not USB ones!

Posted by USB2U on 10th February 2015 | Permalink

There was a time when a presentation tin box for a promotional USB stick was a pretty bland affair but times they are a changing!

There are two main factors are at play here:

  1. More and more companies that buy USB memory sticks to give-away (for whatever reason) are understanding that you get a much more positive response if your package your sticks rather than just give them out without any thought about how they are presented. It’s pretty easy understand why this might be the case – after all how many of us hand over birthday presents or Christmas presents without 1st wrapping them up or at the very least putting some effort into their presentation. Gifts (even corporate promotional gifts) handed out in pretty/attractive packaging look better, they generate a better response and they provide another medium onto which to promote the companies brand.
  2. Print technology has advanced in leaps and bounds over the past few years. Today it’s relatively simple to print across the full surface area of the USB presentation tins and the price to do this has dropped markedly. The results, as you can see from the images below, are fantastic and really do lift the overall impact of a simple USB stick.
Printed Tin Boxes for USB Sticks

Printed Tin Boxes for USB Sticks

So, if you are thinking of buying promotional USB flash drives anytime soon it is definitely worth chatting through the options for packaging and in particular our metal presentation tin gift boxes. Not only can we now print in full colour (with print bleed right to the edge of the lid) but we can custom cut the foam insert to match any model of drive.

Of course it’s not just tins we offer so if tins are not your thing but you want a gift box then check out the extensive range of options we offer on our website. Pretty much all of them are held in stock in our UK warehouse and most (including the tins) can be printed and delivered in as little as 24hrs (you’ll pay a little more in rush fees for any “rush service”).

Remember we offer free samples (not with your own logo on but samples of our tins and boxes) so if you’re not sure which works best for you just ask and we’ll pop a sample or two in the post.

Printed Tin Boxes for USB Sticks

Printed Tin Boxes for USB Sticks

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Cheap Promotional USB Flash Drives – In Short Supply

Posted by USB2U on 28th January 2015 | Permalink

If you’re in the market for any quantity of promotional USB flash drives over the next few weeks and you’re looking for cheap and cheerful drives to hand out at shows or events then you might be in for a frustrating time.

At any other time of the year it’s usually possible to pick up cheap 128MB promotional USB flash drives (typically around £1.50 each all branded up with your logo if you buy enough of them) but right now, in the run-up to Chinese New Year, things start to get challenging. The problem is that the factories that produce the world’s supply of these items shut for two weeks to celebrate the start of the New Year and National Day.

When the Chinese factories shut (or stop taking orders in anticipation of their closure) the stock available to buy is that held by local suppliers and these suppliers (like us) tend to carry the more popular 4GB and 8GB models. Obviously these are more expensive than the 128MB versions but you know the old adage “beggars can’t be choosers”.

If you have any need for cheap, low capacity USB memory sticks in the next couple of weeks you are strongly advised to get your orders in now. Don’t wait, don’t dither, don’t spend ages trying to negotiate the price down by a couple of pennies – just get your orders in now because it’s the only way you are going to stand any chance of getting your order this side of the Chinese New Year blackout. If you delay you either won’t get want you want or you’ll end up having to buy versions with a much larger capacity and at a higher price.

At USB2U we have invested heavily in blank stock across a range of different models (and memory sizes) which means that we will be able to offer a wide range of options to our customers throughout this period of instability. Be warned though it’s invariably the case that however much stock we buy that it gets sold through very quickly and some customers always end up disappointed.

As ever our recommendation is that you either email your account manager or give us a call to talk through the options and discuss when we could schedule your order. At the moment (28th January 2015) we still have lots of print slots available but it’s a dynamic situation so please don’t wait.

Cheap Flash Drives

USB2U Suppling USB Flash Drives Thoughout Chinese New Year 2015

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