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The Keyboard Sticker

Keyboard Sticker Blog Post

I bet many (if not all) of your incoming freshmen applied to your school through your website – most likely sitting at a computer. During the next four years of their lives, your students will spend countless hours on their computers – writing and researching papers, completing homework assignments and more. And that’s just the incoming class of 2020. Think about all the ways that your constituents use their computers – students writing papers, alumni making donations and faculty advising their students, just to name a few.

Since computers and technology are such an integral part of life today for your current and prospective students, alumni, faculty and more, what better way to keep your brand right in front of them than by using their own computers as a promotional item?

UW Keyboard Sticker

University of Wisconsin’s Keyboard Sticker

Our exclusively designed keyboard sticker is an inexpensive, engaging and unique way to do just that. You can customize any computer key with a ½” sticker, quickly making a keyboard the hard-to-miss advertisement for your institution.

These keyboard stickers have been a hit with many of our clients and they are the perfect way for you to reach out to current and perspective students, donors, alumni and more.

Many schools have used the same template, but do you want to switch it up? We can do that! Add more keys, make a bigger card, or even turn the keyboard sticker into a postcard. If you can design it, we can do it.

Email your Account Manager to discuss how the keyboard sticker could be the next great addition to your marketing platform.

Ideas for Digital Viewbooks

In an increasingly digital world, many traditional brochures and multi-page books are being adapted for an online format. Many colleges are following this trend and taking their viewbooks online. There are many benefits to digital viewbooks, including:

  1. Reduce overall print costs
  2. Cost savings on postage for both domestic and international students
  3. Easier to correct online publications with updates

Cost reduction and ease of updates are certainly appealing to many schools.  However, one question often remains before schools make the transition to digital viewbooks:

How will students find the online viewbook?

Beyond simple links throughout the website, many schools are looking for a tangible item that can replace a hard copy viewbook or large printed catalog. One promotional product solution that is ideal for driving web traffic to a specific URL is an item called the webkey.

Webkey in your school colors

Find a webkey in your school color to direct students to an online viewbook.

Similar to the look of a USB drive, a webkey is pre-programmed with a URL that automatically takes users to your viewbook (or whatever site you specify) when plugged into a USB port. While a USB drive could also store many e-publications, a webkey is a more affordable solution with a longer shelf-life than a USB port because the programmed URL can simply be updated with the latest viewbook. To make it easier to handout or mail, a webkey can come pre-attached to a full color postcard, which can provide instructions on how to use it.

More Tracking Options

Want to track opens, and add in survey questions? There’s an upgraded webkey called the iCue that can do that. Since it’s often difficult to track the effectiveness of a printed viewbook, a webkey powered viewbook can provide detailed tracking through an administrators page.

Here are a few highlights of the iCue:

  • Better Tracking – when the webkey is plugged into a computer, data will be sent to the administrator’s page.  This will provide data on the number of impressions or view rate as a result of your webkey.
  • Optional one-time registration allows for collecting additional data about your target audience. From the admin page, you can easily add and customize the desired questions. The collected data will show up in the admin page, giving information on which recipients used the product, making it very easy to schedule follow-up calls or emails with these contacts.
  • Easy Contest Administration – using the admin panel, you can track who opened and registered on your site, which makes it easy to hold a drawing for a prize incentive. Promote the drawing on an included 5×7 postcard to encourage visits. Incentives for students include: coupon to your university book store, waive or reduce the application fee, voucher for athletic events, or branded promotional items.
Green Power paper iCue

Sample webkey with 5×7 full color postcard – promote an incentive on this card to help drive traffic to your school’s website. Ideal for direct mail or handing out at events.

 

Webkey Case Study

msoe-web-key

Drive site traffic with a WebKey

One case study describes how Milwaukee School of Engineering used web keys to successfully promote and drive traffic to a new admissions website.  Web keys were the ideal solution for MSOE – seamlessly directing users their new Bridge site.  Read more about how MSOE Admissions used the webkey here.

If you’re interested in a trackable, engaging promotional item for directing your target audience to an online viewbook, a webkey is THE ideal solution. View the links below for more product information, or contact us to further discuss your online marketing strategies.

Links for More Information

Want more ideas on ways to engage prospective students?  Visit our ways to increase engagement page as part of our admissions resources.

Show-Stopping Promotional Marketing Ideas

A trade show is an opportunity to connect with an audience in a fun and exciting way. Handing out a promotional item is a way to make your company memorable both during AND after the show.

A show-stopping promotional item can:

  • Create enticing pre-show promotion by advertising your booth activities and swag
  • Help drive traffic to your booth at the show
  • Serve as a reminder of the experience with your company after the show ends
  • Promote word of mouth marketing, whenever anyone sees your swag
  • Increase brand recall and recognition to support your business

For these reasons and many more, a trade show is one of the top uses for promotional products. You’ll find some swag at EVERY booth.

This certainly was the case when Michael attended the Milwaukee BizTimes Expo last week.  In walking the show floor, Michael spotted our clients using the promotional items that we helped create.  Here are a few highlights in what he saw:

Promotional Marketing for UWM at BizTimes Expo

The Airplane Stress Toy promotes the UWM Masters in Management program through the School of Business. The literature includes the tagline, “Your future is about to take off.” This has been a very successful campaign!

Promotional Products at work at BizTimes Expo 2014

There were a wide range of products at every table, though pens remained a staple item throughout the show. MSOE also used tire pressure gauges; Innovative Signs used bottle openers and combination pen/highlighters. Mount Mary had a lot of interest in their branded coffee packets as something that is both unique and appreciated. We also love how striking their pennants turned out.

Cultivate Communications Brain Stress Toy

Here is a close-up of the bright orange brain stress toy that our client Cultivate Communications used. Since they are a creative marketing agency, the brain is a fun and engaging way to help tell their story.

Miss Southern Wisconsin and Michael

Miss Southern Wisconsin, Tyra McFarland, spotted Michael’s logo’ed polo shirt, and said, “Hey I work with you.” She was right (and another great reason to have company apparel)! Account Manager Paige Wagner worked with Tyra on creating frisbees to promote the UW-Milwaukee Student Startup Challenge.

UWM Student Startup Challenge Frisbee

Artwork for the UWM Student Startup Challenge Frisbee for our client, Tyra McFarland, also Miss Southern Wisconsin.

What are your favorite show-stopping promotional items? We’ve also heard about sending teasers pre-show to drive booth traffic, such as sending ½ of a pen and then handing out the other ½ at the booth. In addition, we like the idea of holding a drawing for a higher value promotional item, and having higher-value items for VIP’s (or hot prospects) who stop by your booth. There are so many ways to effectively integrate promotional items into your events!

For more event ideas, see our blog posts:

How to Guide: Integrating Promotional Products into College Events

Much More than Tchotchkes

For help discovering the right promotional idea for your events, please contact us.

 

Collegiate Pennant Buying Guide

A pennant is perhaps the most iconic of ALL promotional items for colleges. Prospective and current students, alumni and staff will proudly display a pennant to show their loyalty, endorsement, and plain old LOVE for a school.

Common Uses

In addition to being popular, pennants are versatile, often being used to target prospective students, campus visitors, and high school counselors. Schools handout pennants to prospective students at campus tours or open house events. Some colleges include mini-pennants in an admitted student mailing.  High school counselors frequently display college pennants in their office or in a classroom. We pinned a few displays of pennants at schools in teacher classrooms on our “Products in Use” Pinterest Board.  When you see all types of pennants gathered together, it’s obvious that a lot of options and levels of quality are available to reflect your brand and budget.

Pennant Buying Guide

To make it easy to find the best pennant option, we have created several key areas to consider: material options, distribution, imprint options, sizes, and average turnaround time.

Felt Material Options

Depending on the main distribution method (hand deliver vs. mailing), select from two material types: Polyester felt or wool felt.

  1. Polyester Felt –  most basic, lowest cost pennant type, may CREASE when folded
  2. Wool Felt – higher end, best quality pennant type, will NOT crease when folded

The most affordable polyester felt option is the Felt Strip Pennant, as pictured below. Two colors can be imprinted on the solid background.  The fabric is the thinnest option, so it will crease if folded or rolled up for mailing.  Read on for more mail-friendly, higher quality pennant options.

Felt Strip Pennant

The Most Affordable option – Felt Strip Pennant

 

How will Pennants be Distributed?

It’s best to consider how the pennant will be delivered to its target audience to help narrow down material choices. Will the pennant primarily be handed out at events? Will the pennant be folded or rolled-up and mailed? While this isn’t always the first consideration that comes to mind with other promotional items, distribution is very important for pennants to make sure the correct material is ordered.

Lower-cost, polyester felt pennants can easily crease when folded and mailed, leading to unattractive results. If mailing is your primary distribution method, we recommend investing in a higher quality polyester or wool felt blend that will not crease.  Based on the desired design, all of the pennant options listed below are suitable for crease-free mailing.

Full Color Printing – Premium Felt Pennant

One step above the Felt Strip Pennant, is the Premium Felt Pennant (pictured below) with a full color design, making it truly standout from other options with just one or two color imprints. The full color, dye sublimated digital imprinting delivers excellent image and color quality on a higher quality 100% polyester felt material that can be rolled and folded without creasing.

mid range option - premium felt pennant

One Step Up – Premium Felt Pennant

Thickest Material – Wool Felt Pennant

As another step above the premium pennant, the wool felt pennant shown below is made of the thickest material.  One color direct printing is available.

The thickest material - wool felt direct print pennant

The thickest material – wool felt direct print pennant

As an alternative to direct printing, full embroidery is also an option on a wool felt pennant, giving the pennant a premium, classic look shown here in a mini, 6″x15″ size.

Best quality, embroidered wool felt pennant

The thickest, crease-free wool felt embroidered pennant

Popular Sizes

The most popular sizes for pennants are 8×18 inches and 9×24 inches.

Additional sizes available include: 4×10 inches, 5×12 inches, 12×30 inches, or the largest size 17×40 inches.

Average Turnaround Time

Once artwork is finalized, pennants can be produced in as few as 5 business days, depending on printing and material types. Allow for more lead time for mid-range to best pennant options as noted below:

  • 5 – 10 days for more affordable, felt strip pennants
  • 20 – 30 days for thicker wool-felt options
  • Up to 90 days for embroidery on pennants

Final Details

If mailing is going to be the primary distribution method, make sure an appropriate envelope or mailing tube is available.  This 2×9 inch mailing tube will fit the most popular sizes and would work well with any roll-able, non-creasing pennant.

Mailing Tube for Pennants

2×9 inch Mailing Tube for Pennants

It’s easy to find the ideal pennant to help promote your college after considering the material type, distribution method, printing method, size options, and production time frame. As mentioned in the introduction, a pennant represents and reflects your school’s brand, so we recommend choosing an option that fits your desired level of quality and budget.

Check out our pennant listing for a complete listing of all items. Let us know if you have any additional questions about pennant options. We are happy to be a resource for you!

How to Drive and Track Website Traffic

In a recent blog post, we shared our latest case study, where Milwaukee School of Engineering used web keys to successfully promote and drive traffic to a new admissions website.  Web keys were the ideal solution for MSOE – a more affordable option than USB drives that seamlessly directs users to a pre-programmed URL when plugged into a USB port.  Although it COULD have been passed along to another prospective student, the web key is typically only used one-time.

In jockeying for prospective student’s attention, websites are still a top resource for high school juniors and seniors, according to the Noel-Levitz E-Expectations report (here summarized with the Top 7 Most Interesting Findings for #highered at collegewebeditor.com). 90% of students have accessed a college’s website within the past month, typically on a computer, which makes a USB / web launcher promotional item useful for driving traffic. How do you know the number of impressions attained from the web key?  Besides programming a unique landing page on the web key, tracking is rather limited.

Better Tracking for Web Visitors

With additional reporting and data collection features, the all new iCue ups the ante on the webkey, making it a more effective way to drive and track website traffic.

Here are a few highlights of the iCue web launcher:

  • Better Tracking – when an iCue is plugged into a computer, data will be sent to the administrator’s page.  This will provide data on the number of impressions or view rate as a result of iCue.
  • Optional one-time registration allows for collecting additional data about your target audience. From the admin panel, you can easily add and customize the desired questions. The collected data will show up in the administrator’s panel, giving information on which recipients used the product, making it very easy to schedule follow-up calls or emails with these contacts.
  •  Re-programmable: administrators can easily re-direct iCue to another website, so it can be used multiple times. Once registration was completed, a user will no longer need to input his or her information on subsequent plug-ins.
  • Included full color postcard – ideal for direct mail. Since iCue comes attached to the postcard, it can easily be handed out at events without getting lost.
Green Power paper iCue

Sample iCue with 5×7 full color postcard – promote an incentive on this card to help drive traffic to your school’s website. Ideal for direct mail or handing out at events.

Creative iCue Ideas

With new and improved features, iCue can provide effective tracking to help direct follow-up efforts and contribute to calculating return on investment (ROI). Here are a few additional ways to use iCue:

  1. Contest or Sweepstakes – give users an incentive to plug in the iCue again and again. Update content to keep your audience engaged for multiple-visits. Promote contest details and drawing dates on the included 5×7 postcard to encourage repeat visits. Incentives for students include: coupon to your university book store, waive or reduce the application fee, voucher for athletic events, or branded promotional items.
  2. Event Handout for high school counselors (or students) to direct them to a website or the cloud for the latest student guidebook. Imagine how “green” this would be, not to mention cost-effective with savings on the cost of paper and printing.

Additional iCue Options

In lieu of launching a website, iCue can direct users to cloud space. The cloud is hosted by a third-party and can be password protected if desired.  Once again, iCue is still less expensive than a USB drive, so this may be an affordable way to store student guide books, college handbooks, class descriptions, schedules, financial aid information etc.

The iCue can also be made in custom shapes to make a bold statement.  This would be perfect for your school’s initials or mascot.  Check out the Aflac duck shape.

iCue custom duck shape 2 iCue custom duck shape

If you’re interested in a trackable, engaging promotional item for directing your target audience to a specific website or documents in the cloud, iCue is THE ideal solution.

Want more ideas on ways to engage prospective students?  Visit our ways to increase engagement page as part of our admissions resources.

Product Highlights: New Technology Items

As a follow up to Highlights of the 2013 Product Showcase post, we’ll be featuring a series of videos from the industry-leading suppliers who joined us at Dave & Buster’s for a great customer event. This will give you a chance to feel like you WERE there, as we share video and information about exciting new products.

In the first Product Highlight post, we shared a video featuring gel pens, unique custom drinkware, infuser tumblers, and a folding golf umbrella.

In the second Product Highlight post, we featured new trends in performance polo shirts that are snag-resistant and moisture-wicking, while still being more affordable than ever.

In the third Product Highlight post, we discussed the 1960’s neo retro trend in messenger bags and the Bobble Water Bottle.

For this edition, we will hear from Craig Gengler of HIT Promotional Products, who will share information on new technology items and food storage containers.

Featured technology items include:

As the fastest growing category in the promotional marketing industry, technology items generated a lot of interest at this year’s event. Many tech products are ideal items for  students attending college fairs, campus visits, or orientation sessions. For more tech ideas, take a look at our DigiClean case study, read our top products blog post, or browse through our technology product catalog online.

Finally, Craig talked about another green trend that helps save money while being environmentally conscious: packing your lunch.  Convenient food storage containers make it easy to pack a salad with a removable dressing container and storage slot for a fork.  Pack it in an insulated lunch bag and you’re ready to dine on the go.

Stay tuned for our final product highlight installment including: Tide to Go and WD 40 pens, branded chocolate, coaster stones, and MORE! For any questions regarding any of these products, please feel free to comment or contact us directly.