Sunday, October 6, 2013

Monday Marketing: Let's Talk Swag: What works...what's a waste of your time

Let's Talk Swag: What works...what's a waste of your time and money?

Admit it. We love swag. We all pick it up. FREE? Oh, yeah! If you go to a convention you get a bag full of great stuff! We want it all. A bookmark. A pen. A jar lid name it. Now ask yourself, what do you do with it when you get it home?

In today's digital age business cards are, I think, almost a lost art. But don't be without one. Vistaprint definitely makes overpriced business cards a thing of the past. And that's good because you're going to collect those cards, take them back to your computer, and enter the info before throwing the cards away. However, don't ever be caught without business cards!

Bookmarks are an authors staple, but give some hard thought to them before you spend your hard earned money. How many people read paper books anymore. OH, there is a place for them. And if you have your books in stores then yes, you should have bookmarks there for them pass out when they sell physical books. They had a place in a swag bag too, but my suggestion is that even on the bookmarks give the consumer links to your eBooks, just in case.

How about those cute candies! Aren't those a nice treat when you have a swag bag? Open it up. Pop it in your mouth while you look at your loot and throw the wrapper away. Advertising dollars enjoyed and ignored as I pondered everyone else's items and had momentary enjoyment from the advertisement itself...but why keep a candy wrapper?

I'm a lover of a good sticky note pad! Now a good note pad has lots of room for me to write my note on even if it has the name of an author. But really, if the information on the pad is too big, eh, I'm not going to remember to keep it handy. Alas, I'll find it in the back of the drawer or in the trash. But done right, they will be on everything I have and probably get sent to others too.

Postcards. They're kind of like a big business card, only they don't fit in your wallet. I'll admit, I'm in the air on postcards. I think they are awesome if you have a free book, as I do, and you could sign the card and hand them out at signings. Or if you only do eBooks, this is still a great way to be personable, sign the card, and give the information on your eBook to the consumer. But, as a rule of thumb, what use is a postcard if you don't mail it? Think about making them share-able so others might mail them...maybe.

My all time favorite is a pen! Oh yes...a pen! I don't care how many pens you have you always need a pen. If you're going to invest in a pen, invest in a good one! People don't want to use a stick pen only two times to find out that Sally Smith Jones, author of Dirt is Good buys cheap pens and they are in the trash fast. They want a reliable pen they can jot down all their notes with. In my opinion this is one of your best buys!

The grocery bag. Cheesy, maybe. Useful, most assuredly. I have a big collection of these bags for my groceries and I know each bag! Why? Because everyday I use them either at the store or just hauling things from here to there in my day to day life. Another great buy.

Admit it. Whether you drink coffee or not a coffee mug is a good thing. Ceramic or travel, people like their coffee and they always need a mug. And you can go beyond that. A drink cup is as useful. As I sit here I see in my view a travel coffee mug (Okay, that one is a 5 Prince Publishing mug, but I use it everyday), I have a special drink in the cup I got from the orthodontist, and my water is in a Bellagio water bottle. Hmmmm, you can guarantee I think of those places everyday. AND when I can't quickly find the orthodontist's number I know it's on the orange cup I use everyday.

Kitchen gadgets are good too. We all use bottle openers, jar openers, chip name it.

Really, when you're thinking swag think useful. Before you spend your hard earned money--and authors know it is Hard-earned!--think of the usefulness of the item you're just going to give away. Will they enjoy it for a moment or a lifetime? Will they remember you? Now that is the key!

Happy Swag!
Bernadette Marie

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Bestselling Author Bernadette Marie is known for building families readers want to be part of. Her series The Keller Family has graced bestseller charts since its release in 2011, along with her other series and single title books. The married mother of five sons promises Happily Ever After always…and says she can write it, because she lives it.

When not writing, Bernadette Marie is shuffling her sons to their many events—mostly hockey—and enjoying the beautiful views of the Colorado Rocky Mountains from her front step. She is also an accomplished martial artist with a second degree black belt in Tang Soo Do.

A chronic entrepreneur, Bernadette Marie opened her own publishing house in 2011, 5 Prince Publishing, so that she could publish the books she liked to write and help make the dreams of other aspiring authors come true too.

Bernadette Marie began writing at the age of thirteen and submitted her first manuscript at sixteen. Just as any aspiring author has learned, the publishing world is full of rejection. So how does an author find readers and allies before they have a book? Self-promotion! Bernadette Marie shares her experiences in building a name for herself before her first book was ever published.

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