Our dear readers might know that we think it's very important to keep marketing and advertising costs low for small businesses. Many small businesses fail because they can't control their expenses, particularly on the advertising and promotions side, so we don't want any T&I businesses to fall into this trap. Luckily, most of our advertising is done on the web, which is largely free except for the cost of our time.
However, since Judy is a master-level court-certified Spanish interpreter in the state of Nevada, she wanted a small item she could give to lawyers, social workers, clerks, etc. as an effective promotional tool. We didn't want another tchotchke that no one uses, so we went for the one thing that people are constantly looking for and are usually grateful for: a pen. We shopped around, and even though the prices were slightly higher than elsewhere, we found a charming, locally-owned store in suburban L.A., where Judy's hubby grew up. They focus on trophies for sporting events, but also make a wide range of pens. We visited them, chose a pen, and were all ready to give them the Twin Translations credit card. The problem? We never heard back from them and they never sent us the proof we requested, even after several e-mails and phone calls. We know what it's like to be a customer, so we make sure to never leave our clients hanging, but that's a topic for another blog post.
|Lots of Twin Translations pens|
We ended up ordering from one of our favorite stores, U.S.-based Costco, a membership-only warehouse store. While there is a big carbon footprint because the pens ship from the East Coast, the price was right: roughly $0.35/pen if you purchase 300 (which we did). For a very small fee, Costco did the lay-out for us. It was a bit painful to make all the info fit, but the Costco designers were really patient and worked with us until we were happy -- talk about great customer service! Now every time someone digs for a pen during a deposition or meeting, Judy pulls out her cloth bag full of Twin Translations pen and hands them out. People love them -- and at $150 or so, the investment was quite small.
Dear readers: do you have a favorite promotional item for your business? We'd love to hear about it.