A clue for the clueless?

I have been looking into marketing. I’m probably not going to get drunk or high enough to be a proper marketer but I’m doing what I can.

I have used Vistaprint in the past for business cards when self-employed, so I’ve just ordered some new ones. Magnetic ones so you can stick them to fridges. Also a few mugs to give away to start conversations. These just have the Leg Iron Books logo and the website address.

There are many options. Keyrings, drinking vessels of all descriptions, T shirts… all too expensive to give too many away and most have a minimum order of 50 units.

That’s okay for the general website. However, I had hoped to send every author some promotional materials for their own books and that could turn out expensive.

So I need ideas for low-volume (ideally also low cost) promotional materials. I have looked into places like Cafepress and Zazzle where I could potentially load up a design and just buy a few promotional items to pass to authors. They aren’t cheap but I wouldn’t have to buy 50.

Bookmarks… I can make those. Print on good photo paper and laminate it. Or don’t even laminate, just accept it has a limited life and keep pumping out the cheap ones. Those could easily be personalised to each author. Yet bookmarks only work if you have a related book, so those are best given away with copies of the book. Better, with an Underdog Anthology that author is in, to promote their own books.

There are many options but which is best? What would you use? Keyrings? T shirts? Baseball style caps? Perhaps more importantly, what would you buy? If you are willing to pay something then it has to be something you actually want to use or wear. There is no point in making something to give away if it all ends up in recycling or the ‘forever drawer’.

Pens and bottle openers are good but you just get a line of text. Fine for advertising the main site but sod all use for individual books. For that I need space for a cover image and at least a one-line description.

So, how about a clue for the clueless? What promotional material would you not only use, but would show off? A hat, a T-shirt, a mug, an engraved glass? What is there that you would buy with a Leg Iron Books logo on it? Anything?

Understand, I really don’t expect you to buy it. I’m interested in what kind of thing you would think a thing worth having, and would use it in public, with Leg Iron Books on it.

I have a very limited marketing budget and I really don’t want to spend it all in the wrong place.

23 thoughts on “A clue for the clueless?

  1. Useful to the author? I used Vistaprint to make postcards–front, a full color repro of the cover; back, review blurbs and the specs on the left, address space on the right to which you can add (preprint) your company address as the sender. They did a terrific job. IIRC, 50 were about $20. You might do fewer.. Point: the author can mail them to potential buyers, libraries, stores, reviewers, faraway friends, whoever they like. If you keep the template with Vistaprint, they can order more at their own expense. Personally, I’ve never seen much use in the objects that anybody, including your insurance company, gives away. I think,if you want something promotional, you want something that promotes the initial sale.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Many years ago I had a big marketing budget and my preferred give-away was the Parker pens… They are nice and chunky, you can get quite a bit of information on them and customers loved them!

    However, over time I came to realise that they had very little value. I’d seen customers filling in their details at a rival’s booth at an exhibition with OUR PEN! And I’d also collected a range of pens and other gifts at exhibitions and elsewhere that hadn’t persuaded me to buy from that particular supplier.

    Indeed, a couple of years ago a mate of mine invited me to an automotive exhibition in Nicosia. They gave away more gifts than I’d ever seen but I haven’t ever used one of those suppliers to my knowledge and certainly haven’t referred to the gifts to find a supplier’s details.

    My first stop for anything now is the web. I reckon you are better off focusing on your web presence and SEO than giving away gifts.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I agree with web presence and SEO suggestion. I’m told by an expert (the Mrs, currently finishing her MSc dissertation on Marketing and Digital Branding), that Facebook is the ideal target. Both she and child #1 have practical, commercial experience in this and Google ads. Email me and I’ll ask either of them to forward some more specific advice.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Gizzits the visitors at exhibitions I used to stand at called such freebies..
      The first gizzit to get would be a sponsored bag in which subsequently acquired gizzits could be placed.
      I do not believe that single order ever resulted from such largesse.
      Just a reason for a section of a marketing department to justify its existance.
      Plus the marketeers got really useful, expensive gizzits from the gizzit supplier.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m not sure that freebies is the right thing for you. I don’t choose the publisher, I choose the book, or, if I like his other work, the author.. Promotion of a popular book via social media might be good if you can get an impulse buy.

    Fridge magnets might be good for my business though. ….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree with Mark Mills here. I somehow don’t associate branded freebies with books. When I was doing marketing for Beecham (Foods/canned drinks first, then OTC medicines), we only tended to “give” stuff to the key top-end-grocery-chain buyers.

    In those days, stuff that went down well was cheap stereo cassette players, the size of an old car radio, that they could get their mechanic to bolt under the dashboard with speakers. That dates me somewhat!

    I think just try to get as strong an online presence as you can.


  5. Coasters and mouse mats are both reasonably cheap and allow tons of info. 🙂

    Another useful one would be a USB drive but they work out quite expensive.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have used every bookmarker I have ever received. It doesn’t matter if it’s leather or one made out of material similar to a visiting card.

    Don’t like anything that’s laminated Legs. Get stacks of annual reports and they’re invariably laminated, so need to be snipped with scissors before they can be torn up.

    With a bookmarker it needs to be flexible, so if you choose to run up a batch I’d suggest keeping it inexpensive. Of course you can also put a great deal of information on both sides of the marker, even date them and change their look as your stable grows.

    However I go with other commentators that Facebook and such are a far better medium for a mass market. Bookmarks better for people who like books – plus you can give a batch to bookshops or Sunday fetes or such. It’s relevant, will be appreciated and costs very little.

    Big money for web stuff, peanuts for giveaways.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. One of the most effective promotional items I’ve seen was a single sheet of paper, pre-creased and printed, so when you folded it per the instructions, it made a 3D fox shape (as it was promoting something fox-related). It must have cost at least 3p. Easy, cheap and memorable it was.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Most freebies aren’t worth it – I try and blag loads at trade shows because I need pens and t-shirts are handy – makes no impact when I’m after a vendor at which point I just do web research anyway.

    That said cheap bookmarks could well be the way to go to cross advertise books – also I’d outright buy a legiron books t-shirt or mug – but for that just shove it on spreadshirt/cafepress put a ling on your website and if people buy them huzzah if they don’t no harm.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Being the poor white trash Southern-American that I am, things like laser-etched crystal stemware and private label caviar tins just flat don’t resonate with me. However, I do have the slightest bit of culture, so here’s a few ideas….

    The Splatula – improptu BSDM appliance, or ad-hoc flyswatter, this thing can come in handy for all kinds of uses around the house.

    White-trash grifter/anti-Tokyo Drift set – our crack team of hooligan operatives will locate a Bentley, put it up on cinder-blocks (known as “breeze-blocks” to you uncultured fucks), slap some Leg Iron Books branded stickers on it, snap a pic, and then email the encrypted pic to you via “The Deep Web”. $14.95 + tax and the hooliigans get to keep the tires.

    Crow K/Croak-A-Mate set – What properly manicured British lawn would be complete without a croquet set? Don’t like the fact that your opponents are winning? Pin them down with the wickets, then beat them to death with your mallet. (Croak em’)

    Played Black In Spades – you can’t just beat someone to death with a croquet mallet and expect to leave the corpse splayed out on the lawn held down by croquet wickets. Nope…you need to put a minimum of 6 feet (2 meters) between the recently deceased and the sunshine. This little accessory to murder can help. 😉

    Certain Tea – in these uncertain times of both laws and lawlessness, who can go without their own M72 Laws Rocket? Not you. You need one of these. Really, you need one. Get one before your neighbor does.

    BREXSHITSTORMER – With all the shit-storms brewing over that way, who can do without this?
    (Optional Ricin dipped umbrella tips sold separately/available at your local KGB office)

    Interesting footnote: That umbrella? The source image originally had a “Trump Hotels” logo on it. 😛

    Good luck with whatever you actually come up with, but t-shirts, bumper-stickers and keychains are pretty much can’t miss items. Everyone has a use for those. Even the bumper stickers. Bumper stickers can sometimes come in handy in the most devious of places in the most devious and subtle of ways. Not suggesting that anyone be destructive, but sometimes, a most improperly placed piece of vinyl adhesive can be quite proper.

    ^No Mana & i_o – Bad Things (feat. Fay) [Original Mix]^

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Branded tote bags – they are visible, handy and can be used to carry stuff around in. I often get a load of free crap at events and it all gets stuffed in one of these as I’m walking round, so it’s the only thing that other people see. Plus, they are reusable and have a practical purpose so have more shelf life.


    • “The Book People set up in the lobby at work today. Have you thought of contacting them, Leggy? They seem to like book sets…”

      Have you thought of becoming a ‘Sales Agent’ for them? 😀

      You could surreptitiously slip a selection of Leg Iron books into your sales-stock portfolio, then pocket the profits! 😀 😀 😀


  11. As a recipient of many marketing freebies in a previous life, ‘cheap & tacky’ stuff gets associated with cheap & tacky organisations.

    Keyrings – I’ve got a car & use one keyring, so I’ve enough left over for a car boot sale.

    Mugs – bulky/heavy/costly to distribute, and I’ve got just one gob, so the surplus accumulate at the back of the cupboard.

    What about printed ‘Post-it’ type notes? Inexpensive, light/cheap to distribute, useful (!) – printed with your logo & message, they’re designed to be stuck where the recipient wants/needs to see them.



  12. Nowadays you need to be on Amazon, Farcebook and sort out your SEO.

    The rest is just a waste of money nobody uses them for choosing books.

    The only other suggestion is a single printed sheet popped in each order with a list of your books and some selected comments/overviews wouldn’t go amiss. I do read them and see if there is anything else I would buy.

    The rest is just money down the drain imo.


  13. Yes, umbrellas is good! Specially in Manchester. It rains a lot over there. Sometimes you can’t see it from Thelwall Viaduct, for the rainclouds.

    When you go a bit further up the pecking order of publishers (and now that you DO have a web page!) Sponsorship of a motor racing team might be good. When I was doing advertising at JWT forUnilever brands in the early 80s, we “got” Denim (I don’t think it exists any more) onto the Williams F1 cars for, I think, £650,000 a year. Bascally, we paid for two cars in full. We got the entire car sides and the “tailplane”! it did the brand no end of good at the time….

    Yes, and it would be far more expensive now, but maybe a small team starting out, for a few hundred, might help a bit from the TV coverage. The Raven logo would be good on white/yellow/orange cars. But clearly rather further in the future for you.

    Much better than gizzits though.


    • Might take a while to get to that level 😉

      There are a few local football teams though, and while they don’t get TV coverage, they do have Farcebok pages and post photos of their ground – which have lots of ads. Could be worth looking into.


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