Getting simple and nice items alongside the books you have ordered always results in a good purchase. That’s why when putting your book out for sale, partnering with a trusted fulfillment house is recommended. Juliet Clark explores how this service is beneficial to book authors with Alyson Landis, CEO of Inkcentric Corp. Alyson talks about their work providing all types of customized items that go well with books, from mugs and bags printed with personalized logos to eye-catching shirts with slogans that will make you look twice. She also discusses how they come up with these incredible tokens by sitting down with clients and brainstorming all kinds of interesting ideas together.
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Is A Fulfillment House Right For Your Book?
We have another great guest. It is a little bit different than what we have had in the past, but you will enjoy it. For those of you who are entrepreneurs and are putting together swag bags as Merrill Chandler did with his, you are going to get some great insight. Before we get started, have you subscribed to Breakthrough Author Magazine? You can go over and get your free subscription.
It is free in 2022 at www.BreakthroughAuthorMagazine.com. What are you going to get in it? You are going to get interviews, find out about market trends, meet a couple of the authors that all of us contributors have worked with, and find out about their books, why they wrote their books, the number one, and where to buy their books. There is a lot going on. It is pretty short and a great read. We understand nobody has an attention span these days, but you will get a lot.
We talk about Buy Boxes. If you don’t know what an Amazon Buy Box is and what it does to your book, you need to know because you could be getting scammed over there. Don’t forget to go over and subscribe on YouTube, Superbrand Publishing. We are over on Rumble as well now. You can find us under the Promote Profit Publish Podcast.
Our guest is Alyson Landis. I have to tell you something. It is so funny. I lived in Santa Clarita, California for many years. She is in the same town and I never met her, which is hilarious when you understand how small Santa Clarita used to be. Alyson Landis has had a career journey that truly started right out of high school. While she was going to college, she worked in the front office of a commercial photographer.
She handled accounting and customer service but was also asked to do sales. She let them know loudly about her lack of sales training. They threw the yellow pages at her and said, “Go for it.” That is true telemarketing. You either sink or swim. Not to age herself, but Google didn’t exist then, so that is why the yellow phone book. Do people still get those? What a waste of paper.
What she did was she wrote herself a spiel, picked up the phone, started making cold calls, and found that it worked. From photography, she moved into prepress and then into printing. She got training in the best of all areas of marketing. Inkcentric, her company, started in 2000, and she took over full ownership in 2008. That was also the year she became a corporation and a female-owned business.
She has digital equipment up through offset printing, which means she can be cost-effective at 100 business cards but also at 100,000 if they need to be. She has got a huge scope of what they can print there. In addition to printing, they also offer promotional products with a fantastic search engine on their site, as well as graphic design, warehousing fulfillment, and all of the embroidered or silkscreen apparel needs that you could want. That brings us back. First of all, welcome.
Thank you for having me.
The reason that I had you on was to talk about fulfillment. A lot of authors don’t understand what fulfillment is and how it can help them. Tell us a little bit about what you do in that area.
First of all, thank you for the awesome introduction. I appreciate it. Fulfillment is truly the act of sending for you, meaning we have the staff in the warehouse and the capability to print. We even don’t have to print if you would like to supply us with the books to keep in the warehouse, keep an inventory going, and ship out as needed. A neat feature of us is we are not limited to USPS.
We also use FedEx, UPS, and any shipping company you would like us to use. DHL is also a good one. We prefer using the companies with tracking capabilities, so we can give you then the tracking information to get back and forth. You can watch your project go and start from the beginning to the end. Even USPS now has a smart barcode, and you can have access to the different points that your package makes it to.
It is taking the work away from you. Let’s let everybody else focus on their creativity and what they need to do. This is our job. This is what we do when it comes to fulfillment. Also, during the pandemic, we introduced swag bags and swag flats. What we can do, especially when it comes to authors, is in addition to your book, we can send a t-shirt with it.
We can do a welcome kit for them, which could include a pen, postcard, brochure, and folder. The sky is the limit. The fun part about the fulfillment is whether it is a box or an envelope, we have got you covered. We can also do custom-printed boxes and envelopes. When people are receiving your gift, book, merchandise, or whatever it may be, they know exactly who it is from as they receive it.
That is so important. It is interesting about all your different shipping methods because one of the things we run into when we have books shipped to our clients is that we have to send it via Trackable because usually, it is such a big dollar amount. They always complain about the price of shipping, but we can’t send 100 books out USPS. If they get lost, you end up taking the loss on that. It is interesting that you do that too.
To give you an example, Merrill Chandler, even though he did not go with Inkcentric, has a large staff. He did this himself. Every time somebody ordered a book with a free shipping book funnel, he sent out the book and a t-shirt. His book was called The New F* Word. The t-shirt said, “Are you f*able?” It was great. He has a great sense of humor and a great marketing team. That is the thing where you can send out mugs and t-shirts. Do you silkscreen the mugs as well? What things do you send up that are silkscreened besides t-shirts?
We can with the mugs. Each product has a different type of printing mechanism to it or a different printing process. Mugs are either pad printed or dye-sublimated printed. If you have four or more colors, we can do dye-sub, which is neat. We can go all the way around the mug. When it comes to silkscreen and embroidery, it is any apparel that you can think of.
The sky is the limit for us. We have even done the tush of sweat pants before. We can even do up and down the leg of the sweatpants. When it comes to embroidery, it is anything, whether it is polos or gift bags. Blankets are a big one with everybody doing outdoor events. We can do the roll-up blankets with your logo on the inside.A fun slogan on a shirt will keep people talking about you. That’s what every fulfillment house wants to achieve: create simple items that would serve as conversation starters. Click To Tweet
It is all about promoting your business, book, or whatever it is in the end. When it comes to promotional products, we like to think of the things that are used the most often. That is what will be kept and thought of forever. What we want is to have that logo on a bottle opener. If somebody throws them into a drawer in the kitchen four years from now and continues to use it, they are like, “Where did I get this? I remember exactly where I got this. This was so neat.” It is the gifts that keep on giving by the products that we like to offer.
For those of you who don’t know what a free shipping book funnel is, it is a webpage where they can go over and purchase your book. You have seen them advertised on Facebook. I don’t see them so much on LinkedIn. It will be a funnel that says something like, “The Social Soul, get the book for free. You pay for shipping.” That is the book we are releasing.
Let me tell you the secret behind that. You don’t go out of pocket on it because the shipping cost is the shipping plus the wholesale price of the book since you have already purchased the book. Oftentimes, there is an additional box that you can check, “Would you like a swag bag or a free course with that?” There is nothing that accentuates what personalized customer service you have with your book.
Remember that book is not your main product. It is a nurture tool. When you turn around, they order this book and use fulfillment to send out a swag bag, you have not only kept yourself in front of a potential client for a long time, like if the mug is on their desk and they are using it every day, but you have also exhibited, “I have great customer service. I care. I want things out there.”
Working with someone like Alyson on a project like this can be extraordinary for you. Alyson, let’s say that I brought you my book Pitchslapped and you said, “Would you make suggestions?” Do you do consulting and say, “For Pitchslapped, I would get a giant hand thingy. You should send back so you can slap people around.” Would you talk to them a little bit about their business and what they are trying to achieve?
We have done the number one foam fingers before. That is immediately what I think of for Pitchslapped. That is where we are different than the online companies. We are actual people that you will speak to prior to placing the order. We love to get the entire idea about the book, your company, or whatever it is that we are helping to promote, so we then can come back to you with different ideas. We have a website and a full search engine on the website if people are interested in using that.
You can be specific about the amount of your budget. Type all of that in, and ideas will come back to you. What we like to do is to have a one-on-one conversation and get to know what you are looking for. We will come back to you with ideas of the highest selling products or the most responded to products.
Whatever you are looking to get is where we can come from. Even the “Are you f*able?” shirt is hilarious. A fun slogan like that on the shirt is great because it will keep people talking. Imagine if I was wearing that shirt as we were talking, it would be a conversation starter, which is, at the end of the day, what we are all looking for.
Another fun giveaways are pens. Pens are one of the top three promotional product giveaways. 1) Everybody is still using a pen, and 2) They are affordable and shippable. We can easily stick a pen in with a book and not even change the shipping cost on that at all. We are hip and up-to-date about weight, things going through the mail, what mail is the best, and what ship is the best. To answer your question, we would love to help and give ideas back and forth. That is the best way that we work.
I love what she is talking about here. What does f*able stand for? It is not what you think. It is fundable. Are you fundable? He is a credit expert. You should go check him out. It is GetFundable.com. I have used him and had amazing results with what he has done with my business credit. Another thing that you are good at is you are having an event and you want to give out a swag bag with your book to those VIP people who paid for that extra ticket. There is a branded bag that you can do a couple of things with. It not only has the company that is on there. It looks like it has some sponsors.
The great thing about this bag is it is a stadium. As we know nowadays, when you are going to big events, they want you to have a clear bag so they can see what is inside. That is the idea with this one. This was our customer and these are sponsors that went with them. The best thing about these bags is they are reusable. I don’t know about everybody, but here in California, you are almost frowned upon if you walk into a grocery store without a reusable bag. That is what’s great about these.
In addition, we also have canvas bags, which are wonderfully reusable as well. We have paper bags. This is what we did for Galpin Aston Martin. There is an actual foil on there. We have these fun tote bags. These are great to throw on your back or over the shoulder. We can do printing on the front and back. The sky is the limit when it comes to tote bags, bags, backpacks, or anything along those lines. While we are at it, there is an embroidered hat that we did for the Pandemic of Positivity, which is an amazing group of folks, and here is another one for Automotive World.
Remember, in California, you can steal up to $900 without being prosecuted. Why not have that clear bag, walk out of the store, and let people see exactly what your $900 equals?
We are letting inmates out early here because of COVID. We have got that going on as well. These stress toys have been such a big hit.
Can you design your own or do you have a catalog you can choose from?
When it comes to the talking guys, we have a catalog that you can choose from. There is a regular fan. You can customize the message in the blades. We can have the title of the book and the author. There are 18 different sections and 10 characters each. This is so much fun. These have been a big hit as well. Why not fan yourself as you watch your name going by?
This is the stuff I get at a lot of events. When I have a bag, I will get a book and have one of those water things because they are constantly trying to keep people hydrated as well. Are you doing masks like everybody?
We have done tons of masks. That was interesting. At the beginning of the pandemic, it was almost not appropriate to talk about mask use for marketing purposes, but now, masks are here to stay. We know that and it is a great way to reward your client and push your business at the same time. We are all wearing them, so why not have a cute little logo on the side promoting your book? Going back to the, “Are you f*able?” Everybody would ask about that. It is such a great tagline. That is what you want, “Are you f*able?” No, I’m fundable. I love that part.
It is a good point to bring these up. Water bottles are still all the rage. We have travel coffee as well. That is fun to go with a book. Why not hand-in-hand? There are custom glasses. When you have your logo on the side of them, it is tons of fun. Another big one is journals. Everybody is looking for it, especially at the beginning of 2022. It is a great time to get started and keep journaling all of your notes and everything in there. Last but not least is business cards. People are still passing them out.
There are also postcards for direct mail. As we are talking about fulfillment, direct mail is still a great way to reach your clients. These are postcards that we do for Galpin Motors, which is an automotive dealership over here. We have them send in their photo and we do the design. The backside is a little bit more information. People love to hear from you, especially the ones that are still at home. It is a great way to break up the day, go to the mailbox, and see what has come in for you. Statistically, direct mail is a fantastic way to go.
I hope you are jotting down some ideas. For that whole journal thing, I have a mastermind I belong to. Every time we go, we get a brand new journal. He doesn’t even put the mastermind name on it. It is just a pretty nice journal. Those are the things, especially if you are someone who is in the self-help industry. It is something people can write in while they are at the event. I’m a huge note-taker when I’m at events. Alyson, this has been amazing. How do we get ahold of you?
My phone number is (818) 885-0831. Email is fantastic as well. I am Alyson@Inkcentric.com. I am also on LinkedIn. We are on social media as well. We have a website at Inkcentric.com. If you click on Promotional Products, that search engine is there. Otherwise, give me a call or an email. I love to meet new people and help people achieve their goals. I am all about marketing. For any questions you would have, please come to me. I appreciate your time, Juliet. This has been awesome.
- Superbrand Publishing – YouTube
- Promote Profit Publish Podcast – Rumble
- The New F* Word
- The Social Soul
- Galpin Aston Martin
- Pandemic of Positivity
- Automotive World
- Galpin Motors
- LinkedIn – Alyson Landis
About Alyson Landis
My career journey truly started right out of high school. While going to college, I worked the front office for a commercial photographer. I handled accounting and customer service but was asked to do sales. I let them know about my lack of sales training and they threw the yellow pages at me and said Go for it! (Not to age myself but Google did NOT exist then.). So I wrote myself a spiel and picked up the phone to start making cold calls. And it worked!
From photography I moved into prepress and then into printing, giving me the best training at all areas of marketing. Inkcentric started in 2000 and I took over full ownership in 2008. That year we also became a corporation and a female-owned business.
We have digital equipment up through offset, which means we can be cost effective at 100 business cards but also 100,000, if need be.
In addition to printing, we also offer all promotional products with a fantastic search engine on our site. As well as graphic design, warehousing & fulfillment and all of your embroidered or silk-screened apparel needs.