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    5 Rules for Buying Custom Products

    5 Rules for Buying Custom Products

    Customized promotional products are a great way to obtain brand visibility with your ideal clients but it can be hard to decide on high volume/low price versus lower volume/high quality. Here’s 5 reasons you should choose high quality products over cheap junk.

    Product quality will be equated to your brand’s quality.

    If you give a potential client a product that doesn’t function or breaks quickly, they’ll associate that poor quality item with your company, whether consciously or subconsciously.

    Potential clients are more likely to use a product they would buy for themselves.

    Your branding is a lot more likely to see the light of day if the product is one the client would buy and use even without your brand name on it and will therefore choose to use out in the "real world."

    An item that lasts will provide brand exposure for a longer period of time.

    Quality products remain functioning and in the recipient’s possession longer, increasing the chances of the product fulfilling its ultimate purpose of brand exposure.

    A cheap item is much more likely to wind up in the trash.

    People are far more likely to throw out something they see as having little value. That means that even if you spent very little on the product, that money was still wasted.

    Trashy products make poor ‘Thank You’ gifts and charity donations.

    It reflects badly on your brand if your customized products make you look like a cheapskate when your generosity matters most.

    Using good quality promotional items personalized with your business name is a staple of brand marketing, but it pays to think about the message you're conveying. If your clients and customers are likely to us a water bottle, check out our custom Clean Bottle program to help seal the deal or to promote brand loyalty.

    Fruit Infusions for Athletes

    Fruit Infusions for Athletes

    Lets face it, drinking plain water isn’t always the most enticing way to get your fluids.  But maintaining personal hydration while exercising is critically important! Try the following fruit infusions in your water to take your athletic performance to the next level!


    Running: Strawberry, Lemon, and Basil
    Fruit Infusion for RunningPlain water can get boring after a while and only contains small amounts of the electrolytes lost during exercise. Adding electrolytes and minerals to help rehydration is important after times of high-intensity exercise or lots of sweating.  Strawberries and lemons are especially high in electrolytes but if you're looking for some additional electrolyte reinforcement, try adding a teaspoon of salt to a 25 ounce serving.

    Cycling: Citrus and Cilantro
    Fruit Infusion for Cycling
    Citrus fruits, such as lemons, limes, and oranges not only pack delicious flavor, but contain chemicals to settle the stomach and promote hydration during the extended efforts cycling requires.  The cilantro helps balance flavor while adding a dash of color to your infusion!  If you aim to satisfy your sweet tooth then add 10-15 grams of stevia leaf, a zero calorie natural sweetener!

    Hiking: Rosemary and Grapefruit
    Fruit Infusion for hiking
    Grapefruit has a sweeter taste than some other citrus fruits out there, and provides a fantastic change of pace especially when paired with the refreshing bright taste of rosemary which helps battle the inflammation you body experiences on a long hike.

    Soccer: Orange and Blueberry
    Fruit Infusion for soccer
    Once again the power of citrus is revealed!  During a soccer game the average player runs four to five miles, so fueling up on electrolytes is absolutely key. Also, who doesn’t love the nostalgia that comes along with the orange slices we used to have at youth soccer games?

    Basketball: Watermelon and Mint
    Fruit infusion for basketball
    Watermelon is high in glucose, an easy to digest natural sugar, and basketball requires a mix of endurance and explosive power to succeed, which fits glucose to a T.  The mint adds anti-inflammatory properties and rounds out a delicious flavor profile.

    4 Reasons to Ditch Your Disposable Water Bottle

    4 Reasons to Ditch Your Disposable Water Bottle

    1. Save Money!
    Bottled water costs 300-2,000 times more than tap water.  One gallon of tap water costs $.002 per gallon while a gallon of bottled water costs $1.22.  To put that in perspective, drinking 8 glasses of water EVERY DAY for a year comes in at $.50 while the same daily usage of bottles water costs $1,400!

    2. Environmental Cost 
    Transporting bottles water is not easy.  Due to water’s high density, transportation, processing, and refrigeration requires over 50 million barrels of oil, enough to fuel 1 million cars for a year.  Imagine one quarter of a bottled water filled with oil, thats how much is required to produce and deliver a single bottle of water.  Moreover, 80% of single use plastic bottles end up in landfills instead of recycling centers, and decomposition takes at least 450 years.

    3. Public Health Concerns
    Bottled water does not require anywhere near the same levels of regulation as tap water.  Ironically, nearly 40% of bottled water comes from municipal water systems.  In other words, although bottles water is literally exactly the same as tap water, it costs up to 2000% more and comes out of tax payer’s pockets to begin with!  The only time the FDA regulates bottle water safety is when sold across state lines, and that only comprises 30-40% of all bottled water sales.  What this means is a disturbingly large percentage (22% according to one study) of bottled water violates state health limits.  The majority of disposable plastic bottles contain BPA which has been shown to interfere with hormonal levels and reproductive dysfunction.

    4. Convenience 
    Once you make carrying a reusable water bottle around a habit, you will notice how readily available water sources are!  Save yourself repeated trips to the store by making the switch.  If you are skeptical of tap water’s safety, please remember utility company’s are legally required to test water purity for hundreds of chemicals every month.  And if you are still wary then feel free to make an inquiry into your municipal water utility and they will be able to provide you with their certification.  

    5 Things Learned From an Unexpected Press Hit

    5 Things Learned From an Unexpected Press Hit

    As a small business owner you dream about the day when you get great publicity that will take your brand to the next level. Maybe it’s a tweet from a famous celebrity, maybe it’s going on  Shark Tank, maybe it’s running around in a giant mascot suit.  Sometimes you know about these moments beforehand and can prepare for them, but sometimes they just come out of the blue, like what happened to us recently.

    The background: Two weeks ago, Tim Ferriss, author of NYT Bestseller The 4 Hour Workweek mentioned The Square by Clean Bottle in his “5 Bullet Friday” email which he sends weekly to his 2 million newsletter subscribers. When we found out, here’s what our office looked like:

    5 things we learned from a surprise press hit

    That’s us watching our website visitor list hit 20K visitors in just 2 hours! By 4pm, we had more than doubled that and over the course of that day and the following week we would go on to get hundreds of orders and nearly 100K viewers to our website!

    We’ve been asked how we landed that kind of press, and the truth is it just fell in our lap, sort of...  We’ve been long time followers of Tim Ferriss, so 3 years ago when we launched our Stainless Steel Square we decided to send him one.  We blindly sent a sample to his office with a quick note just telling him we were fans and the quick story of Clean Bottle.  We never heard back from him, no surprise there, he’s a busy guy, but we did notice a photo of him about 6 months later carrying our bottle, apparently he liked it.  And given his shout-out in this email, apparently he’s still a fan!  Lesson learned: never shy away from sending out a free sample to an influencer, you never know who might turn into a big fan.


    Here are the top 5 things we learned from this surprise press hit:

  • 1) Be ready to drop everything you’re doing.
  • Sure, we all had a busy day of work planned out for ourselves. In a small start-up like ours, time is your most valuable asset. But when we started noticing something special was happening, we realized our previously set plans were going out the window.  We called a quick 5minute all-hands meeting and divvied up tasks.  Our marketing guy was in charge of manning the website, our head of operations was fielding the incoming emails, our sales guy was handling our customer service phone, and we were all covering each other’s backs.  When you get a big press hit, it’s important to prioritize. You may have a full inbox, but that can wait. The buzz you’re getting from the exposure won’t last forever, so seize the moment.


    2) Make sure you have tracking pixels in place on your website.

    What is a “tracking pixel”? A tracking pixel is a small snippet of code that you add to your website so that you can keep track of who has visited your website.  You won’t know their name or any specifics, but it’s enough to be able to target them later with ads or posts on Facebook.

    If you’ve been thinking about installing a tracking pixel, either for Facebook, Web Retargeting (we use Adroll), or Google Analytics, but haven’t done it yet. DO IT NOW!  You definitely don’t want to get caught unaware and not be able to capitalize on the unexpected web traffic.  

    Having tracking pixels in place will let you re-market back to all those visitors who came to your site but didn’t order.  Maybe their boss walked in while they were browsing the web, maybe they forgot their wallet at home, or maybe they got distracted by a cat video (high possibility here). There will be lots of people looking at your website with every intention of ordering but don’t, and you don’t want to lose them. Tacking Pixels give you a way of putting your goods or services back in front of them so you can catch them at a better time for purchasing.  If we hadn’t had our pixels in place ahead of time we would have missed out on a TON of sales that we were able to make in the following days.


    3) Make sure you are capturing emails!

    Similar to #2, you’re going to get tons of traffic to your site of potential customers, but they won’t all buy at the exact moment. That means you need a way to get them to give you their email so that you can reach back out to them via email later.  A pop-up window is the most common way to do this.  We use a $3 OFF coupon for signing up to our newsletter.  That may not sound like a lot but it equates to about a 25% discount when you purchase a bottle.  Countless people will sign up to get this coupon but end up not ordering.  That means you can now reach out to them at a later date when they really are ready to order.  When you’re generating a buzz, make sure you can email people again afterwards.


    4) Monitor your site.

    About an hour into the frenzy we noticed that all of a sudden orders had stopped coming in.   We had been getting an order every minute or two for the past few hours, and now we were going 8 to 9 minutes between orders.  At first we thought the rush had passed, but then we had a customer call in saying they were having trouble checking out.  It turned out there was a glitch in the website that wasn’t allowing customers to enter their email address and therefore couldn’t complete the checkout process.  Every minute we were down we were not only losing money but also giving customers a bad first experience with our brand.  We quickly got our eCommerce provider (Shopify) both on the phone and on Live Chat as a backup.  It turned out it wasn’t just us, but was more of a systemic problem (perfect timing). We described our situation and our urgency and they moved us to the front of the queue and got us back up and running quickly.  When you’ve got a lot of traffic to your site, make sure to keep an eye out for anything that doesn’t seem right.


    5)  Prepare to be dynamic.

    On his email, Tim had linked readers  directly to the product page for our Green Square, which was great.  There’s nothing better for conversions than sending people directly to a product page. Unfortunately, it just so happened that we were nearly out of stock of that color. Within an hour, we were out! This meant that we had thousands of people landing on a page that read Out of Stock.  We realized that we couldn’t change the link Tim had put in his email; however, what we could do was build in a re-direct to push people over to another page with products that we DID have!  We quickly edited our website to automatically re-direct visitors to the page where they could buy our in-stock Blue Square.  That little change saved us from potentially losing hundreds of sales.  Always make sure you have someone on staff who knows their way around your website!


    Thanks for reading, and hopefully some of the lessons we learned can help you when you get your next surprise press hit!  And be sure to follow our blog (you can sign up here) to read our next article on how we’re capitalizing on this hit and what we’re doing to keep the momentum going!



    The Clean Bottle Team

    A (fairly) Recent Grad's Guide for Back to School Shopping

    A (fairly) Recent Grad's Guide for Back to School Shopping

    The Summer is drawing to a close which for many of you means you, or someone you know, will be heading back to school. This can be an exciting time, a sad time or even a little bit of a scary time; often a little of each. Many of us have made the mistakes of grabbing a campus checklist and feeling the need to get every. single. item. on the list, only to move in and realize you brought WAY too much stuff. Even worse, you find out you don't have something you actually need.

    There are plenty of lists out there that have all of the obvious items needed (like right here), but there are some understated, yet vitally important, items you might want to check out. Here's my guide of items you definitely want to consider when going back to school. 


    Surge Protector & Extension Cords

    Trust me, there will never be enough outlets for all your products that need electricity, and lets be honest no one wants to crawl under their bed to the outlet to switch plugs. Therefor a surge protector, or two (maybe even a third) are absolute must haves. I recommend at least two because when you think about it you'll need outlets for your phone charger, laptop charger, alarm clock, TV, and mini-fridge, maybe a video game consol, hair dryer and who knows what else. Plus you've got to factor in that you probably have roommates who will have a lot of the same things.

    While the old standard surge protectors typically have 6 outlet slots you'll find they fill up fast plus certain plugs are inconveniently designed and block multiple outlet from being used; I'm talking about you Mac Book charger!

    Surge protectors have come a long way in recent years and can be found with a variety of new features. Below is a durable option which even has USB ports and won't break the bank!

    HOLSEM Outlets Surge Protector Power Strip($19)



    Backpacks & Bags

    Now this should seem like a no brainer; everyone has gotten a backpack for school since you started 1st grade. Except for your parents or grandparents who, as I'm sure you've heard, walked 4 miles to and from school, up hill both ways, in the snow, carrying their books by hand. ;) They didn't have backpacks of course.

    Us youngins, have been using backpacks since we could tie our shoes and I'm telling you one backpack may not be enough, or you may not have the right type of bag for your needs. Of course backpacks are typically used for carrying your school supplies to and from class or the library but you'll find bags are extremely useful for other things as well. While in school I had my school bag for carrying my laptop and books, then I had my sports bag which was used for all my track gear or I use it for going to the gym or intramural sports. It also came in handy when heading home for the weekend or going on a weekend adventure as its large carrying capacity could fit all the clothes I needed. Last but certainly not least were all my drawstring bags which proved valuable on Friday and Saturday nights. Best part about drawstring bags is that they are rather inexpensive so if you lose one at a house party you'll probably be more upset about what was in the bag than the bag itself. 

    Point is, a versatile main backpack may be the best option; one that can adequately carry you school stuff with out damaging anything but also has a big enough capacity for clothes and athletic gear. On top of that I highly recommend a few drawstring bags as well!

     We've got a few recommendations for some great options below!

    KAUKKO Travel Backpack Laptop Schoolbag for Men and Women ($47)

    Drawstring Bags ($6)


    Air Freshener

     Let's be honest, sometimes you smell; your room will definitely smell too. You may not think it does and maybe you can't tell but I promise you everyone else can. With multiple people spending the majority of their time in a small confined box; your collective smelliness will accumulate, and no amount of "leaving the window open" will air out your room enough. Also I'm sure you don't want a girl or guy you are interested in to come by and be able to smell all the dirty cloths you threw in your closet, 5 seconds before they came. Do everyone a favor and pick up some of these. Small, easy to use, and they will make your room smell pretty good without being overpowering. 

    Glade Solid Air Freshener, Clean Linen, 6-Ounce (Pack of 6) ($14)


    Slippers or easy Slip-on Shoes

    Slippers or slip on shoes are perfect footwear for quick activities or early morning meals. Need to hit the bathroom or visiting a friend on a different floor, slippers are an easier and more comfortable option. I even used mine to drag my aching body to the dining hall for brunch on those dreary Sundays before making my way to a study room to try and catch up on work.

    I know some of you will try to brave it by walking barefoot to the bathroom or even to walk around the dorm hall. I'm telling you, unless your halls are carpeted, don't do it! Floors are gross and dirt sticks to feet and those feet go all over your bed. Don't drag bathroom grossness into your bed, just don't.

    Check out these options: they look enough like shoes to prevent you from looking weird when you inevitably wear them to the dining hall.

    Men's Suede Moccasin Slippers ($30)

    Women's Molly Slipper ($22-50)


    Clean Bottle Square

    Reusable water bottles: cheaper than buying bottled water and remarkably convenient. It's no secret college kids aren't the best at cleaning bottles until things get dire. One bottle for the gym and your powder mixes, another for class, and probably a few for weekend nighttime activities, if you're into those sort of things. Let's be honest, not all of us are on top of cleaning out our bottles and after a while strange smells and mold start to form. You don't want to be staring down a moldy bottle, on a Friday night having to make the difficult decision of sucking it up and using it anyway, or running out to buy a different one.

    The square bottle however makes cleaning easier so on the rare occasion you do clean it, you can reach the bottom and get in there good so there won't be any lingering smells or odd tastes. Also the fruit infuser module makes a phenomenal shaker for protein powders. Seriously, try it!

    Additionally, the square shape will prevent you from chasing your bottle when you drop it as you sprint to the exam you almost slept through, nor will it send you on a scavenger hunt, if tipped over while under your desk in class. 

    Lastly, it just looks cool and you'll find it makes for a great conversation starter, so making new friends will become much easier for you

    Clean Bottle Tritan Square ($15)