After another battle between the titans in the SEC and ACC, the college football season has come to an end.
If you're like me, though, you'll still go on for months about that no-call that was an obvious past interference, or maybe you're an Army fan who will still brag to your civilian friends about the 70-point beatdown they dished out.
But wherever your loyalties lie, we all share one common enemy (no, not the SEC): the off-season.
To get you through, I’ve put together a list of eight things you can do this off-season to keep you busy until tailgates begin again.
1. Keep an eye on the incoming recruiting class.
Check out the ESPN Top 300 incoming class. Congrats, Oregon! If you're a Virginia Tech fan like me, at least we got #199. And remember, National Signing Day is Feb. 6.
2. Stock up on discounted memorabilia.
All of your favorite team's merchandise will soon be discounted as retailers rush to get rid of inventory. So snag those jerseys and caps for next season!
3. Prep for the Big Game and pro playoffs.
Even if you don't follow pro football, everyone loves an excuse to barbecue and forget about work. So find an NFL-loving friend and tag along.
None of your friends’ teams made the playoffs? There are two teams you can join: The Patriots, or the Anyone-But-The-Patriots. The Big Game is Feb. 2, so start learning some fun facts about Drew Brees, Tyreke Hill, or how to say Bill Belichick five times fast.
4. Go crazy for March Madness.
Ah, the season for frantically filling out brackets and searching “Warren Buffet 1 billion dollar prize.” Here’s a word from the wise: Grab a second or third monitor now, so no one questions you in March when you have you have your email up on one screen, a spreadsheet on another, and a muted game of Zion Williamson windmill-dunking a breakaway on the third.
5. Follow spring games.
Did they move the redshirt QB to WR? Who's getting benched? Is our first team red or white? All questions that are ... sort of answered.
6. Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!
Whether you’re a Fighting Irish fan or not, you’re not a real college football fan if you don't love a Cinderella story. Relive the players throwing their jerseys on Dan Devine’s desk. I’m tearing up just thinking about that sack...
When you’ve already rummaged through nostalgic bowl games and have memorized every line from "Friday Night Lights" (no shame), know this: “Last Chance U” was renewed for a fourth season and comes out in July.
8. Get hyped for next season.
Off-season is a time of overzealous optimism, so don’t miss you chance to say things like, "Next year is our year for sure!” or "The Hokies will win the ACC, easy!" Anything is possible ... in theory.
Guest blogger Khal Clary is a lifelong Virginia Tech football fan and a part-time business school student. He has worked at Magnets USA for three years and counting, learning the ins-and-outs of various departments.
If your open houses are starting to feel a little bland, we have a couple of ideas to spice things up!
Fill a basket with small, branded gifts
Give your guests what they want — free stuff! Place a basket on the kitchen counter that's filled with small, useful gifts, like our stainless steel Box & Bottle Openers or our SuperScraper XL. They’re both extremely handy, high-quality freebies that your guests will appreciate and use every day — and see your business while doing it.
The bottle opener has a strong magnetic back, so it can be displayed on the fridge (a.k.a. more brand awareness!). It's available in house- or arc-shaped, and in stainless steel or powder-coated black or white.
The SuperScraper XL is our newest product. It's made from tough nylon plastic and is specially designed to scrape countertops, pans, glass dishes, wire racks, windshields and more.
Host a Giveaway
Have visitors sign up for your email or mailing list for a chance to win an eye-catching gift, like our LifeLong Gifts Cheese Knife Set or Keepsake Wine Box (each engraved with your business information). Display the giveaway piece next to tasty snack items, like cheese, crackers and fruit.
The Cheese Knife Set is crafted from durable, food-safe stainless steel. The unique hallow blades help soft cheese from sticking, and the forked tips can be used for picking up meat and fruit.
The Keepsake Wine Box includes a stainless steel drip collar, bottle stopper, aerator/pourer and corkscrew with bottle opener. The engraved medallion on the front is engraved with a friendly message and your business information.
We believe our Personalized Inserts are a critical part of your marketing mail-out. Whether you're sending out calendars (all of our calendars have a matching insert!), sports schedules or notepads, including an insert is an amazing way to put a face — and a personality — to your name.
But they can also do so much more.
When done right, Personalized Inserts can connect with recipients, turn prospects into paying clients and encourage referrals. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Here at Magnets USA, we don't believe in just selling products. We strive to educate our customers on why and how to use them to generate more leads and foster client loyalty. In other words, we want our products to help grow your business!
Here are a few resources to help you get the most from your Magnets USA sports schedules, calendars and more:
Does the thought of coming up with a yearly marketing plan make your head spin? This one is for you:
Suggested Yearly Marketing Plan
Want to see how our Magnetic Football Schedules can boost your business? Learn more, and see which type of football schedule is right for you:
Football Schedules 101
If you recently ordered a sports schedule from us, here are nine creative ways to get them out in your community:
Sports Schedule Marketing 101
When you're ready to design your Magnets USA product, our photo tips guide is a must-read:
It's June, which means our famous Tear-Off Magnetic Calendars are coming soon! Be ready for launch with this helpful guide:
Calendar Marketing 101
Have a custom design in mind? Avoid these common design mistakes:
Common Design Mistakes
FROM WORST SEAT TO BEST
Way in the back, behind a pole, sat Donnie Martin, Magnets USA chief operating officer. It was the middle of a long day at the SuiteWorld Convention in Las Vegas, and he was exhausted.
But then he received a text that turned things around. It was from Jay Forrester, Magnets USA IT director, who was also at the convention.
"I have a surprise for you," the text read. "Tomorrow Magnets USA will be announced as the winner of the YourSuite Award."
The YourSuite Award recognizes a company with "the most innovative and impactful solution using the SuiteCloud platform," according to Evan Goldberg, executive vice president of development for Oracle NetSuite.
Donnie couldn't believe it. After months of transitioning Magnets USA to NetSuite, a cloud-based business management software by Oracle, the hard work was paying off.
The following day, Donnie and Jay had front-row seats in the 4,500-person audience.
"I guess that's what was so funny to me," Donnie says. "[Going from the worst seat to the best] was what much of this project has been like — full of highs and lows."
DRIVEN BY INNOVATION
As Magnets USA was named the winner ahead of Uruguay company UES, Donnie and Jay took the stage to receive the award.
"Being recognized by NetSuite against some of the best companies out there lets us know we are heading in the right direction," Jay says. "We've led the way in marketing innovation for the real estate industry since the 1990s, and now we're extending that energy into technology. Not only will we continue to to be the leader in product innovations, but also customer service and manufacturing efficiency."
A TEAM EFFORT
Donnie and Jay will be the first to tell you they can't take credit for the award. This was a team effort. Every department has had to drastically alter what "business as usual" means to them.
"I am incredibly proud of the work that everyone has done to implement and start using this software," says Jennifer Beishir, Magnets USA programs manager. "Change can be trying, but everyone has stepped up their game and worked so hard to make it happen."
When Donnie looks at the award, he doesn't gawk at the crystal or nice etching.
"I see the sacrifices so many on our team have made — time away from their families — to make this transition happen."
Earning the YourSuite award isn't an end result for Magnets USA — it is motivation to keep improving.
"The capabilities for growth ... will change the nature of our business," Beishir says. "It’s exciting to think about, and I can’t wait to see what happens."
Donnie presents the YourSuite award to the company earlier this week.
Watch the announcement:
Score a front-row seat on every fridge in your area by sending out our famous Magnetic Football Schedules. With millions of Americans following a college, pro or high school team, football schedules cater to a supportive and appreciative audience. In turn, this creates a sense of community, as well as loyalty toward your brand.
Pro tip: Complete your mailing with a football-themed insert (in the photo above) and a football envelope for ultimate impact.
Open up the conversation with Magnetic Box & Bottle Openers. Here's what you need to know about this handy gift: It's a high-quality stainless steel bottle opener that also opens boxes, and each one is personalized with your branding, so recipients always know who to call.
Pro tip: Pass them out at tailgates and local games, or use them as fun referral gifts.
Rack up new leads by hosting a giveaway for our LifeLong Gifts Gourmet Grilling Set. This incredible gift features a heavy-gauge stainless steel tongs, spatula (with a built-in bottle opener) and fork. It's also engraved with your name and logo.
Pro tip: Display one at your next open house for even more entries.
If you've visited our website recently, you probably thought, "Am I at the right place?"
Yes, you are.
A couple of weeks ago, we quietly launched our brand new website. This week, we're yelling it from the rooftops.
For years, our old system held us back from serving our customers to the best of our ability. We outgrew it and desperately needed a drastic change.
We've been working on this project behind-the-scenes for a little over a year now. Every department in our company has spent countless hours learning a new way of doing things. And while, admittedly, it's been challenging at times, it has been so worth it.
We're proud to offer you a website — and an experience — that's now clean, simple and more intuitive than ever.
This website is for you, our loyal, amazing customers.
Besides a brighter, modern and more inviting look, here's what you'll notice when you visit the completely redesigned Magnets USA home:
If you haven't explored our new site yet, we hope you will soon! And please remember, though we have trained for months on this system, we are humans who will meet challenges from time to time. We hope you'll continue to be patient with us, and please give us a call if you encounter any issues — we'll take care of it person-to-person.
If you've ever seen or gifted our Ice Cream Paddle & Serving Spoon, we want you know there's an amazing story behind it...
Meet Patsy Oakley, a real estate agent with RE/MAX Associates in San Antonio, Texas. Forty years ago, her mentor — and the woman who encouraged her to become an agent — gave her an ice cream paddle. It was branded with her name and boasted a wooden handle.
"For 40 years, I have looked in the drawer, seen Bonnie's name, and thought about her," Patsy told us in a recent interview.
When Magnets USA Founder Dale Turner heard Patsy's story at a trade show in 2016, he was inspired. So much so that he set off on creating a similar ice cream paddle for LifeLong Gifts, our boutique of high-quality, engraved gifts.
"Having Dale there as customer service shows that he really cares and that he really stands behind his products. It makes me proud to know that he heard my story and he took the initiative to develop something."
These days, our Ice Cream Paddle is Patsy's go-to gift.
"If Bonnie gave me something 40 years ago, and I’m still hanging onto it, then what a wonderful gift it is for me to give to my clients," Patsy says.
"Everyone has loved the ice cream scoop because of the design and quality. There’s just something about when they pick it up, and they scoop out ice cream for themselves, or their children or their grandchildren ... it’s just a great gift that's always right there in front of them."
But for Patsy, her new ice cream scoop is more than a memorable client gift. It's a tribute to her mentor Bonnie, who passed away last summer.
"Bonnie was my dearest friend and this is her legacy," Patsy says. "Whenever I use my ice cream scoop or give it to a client, it helps me to remember Bonnie."
Patsy's late mentor, Bonnie Armstrong
It's been a full, fun month of #ThisIsMagnetsUSA, our new weekly series highlighting who we are as a company. We hope you've been following along on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — but in case you've missed one, here's a recap!
Week 1: We Are More Than Magnets
For our tens of thousands of customers, our magnets are not just magnets; they're useful client gifts that also promote their business or cause.
Watch the video.
Week 2: We Are Why-Driven
Why do we do what we do? What inspires us to get out of bed each morning and come to work? This week, we talked to several of our team members about what fuels them day after day.
Watch the video.
Week 3: We Are 28 Years Old!
Like most businesses, we have humble beginnings. This week, we heard from Magnets USA Founder and President Dale Turner about what the company looked like back in 1990 and what his younger self would have thought of our success today.
Watch the video.
Week 4: We Are A Manufacturer
Our products are not simply pulled off a shelf in a warehouse; they're designed, customized and produced right here in Roanoke County, Virginia. Every magnet has to go through a series of steps to meet our standards. We're proud to be a true American manufacturer.
Watch the video.
Week 5: We Are A Mailing Service
Did you know we offer a complete mail-fulfillment service? That’s right — we can stuff, seal and deliver your marketing right to your contacts list. This week talked to Rebecca, our mailing services team leader, about how it works, who makes it happen and why it means so much to us.
Watch the video.
Week 6: We Are Affordable
Last week, we shared how and why we're able to offer such affordable products (hint: one of the those has to do with being the manufacturer!). The reasons why might surprise you!
Watch the video.
Are you seeing fewer posts from pages in your Facebook feed?
Earlier this month, Facebook announced that it would start giving news-feed priority to personal posts from your family and friends, while showing less from businesses and media.
More and more it seems, small business owners can't rely on Facebook to get their messages across.
While there are some ways around this new algorithm, like producing more live videos and running highly targeted ads, the news is still discouraging and downright frustrating for small business owners.
And with so many of our customers small business owners, we wanted to address this topic and offer a solution.
With 28 years of small-business ownership under our belts, we know the answer is traditional marketing. That's right: A traditional marketing strategy is the secret to staying top-of-mind in today's digital world. It's crucial.
When Facebook posts, tweets and emails inevitably get lost in the sea of digital marketing, traditional marketing sticks around — if you do it right.
For almost three decades, our customers have trusted our famous magnetic calendars, sports schedules and more to put them in front of their clients daily. Every product we make is carefully designed to be the most useful for our customers and their clients.
We can't count the number of success stories we've received over the years about leads and referrals generated from one simply, handy magnet on their clients' fridges.
Here's just one example:
"A man who lives in my neighborhood called about a house that had just come on the market. When I picked him up to look at the house, his adult son was with him. When we returned to their home to drop them off, I handed the son one of your magnetic calendars. He took it out of the envelope and thanked me, then his Dad laughed and said 'Jim, that's how I got your number and called you! Your calendars have been on my refrigerator for years, I use them often, so when I wanted information on this house, I called you.' This resulted in a cash sale in the $600,000s."
Ready to see how traditional marketing can work for you, too? Ready to have your own success story? Start with magnetic baseball schedules, our famous magnetic tear-off calendars or a popular non-dated magnet.