Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Scratch Off Labels: A Beginners Introduction

Here at My Scratch Offs, LLC, I respond to about 90% of all of our inquiries, be it by phone, e-mail or tweet. From how-to’s to product suggestions to pricing, our customers’ questions come in all shapes and sizes and I’m happy to answer each and every inquiry. But the number one most frequently asked question is: How do those Scratch Off Labels work?? 

Our product is unique and in turn, it can be difficult to fully conceptualize without an inherent knowledge of scratch off products (though you can get to know our products by requesting Free Samples!). There are endless practical uses and options for customization of Scratch Off Labels and it can be easy to get lost in the planning process. 

If you’re a little confused about how it all works, don’t sweat it, that’s what I’m here for! So, let me explain a little bit about our products…

What is a Scratch Off Label?

Our Scratch Off Labels are a clear, adhesive backing that has had scratch off pigment professionally applied on top. They are a simple peel-and-stick application (like any ol’ regular sticker) and can be applied either by hand or machine applied using a labeler or tabber.

What Do They Say Underneath?

That’s the fun part because our Scratch Off Labels can reveal anything that you have pre-printed on your card. Yes, literally ANYTHING! All of our labels are “blank,” meaning there is no text printed on the label beneath the scratch off pigment. The customization of what you scratch to reveal (ie. “try again” or “winner”) would need to be printed directly on your card and then the Scratch Off Label is applied on top of that.

What Kind Of Material Will They Stick To?

Most commonly, our Scratch Off Labels are used on paper products, but we have completed projects in a number of mediums including:

  • Glass
  • Porcelain/Ceramic
  • Glossy/ UV coated Photo Paper
  • Acrylic/ Plexi-glass

When choosing what type of material to adhere your Scratch Off Labels to, the only suggestion I will make is to avoid a very rough material (ie. unfinished wood or brick). The smoother the material the better, as a course texture can make it difficult to evenly apply pressure while removing the scratch off pigment from the label, resulting in a partial reveal.

How Do They Scratch?

Our Scratch Off Labels are designed to be resilient and require that you use firm pressure and a coin to remove the pigment (using your fingernail is not recommended). Our labels are even designed to withstand the rigors of the postal system without accidentally scratching. The labels themselves are permanent once the adhesive has fully cured, which can take up to 48 hours.  We produce our Scratch Off Labels in a variety of shapes and colors and all of our labels are designed to have roughly the same “scratch-ability,” meaning they will all scratch with about the same amount of effort. 

What Can I Use Them For?

As mentioned, the possibilities are endless! Some of our suggested uses are:

  • Business Promotions/ Customer Rewards
  • Employee Incentives
  • Wedding & Event Save The Dates
  • DIY Gender Reveals
  • Baby Shower and Bridal Shower Games
  • Classroom Rewards
  • DIY Potty Training & Chore Charts

I hope this information will prove helpful when planning your next scratch off project. Now that you have been brought up to speed about the ins and outs of Scratch Off Labels…how will you use your labels? Comment below or share your ideas with us on Facebook!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How To Make Your Own Potty Training Chart

DIY Scratch Off Projects:  Make Your Own Scratch Off Potty Training Chart

As any parent of a growing toddler knows, potty training can be one of the most memorable—yet frustrating—developments of those early years.  I, for one, experienced a roller coaster of ups and downs while potty training my son this past year.

I did my homework, reading about all the good, the bad and the ugly of potty training boys.  We tried the “potty train your kid in a day” plan… it didn’t work.  We tried bribing him with treats, including small toys, candy, or anything else we thought might coerce him into cooperating, but we quickly learned that rewarding him with a gift every time was a slippery slope.  And he appeared to be completely unmoved by our encouragement of him being a “big boy.”

And then I was introduced to the wonderful world of My Scratch Offs.  In the midst of our seemingly endless journey toward our deliverance from diapers, the concept of a fun and functional tracking and reward system breathed life back into the nearly broken spirit of this potty training parent.

How Potty Training Charts Track Progress and Reward Success

If you aren’t already familiar with how a potty training chart works, here is a little background.  A potty training chart is designed to help you and your child keep track of potty usage and progress each day.  Every time your little one makes a trip to the bathroom, you can use the chart to record it.  The mark can be as simple as a smiley face drawn with a magic marker, or you can let your child participate by using fun Scratch Off Labels that reveal words of encouragement or small rewards for their progress.

From my personal experience, as mentioned before, giving your child an actual gift every time they use the potty can lead to unrealistic expectations and eventual regression if you’re not careful.  For this reason, customizing a potty training chart that includes a healthy mix of tangible rewards (like small toys or treats), words of encouragement, and other positive gestures (like a hug or a trip to the park) can offer a perfect balance to keep your child motivated and excited to “earn” their chance at another incentive.

Create a Custom Incentives Specific to Your Child

My son is all about dirt, tools, and things that go vroooom!   So when we were planning out his incentives, we had to think of things that would keep him engaged in the process.  We structured our chart so that the more times he used the potty successfully throughout each day, the more exciting the rewards.  This served two purposes: first, that he wouldn’t just get bored from receiving the same result every time, and second, that he had something bigger and better to anticipate if he kept up the good work.

I should note, however, that we started the climb over again each day rather than letting the rewards build throughout the week.  You may find that your child is motivated enough just by the visual evidence of successes marked on the chart, but my son was not that way.  If the simple joy of building a bank of gold stars is enough to keep your child on track, then by all means, go for gold! But if your kid is harder to motivate, as mine was, you might need to get more creative with your incentives.

How To Make Your Own Potty Training Chart

The internet is full of free, printable potty training charts that you can use as inspiration.  If you want to create something unique that really fits your child and suits his or her individual personality and interests, a chart is easy to make using basic computer programs like Microsoft Word or Excel.

Simply create a table or block of cells with borders and insert words or images to represent the incentive they have “earned.”  When you print out the chart, place a Scratch Off Label over each square on the chart so that your child can scratch the label after he or she has used the potty successfully to reveal a prize or other positive reinforcement.  You may, for your own purposes, keep a pen handy near the chart to jot down the time and “outcome” of each potty session.

A custom potty training chart created with fun Scratch Off Labels is one way to help encourage your toddler to transition out of diapers.  If you need help creating a design to really inspire, contact My Scratch Offs today to learn about our custom order capabilities.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

9 Creative Baby Shower Themes for 2014

Tips for Planning a Memorable Baby Shower

When planning a baby shower, there are a number of variables to consider: the guest list, venue, food, games and favors, to name a few. But what’s one detail that can set your event apart from every other? The theme! No longer must you stick to the traditional baby pink and baby blue shower themes…it’s out with the old and in with the new and exciting!
If you need a little nudge in the right direction, here’s a list of theme ideas that offer something for everyone.

Baby Girl Ideas:
  •   Fashion Inspired- What better way to shower the new mommy and her future fashionista than with a designer-inspired shower?!Consider planning a Tiffany & Co. or Chanel-themed shower. Tres chic!
  •  “Tutu Cute”- Ruffles and tutus are quintessential, girl. Throw a baby shower that is ballerina inspired and full of tutus and frills!
Baby Boy Ideas:
  •   Hunting/Outdoor Inspired- Consider a camouflage-themed shower to help your expectant outdoor enthusiasts welcome their new young buck!
  •   Sports Inspired- Nothing screams “BOY!” more than sports! Get creative with vintage sports décor, or if the parents-to-be are super fans of a specific team.
Gender Neutral Ideas:
  •  “Cute As A Button”- Do a quick Pinterest search to view a ton of super cute button-themed food and décor ideas.
  • “Mommy To Bee”- Bumblebee baby products are super popular right now. Cash in on the wealth of cute bee products on the market and throw your own “Bee”-themed shower.
  •  Classic Movie Inspired- What better way to welcome your new little Jedi than with a Star Wars-themed baby shower?! Or lavish upon a little princess with a Cinderella-inspired soiree?
  • Vintage Chalkboard Inspired- Cutesy chalkboards are everywhere these days! Consider not only including decorated chalkboards as part of your décor, but also, carry the chalkboard trend over into your invitations and party favors. Our Chalkboard Baby Shower Scratch Off Game Cards are one of our bestsellers!
  •  Children’s Book Inspired- Peter Rabbit, Where The Wild Things Are and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom would all make for super cute baby shower theme ideas!
In the modern world of event planning, anything goes! Plan a shower that is uniquely YOU. I hope this list of ideas inspires you to create your own individual fun and fabulous baby shower. 

Happy Planning!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

5 Black Friday Tips For Your Business

5 Black Friday Tips For Your Business

Black Friday. It’s the annual Olympics of retail shopping. That once-a-year event where red-eyed shoppers coax themselves out of a tryptophan-induced lethargy in order to brave the 2 A.M. masses in hopes of snatching up the latest Playstation model…for a $1!  According to Bloomberg News[1], last year, over 140 million people shopped the day after Thanksgiving. For businesses that opt to embrace our nation’s biggest shopping “holiday,” Black Friday can be a traffic and sales gravy train!

While the year’s biggest shopping day may still be nearly two months away, now is the time to start planning and promoting Black Friday incentives to give your business a leg-up in the very competitive retail market. Here is a compilation of ideas to inspire your own successful Black Friday efforts.

The Early Bird Catches the Sales
Did you know that over a third of men and women (32 percent and 35 percent, respectively) venture out into the early morning crowds on Black Friday[2]?! Don’t miss out on your share of these prospective shoppers. Consider offering your customers extended, early morning business hours the day after Thanksgiving.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Good Old Fashioned Coupon 
Over half (53%) of shoppers say they would use a coupon when making a Black Friday purchase[3]. In addition to offering your customers a savings, an added perk of offering coupons is that you are organically increasing brand visibility. It’s a 1-2 punch!

Go Digital
We live in a digital age. Show you’re tech savvy by offering your customers web-based access to exclusive Black Friday savings and discounts. Create a special QR code for shoppers to scan in-store that will provide them instant mobile access to a coupon/savings flier that is specific to Black Friday use. Does your business primarily function online? Create a banner ad on your homepage or a specific landing page within your website to organize and indicate your Black Friday savings to customers. 

Spread The Word
Leave no potential customer untouched!  Compile a list of your most effective means of reaching your target audience and promote, promote, promote! Use every opportunity at your disposal to remind your customers of your fabulous Black Friday savings, whether it be by word of mouth in your brick-and-mortar or a carefully executed online marketing campaign.  Consider reaching your customers by:

  • Direct Email: Send an Email to your established customers announcing your Black Friday Deals and Savings. Not currently using a newsletter service? Be sure to familiarize yourself with how to keep your e-mailing CAN-SPAM Compliant[4].
  • Employ the Power of Social Media: Don’t forget to utilize social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc., to promote within your current customer network and target promoted ads to seek out a new customer base.
  • In-Store Distributions: Consider including a leaflet or small flier to advertise your Black Friday deals in every customer’s  bag/shipment throughout the months of October and November.

Bottom line…Start early and promote across as many platforms as possible and often. Remember, repetition sells!

Bring Them Back
Think about offering your customers an incentive to return to your store after Black Friday has come and gone. Take advantage of the unusually high traffic volumes that November 28th will provide by offering attractive savings to draw customers into your store on Black Friday and then reward them for their patronage by offering a discount card with each purchase to be used at a later date. A Scratch Off Game Card is a great way to encourage your customers to shop with you later in the holiday season, too!

I hope that this information will help inspire your own successful Black Friday plan of attack. There are endless possibilities to engage your customers and lead them through your doors this Black Friday, and who knows your customers better than you?! Plan promotions that will excite and motivate your target audience to ensure that you get a slice of that Black Friday pie!

[1]  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-02/black-friday-weekend-spending-drop-pressures-u-s-stores.html
[2]  http://www.valpak.com/media/press-releases/2012/holiday-spending-survey-2012.jsp
[3] http://www.valpak.com/media/press-releases/2012/holiday-spending-survey-2012.jsp
[4] http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/2137957/getting-staying-can-spam-compliant