Why plastic key tags are our unsung heroes

Branded key tagsMeet our superhero, ‘Mr Adaptable’

They’re dinky. Handy. Always visible. Incredibly adaptable. And very cost-effective.

In our view, plastic key tags are mini super heroes, just minus the capes.

Branded key tags are one of the few plastic cards that can be used for multiple purposes: promotion, loyalty, labelling, information, discount offers, reference: the list goes on.

They’re also highly visible, rather than being hidden in a wallet. They happily dangle off a key ring, reminding the owner of their presence.

And at just £110 + VAT for 250 branded key tags printed in full colour on both sides, they super cost-effective.

Packing a mighty powerful punch for one so small

Branded key tags make great:

  1. Mini loyalty cardsBranded key tag

Add a barcode that works with your loyalty system and make sure your customer never loses out at the point of purchase. Tesco seem to have made it work quite successfully.

  1. Mini membership cards

Forgotten your main membership card? Just show your key tag instead, or save the budget and do away with main membership cards altogether.

  1. Promotional cards

    De Vere membership key tag
    Print key tags to go with your membership cards, or just do away with the cards altogether

Think of your key tags as mini billboards, there to advertise your next promotion or brand message. Use them to advertise your happy hours or special weekly theme nights, or remind customers of a regular monthly event. Or just use it as a branding opportunity.

  1. Discount cards

Remind customers that they can get a discount off their next purchase, on presentation of the key tag.

  1. Staff reference cards

Get key employee information on show, not hidden away in a handbook. Key tags make great reference cards because they’re always visible. Use them to remind staff of key health and safety information, employee standards or processes and procedures.

  1. Helpline reminders

Plastic key tags are easy ‘go to’ reference points for important numbers. If given to key holders for example, you could include telephone details of the alarm company. Or for lone workers, telephone numbers of head office support.

  1. Accommodation Key Holders

    Branded key tags holiday parks
    Leaving blank areas on the design gives you the flexibility to add your own names, numbers or details

We get a lot of orders from accommodation providers, particularly caravan parks and holiday lodge parks, because they’re a great way to add a brand or promo message to sets of keys that are given out to guests. Or leave a blank space to add individual accommodation numbers.

8. Key labels

If you store sets of keys in your office, like estate agents or property maintenance companies do, why not label them with your own branded key tags? They’ll convey a more professional image to your customers, and you can leave a space blank for handwriting your own details on.

One other thing – The Card Network offers free design and artwork on branded key tags.


Deck the halls with… printed plastic cards

What do you do with your used gift cards & old printed plastic cards?

We generally have a load of old printed plastic cards lying around (no surprise there).

There are only so many guitar picks we can make, especially given we don’t even play the guitar. And we already have an inexhaustible supply of ice scapers. So we’re always looking for new ways to recycle them.

printed plastic card wreath
Forget the Holly & the Ivy & upcycle instead

Here are a few different ways you can get crafty and put your old loyalty cards, gift cards or discount cards to good use.

1. Adorn your door with a festive loyalty card wreath

Definitely our favourite this one. We’ve started on ours, so we’ll let you know how it goes. But we doubt very much it will ever look as good as this by Lauren Venell.

2. Turn it into a lunch fork

Recycled plastic fork

This clever fella came up with the idea of a pocket sized piece of disposable cutlery. Ta Dah! The credit card fork was born. Easy to carry and doesn’t cost you anything. Brilliant.

3. Create some stables for your nativity.

Get the kids involved in sticking together some of your old printed plastic cards to make miniature buildings – the cards make good walls and roofs.

We’ve had a lot of fun making sheds for the sheep, but you’ll note we’re not showing any photos. There’s a good reason for this.

recycled plastic card necklace
A gift for the woman who has everything?!

4. Make a necklace

It’s hard to believe that this necklace is made out of Starbucks gift cards, but it is. You’ll have to put some serious time and care into pulling this one off, but we reckon no-one would know what it’s made of when you’re done.

5. Bookmarks and paperclips

Bookmarks with a difference – good little stocking filler gifts. You can find some templates & how to do it here

printed plastic card plant marker
The ‘green’ green choice

6. Mini blackboard plant markers for the garden

Another great idea this. Get some blackboard paint and a plastic fork and hey presto, you’ve got some funky little plant markers. You’ll have to source a grease pencil though (whatever that is) as obviously chalk isn’t exactly weather proof.

If you’re looking for a few ideas that take a bit less time and effort, here are a few suggestions:

– Cut out some collar stays for your shirts

– Put them in your cutlery drawer – printed plastic cards are great for scraping up biscuit dough or pastry

– Give them to young kids to put in their purses and play pretend ‘shop’ with

– They make great art implements for kids – use them with paint and get them to scrape the paint along the paper

– Put them in the toolbox for the next DIY job, they’re perfect for smoothing on Polyfilla or scraping jobs.

Any other ideas? Have you created a full Noah’s ark out of last year’s gift cards? Please let us know. Oh, and send pics.



Out with the old…

If you’re about to order your new club cards for the 2014-2015 season, take a minute to really consider what you want them to do before just reprinting last years.

It’s likely they could be generating more value and be performing more functions than they currently do.


Club card
Refresh your look: don’t just roll out last season’s design

What would you like your club cards to do?   

By including a range of features, or changing the type of card you use, you can turn them into multi-purpose cards.

If you want to secure access to locker rooms or members-only areas for example, you can easily turn your club cards into ‘swipe to access’ cards.

Or you could turn them into ‘smart cards’, and allow members to use them to ‘swipe’ for their lunch, or access their tab at the bar.

Turning your club cards into loyalty cards encourages more spending from members. You’ll need to think carefully about how you’ll administer a loyalty programme, and how members will accrue and spend ‘points’. Do you want to offer money off purchases made in the club for example, or introduce other retailers to give your members more choice? As well as incorporating the necessary features to turn your club card into a loyalty card, we can also advise on the right loyalty system.

Think about your members. What do they want from a club?

Creating a successful membership programme is about:

–       Showing them you value their membership fee

–       Making them feel welcome when they’re with you

–       Providing them with benefits and perks for being a member


–       Giving them more reasons to spend time (and money) at the club

–       Handing them reasons to recommend you to others.

 Get the benefits right

Research your competition to see what they are offering, and better it.

Providing benefits to your members for their fee doesn’t have to cost you much – or indeed anything at all. It’s the feeling of exclusivity that you want to convey. Some perks might include:

–       Free entry to club events

–       Discounted tickets for family members

–       First priority on club tickets

–       Deals with neighbouring retailers, hotels & restaurants just for club members (make these reciprocal so there are no costs involved)

–       Discounts on their own membership fee if they refer-a-friend.

Offering discounts on club food and drink is perceived as a tangible (and very attractive) benefit. You’ll need to weigh up the cost versus the benefit, but it’s likely that it will encourage members who may not normally use the facilities to give them a try. Providing vouchers for members to hand to friends and family is a win-win situation: they feel like they’re getting ‘something for nothing’ whereas you get new customers into the club.

Don’t forget that it’s the simple things that make people feel special. Welcoming a guest by name when they show a membership card is easy to do, and makes a great impression. Especially if they’re with friends.

We offer numbering as standard  

All our club cards are full colour, double sided numbered cards. You can also choose from a range of extra features, such as signature panels or barcodes. Or why not include a QR code to unlock a members-only benefit on your website? 

Refresh, refresh, refresh

Even if you don’t need any new features, or don’t want your club cards to do anything particularly clever, refreshing the design is always a good idea. Don’t use the same design again just because you don’t have someone who can create a new one for you.

Design and artwork is included in all of our quoted prices, so why not ask us to renew the look of the club cards for you.

Our friendly team is happy to advise on the many features of membership cards. Call us on 0844 257 8857 or email sales@thecardnetwork.co.uk



Plastic scratch cards: reveal more about yourself

We’re getting more enquiries in from companies who are interested in having a scratch panel on their plastic cards. It’s not just promotional plastic scratch cards we’re asked about: we’re increasingly including a scratch panel on business cards, discount cards and gift cards too.

Why use plastic scratch cards? 

Scratch panels work for different organisations in different ways: you can use them at point of purchase for instant win promotions, for fund raising, as an incentive for customers to visit your website and even as parking permits.

Use them as part of your promotion toolkit

We’re often asked to print promotional cards for retailers who are running a big promotion. Scratching off the panel reveals a special PIN or code that is then entered onto the retailer’s website to win prizes. Ask participants to enter their details and you’ve also turned it into an effective means of data capture.

Others use it as a means of ‘instant win’ at point of sale – which allows the reward or prize to be redeemed immediately in store.

Include a discount message your plastic scratch cards or promotional message and you’ll ensure that the card is then kept in your customers’ wallets after the panel has been scratched off.

Make it work for your event

If you’re planning a large party or event, a plastic card party invite is always going to stand out. Turn them into plastic scratch cards and the party goer can reveal their own ‘freebie’ to cash in at the event – a drink at the bar, food, a token for the casino, etc.

Plastic scratch cards are also used by charities for fundraising, and for organisations that need to have a temporary security feature, for example on a gift card or for pre-pay services. 

Make customers engage with your brand

No matter what you use it for, including a scratch panel means that your customers actively interact with your brand. Rather than passively slipping a card into their wallet, they have to make a small effort and actually engage – which makes the reward all the more rewarding.

We can include a scratch panel on most of our plastic cards for a small extra cost. So whether you want your customers to be scratching away at your discount cards, promotional cards or plastic business cards – get in touch.

Printed plastic cards: check your proof!

If you’re about to order hundreds or even thousands of printed plastic cards, like membership cards or promotional cards, it always pays to see an actual example of the card first, before you hit ‘print’.

Except that you shouldn’t … pay any extra to see one, that is.

Peace of mind that you’re getting what you think you are

The last thing you want is to order 3,000 colour club cards only to find that they’re not as thick as you thought they’d be, or the print isn’t as bright as you wanted. The only way to check the end product is to actually see an example of one of the final printed plastic cards. And we mean your final card, with your design elements and information.

Many plastic card suppliers will send you an example of ‘one they made earlier’ for someone else, in order to avoid the expense of creating a press proof*. Whilst that’s great in terms of showing the thickness, it won’t show you how this card will look with your information on it. Insist on them printing one of your cards for you to approve, and they’ll often hit you with a one-off press charge – often up to £50.

It’s also fairly standard practice to send you a pdf proof to approve on email – just a pdf sheet showing the artwork on paper. This is far from fool proof – how can you sign it off when you have no idea how the final card will look?

We’ll provide a sample of your final card – for no extra cost

We want you to be 100% happy with the printed plastic cards you order. The only way we can do that is to provide you with a sample of exactly how your card will look before we print them.

So if you order membership cards, promotional cards, discount cards, loyalty cards, key tags, hotel key cards, custom printed cloakroom tags, plastic business cards or any other bespoke printed plastic cards – we’ll send you a press proof to approve. Which allows you to sign off the order in confidence, because you know exactly how the final product will look.

To us, it’s just sensible. Which is why we don’t charge any extra for the service.

Some cynics out there say we hide it in the cost of the printed plastic cards. But we don’t – our prices remain some of the lowest on the web.

Search our printed plastic cards.


*Just what is a press proof anyway?

A press proof is a card that’s generated right off the printer press. Or in other words, a sample card that’s printed with all of your information on it, so you can see what the finished article will look like.

Is your wallet getting bigger?

How many printed plastic cards do you carry around with you? 

printed plastic cards
How many printed plastic cards are in your wallet?

There was a time (not that long ago either) when you had one bank card and one credit card in your wallet, and that was about it. Now, your purse is likely to be full of  branded printed plastic cards. Have a look – we bet you’ve got more than you think.

Having done a quick strawpoll here, we think the average is between 12-14 cards.

As well as your debit and credit cards, you’ll probably have your driving licence, a few loyalty cards, a swipe card for work, club cards for your sports or leisure club, membership cards for any other clubs you’re part of, a couple of discount or promotional cards, a business card, a travel card and maybe even a library card. One of us even had a plastic card book token.

Oh, and don’t forget to count any keytags you’ve got on your key chain.

Which means that your clever wallet can now take out money, get a discount, gain entry to a building, check out books, get you on public transport, rack up points and even get you a free coffee.

So come on, own up – how many printed plastic cards do you have?

And if you could have one more, what would it be?

Mum’s the word – but not on your promotion

It’s Mother’s Day on Sunday 10thMarch. The one day of the year that mums everywhere are taken out for lunch. So your restaurant or eatery should be fully booked. But with families everywhere feeling the pinch, more and more people are looking to create a special occasion at home. So how are you going to tempt them out the door and into your establishment?

Mothers day gift
Give each table a special gift for mum as part of your promotion

Get your offer right
Look around to see what’s available nearby – what is the competition offering? How can you differentiate yours? Create a special menu or introduce a ‘kids eat free’ perk. Or think about what you can provide as an added incentive to book that doesn’t cost much but has a high-perceived value, like a small gift or a special cupcake for each mum. If young families are your market, think about hiring a child’s entertainer, or laying on some kind of activity. If you can keep the kids entertained, mum gets a rare opportunity to eat her lunch in peace.

Promote it now
Get your offers front-of-mind now. Start with your regular customer base and make them aware of what’s on offer. It’s always easier to create more custom from those that already ‘love’ you than to attract new friends.

Send an email or a text. Get your deals out on Twitter, Facebook and any other social media channels you use. Also hand something out with a customer’s bill, or send them something through the post. Plastic promotional cards and discount cards are the perfect way to get noticed, they won’t be ignored like an ad in the paper or on a website. Ensure the promotional cards have longevity by promoting a discount for every future booking – or reminding them of your regular lunch offer. Plastic promotional cards aren’t thrown away like paper vouchers are, they’ll be a reminder in your customers’ wallets for months to come.

Don’t forget about local websites and online directories too. And if you have lots of seats to fill, consider promoting your offer on a discount site like Living Social or Groupon. As is the case with any marketing promotion, utilising multiple channels will always deliver greater response than relying on any one medium.

We can provide 250 full colour, branded promotional cards for just £98.25. We’ll even do the design and artwork for you at no extra cost.

Ease the January blues with discount cards

If you’ve over spent during the Christmas period (and let’s face it, most of us do), then January’s a pretty lean month. Everyone’s looking for a deal in the New Year, so get your discount cards into their wallets early.

Get customers through your door in January by offering discount cards

Promote your food deals now

If you’re a restaurant or cafe, attract customers through your doors in January by giving them discount cards. There are deals a plenty around at this time of year as food retailers fight over footfall, so make sure your offer is visible and promoted early. When your customers visit you in December, give them a discount card for January. It’ll be there in their wallets as a shining beacon when beans on toast is on the menu at home. Most restaurants offer a discount off food only, some off the whole bill.

Discount cards aren’t just for restaurants though. Tempt customers back into your store or business during January by offering discounts off your product lines. Again, by handing them out when they shop with you in December, they’ll be there as a reminder in the New Year.

Our cards are made from high quality durable plastic that is designed to retain its good looks over time. Design and artwork are included in our prices.

Bring in more business with discount cards

 Consumers are savvier than ever before, and are always on the lookout for a great deal or a way to add more power to their pocket. One of the ways that businesses can make sure they are top of their buying list is to offer a discount card.

Discount cards are a really effective way of attracting repeat business. If you’re a restaurant or bar for example, offering a customer discount off their next visit means they’ll be far more likely to pick up the phone and make a booking with you the next time they’re meeting a friend for lunch.

Discount cards
Discount cards bring customers back

Everyone likes to feel that they’re getting a good deal, and having a discount card gives the holder a reason to justify that extra glass of wine or pudding after dinner. It also makes them feel that their custom is appreciated, which aids customer retention.

Discount cards work just as well for retailers or leisure venues. Why not offer 20% off their next purchase? Or 50% off for entry fees for their next visit? The card holder wins through paying less the next time they come – and you win by ensuring there is a ‘next time’.

Our plastic discount cards start from just £112.50 for 250, including design and artworking.