Tuesday, May 19, 2020

5-Step Checklist Before Refreshing Your Marketing

Mid-year is always a good time to re-evaluate your marketing strategy, especially when there has been a period of downtime. Whether you are using direct mail, email, mobile, or social media, here is a quick checklist to make sure that, as you look forward to the rest of the year, you are hitting all of the basics.
1. Make a plan.
What are your marketing objectives? They are likely somewhat different than they were at the beginning of the year, and that’s okay. What are your goals now? Re-engage your audience? Recapture lapsed subscriptions? Build your e-commerce engine or delivery services? Have specific goals and apply numbers to those goals to help you measure success.
2. Target emotion.
How do you grab attention and get your audience to act? Now more than ever, people respond to how products make them feel rather than the details of what those products do. Insurance makes people feel secure. Freedom to travel makes people feel adventurous and independent. Developing personas rather than just demographic data can be a great investment.
3. Understand the journey.
Some sales happen quickly. Others are the result of a process that includes discovery and education before the decision is made. This is called the “sales journey.” Take the time to understand what your customers’ journey looks like. Also, take the time to understand the benefits of each communications channel. Where does print fit? Email? Social media? Video? Which channels work best to move your prospects from one stage of the sales journey to the next?
4. Market to the generation of “me.”
This is the “me” generation, so tailor marketing content to your target audience. This can be done through personalized communications that match images, messages, and offers to individual recipients. Or it can be done through strategic targeting and segmentation.
5. Create a timetable.
When and how do you intend to deploy the components of your marketing strategy? Success depends not just on getting the right message in front of the right audience, but on getting the right message in front of your audience at the right time. Create a plan for what content to deploy, using which channel, and when.
Miss something on the checklist? Need help with implementation? Give us a call. That’s why we’re here. 

Please give us a call at 440-946-0606
Or visit our website here for more information.


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Got Myths? 3 Misperceptions About Print


Print continues to receive a lot of attention from marketers. Why? First, because it works. Second, it’s simply less annoying. (According to PrintIsBig.com, print is 43% less annoying than the Internet.) Less annoying or not, there are many misperceptions about print that cause marketers to overlook its value. Let’s look at three myths about print marketing and the reality behind them:
1. Print is all or nothing.
Many marketers think that either you live in the age of print or the age of digital, but not both. The reality is that print and digital channels work together. One study found that 51% of consumers prefer companies to communicate with them using a combination of physical mail and email. Even if buyers do end up purchasing online, 39% say they tried a business for the first time because of direct mail.
2. Consumers prefer digital communication.
Sure, consumers love to connect with brands digitally, but they also want to connect with brands through print. They want to communicate across both print and digital. According to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), 92% of shoppers prefer direct mail for making purchasing decisions. In part, this is because print continues to have a trust factor. It also motivates people to buy. The DMA found that for every $167 spent on direct mail, marketers sell $2,095 of goods. There is something about print that spurs consumers to action.
3. Personalization only works for email and online.
Print can be personalized, too. Personalized direct mail can increase ROI by 3x to 10x. Furthermore, 40% of consumers say they buy from retailers who personalize the shopping experience across channels.
Don’t fall for the myths. Know the real value of print marketing.
Want to learn more? Just ask!

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Or visit our website here for more information.


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Why the Digital Generation Loves Mail


You’d think that the first digital generation, Millennials, would stick their noses up at direct mail in favor of electronic alternatives, but the opposite is true. Millennials love mail! Studies show that Millennials are more engaged with direct mail than other generations. According to “USPS Mail Moments,” for example, Millennials are more likely than non-Millennials to do the following:
  • Scan their mail (71% vs. 66%)
  • Organize and sort their mail (45% vs. 40%)
  • Read their mail (36% vs. 35%)
  • Show their mail to others (24% vs. 19%)
Millennials also show a greater preference for direct mail over email in some key areas. For example, 64% would rather look for “useful information” in the physical mail than email, and while the average person spends 8.4 minutes sorting their mail, Millennials spend 9.2 minutes doing so.
Why do digital natives love engaging with direct mail? In part, it’s because they are inundated with digital media. Physical mail stands out in Millennials’ otherwise electronic worlds. This generation is also geared toward visual content, and direct mail caters to the physical senses.
If you are marketing to this audience, try connecting the physical world to the social media world to create relevance. For example, members of this generation are massive consumers of social media like Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube, so consider designing to your direct mail be “Instagram-like” or “Snapchat-like.” Try incorporating print-to-mobile and print-to-video tools like QR Codes and augmented reality. Turn direct mail into an experience.
Even when direct mail graphics are static, use those graphics creatively. For example, one direct mail piece uses an image of a surfer riding a wave several stories high. At first glance, you might think this was for surf products or Caribbean cruises. In fact, it was for mortgage refinancing. The text read, “Ever feel like your home mortgage is like 60 tons of water ready to crush you and your family? We can help!” Instead of focusing on interest rates and mortgage terms, it used images to show what it feels like to be crushed under debt.
When targeting Millennials, incorporate direct mail. But understand how this audience thinks, then design campaigns intended for this audience in a way that they are most likely to connect with.

Please give us a call at 440-946-0606
Or visit our website here for more information.

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Thursday, April 23, 2020

Is a Custom Magazine Right for You?


When you think about adding new channels to engage with your customers, starting a custom magazine is probably not high on the list. It may never have crossed your mind. But it might be something you want to consider.  The use of custom magazines as a customer engagement tool is growing.
“Hold up!” you might say. “Aren’t magazine subscriptions on the decline?” Traditional magazines, yes, but not custom magazines. Custom publishing is on the rise, and these publications often become the glue around which other marketing elements—personalized direct mail and email, social media, mobile marketing—are built.
Here are three companies that have been successful using custom magazines to enhance their brands:
Lowe’s: This DIY giant offers both an e-zine and a print version of its “Creative Ideas” magazine, which provides solutions for everything from hidden bedroom storage to painting a faux brick wall. This content drives readers back to Lowe’s stores for supplies. The magazine’s design style mimics DIY pinboards and online communities, creating a sense of being an integral part of the larger DIY family.
Airbnb: There is certain kitsch to being part of the Airbnb community and hosting travelers from all over the globe. To reinforce this identity, Airbnb’s magazine, “Pineapple,” features stories from San Francisco to London told by Airbnb hosts. Since travelers often return to the same hosts over and over again, the goal is to keep hosts engaged so that travelers can build long-term relationships with them and with the Airbnb brand. 
Uber: Being an Uber driver is like being part of your own world. To keep drivers connected, Uber created a magazine, “Momentum,” just for its drivers. Topics range from stories from the field to tips on how to keep your back from hurting when constantly on the go. The goal is to build a broad base of connected, brand-engaged drivers that drives the mission forward. 
So why invest in a custom magazine? It is not to make money through advertising or subscriptions. It is to enhance customer engagement and enhance and solidify your brand in a way that creates long-term profitability.
Want to build a community around your brand? A custom magazine might be just what you need.

Please give us a call at 440-946-0606
Or visit our website here for more information.



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For Better Results, Follow Your Curiosity

Do you have curiosity? If you’re doing personalized print marketing, a little can go a long way. By asking questions of your customers, whether in print or digital surveys, you can uncover valuable information that can improve your sales. 


One governmental agency shows us how it’s done. When the agency began implementing a new set of regulations, it set up a compliance program to help affected businesses. It also scheduled an educational event to let companies know about the changes and help them get on board. In advance of the event, it surveyed attendees about their knowledge of the new regulations and compliance initiative. To encourage them to respond to the survey, it offered a guaranteed prize plus a chance to win a new iPod. 

The survey provided critical insights, including: 
More than two-thirds of attendees did not know whether or not they were in compliance.
54% had never visited the agency’s website designed to educate them on the regulations.
48% did not know how the compliance program would help them.

Imagine how this information helped the agency tailor its message during the event!
In another example, one mid-sized marketer used personalized surveys to improve its prospecting efforts. It asked customers to indicate where they needed the most help in critical areas of their business, what services would make their jobs more manageable, and what their pain points were. This information helped the salespeople create highly targeted presentations directed at the individual needs of each prospect. The result was a whopping 73.9% conversion rate. 

Are you doing regular customer and prospect surveys? If not, there are many ways to work them into your marketing projects, from personalized URLs to pre-filled tear-out forms, to online and email forms. 

To create these surveys, ask yourself what information you do not currently have that would help you open doors, increase the relevance of your messaging, and ultimately help you close the sale. Once you know what information you need, we can help you craft the surveys to get the best results. 

Please give us a call at 440-946-0606
Or visit our website here for more information.


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What’s Another Name for Personalized Print Marketing?

What’s another name for personalized printing? Relationship marketing! This is an approach that uses personalized printing to focus on nurturing long-term customer relationships rather than pursuing just the short-term sale. How does this work?
Say you are a family-owned hardware store. Typically, a customer walks in, does his shopping, and you are available to answer questions and recommend products. You hope that your excellent service, quality merchandise, and expertise will maintain the customer’s loyalty. You might have special promotions or discounted merchandise in a bin at the front of the counter, as well.
What might this look like if you decide to add relationship marketing?
It looks a little different. Each time a customer walks in, you smile and greet them, but you also ask if they would like to be on the mailing list for your newsletter “Tips for Shop & Home.” If they say yes, you collect their name, address, and additional information, such as whether they rent or own, have children and their ages, and any specific home needs such as a garden, pool, or workshop.
Once a month, you send out a personalized newsletter addressing each customer by name. You customize the content, providing weatherizing tips, suggestions for ongoing home maintenance, and relevant offers based on what you know about their property. If they garden, for example, you might offer planting tips and discounts on seeds, berry bushes, or garden mulch. If they have a pool, you might offer winterizing or seasonal opening tips.
To deepen the relationship, you find other opportunities to engage your customers, as well. This might include an occasional customer survey, feedback form, or contest (such as best recipe using home-grown vegetables or DIY project). This makes each customer feel valued and more deeply engages them with your store, while at the same time giving you more information to further personalize future mailings.
That’s relationship marketing—and it’s one of the opportunities that make 
personalized print so powerful.

Please give us a call at 440-946-0606
Or visit our website here for more information.


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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Do Your Business Cards Tell a Story?


Have you ever thought about what story your business cards are telling? If you are like most people, they say to your customers, prospects, and peers little more than how to get in contact with you. But used right, they can do much more. Here are some ideas for doing more with this under-utilized tool. 

1. Use a non-traditional stock. 
Instead of using the same high-volume plain white stock that your competitors are using, why not choose something that better represents what you do? If you sell party supplies, for example, consider a business card coated with colored foil. If you own or manage a “hard-bodies” gym, find paper made from rocks! (Yes, there is such a thing.)

2. Use both sides. 
Most business cards are not printed on the back, creating a massive opportunity for you. Think “mini brochure.” Add text that tells a story about what your specialty is and what you’ve accomplished. Add QR Codes or augmented reality to take prospects to videos or landing pages where they can learn more. 

3. Segment cards to target different audiences. 
Just as you can segment your direct mail and email to different target audiences, you can do the same thing with business cards. If you sell landscaping equipment, consider creating one card for customers selling into the residential market and another for customers selling into the business market. 

4. Add embellishments and dimensions. 
Black-and-white or colored text on white stock. Is that how you want people to remember you? Add iridescence, embossing, foil, or specialty coatings in ways that, when people look at your business card, remember your story. If you sell water systems, for example, add a water drop with a satin coating to pop off the uncoated stock. You want customers and prospects to easily recall your earlier conversation or marketing interaction and why they wanted to stay in contact with you in the first place.  

Your business card is a mini-canvas that you can use to truly sell yourself and help people remember you and tell them what you can do. It’s a great opportunity. Don’t miss it!

Source: Inspired by Pat McGrew’s “Storytelling Business Cards” on Print Sample TV.

Please give us a call at 440-946-0606
Or visit our website here for more information.


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