Tuesday, June 18, 2019

What Are Customer Journey Maps (And Do You Need One)?


Customer journey maps are step-by-step guides to how customers arrive at a purchase decision for your products. Think “road maps” during a vacation. Customer journey maps are graphical representations of the route your customers take as they move through the sales funnel toward the destination (a purchase).
How does this help you? Buyers don’t simply wake up one day and decide to buy a specific product or service, so knowing the route others used helps you move new customers to a purchase, too. In addition, each stage typically uses different types of content delivered through different channels, so understanding how your customers reach each stage helps inform your strategy.
Customer journeys generally include . . .
  • discovery of the product,
  • education about the product,
  • trying the product,
  • purchasing the product, and
  • using and advocating for the product.
Discovery is how customers find out about your product in the first place. Is it social media? Direct mail ads? Web searches? Here is where you’ll use your widest range of channels: direct mail, print ads, web banner ads, and social media marketing. Know where your customers learn about your products, what types of content they use (social media reviews, blogs, in-store signage), and meet them where they are.
The education stage is how they learn about your product. What information do they need to move them to the next step? This could include drip marketing of product details and tutorials via print and email, QR Codes on packaging, or for more complex products and services, multi-stage mailings of high-quality print collateral.
Next, you want people to move to the try stage. For this, you might provide product samples or allow prospects to register for a trial period.  
Ultimately, you will move the customers to the purchase stage. That should be multichannel, too. It’s not unusual for customers to make a purchase only after the second, third, or even fourth attempt, so make responding as easy as possible. (Don’t assume that delay means no. Be persistent, but not annoying.)
Even once your customer makes a purchase, the journey isn’t over. You want them to move to the advocate stage. You want happy customers to encourage their friends and family to try the product, too. Customer-loyalty and customer-retention marketing pick up where lead nurturing left off.
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Why Invest in Customer Loyalty? 3 Reasons


What’s the value of loyal customers? According to a study by Yotpo, loyal customers offer a brand three key benefits:
  • They tell friends and family about the brand (60%)
  • They are willing to join the brand’s loyalty or VIP program (52.3%)
  • They spend more on a brand’s product even if there are cheaper options elsewhere (39.4%)
Not only this, but HubSpot has found that existing customers spend 67% more than new customers.
Keep your customers, make more money. It’s that simple. Optimove, reporting on the Yotpo study, put it this way: “The power of customer loyalty is so vital, its effects could mean the difference between your business either thriving, just about surviving, or breaking down completely.”[1]
Optimove went on to suggest three ways you can show your appreciation and keep those customers around.
1. Let them know that you reward loyalty.
Regardless how you reward loyalty, it’s critical to let your customers know that you do. Don’t make them wait to find out.  Promote your loyalty program in your direct mail pieces. Create a “loyalty” link on your website. In your print and email newsletters, talk about real people who have saved money and earned free stuff.
2. Create and promote multi-level incentives.
Tier your rewards so that the most loyal customers get the most benefits. The more loyal they are, the more they save, the more they earn, and the more insider benefits they get.  Also consider creating a sense of competition. “Enable your customers to compare their scores, points and/or rankings with other customers,” says Optimove.
3. Re-engage disconnected customers.
Don’t assume that lost customers are gone forever. There can be many reasons they have stopped buying, many of which may have nothing to do with them falling out of love with your products. Sometimes, all it takes is a nudge and an incentive to get them to come back.
You’ve worked hard to gain your customers, and they are worth keeping. Make the investment in your customers and they will invest in you.



[1] https://postfunnel.com/keep-customers-3-engaging-loyalty-boosters

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Think Great Color Is Easy? Think Again


Think great color is something everyone can do? Think again. Getting accurate, high-quality color takes effort. Here is a peek behind the curtain at what it takes to give you the best color day after day, and job after job, even when projects are months apart.
1. Define independent color space.
Your computer monitors operate in the RGB color space. Our presses operate in CMYK. The two spaces work very differently, and there is a delicate and complex conversion process that must take place between them. Adding to the challenge is that RGB and CMYK are device-dependent. This means that the same colors look different on different devices.
How do we get the two in sync? First we define color by metrics unrelated to the devices themselves — how color looks to the eye. Take the color of a red apple. On your computer monitor, “apple red” is defined by a set of numbers called CIE L*a*b, which is an objective, device-independent measurement what the eye sees. That CIE L*a*b value corresponds to an ICC color profile, which is an objective measurement of how that monitor “sees” and outputs color.  
2. Translate to “press language.”
Now that we have an ICC profile that translates color accurately from the eye to the monitor, we need to be able to reproduce that color on press. Every press is unique, so the ICC color profile for the RGB monitor is translated into an ICC profile for the CYMK press.
3. Workflow steps to make it happen.
Next is to get that color onto paper. This starts with making choices at the RIP (the equipment that processes the job before it is sent to the press) to ensure that the settings match the ones in the software used by your designer. It also requires regular calibration of our presses to make sure that the color is not only accurate but repeatable.
Getting great color is not a magic trick. It requires a lot of craft, science, and hard work. That’s why you don't want to trust your color to just anyone. We hope you continue to trust us with your most color-critical jobs.
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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Donations Need a Boost? Try These 3 Things

Looking to increase the engagement of your donors or raise a little extra money? Enhance your efforts by tapping into people’s hearts. Whether you are mailing postcards or blasting an email, here are three tips for getting the most out of your appeals.
1. Don’t be afraid to ask. People want to help, so don’t be scared to put your “ask” front and center. Put the appeal at the top, center, and bottom of the page. Use brightly colored donation buttons. Even if money is tight, it’s hard for people to say “no” to a request for emergency supplies for earthquake victims or fresh drinking water for villagers in developing countries. Make it easy for them to help.
2. Tell the story of “one.” People identify with people, not causes. Donors are more likely to give when they can identify with a single, identifiable beneficiary. You can talk about hunger affecting 15.3 million children in the United States, but people are more likely to donate if you include a picture of one hungry child staring into the camera. You can sound the alarm that 2.7 million pets are euthanized every year, but recipients are more likely to open their wallets if they see the soft brown eyes of a fox terrier poking its nose through the bars of a metal cage.
3. Peer pressure can be a good thing.  Donors give because it makes them feel good, and positive peer pressure can encourage them to dig deeper. If donors had planned on giving $25, if you tell them that their peers are giving an average of $75 each (make sure it’s true), they are likely to rise to the occasion, or at least give more than they otherwise would. Another way to use positive peer pressure is to add checkboxes with predetermined gift levels. When people are presented with pre-set gift options of $25, $50, $100, or some other defined amount, they will often select a more substantial gift than when the request is open-ended. 
Whether by direct mail or email (or a combination of both), fundraising taps into the heart. Use pictures, get personal and don’t be afraid to ask.

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Are You Overlooking Opportunities for Color?

Color is a critical element of any marketing program. In fact, a new study from Go Inspire Group found that, increased design vibrancy produced an overall revenue increase of 20%.[1] But color isn’t just for images. With a little creativity, you can find great new ways to grab attention and draw your customers’ eyes to places in your printed materials that you want them to look.  Here are five places to get started.
1. Eye-popping envelopes. Unless you are sending a postcard, the outside of the envelope is the first thing people see. If your envelope is a bright, vibrant color in a sea of white envelopes, it will be the first one people reach for. 
2. Make the offer stand out. Place text in brightly colored call-out boxes or use colored or highlighted text inside the body copy. Use color to say what it does best, “Look at me!”
3. Highlight the call to action. Place your call to action (CTA) in a strategic location and use color to draw your reader’s eye. Place the CTA in a starburst or use an oversized font in a bright “can’t miss me” color.
4. Add a teaser. By using teaser copy on the outside of the envelope, your message gets seen before readers even open the flap. Think “10 days to save!” or “Save 25% today!” You can add teasers to the white space around the body copy of the inside letter, too.
5. Add a Postscript. Studies show that the postscript of a letter is what most people read first. Seize the opportunity by using colored text to reinforce the key elements of your message. Be sure to include the offer and the CTA. People often read postscripts when they don’t read anything else, so grab even more attention by making it in color.
Vibrant color is a powerful tool. Are you leaving opportunities on the table?

[1]https://www.crmxchange.com/Press_Releases/Go_Inspire_Group_study_reveals_improved_net_revenue_from_variable_printing_of_targeted_direct_mail.aspx

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Get Your Timing Right!

How critical is the timing for direct mail campaigns? Hitting the right window can make the difference between recipients saying, “That’s me!” and the piece being rejected out of hand. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in this tale of two campaigns.  
Here are the similarities between Company A and Company B:
  • Both sell snow-clearing services to businesses, schools, and other professional organizations.
  • Both use free ice melt as an incentive to grab attention and encourage responses to their marketing messages.
  • Both mailed short-run targeted postcards to facilities directors and operations managers in their local areas.
  • Both used a clean list, with updated names and addresses.
Here is where the campaigns differed:
Company A sent its direct mailer in November. This mailer landed on recipients’ desks in the start of the snowy season. Company B sent its mailer in July. This mailer dropped in the heat of the summer months before most people even think about the first snowflake beginning to fly.
Which company got the timing right? Company B—the one that sent its mailer in the summer. Among facilities and operations managers, decisions regarding snow clearing are made in July and August, well in advance of the cold weather.
To the average person, a direct mailer sporting ice-covered trees and automobiles encapsulated in snow drifts might seem out of place and totally ill-timed in the heat of the summer. But to the target audience, the message was loud and clear: this company knows my business.
How well do you know your target audience?

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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Where to Spot Color Trends


Color is critical in marketing. It’s not just about making your products look great. Color helps to tell your story, too. It stirs your customers’ emotions. It reflects your brand. Just like fashion, however, trends in color change, so it’s important to stay current. To stay on top of what’s happening, here are five color “hot spots” to watch:
1. Runways. When we think of color, we think of fashion. Most recently, models have been strutting their stuff in very bright colors—intense blues, vibrant oranges, and shocking yellows. We also see a secondary trend of softer, more muted tones, such as dusty pink, lilac, and coral.
2. Home design. Interior design is another harbinger of the shifting trends in color. Trendy new colors show up on appliances, upholstery, walls, and even kitchen gadgets. Paint companies often publish color forecasts and make them available at no charge.
3. “Car stuff.”  The car you drive can be as much a fashion statement as a belt or a scarf. While the dominant colors in the auto market have long been black and gray, the trendier colors are brighter and more vibrant. These include lava orange, lime green, and popping yellow.   
4. High-tech gadgets. Just as in the world of fashion, we see strong, bright colors on our technology. Metallic green on iPods, teal on laptop cases, and royal purple on the iTunes icon. These are all colors we’ve seen on the runway, too.
5. World of entertainment and celebrity. What are the stars wearing on the red carpet? How are they dressed for their appearances on talk shows? What colors are used for their set design?
Every market has slightly different color influences, so the trends will not be identical from one to the other. However, by staying current in each of these areas, you can develop a keen sense of where to take your design next.

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