Archives for 2012

How Do Companies Know if Their Marketing Efforts are Working?

Contributed by Great Reach Communications editor, Heidi Tolliver-Walker

Many just look at response rate.  But here are four metrics they need to know. Notice that response rate is only one of them.

1. Response rates
This is a good first measure of the quality of your customer’s print campaign. If the response rate is high, they (and you) have done a good job with the mailing list, the design, and the incentive. Recipients liked it enough to take action.

2. Conversion rates
Once people respond, it’s up to your customer to convert those leads to sales. This is up to their sales team, website, or customer service people. If the conversion rate is low, this is an opportunity to help your customer identify and fix the problem.

3. Cost per sale
One thousand people can respond to a marketing campaign, but to make money, each sale must generate more money than it costs to generate.

4. Lifetime customer value
If you gain a new customer through a marketing campaign, that customer will generate more revenue than just one sale.  He or she will continue to bring in sales for years to come. Even if it costs more to acquire that customer (such as through personalization), if each customer has a high lifetime customer value, it’s worth it.

Understanding what these metrics are and how to use them is part of the value you can offer as a trusted marketing partner. Then you can use these metrics to improve their results and keep that customer relationship strong.

9 Tips to Improve Your Website’s Effectiveness

Your company website is the FIRST place prospects go to evaluate you. How does your site compare to those of your competitors? Are you putting your company at a competitive disadvantage right from the start? Here are some things to consider:

Don’t assume people WANT to be on your website. In fact, they are only there because they are seeking information—and they want it fast.

Predictive behavior. Navigation links should be on the top and/or left side. That’s where people expect them.

9-second rule. If a web page can’t deliver the intended message within 9 seconds, it won’t be effective.

People read images before they read text. Make sure your pages are graphically pleasing and aren’t overloaded with content.

View your website as a 1:1 conversation with your best customer. Too many sites read like an owner’s manual.

Make it personal. People do business with people. Name names and avoid using generic email addresses as your company contact (sales@, info@, etc.)

Build trust and credibility. Add testimonials, company history, and community involvement. These things matter.

Consider a “Customer Bill of Rights” that is attributed to your company’s president and includes their contact info. People are always impressed when they have the ability to contact the president of a company. It’s extremely reassuring.

Make customer resources, newsletters, and other content available. Relevant content not only makes your site engaging, but it’s critical for SEO.

I’m happy to offer a free phone consultation to any printer regarding their website and marketing challenges for 2013. Contact me!

Patrick Whelan
Patrick Whelan

5 Quick Updates Regarding Social Media and Website SEO

Pinterest launched Business Pages this week. Like Facebook and LinkedIn, they now are a player in the “Brand” marketplace.

Google plays favorites. Having a Google+ account is good for SEO. As if you didn’t have enough on your plate!

Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, gave Facebook a public lashing this week for their new algorithms and attempts to push more companies to pay for promoting posts. It’s a good read. (

Google has implemented so many elements to their algorithm that require detailed knowledge of SEO (not just basics). They are absolutely making it harder for small businesses to compete with the big players. Using free articles commonly found on the web (Mashable, Forbes, Regan, etc.) is not an effective website content strategy.

Facebook has now added a Pages Feed feature / link in the left column. It works similarly to the Groups notification by letting you know how many of the brand pages you follow have been updated with a post. They claim to be segregating the brand feeds from the personal feeds, however, I’m still seeing some brand feeds showing in my inbox. Stay tuned.

If you care to discuss any of this or would like info on any of our direct mail and online marketing solutions for printers, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Patrick Whelan

4 Quick Thoughts Regarding Marketing Your Print Services

In an age when competitive advantage is fleeting, brand differentiation should be the ultimate goal for printers, mailers and marketers.

What many companies believe are efforts to differentiate are in reality, efforts to replicate. A quick look at your website and marketing collateral may confirm this.

There is too much emphasis on teaching sales people to be good closers when in fact, being a great listener and having the ability to communicate are the most valuable sales traits.

There is still a product mentality and that needs to change. Engage customers in conversations about their business and their challenges. Focus on understanding their needs rather than selling your products.

Keep the conversations going with highly relevant marketing content. This applies to outbound and inbound marketing. Avoid the temptation to use generic content (replication). It’s actually worse than doing nothing.

Keep the focus on differentiating your brand and the sales rewards will follow.

Extending Your Reach: Facebook Changes & Company Pages

With branded Facebook pages, content that your company posts only appears on a percentage of your follower news feeds. On September 20th, Facebook revised the Edgerank algorithm that determines those percentages.

The number of follower feeds your news appears on is considered your “Reach.” Simply put, it’s how many people you reached. Prior to the recent revision, posted content averaged a reach of about 25%. Facebook claims that post-revision content now reaches around 19% of followers. Most people I hear from are reporting lower numbers.

Just like the newer Google algorithms, it comes as no surprise that the new Facebook algorithms reward content that is deemed to be the most engaging, relevant and original. From my own experience, posting our e-newsletter to the Great Reach page garnered a reach of almost 45%. A link to an article from the DMA, however, only had a reach of 17%. Hence, there is a clear emphasis on content.

The new algorithm also takes into account the number of people who click, like, comment on and share your posts. These actions also boost your reach. Conversely, you’re penalized if people hide your posts, opt out of receiving them, or report an issue. This underscores the importance of having relevant, interested followers. I’ve known printers to ask friends (and friends of friends) to like their page just to grow a following. The numbers may seem impressive but a large, disengaged following will impact overall Facebook effectiveness. I see this happen with some of the pages we manage for clients. A company with 70 followers benefits from a greater weekly reach than one with 1,200 followers.

When it comes to Facebook followers, always opt for quality rather than quantity. The same holds true for your content!

I’m happy to answer any questions regarding social media, outbound or inbound marketing. Feel free to reach out anytime at

Five Things You Need to Know About Content

These days, content marketing is the big buzz. I’ve spent the last 18 years providing content marketing solutions to the print industry so this is an area of expertise for me.

If you are currently utilizing or plan on utilizing content to help grow your business, here are 5 quick things to think about:

Search is now the primary method of information discovery. It’s the first place people go when they want to try something new. Is your site rich with unique and engaging content? How often is your content updated?

85% of searches are organic. This means that 85% of the people who find your site will also find other sites (your competitors). How well does your content compare to that of your competitors? In a sea of marketing noise, your content needs to stand out and position your brand as a thought leader. This is absolutely critical.

Search continues to drive more meaningful traffic than social media. But social still drives significant value because it triggers search traffic. Are you also utilizing content for social media marketing efforts?

Google doesn’t like to see the same content. If you are using one of the in-the-can industry websites, it will not perform well on searches. Make sure you’re supplementing it with unique content.

ZMOT. The “zero moment of truth.” It relates to all of the above. Google it or contact me to discuss.

(Some information above was gathered from the following source;
Direct Marketing News. Joe Ryan. Interview with Tom Gerace CEO of Skyword.)