Archives for January 2014

Newsletters For Printers: Eight Things to Consider

There’s no doubt that an informative company newsletter is one of the best ways a printer can help market their services. If you’re thinking about utilizing a print newsletter to market your company, here are some things to consider.

  1. Print or email? My advice is to utilize both. Cross media. But if you just use one, consider the fact that even the best designed email newsletters fall prey to spam filters. On the other hand, if you have limited financial resources, an email newsletter is much less costly to produce and distribute.
  2. 80/20 rule. Your content should be 80% educational and 20% promotional. If your content is relevant to the services you offer, then it’s promotional without being promotional.
  3. It’s about them, not you. Your content should be more focused on providing your audience with useful information and less about the goings-on at your company. However, some company news can be beneficial to your marketing effort. Community service, milestones, new services launches, etc. are great for engagement and branding. Just try to strike the proper balance.
  4. How relevant is your content? Don’t waste your time and money sending out jokes, recipes, and generic content that has no direct relevance to the services your company provides. You just make it easier for your brand to blend in and become part of the noise. People will tune you out. The key is to stand out from your competition by promoting thought leadership, competency and trust. Your content needs to be better than your competitors.
  5. Frequency. How often can you realistically get a newsletter out the door? If it’s only email, it should be monthly. No less than bi-monthly. However, if you opt for print only or print and email, then consider if you can produce a print piece quarterly, bi-monthly, or monthly. Be realistic. At a minimum, you need to touch your audience every 90 days. Strong marketers tighten that to every 30 days.
  6. Word counts. The trend is towards shorter content. Newsletter articles should be under 500 words (maximum, shoot for 400). Email under 375.
  7. Page counts. The newsletters themselves can be single article (2 page) or multiple articles (8 pages). That’s something to consider when you determine your frequency. If you are only engaging your audience 4 times a year, consider a multiple article format with a magazine look and feel so that it sticks around longer. If it were bi-monthly or monthly, a two page format might be more realistic.
  8. Beware of the committee approach. As a print marketer once said, “the act of trying to create the perfect piece often ends up being the reason for doing nothing.”

I’ve been supplying printers and mailers with customizable, area exclusive newsletter solutions for 20 years. I’m happy to discuss your challenges, review your materials, and offer any advice.

Social Media: The Case For Print Providers to Embrace Google+

If you haven’t already, now is the time to set up a G+ page for your business. It’s not just about social media effectiveness it’s about SEO. As mentioned in several of my previous articles, SEO represents a great opportunity for print providers to extend their marketing reach and cultivate new business.

  • Google search plays favorites. Having a Google+ page will help with your SEO. Google+ is Google and Google is search. Search is what drives traffic to your site. For print providers, it’s about extending your reach and generating leads. Don’t miss this opportunity.
  • Marketing is the top category on Google+ (followed by education and non-profit). Google+ has responded by becoming more marketing oriented. Google+ now allows brands to email their followers without having access to their email address. Google now segregates the emails into Inbox, Social and Promotional. That’s a win for brands and followers.
  • Many companies restrict employee access to social media sites. They either ban it on the browser level or set policy that restricts it. That isn’t the case with Google+. That’s an additional 8 hours available for potential engagement that Google+ offers.
  • Using the Google+ circles, following or un-following a brand allows the Google+ user to control what content they wish to see. They get to create their own experience. This contrasts sharply with the Facebook experience whereby Facebook decides for you what content you will see. And with the latest algorithm change (December), unless you are paying Facebook for promoted posts, your reach rates are continuing to decline.

There are lots of other slick features that Google+ provides (Hangouts) but for now, the best plan of action is to set up an account and begin to utilize it.

I’m happy to discuss this or any other marketing needs or questions you may have. Feel free to reach me at pat@greatreachinc.com or on the web at greatreachinc.com.

The More Things Change, the More they Stay the Same

Sorting through old files, I recently came across a copy of my January 2004 Marketing Briefs newsletter to printers. I was struck by how different (simpler) things were then. No mention of SEO, social media, content marketing or even email (we launched that in the Spring of 2004). At the same time, I was struck by how much things had not changed. These are the same fundamental ideas that need to be at the core of your marketing strategy today. Planning and commitment to execution have always been the keys to marketing success.

Simple Marketing Ideas that Printers Should Consider

Don’t view marketing as a department.
From receptionist to delivery person, every person plays a pivotal role in your marketing. Good companies are successful at creating a customer-centric culture.

Observe the 90-day rule.
Every client and prospect should hear from your company at least every 90 days. Good marketers shorten this to every 30 days. If you’re not making meaningful contact at least every 90 days, you run a high risk of having your message drowned out by that of your competitors.

Always feed the sales funnel.
Leads become prospects, prospects become customers. The amount of prospects you generate is proportionate to the amount of leads you are able to input into your sales funnel. The amount of customers you generate is proportionate to your ability to promote your value proposition with your prospects. Having a structured, systematic approach to this will yield the greatest results.

Stay committed.
Marketing doesn’t take time off, and it’s not something to be relegated to the “when I have the time” category. You need to structure the time or delegate the tasks to someone else who then needs to structure the responsibility into their time. Marketing works. But to reap the rewards, you first need to commit yourself to the tasks.

Know when to market.
Always! Research showed that companies who maintained or increased their marketing efforts during a recession averaged subsequent growth rates that were14 times greater than those that cut back or eliminated their marketing.

If you’re struggling with your marketing or just have a question or thought you would like to share, feel free to reach me anytime. pat@greatreachinc.com.

Source: “10 Commandments of Marketing” by Jay B. Lipe on marketingprofs.com