About Patrick Whelan

Patrick Whelan is President of Great Reach Communications Inc, the leading provider of high quality customer engagement newsletter programs for the printing industry. Patrick has spent the last 17 years providing marketing programs and advice to over 400 print providers throughout North America.

Carve Out Your Competitive Advantage in 2019

In every field, extraordinary benefits go to those seen as being in the top five percent.      (Seth Godin)

Create a competitive advantage for your sales staff by taking a proactive approach to branding and marketing. Your brand is what the customer perceives it to be.

  • Be an early adopter. Informed Delivery from USPS offers marketers some great opportunities. Be among the first to educate clients and prospects about it.
  • Marketing today is about providing value as opposed to asking for something.
  • 67% of prospective customers check you out online first. Lack of any content is bad enough, but lack of updated content is even worse.
  • Blog content has a life expectancy of 2 years. YouTube and LinkedIn are 20 days and 24 hours, respectively.
  • Know MeTrust MeLike Me. Top of mind and great content will take care of the first two, but you need a social media presence to cover the third.

An updated “10 Marketing Ideas for 2019” is now available! Just send me an email and I’ll forward you a copy. pat@greatreachinc.com

3 Simple Ways to Grow Print Sales in 2019

Commit to growth in 2019! In many cases, this also requires a commitment to being a change agent. The following are three things to consider as you plan for a successful 2019:

  1. Have a marketing plan. Your brand needs to be in the right channel, at the right time, with the right message. A 90-day quick plan is easy to create, execute, and evaluate. Get through Q1 and then evaluate. Your plan should include at least three of the ten ideas in my report. Click here to receive the full report. 
  2. Embrace new services and opportunities. Many print and mail providers are standing out by offering enhanced marketing services that tie direct mail with digital marketing in one seamless workflow. There are many solutions available that are nearly turn-key at a low cost. DirectMail2.0 and Snailworks are just two that come to mind. Even services like USPS Informed Delivery offer an opportunity to stand out with enhanced services.
  3. Retain customers. All growth begins with retention. Not only do you need to have a customer retention plan for your own business, but you should be offering retention solutions to your customers. It differentiates your brand and provides a unique sales proposition. The good news is that this plan can be incorporated into your 90-day marketing plan. If you would like a copy of my Customer Retention Plan for Printers, please click here.

“We started with Great Reach a year ago and the response from our customers and prospects has been overwhelming. One customer called and wanted to know about drip marketing that was in a newsletter 3 months ago. Great Reach is our marketing department.”

From all of us at Great Reach, have a wonderful holiday season!

The Opportunities for Print Providers

Don’t rely on business growth to come from an improving economy or from finding the next great salesperson. Print providers need to be the catalysts for growth. They need to utilize marketing to differentiate themselves and give their sales staff a competitive advantage.

Client Retention:
Overcapacity continues to define the industry. Engage your customers frequently. Customers seek reassurance of appreciation. Utilize a multichannel approach. Engage your clients a minimum of every 90 days. Ideally, every 30 days.

Lead Generation:
New sources for generating prospects are needed. LinkedIn is the second biggest source of incoming traffic to our website. Traffic = requests. Support your sales staff with content for LinkedIn and watch your sales grow.

Content marketing:
Marketing is more about creating conversations than campaigns. But if your content isn’t relevant and engaging, you risk just being part of the marketing noise. Dynamic, engaging content goes a long way to helping foster trust and credibility.

Social media:
Social media is now expected. If you are not fully utilizing it, you are at a disadvantage, and your brand’s perception will suffer. Be perceived as being progressive and tech-savvy.

Thought leadership:
Keep promoting your company as a thought leader. Your brand’s perception plays a significant role in determining who gets the job.

 

Where Most Print Sales Are Lost

Credibility and trust begin at your website. Your website is the first place that 67% of prospects visit. Even existing customers are influenced by your site. Many sales are lost there. Conversely, having an active website will give you an advantage over many of your competitors.

I just went to a printer’s website, and this was on the landing page:

Sent by Great Reach Communications

2014? Really? Are you even still in business? (They are.) Why would a prospect entertain doing business with this company? It’s too easy to move on to the other 3-5 brands in their recall.

And if you utilize one of the popular “in the can” websites for printers, then there is a great need to stand out and differentiate with some custom content.

Content builds trust and trust grows sales. Take a simple, yet practical approach to marketing. Post relevant, thought leadership content to your website and share it out via social media. Blast it out with email, too. Ideally, push it out with print, as well (it makes a big difference). If you can’t commit to doing this yourself, then invest a small amount of money and have a company like ours do it for you. In the 24 years I’ve been working with printers, the need for content has never been more critical.

For a limited time, I am offering a free 5-point review of your website through the end of March- simply contact me today!

Patrick Whelan
pat@greatreachinc.com
978-332-5555

5 (More) Marketing Ideas for Printers in 2018

A new year ushers in new opportunity. Be the catalyst for growth. Embrace, refine and rejuvenate your sales and marketing efforts.

1. Write a letter

These days, a personable, hand-addressed letter is marketing gold. Yes, it’s old school, and you don’t see this often, which is one reason why you should do it. Identify and mail to 5 prospects per day.

2. Company newsletter

Your ability to retain customers has the most significant impact on growing sales. An informative company newsletter is one of the best ways to make that happen. It also provides critical top of mind awareness for your brand. Both print and email should be utilized.

3. Website resources and a blog

The first place prospects visit to form an opinion of your company. Their perception is your reality and having up to date and relevant, content gives you a competitive advantage over those that do not. Make sure to share your blog out on social media and push it out via email.

4. Social media

Very simple—customers now expect this. It’s no longer enough for people to trust you. These days, they also need to like you. Social media can help facilitate this.

5. Direct mail

Create a direct mail campaign and distribute it to a targeted list. Use a list source so that you’re reaching out beyond just your in-house lists. I’ve seen clients using solutions such as Mind Fire and Direct Mail 2.0 (and others) for some pretty slick and effective marketing.

If you don’t have the resources (time or financial) to execute a consistent, effective marketing strategy, then consider outsourcing. We offer cost-effective, turn-key, exclusive marketing solutions to the print and direct mail industry. Click here to request samples and a free consultation.

“We started with Great Reach a year ago, and the response from our customers and prospects has been overwhelming. Great Reach is our marketing department.”

10 Marketing Ideas for Printers in 2018

A new year ushers in new opportunity. Be the catalyst for growth. Embrace, refine and rejuvenate your sales and marketing efforts. Following are some of my all time favorite (and effective) marketing suggestions for printers.

  1. Print newsletter

Your ability to retain customers has the greatest impact on growing sales. An informative company newsletter is one of the best ways to make that happen. It’s long been proven: Skip print, results go down. Use print, results go up. Print is taken seriously and breaks through even where e-media do not. That’s why a company newsletter is critical for customer retention. It is also effective at creating demand for your services through education and, perhaps most importantly, promoting your brand as a thought leader. Content is king.  Produce and distribute one at least every 90 days.

  1. Email newsletter

Email is a great way to add touch points to your marketing strategy. Opt for less content (375 words max) and follow best practices. Use a third-party secured sender. Add a sign up on your website and post the content to your site as well as social media. Monthly or bi-monthly should be your target distribution frequency. Be mindful, however, that with spam filtering, not all of your emails will reach their intended targets. That’s why print should be part of the mix.

  1. Utilize a blog

Google’s Hummingbird and Panda algorithm likes relevant fresh content. If you’re looking for new sources of leads, inbound web traffic represents a great opportunity. Make the content relevant to your audience and the SEO will happen organically. Once a week? Even a monthly update will generate results. Just as important as the SEO benefits, great website content promotes thought leadership which in turn, fosters trust and credibility. Make sure to share your blog out on social media as well (particularly LinkedIn).

  1. Social media

Very simple—customers now expect this. They seek to work with tech savvy progressive companies rather than “old school” ones.  If you’re not utilizing social media or not updating it consistently, your brand looks bad and you create a competitive disadvantage for your company.  Social media allows you to connect with your audience in a more personable manner. This helps foster trust. Your social activities now affect your SEO as well. Don’t ignore this. In addition to the big three (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn), make sure you also have a Google + page for your business. It’s a fact that Google plays favorites. It’s easy to set up.

  1. Direct mail

Create a direct mail campaign and distribute it to a targeted list. Use a list source so that you’re reaching out beyond just your in-house lists. Consider rolling this out on a weekly or monthly basis. I have a client that is targeting 200 names per week for two months. The offer is a half-hour lunchtime review of the recipient’s current marketing activities and challenges. The mail package includes a menu from a popular restaurant from which the recipient can select their lunch. A follow-up report is delivered a week later. The company is creating face-to-face interactions with companies and persons they have never had previous contact with. By rolling this out, they have the opportunity to gauge results and refine the offer (A/B testing).

  1. Webinars

This is a great way to way to project your company as an expert and thought leader. If you’re talking about it, it is assumed you know about it! Even non-signups will be influenced by the invite and promotion. Limit these to just 30 minutes. They are easier to produce and more enticing to the recipients than longer Webinars. A quarterly basis would be a great interval. Even twice per year. Subject matter is easy to come up with and develop. Stick to ways you can help them grow or manage their business.

  1. Write a letter

Yes, it’s old school and you don’t see this often, which is one reason why you should do it. The other reason is that it’s an easy and personable way to help foster trust and credibility. Talk about recent success stories (mini case studies), community and charitable involvement, and other information that is relevant to the recipient such as USPS rate increases or new regulations.

  1. Website resources

According to Forrester Research, todays buyers would have gone through up to 90% of their buying journey before they make the first contact with the vendor. Simply put, having up to date, relevant, engaging content (blog) gives you a competitive advantage over those that do not. Having the information reside on your site will also help with SEO. The content can be short. One page is just as effective as three. Create short case studies or mini white papers. Post  content from company newsletters. Always share your new content out on social media.

  1. Host an event

Host an onsite or offsite customer (and prospect) event. These can range from purely social (customer appreciation) to educational (customer education) events. My suggestion would be a hybrid mix of both. Fun and helpful is always the best combination.

  1. Have a Plan

Planning is critical. If you want successful results, you will need to create a plan and commit to executing it. I’m happy to discuss any of this. Don’t allow your company to be out-marketed.