How Do You Stack Up?

Here is a partial print marketers’ checklist. How well do your business development efforts stack up?

  • Is your database growing? If you’re prospecting, your database should always be growing. Data is at the heart of all marketing efforts. Maintain it, manage it, grow it.
  • How often do you touch each contact in your database? Aside from establishing relationships, keeping your company top of mind is critical if you want to benefit from the instability that exists in today’s print marketplace.
  • If a prospect or customer were to visit your website, what would their perception of your company be relative to that of your main competitors?
  • If a prospect or customer were to do a search for you online, would your company appear on the first page? SEO is more critical than ever.
  • If a prospect or customer were to search their inbox or collection of marketing collateral, would they easily find materials or communications from your company?
  • With so many people now utilizing social media, would it be easy for a client or prospect to follow you on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn? At the least two of the three?
  • With client engagement so critical, does your company produce a branded newsletter that offers a) high value content and b) is a good harbinger of your brand? Consider this from RIT’s Print In The Mix.
  • Is your company being proactive to assure your clients that you are staying abreast of the latest trends and technologies (think QR codes, PURLs)?
  • In terms of promoting your company’s marketing capabilities and services, does your company lead by example?

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Things to Consider When Planning For 2011

  • Sales force effectiveness increases by as much as 40% when supported by an effective marketing campaign.
  • The most popular way to lose a customer is to lose touch with him or her. Industry-specific data indicates that 60% of customer loss is due to lack of communication.
  • Every client and prospect should hear from your company at least once every 90 days. Successful marketers shorten this to every 30 days.
  • On average, it now takes nine touch points of communication to build a sales relationship. Most salespeople give up after three.
  • Dollar for dollar, investments in customer retention are five times more profitable than investments in customer acquisition.
  • Direct mail as part of an ongoing customer relationship campaign can reinforce your brand values again and again. Mail builds brands.
  • Social media need not be a time sink and when executed properly can be very effective.
  • Readers find newsletters to be more credible than promotional materials. In addition to helping build relationships, they also promote your brand and set your company apart from the competition. Useful, educational, non-sales-focused content is key.
  • Good communications, not pricing, is often the key determinant of
    a sale.

On behalf of myself and everyone here at Great Reach Communications, I’d like to take this moment to wish all of our clients and readers a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Prosperous 2011!

How Are You Communicating QR Codes to Your Customers?

We’ve talked about QR codes a lot in Marketing Briefs lately — and for good reason. Done right, QR codes can breathe new life into static print projects. They do this by connecting print to the Web through the viewer’s cellphone. Seminars. Blogs. Webinars. Trade magazine articles. LinkedIn discussions. Industry listserves. Discussion about QR codes is everywhere.

These discussions are important. This is how we learn. But equally important, how are we communicating this information to our customers? No matter how much potential QR codes might hold, if you cannot communicate this value to your customers, what’s the point?

How do you do this?
First and foremost, you use QR codes yourself. Design your own self-promotion campaigns around them. Add them to your own marketing materials. Put them on your business cards.

If you cannot make QR codes work for you, you cannot make them work for your customers.

Once you have your own comfort level with QR codes, it’s time to actively start promoting them to your customers. I’ve seen some highly effective blogs for this purpose. Articles in newsletters. Customer emails.

If you don’t want to generate your own content, Great Reach Communications has begun integrating QRC content into its quarterly newsletters and e-Grams. It has also developed a QR code primer you can send out as an educational tool to your customers. You can even brand it and send out under your own name.

Whatever you do, use QR codes on your own first. Then get out there and talk about them.

Find New Prospects With LinkedIn Groups

Clients have been asking me about ways to use LinkedIn to extend their marketing reach. For me, LinkedIn Groups offers an easy and effective way to promote your brand and start dialogues with potential customers.

LinkedIn has created thousands of different and diverse networked groups. Seek out those that potential customers might belong to. Not sure which ones? Try looking up some of your current customer connections. See which groups they belong to and join the appropriate ones.

Once you’ve become a member of one or more groups, participate! By posting helpful information and responding to posts, you elevate your visibility and begin to generate interest in who you are and what you do. It’s an easy (and free!) way to promote your services to people who may never have known about you. Make sure your profile contains relevant info about you and your company, since this is the first place people will visit once you’ve gotten their attention. Any activity you initiate also has the effect of making your profile visible to your own LinkedIn connections when they log in.

Maintaining a high profile for you and your brand, creating trust and credibility and building relationships are all critical to sales success. LinkedIn offers a great way to achieve this.

QR Codes: The Opportunities for Printers

Patrick Whelan contact info

Patrick Whelan's business card

Quick Response (QR) codes continue to generate a lot of buzz in our industry. In talking with printers over the last few months I’ve come to the conclusion that in our excitement to make use of their marketing potential, many straightforward QR code opportunities are being overlooked. Here are some that come to mind:

  • QR codes are the bridge that links the printed piece to the Internet. That capability alone is an easy way to get clients thinking about redoing existing sell sheets, marketing collateral, corporate brochures, etc. There’s a lot of low-hanging fruit out there. Start picking!
  • QR codes can contain static and dynamic URLs; launch YouTube videos (think product demos); include contact info (think business cards); highlight event dates; and even deliver text messages.
  • QR codes are simple to explain, have a “wow!” element, and require no significant expense. Those attributes are the perfect ingredients for a great in-person sales call.
  • QR codes give printers an opportunity to show how they’re staying abreast of the latest trends and technologies. Customers seek that assurance. That combination makes them a powerful branding opportunity.
  • QR codes are a highly effective way to increase direct marketing results and are rapidly gaining exposure. A national furniture chain had one in its flyer last week. If you’re the first to talk about them with clients, you’ll be seen as a leader.
  • QR codes offer a reason for a sales call, a customer education event, webinar, etc.

These ideas are just scratching the surface. But at a time when print sales are harder to come by, QR codes offer the opportunity for sales people to CREATE low-hanging fruit and foster their brand at the same time. I’m happy to discuss this with anyone.

Some things to ponder as the fall selling season quickly approaches

With many printing companies cutting back on sales and marketing efforts, going out of business, merging, having layoffs, etc, there’s a tremendous opportunity for companies to win new business and build loyalty with existing clients. But you have to be positioned to take advantage.

Start building and strengthening sales relationships today by utilizing meaningful content. Outbound communications such as newsletters and postcards, social media outlets like Linkedin, and inbound strategies that utilize web content are all highly effective ways to increase sales success.

  • If repetition isn’t at the core of your marketing communications strategy, your efforts will fail.
  • Too many organizations get bogged down by taking a committee approach to producing marketing materials. Trying to create something perfect often becomes an excuse for doing nothing.
  • The average person can only keep 3-5 brands per category in memory. If you want to introduce your brand for consideration, another must be pushed out of consideration.
  • It takes at least 5-8 points of meaningful communication to convert a prospect to a customer.
  • Develop a series of informative touch points and deliver them to your contact list in a repetitive manner. The good news is that most CRM and contact management programs can easily facilitate a strategy of repetitive communications.

I’ve been providing offset and digital printing companies with highly effective marketing programs for over 15 years. Our programs are customizable and area exclusive. I’m happy to provide samples of our various newsletter programs based on their availability.