Little Mistakes That May Be Costing You Sales

When we focus on business and sales, it’s easy to overlook small issues that seem insignificant. However, these small mistakes may be costing you more sales than you realize. Here are some thoughts based on some of my own recent experiences. I actually realized today that I was guilty of one of these. The good news is that they are easily fixable. Are you making any of these mistakes?

Mistakes/job screw-ups aren’t what kill a customer relationship; it’s really all about the resolution process. I’ve become an even more loyal customer in some cases based on how my complaint was handled. View every customer interaction as an opportunity.

Automated phone routing systems cost you sales, period! Some are worse than others but I’ve yet to find one that was mobile friendly. If I’m driving, I can’t start typing the first few letters in a person’s name. It’s easier to deal with Siri, so I’ll be on to the next 3-5 brands in my memory.

Dave Thomas was fond of saying, “It’s the first and last bite of the burger that the customer remembers most.” Maybe not entirely true in the print and mail business but don’t discount the importance proper training for your reception, delivery and A/R staff.

If I’m going to trust you with my print marketing, I want to feel confident that you are marketing savvy. Your website design, content, and social media efforts are important to me. I will give the job to the company I trust the most. Attention to detail is critical.

Have a marketing issue or challenge you wish to discuss? Shoot me an email and let’s set up a 10 minute phone conversation.

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

Marketing Basics to Grow Print Sales

More than ever before, print providers in this day and age have wisely embraced the need to effectively market their services.

• Know Me
• Trust Me
• Like Me

If you are not effectively achieving all of these, then your company is at a competitive disadvantage. How does your company’s efforts compare to your top 3-5 competitors?

Utilize a multi-channel approach to build and maintain mind share, foster trust and credibility, and connect socially. I’m happy to show you how.

Please email me or visit us on the web (greatreachinc.com) if you would like to see samples of our turnkey, exclusive, cost effective marketing solutions for printers and mailers.

 

One Printer’s Experience With Marketing

Even if you dismiss what marketers such as myself say about the need to market your print services, it’s hard to ignore what printers themselves are saying. The following is an email I just received:

“I wanted to share that I have had 2 separate experiences in the past week where I received unsolicited commentary on our marketing program. In both cases, the clients commented on how they enjoy receiving our literature and how they have learned from our marketing efforts. To me there is no higher compliment than to say they are “learning” from us. This is evidence that our marketing program is creating a strategic advantage over our competition. Just wanted everyone to know that the money spent on marketing is paying dividends!”

The key takeaway here is “strategic advantage”. It may be hard to measure, but how your brand is perceived, relative to your competitors, is the most critical influencer of determining which company gets the sale. People give their business to the company they trust the most. Promoting thought leadership is paramount to fostering this trust and credibility. Ignore at your own peril.

There’s no easy way or silver bullet. But marketing need not be an overwhelming task, either. Engage your clients, prospects and potential prospects by utilizing engaging, educational (80/20 rule), high value content that promotes your leadership position and also keeps you top-of-mind. Deliver these touch points utilizing a combination of direct mail, email, website content, LinkedIn published posts (like this one) and social media.

If you struggle with content creation and marketing execution, my company provides turnkey, comprehensive and area exclusive marketing solutions to printers and direct mailers. Reach out to me at pat@greatreachinc.com.

Marketing for Printers: Avoid These Pitfalls

I’ve spent the last 21 years providing marketing tools to printers and mailers. In that time, I’ve been able to witness the common issues that seem to derail even the best-intentioned marketing efforts. Here are a few of the most common reasons why they fail:

Treating your marketing efforts as something to be done “when you have time”.  Marketing needs to be planned and executed with the same commitment as other critical areas of your business such as estimating, production, billing, etc.  Schedule your print marketing as you would schedule a customer job. It’s critical.

Taking a committee approach. This is a sure recipe for failure. This will eat up a lot of collective time and effort and produce little, if not zero results. As the saying goes,  “the camel was a horse designed by committee”.  A single person needs to be in charge of your marketing committee and there needs to be accountability. For that reason, the person should not be the president, owner or CEO.

Trying to craft the perfect piece/message is often the reason for doing nothing. As a seasoned print executive once told me, “the act of communicating is sometimes more important than the communication itself”.  Not to say you should produce poor materials but keep this in mind.

Failure to differentiate between sales and marketing. They are two very different things and often someone in our industry has both of these in their title. Baloney! You can’t effectively do both. The end result is that they treat marketing efforts as a sales effort. They execute and measure them wrong. Someone told them years ago, “if you can’t measure it, you shouldn’t do it” so they give up after a short time. More baloney! In reality, just because they don’t have the ability to measure it doesn’t mean it can’t be measured. Large corporations understand this. Particularly with regards to their branding (trust) efforts.

Trying to cut costs by forgoing print and relying on online efforts. You need to do both: inbound and outbound, print and digital. Print has staying power. It’s tangible, and since most companies don’t consistently use it, it’s more effective at setting you apart from your competitors. Keep in mind that just about every print provider has a capabilities brochure but they are merely part of the marketing noise. Engaging customer communication pieces are very uncommon and therefore a much more effective tool.

Google’s 4/21 Deadline and 4 Other Quick Marketing Tips

1. Less than two years ago, Google’s new Hummingbird algorithm shook the SEO world. As usual, there was no advance notice. The next big event will be 4/21. This time, Google has given notice. If your company website is not mobile friendly by this date, it will have an adverse effect on your search rankings.

Not sure if your site is mobile friendly? Google provides this simple tool to let you know if it meets their mobile-friendly standards. Don’t wait. Try it now here. 2. Adobe Slate. It’s free and can be a powerful sales tool. Especially for those trying to sell more complex solutions rather than jobs. Here’s the review from CNET.

3. Google likes fresh, authentic, high-value content. Is your content closely aligned with the benefits you offer your customers? Newsfeeds and sharing stories found online will not help your rankings. They also won’t help your brand stand out as a thought leader.

4. It is perfectly within best practices to share the same content on multiple channels. (I’m asked about this often!) Blog content on your website can also be pushed out as an email newsletter, utilized as a published post on LinkedIn, and shared out to your other social media sites.

5. Don’t discount print. Yes, it takes time and money to create and distribute print communications. Most companies lack the willingness to commit. This makes print communications all that more effective. It’s easier to stand out. My newsletter clients often note that their print newsletters are a very effective “leave behind” for sales calls. How many other printers show that level of commitment to their customers? Very few. Print is tangible. Sales speak is not.

Utilize LinkedIn Publisher Platform to Grow Print Sales

A client of mine has had a great deal of success utilizing the LinkedIn publisher platform as a sales tool. In the spirit of that, I wanted to share the following tips:

1) Know the difference between connections and followers. Grow both. Since followers chose you rather than you chose them (connections), these can be strong leads. LinkedIn gives you the ability to see who your followers are so vetting them is pretty easy.

2) Be an “open networker.” Connect with anyone who asks. It helps with your reach via the LinkedIn publisher platform.

3) Know the difference between updates and published posts. Updates keep you top-of-mind but published posts are much more powerful and extend your marketing reach. Published posts reach beyond your connections by allowing you to build a following. And of course, content is king.

4) Publisher platform is the most effective way to showcase your knowledge and expertise. Thought leadership builds credibility and trust. Leverage this. All of your connections and followers get a notice when you publish a post. Published posts are displayed prominently on your profile. They stick around.

5) Published posts are searchable and may benefit from LinkedIn sharing them out beyond your network via their “Pulse” feature.

If you would like to discuss your social media challenges or learn more about the direct mail and online marketing tools we provide printers and mailers, please reach out to me.