10 Marketing Ideas to Help Printers Prosper in 2015

Take the challenge and be the catalyst for change in 2015. Try at least four of these ideas for six months and see what happens. I’d love to hear your results and get your feedback. We can help you implement several of these if you choose.

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.

2. Email newsletter

If producing a print newsletter isn’t achievable, produce an email version. 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.

3. Start a blog

Google’s Hummingbird 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. Email me discuss a highly effective LinkedIn idea regarding this.

4. 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.

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. 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).

6. 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. Promote to your in-house list via social media and consider an outside list source. It’s a great way to help create demand for many of the marketing services that you may offer.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. Use Twitter

It’s a powerful tool for marketing. It requires little content and it’s very easy to reach a large targeted audience. It can be an effective way to start conversations and is yet another way to reach people you had no access to in the past.  #printchat every Wednesday at 4PM ET is a great source of knowledge for this.

10. 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. My company also provides some of the above-mentioned tools on an area-exclusive and cost-effective basis. Daily, I see companies doing some or most of these initiatives. Don’t allow your company to be out-marketed.

Wishing everyone a prosperous 2015!

Patrick Whelan
pat@greatreachinc.com

Forget Sales & Marketing: Think Customer Experience

Brand differentiation starts with an understanding of the customer journey from the customer’s point of view, not the printer’s. It’s all about the customer experience.

  • Do customers really want to see more advertisements and promotions in their inboxes?  Focus more on holistic engagement than individual marketing campaigns.
  • Do customers want to “Visit us on the web” just see the same boilerplate website content that they see on a competitor’s? Customize your site as much as possible.
  • Are customers impressed with generic business articles on a printer’s web site that address topics such as fall fashion and interview skills?
  • Are customers hungry for the jokes, recipes, and word find games that get sent to them under the guise of helpful company newsletters?
  • Are customers motivated enough to call a printer just to find out if they are still in business because their website and social media content has not been updated in two years? People prefer to gather info from the Internet than to make a call.
  • How does a customer feel about your company when they visit your site and see that the latest blog / news article update was several years back? Timely, relevant, engaging content promotes thought leadership.
  • How does a customer feel when they have to search a website just to find the mailing address? Have that information on the bottom of every page.
  • How does a customer feel when they have to search to find a phone number because your employees don’t include it as part of their email signatures?

If you are looking for ways to improve your customer’s experience, please reach out to me. I’m happy to schedule a short call to discuss this with you.

LinkedIn and 3 Other Marketing Musings for Printers

Do you have a LinkedIn strategy? If not, you should.

To get the most out of your marketing content you can’t stop at mailing, emailing, and posting to your website. Leverage LinkedIn both from a company standpoint and an individual standpoint.

Do you use Slideshare to share content on LinkedIn? I’ve had great success with doing just that. Are you starting or engaging in conversations? Are you discovering potential prospects and generating awareness on at least a weekly basis? It’s easier than you think. I’m happy to discuss this with you.

It’s not just you who should be using LinkedIn. Your employees should be using it, too. Every employee is a promoter of your brand.

It’s all about the Customer Experience. Stop looking at your marketing efforts from a marketing perspective and start looking at them from a customer’s perspective. Do you really think customers are eager to get more ads and promotions? Are they impressed by seeing boilerplate and generic content on your website? Start viewing your marketing (and sales) from the standpoint of the customer.

If you have an “in the can website,” customize it! Add your own content. Generic blog content and business advice that isn’t related to your solutions is a bad for your brand. Stand out rather than just being part of the marketing noise.

Too many printers still view their marketing efforts the same way they do their sales efforts. They want instant results and easy-to-grasp measurability. They confuse marketing campaigns with direct response campaigns. When the marketing fails to generate much response, the efforts become inconsistent and eventually die out all together.

I’m offering free 20-minute consultations during the last week of October.
Feel free to reach out to me if you would like to schedule some time. Pat@greatreachinc.com

How 4 Printers are Growing Their Businesses

In the last 2 weeks, I’ve witnessed and spoken with printers who are reporting fantastic results. Here is a summary of what four of them have done.

Printer in PA hosted an open house featuring educational sessions. They promoted it vigorously using multiple channels and generated lots of attention, noise, and excitement in their marketplace. The payoff was great exposure, brand elevation, and incredible in-person interaction with clients and prospects. The sales staff gets incredibly pumped up by these efforts and exposure.

Printer in IA generated a number of top-level appointments by taking a strategic (segmented) approach to distributing their recent newsletter. They have gotten their salespeople on board with these efforts, and their salespeople feel upbeat about having back-end marketing support.

Printer in CA is generating lots of interaction with clients by adding great content to their website and social media on a consistent basis. Not generic articles or news about themselves, but engaging, thought-leading content specific to the services they offer. They also use the content for their outbound marketing efforts via their email newsletter. They are driving traffic to their website and positioning their brand above their competitors.

Printer in IL has successfully transitioned to selling more programs than jobs. They now have monthly revenues that they can count on in advance. They are having success because they are sincere about advocating for what is best for their clients, helping them grow, and addressing their pain points. They support this approach with customer education efforts such as print and email newsletters, blogs, and social media. They are “practicing what they preach,” and it’s catching on with clients and prospects.

I’m happy to discuss your marketing challenges any time. Just email me to set up a free 20-minute consultation.

Now Is the Time to Be Marketing!

We’ve all done it. Summer slowdown arrives, and we join in. But perhaps when you consider the marketing benefits that summertime offers, you may want to reconsider. At the very least, you may want to maintain a steady marketing course and ease back on some of your other efforts.

  • Companies cutting back on their marketing in the summer are simply choosing to ignore their customers. This opens the door for competitors to get noticed. There is a wealth of client retention statistics to support this.
  • The Internet is up 24/7 and is practically everywhere. Customers still seek and see content. Don’t let your branding efforts take a step back just because it’s summer. The same goes for SEO. With algorithms constantly being updated, the consistent sharing of fresh content will pay big SEO dividends.
  • Take the tortoise and the hare approach. Client retention and acquisition as well as branding efforts require consistent engagement with your target audience. It’s all about creating multiple touchpoints.
  • Consumers are capable of recalling 3-5 brands per category. With companies cutting back, it makes it much easier for you to push out one of those brands and replace it with your own.
  • Science supports summertime marketing efforts. “More sun means more endorphins, which, aside from boosting spirits, also helps the brain remember more information.” [1]
  • Position your brand as the consistent thought leader. Paramount to fostering trust is consistency. “Sporadic posts on social media or your business blog will go ignored since consumers have no reason to follow sporadic content.”[2] The same can be said for your outbound marketing efforts such as print and email. Consistent delivery of quality content will absolutely set you apart from your competition.

Looking for an easy, effective, and inexpensive solution for your content marketing needs? We have been providing printers and mailers with customizable and area-exclusive solutions for 20 years. Our content will set you apart. www.greatreachinc.com

Inspiration and quotes [1, 2] taken from this great article:
https://contentequalsmoney.com/7-reasons-why-summer-is-the-best-time-to-invest-in-content-marketing/

Effective Content Marketing Grows Print Sales

At the end of the day, it’s all about trust. Most often, people will give the job to the company they feel has the greatest amount of competency and then come up with ways to justify not giving it to someone else.

The most effective way to influence your brand is to produce content that reflects your expertise. This means content that is better, more relevant and more sophisticated than any of your competitors.  Use this content for both inbound and outbound marketing efforts.

Your website content is critical but so is the need to utilize print to ensure you touch all of your customers and prospects at least every 90 days. Supplement both of these efforts with email and social media content. Try and produce at least 2 webinars per year. High quality content gives your company an edge over your competitors. It’s critical that printers support their sales staff with effective content marketing strategies.

Below are some stats regarding content marketing.

  • B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those who don’t. (Social Media B2B)
  • 82% of consumers like reading content from brands when it’s relevant. (The CMA)
  • 62% of companies outsource their content marketing. (Mashable)
  • 79% of B2B marketers use content marketing to achieve brand awareness goals. (Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs)
  • Blogs give websites 97% more indexed links. (Content+)
  • 80% of business decision makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement.

Summertime is a great time to get noticed and impact your brand’s perception. If you need help, we can assist you with all of these efforts at a fraction of the cost of producing in-house. If you would like a no obligation consultation, please reach out to me at pat@greatreachinc.com.