What is Your Customer Retention Strategy?

Happy New Year!

A very simple and extremely important message for the start of 2017!

• Develop a customer retention strategy and execute it. All growth begins with retention. Retention programs produce a higher ROI than new customer acquisition efforts.

• Deliver value by helping your clients develop customer retention programs as well. It’s much easier than it sounds.

• The #1 reason customers defect is lack of communication. A cross media (don’t skimp on print) communication program is an easy and effective way to strengthen and protect existing customer relationships. In the process, you will also help cultivate new ones.

I’m happy to share my step by step roadmap for developing an effective customer retention strategy. Send me an email or give me a call, anytime!

Patrick T. Whelan, President
pat@greatreachinc.com
978-332-5555

3 Marketing Ideas for December

Printer Marketing PublicationsHere are the three best things you can do in December to help grow your print and mail business in 2017:

  1. Embrace and become highly proficient with LinkedIn (LI). With almost 500 million users, LI is today’s professional network and the best place to expand your reach, promote your personal brand, stay top of mind and generate traffic to your company website. Think you already have it down? What about LI Showcase or LI Sales Navigator? There are so many tools and strategies to explore. I just did a webinar for PIA on this topic. Reach out if you would like to discuss this.
  2. Develop a customer retention program. All sales growth begins with retention. It’s less costly to keep an existing client than to cultivate a new one. Follow the 90 day rule. Use a multi-channel strategy to engage each of your customers at least 4 times per year (good marketers shorten this to 30 days) in a non-selling manner. A company newsletter or magazine, customer education events such as a webinar or lunch and learn, brief email notifications that present useful, customer focused content, customer appreciation events, etc.
  3. Learn marketing. It’s no longer about learning to be a great closer or prospector. The most important trait a salesperson can have today is to be a good marketer. Smart marketing increases sales reach and effectiveness. Join marketing associations and LI marketing groups. Sign up for various marketing newsletters- there is a wealth of highly relevant information right at your fingertips! Being a smart marketer will also allow you to provide greater value to your customers and prospects.

Thanks to PIA for the opportunity to present to their members and thank you to my many loyal clients who utilize my company’s marketing services. If anyone would like information on our turn-key marketing solutions, please visit us on the web and submit a sample request. Cheers to a safe and joyous holiday season!

5 Thoughts on Marketing Your Print and Mail Services

Be current
Make sure to utilize current trends and technologies. Are your website and email efforts optimized for mobile? Employ a multichannel strategy to engage your target audience including, but not limited to, print, email, website and social media. Ignoring even one of these can hurt your credibility and create a competitive disadvantage. Don’t allow that.

Be conversant
View your website as a conversation, not a presentation. Marketing is about engaging your audience. Avoid generic or keyword stuffed content. Google’s “Hummingbird” algorithm likes fresh, genuine, conversational content.

Be a leader
Promoting thought leadership for both your company and personal brands is the best way to differentiate, establish credibility and foster trust. Customers seek that assurance. Be seen as a leader and engage your customers with top tier, helpful content. You are what your content says you are.

Be consistent
You need to consistently execute your marketing plan. Most print and direct mail companies I see these days have a plan in place yet too many do a poor job executing. Treat your marketing with the same importance you would treat your production workflow.

Be frequent
Touch your target audience at least every 90 days. Smart marketers shorten this to 30 days. At the very least, make sure that you communicate with your customers as often as your competitors do. In the end, it will come down to who’s better at establishing trust and credibility.

If you would like a 5-minute demo of our turn-key, area-exclusive marketing programs, please email me to set up a time.

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

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.

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