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.

Some Quick Thoughts on Customer Retention

I firmly believe that if print providers want to grow their sales, the first order of business should be a greater focus on client retention efforts. A marketing strategy that places a greater emphasis on client retention than on new client acquisition will yield the greatest results.

I’ve included my thoughts to accompany some interesting statistics below.

  • Acquiring new clients costs 5 times more than retaining existing ones.
  • 68% of customers leave because they perceive you are indifferent to them1. Customers need constant assurances that their business is appreciated. Your competition is doing all they can to make them feel wanted. How do your retention efforts stack up?
  • 50% of people prefer the convenience of electronic interaction over face-to-face2. Do you have an effective online strategy for staying engaged with existing clients?
  • A 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by 75%3. Wow, think about the cumulative effect of that.
  • Repeat customers spend 33% more than new customers4. If you’re a printer, think about how much easier it is to promote additional services once you have established trust.
  • If you resolve a complaint quickly, 9 out of 10 customers will do business with you again. See next point.
  • Almost 50% of people are less inhibited about complaining once they get online. How many printers have an online (email, landing page) customer satisfaction process that they utilize for each completed job?
  • 80% of companies believe they deliver a superior customer experience but only 8% of their customers agree.5 This one should floor you. Printers should note that the customer experience often starts with your website.

The most effective way to retain customers to not lose touch with them. Stay engaged electronically, with print and in person. It just requires a plan and a commitment. If you would like discuss customer retention marketing strategies, please reach out to me anytime at pat@greatreachinc.com.

1retentionofcustomers.com, 2emarketer.com, 3bain.com, 4Laura Lake, 5Bain & Company from Harvard Management Update

If I Were A Printer

Here are some things I would absolutely do.

  1. I would make sure that my website was better than any of my competitors. I’d obsess about this. Plan at least quarterly meetings to discuss and implement improvements. Make sure that new content was being added at least monthly and solicit feedback from clients and others outside company.
  1. I would send out a print newsletter at least every 90 days.
  1. I would send out an email newsletter at least every month.
  1. I would add short videos to my website focusing on recent projects, success stories and tutorials. All under 2 minutes.
  1. I would utilize Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ to engage my audience.
  1. I would learn about and develop a LinkedIn strategy. For my business, it’s the #1 source of traffic to my website. No reason it can’t be for yours, as well.
  1. I would have my website audited for SEO at least once a year by Marcia Morgan. Marcia has a great knowledge of both the print industry and SEO.
  1. I would host quarterly webinars. Short, 30 minute events on relevant topics.
  1. I would network. Joining groups and associations that harbor potential clients.
  1. I would host events, both educational and networking ones.
  1. I would always be learning, and I’d follow Print Firm‘s blog. Katherine Tattersfield is a tremendous source of knowledge.
  1. I would always have a live person answering phones and I would invest in training for this person. As Dave Thomas (Wendy’s founder) used to say, “the first bite and the last bite are what people remember most.”
  1. I would post a letter (Customer Bill of Rights?) from me (President) on the website and provide my contact info. This is very effective for fostering trust.
  1. I would send an email follow-up survey after every completed job.

I am not a printer. I’d like to hear your feedback and additions to this list. I’ll compile them and share with everyone who replies. You can reach me at pat@greatreachinc.com.

You can also download a free copy of my report, 10 Marketing Ideas to Help Printers Prosper in 2014.

Email Newsletters for Printers

white-paper-downloadA well-executed email newsletter can be an easy and inexpensive way to help market your print services. However, eNewsletters present more potential pitfalls than their print counterpart. With email newsletters, getting it right every time is critical because once someone opts out (or tags you as spam) they are gone forever!

  • 79% of people scan content on the web rather than read it. So with email content, consider bulleted or numbered points and short sentences that are well spaced.
  • The reader must be able to grasp the value of your content immediately. Your subject lines, title and subtitle are critical. And if you can supply some great engaging content, it’s ok to slip in your 20% of promotional content as well.
  • Readers love graphics and they make information easier to scan, however, they can also have a negative effect on deliverability rates. In general, the more graphics you have, the greater chances you will end up in a spam folder. Spam filters have a ratio of text to images that they like to see.
  • Click through articles. The more they have to scroll or click, the less likely it is to be seen. Rather than asking the reader to click through to an article, you’re better off putting the complete article right in the email.
  • Keep your articles short. This number keeps shrinking and with bulleted and well-spaced sentences, you have less space to work with. Under 375 words and perhaps less. Try to put your most important take aways up top above the fold (scroll line).
  • Test for browser compatibility. What looks nice in your version of Outlook may look terrible in my version of Apple mail. We use Litmus.com to test our clients (and our own) emails. There are other services as well. It’s easy and critical.
  • Use a reputable email service provider that provides bulk emailing as a service. They have agreements with the ISPs to help increase the chance of your eNewsletter reaching the intended recipient.

Hope this helped. Happy to answer questions regarding this or any other marketing challenges you may be facing!

Newsletters For Printers: Eight Things to Consider

There’s no doubt that an informative company newsletter is one of the best ways a printer can help market their services. If you’re thinking about utilizing a print newsletter to market your company, here are some things to consider.

  1. Print or email? My advice is to utilize both. Cross media. But if you just use one, consider the fact that even the best designed email newsletters fall prey to spam filters. On the other hand, if you have limited financial resources, an email newsletter is much less costly to produce and distribute.
  2. 80/20 rule. Your content should be 80% educational and 20% promotional. If your content is relevant to the services you offer, then it’s promotional without being promotional.
  3. It’s about them, not you. Your content should be more focused on providing your audience with useful information and less about the goings-on at your company. However, some company news can be beneficial to your marketing effort. Community service, milestones, new services launches, etc. are great for engagement and branding. Just try to strike the proper balance.
  4. How relevant is your content? Don’t waste your time and money sending out jokes, recipes, and generic content that has no direct relevance to the services your company provides. You just make it easier for your brand to blend in and become part of the noise. People will tune you out. The key is to stand out from your competition by promoting thought leadership, competency and trust. Your content needs to be better than your competitors.
  5. Frequency. How often can you realistically get a newsletter out the door? If it’s only email, it should be monthly. No less than bi-monthly. However, if you opt for print only or print and email, then consider if you can produce a print piece quarterly, bi-monthly, or monthly. Be realistic. At a minimum, you need to touch your audience every 90 days. Strong marketers tighten that to every 30 days.
  6. Word counts. The trend is towards shorter content. Newsletter articles should be under 500 words (maximum, shoot for 400). Email under 375.
  7. Page counts. The newsletters themselves can be single article (2 page) or multiple articles (8 pages). That’s something to consider when you determine your frequency. If you are only engaging your audience 4 times a year, consider a multiple article format with a magazine look and feel so that it sticks around longer. If it were bi-monthly or monthly, a two page format might be more realistic.
  8. Beware of the committee approach. As a print marketer once said, “the act of trying to create the perfect piece often ends up being the reason for doing nothing.”

I’ve been supplying printers and mailers with customizable, area exclusive newsletter solutions for 20 years. I’m happy to discuss your challenges, review your materials, and offer any advice.

Social Media: The Case For Print Providers to Embrace Google+

If you haven’t already, now is the time to set up a G+ page for your business. It’s not just about social media effectiveness it’s about SEO. As mentioned in several of my previous articles, SEO represents a great opportunity for print providers to extend their marketing reach and cultivate new business.

  • Google search plays favorites. Having a Google+ page will help with your SEO. Google+ is Google and Google is search. Search is what drives traffic to your site. For print providers, it’s about extending your reach and generating leads. Don’t miss this opportunity.
  • Marketing is the top category on Google+ (followed by education and non-profit). Google+ has responded by becoming more marketing oriented. Google+ now allows brands to email their followers without having access to their email address. Google now segregates the emails into Inbox, Social and Promotional. That’s a win for brands and followers.
  • Many companies restrict employee access to social media sites. They either ban it on the browser level or set policy that restricts it. That isn’t the case with Google+. That’s an additional 8 hours available for potential engagement that Google+ offers.
  • Using the Google+ circles, following or un-following a brand allows the Google+ user to control what content they wish to see. They get to create their own experience. This contrasts sharply with the Facebook experience whereby Facebook decides for you what content you will see. And with the latest algorithm change (December), unless you are paying Facebook for promoted posts, your reach rates are continuing to decline.

There are lots of other slick features that Google+ provides (Hangouts) but for now, the best plan of action is to set up an account and begin to utilize it.

I’m happy to discuss this or any other marketing needs or questions you may have. Feel free to reach me at pat@greatreachinc.com or on the web at greatreachinc.com.