Grow Your Business by Utilizing Drip Marketing

You offer great quality print, mail and marketing services at a fair price. But is that enough to gain new business? Not if you aren’t able to successfully communicate your value to your audience. The prospects perception is your reality. It’s your job to form that perception.

So what does it take to convert a prospect into a customer? Sometimes it’s simply a matter of time and exposure. How you say it and how often you say it are as important as your value proposition itself.

This is the philosophy behind drip marketing. Send a postcard on Monday. Blast an email on Thursday. Mail a marketing letter the following week. By continually putting your message in front of people, you stay top of mind and foster credibility. When they’re ready, they’ll select you instead of the competition.

It’s not just about staying visible. It’s also about keeping your competitors at bay. It’s a common marketing adage that customers can only keep three to five brands in their heads at one time. To get your brand in there, you have to push another brand out. And once you get in there, you have to stay in there by keeping your competitors out.

What makes a successful drip marketing campaign? Repetition. You can offer discounts and promotions, but most importantly, it’s about building relationships and creating conversation. To do this, you need solid content that positions your company and your brand.

Keep the Conversation Interesting

Print marketing doesn’t have to be dull. When developing copy for communications such as postcards, mailers, and customer newsletters, think beyond the product promotion. Mix up the writing style to capture interest and create engagement. Sure, you are trying to sell products and services, but you’re also trying to deepen customer relationships and reinforce brand image.

Here are 5 styles of marketing content that you can use in your promotional mix.

  1. Educational

This is straight talk on products and services that most marketers are familiar with. This includes case studies, customer testimonials, and tips and tricks.

  1. Humor

In addition to breaking up the “same old, same old,” humor increases retention. It’s why brand marketers use it so often.

  1. Shock value

Shock value can grab attention and increase retention, as well, but it has to be handled carefully. Not only does shock value capture attention, it’s a great way to get people talking about you.

  1. Social conscience

Content that reflects your brand as environmentally sensitive, good citizens, and concerned about social issues can be a powerful tool for promoting your brand. Most, if not all print providers have some level of community involvement. Talk about it.

  1. Truly unique

Try to create content that is unique—content readers won’t get anywhere else. Do you have a service or offering that your competitors lack? One printer is offering an Adobe training series for creatives. Events like this help them stand out.

So break out of the mold when it comes to content. Here are some best practices to keep in mind:

Stand out                                                                                                              

In addition to great content, utilize folds, shapes, and the many finishing techniques that can really help your print communications stand out. At the same time you will also be helping to promote these techniques and services. Soft touch, raised, spot varnishes etc. can have a huge impact on the recipient.

 Be consistent.

Drip marketing is about consistency. Make a commitment. Create a marketing schedule. Then stick to it.

 Follow up.

You can drip, drip, drip, but at some point, you need to give a call to action. Follow up by phone, email, or other media.

Drip marketing can take many forms, including postcards, newsletters, marketing letters, and email. Regardless of the media used, the goal is the same. Engage your customers. Position your brand. Foster trust and credibility. By doing so, you will stay top of mind, keep your competitors in the corner, and boost your sales at the same time.

Client Retention: The Case for Customer Engagement

Commercial printing has always had a sales-focused culture. When it comes to growing their businesses, printers have always invested heavily in sales training focused on prospecting and closing techniques. While these skills are important, the ability to retain existing clients has a much greater impact on your ability to grow sales.

All growth begins with client retention.  As former Allegra Chairman Carl Gerhardt noted, printers need to avoid wasting time and money on complex marketing plans until they have a solid customer-retention plan in place.

Studies show that most print providers need to add 25% new customers every year just to maintain current sales levels. No wonder growth can be so difficult. It’s hard to move the boat forward when it’s leaking out the sides! If you are not proactive about customer retention, most acquisition efforts will help you tread water, but not actually grow your sales.

Here are some additional statistics to ponder:

  • Acquiring new clients costs 5x more than retaining existing ones.
  • 68% of customers leave because they think you are indifferent to them.
  • A 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by 75%. (1)
  • Repeat customers spend 33% more than new customers. (2)
  • 80% of companies believe they deliver a superior customer experience, but only 8% of their customers agree. (3)

When customers leave, so does your reputation. Satisfied customers refer business. Former customers rarely do.

Existing customers need to know they are working with a stable, trustworthy business that understands their needs. Unfortunately, printers are often so busy pursuing new customers that they forget about their existing ones. As a result, their customers become restless and the competition is happy to pick them off. Don’t let this happen.

Here are 7 ideas for retaining your customers and building customer loyalty:

  1. Stay engaged, whether you are actively selling them something or not.

Maintain contact electronically, in print, and in person. The most effective way to lose customers is to lose touch with them. Communicate, communicate, communicate!

  1. Deliver content that provides real value to them.

Identify their pain points and offer solutions. Provide helpful, thought leadership. Not only will this strengthen your relationship and promote you as a trusted resource, but it will also differentiate you from your competition—most of which is not communicating with high-value content.

  1. Be multichannel.

Use print, email, website, social media.  Content is king. It’s what you will be judged on relative to what your competitors are doing.

A note on website content: 67% of potential customers seek product and services information online first, and 81% of B2B decision makers use online communities and blogs to help make purchasing decisions. (4) Your website isn’t the only one they’ll visit. Potential customers will visit another three to five sites beyond yours.  Your website content (blog, resources, company info) has to be great. It must stand head and shoulders above the competition.

  1. Be willing to admit mistakes.

Providing a great product and services does not guarantee that customers will stick around. It merely fulfills the customers’ minimum expectations—one which the competition also promises them. But delivering a bad customer experience doesn’t guarantee customer defection, either. If you resolve a complaint quickly, 9 out of 10 customers will do business with you again.

Almost 50% of people are less inhibited about complaining once they get online, so consider using email and landing pages for customer satisfaction follow-ups after every job. Everybody messes up once in awhile, but being caring and proactive can help turn a negative customer experience into an opportunity to build an even stronger customer relationship.

  1. Don’t forget the truly personal side of engagement, too.

Face-to-face interaction can’t be beat.  Consider adding on- or off-site educational events, quick “lunch and learns” in group settings or even one-on-one, and customer appreciation events. If you can’t coordinate everything in-house, consider using outside help.

  1. Send letters and thank you notes.

Everyone sends a holiday card, so reach out on birthdays, special events, and anniversaries (including those of major achievements).

  1. Connect on LinkedIn and leverage updates and published posts to promote thought leadership and stay top of mind.

In the end, it all boils down to this: Are you doing things that other providers are not? If they are, are you doing them better? Does your direct mail (newsletters, postcards) provide more value? Does the design stand out rather than looking canned? Is it easy to reach you, particularly from a mobile device?  Do you make it easy to do business with you, such as providing contact information on email signatures, responsive website design, and online resources such as available envelope sizes, conversion charts, postal information? What materials do you leave behind when you visit a client or prospect? We inherently don’t trust sales literature—Millennials in particular—so utilize customer-focused communications.

It cannot be said enough. Utilize the time in between delivering jobs to communicate. You will effectively stand apart from your competitors and strengthen your position as a trusted provider of the services you offer.

 

(1)www.bain.com  (2) Laura Lake, (3) Bain & Company from Harvard Management Update. (4) 2016 Marketing Think./ Deborah Corn.

Growing Print Sales in 2018

Happy New Year! We are almost ten days into the new year. What changes have you instituted to increase sales effectiveness and grow your business?

  • Companies that had double-digit growth in the last year supported their sales staff with printed and digital communications. (InfoTrends Reports)
  • Consistency is king with marketing initiatives. Brand exposure plus brand positioning equals competitive advantage.
  • All growth begins with retention. Data indicates that 60% of customer loss is due to lack of communications.

“We started with Great Reach one year ago, and the response from our customers and prospect has been overwhelming. One customer called and wanted to know about “drip marketing” that was in a newsletter three months ago. Great Reach is our marketing department.”

If you would like info regarding our turn-key, exclusive marketing solutions for printers and mailers, please reply to this email or visit us on the web. We make marketing easy, affordable and highly effective.

Patrick T. Whelan
pat@greatreachinc.com
Office 978-332-5555 Cell 617-513-2067

P.S. Check out my latest featured article in Printing News: http://www.printingnews.com/article/12382492/marketing-matters-10-marketing-ideas-for-printers

3 Marketing Ideas for the Fall Season

1. Sell your customers on the role print plays in an effective marketing strategy. This article in Forbes will help: “The Art Of The Leave-Behind.”

2. Print companies that had double-digit growth last year supported their sales efforts with marketing collateral (Infotrends). Content is king. Educational, engaging, thought leadership promotes credibility and sticks around. Sales literature does neither.

3. Sell client retention programs. Why?

  • They o­ffer a truly unique selling proposition.
  • Program selling rather than job selling
  • A wealth of content to support retention over acquisition spend.
  • Scalable program regarding frequency, channels, and media.
  • No learning curve for sales staff.

It’s easier to sell a retention program than other traditional marketing programs. More details in this September Printing News article. I also offer a program to help with this. Happy to provide a free consultation.

4 Quick Marketing Tips to Grow Sales

I want to tell you about four quick tips I recently shared with my clients. The first is a key take away from research produced by InfoTrends (Lisa Cross and Kate Dunn) that identified best practices from print providers that experienced double-digit sales growth in the past 12 months.

“While engaging potential customers in person is essential, it is also important to support those efforts with printed and digital communications to create a productive sales force.” (Source link)

Here are some interesting statistics regarding website content:

– Blog content has a life expectancy of 2 years, which is a longer shelf life than all other forms of virtual content. YouTube and LinkedIn are 20 days and 24 hours, respectively.

– 81% of B2B decision makers use online communities and blogs to help make purchasing decisions. (Source: 2016 Marketing Think)

– 67% of prospective customers check you out online first. Does your site promote you as a thought leader and as a credible resource for your services?

Let’s talk about how blog content can help you gain and retain customers!

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

5 Things to Consider Halfway Through 2017

Here are 5 things to consider halfway through 2017. Summer is a great time to plan for growth!

• Millennials love direct mail, as do others. Are you using it as part of your marketing communications?

• Existing customers cost less (retention vs. acquisition) and spend more. A 5% increase in retention can lead to a 75% increase in profitability. Communicate often and effectively.

• When customers leave, so does your reputation. Think about referred business. How many come from existing customers compared to former ones?

• Promotional materials need to be replaced with problem-solving, goal oriented, and trust building communications. It’s how you stand out from other service providers.

• Website content matters! Thank you, Deborah Corn, for sharing the following statistic: 81% of B2B decision makers use online communities and blogs to help make purchasing decisions. (Source: 2016 Marketing Think).

We offer turn-key, exclusive marketing communications programs for printers and direct mail companies. Contact me if you would like some info and samples of how we can help you grow.

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