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.

Most Often It’s About Trust, Not Price

Brand is simply a mental creation to help people understand one company and its services over another. How aware are people of all your services? If you still hear “I didn’t know you could do that”, chances are your branding efforts are failing.

Position your company as the go-to resource. Strong branding reduces the perception of risk. Ultimately, that will have more influence over who gets the job than anything else. 75% of buying decisions are based on emotion. It’s all about trust. Price is often just an easy excuse.

Building your brand is a journey, not an event. There’s no such thing as a quick branding campaign. If you want to sell solutions rather than transactions, you need to make a long-term commitment to cust­omer engagement, extending your reach, fostering trust and staying top of mind. A simple, straightforward strategy and a commitment to execution is all it takes.

Content is a very powerful branding tool. Create content for humans and not for search engines and the SEO will take care of itself. Quality content that engages the audience generates knowledge and effects emotions. Both are critical for effective branding. Leverage social media as well to help promote your content.

Branding isn’t complicated but it’s also something that can’t be ignored.

Do you have a marketing plan in place for 2014? We offer a suite of customizable, area exclusive direct mail and online marketing tools. To request samples and info, click here. Or email me direct at pat@greatreachinc.com.

Five Things You Need to Know About Content

These days content marketing is the big buzz. I’ve spent the last 18 years providing content marketing solutions to the print industry so this is an area of expertise for me.

If you are currently utilizing or plan on utilizing content to help grow your business, here are 5 quick things to think about.

  • Search is now the primary method of information discovery. It’s the first place people go when they want to try something new. Is your site rich with unique engaging content? How often is your content updated?
  • 85% of searches are organic search. This means that 85% of the people who find your site will also find other sites (your competitors). How well does your content compare to that of your competitors? In a sea of marketing noise, your content needs to stand out and position your brand as a thought leader. This is absolutely critical.
  • Search continues to drive more meaningful traffic than social. But social still drives significant value because it triggers search traffic. Are you also utilizing content for social media marketing efforts?
  • Google doesn’t like to look at the same content. If you are using one of the in-the-can industry websites it will not perform well on searches. Make sure to be supplementing it with unique content such as a blog page.
  • ZMOT. The zero moment of truth. It relates to all of the above. Google it and learn about it or contact me to discuss.

Some information above was gathered from Direct Marketing News. Joe Ryan. Interview with Tom Gerace, CEO of Skyword.

How to Become ConTENT with Your CONtent

Guest post by Dick Rossman
rossmanconsulting.com

I couldn’t resist this play on words to introduce the subject of Content Marketing, which has quickly become one of the most vital parts of any online marketing strategy. Businesses are discovering that they can generate significant returns on their marketing efforts by creating their own blogs, videos, newsletters, white papers and other content.

What is Content Marketing?
“Content Marketing is turning your insight and advice into campaigns that change people’s minds and incite action. Traditional marketing talks at people. Content marketing talks with them.”
Doug Kessler, co-founder of Velocity Partners, a world-renowned B2B marketing firm

Content Marketing is discovering what your customers and prospects are interested in knowing, learning, reading, and interacting with you about, and then communicating about it so you position yourself as an expert. Start by understanding your customers and their businesses so you understand their issues, challenges, needs and concerns. Make sure to tell your customers what they need to know, not what you need to say.

Why should I use Content Marketing?
Here are seven reasons, any one of which should get you started. Content Marketing can:

  • Position your company as an expert and set you apart from your competition
  • Give your customers and prospects a reason to communicate with you
  • Generate new leads and build your database
  • Raise awareness of your company and products
  • Build trust and credibility with your customers and prospects
  • Give your sales team a reason to engage and add value to their customers and prospects
  • Boost your search engine performance, your SEO

How do I create my Content Brand?
As you build a brand for your company, so too do you want to create one for your content.

  • Build your content around your customers, and write from their point of view
  • Write about what you are an expert in – stick to your sweet spot
  • Be consistent and persistent – one and done doesn’t cut it
  • Write with passion and confidence – have attitude and energy
  • Provide high quality content or none at all
  • Make your writing worth your readers’ time. Fewer pieces of value and quality beat many lightweight pieces.

Make sure to ask for opinions and thoughts, and acknowledge all that you receive. Also, check your spelling and grammar – people are turned off quickly by writing errors.

More tips for successful Content Marketing
Patrick Whelan, president of Great Reach Communications, suggests that content marketing is a great way to differentiate your company from your competitors, but you need to write about what is new and relevant. He also warns not to let Search Engine Optimization be the tail that wags the dog. By writing valued and quality content, your brand will be enhanced and an improved SEO will follow. And finally Whelan says not to send out content just because your calendar says you are supposed to – take your time and make it worthy of your brand.

How to get it going
Identify content creators in your company – it doesn’t have to be just you. Your employees who have a flair for writing can be perfect contributors, but you will want to oversee their content for accuracy and appropriateness. A 20-something may be able to manage your content and social media distribution but not without oversight. Remember your company brand is on display here. Brainstorm and create a list of topics, and develop a content plan so there is always something in the pipeline – you need to be consistent and persistent. And if you are already wearing 12 hats and can’t wear one more, hire an expert part-time to be in charge of the process.

One more word – mobile
Today 50% of emails are read on a mobile device, so your content must be mobile-friendly or you will lose your audience. Don’t modify your content for mobile – use a mobile solution like iflymobi from InterlinkOne that displays your content properly.

A final thought about Content Marketing
“Content marketing is exploiting your unique position in your markets to generate valuable insight and advice on issues your customers and prospects care most about. It is so much more than creating text. Your blog is so much more powerful than a static brochure for your company. Incorporate video, images, interviews, audio, and more. If you can think of it, create it. Your audiences will be glad you did.” Velocity Partners

5 Quick Things Printers Should Know About Content Marketing

1. Create content with your customers’ needs in mind rather than the needs of SEO, your company newsletter or social media. Too many companies are misdirecting their focus. If it doesn’t present strong value to your customers, then it’s not going to help you with the other areas either.

2. The tyranny of the content calendar/editorial deadline is most often the reason for non-engaging content. Only produce content when you have something really meaningful to share. Your clients should look forward to your communications and value them. If not, you’re just creating marketing noise that your audience will tune out.

3. SEO is overrated. Okay, that’s a little subjective but unless you’re an online printer, it’s true. Consider that most people will enter qualifying information into their search in order to get the most relevant results. This includes the printer’s name and a geographic qualifier. Bottom line, focus on creating mind share. The average person will recall 3-5 brands per category. Get your brand in there and stay there. If you focus on these efforts, your SEO will come naturally.

4. Your content should be mobile “friendly” which sounds a lot simpler than “optimized,” and it’s pretty simple to implement. There are free WordPress plug-ins that can help you achieve this, as well as email services (such as ours) that optimize your e-newsletters automatically, and tools like iflymobi.com.

5. The most important thing you can achieve with your content is to promote your brand as a thought leader and trusted resource for the services you provide. Your brand is what people perceive it to be, and the quality and value of your content will have a strong influence on that perception.

Five Things You Need to Know About Content

These days, content marketing is the big buzz. I’ve spent the last 18 years providing content marketing solutions to the print industry so this is an area of expertise for me.

If you are currently utilizing or plan on utilizing content to help grow your business, here are 5 quick things to think about:

Search is now the primary method of information discovery. It’s the first place people go when they want to try something new. Is your site rich with unique and engaging content? How often is your content updated?

85% of searches are organic. This means that 85% of the people who find your site will also find other sites (your competitors). How well does your content compare to that of your competitors? In a sea of marketing noise, your content needs to stand out and position your brand as a thought leader. This is absolutely critical.

Search continues to drive more meaningful traffic than social media. But social still drives significant value because it triggers search traffic. Are you also utilizing content for social media marketing efforts?

Google doesn’t like to see the same content. If you are using one of the in-the-can industry websites, it will not perform well on searches. Make sure you’re supplementing it with unique content.

ZMOT. The “zero moment of truth.” It relates to all of the above. Google it or contact me to discuss.

(Some information above was gathered from the following source;
Direct Marketing News. Joe Ryan. Interview with Tom Gerace CEO of Skyword.)