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.

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.

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

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.

4 Reasons to Use Customer Communications

The following was excerpted from an article by Customer Communications Group.

Why use customer communications?
Customer communications CAN impact your bottom line. The case to use customer communications mirrors in many ways the case to invest in relationship marketing. A customer communications strategy may be for you if your objectives are to:

  • Enhance your relationships with your customers
  • Upsell and cross-sell products and services
  • Retain customers (especially the best customers)
  • Build loyalty and advocacy among customers

Build Credibility
Newsletters allow you to build your company’s credibility as an expert by providing customers with educative information.

Convey Information
Got a lot to say? Have plenty of information to share? Customer communications work well if you need to convey complex information about your products or services on an ongoing basis.

Break Through the Clutter
Customer communications can be an excellent tool to break through junk-mail clutter. If it offers valuable information to the customer, rather than just trying to sell products, a newsletter can become something that the customer anticipates, especially when sent frequently and regularly.

Deciding Whether to Seek Help or Go Out of House.
Don’t have the resources in-house? Consider taking your project to an agency. Being consistent if the key.

Published by Customer Communications Group, Inc., a full-service agency specializing in relationship marketing and customer communications. Copyright 2012 Customer Communications Group, Inc.