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

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.

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.

10 Marketing Ideas to Help Printers Prosper in ’14

white-paper-downloadTake the challenge and be the catalyst for change in 2014. 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 new Hummingbird algorithm is a game changer. Good, fresh content will generate strong SEO for your company website. If you’re looking for new sources of leads, inbound web traffic represents a great opportunity. Blog content doesn’t have to be long, and it doesn’t have to be loaded with key words. Make it relevant to your audience and the SEO will happen organically. Once a week? Perhaps every two weeks? Even a monthly update will generate results. Aside from SEO benefits, good website content has a very positive effect on your brand. Make sure to share your blog out on social media as well.

4. Social media
Very simple—customers now expect this. 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
Just like I’m doing here, create content that people can either download or request from your website. The key is to collect data. 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. Consider using content from company newsletters or getting employees involved in helping with content creation. This strategy will drive web traffic, allow you to collect data, and promote thought leadership.

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.

Regards for a safe and wonderful Holiday Season!

Patrick Whelan
pat@greatreachinc.com

Newsletters for Printers