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

Tips for Improving Your Customer Communications

My colleague, Matt Hunt, recently attended the Email Innovations Summit. It featured a number of dynamic speakers from well known companies to small startups talking about their experiences with email marketing and customer communications. Email marketing can be a powerful sales tools but only if done right.

He put together a short list of top takeaways, which includes tips on personalization, data sources, relevance, and automation. A few simple adjustments to your campaigns might be the ticket to getting more responses and providing relevant communications and information to your customers.

If you would like to receive this free, quick read report, simply send me an email I will be happy to send it to you.

Patrick T. Whelan, President
pat@greatreachinc.com
978-332-5555

What is Your Customer Retention Strategy?

Happy New Year!

A very simple and extremely important message for the start of 2017!

• Develop a customer retention strategy and execute it. All growth begins with retention. Retention programs produce a higher ROI than new customer acquisition efforts.

• Deliver value by helping your clients develop customer retention programs as well. It’s much easier than it sounds.

• The #1 reason customers defect is lack of communication. A cross media (don’t skimp on print) communication program is an easy and effective way to strengthen and protect existing customer relationships. In the process, you will also help cultivate new ones.

I’m happy to share my step by step roadmap for developing an effective customer retention strategy. Send me an email or give me a call, anytime!

Patrick T. Whelan, President
pat@greatreachinc.com
978-332-5555

Marketing for Printers: Avoid These Pitfalls

I’ve spent the last 21 years providing marketing tools to printers and mailers. In that time, I’ve been able to witness the common issues that seem to derail even the best-intentioned marketing efforts. Here are a few of the most common reasons why they fail:

Treating your marketing efforts as something to be done “when you have time”.  Marketing needs to be planned and executed with the same commitment as other critical areas of your business such as estimating, production, billing, etc.  Schedule your print marketing as you would schedule a customer job. It’s critical.

Taking a committee approach. This is a sure recipe for failure. This will eat up a lot of collective time and effort and produce little, if not zero results. As the saying goes,  “the camel was a horse designed by committee”.  A single person needs to be in charge of your marketing committee and there needs to be accountability. For that reason, the person should not be the president, owner or CEO.

Trying to craft the perfect piece/message is often the reason for doing nothing. As a seasoned print executive once told me, “the act of communicating is sometimes more important than the communication itself”.  Not to say you should produce poor materials but keep this in mind.

Failure to differentiate between sales and marketing. They are two very different things and often someone in our industry has both of these in their title. Baloney! You can’t effectively do both. The end result is that they treat marketing efforts as a sales effort. They execute and measure them wrong. Someone told them years ago, “if you can’t measure it, you shouldn’t do it” so they give up after a short time. More baloney! In reality, just because they don’t have the ability to measure it doesn’t mean it can’t be measured. Large corporations understand this. Particularly with regards to their branding (trust) efforts.

Trying to cut costs by forgoing print and relying on online efforts. You need to do both: inbound and outbound, print and digital. Print has staying power. It’s tangible, and since most companies don’t consistently use it, it’s more effective at setting you apart from your competitors. Keep in mind that just about every print provider has a capabilities brochure but they are merely part of the marketing noise. Engaging customer communication pieces are very uncommon and therefore a much more effective tool.

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.

The More Things Change, the More they Stay the Same

Sorting through old files, I recently came across a copy of my January 2004 Marketing Briefs newsletter to printers. I was struck by how different (simpler) things were then. No mention of SEO, social media, content marketing or even email (we launched that in the Spring of 2004). At the same time, I was struck by how much things had not changed. These are the same fundamental ideas that need to be at the core of your marketing strategy today. Planning and commitment to execution have always been the keys to marketing success.

Simple Marketing Ideas that Printers Should Consider

Don’t view marketing as a department.
From receptionist to delivery person, every person plays a pivotal role in your marketing. Good companies are successful at creating a customer-centric culture.

Observe the 90-day rule.
Every client and prospect should hear from your company at least every 90 days. Good marketers shorten this to every 30 days. If you’re not making meaningful contact at least every 90 days, you run a high risk of having your message drowned out by that of your competitors.

Always feed the sales funnel.
Leads become prospects, prospects become customers. The amount of prospects you generate is proportionate to the amount of leads you are able to input into your sales funnel. The amount of customers you generate is proportionate to your ability to promote your value proposition with your prospects. Having a structured, systematic approach to this will yield the greatest results.

Stay committed.
Marketing doesn’t take time off, and it’s not something to be relegated to the “when I have the time” category. You need to structure the time or delegate the tasks to someone else who then needs to structure the responsibility into their time. Marketing works. But to reap the rewards, you first need to commit yourself to the tasks.

Know when to market.
Always! Research showed that companies who maintained or increased their marketing efforts during a recession averaged subsequent growth rates that were14 times greater than those that cut back or eliminated their marketing.

If you’re struggling with your marketing or just have a question or thought you would like to share, feel free to reach me anytime. pat@greatreachinc.com.

Source: “10 Commandments of Marketing” by Jay B. Lipe on marketingprofs.com