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

3 Marketing Ideas for December

Printer Marketing PublicationsHere are the three best things you can do in December to help grow your print and mail business in 2017:

  1. Embrace and become highly proficient with LinkedIn (LI). With almost 500 million users, LI is today’s professional network and the best place to expand your reach, promote your personal brand, stay top of mind and generate traffic to your company website. Think you already have it down? What about LI Showcase or LI Sales Navigator? There are so many tools and strategies to explore. I just did a webinar for PIA on this topic. Reach out if you would like to discuss this.
  2. Develop a customer retention program. All sales growth begins with retention. It’s less costly to keep an existing client than to cultivate a new one. Follow the 90 day rule. Use a multi-channel strategy to engage each of your customers at least 4 times per year (good marketers shorten this to 30 days) in a non-selling manner. A company newsletter or magazine, customer education events such as a webinar or lunch and learn, brief email notifications that present useful, customer focused content, customer appreciation events, etc.
  3. Learn marketing. It’s no longer about learning to be a great closer or prospector. The most important trait a salesperson can have today is to be a good marketer. Smart marketing increases sales reach and effectiveness. Join marketing associations and LI marketing groups. Sign up for various marketing newsletters- there is a wealth of highly relevant information right at your fingertips! Being a smart marketer will also allow you to provide greater value to your customers and prospects.

Thanks to PIA for the opportunity to present to their members and thank you to my many loyal clients who utilize my company’s marketing services. If anyone would like information on our turn-key marketing solutions, please visit us on the web and submit a sample request. Cheers to a safe and joyous holiday season!

One Printer’s Experience With Marketing

Even if you dismiss what marketers such as myself say about the need to market your print services, it’s hard to ignore what printers themselves are saying. The following is an email I just received:

“I wanted to share that I have had 2 separate experiences in the past week where I received unsolicited commentary on our marketing program. In both cases, the clients commented on how they enjoy receiving our literature and how they have learned from our marketing efforts. To me there is no higher compliment than to say they are “learning” from us. This is evidence that our marketing program is creating a strategic advantage over our competition. Just wanted everyone to know that the money spent on marketing is paying dividends!”

The key takeaway here is “strategic advantage”. It may be hard to measure, but how your brand is perceived, relative to your competitors, is the most critical influencer of determining which company gets the sale. People give their business to the company they trust the most. Promoting thought leadership is paramount to fostering this trust and credibility. Ignore at your own peril.

There’s no easy way or silver bullet. But marketing need not be an overwhelming task, either. Engage your clients, prospects and potential prospects by utilizing engaging, educational (80/20 rule), high value content that promotes your leadership position and also keeps you top-of-mind. Deliver these touch points utilizing a combination of direct mail, email, website content, LinkedIn published posts (like this one) and social media.

If you struggle with content creation and marketing execution, my company provides turnkey, comprehensive and area exclusive marketing solutions to printers and direct mailers. Reach out to me at pat@greatreachinc.com.

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.

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

9 Marketing Tips Worth Repeating

The average person is only capable of retaining 3-5 brands per category in their memory. If you want to introduce your company into someone’s consideration, you need to push another company out of consideration. Repetition is fundamental to top-of- mind success.

If you won’t tolerate a poorly performing employee or a poorly performing MIS system, then why is there such widespread acceptance of a poorly performing website?

Whether or not you’re marketing to your customers, you can be assured that your competitors are.

The abandon rate for social media is VERY high. Beware of creating marketing graveyards. This also applies to outdated website content.

Dollar for dollar, investments in client retention are 5 times more profitable than new client acquisition.

Irrelevant communications contribute to customer defection and alienation. Content is king. Otherwise, your efforts are just part of the marketing noise that people tune out. How does your content compare to your competitors?

Impersonal websites fail. Sites with with no names and generic email addresses (Sales@, info@) struggle to foster trust. Sales is about relationships. View your website as a one on one conversation with your best customer.

It’s not one or the other for effective marketing. You should be utilizing outbound, inbound and social media strategies. Again, many of your competitors are.

If it isn’t growing, it’s dying. Data goes bad at a rate of 2% per month. How does your database compare to a year ago? How does your web traffic compare to a year ago?