8 Thoughts On Marketing Print Services

Step up marketing. In looking at cutting expenses, frequently one of the first cuts is in marketing. This can be a critical mistake.

Control the external message. One way to make sure that you are in control of the message is to stay in front of the customer both through marketing avenues and personal one-on-one visits.

While others are cutting back on client visits, communication, advertising, and public relations, you can use communication avenues as a differentiating tool. As one industry leader put it: “…we are taking every opportunity to make sure the company is perceived as progressive, financially stable, and completely reliable.”

Stay in front of your target audience with relevant communications. It’s absolutely critical to build and maintain top-of-mind awareness, as well as position your brand. Look for articles on the Web that have value to your clients and prospects and pass them along. There are also companies such as mine that will create that content for you.

Save production and postage costs by utilizing email to distribute this information. Email is an effective and inexpensive way to communicate. Of course, it you want to add the element (and cost) of print communications, a cross-media effort will be even more effective.

Some companies (hopefully, you’re one of them) will ramp up their sales and marketing activities in response business conditions. Communicate with your audience at least every 60 days (preferably 30 days) to ensure that your message doesn’t get drowned out.

Some companies will begin to cut back on their efforts. Take advantage of this. Overtake these companies in the minds of your target audience. Position your brand as a thought leader.

Be an efficient marketer by utilizing your dollars to reach and effectively communicate with the largest audience possible. Sales is a numbers game. Each of my clients reaches between 300 to 3000 people every month for about the same cost as an expensive client dinner or a round or two of golf.

Take the paddlewheel approach. People need to hear your message repeatedly. Pass on large, one-time expenditures and opt for repetition instead.

How Do You Stack Up?

Here is a partial print marketer’s checklist, which I think bears repeating. How well do your business development efforts stack up?

  • Is your database growing? If you’re prospecting, your database should always be growing. Data is at the heart of all marketing efforts. Maintain it, manage it, grow it.
  • How often do you touch each contact in your database? Aside from establishing relationships, keeping your company top of mind is critical if you want to benefit from the instability that exists in today’s print marketplace.
  • If a prospect or customer were to visit your website, what would their perception of your company be relative to that of your main competitors?
  • If a prospect or customer were to do a search for you online, would your company appear on the first page? SEO is more critical than ever.
  • If a prospect or customer were to search their inbox or collection of marketing collateral, would they easily find materials or communications from your company?
  • With so many people now utilizing social media, would it be easy for a client or prospect to follow you on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn? At the least two of the three?
  • With client engagement so critical, does your company produce a branded newsletter that offers a) high value content and b) is a good harbinger of your brand?
  • Is your company being proactive to assure your clients that you are staying abreast of the latest trends and technologies (think QR codes, PURLs)?
  • In terms of promoting your company’s marketing capabilities and services, does your company lead by example?

At the end of the day, most people will give their business to the company that is least likely to screw it up! Positioning your brand as a thought leader and fostering trust and credibility is the key to growth.

The Importance of a Unique Selling Proposition

When it comes to getting your message across clearly and succinctly, having a truly unique selling proposition (USP) is critical to your success. Printers absolutely need a USP that lets them stand out from the crowd, differentiate from the competition, and position their company as the go-to resource for the services they offer. Here are some suggestions for articulating your USP:

1. Identify what makes your company unique – Just as the name suggests, a “unique” selling proposition must explain what distinguishes your company or offer. It’s easy if you have a product that’s new to the marketplace, but for most printing companies that isn’t the case. Hence, the first thing to do is define the particular advantages your company has over the competition.

2. Be specific – Generic-sounding claims about customer service or simply being the best are not effective. Start by creating a list of each specific benefit that your company provides. As you review it, one or more unique aspects should emerge and provide the basis for writing a strong, descriptive, specific USP.

3. Keep it short – USPs are not introductory paragraphs. They are generally a phrase or sentence. Don’t ramble. The more concise you are, the better your results will be.

Effective USPs identify the most important benefits of using your services, solve an industry pain point, and (of course) are unique. Once you’ve determined yours, the final step is to integrate the USP(s) into all your marketing collateral and customer communication tools, such as email signatures, social media sites, invoices, etc.

As always, I’m happy to discuss any of the above. Feel free to contact me any time.

Patrick Whelan
pat@greatreachinc.com
978.332.5555

The Summer Slowdown Opportunity

Summertime often divides us into two categories: Those who slow down as the weather warms up and those who move full speed ahead. Which category do you fall into?

With many people choosing to slow down, this represents a fantastic opportunity to get noticed (less marketing chatter to compete with), evaluate and plan your marketing priorities and position your company for strong fall sales. Evaluate your successes and failures. What needs to stay the same and what needs to change.

Streamline your priorities. The more detailed and complex your marketing plans are, the more prone to procrastination they become.

Delegate. Accountability is critical to marketing execution. Assign tasks to people who have the skills and time.

Brainstorm. The summer slowdown gives you more time to think out of the box, solicit more input, etc.

Execution. This is where most print companies fail, thereby making it easier for competitors that do execute. Refer back to #3. Make it an absolute priority. Be patient and be consistent.

Having an effective marketing strategy isn’t hard or expensive. It just takes a little planning and a commitment to execution. Summer is a great time to plant the seeds for the fall selling season.

Marketing Your Company: 3 Things to Consider

  • When it comes to promoting your company, if you say “I don’t have the time” or “we’re too busy,” what you’re really saying is, “I choose not to make this a priority.” Lots of active managers and busy companies also find the time to consistently execute marketing plans. Don’t think it, don’t wish it – just do it!
  • Social media can play a big role in client acquisition, retention and loyalty. Every interaction with your audience is an opportunity to build trust and credibility. Frequency and relevance are keys to the success of any social media strategy.
  • The one thing you can count on with search engines is that they will change. Traditional SEO efforts that focus on keyword rankings and links are less effective than they once were. If you haven’t already, build your site around a content management system or blogging software. Many of these, such as WordPress, are free. For more on website content and SEO, read this: http://ilnk.me/ef9b

Executing effective outbound, inbound and social media marketing strategies is easy and inexpensive. It just takes a commitment to make it happen.

We can customize an area-exclusive program for your company. Let’s talk.

10 Musings on Marketing

  • Well perceived brands command a price premium of nearly 9% over brands perceived as just average.
  • The most popular way to lose a customer is to lose touch with him or her. Industry-specific data indicates that 60% of customer loss is due to lack of communication.
  • Irrelevant communications contribute to customer defection and alienation.
  • The cost of implementing an effective marketing program is trivial compared to the cost of not implementing one.
  • Taking a committee approach to marketing often ends in failure. A group of people agreeing to disagree combined with diluted accountability rarely if every produces a positive result.
  • “My many years in the printing industry have taught me that the pursuit of trying to craft the perfect marketing piece often ends up being the reason for doing nothing”. – G. Jacobs.
  • 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 success.
  • The abandon rate for social media is VERY high. Beware of creating marketing graveyards.
  • Whether or not you’re marketing to your customers, you can be assured that your competitors are.
  • People will give business to companies they want to give it to and then after awarding the job, find ways to justify the decision. Price is often an excuse rather than a reason.