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.

Forget Sales & Marketing: Think Customer Experience

Brand differentiation starts with an understanding of the customer journey from the customer’s point of view, not the printer’s. It’s all about the customer experience.

  • Do customers really want to see more advertisements and promotions in their inboxes?  Focus more on holistic engagement than individual marketing campaigns.
  • Do customers want to “Visit us on the web” just see the same boilerplate website content that they see on a competitor’s? Customize your site as much as possible.
  • Are customers impressed with generic business articles on a printer’s web site that address topics such as fall fashion and interview skills?
  • Are customers hungry for the jokes, recipes, and word find games that get sent to them under the guise of helpful company newsletters?
  • Are customers motivated enough to call a printer just to find out if they are still in business because their website and social media content has not been updated in two years? People prefer to gather info from the Internet than to make a call.
  • How does a customer feel about your company when they visit your site and see that the latest blog / news article update was several years back? Timely, relevant, engaging content promotes thought leadership.
  • How does a customer feel when they have to search a website just to find the mailing address? Have that information on the bottom of every page.
  • How does a customer feel when they have to search to find a phone number because your employees don’t include it as part of their email signatures?

If you are looking for ways to improve your customer’s experience, please reach out to me. I’m happy to schedule a short call to discuss this with you.

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.

Social Media: The Case For Print Providers to Embrace Google+

If you haven’t already, now is the time to set up a G+ page for your business. It’s not just about social media effectiveness it’s about SEO. As mentioned in several of my previous articles, SEO represents a great opportunity for print providers to extend their marketing reach and cultivate new business.

  • Google search plays favorites. Having a Google+ page will help with your SEO. Google+ is Google and Google is search. Search is what drives traffic to your site. For print providers, it’s about extending your reach and generating leads. Don’t miss this opportunity.
  • Marketing is the top category on Google+ (followed by education and non-profit). Google+ has responded by becoming more marketing oriented. Google+ now allows brands to email their followers without having access to their email address. Google now segregates the emails into Inbox, Social and Promotional. That’s a win for brands and followers.
  • Many companies restrict employee access to social media sites. They either ban it on the browser level or set policy that restricts it. That isn’t the case with Google+. That’s an additional 8 hours available for potential engagement that Google+ offers.
  • Using the Google+ circles, following or un-following a brand allows the Google+ user to control what content they wish to see. They get to create their own experience. This contrasts sharply with the Facebook experience whereby Facebook decides for you what content you will see. And with the latest algorithm change (December), unless you are paying Facebook for promoted posts, your reach rates are continuing to decline.

There are lots of other slick features that Google+ provides (Hangouts) but for now, the best plan of action is to set up an account and begin to utilize it.

I’m happy to discuss this or any other marketing needs or questions you may have. Feel free to reach me at pat@greatreachinc.com or on the web at greatreachinc.com.

5 Quick Things Printers Should Know About Content Marketing

1. Create content with your customers’ needs in mind rather than the needs of SEO, your company newsletter or social media. Too many companies are misdirecting their focus. If it doesn’t present strong value to your customers, then it’s not going to help you with the other areas either.

2. The tyranny of the content calendar/editorial deadline is most often the reason for non-engaging content. Only produce content when you have something really meaningful to share. Your clients should look forward to your communications and value them. If not, you’re just creating marketing noise that your audience will tune out.

3. SEO is overrated. Okay, that’s a little subjective but unless you’re an online printer, it’s true. Consider that most people will enter qualifying information into their search in order to get the most relevant results. This includes the printer’s name and a geographic qualifier. Bottom line, focus on creating mind share. The average person will recall 3-5 brands per category. Get your brand in there and stay there. If you focus on these efforts, your SEO will come naturally.

4. Your content should be mobile “friendly” which sounds a lot simpler than “optimized,” and it’s pretty simple to implement. There are free WordPress plug-ins that can help you achieve this, as well as email services (such as ours) that optimize your e-newsletters automatically, and tools like iflymobi.com.

5. The most important thing you can achieve with your content is to promote your brand as a thought leader and trusted resource for the services you provide. Your brand is what people perceive it to be, and the quality and value of your content will have a strong influence on that perception.

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 and engaging content? How often is your content updated?

85% of searches are organic. 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 media. 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 see the same content. If you are using one of the in-the-can industry websites, it will not perform well on searches. Make sure you’re supplementing it with unique content.

ZMOT. The “zero moment of truth.” It relates to all of the above. Google it or contact me to discuss.

(Some information above was gathered from the following source;
Direct Marketing News. Joe Ryan. Interview with Tom Gerace CEO of Skyword.)