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

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!

5 Thoughts on Marketing Your Print and Mail Services

Be current
Make sure to utilize current trends and technologies. Are your website and email efforts optimized for mobile? Employ a multichannel strategy to engage your target audience including, but not limited to, print, email, website and social media. Ignoring even one of these can hurt your credibility and create a competitive disadvantage. Don’t allow that.

Be conversant
View your website as a conversation, not a presentation. Marketing is about engaging your audience. Avoid generic or keyword stuffed content. Google’s “Hummingbird” algorithm likes fresh, genuine, conversational content.

Be a leader
Promoting thought leadership for both your company and personal brands is the best way to differentiate, establish credibility and foster trust. Customers seek that assurance. Be seen as a leader and engage your customers with top tier, helpful content. You are what your content says you are.

Be consistent
You need to consistently execute your marketing plan. Most print and direct mail companies I see these days have a plan in place yet too many do a poor job executing. Treat your marketing with the same importance you would treat your production workflow.

Be frequent
Touch your target audience at least every 90 days. Smart marketers shorten this to 30 days. At the very least, make sure that you communicate with your customers as often as your competitors do. In the end, it will come down to who’s better at establishing trust and credibility.

If you would like a 5-minute demo of our turn-key, area-exclusive marketing programs, please email me to set up a time.

Patrick Whelan
pat@greatreachinc.com
978-332-5555

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.

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.

Google’s 4/21 Deadline and 4 Other Quick Marketing Tips

1. Less than two years ago, Google’s new Hummingbird algorithm shook the SEO world. As usual, there was no advance notice. The next big event will be 4/21. This time, Google has given notice. If your company website is not mobile friendly by this date, it will have an adverse effect on your search rankings.

Not sure if your site is mobile friendly? Google provides this simple tool to let you know if it meets their mobile-friendly standards. Don’t wait. Try it now here. 2. Adobe Slate. It’s free and can be a powerful sales tool. Especially for those trying to sell more complex solutions rather than jobs. Here’s the review from CNET.

3. Google likes fresh, authentic, high-value content. Is your content closely aligned with the benefits you offer your customers? Newsfeeds and sharing stories found online will not help your rankings. They also won’t help your brand stand out as a thought leader.

4. It is perfectly within best practices to share the same content on multiple channels. (I’m asked about this often!) Blog content on your website can also be pushed out as an email newsletter, utilized as a published post on LinkedIn, and shared out to your other social media sites.

5. Don’t discount print. Yes, it takes time and money to create and distribute print communications. Most companies lack the willingness to commit. This makes print communications all that more effective. It’s easier to stand out. My newsletter clients often note that their print newsletters are a very effective “leave behind” for sales calls. How many other printers show that level of commitment to their customers? Very few. Print is tangible. Sales speak is not.