With all of the attention surrounding social media these days, it’s hard to be swayed away from the online marketing temptation and back into traditional offline marketing while using such items as calendars to sell your products. Sure, you can send out a Tweet promoting a product special or event, but that tweet is out of view for many in mere seconds. Yet, these same “old-fashioned” offline marketing tools are not only essential parts of your marketing mix, but you’ll find you will get a lot more bang for your buck when mix up your strategy cost-effectively.
One of the most overlooked marketing tools is the simple calendar and, yet, it packs a tremendous amount of punch. There are many advantages to using them to sell get in front of your customers for long periods of time.
1. People like freebies: Participate in a Mardi Gras festival and you’ll see teems of people scrounge for free beaded necklaces or pull your shopping cart up to a food sample stand at Costco and you’ll understand the power of freebies. You don’t have to give a high-priced item away in order to promote your business, and calendars are inexpensive tools that have high perceived value.
2. They last 365 days a year: Most consumers need to see an advertisement or message at least seven times before they take notice and if you’re spending your marketing dollars on ads, you’ll know the cost quickly adds up. With calendars, your advertisement, message and contact information is in front of your customer all year long. You could spend thousands of dollars on advertisements in your local newspaper to reach potential customers multiple times or you could spend a few dollars to have multiple advertisements right in front of your customer 365 days a year.
3. Calendars contain many messages and promotions: When you are able to customize your calendars to give to new or existing customers, you can add multiple product messages about features and benefits. Essentially, you have 12 spaces to add content. Add monthly coupons or even have your business card perforated on the calendar so that your contact information can be given away in referrals. Your calendar can be as functional as you make it.
4. Calendars are useful: Calendars actually serve a purpose and despite the latest technology with smart phones, iPads and such, people still find traditional calendars useful. They’re easy to use and you don’t have to plug them in at night to recharge. Have a pen handy and you can mark down appointments, birthdays and events quickly.
5. You have multiple channels to give them away: When giving away calendars or any other promotional product, there are numerous channels by which to reach customers. Of course tradeshows are the most common venue, but your sales personnel can hand them to prospective customers door-to-door. You can include them as part of your direct mail strategy or at the point-of-sale. You can even sell them for a nominal amount and donate the money to charity. (You not only would be showing your customers your commitment to good will, but advertising your products to them annually.) Promotional product distribution has many avenues that traditional advertising and even social media do not offer.
Greenway Print Solutions has a variety of calendars to choose from and at amazingly lower costs than their competition. And they can be customized to precisely fit your business goals.
See Our Calendars Pages
Creating a strong brand for your business takes strategic planning, after all, your goal is to deliver a message that’s clear while connecting to your consumer on some sort of emotional level. While it would be nice to create an effective brand using only one strong medium, you’ll find you get a whole lot of mileage out of cleverly crafting the right marketing mix.
With all the rage in social media and online marketing, offline strategies still hold high importance. Despite the technological age we are in, we’re still social beings who conduct business in brick and mortars and meet face-to-face. Call it old-fashioned, but how many times have you verbally told someone about your business only to be asked for a business card or brochure? The fact is the majority of the population didn’t grow up with a smart phone in their back pockets or even a keyboard on their desk. And that’s something every business owner still needs to take into account.
Branding Your Materials
When it comes to your offline marketing, branding your materials well so that they achieve your goals is crucial. The look, feel and design of your printed material all play a critical role and consistency both online and offline is key.
Your Identity: Your corporate identity should be consistent throughout all of your printed material, from your brochures, letterhead and envelopes to your promotional material and presentations. Your corporate perception and message should be the same on all pieces, right down to the font and color. If your current supply looks somewhat of a mish-mosh, consider taking the piece that represents your identity and streamline what doesn’t fit.
Your Direct Mail Campaign: Direct mail is an intrinsic part of your marketing mix, having the advantage of being able to send your material repetitively to your new prospect. The average consumer needs to see your message seven times before they take some sort of action and direct mail is a cost-effective way of getting in front of them and being top-of-mind when it comes time for them to buy. Direct mail doesn’t necessarily have to be the traditional postcard either – you can send sales letters, catalogs and brochures, too.
Your Contact: It may seem elementary, but all of your material should include all of the ways your customers, new and old, can contact you online and offline. This includes your address and phone number along with your social media and website. To save on space, a QR Code or Microsoft Tag will help direct consumers to your selected online content.
Give it Away: Promotional items, such as pens, calendars and mugs are not only great to receive but they are consumables that stick around for a while. Your next client may lose your business card, but your coffee mug will stay on his desk. Throw in a calendar and your identity and message will be a daily reminder all year long. The life of a promotional item is longer than many other medium in your marketing mix.
Your marketing mix can include a wide variety of items that serve to connect your business and identity to your existing and potential consumers. There’s not one medium that will yield optimal results by itself; rather, it takes different types to stay in front of your market. Streamlining your brand and keeping it consistent will help your consumers remember you when it comes time to buy.
If you’re looking for products to include in your mix, be sure to check out all that Greenway Print Solutions can offer you. If it can be read, scanned or touched, Greenway Print Solutions can get it printed.
If you think direct mail is ineffective, why does Google still use it as part of their marketing strategy?
So much of the time we hear about how online strategies are the tickets to business prosperity and while online marketing is a necessary component of our marketing plan, offline strategies still play a vital role in winning over customers. While we tweet, Facebook, LinkedIn and blog our way through our customers’ monitors, we cannot forgo the importance of relationships that develop offline.
The fact remains that 2/3 of the population didn’t grow up with a mouse in hand. Sure, some of us were tinkering with computers long before others and understand many of the ins and outs of cyberspace, but truth be told, we’re still a population of hand-shakers who enjoy face-to-face time in a brick and mortar.
And that’s part of the reason why we use the internet for so many things and part of the reason why we don’t. For the average person, the majority of his/her day is not spent online, but in a world that’s real and interactive.
Direct mail works because it’s designed to reach potential customers during their time not spent online. It’s a controlled message that’s delivered right into the hands of your targeted market. Best of all, it works because your direct mail piece isn’t fighting or competing with pages of websites links or keywords; just your utility bills or mortgage payment. And who wants to read those?
Ironically, Google, masters of cyberspace, also believes in the power of direct mail. You should too.
Considering a direct mail campaign or just want to know how you can win over more customers with a great ROI? Contact Greenway Print Solutions today.
A customer called yesterday. They had to mail 100,000 letters in two days, by law. The mailing house could get the letters printed (personalized) and stuffed in time but the envelopes they had in stock had my customers first class mail permit. Since these could mail with a presort standard permit, the postage savings would be huge. They asked if we could somehow produce 100,000 envelopes with their presort standard permit so their mailing facility could get the letters out in time.
It’s pretty darn hard to produce 100,000 envelopes in two days, especially when your production schedule is full.
After a few phone calls, we performed our first miracle of the year for this customer and will have the 100,000 envelopes produced and delivered on time, saving them over $10,000 in postage.
That’s what we do.
Businesses are always touting they have great customer service and if we were to put all of those touts in a basket, it would be quite a large basket. Yet, proving that a business truly values its customers is another story indeed.
It’s not often that a business or even a business owner receives a whole lot of recognition from a customer, let alone be presented with an award. But in this case, the “proof is in the pudding.”
Alan Chait, owner of Greenway Print Solutions, has always prided himself on customer service and it was the primary reason he left the printing corporate world as an employee to start his own business. He believed he could offer his customers a lot more, not just with a vast array of affordable, quality products, but with superior customer service. To prove it, the story goes:
” Last week I had an appointment with my largest customer, a $200 million company, to review some business forms we are working on. The meeting was supposed to be in their North conference room, but when I arrived nobody was there. Suddenly one of the managers showed up to tell me they had moved the meeting to a conference room in the back and he took me there. In the room were about 200 people, seated and listening to two of the top executives talk about how to use some of the forms I designed for them. In the back was the CEO who, when he saw me, told me to sit down. I told him I’d just wait outside until they were done, but he insisted that I sit and watch the class.”
“The CEO suddenly got up, stopped the meeting and told everyone that they had decided to award their Vendor Partners who have been responsible for their success. Of the 10 or so vendors, they voted on who should get the first award, which was me. I had to get up in front of all these people and listen to all the wonderful things that I’ve done for them, my dedication and hard work. Being a little bit of an introvert the “ambush” was an overwhelming surprise and I am very proud to get the award. (Ironically, I was working on pricing out acrylic awards for them to give to their employees, or so I thought. It turns out I’ll be printing my own award.)”
The award shows that the foundations that I built Greenway Print Solutions on 30 years ago is alive and well.
When it comes to marketing, knowing exactly who your customers are is one of the most important bits of data you can amass. Without it, your marketing campaign is nothing more than the blind leading the blind.
Marketing Case in Point
Say you own a restaurant. It’s Saturday Night and your restaurant is packed. You’re obviously doing something right but you’re not sure exactly. Is it your friendly staff, the food, the pricing, the service, the ambiance?
You advertise, at a great expense, in local newspapers and magazines. You sometimes offer coupons or a promotion. Once in awhile you send out direct mail.
But still you don’t have information that is critical for successful marketing to a focused audience.
What You Need to Know When Marketing to Your Customers
1. Who are your customers? The restaurant is full and you may know a few of your regulars, but who are the other customers?
2. Even if you knew who they are, how do you contact them to promote slow nights?
3. Why are these people coming to your restaurant in the first place?
4. Where is your money being spent most effectively – newspaper ads, magazines ad, direct mail, other promotions? What is giving you the best Rate of Return?
Marketing to a Focused Audience
Here’s the good news. There is a simple way to gather that information which allows you to tastefully communicate with your customers and keep you top of mind.
One way is to have a table tent that offers a free soda or iced tea (minimum cost) or a free dessert for simply doing one of two things.
1. If the customer has a smart phone, scan a little funny looking bar code or
2. If they don’t have a smart phone, simply text a keyword to a certain phone number. Either way the customer receives the offer. In the process, you ask everyone, with absolutely no obligation, for their email and cell phone number so that you can contact them, once in a great while, with other offers. Most customers will join in.
As you gather that information, you start communicating with them. Send a quick poll to find out why they come to you and what attracts them. You can offer specials on Monday and Tuesday nights. You can have a “kids eat free” night, two for one drinks or whatever to bring the customers through your door.
How will you send those offers to your customers? By either email or text message . Text messaging is more effective because it’s read instantly. If you’re selling pizza, you can text customers about a special at 4:30 pm so they think about ordering one and picking it up on the way home.
You can also send reminders of reservations so that if their plans change, you’ll know that you have a table open to take another reservation.
The methods of marketing to customer’s mobile phones are endless and the cost of focused marketing is much less than, and more effective than the old model of expensive advertising.
I constantly hear about the paperless society (it was supposed to happen many years ago), but we’re providing more printed paper products than ever before.
Here’s are some funny videos from paperbecause.com
Selecting which type of paper to use for your marketing collateral can sometimes be as daunting a task as actually creating the piece. Sure, you can scribble your message on a piece of copy paper and hope that someone is so enthralled with your communication style that they immediately buy from you; however, it’s most likely that your presentation will fall flat when it comes to expectations. In fact, the type of paper you use for your collateral has a lot to do with how people perceive you and your business, so the next time you get ready to print out a brochure or flyer or even your business cards, keep this information in mind.
If Your Business Card Paper is Cheap, So are You
That might seem harsh, but if you expect people to buy from you, they will want to know there’s quality in what they are buying. If your business cards are flimsy, people will wonder why you couldn’t spend a few bucks to have them professionally made. You can get free business cards made via the web, but they are usually printed on thin stock (10 point) and have the printing company’s name stamped on the back. Consumers know this and will formulate a perception about you the minute the card reaches their hand. Don’t underestimate the importance of a well-made business card. It’s the first piece of marketing collateral between you and your potential customer.
If you’re seriously running a business, using a heavier stock paper for your business cards will not only make your designs stand out, but it will feel better in your customer’s hands, giving them the perception of your professionalism. Go with at least a 14pt or 16 pt card stock. And don’t go for the “free” deals. By the time you pay shipping for those freebies, you could have had a better quality card made for just a few dollars more.
Your Flyers and Brochures Don’t Belong on Copy Paper
Even if you live in an area that forbids solicitors from leaving their flyers or brochures on your front doorstep, chances are they end up there anyway. My favorite is the landscaper who hopes that I will spend $150 a month to clean my yard, but believes his collateral is worth nothing more than a photocopy of some verbiage on 20lb paper. What crosses my mind? Will he show up? Will he do a good job? Will his business be around a few months from now? It doesn’t even matter if he’s got the best deal in town because that easily crumpled paper has hit the trash can long before that can cross my mind.
When designing your brochures and flyers, consider using 80 to 100lb paper which is far heavier than your standard 20lb to 24 lb copy paper. Heavier paper has a much better feel and is perceived of as far more professional, plus it doesn’t crumpled quite as well. Your goal is to have your piece linger in the hands of your customers and potential customers so that it’s handy when they make their call to you to buy.
The Different Types of Paper
The type of finish you use for your piece should correspond with your brand. The finish pertains to the texture of the paper and can be coated or uncoated.
Paper has different weights and are denoted in pounds (#). The higher the number, the heavier/thicker the paper. Copy paper or multi-use paper (the paper you stick in your copy machine) is usually 20# paper.
Offset paper (known as book or text paper) is commonly used for brochures, greeting cards, postcards, folders and business cards and comes in weights of 50#, 60#, 70#, 80# and 100#. Cover stock paper is heavy and rigid and can also be used for the same type of pieces. They come in 65#, 80#, 100#, 120# and 12pt.
How opaque a piece of paper is determined by its weight, ingredients and absorbency. This correlates with how much printing will show through on the reverse side of the paper. The opacity is expressed in terms of it’s percentage of reflection; so a piece of paper that is completely opaque is 100 percent and a piece that is completely transparency is zero percent.
A piece of papers’ brightness is measured by the percentage of a wavelength of blue light it reflects. Brightness is usually expressed on a scale of 1 to 100 with 100 being the brightest. Brightness affects readability, the perception of ink color and the contrast between light and dark hues.
So the next time you set out to have your marketing collateral made, give plenty of thought to what you want the final outcome to be – not just what you want it to look like, but what you want it to accomplish. Your marketing collateral is an investment and one that should be treated as such. You’ll yield far better results from a professionally made piece than from one put together on the cheap. And just because you got it for “free” doesn’t mean it won’t cost you in the end.
For more information about how you can create professional marketing collateral using the right paper and at an affordable price, contract the pros at Greenway Print Solutions.
If you want to create great marketing content for your brochure, direct mail or any other marketing piece, simply follow the masses.
The term, “monkey see, monkey do” has a lot of validity especially when it comes to marketing. People in general follow the masses because it lessens their fear of standing alone and taking a risk that apparently other people aren’t willing to do.
Take for example copycat crimes. Research has shown that the larger the news story, the greater the chances that imitative incidences will arises. Another study in New York showed that when one person stopped in the street and looked up, approximately four percent of the people walking by also stopped to look up. When five people stopped to look upward, 18 percent of those passing by stopped to take peek; and when the crowd increased to 15 people taking plight upward, 40 percent did so as well. And if you have teenagers, you’ll understand this phenomenon well as they take to doing what their peers are doing rather than follow their own distinctive path alone.
Your Marketing Content Should Leverage Testimonials
Knowing and understanding how and why people follow the masses will help you move one step ahead so you can create content that works. Leveraging testimonials reinforces that others took a risk on buying your products or services, easing potential customers’ fears of making the wrong purchasing decision. Testimonials are powerful and provide information in which others can identify.
Your Marketing Content Should Create Some Buzz
Companies advertise the size of their customer base all the time. Case in point, McDonalds proudly displays in numerical value how many billions they have served. Like a gas station sign, they add to that count for every new billion served and if 100 billion people have chomped down on a McDonald’s hamburger at some point, it can’t be all that bad, right? Remember, people like to follow the masses.
Your Marketing Content Should Tell a Story
Effective non-profits looking to raise funds do this well – they create marketing content that tells a story. Stories are emotional and appeal to people because they provide a human side and are relatable. Maybe your company doesn’t have a huge social cause behind it like working to cure malaria, but there’s probably story or two about how your products or services solved people’s problems and made their lives better.
Several years ago, Xona Resort Suites of Scottsdale came to us looking to spruce up their Guest Check-in Packet. The resort had just completed a multi-million dollar facelift, including the redesign of their logo.
Xona’s initial thought when they came to us was to have the Guest Check-in Packet placed within a three-ring binder (turned and sewn leather/leatherette), a similar look that many hotels and resorts leave for their guests in their rooms. Though this approach is oftentimes bland to the guest, it can also be a costly endeavor.
Jason Kaller at Greenway Print Solutions had another idea for the resort that would not only include a packet that was appealing to the resort’s guests but would compliment and reinforce their brand. Instead of the boring three-ring binder, Jason suggested they create a mini two-pocket folder using Silk Laminated cover stocks, four-color process printing and Spot UV coating. Plastic hotel key cards, property maps and guest identification tags for luggage were all created to go with this package.
Each piece was strategically designed and crafted to compliment the new corporate brand as well as to improve appeal and functionality of the piece. With this new look and innovative display, Jason was actually able to save them money over their original idea using the binder. And the quality of pieces were much higher because we used better paper, more color and upgraded the finishes. Xona was able to implement brand cohesion and because the pieces were of a higher quality, they were extremely durable and could be reused over and over again.
Have an idea for a branded corporate piece? Let Greenway Print Solutions help you develop the right pieces and the best price possible.
Before the vast use of the internet to reach potential customers, direct mail was king of the marketing world. It’s true a lot of business marketing and advertising strategists are adding more online campaigns to their mix these days, making traditional offline campaigns seem outdated and ineffective. But with the wide use of the internet and it’s low to no cost to enter, is offline marketing and direct mail really dead?
Just the other day as I sat outside, I noticed the majority of my neighbors coming home only to stop by the communal mailbox to grab their snail mail. If what lands in that mailbox is so unimportant, so unexciting to receive and so ineffective as sales pieces, why do we still stop at our mailbox each day to see what’s in there?
Has Direct Mail Been Replaced?
There has been an ongoing debate about whether or not direct mail is dead. The jury is still out despite the “hyper” hype about the internet, email marketing and how much less it costs to send virtual mail. After all, it isn’t so much about the overall cost of a campaign as it is the effectiveness of the piece in relation to the cost. You could send 100 emails to customers with little or not sales or you could send a direct mail piece that yields a high return. Is your goal to get traffic and make sales or is it to flood cyberspace with free campaigns that bring in zero dollars.
Email Versus Direct Mail
Email is supposed to be the preferred way of getting your advertising message out to masses of people on your list. It is supposed to be cheaper to execute, doesn’t irritate the recipient by the ugly “junk” mail that lands in their real mailbox and is more efficient because you can measure ROI metrics within minutes of doing an email blast.
The assumption, however, is that since you sent an email campaign, it must mean that everyone on your list opens it and reads the clever words you’ve used to entice them to buy. Yet, emails can go unopened and they can go unread – possibly much easier than direct mail. At least with direct mail, the recipient has to take the piece inside his house to throw it away. At least he’s read it.
Direct Mail Still Gets High Marks
One key factor as to why direct mail works better than email is the list. While you can rent a prospect list in the online world, there’s a 20 percent undeliverability rate from these online lists for the internet marketing crowd. Reason is there are more spam filters, corporate firewalls are set even tighter to keep out even legitimate emails and there’s a higher frequency of the recipient to mass delete emails for fear of email overload. Direct mail, on the other hand gets almost a 95 percent deliverability rate because good list managers scrub their lists on a regular basis.
Finally, with email, you only get about two seconds or less to get the attention of the receiver or it gets deleted. Direct mail gives you a good five seconds or more to catch the attention of the receiver. That’s huge!
Your marketing strategies should include a mix of online and offline campaigns in order to reach maximum effectiveness. The fact is direct mail still works and it works well.
There are some simple steps you can take to improve your direct mail campaign. While it’s important to make your marketing collateral appealing, it’s also imperative that you appeal to your customer’s purchasing mindset.
Your Direct Mail Campaign Should Have a Call to Action
Give your customers (or potential ones) a call to action by impressing upon the urgency of your offer. A reply deadline will do the trick. Make sure you include your contact information, such as your telephone number, email address and/or URL of your website.
Give Your Direct Mail Campaign Some Credibility
Testimonials work wonders because people are more likely to believe someone’s words over your owns. Testimonials from others seem more objective; and, yours are subjective.
In contrast, send your letter under the “President’s” signature. People prefer to deal with the person in charge. Build and foster your relationship with your customers in all your sales materials.
Know Your Direct Mail Target Audience
You can send out thousands of direct mail pieces and get little or no response if you haven’t clearly defined your target audience. The more you know about your target market, the better your chances will be to sell to them. Know who they are by their demographical, geographical and psychographical characteristics.
Offer a “free gift” or a discount.
Mention “you” at least four times.
Offer multiple versions of the same product.
A “good” — “better” — “best” strategy allows people to make choices instead of a “take this product it or leave it” offer.
Make your envelope work for you. Put a message on it like “Here’s some inside information.” Words like “free,” “new,” “announcing” and “important dated material” also motivate people to open the envelope.
Help! Offer free help lines and a super-strong guaranty.