Get Your Message in the Mailbox: Direct Marketing

Direct mail marketing enables you as a business to communicate directly with a consumer. You can use mail to introduce a new aspect of your business such as a product or a service or remind customers that you are still around. You can also use mailings to send consumers physical coupons that they can bring to the store. The cost of stamps in addition to the materials for all your mailings can drive up costs quickly, meaning that as a business you have to make extra sure that your mailing pieces will help generate a return on investment. Be sure to follow these basic tips before proceeding with a direct mail marketing campaign.

Audience

Before you even start designing your mail pieces, you need to consider who will be on the receiving side. You can get an idea by determining where your business is and where your consumers typically come from. From there it is a matter of identifying the addresses of your target audience in the area where your consumers tend to live and creating a mailing list. You should make sure your mailing list is up to date periodically so none of your mailing pieces are going to waste. The size of your mailing list will also have a dramatic impact on the price, so be sure to keep quantity and cost at the top of mind.

Design

A professional design on your mailing piece will lend your business credibility as well as more eyeballs. Consumers will have no problem with tossing a piece of mail that doesn’t capture their attention or that isn’t aesthetically appealing. You must also decide whether you want your pieces to have a matte or glossy finish. Keep in mind that the piece’s colors and theme must fit in with your business and your company name should be featured prominently on the piece.

Medium

Consider what format you want your mailing piece to be: a postcard, brochure, sales letter? Picking an appropriate medium helps deliver a cohesive message. In any case, always use professional-grade paper as consumers will be able to feel the difference in quality and distinguish your piece immediately from other mail. What medium you choose will also depend on what kind of information you are convening in your piece. A piece that is primarily dedicated to promotion a deal may work best as a postcard while a piece explaining your business may be better suited to a brochure.

Value

Try to add value to your piece so that the receiver doesn’t toss it as junk mail. Value can include a promo code or some other type of discount that is only available via direct mail adds a sense of exclusivity to your strategy. Be sure to develop a way to measure response whether it is tracking promo code usage or monitoring hits on a landing page.

Five Marketing Strategies To Use Starting In 2016

As each new year approaches, business professionals tend to look back on the current year to consider correcting their failures and replicating their successes. The key to business success is to always look to the future, but use your experience as the foundation for making good decisions. With marketing, we can take what we learned in 2015 and apply it to more successful tactics for 2016 and beyond.

Update Your Elevator Speech And Use It In More Places

When was the last time you took out the written text of your elevator speech and updated it to match the changes that have occurred with your company in the last year? If you don't have your elevator speech written out, then you should take the time to write it down and then update it.

When was the last time you put your elevator speech up on Twitter or any of the other social media platforms? Have you ever considered putting your elevator speech on the back of your business card? Your elevator speech should be the key to introducing your company to new customers, and you should use it more in 2016.

Update Your Company's Brochure

If you have never had a general company brochure that you hand out to prospects and clients, then 2016 will be the year that you finally get one. If you do have a general company brochure, then work with your Internet marketing company to update the information in your brochure and make it more effective.

The simple fact is that handing out a color brochure to people who are interested in your company is more impressive than writing down a website address. People can read the brochure whenever they want, and there are no pop-up ads to take away from your brochure's marketing impact.

Get New Business Cards

A new business card design for 2016 will invigorate your current customers and help impress your prospects. You will also have the chance to add important information to your business card such as your social media contact information and anything else that is currently not on the business cards you are using in 2015.

Clean Up Your Website

The start of a new year is the perfect time to hire a good Internet marketing company and have them clean up your website. No matter how effective you think you are as a webmaster, you are missing details that are frustrating your traffic and costing you precious rankings on the search engines. A professional Internet marketing company will clean up the coding on your site, get rid of dead links and make your site a hit in 2016.

Get To More Trade Shows

The only business resolution you need to make for 2016 is to participate in more trade shows with an improved trade show booth. Trade shows are great places to make new industry contacts, find new clients and network with the people who will make your business more successful. You already realize a positive return on the investment you make in the trade shows you participate in now, so it is time to increase that return by doing more shows.

In order to stay competitive in your marketplace, you need to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to marketing. The more you do now to get ready for 2016, the more profit you will be able to add to your bottom line.

Four Reasons Why Direct Mail Campaigns Still Work

With all of this talk about Internet marketing going on, it is no wonder that business owners think that direct mail is fading away. When you team up with an experienced Internet marketing company, you will find that direct mail is still very effective and gets great results. A good marketing plan includes several different types of marketing processes, and there are four good reasons why direct mail will work for your company and bring in more revenue.

People Read Their Mail These Days

The benefit of working with a marketing company that understands how to utilize direct mail is that your company will be able to take advantage of a spot that has become prime marketing real estate - the consumer mailbox. With the advent of texting and email, people simply do not send letters anymore and all consumers usually get in the mail is bills. That is why your direct mail piece has a much better chance of getting a look in today's marketing environment than it did 20 years ago.

Technology Has Made Direct Mail Less Expensive

Back in the days before the Internet, putting out a full-color direct mail piece was extremely expensive. While postage costs have gone up since then, production costs for direct mail pieces have plummeted. Your potential for getting an excellent return on your investment in a direct mail piece is now higher because the overall cost of producing the piece has gone down.

Methods For Tracking The Success Of Direct Mail Pieces Have Improved

Every marketing company works hard to devise ways to help customers track the success of direct mail pieces. There is still plenty of effort that goes into refining mailing lists to make sure that pieces are not mailed to incorrect addresses, and there are still coupons and keywords used to help determine which direct mail pieces brought in results. But technology, especially Internet technology, has made developing precise results for direct mail campaigns much easier.

These days, you can have a bar code printed onto a direct mail piece that the customer can scan to get more information on your company or your offer. That kind of direct interaction between the customer and your direct mail piece allows you to immediately determine who is responding to your pieces and what kind of information they are looking for. This is the technology that has helped to make direct mail marketing much more efficient and cost effective.

Consumers Cannot Click Away From A Direct Mail Piece

Your direct mail piece is a permanent reminder to your target audience about your company and its offerings. Once the customer reads your direct mail piece, the interaction begins and it can go on for as long as it takes for the customer to make a buying decision. Even if your direct mail piece winds up sitting on a coffee table for weeks, it will not change and the consumer cannot click on a different link to look at something else. A direct mail piece is very patient, and it can get you results that Internet marketing cannot deliver.

Spend some time talking to a professional marketing company and you will hear a wide variety of reasons why direct mail still works. If you are going to invest money into a marketing program to introduce your company to a new market or help launch a new product, then consider investing in direct marketing.

 

Four Things You Need At Your Next Trade Show

There is plenty of detailed information on this blog and others about how to create the best trade show materials to show-off your booth. But it would probably be helpful to know which tools, of all the tools that get mentioned, you really need when you start to put your trade show presentation together. Along with your modern booth and all of its attractive accessories, there are four other pieces you need to bring if you want to find success at your next trade show.

Banners

You may have the best light show and the loudest sound system a trade show has ever seen, but all of those trappings are only doing half of the job. There will be a lot of people at your next trade show who are looking specifically for your company's booth. If you took the time to market your appearance at your next trade show, then there will be a flock of potential customers who want to talk to you. Banners let everyone know where your booth is located and act as unwavering reminders as to where people can find you and your sales team.

Custom Pamphlets

Too many companies avoid getting custom pamphlets printed for each trade show, which means they are missing out on an opportunity to capitalize on their trade show investment. When attendees get back to their offices, it may be some time before they review the material they collected. They may even go to other trade shows before they get a chance to look at your pamphlet. When you create a custom pamphlet, your audience will be reminded of exactly where they saw you and exactly why they liked your company in the first place.

Business Cards

Your business card acts as a pocket-size d billboard that advertises your business to anyone who sees it. If you do not take a full box of business cards to every trade show with the intent of giving every one of them away, then you are not going to be able to maximize your trade show investment.

Focused Product Information

Not only do you need to have new and customized product information printed for each trade show, but that information needs to be focused on the details that the attendees are looking for. A convention of engineers will not want to see the same information that purchasing managers will need. Each trade show you attend needs to have information that is focused on that trade show audience if you want people to be able to use your information to buy your products and get interested in your company.

When you decide to present your company at a trade show, you have made a significant financial commitment. Not only does it cost you a lot of money to present at trade shows, but it also requires a considerable investment of your time to plan each detail and make sure that the show goes off as you want.

Prior to putting together your trade show presentation, you will make a long list of the things that you will need. Each company's list varies for every trade show, but there are four elements that every company needs to bring to every trade show if they want to find success. Without focusing on the basics, it is hard to generate the kind of income you need to justify your trade show investment.

3 Reasons Your Company Needs Presentation Folders

As your company prepares for its next sales presentation, you know that you will have to stand out from the competition if you want to win the business. Your products may be better and your service may be legendary in your industry, but that may not be enough to overcome the incredible presentation that the competition delivered.

So what do you do? There are a lot of ways to impress customers, but the most effective business meeting methods are always the ones that focus on the presentation and not on distractions or gimmicks. Your company needs to invest in customer presentation folders if you are going to set your presentation apart from the rest.

Presentation Folders Show Your Dedication

When it comes right down to it, anyone can print some PowerPoint slides and throw them into a white folder to hand to customers. But if you want to show customers that you are all in with your dedication to your presentation and your clients, then you need to have customer presentation folders printed.

Aside from giving an extremely professional presentation to your clients, utilizing presentation folders shows that you are focused on your client's needs and prepared to meet any challenge. When you see the eyebrows raised by your audience as they pick up their presentation folders, you will know that you have their attention.

Enhance Your Professionalism

The concept of projecting professionalism is actually much more complicated than people realize. When you want your team to look professional, you need to look organized and committed. Your actual presentation gives you plenty of opportunities to show that you take your company and product seriously, but it is the actual execution of that presentation that offers the opportunity to show professionalism.

With custom printed presentation folders, you can create a cohesive and professional image that your customers will be unable to ignore. These folders give your company a chance to make a first impression with your clients that will bump the competition right out of the picture.

Present Your Facts In A Respected Format

In business, perception is everything and you want your presentation to be perceived as being credible. The truth is that offering a series of printed sheets is not going to have the same effect as presenting that information on a custom presentation folder. There is a permanent feeling to a presentation folder that goes a long way towards giving your information the credibility it needs to be effective.

You can add a whole different layer of credibility to your presentation by making sure that the information in your presentation matches up with what is printed on your custom folders. The company that can learn how to use the art of perception to their advantage is the company that can make the biggest impact with their presentation.

From the moment you and your team walk through the conference room door to do your business presentation, you are on the clock when it comes to impressing the client. Those moments you are given to prepare the room for your meeting should be spent distributing information that is going to be both valuable to your clients and help you to close the deal. With custom presentation folders, you will be offering something the competition is not offering and you will be taking your presentation to a whole new level.

 

Should You Focus On More Than Just Google?

Internet marketing experts are constantly developing new methods for developing content and websites that appeal to a broad selection of search engines. To the average user, it seems like Google is the only option out there. The truth is that there are other search engines that get enough traffic to justify making them part of your Internet marketing plan.

More Than Google

According to eBizMBA.com, Google has the most monthly unique visitors in the entire search engine world. Google brings in more monthly traffic than the next four search engines combined, but not everyone is using Google to do their online searching.

The next three most popular search engines are Bing, Yahoo! Search, and Ask. Those search engines combine to bring in approximately 895 million unique visitors every month and it is your company's best interests to not ignore those users. Some of these visitors use Google and other search engines, but many prefer to use something other than Google to get their search results. If you only cater to Google, then you are missing out on millions of potential customers.

Why Does It Matter?

What is the big deal if you only focus your website on Google's guidelines? For one thing, every search engine has its own guidelines that determine where your website will rank in their results pages. If you take the time to look over the content requirements of the top five search engines, you can create content that will increase your website's status on all of the top search websites, instead of just one.

Another thing to consider is that Google may not be the search engine your target audience is using. According to Aborg.com, audiences made up of people 35 years of age and older tend to use Bing more than Google. If you are trying to reach a more mature audience, then focusing on the younger demographic that prefers Google may not be the best approach.

What Should I Do?

The science of choosing the right search engine to appease is something that is best left to marketing professionals. If you are focusing all of your energies on Google, then you are utilizing a large search engine, but you may also be wasting your time because your audience is not using Google to do its searches.

When it comes to quality marketing approaches, most business owners tend to ignore demographics. But the need to understand an audience is something that runs through the veins of every Internet marketing professional and it can mean the difference between bringing in the traffic you need, or having your website ignored. Everything about your Internet marketing program centers around the search engines that your target audience is using and that means that you need the kind of detailed planning only a marketing expert can provide.

When you talk to business owners who have websites, you will probably notice that almost every one of those business owners talks about getting their website high up on the Google search results pages. But the problem is that those business owners have no idea if their target audience is even using Google as a resource.

A smart business owner realizes that focusing on Google is an option, but it is not always a necessity. Take a long look at the audience you are trying to reach and use that information to determine which search engine would work best for your business.

 

Why Offline Marketing Still Matters

For the average person, there is a myth that all young people (Millennials and younger) bypass the printed media and only use digital information. But in a 2013 report done by the Newspaper Association of America, approximately 68 percent of people ages 18 to 24 read printed newspaper advertisements. Not only do they read the printed newspaper advertisements, but they admit to taking action because of those advertisements as well. It would seem that the notion that offline marketing no longer matters is extremely premature.

A Matter Of Trust

If you read that NAA infographic even further, you see that six out of every 10 Millennials trusts the information that is printed in their local newspapers. That means that if you can get press releases about your business printed in the local newspapers of your target geographic audience, then you will increase the chances of getting more traffic to your website and increasing revenue.

Consumers usually only buy from companies they trust and it looks like local newspapers are good places to establish that trust. The truth is that local newspapers have been doing quite well in print and online and present themselves as a viable marketing option for any company. But it is still hard to ignore the impact that offline marketing in local newspapers has on an audience.

Not Just The Youngsters

The generations that grew up with newspapers and print media have not totally abandoned those mediums for the digital world. There is still that feeling of legitimacy that older consumers get when they see a print advertisement for a company and that can only help to enhance your digital marketing.

With the information given in the NAA infographic, we can then conclude that offline marketing still matters to a large portion of the consumer world. To ignore offline marketing because it may seem old fashioned is to go against what consumers are saying. To grow your business, you need to look to offline marketing to help enhance and even legitimize your online marketing efforts.

What About The Cost?

Many local newspapers offer package deals that give your company offline and online marketing options for a discounted price. The Poynter.org website points out that for the first time in decades, subscription revenue has outpaced advertising revenue for newspapers. That means that more people are paying to read then news than advertisers are paying to sell products. That is a significant shift that cannot be ignored, especially when 68 percent of Millennials are reacting to printed newspaper advertising.

The costs associated with offline marketing are being more than justified by the data and the results. More people than ever are paying to read the news in both printed and digital formats. That means that the money you invest in offline marketing is money well spent and will help to enhance whatever marketing you are doing online.

There may come a day, many decades from now, where digital marketing is the only way that publishers reach their audiences. But the data suggests that we are a long way off from that day and that print media is still very strong. If you want to have a well-rounded marketing program, then you need to utilize offline marketing to reach the people who are willing to look at your printed marketing and react to it immediately.

 

Marketing Essentials for 2015

It is our job to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to marketing information, which is why we are fully prepared to handle your marketing needs in 2015. The marketing world changes constantly and what worked in 2014 may not work as well in 2015. As the year starts to come to an end, we just wanted to point out for marketing realities for 2015 that we already know.

Keywords Will Be Less Important

Remember those good ol' days of creating lists of primary and secondary keywords for your website content that would help to drive traffic? Well, those days will be all but over in 2015. As Google continues to change its algorithms, the emphasis will be on quality content and not the use of keywords.

Google's Panda and Hummingbird updates are working together to try and make searching more intelligent and the Penguin update is being updated to make sure that the links on a website offer value to the user. If it all sounds confusing, don't worry. We have it under control and we can put content on your site that will drive traffic in 2015.

Social Media Marketing Will Become Huge

Social media marketing is already something that we focus on with strong intensity, but it will become even more intense in 2015. One of the reasons that social media marketing is changing in 2015 is the changes being made by the major social media platforms.

For example, Facebook is no longer the free business marketing platform it once was. If you want to use Facebook to market your business, then you are going to have to pay a lot of very complicated fees. We will help you to understand the new Facebook and use the other social media platforms to your advantage as well.

Organic Links Will Be Critical

Organic link building is when you take the time to work with other website owners to develop relationships that are beneficial to your website users. Anyone who buys links with a lot of traffic going to them is going to be punished severely and that trend will continue to intensify throughout 2015.

Google started cracking down on purchased links with the first Penguin update and there are more Penguin updates being released in 2015. Google now considers it to be spamming when you put purchased links on your website and we have all of the resources necessary to avoid Penguin penalties.

Quality Content Will Become More And More Prevalent

Web content used to be crafted by professionals who knew how to build pages and articles around certain keywords and keyword phrases. As we touched on earlier, keywords are starting to diminish in importance, which means that quality content is going to be king.

We have a team of professional writers who will create your quality content and get your website the attention it deserves. We are prepared for the changes coming in 2015 and we put quality content on your site that will drive plenty of traffic.

In 2015, Google will be looking to change the way that websites create and utilize content. We are prepared for those changes and we are ready to get your website the traffic you need throughout all of 2015 and beyond.

Timing is Everything: Make Use of Your Email Lists with Smart Marketing

Email marketing campaigns are too often dismissed as old hat. With spam filters firmly in place, businesses believe that their sent emails will disappear, never to be read. However, there are three distinct times when an email from your company is not only expected, but it will be welcomed. Timing is everything when it comes to marketing.

New Customers Deserve a Welcome

The content of your welcome email will vary depending upon the degree of interaction that you have had with your customer. If they have purchased something from you or have signed up for regular emails from your company, you have a second chance to re-engage them. Follow these tips:

  1. Create a consistent format for your emails to make your business identifiable. You want your customer to remember who you are so that they will open your next email.
  2. Get the email out quickly. There is no reason to delay since much of it can be automated.
  3. Ask them for feedback by including a customer satisfaction survey at the end of the email. Returned surveys help you gauge the effectiveness of your business practices.
  4. Include up to two links to your website in the email. If you include more than that, you will overwhelm them.
  5. Make it short and simple.

Automated software allows you to capture interests and tailor the emails that you send. Be prepared to edit and revise until you are sending a message that elicits positive responses.

Share Your Promotions

Promotional emails should only be sent when you have something of real value to offer your customer. Limit these emails to big sales and stellar buyouts. Be prepared to answer the following questions before you begin writing your copy:

  1. Who is your audience and why will this promotion interest them? Talk directly to them and address their needs.
  2. What are you offering that is better than anything your competitors are bringing to the table? Spell out the value of your offer.
  3. When will your customer have to take action to benefit from your promotional product or service? Create a sense of urgency.
  4. What is your objective? What do you want your customer to do? Once you've worked this out, make it easy for them to complete the desired action.

Write the headline and the email subject line with great care. Start with a working title for each and revise it when you are done. Great copy writers understand the power of the first line. Make them compelling and your email will get the response that it deserves.

Instruct and Inform with Newsletters

Customer newsletters are tricky. They involve professionals writing casually about business. As subject matter experts, these writers have the voice and the qualifications to make a powerful impact on customer retention and referral rates. Use these tips to keep your readers engaged:

  1. Make sure that the content is valuable. Address a need and provide a solution in a compelling manner. Avoid fluff within informative articles.
  2. Include interesting tidbits to engage your readers. By interspersing the main content with funny stories or interesting and relevant facts, you create the opportunity to bond on a more personal level with your readers.
  3. Take care with the format. Your newsletter should look professional and reflect your business well. Take the time to create a style guide so that future editions will have the same look.

While newsletters should be sent out on a regular basis, you don't want to overload your email subscribers. Limit it to once a month or less and make sure that you have great content before you send. Keep it short, sweet, and to the point.

Email is still a good way to keep your business fresh in your customers' minds. When used to welcome new and repeat customers, they are effective tools to promote your business and establish your credibility.

 

Get Local By Going Mobile

If you’re someone who still needs convincing on the sweeping impact of mobile marketing on small businesses, consider the latest mobile survey from Google this past month:

77% of Smartphone users search for local businesses on the smart phone. Of those, 90% of those searches resulted in some sort of action – whether it was a visit to the store or a purchase.

Not only that, but it’s been local search- specifically – that’s taken off. 54% of Americans use mobile, not the phone book, to search for local businesses. 61% of those searches result in purchases. Not visits, guys – stone, cold purchases.

Sounds pretty great, right? Well here are some tips you can use to get more local business by going mobile.

Claim your Google places business listing. It’s free and most of it has been done for you already. If you don’t have a website, it can moonlight as one until you get one or if you do already, it just makes the local search piece more palatable to search engines. Without getting too complex – it’s free, takes next to no time and helps you a lot.

Keep your search terms local-friendly. The key with any search is to think about how your customers are searching for your service and finding it. This just takes that to the next level, leaving you to consider how local customers grapple with trying to find you online.

Use lots of local offers because let’s face it – every community is unique and every community provides special opportunities to gin up a little business. Consider quirky local festivals and holidays, and piggy-back on other major promotions in your area. It helps for great seasonal marketing anyway – but from a search standpoint, can add up to serious traffic.

Make your mobile content as friendly as possible. Trim out the fat and leave the pizzazz for all those vapid desktop users. Make your applications, site or content easy to take action with, easy to share and easy to use. Stick to that axiom and you should generate business in no time!