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We put together a quick list of our favorite summer marketing ideas to help you get ready for the hot sales season coming up. Here’s how to prepare for summer marketing.

5 Channels = 5 Ways to Help You Grow

Want to grow your business? Here are five marketing ideas to build your business.

1. Mail it! Not only is the power of direct mail stronger than ever, but it gets around many of the downsides of electronic marketing. It doesn't require opt-in. It doesn't get caught by spam filters. It doesn't get automatically directed into folders with other marketing emails where it will never be seen.

2. Offer a webinar. Be the expert in your subject area by offering webinars. Be the one your customers trust. If you don't feel qualified, don't worry. As long as you know more about the subject than your attendees, you have something to offer. Even a 30-second webinar will do the trick.

3. Write a letter. How many people take the time to write letters anymore? Talk to your customers as you would to a friend. No sales talk! Brag about recent success stories. Talk about your company's community and charitable involvement. Offer ideas that are relevant to them. You don't see this often, and it's one reason you should do it.

4. Let the sidewalk do the talking. It's easy to focus on broadening your reach through direct mail and email and forget about the power of reaching people right in front of you. If you have a storefront, use sidewalk displays, window clings, banners, and other forms of advertising to reach the people walking right by your door.

5. Host an event. Like webinars, in-house events set you up as a thought leader. Offer an educational seminar. Give a behind-the-scenes tour. Bring in an expert speaker. Attendees will remember you, and if they like you, so much the better. People want to do business with people they like.

These are five different channels, each offering something unique to help you build your business. The more ways you can interact with your target audience, the more engaged your customers will be. So pick a channel and use it - or better yet, use them all.

Should your business have a mobile app? Today we dive in and explore some of the reasoning behind having—or not having—a mobile app for a small business.

Is Social Media Print’s New Best Friend?

While print and social media may compete for your marketing dollars, they don’t have to compete for your customers. In fact, using them together can make your marketing more effective. Let’s look at five ways print and social media can work together.

1. Print drives traffic to social media.

How do you drive traffic to your social media sites? Often, it’s with print. Whether it is through direct mail, store signage, or company invoices, print is often your customer’s first exposure to your social media presence.

2. More channels help you reach more people.

Even in today’s tech-driven world, not everyone uses social media or uses it on a regular basis. Use print to ensure that you are reaching the largest swath of your audience as possible. As the old adage goes, “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.”

3. Say it again . . . and again.

Consistently, studies show that reinforcing your message through multiple channels increases brand awareness, heightens engagement, and boosts response rates. The combination of print and social media, along with other traditional and digital media, is more effective than any single channel alone.

4. Boost credibility.

Survey after survey shows that consumers still trust print more than they trust online media. A survey conducted by Ball State University’s Center for Media Design in coordination with ExactTarget found that even Millennials are more likely to be influenced to make purchase decisions based on communications they receive by email and direct mail rather than through social media advertising.

5. Print has staying power.

Your message on social media might stay for a few hours, then gets buried under the avalanche of other messaging. Print has staying power. Your direct mail piece might live on someone’s desk or bulletin board for weeks or months.

Using print and social media isn’t an “either or” proposition. Understanding when and where to use each channel is the key to getting the best results.

Vehicle branding is an exceptional form of advertising medium with few downsides. For just one single startup cost, your vehicle can expose a multitude of people to the business every single day.

Without strong content, a blog can quickly fall apart. If this sounds like you, you’ve come to the right place. Today we discuss seven post ideas for your business blog.

Can “I’m Sorry” Win More Business?

Everyone messes up once in awhile. Even the best, most responsible marketers get it wrong on occasion. When that happens, you have an excellent opportunity to boost sales and cement customer relationships. How? With a simple, personalized letter of apology.

Apologies are powerful. One Forbes contributor described how one company used a direct mail letter to apologize to hundreds of thousands of customers so well, so sincerely, that it ended up selling more merchandise than it would have otherwise. Talk about turning a negative into a positive!

Why do apology letters work?

1. They are relatable. We are all human. We all make mistakes. By apologizing, you humanize your company and create empathy. When done well, addressing the person by name and including personal, relevant details to them, a sincere apology letter can improve the customer relationship.

2. They give you credibility. Nobody likes to apologize. When a company apologizes, it gets a customer's attention. This can give you tremendous credibility that builds trust.

2. It gives you an opportunity to make right. Everybody likes when a wrong is made right. Once you have a customer's attention, an apology letter can create positive feelings about your company and further cement customer loyalty.

It is not necessary to send formal apologies for every misstep, but when it merits, don't be afraid to do so. Keep it simple. Be sincere. Do it well, and you might find that instead of losing customers, you gain more loyal customers instead.

You may ask, “Earth Day and marketing?” How could those two possibly go together? Today we’re going to discuss how to embrace Earth Day in your marketing efforts.

Want More Donations? Choose Print!

For nonprofits, every dollar they spend on overhead, administration, and marketing is a dollar not spent on their mission. Not surprisingly, there is an intense focus on which marketing channels are most effective. So which channel works best for nonprofits? A study by YouGov provides the answer: direct mail. In a survey of more than 1,150 U.S adults, YouGov found the following:

• One-fifth (21%) of respondents said that a direct mail solicitation prompted them to make their most recent donation. This is higher than for any other channel.

• Older donors (55+) are most likely to respond to direct mail. One-quarter made their last gift in response to a mailing. Among 18-34-year-olds, this drops to 14%.

• Lower income households are among the most motivated by direct mail. Nearly one-third of those earning $40,000 per year or less responded to direct mail for their last donation. Among those earning $80,000+ per year, this drops to 18%.

• Only 12% of donors report being prompted to make their last gift by something they heard about on the radio, on TV, or in print.

• Even fewer (10%) were prompted by email.

• Very few donors (6%) were prompted by social media, such as Facebook or Twitter, although this is stronger among 18-34-year-olds (11%).

When it comes to fundraising, direct mail is the clear winner for nonprofits. So once you have decided to launch a direct mail campaign, what is the next step? Make it the best it can be. Why not give us a call?

Drip email marketing, otherwise known as drip email campaigns, is the perfect way to automate the marketing and sales process, easily converting leads into customers.

Paper 101: What Different Terms Actually Mean

When asked about the details of the paper stock you are choosing for a print project, do your eyes glaze over? Do terms like basis weight, points, and color cast sound like Greek to you? If so, here is a quick list of basic terms to help you better understand the process.

Basis weight is the weight in pounds of a ream (500 sheets) of a paper at its basic size, or the size of the uncut sheet supplied to the printer. For example, the basic size of book paper is 25 x 38 inches, so a ream weighing 70 pounds would be 70-lb. paper. Sometimes metric is used: 70-lb. book paper is equivalent to 104 g/m2.

Cover, card, and other thick stocks are often specified in points, which refers to the thickness of the paper. This is often abbreviated “pt.”— for example, “8-pt. cover.” One point is 1/1000th of an inch, so an 8-pt. stock is 0.008 inches thick.

Paper grade refers to the end use of the paper. Bond is used for letters and documents, book paper is used for books, offset is used for offset printing, and so on. Digital presses generally have their own grades. Thicker grades include cover, bristol, tag, and index.

C1S and C2S refer to coatings. Paper is often coated during manufacture, which improves the reproduction of fine halftone screens and color fidelity. C1S means “coated one-side,” which is useful for labels, packaging, and other materials destined for single-sided printing. C2S means “coated two-sides” and is preferred for two-sided commercial printing.

Brightness refers to the percentage of light reflected from the sheet’s surface. Basic white copy paper has a 92 brightness. Brightness by component wavelength (red, green, or blue) is also determined, as paper can reflect different amounts of certain colors, imparting a color cast to a printed piece if you’re not careful.

Paper can bring life, texture, and beauty to your projects. Want to learn more about how different choices complement different projects? Let’s talk!

As a marketing professional, you may have read an ebook or two before in your day. But the real question is: have you ever considered writing one?

While Twitter might be smaller than the social media giant Facebook, it’s definitely something worth attention. Today dive into why your business should have a Twitter.

How can businesses and individuals best reach out to consumers during the new spring season? Luckily, we have five super springtime marketing ideas to get you started.

An email subject line can ensure viewers actually open the email, read it and act upon it. So, how do you create a compelling email subject line? Here’s how.

A mission statement can drive a business towards success through a strong business communication strategy. Today we discuss how to write an effective mission statement.

How can you build and sustain a successful email marketing campaign for a small business? Here are the five tips to get started on a top email marketing campaign.

A website's optimization is integral to improving marketing efforts and growing the business. Here’s some key pointers for how to search engine optimize your content.

Tapping Your Envelope’s Most Powerful Real Estate

What is the most important real estate on your mailing envelope? It is the upper left-hand corner, the location of the return address. It is here that your prospect will often decide to open your envelope... or not.

Here are three reasons this space helps recipients decide to open your envelope:

Existing customer relationship: If the mailer is from a company the recipient already does business with, studies show that they will often open the envelope simply because of that relationship. Even if they do not have an immediate need for the product or service, they will often open it because it is you. If you are mailing to existing customers, play up that relationship and make sure your company is clearly identified.

Brand recognition: If it is from a well-known brand that the recipient does not do business with but they respect, they will often open the envelope as long as it is a product they are interested in. Here is where positive, established brand identity and smart targeting play an important role.

Attention-getters: To get people to open an envelope from a company or organization they may not know, use attention-getting techniques such as images, colorful brand logos, and other techniques. Some even use the signatures of celebrities. One nonprofit, for example, gained permission to use the signature of actress Natalie Portman above its logo to attract attention. Identification with a well-known figure can have a powerful effect. Just make sure that you have the correct permissions and that the images relate to the product or service you are marketing.

Take advantage of this powerful real estate. Use it to create a powerful emotional connection and tell a story, even before the envelope is opened.

Source: Taken from the video “Engaging Envelopes: The Corner Card,” sponsored by Tension Corp. and hosted by Target Marketing

When it comes to building strong landing pages, there are vital components. In today’s lesson of Marketing 101, learn how you can create effective landing pages.

Infographics include information for consumers, but in a way that’s visually appealing, with short, impactful tidbits of content. But, how do marketers create infographics?

Print in 5 Dimensions

One of the great things about direct mail is the many ways it engages the senses. This is something that cannot be replicated in the digital world and continues to make print an indispensible piece of the marketing puzzle. Here are 5 “dimensions” of print that you can use to engage and delight your audiences.

1. Texture. Paper stock comes in many textures—from sleek coated stocks; to classic cottons, linens, and laids; to the raw, earthy feel of uncoated, unbleached stocks. Use texture to help tell your marketing story.

2. Scent. Scent marketing is a growing industry that uses aroma as a subtle but highly effective marketing tool. Scents like coffee, cinnamon, and pine can be used to trigger emotion. When included inside the mailing envelope or direct mail piece, it can trigger positive associations and increase sales.

3. Color. The use of color goes beyond ink on paper. Consider how colored envelopes and stocks can be used to make your message pop. Want to create a particularly dramatic effect? Consider the impact of white text and graphics on black stock. POW!

4. Video. There are many ways to send recipients to video in a printed piece. You can use augmented reality (AR), QR Codes to mobile video, even embedded video screens in the piece itself. Print and video go great together.

5. Dimension. Nothing stands out in the mailbox like a piece of dimensional mail. Whether it is a thick envelope, a beautifully printed box, or a pop-up cube, anything beyond the typical flat mailer draws immediate attention and shouts “OPEN ME!” Recipients can’t wait to see what’s inside.

Print isn’t just four-color ink on plain stock anymore. It offers a multi-sensory experience that excites and engages your audience. Which one of these sensory experiences would benefit your next marketing campaign?

Both insourcing and outsourcing a business blog have their advantages in business, so today we’re going to take a deeper look and see which is the better fit.

Are You Short-Sighted? Or Long-Sighted?

When you are calculating the ROI of your print, email, or multichannel marketing campaign, how long a view do you take? Do you stop tracking revenue after a month? One year? What about the lifetime of the customer?

Lifetime customer value (LCV) is an overlooked metric that should be part of how marketers measure success. Customers gained through personalized printing campaigns, in particular, tend not just to purchase more, but to be more loyal than customers acquired through traditional methods. Thus, real ROI should include recurring revenue as well as the immediate revenue generated.

How do you determine LCV? There are a variety of factors to consider:

• Churn rate: How often do customers leave your customer base?
• Retention cost: How much does it cost you to support, bill, and incentivize your customers?
• Periodic revenue: Do you have recurring revenue streams? How much do customers spend during an average period?

You do not have to calculate out LCV indefinitely. Many companies estimate their LCV out for three to seven years.
Even if it is an estimate, LCV gives you a much better idea of what value your marketing campaigns are creating. For example, one small lawn care company sent out 300 personalized mailers, and based on the initial campaign revenue, found that the mailing barely broke even. However, the company’s customers tended to be loyal over time. For every new customer it gained, the company knew that it would have several years of recurring revenue. As a result, the owner estimated the campaign ROI at 8000% on an LCV basis. That is an entirely different equation!

How do you view your customers, on a one-off basis or over the long term?

If you have a business page, how can you utilize Facebook to increase your followers and grow sales? We have some tips for how to improve your engagement on Facebook.

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