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Every brand has a story, including yours. The key is to dig in and figure out how to share it. Take a look at how to successfully tell your brand’s story.

The podcast audience is growing, so businesses are jumping on board with their marketing. We've put together a list of big benefits of launching a business podcast.

Whether you're a small business owner, marketer or workplace professional, there are lots of ways for you to jump on board the March mayhem of marketing.

Print + Email: The Combination That Delivers

There are lots of things that are better together. Abbott and Costello. Peanut butter and jelly. Converse and high socks. In the world of marketing, it’s print and email. Print is a powerful channel all on its own. Why would adding email to the mix make such a difference?
Let’s look at three reasons.

• It’s a sign of engagement. Not that providing the email address, in itself, makes the customer more engaged. It’s because these customers are more engaged that they are more likely to provide this information. Willingness to give an email address can be an indicator of engagement—and that’s really useful to know.

• Email providers are self-selecting themselves as more likely to buy. By providing their email addresses, customers are telling you that they want to hear from you. This makes them more open to your messaging and, therefore, more likely to make a purchase.

• Customers who provide their email addresses are more open to additional marketing “touches.” More touches means more results.

We see this two-step process approach generating results every day. By combining personalized printing with email and an online registration process, one association, for example, was able to triple the attendance at its annual summer conference. In another example, a software manufacturer sent a follow-up email to non-responders to a print campaign, personalized using the same rules as the print mailer, and sales of its targeted products jumped 81%.

Of course, this “one-two punch” is not the only element of a successful direct mail campaign. Still, it is a key aspect. It’s no wonder that direct mail with email follow-up has become almost the de facto standard in multichannel marketing today.

Why not talk to us about expanding your next campaign to include email?

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Color Makes an Envelope Shout “Open Me!”

As human beings, we are naturally drawn to color. When most mailings are in black-and-white, doing something as simple as adding color to the outside of your envelopes can make your envelope scream, “Open me!”

An early mail openability study conducted by NFO/Pitney Bowes found that mail recipients were more likely to open an envelope if it contained a teaser, especially a teaser printed in red. The value of color was reinforced by a later Leflein Associates study, which found that 69% of people are more likely to open a mail piece with color text and graphics on the front than they are when the envelope is plain.

Because adding color makes it more likely that recipients will open the envelope, making this investment for your next campaign can significantly boost your ROI.

Here are six places you can add color to your envelopes if you’re not already doing so:

• Add your company logo
• Use four-color marketing images
• Test bright banners and borders
• Play with fun, colorful backgrounds
• Add colorful indicia
• Test outlines of the state in which they live
• Use color everywhere — try a colored envelope itself!

When was the last time you added color to the outside of your envelopes? If the answer is not in a long time (or never), what are you waiting for? Let us help!

https://www.thefreelibrary.com/Pitney%20Bowes/NFO%20Study%20Reveals%20Types%20of%20Mail%20That%20Consumers%20Will%20Open.-a053025033
https://www.macpapers.com/usps/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/USPS-Infographic-final.pdf

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Are You Doing These 5 Things for Personalization Success?

What is the difference between a great personalized print campaign and a flop? Adhering to best practices.

Knowing today’s best practices can make the difference between a good campaign and a great one. Let’s look at five best practices for 1:1 (personalized) print marketing that you should be using in all of your campaigns.

1. Stay focused. Know — really know — your target audience and the goals you are trying to achieve. This allows you to focus your message and make it more relevant.

2. Keep it clean. Nothing can make a personalized campaign seem more impersonal than misspelled names or outdated data. Cleanse and update your mailing list on a regular basis.

3. Know what’s behind the data. Data is just data — numbers in a spreadsheet. It’s up to you to use that information to create messaging that resonates with the recipient. All the personalization in the world won’t help if the recipients don’t see the relevance of the communication.

4. Think “integration.” All direct mail campaigns need a great message and creative. If you reinforce this message across multiple channels, such as following up with a personalized email or text, this consistently increases the chances that someone will respond.

5. Do what works. How do you know your efforts are working? Test different approaches, offers, and variables in the campaign. Test one element at a time against the control. Learn what works best for your audience and what doesn’t.

Success with personalized print doesn’t happen by accident. It takes planning and strategy. By putting these best practices to work, you can get the most out of your next personalized print campaign.

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Personalization: Why It Works

Everywhere you look, marketing content is personalized. From grocery store receipts to your Amazon recommendations to postcards in the mailbox, companies are personalizing their communications to address who their customers are and what their customers need. Are you capitalizing on those opportunities, too?

Let’s look at some of the reasons personalized marketing works so well (and why you should be using it, too).

First, personalized communications give your customers the feeling that you care about them. It takes more time and effort to talk to someone by name (“Hi, Jane! We have a special offer just for you!”). Targeting based on their needs and wants makes your customers feel noticed and valued.

Second, personalized mailings are more relevant to your customers. When you market based on their interests and needs, they are more likely to respond. The combination of more relevant communications and the customer’s greater sense of value is powerful.

Personalization can really pay off in your results. One study found the following lift for personalized over static mailing campaigns :

• Lead generation: 6.9% lift over static mailings

• Direct orders: 6.2% lift over static mailings

• Traffic generation: 14.7% lift over static mailings

You do have to take different steps to personalize your documents than you do for traditional campaigns, but don’t be intimidated. It doesn’t need to be difficult. You don’t have to be an expert in databases or IT.

We are here to help. Talk to us about going from static marketing communications to making it personal.

Since people trust other people more than they do other businesses, if you want to gain customers, you must humanize and personalize your brand. Here's how.

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Your Customer: “Pay Attention to Me!”

Congratulations! You landed a new customer—and they love you. As long as you continue to provide good products, reasonable prices, and great customer service, they’ll stay loyal as long as you don’t mess things up. Right?

Not necessarily. In today’s competitive world, you cannot take your customers for granted. You’ve worked hard to win them, but just like any relationship, you have to put in effort to make it last. This is one of the areas where sending regular personalized print and email communications pays off.

Here are five ideas for keeping customers happy and retaining them over the long term.

• Keep them up to date. Send a monthly print or email newsletter. Tell customer stories. Talk about new products. Provide insight they wouldn’t otherwise get. Speak to them by name and customize the content to be more interesting and relevant to them.

• Ask their opinion. Ask them how you are doing. It’s a great way to let people know you value their opinion . . . and their business. Use personalized URLs to make this easy and append the data back into your marketing database automatically.

• Send a card. Do you know your customers’ birthdays? How about the date they first became customers? Send them personalized “thank you’ notes and cards as a way to let them know you appreciate them.

• Offer advice. Once in a while, offer some free advice. If you’re a landscaping company, you might suggest the easiest care perennials for the upcoming season. If you’re a real estate office, you might alert them to the latest trends in front porch décor.

• Discounts galore! Send a coupon for a discount or a freebie “just because.” It continually re-engages your customers and helps them see the value in their relationship with you.

Client retention is critical to your bottom-line success. Be a company that does this well, and you’ll reap the benefits of great brand recognition and long-term customer relationships.

There are a few things you can do this year to make sure your business resolutions last throughout 2019! Here are seven steps to make (and keep) New Year's resolutions.

Though we can never know what will come in the year ahead, there are ways to prepare for 2019. Here’s how to set your business up for success in the new year.

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Survey: Marketing Budgets Soar!

Every year, Target Marketing surveys its readership to identify trends for the upcoming marketing year. This year, its “2019 Marketing Budget Survey” found that a whopping 10x more marketing budgets are increasing for 2019 than decreasing. Great news! That’s the kind of commitment that gets results.

Here’s how the data on respondents’ budgets broke out:

• 60% increasing
• 31% staying the same
• 6% decreasing
• 3% not sure

As part of its survey, Target Marketing also identified three top marketing trends that all marketers, whether digital or traditional (or both), need to know.

1. More money is going to tech and data.

Marketers’ highest spend is going for media and other outreach (28%) and personnel (20%). That’s to be expected, but this year, they take up less than half of marketers’ budgets overall. Technology, consumer data/data management, and metrics/performance measurement combined to account for 42% of spending overall. Data is the foundation of good marketing, and marketers’ budgets are reflecting that.

2. Marketing is moving from push to pull.

Channels that use pull marketing (social media, online video, content marketing) are growing faster than those that push (email). Social media advertising (59%), online video (54%), and content marketing (53%) are the fastest growing media channels. As you integrate digital media into your marketing efforts, make sure you are incorporating channels that pull, as well as push.

3. Marketers still demand conversions.

When it comes to grading performance, conversion metrics win the most favor for budgeting. As you justify your 2019 marketing budget to the higher-ups, focus on metrics that reflect conversions. Select metrics such as sales, lead generation, and sign-ups that prove that you are getting those conversions, however you define them.

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Why Some Personalized Mailings Just Work Better

When it comes to increasing response and conversion rates, personalized communications are a powerful tool. However, don’t think that all personalization is equal. It isn’t. To get great results, you must use the right variables with the right audience in the right way.

Response rates for personalized mailings can vary widely. One study found response rates ranging from 6% to 75%, with an average of 21%. These are some eye-catching numbers, but why is the range so wide? To understand the variation and set realistic expectations for your own campaigns, it’s helpful to ask specific questions.

• What type of campaign was it? Customer acquisition? Customer retention?

• What kind of list did you use? Highly targeted, moderately targeted, or undifferentiated lists will yield different results.

• Did recipients have a previous relationship with your company? Or are you using a prospect list?

• What is the value of the product? Are you marketing a webinar or selling a Tesla?

• Did per-order value go up with personalization, and if so, by how much? A “low” response rate combined with a high per-order value will often net you better ROI than a high response rate with low per-order value.

• How are you measuring success? Response rates? Conversion rates? Cost per lead? Average sale? Each measurement tells a different story.

The answers to such questions can have a dramatic impact on understanding ROI. So before setting your expectations for your next personalized mailing, talk to us about your goals, expectations, and the data you are working with. Setting realistic expectations is a critical component to making your 1:1 print program a success.

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