Word-of-Mouth Marketing: What is it, and How Does it Benefit Your Business?

Since the introduction of social media, word-of-mouth marketing has dramatically increased.

Before the internet, someone would tell a friend or two if they had a good experience. Today, if they have a good experience, they tell thousands with a short post.

Word-of-mouth marketing allows your business’s brand to potentially get noticed by thousands of consumers, which, if done correctly, can spread like wildfire.

Understanding how word-of-mouth marketing works and how it can benefit your business helps increase your chances of attracting new customers.  

Why Word-of-Mouth Marketing Is Important

According to the American Marketing Associated and the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, 64 percent of marketing executives believe that word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective form of advertising.

However, only about 6 percent claim to have mastered this marketing technique.

With a majority believing in word-of-mouth marketing and so few learning the skill, understanding this marketing tool can put your business in front of the competition and keep your products and services in the minds of consumers.

Even if a person does not need a product or service, they may be more inclined to tell friends and families about what they know about your business through word-of-mouth marketing. 

Using the Three Es of Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Three tactics can help you increase your word-of-mouth marketing reach, often referred to as the “Three Es.”

1. Engage

The first E is “Engage,” which means you engage with your followers and customers by setting up a presence in their lives.

Some ways to engage include sending birthday cards, offering special discounts and gifts, and consistently responding to social media posts, comments, and messages related to your business. 

2. Equip

The second E is “Equip,” which means giving your customers something to talk about, such as a fantastic product, high-quality customer service, and fun facts about your business.

When consumers like a company and have things to talk about and share with others, it encourages them to let everyone know about their favorite products and services, which could be yours. 

3. Empower

The final E is “Empower,” giving consumers different ways to talk and share their experiences and recommendations.

The more methods you offer for consumers to share your business, the greater the chance they will. Additionally, empower consumers to feel like they are a part of the process, such as asking questions, running contests, etc. 

Word-of-mouth marketing has been around since the first caveman started trading, and with technological advancements, it has become significantly easier to utilize this advertising method.

Additionally, it has become more crucial for businesses to understand how word-of-mouth marketing works to use this tool best and achieve optimal advertising results. 

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Using Direct Mail to Promote Your Website

Both direct mail—the printed word—and websites are essential in promoting your business.

So, how does it work? What’s the secret to using direct mail to promote your online presence? Let’s take a look.

Don’t rely on Google to sell your site to anyone. Just because you have a website doesn’t mean you will become an overnight success. There are so many websites and businesses competing for consumers’ attention that you will need a little more help than just having a site.

As Barry Fieg, author of “Streetwise Low-Cost Web Site Promotion” says, “Google doesn’t care about your sales. Nor does Google help you target your market.”

Fieg says two things have to happen: First, you need to get people to your site. Second, you need to convert them from surfers to buyers. And, according to studies, you have about seven seconds to grab peoples’ attention.

And this is where direct mail comes in.

Direct mail can lead people directly to your site.

Direct mail prepares prospects and clients for what they are about to see on your site.

You can tease them with a little bit of information in the direct mailer. Then, you can elaborate on it when they go to your website. You could show people the details of your product, give a tour of your business, or show options that you offer in real-time.

Direct mail allows you to target the exact people you want to reach. 

You can pinpoint your audience, send direct mail to them, and lead them right to your site online.

Direct mail is like a personal invitation to your guests to see what you offer and to buy it online. Most people actually appreciate the fact that you sent them something directly in the mail, versus in a quick email, and it has more of a personal touch.

Direct mail allows recipients to engage with you on their time.

If you send out postcards, you allow customers to carry that information with them until they sit down in front of the computer.

Postcards are convenient, catchy, and direct. It doesn’t take long to get someone to punch in your website address now that it’s in their hand. And if your direct mail is creative, it will grab people’s attention right away.

Direct mail is preferred over email.

People get lost in hundreds of emails a day and often delete them without truly looking them over.

But direct mail is different. It is tangible, and it gets noticed.

Successful businesses realize that there needs to be more than just an online presence; direct mail is the transition from advertising to buying. In a recent Info Trends study, people actually preferred direct mail three times as much as receiving emails.

Direct mail is cost-effective.

Direct mail is cheaper than radio ads, which disappear in 30 seconds, and it has a longer shelf-life than TV ads.

Direct mail can be read over and over, even if it’s just sitting on a desk, and it commands attention.

No matter what your direct mail is—whether it’s postcards, catalogs, brochures, flyers, or other items—the tangible mail is worth the extra effort to drive people to your website. You can’t rely only on search engines to bring you virtual traffic.

If you need fresh, new ideas, we are here to help make you even more successful. Reach out today!

The Benefits of Banners

A banner is a large piece of fabric or flag used to advertise a business by displaying a slogan, logo, symbol, or promotional offer. It is one of the oldest forms of advertising, and it is still around today because it is low cost and effective.

Benefits of Banners

Banners have a wide array of benefits. Below is just the tip of the iceberg.

  • Visibility. Banners are highly noticeable. Pair it with an eye-catching design, and it’ll be hard to miss.
  • Positive response. Unlike t.v. or radio commercials where the audience can become quickly tired of the advertisement and eventually irritated, banners don’t have that problem. The audience can choose to look at the banner or not. Therefore, the chances of them becoming annoyed by it are lower than alternative forms of advertising.
  • Cost-effective. Compared to t.v. commercials or media advertising, banners are much more cost-effective. In advertising, you’re going to want to spend as little as possible to generate the most sales. Banners are a good intersection.
  • Reusable. If you make sure to use durable, high-quality inks, your banners should be reusable time and time again. This is perfect for local events, trade shows, and social gatherings. The banner’s reusability adds to its cost-effectiveness.
  • Easy. Getting banners printed is usually just a call away!

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of banners is their vast customizability.

Ways to Customize Banners

No two banners are alike because they are customizable.

  • Size. Banners come in various sizes ranging from 2’ wide by 4’ high to 6’ wide by 30’ high. The standard size is 6′ wide x 3′ high. The size you end up choosing largely depends on where you’re placing your banner.
  • Portrayal. Banners can come single or double-sided. If you’re placing your banner against a brick wall, it’s probably best to go with the single side. But, if your banner will have both sides exposed, then it’s best to go double-sided.
  • Material. Banners can come in matte, gloss, fabric, mesh, or vinyl, depending on your printer. The material you choose often depends on the placement of your banner. For example, if the banner is outside and needs to survive the weather, it is best to choose more durable options.
  • Finishing. Depending on how you want to hang your banner, you can choose grommets, hems, or pole pockets. Grommets are the holes on the outside of the banner for it to hang. Usually, you can select the material of your grommets, such as brass, stainless steel, or plastic.
  • Viewing distance. Depending on your printing company, the quality of the design can be adjusted based on how close-up people will be viewing your poster. If they’re only going to be seeing it from far away, there’s no point in wasting money on a detailed design.
  • Design. The banner’s design is highly customizable, and it’s what makes your banner unique and stand out. Using excellent design skills helps draw in customers’ attention. Try incorporating graphics, a memorable logo, complementing color schemes, patterns, and your unique selling proposition. A unique selling proposition states why customers should buy from your business over your competitors.

Banners are the perfect addition to your advertising campaign for customizability, effectiveness, and price!

How to Become a Great Leader

Great leaders motivate employees to be productive to reach personal and shared goals.

They increase employee happiness, engagement, and retention. Great leaders lead to company success by growing sales and profits. Leaders are not born but made through hard work and experience. Find out how you can become a better leader. 

Focus on your strengths 

Not all leaders look the same. That’s why it’s essential to focus on the strengths that make you unique.

Be yourself.

After all, you are the best version of yourself, but you can only be the second-best version of someone else. If you’re not sure what your strengths are, do some reflection. Seek feedback from your employees. When finding your strengths, also pinpoint your weaknesses. Doing so will allow you to improve and ask for help when needed. 

Develop your emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage the emotions of yourself and others effectively. This is a valuable skill, especially during hard times. It helps bring stability. 

Provide constructive criticism to your team 

This may generate difficult conversations. But, although it can be difficult, constructive criticism is ultimately beneficial. Usually, your employees want to improve. Plus, the better your employees are, the better off the business will be. 

Become a level 5 leader 

Business consultant, Jim Collins, published his research about great businesses in his popular book “Good to Great.”

He identified businesses that had what he termed level 5 leaders. These leaders held traits within all five levels of leadership. 

  • Level 1: a highly capable leader who is knowledgeable, talented, and skillful.
  • Level 2: a leader who works well with others to generate a successful team.
  • Level 3: a leader who can organize people to effectively achieve goals.
  • Level 4: a leader who is able to meet performance goals.
  • Level 5: a leader who has all abilities within the other four levels, along with humility and will. They ask for help, take responsibility, and hire great employees. They are disciplined and passionate. 

Resources to improve your leadership skills

Luckily, many free programs are available to help you develop your leadership skills. 

Master Class Management provides free management and leadership skills training courses online.

It’s good for both new and experienced managers. You can learn at your own pace and convenience. They offer a ‘Management Training and Leadership Skills Course.’

Coursera is a free online learning platform that provides courses from leading universities.

Some classes on leadership include ‘Leadership’ from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, ‘Organizational Leadership’ from Northwestern University, ‘Leading People and Teams’ from the University of Michigan, and much more. 

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) also offers free courses on leadership.

They offer a two-year course called ‘Organizational Leadership and Change’ and a one-week introduction to leadership course called ‘Building and Leading Effective Teams.’

Alison offers thousands of free online courses.

Their leadership courses include ‘Transformational Leadership,’ ‘Classical Leadership and Decision-making,’ and ‘The Essentials of Leadership for Career Development.’

Becoming a better leader takes hard work, but it will be worth it in the end. Both your employees and your business will benefit. 

How a Target Audience Can Save You Money

A target audience is the people who are most likely to buy your product or service and should therefore be the ones you target in your marketing campaigns.

Identifying and utilizing your target audience is extremely important because advertising to the wrong people is a waste of time and money.

After all, a little bit of advertising to the right people is often as productive as a lot of advertising to the wrong people. 

Finding Your Target Audience

Trying to pin down your target audience can be deceptively tricky and overwhelming. However, breaking it up into small categories can help ease the load. 

  • Consider useful demographics. This includes age, gender, location, hobbies, interests, income, education level, profession, marital status, who they trust, what they read/watch, purchase intentions, subcultures, etc. Consider each of these aspects to determine where your ideal customer resides—the more specific, the better. Try creating 3-5 buyer personas with extremely specific target markets. This will help create more personalized and effective marketing campaigns. 
  • The decision-maker vs. the supporter. Understanding the difference between the decision-maker and the supporter is key. The decision-maker is the one who ultimately buys the product or service. The supporter may not directly buy the product but heavily influences the purchase. For example, gift receivers and children reside in this category. Targeting both these demographics is useful, but it’s important to understand which one you’re reaching. 
  • Research your current customer base. Usually, your target audience consists of people already buying from your business. Send out surveys and collect data on who are already your customers. Determining your competitor’s target market can also help determine your own. This will also give you insight into what your competitors are doing and what you can do to win over customers. Understanding your competitors is just as insightful as understanding your own business.

Reaching Your Target Market

Identifying your target audience is just the first step.

The next step is reaching them. This can be challenging, especially when not all people especially like being advertised to. 

Infer where your target audience receives advertisements.

Use various aspects of your target audience to determine the best way to reach them. For example, if you’ve determined your target audience prioritizes their health, perhaps the best way to reach them is through websites, magazines, and social media pages promoting health. 

Bring in third-party help.

Various third parties exist that can help you identify the best ways to reach your target audience effectively. For example, social media is quite adept at this. Many sites store user information for advertisement purposes, and businesses can then advertise through those sites to effectively reach their target audience. 

Timing is everything.

When it comes to getting the attention of your target audience, determining the best time to reach them is crucial. You’re going to want to reach them at a time when they’ll be most likely to see it. For example, if you’re trying to reach them over email, avoid weekends because many try to avoid their emails during this time. 

Determining your target audience saves your business money by helping you reach the people most receptive to your advertisements. However, target audiences aren’t everything. Don’t let it cloud your judgment and make you miss interested potential customers.

Elevate Your Marketing Campaign with Postcards!

Happy New Year! How crazy it’s already 2022! How was your 2021 marketing strategy? Whether splendid or slightly lacking, any marketing strategy has room for improvement.

In the new year, try incorporating (or reincorporating) direct mail marketing strategies. This long-standing proven method, with added new technology, is a perfect way to hit the ground running in 2022.

And the best part? It can start with a simple postcard.

The Many Benefits of Postcards

Postcards are highly effective.

Did you know that 86% of customers take the time to read through their mail? Due to postcards’ higher visibility, you can expect a higher response rate than any other marketing medium, along with a 70% higher brand recall.

This translates into a high return on investment.

Every $167 spent translates into about $2000 in goods sold. That’s a great investment! Increase your benefits by incorporating a fantastic postcard design. 

The Postcard Design

The postcard design is important and should complement your message and marketing strategy. Here are a few aspects of postcard design to keep in mind.

The material is part of the design, and it reflects on your company.  For example, if environmentalism is essential to your company, share that value with your customers by using recycled material. Or, if you want to send a message of quality, then use heavier material. If your postcards are high quality, then your customers will believe your products and/or services to be high quality as well. 

The size of the postcard is important too. Average-sized postcards are great and effective, but more oversized postcards will stand out due to their inherently larger nature. Try giving the 6-inch by 11-inch postcards a try. 

The two main finishes are glossy or matte. A glossy finish portrays elegance, while matte seems more professional.

A well-thought-out headline is important! You want the headline to sum up your main idea while prompting the customer to keep reading.

A call-to-action prompts the potential client to react in response to the postcard. Examples include requesting that the customer call, visit the store, explore the website, or like/follow social media.

Call-to-actions are most effective when there is a deadline associated with them. Therefore, many companies find it beneficial to offer limited-time deals. Along with driving customer interaction and sales, a call-to-action will help you determine the effectiveness of your postcard campaign for future use. 

Developing a Plan

According to Benjamin Franklin, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Set yourself up for success by planning your postcard campaign.

Set SMART goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. 

Set a budget. Don’t break the bank, but invest enough to see results. 

It’s important to be aware of the static and dynamic postcard costs. Static costs don’t change, while dynamic costs depend on the number of postcards you decide to send. The more postcards you send, the overall cost per card is lowered. Static postcard costs include copywriting and design, while dynamic costs include printing services and postage fees. 

Sending the Postcards

Next, you need to decide where you are sending these postcards. 

  • Send the postcards to existing customers. Given that they already have shopped at your business before, these postcards would mainly promote another sale.
  • Create or rent a new mailing list. This strategy will reach new customers, generating new business. When you create or rent this new mailing list, ideally, you’re going to try to find households within your target market demographic.
  • Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM): In this strategy, you mail a postcard to every household within a geographic area. Sometimes specific demographics congregate in neighborhood clusters. If you can identify your target market within a neighborhood, this strategy is useful. If your business is close to a certain neighborhood, it may be helpful to let the locals know about you, and they may love your business out of proximity convenience. 

Repeat!

Send follow-up postcards.

Potential clients need to hear your company’s message about seven times before they decide to buy. The more familiar your business becomes to the customers, the better off you are. In marketing, familiarity generates sales because people are drawn to the familiar.  

Developing a postcard marketing campaign will set your business up for success in 2022!

Choosing the Right Paper for Your Next Print Project

People might think paper isn’t a big choice when starting a project. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Choosing paper is one of the first things you should decide on when starting your new project. No one sheet fits every project. Paper is three-dimensional and makes all the difference in how your project turns out.

When your rough graphic design is done, the next step should be to talk to your printer about choosing the right papers. Ask them for their paper suggestions so you can decide what would be best.   

Turnaround Times for Paper

Getting your quote early will help you know the turnaround time to expect and when you will need to provide the design to your printing firm to get it on time.

Durability of Paper

When choosing the right paper, evaluate whether it needs to be something that will last or if it’s something meant for a shorter lifespan. If meant for direct mail, you might choose something less sturdy. But if you are working on a marketing brochure, annual report, or a catalog, you will need something sturdier and more heavy duty.

Personality of Paper

Considering the life span, texture, color, and personality of the piece will determine what type of paper you should use. Ask yourself what impression you hope to make with this piece; then make sure your paper represents that well.

For example, if you are promoting the environment, be sure to use recycled paper. A non-profit asking for money probably doesn’t want to invest in top-tier quality because it might make the recipients think they already have enough money. However, if you want to represent quality and luxury, choose a paper that will represent that.

Use a coated, glossy, matte, or silk sheet for colorful, crisp images or photographic reproduction. For more of an understated type of image, use fluorescent inks and the more natural surface of uncoated papers. 

If you want to create a unique look, try a one-color printing job. Pair it with unusually textured papers or specialty papers. This is a huge trend in Europe and is making its way to the United States and Canada.

The Many Whites of Paper

Just when you think your project is easy because you want white paper, think again. There is blue-white, balanced white, natural white, soft white, and much more. You will definitely want to talk to your printer about these options. The blue-white is quite popular right now because it allows the various colors to shine through. Warmer whites are more comfortable for the eyes to read for long periods of time.

Other Paper Considerations

If you are looking to print on both sides with heavy ink, you will want to talk to your printer about choosing a heavier stock. If your project will be mailed, you will need to consider the weight to make sure it fits the USPS requirements; otherwise, it can cost you more to mail.

There are so many variables when it comes to printing your latest marketing project, and that’s why we are here to help. We offer sound advice with solid delivery on our promises. We want to help your business shine. Contact us today!

 

Tips for Impossible-to-Ignore Brochures

Time for a new brochure for your business? When was the last time you updated it? Maybe you need to tweak a few things or need a complete overhaul.

Either way, here are some fresh ideas to make sure your brochure shines in the face of the competition. Let’s focus on a few items to make sure your brochure isn’t just standing around; it needs to be picked up and read.

Ditch the Building

First of all, remove that picture of your building from the front of the brochure. Although you’re proud of it, your building doesn’t draw people in as you think it might.

Pick photographs that are more eye-catching and appealing to the reader. Photos with people in them or the new product you offer make the best choices. You can reveal the newest, greatest product, or you can use a photo that shows the emotion of how they will feel when they use the product or your business.

Turn Heads with Headlines

Your headlines need to compel readers and make them open the brochure.

It usually takes someone about five seconds to decide to read a brochure or not. That’s not much time, so you need the cover to be the best it can be. 

Know your Audience

Figure out who your audience is and what you hope to accomplish with the brochure; in other words, find out your target market.

There is no way a brochure will be able to tell it all. But it should tell the things that are important to you and your company and essential to the customer. How will your business help them? Be sure to spell this out clearly.

Sell, Don’t Tell

Don’t waste words trying to tell the whole story of your business and why it’s in existence. You need to sell people why your business is the best choice for them.

Have you heard of AIDA?

AIDA is an acronym for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. This is the key to unlocking the mystery of how to write your brochure. You need to do all these things to make it a successful brochure. You want to lure them in and let them know how and why you can help them. And you need to make sure you tell them what you want them to do next: return a postcard, go to your website, call you, make an appointment, etc.

Writing

To start, make a list of all the reasons why someone would want to use your business. Use this list in writing the copy for the brochure. Do they want to use your product or services just because you offer them? No.

You need to tell them why you do it better than the competition and how your service is second to none. When doing this, be sure to use compelling headlines and bullet points, which will help move them along in reading your brochure. It needs to be relatable and easy to read. Focus on them, not you. For example, “You will be able to stay in touch with your loved ones easier…” rather than “You will have free long-distance.” Tell them why your company benefits them.

Images

Besides the writing, the image you portray in the brochure is important.

Many novice designers use too many colors and fonts and cram way too much into the brochure. You need white space. And you need to pick a font that looks right for your company image. This will show readers your professionalism.

Paper

Pick the right paper and fold.

There are different ways to design brochures, and it’s up to you to pick the right layout and orientation. The paper options are endless, so it is a great idea to talk with your printer to help you get the desired outcome. Do you want elegance? Do you want something fresh and cutting-edge? Do you want to look funky and fun? The right paper can help push your brochure in the right direction.

We are here to help you design and print the best brochure possible. Check us out today, and let’s get started!

Is Your Marketing a Work of Art? Why You Need a Professional Designer

Do you marvel at beautiful artwork? Are you dazzled by the use of exquisite colors? And are you perplexed as to how images are chosen for certain marketing efforts?

That’s the job of a graphic designer.

Designers have training in choosing colors and images; they make the ordinary a work of art. 

Why You Need a Graphic Designer

Even if you have ideas of what you want, a graphic designer can bring that vision to life. That’s why it’s best to leave the execution to the experts.

Graphic designers know the rules and how to break them to create a compelling message.

They are trained in color, form, line, shape, size, space, and texture. And the principles they must learn have to do with: balance, contrast, emphasis, movement, proportion, and rhythm.

Graphic designers adhere to the principles of design.

These basic principles achieve effective composition in creating balance and stability for the work. Most of us haven’t been trained this extensively, and that’s why we lean on the experts.

Graphic designers help with your professional image.

And that’s why we are here to help you improve your image and marketing materials.

Working with a graphic designer is fun and can be a great time to brainstorm together and come up with something that hasn’t been done before.

Designers are artists and have wonderful ideas. Our graphic designers are ready with fresh ideas and new artwork that will surely dazzle your eyes and help your business image improve. 

Say it With a Postcard

What’s little, powerful, and packs a real punch?

A postcard from you!

Postcards are often overlooked as a great way to market, but they effectively get your message out. People are forced to read your message even before thinking of throwing it away.

It’s right there, in the pile of envelopes, shining through with full color and catchy wording. If you haven’t thought of postcard marketing in a while, or ever, here are a few ideas to help you on your postcard journey.

6 Tips for Effective Postcard Marketing

1. Hone Your Message

What message do you want to get out? An event? A sale? A thank-you? A new product?

Be specific about what the purpose is, and stick to that message. You don’t want to try to promote everything at once on a postcard. Think about what your best, most immanent message should be.

2. Research and Determine Your Size Options

It’s common to use oversized postcards as well as regular postcards. What type of impact do you want to have?

Are you having a BIG event? Then go BIG on your postcard size. If it’s more of a personal message, a regular postcard will do just fine. It also depends on your budget. A larger postcard costs a little more, but its impact is much more significant.

3. Perfect Your Design

Your design means a lot.

Pick a design that has your message front and center. You want to have an organized design that represents your business.

Work with a graphic designer to come up with a gorgeous design that no one else has.

4. Headlines Matter

Write a headline that is clear about what you are offering or trying to say.

Make it fun, clever, or serious. Just be consistent throughout the postcard. If you are silly, stay silly. If you are urgent, keep the tone urgent.

Need help? We can offer you some suggestions.

5. Include a Call to Action

Tell the customer what you want them to do next.

Don’t leave it up for them to figure out. Ask prospects and clients to come into your store, call your business, or check out your website.

Whatever it is you want them to do, tell them.

6. Think of Your Audience

Who will be receiving the mailer? Will it be to future customers or someone familiar with your business?  

If it is going to prospective customers, be sure to say what you do in a short, concise way. No need to get wordy, but be sure to tell customers what you do and what you offer.

Whatever direction you choose, whether an oversized postcard or a traditional one, we can ensure you will come out swinging.

We will help you succeed in your marketing efforts when it comes to high-quality printing and design. Connect with us today!