Communicate Excellence with Vibrant Printed Posters and Signs

One glance is truly all it takes, and recent eye-tracking studies demonstrate how quickly first impressions happen.

Dr. Hong Sheng, assistant professor of technology at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, employed eye-tracking software to analyze and scan response patterns as students viewed website screenshots. Subjects averaged merely 180 milliseconds on a particular section before moving on. (For a reference, 185 milliseconds is about the time it takes for a helicopter rotor to make one full rotation).

Sheng also found it took people less than two-tenths of a second to form first impressions that significantly affected outcomes:

“The longer the participants stayed on the page, the more favorable their impressions were,” Sheng said. “First impressions are important and . . . [these impressions] can determine whether that user forms a favorable or unfavorable view of that organization.”

Big Statements Win Business

If a website glance can have such an impact, how much more will a large-scale display? 

Research shows that people are 70% more likely to remember a brand advertised in print as opposed to online, and large-scale posters and signs are a logical, cost-effective way to spark interest. No matter what product or service you are promoting, a perfectly placed sign can stop people in their tracks. Thanks to their size and bold colors, there’s no doubt that your vivid images will meet people where they are and naturally stick in viewers’ minds.

Printed posters and signs demonstrate that you are vibrant and capable. Signs that appear in public places radiate confidence, making your business seem more creative and trustworthy. For example, one Health and Information study showed that posters were among the best ways to increase knowledge, change attitudes, and alter behaviors. A well-designed poster shows you do things with excellence, and people are in good hands with you!

And signs aren’t just static. Large scale displays can be customized to include a coupon or a quick-response (QR) code, leading your prospects to your website, landing page, or even a creative video advertisement. From explaining complicated processes to posing a question that someone absolutely MUST find the answer for, interactive graphics are a great way to engage bystanders or snag curious prospects.

Whether you exhibit one poster or sign or display a whole row, big displays get big results!

A Fast Track to Success

Ready to get started?

Check out our online ordering options! Here you can design online, re-order from your existing products library, or submit a custom design. Plug into creative concepts like these:

–Use big color posters as art reproductions, event features, service menus, or promotional collectibles

–Create patterns of simple posters to build a striking, geometric display

–Add frames, cardboard or foam backing, or swivel display mounting for stability  

–Extend your poster’s lifespan by adding a durable laminate coating

Need a jump start? Contact us today about full-service graphic design. We’ll work hard, so you don’t have to!

Target the Right Customers with Your Next Direct Mail Piece

You wouldn’t spend $100 million on a new national advertising campaign without carefully set goals and objectives.

But when it comes to direct mail, marketers often spray out postcards or fliers without a great deal of thought. In direct mail marketing, careful planning is vital to your success. While the average direct mail response rate is around five percent, strategic targeting can drive that number to nine percent for house lists and as high as 16 percent for personalized mail.

To simplify your targeting, start with these questions:

  • Who is the audience?
  • Who is the prospective buyer?
  • Who will receive, read, and hopefully respond to this mailing?

The beauty of direct mail is that you can use it to reach only those people who are potential buyers for your product or service.

This is called target marketing, and it means that during the development stage, you can use multiple criteria for selecting recipients.

Demographics may include age, income, gender, geography, home value, marital status, vehicle driven, occupation, hobbies, and more. Selections for B2B mailing lists can also vary, including the company’s industry, type of product, annual sales, number of employees, locations, etc.

Helpful Hints for Compiling a Mailing List

If targeted mail is so crucial, how do you find a list filled with these “perfect” customers? 

If you haven’t compiled your own mailing list (of current customers, qualified leads, or streamlined prospects), there are two basic types of mailing lists: compiled lists and response lists. 

Compiled lists are those assembled from a variety of sources (think association members, graduates of specialty programs, qualified purchasers, etc.). For example, a list might include dentists from Boston or Lutheran youth pastors. Compiled lists are more complete and can work well for driving people to a specific online landing page you’ve designed specifically for your direct mail campaign. You can usually get a compiled mailing list in one business day.

Purchasing a compiled list might work best when you:

  –Have a limited marketing geography
  –Want to reach all households or businesses in an area
  –Want to reach all homes or businesses that fit specific demographic criteria
  –Are on a limited budget
  –Want to mail fewer than 5,000 pieces
  –Want to make telemarketing follow-up calls before or after your mailing

Response lists consist of prospects who have inquired about or responded to other marketers’ offers, like purchasing a swimsuit through a catalog or by participating in a nonprofit fundraiser. Typical response list sources are magazines, membership clubs, catalogs, warranty cards, etc. Response lists are more expensive than compiled lists because they are more targeted, and you have more assurances about the buyers’ behaviors. You can usually get a response mailing list in 3-5 business days.

Response lists might be best if your product has a high price point or your target customer is very narrowly defined. The list cost will be higher, but your ROI will increase as well. Response lists are also not always current, so make sure you ask when the list was last updated before purchasing.

We’re Here to Help

Feel overwhelming? It doesn’t have to be.

For a simpler option, Every Day Direct Mail lists can be compiled using the EDDM Online Tool available through the United States Postal Service. Here you can target customers by demographics like age, household size, income, zip code, etc. Not sure where to start? We can help! Give us a call.

Most experts agree that selecting the right mailing list is the most important factor in your mailing’s success. The more information you can collect and refine, the better your response rate will be!

How to Establish Trust with Potential Clients

Have you ever received a cold call from someone trying to sell you something?

Which of these actions characterized your response?

  1. You found an excuse to hang up
  2. You used short words or sentences in response to leading questions
  3. You used delay tactics or told the salesperson you’d call them down the road
  4. You were excited about the call and took proactive steps to learn more

If you are like most people, you probably lean toward a quick disconnect. That’s because behaviors 1-3 are basically kneejerk reactions that display a lack of trust.

Easing Past Apprehension

Sales can be scary – for everyone involved.

When you begin by recognizing this, you gain an immediate advantage. If you want to influence how a person thinks or responds, first you must guide them out of the calm sea of apathy and into riskier waters of decision.

And that requires trust.

So how do you get there? Especially if you’re wooing prospects you might never see face-to-face? Here are three helpful options:

1. Become More Transparent

Transparency simply means making something accessible.

There’s been a shift in marketing, especially as content marketing has gained traction, and your clients expect answers at their fingertips, without a middleman or any layers of hidden information.

Want to get things out in the open?

List prices on your website

(rather than hiding them behind a phone call)

Address uncomfortable or controversial questions upfront

(instead of waiting for prospects to ask)

Invite people into your world

(show prospects the faces and voices of your team: a group of actual humans who have lives and families and who are working hard every day to make your business thrive)

2. Stop Trying to Praise Yourself

Claiming you’re the best or tooting your own horn can make you seem unrelatable.

Instead, do everything you can to provide social proof from previous or current customers, such as

  • Sending surveys with every order
  • Using follow-up calls to get feedback on your service
  • Advertising where and how people can place a review
  • Creating case studies or testimonial examples around frequently-ordered products

And remember, reviews mean nothing unless you use them! Add them to your sell sheets and brochures. Paste them at the bottom of emails or sales letters. Create an arsenal of testimonials for your marketing team to pull from, and categorize them around pain points or specific buyer personas so they can be used at just the right moment.

3. Provide Assurances

Want to tip people toward a decision?

There are several little things you can do to bolster trust. Here are just three areas you can tweak:

Email Sign-Ups

What’s the biggest reason prospects avoid offering their email address?

Fear of spam. Assure your leads with phrases like, “We hate spam and promise not to spam you.” Or let people know up front how often you intend to communicate.

Account Registration

Doubt or uneasiness can creep in when people are asked to create an account on your website.

To alleviate this, provide assurances about how people can cancel or the benefits they will receive by moving forward.

Affirmation

Sometimes people need a little validation to boost their confidence.

You can do this by adding encouragements to your sign-up or order forms, like: “Thanks for choosing Acme Associates. You’re in good hands!” or, “Over ___ subscriptions filled each week!”

Customers Buy from People They Trust

The economy doesn’t run on money – it runs on trust, and so does your business.

When you’re selling, first focus on building trust with buyers. Then you’ll find people will not only listen to your advice, but they’ll be more willing to take it and to move forward with you.

Direct Mail Postcards: A Proven Winner

Results. Whether it’s weight loss, test scores, or finances, tangible success is the payoff everyone wants.

With a limited marketing budget, it’s important for your business to make every penny count. And, according to a 2018 DMA Response Rate Report, direct mail consistently outperforms all digital marketing channels. 

Direct mail allows readers to comprehend, process, and remember the material more quickly and easily, with postcards and large envelopes eliciting the best overall response. Think about how quickly you process your own mail – ‘bill, letter, junk, ad . . .’ It takes a split second to accept or discard each piece. Postcards put the message front and center as soon as the printed piece hits their hand.

When it comes to results, 52.5 percent of potential recipients claim they will read a postcard, whereas a letter-sized envelope will be opened only a third of the time. Postcards get a fairly high response rate – 4.25% – followed by dimensional mailers with 4% and letter-sized envelopes at 3.5%. And larger postcards (6-inches by 11-inches) are an ideal choice to ensure your piece stands out in the mail pile.

Success Starts Here

Ready to acquire new customers and increase your profits? Here are some tips for head-turning postcards:

Get to the Point

Postcards should have one obvious call to action. Understanding the audience and key message will drive design, with branding that will reinforce this theme.

Stress Benefits

Highlight the benefits of what you are selling. If you are selling a booklet-folding machine, don’t just say, “stainless steel hopper, 10 inches wide.” Add, “assembles 600 booklets per hour!”

Use Engaging Designs

Even classy postcards can have some sizzle, whether it’s font, bright colors, foil, or creative cardstock and graphic combinations.

Follow Headlines with Delivery

The promise of the headline should be fulfilled in the body copy—immediately. Your first few sentences should explain, elaborate on, and support the promise made in the headline.

Don’t Be Boring

People take in loads of information each week, and postcards have a split second to catch their attention. A sharp layout is great, but be sure to integrate this with a lively message to keep them reading past the headline.

Offer a Next Step

Don’t assume the reader knows what to do with your card. Include instructions and crystal-clear action steps, like, “For a free 2020 landscaping guide, visit http://www.lawnparadise.com, or call Betsy at __________ for a blueprint on a total yard makeover.”

Enhance Readability

More than 30 percent of the population classifies themselves as “scanners,” so aim for improved readability with bullets, generous white space, screened boxes, yellow highlighting, crossed-out text (like $19.95, $9.95), and simulated handwriting in the margin.

Front and Center with Eye-Popping Postcards

Want to make the right offer at the right time?

Postcards are ideal when:

  • You want to generate leads.
  • You’re offering a free or premium item.
  • The primary response is a URL landing page or a phone call.
  • The concept is easy to explain or familiar to the reader.

Finally, the sure advantage in postcards is knowing where to send them.

Savvy marketers know who their audience is, and they realize it’s not just one group. The most successful postcard marketing sends unique messages (and even segmented landing pages) to the groups they most want to reach.

If you can reach out to 500 targeted people (versus 5,000 bulk addresses), your success rates will skyrocket.

5 Thoughtful Strategies for Advertising During the Pandemic

If you’re like many people, you’ve probably been more conservative in your spending lately.

Recent research shows that, during the pandemic, many people were rationing food to save on expenses and grocery runs, and 23% of people were eating more plant-based meals. Discretionary spending has decreased, and consumers are shifting to digital solutions and reduced-contact channels to receive services.

On a larger scale, consumers worldwide say they expect the pandemic to affect their routines or spending for at least two to four months.

A Shift in Content and Scope

In recent months, many companies have shifted the scope and content of their marketing efforts as well.

Instead of pushing products and promotions, proactive businesses have focused on building relationships and adding humanness to their brand, including inspirational direct mail newsletters, heartfelt emails, and down-to-earth videos.

In one example, eBay championed small businesses that power the nation with its “Stronger as One” ad. Other companies highlighted safety changes and customer convenience options, like this “Call In / Pull In / Pick Up” curbside delivery ad:

“During these challenging times, we are here for you. We are making changes moment by moment to ensure the safety of our customers and employees. And what matters most is doing this together, for the community that we all call home.”

A Vision for Marketing Beyond COVID-19

Beyond connecting and empathizing, what is next for marketing beyond coronavirus?

For starters, you’ll need a commitment to move forward. Research shows that 92% of consumers believe brands need to keep advertising. Ads offer people a glimpse at a prosperous future or something hopeful to look forward, and your marketing gives people a welcome taste of distraction, entertainment, and normalcy.

Also, if the firms competing against you have lowered their ad output, now is a great time for you to invest more. As others scale back, your ads are more visible, allowing you to gather leads with a lower cost-per-acquisition.

And even if the economy seems shaky, pulling back now may actually lengthen the time it takes you to recover. If you need to tighten expenses, don’t turn off your marketing. Instead, look at ways you can rethink intake, client services, or business expenses in general.

Need some concrete marketing ideas? Here are five types of ads to consider:

1. A Product Focus

Showcase how your product is safe, accessible, or helps people strengthen their health or physical well-being.

2. A People Focus

Show prospects you care about them and that your business is standing with them during this time. This Fitbit ad offers its premium package for 90 days to help people work out at home, manage stress, and eat and sleep better during COVID-19: “Thank you for doing what you can. We’re all in this together.”

3. A Values Focus

Here you might feature positive company values or champion the solidarity and togetherness of your community.

4. A Nostalgia Focus

When things feel uncertain, old songs or vintage photos can bypass the brain and connect straight to the heart.

5. A Humor Focus

While being sensitive to people’s pain, you can still connect with your audience through humor during challenging seasons. Encourage people to laugh at their weaknesses or make the most of this strange season, like this Ben & Jerry’s “Netflix and Chill’d” campaign.

Though it may seem counterintuitive to up your print output today, now is the time to invest in a strong comeback after COVID-19.

With today’s carefully crafted message, you can ahead of shifting customer needs and shape people’s long-term expectations. As your partner in print, we are open, and we are ready to help! Contact us today to visit more.

Generate Leads with a Winning Sales Letter

Are you looking to entice a new lead or land a big client?

Today’s marketers know direct mail is an especially persuasive medium. According to 2018 direct mail response statistics, direct mail offered a 9% response rate to house lists and a 4.9% response to prospect lists. And one of the most potent tools of the trade is the good old-fashioned sales letter.

Want to grab attention with a persuasive, relevant, engaging letter? Here are a few tips:

Start with a powerful hook

If you want readers to make it past the first sentence, your first paragraph must arouse curiosity, evoke emotion, or resonate with a problem or pain point of a specific individual.

People can’t finish what they don’t start, so the opening sentences must be rock solid.

Make your sales letter look like a regular letter

The most relatable letters are those that feel personal.

For a more casual effect, use script font or type-writer styles like New Courier or Prestige Elite.

Write with a conversational tone

Use personal pronouns and write for one: I, the letter writer, am talking directly to you, the reader.

Avoid the pompous business-memo style or fluffy ad-speak. Be friendly, natural, and specific.

Use skim layers for easy reading

Underline phrases and indent paragraphs for emphasis, or use asterisks, bullets, dashes, or arrows to make reading more efficient.

People are turned off by long blocks of text, so keep your page design lively and your language succinct.

Use benefit loaded subheadings

Improve reader response by including precise user benefits that match your target audience.

Hikers have little interest in buying boots. What they want is dry, blister-free feet. Remember, people don’t buy products, they buy better versions of themselves.

Make it about them

Focus on readers and their needs rather than your product and its features.

For example, instead of highlighting “our high-caliber bookkeeping software,” try something like this: “Account for EVERY CENT with smart, secure book-keeping.”

Add colors or borders

The most important information in your letter should leap off the page.

Can you highlight a paragraph in yellow? Add blue “handwriting” font in the margin? Put a box around copy that absolutely cannot be missed?

Use a specific call to action

Explain what you’re selling, what it can do, and how they can get in on it.

Add discount offers, expiration dates, or “magic” marketing words like irresistible, no-obligation, flash sale, hassle-free, guaranteed results, buy one get one, free trial, or last chance offer.

Tell and Sell with This Winning Combination

There is an old saying in direct mail: the letter sells, and the brochure tells.

In any direct-mail package, combining a letter and brochure can be an especially powerful combination.

Ready to get started? Save time and trouble by partnering with our experienced team! When you’re ready to move ahead, we’ll help you create stunning pieces that make your message shine. From initial formatting to direct mail packaging and delivery, we’ll do the heavy lifting and streamline the entire process.

Visit us online or give us a call today to talk options!

Increase Your Odds for Success by Finding a Business Mentor

Bill Gates first met his mentor at a dinner organized by his mom.

When his mother suggested the connection, Gates thought he would have nothing in common with him, because this contact was just a “guy who picks stocks.” It turned out that they had more in common than he realized, and over the years, Gates came to view him as a key mentor and advisor.

That man? Billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

Today, Gates has created software that runs in most of the computers on the planet. He is a billionaire philanthropist who has given away more than $28 billion while working to eradicate polio. And Gates says that one of the most important things Buffet taught him is that success is not found through net worth but by “having people you care about loving you back.”

4 Keys for Developing a Powerful Professional Mentorship

Do you have a professional mentor?

If you don’t, this is a great time to get matched with one. The Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) is a non-profit organization with members who provide free consultation services and advice to entrepreneurs. SCORE oversees the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors. This organization helps thousands of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses, to give back to communities, and to allow people to pass on their knowledge to the next generation of leaders.

Whether you connect with an organization like SCORE or pursue a mentorship opportunity of your own, here are four things you might look for in a mentor.

1. Compatibility

Your mentor is someone who you will be working closely with, so it’s important that you have a sense of compatibility with this person, so the relationship doesn’t feel awkward or forced.

If you sense cues that could indicate long term tension, it’s ok to voice your concerns or end the relationship. Assigning the initial stage of the relationship as a short-term trial period might make a potential termination seem more natural.

2. Contrast

A mentor helps you stretch yourself, so it’s good if your mentor seems a bit outside of your comfort zone.

Don’t pick a carbon copy of yourself or look for a best buddy in a mentor. Diversity helps you get a better perspective on things, and it may be good if your mentor is from a different industry, age group, or geographical area.

3. Expertise

Mentorship isn’t about following someone with the most experience or the biggest title; it’s about finding someone with the knowledge to help you on your journey.

Look for a mentor who has unique expertise or one who has worked through similar challenges as you face rather than focusing on someone with a long career or a resume that matches yours.

4. Trust

Because you will share intimate business details with your mentor, trust is of utmost importance.

And this trust should go both ways. When trust is mutual, both parties can confide in each other in specific, vulnerable ways. Build trust by learning each other’s communication styles, setting expectations up front, and asking deeper questions as you grow. Once a solid level of trust is established, you’ll be able to glean the best insights from this relationship.

Bouncing Back After COVID-19

This unique time of economic recovery is probably unlike any crisis your business has faced.

But entrepreneurs are nothing if not resilient, and you can get through this. The key is to take quick action and to lean on the wisdom of others. Why not pursue a mentoring relationship today?

Customer Service Stories to Make Your Heart Smile

“Well done is better than well said.” (Benjamin Franklin)

After months of social distancing, today, people are craving a personal touch more than ever. Companies that go the extra mile remind us of an important truth: people are valuable. Businesses that genuinely care about their customers will express it, and clients will reciprocate with a loyalty that lasts.

Looking for inspiration? Here are three heart-warming stories.

Lego Understands Children

Losing a toy can be devastating to a child.

Lego recognized this and personalized their response in an unforgettable way. When Luka Apps lost his favorite Lego figure (Ninjago’s “Jay ZX”) while shopping, he wrote an apology letter to Lego, begged for a replacement, and said his father had warned him about taking Legos outside.

Lego didn’t just replace Jay; they surprised Luka with something special. A customer service rep named Richard responded quickly, telling Luka he had talked to (Ninjago Spinjitzu Master) Sensei Wu:

“He told me to tell you, ‘Luka, your father seems like a very wise man. You must always protect your Ninjago minifigures like the dragons protect the Weapons of Spinjitzu.’ Sensei Wu also told me it was okay if I sent you a new Jay and told me it would be okay if I included something extra for you because anyone that saves their Christmas money to buy the Ultrasonic Raider must be a really big Ninjago fan.

“So, I hope you enjoy your Jay minifigure with all his weapons. You will actually have the only Jay minifigure that combines 3 different Jays into one! I am also going to send you a bad guy for him to fight! Just remember, what Sensei Wu said: keep your minifigures protected like the Weapons of Spinjitzu! And of course, always listen to your dad.”

Richard’s response was so creative it went viral. Lego surprised Luke and won the hearts of families worldwide.

B. Dalton: Placing Customers Above Competition

Is your company truly focused on customer satisfaction?

B. Dalton (a bookseller later acquired by Barnes and Noble) was famous for its relentless customer care. One Christmas, a mother was shopping for a book her son requested. An employee scanned the computer and found the desired book was in stock but still packed.

After unsuccessfully searching the storeroom, the employee returned with an apology. Disappointed by her inability to help, the worker then called a competing retailer, reserved the book for the customer, and printed directions to the other store. Reader DD Moffitt was stunned by this consideration. While B. Dalton missed the sale that day, it gained DD’s loyalty for life.

Trader Joe’s: Turning a Problem into a Party

One evening, a mother and son were grabbing groceries at Trader Joe’s.

The boy (as boys are known to do) was bouncing off the walls. He ran loose from his mother, escaped to another aisle, and almost ran over an employee. The embarrassed mother moved quickly to apologize, but the employee said they were all used to it, and that shopping with children was kind of like “a dance party on the floor.”

With that, he started dodging and grooving and called several fellow employees to jam along.

They asked the shy child to join in the freezer section party, and soon the whole store was laughing. By making light of a tough situation, Trader Joe’s made this an unforgettable day.

It’s All About People

Business is about relationships, and customer service stories are wonderful because they illustrate kindness in action and spark new ideas.

Enjoy these illustrations and allow them to inspire you to take your own service to a higher level.

3 Strategies for Pursuing New Business Opportunities

In the weeks surrounding the onset of COVID-19, businesses worldwide have pivoted quickly.

Many have juggled shifting expectations by establishing remote work arrangements, securing supply chains, reducing employee workload, cutting costs, or applying for government support.

Now it’s time to move forward with a proactive business plan and to consider new opportunities. What will this look like for your business? Here are three strategies.

Strategy 1: Same Products, Different Channel

If the majority of your business takes place on-site, now a promotion focus through a different channel may be helpful.

In what ways can you offer the same (or similar) products and services through an online channel? Can you digitize any of your physical products? Can you offer webinars, online consultation, or build a technology-mediated delivery solution? From curbside pick-up to livestream shopping events, ramped up digital options are a low-hanging fruit every business should explore.

One florist facing delivery bans sold “virtual” bouquets for $70-$400 dollars. The recipient got a photo of their bouquet over email with the promise of a live delivery once businesses re-opened. When Chinese cosmetics company Lin Qingxuan was forced to close 40% of its stores, the company redeployed its beauty advisers as online influencers, and digital tools like WeChat engaged customers virtually. One large-scale livestream shopping event featuring 100 beauty advisers, helping Lin Quingxuan’s February sales climb 120% over 2019 sales.

Strategy 2: Same Infrastructure, Different Products

During a crisis, leaders must recognize opportunities and make the most of them. 

The COVID-19 season is a crucial time to consider new opportunities. While the need for some products and services has fallen, demand for others is high and even growing. Can your business deploy existing infrastructure to produce different products or offer new services?

In the spring of 2020, companies such as LVMH (perfumes) and Skyroro (rockets) switched to producing hand sanitizer within a few days. Manufacturers like GM, Ford, and My Pillow modified idle production lines to manufacture medical devices and face masks.

If people today see increased value in e-learning, improved individual health, or meaningful networking, how can your business identify and fill these needs? Disruptors often come from the bottom of the market to upend traditional retailers, or they create new markets and appeal to customers who have previously gone without a product.

Strategy 3: Same Products, Different Infrastructure

Perhaps your challenge is an increased demand for a particular product or service.

In this season, some companies may need to quickly augment physical systems, communication networks, or staffing to increase production or delivery capacity. And building new infrastructure often requires collaboration with external partners.

Employee sharing is one example of companies shifting infrastructure to meet needs. In Germany, McDonald’s staff have been permitted to work at Aldi stores while on-site dining is shuttered, and groceries are swamped. On the physical side, an adapted retail model may mean offer smaller stores (or “nodes” within large spaces) rather than crowd-based facilities.

Monitoring needs and forecasting future behavior are critical to adapting your infrastructure and remaining nimble.

Creativity Fuels Innovation

During a crisis, many things are out of your control.

But that’s ok because you can still shape your response! Focus solely on what you can control. Look for creative ways to adapt, and you will come out stronger in the years to come.  

 

Marketing Messages that Connect During a Crisis

We are in a totally different world right now.

Many of us are working from home and the future seems hazy. Perhaps you’re struggling to make decisions about staffing or future projects. But like a forest fire restarts growth, crisis moments can bring a new birth for your business. And that starts with how you communicate with customers.

Others-Focused Communication

In our unending-news-cycle world, much of what we hear seems like noise.

But now, more than ever, it is crucial for you to connect with people in meaningful ways. Want to send business messages that are well received? Use an OTHERS-centered paradigm.

O = ONE

Write for one person.

When you craft a message, imagine yourself speaking to one specific client. Pick out a single buyer and pretend you’re writing only for them. This helps you ditch the sanitized corporate-speak and makes your reader the focus of your message (rather than you!).

People connect to messages that are specific, personal, and conversational.

T = TRANSPARENCY

Embrace transparency to become relatable.

People may admire you for your strengths, but they connect with you through your weaknesses. Vulnerability ushers in humility and makes you instantly relatable to your audience. Transparency means letting people know how your business is doing or what has changed for you during this taxing season. You don’t have to air all your dirty laundry, just take an open, communicative posture. Now is not the time to go silent!

H= HELPFUL

Speak to their needs, not your own.

What messages are most helpful to your customers at this time? While you could send a five-star handwashing tutorial, perhaps what is needed is advice to parents on talking to their kids, or how your company is adding flexibility to meet customer needs.

Don’t be afraid to push others to success. If your clients seem fearful or tentative, perhaps your encouragement will be the fuel they need to get back in the game or to push a stalled project to completion.

E = EMPATHETIC

Make their problem your problem.

Maya Angelou once said, “people will forget what you said, people forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  

How does your messaging make people feel? Does it sound hard or templated? Or does it communicate true concern and a willingness to help? Your tone should sound something like this: “If it’s your problem, it’s my problem too, and we’ll work together to find a solution.”

R = RELEVANT

Timing matters.

The relevance of your messaging applies not only to its topic but its timing. Sending pre-scheduled content with no regard to how it will land during hardships is a sure way to demonstrate you’ve lost touch with your base. Reach out to customers and find out how they’re doing, then adapt your messages accordingly.

S = SINCERE

If you say or do something, mean it!

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how often people talk just to hear their own voices. Using content just to fill space will strike people as stale and insincere. Instead, go out of your way to be helpful and kind without seeking a reward for doing so.

What Social Distance Can’t Overpower

Since you may not see customers directly for weeks to come, today is the time to make your website and print materials as “social distancing” friendly as possible.

By focusing on others with a relatable, helpful approach, you’ll connect with people one by one in ways that are sincere and inspiring. And nothing is more effective than that.