Follow by Email

Monday, November 21, 2016

Warning: Are You Accidentally Shattering Your Brand Continuity?


At its core, brand continuity is the idea that all communication channels between your brand and your customers (live chat, email, phone calls, etc.) should all look and feel like they're coming from the same place. It's the idea that you should strive to give your customers an experience that is as consistent as possible, regardless of how they choose to make contact with you. Successful brand continuity requires you to strike a delicate balance, and if you're not careful, there are a few ways that you can accidentally shatter all that you've worked so hard to build even before you realize you have a problem.

It's All in the Visuals


One of the more subtle ways to build and maintain brand continuity is also one of the most important, mainly because it can be the easiest to get wrong. You have to make sure that all of your branding from the version of your company logo to things as seemingly insignificant as the font you use are as consistent as possible, regardless of which element of your online and offline presence you're using. If a version of your company logo is present on your website's "Help Desk" page, it should be the same version of the logo sent out in your latest email or print marketing materials. Don't use professional-looking fonts on your website if you're going to be using Comic Sans MS on your print materials.

You may initially think that this is incredibly easy to miss and in many respects, you're right. Customers aren't necessarily paying attention to every last visual element on a page versus a flyer versus a billboard. But, think about it this way: the ones that do notice may be put-off or at least find it odd, which is a feeling you do not want to invoke. Those that don't notice will still benefit from your strict brand continuity, even if subconsciously.

Getting Everyone on the Same Page


Another way that you can accidentally shatter brand continuity has to do with getting everyone on the same page regarding how your business works. If your website is very clear about one particular policy but your customer service team isn't, you're immediately confusing customers every time they pick up the phone. This confusion is especially evident regarding promotions. If an email goes out offering a new sale, you'd better make sure that anyone who answers the phones for your business knows about it and knows what it entails. Otherwise, your customers may get a disappointing experience when it feels like the left hand is unaware of what the right hand is doing, so to speak. It gives the impression that the different parts of your business are operating independently of one another, which is something you don't want to communicate to prospective buyers.


These are just a couple of ways that you can accidentally harm your brand continuity. Remember, you can never be 100% sure how someone is going to make contact with your business, especially for the first time. So, make sure however they encounter you, it's equally easy, enjoyable, and helpful.

Peter "The Printer" Lineal
Founder/CEO
Plum Grove
2160 Stonington Avenue
Hoffman Estates, IL 60169
Ph: 847.882.4020 Ext: 520
www.PlumGrovePrinters.com
PeterL@PlumGrovePrinters.com

Like Plum Grove Printers Facebook PageFollow Plum Grove Printers TwitterConnect with Plum Grove Printers LinkedInConnect with Plum Grove Printers Google+
Printing, Marketing & Promotional Products with Powerful Execution.

Friday, October 28, 2016

More ROI on Your Mailings: Direct Mail Marketing with Plum Grove


As a part of our efforts to continue providing the best services to our customers, we've implemented new software for our Direct Mail Services. Satori's EasyTrack software helps our team accurately determine your mailing's delivery dates, track individual mailing pieces, pinpoint problems that may delay delivery, and improve the return on your investment.

Understanding Direct Mail

You know that when it comes to direct mail, you're taking a risk. You're paying for multiple services, in hopes of increasing your bottom line: time spent designing the mailing, printing, postage, and delivery. After all of your planning and investing, usually direct mail vendors have no way of tracking your mailings to make sure it has reached your target market.

When it comes to mail, we know that things can get delayed or become undeliverable. Although not every piece of mail that has gone out reaches its destination, you want to know how well your mail is performing - and that includes the delivery success rate. When we do a mailing at Plum Grove, we use our tracing software to track when and where your mailing is at all times. In addition to that, we can work directly with the Post Office to find out what may be delaying the delivery of your mail, then work to resolve those specific issues. With our tracing and reporting capabilities, we can share these reports directly with you, so you can see exactly what is happening with your marketing investments.

Make the most out of your investment. 

Whether it's First-Class Mail or Standard Mail, working with Plum Grove on your next mailing means that the marketing dollars you spend on letters and flats are increasing your ROI. Plum Grove will give you access to reports that explain when and where your mailing was scanned. Our software gives powerful "piece-level analysis," which allows you to track an individual piece of mail using its one-of-a-kind Intelligent Mail barcode.

Our customers appreciate the time and effort we put into every direct mail project that comes through our shop. We've done thousands of direct mail projects for our customers, and we invite you to take a look at what they have to say about our dedication to meeting deadlines and delivering quality services.

To stay up-to-date on what mailing rates may look like in the future, click here.

Brandie Nicole Richardson
Digital Marketing Specialist
Graphic Designer
Plum Grove
2160 Stonington Avenue
Hoffman Estates, IL 60169
Ph: 847.882.4020 Ext: 536
www.PlumGrovePrinters.com

Like Plum Grove Printers Facebook PageFollow Plum Grove Printers TwitterConnect with Plum Grove Printers LinkedInConnect with Plum Grove Printers Google+
Printing, Marketing & Promotional Products with Powerful Execution.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Psych! Five Ways to Turn Prospects Into Clients Using Psychology

Marketers say that the key to increasing sales is to use A/B testing to determine which sales tactic is more successful than another. A/B testing (sometimes called split testing) is comparing two versions of something to see which one performs better. 

We think that if we appeal to the rational brain, we will convince people that our product is the best possible product for their needs. However, if that were the case, would anyone ever buy Pet Rocks? Nope. 



The key to turning prospects into clients is tapping into the deeply embedded emotions inside of them. By identifying these emotions and learning how to trigger them, you can increase your revenue faster than you can say "Chia Pet." Here are the top five psychological triggers you can start using immediately to boost your bottom line.


1. Pleasure and Pain


Avoiding pain and increasing pleasure are the driving forces of all human activity. This idea is the most fundamental reason we have a nervous system. If something hurts, we find a way to stop it. If something feels pleasurable, we do it more.


Translating this into your marketing strategy, you must first identify what your clients associate with pain and pleasure. Once you've figured that out, the rest is easy. Draft your marketing message in a way that shows your customers how your product or service will get them as close as possible to their pleasure trigger and away from their pain trigger.



2. Simplicity


For most of us, life is complicated-- too complicated. It takes 47 steps to get us from the comfort of our beds and out the door prepared to work. We don't need another product or service that will add more steps (obstacles) to our day.

Take a good, hard look at what you're selling. Does it add barriers to people's lives
or remove them? If it's not easy and fast to use, consider making a few tweaks that will take all of the "no's" out of the equation.



3. Novelty


New and shiny are what we love. In fact, it has been scientifically shown that exposure to something novel increases the amount of dopamine in the brain, that chemical that makes us all tingly and excited.

If you've ever heard someone complaining about the lack of significant changes in the latest iPhone, but still stand in line for hours to get one on release day, you've witnessed the power of novelty.

You can create innovation with your products by making a few simple changes, which will give your prospects that shot of dopamine they've been craving. Think Chia Heads.



4. Storytelling


Humans have evolved by telling stories. It's how we share our experiences. The best storytellers invoke all of the senses to pull their audience into the action.

You can infuse even the most mundane products with the magic of a good story. Update your copy to tell a story about your product that transports your prospects. They'll buy just to keep the story alive.



5. Anticipation


We've all turned 16 at some point in our lives. Remember the anticipation we felt as the day drew nearer and the prospect of being able to drive around without an adult sat winking at us in the distance? It made life a little more sparkly, didn't it?

If you've got a new product or service in the works, don't just plunk it down on the counter when it's all done. Start building some buzz while you're still working on it. Send out emails to your current customers and prospects. Create a series of videos giving out little bits of information at a time. Get people in that "I can't wait" mode and your launch day will be more profitable than you can imagine.



Peter "The Printer" Lineal
Founder/CEO
Plum Grove
2160 Stonington Avenue
Hoffman Estates, IL 60169
NEW EXTENSION: 847.882.4020 Ext: 520
NEW DIRECT NUMBER: 847-230-8520
www.PlumGrovePrinters.com
PeterL@PlumGrovePrinters.com

Like Plum Grove Printers Facebook PageFollow Plum Grove Printers TwitterConnect with Plum Grove Printers LinkedInConnect with Plum Grove Printers Google+
Printing, Marketing, Tradeshow Displays + Promotional Products with Powerful Execution.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Crafting Your Brand to Communicate Your Unique Sales Proposition


Simply being the best is no longer the key to improving your bottom line. Not only is it a somewhat nebulous concept that isn't easily quantifiable, it's become more the status quo than anything else. Everyone selling something claims to be the best. Have you ever seen someone claim to be "second-best" in their marketing?

Identifying your unique sales proposition is by far the most effective thing you can do to make your company a success. Creating a memorable image that will grab people's attention and make them feel like they want you to be their best friend goes a lot farther these days than claims at superiority.

But maybe you already know this and maybe you've already identified how your company is different from the rest of the companies that sell computers/shoes/lamps, etc. Fabulous! One question: Do your customers know what makes you unique? (Cue head scratching and cricket chorus.)

If your brand doesn't scream, "I'm a unique snowflake" to everyone that sees it, you can do better. You must do better! You owe it to your company to be as unique as you are. So, how do you go about communicating how your company is one of a kind? It's all in the brand!

One of the best ways to figure out how to craft your brand to communicate your unique sales proposition is to carefully analyze how other companies are doing it. Let's take a look at two companies that have really done the work to make sure their brand conveys their unique sales proposition...

- Saddleback Leather - This company makes leather bags and accessories, and...so do hundreds of other companies. However, Saddleback has distinguished itself by selling "excessively high-quality leather designs" that are overbuilt and backed by a 100-year warranty. Their logo: a thick, letter tag embossed with their name, with obvious stitching and three big rivets at the top. Their tagline: "They'll fight over it when you're dead." Their ideal customer is someone who works hard and wants their bags and accessories to work harder and last longer.

- Timbuk2 - Yes, another company that makes bags...but guess what? This one is...wait for it...different! By its' name alone, we know that they are about travel and adventure. If you don't want to wander out into the wild, brave the unknown, or at least have all your stuff clean and dry when you get to wherever you're going, you may not be their target customer. Their current tagline is "Drive the bus" which, let's be honest, doesn't necessarily convey a specific unique sales proposition, but the story behind it is compelling and reinforces their mission: "To inspire urban mobility, enable individuality, & promote responsibility." They do this through their adherence to their values, which include statements like "Be Fearless. Deliver. Be Nimble. Engage. Lighten Up." Timbuk2 is a fantastic example of infusing your company with personality.

These two companies, while selling many overlapping products, have gone out of their way to distinguish themselves from their competitors. They truly love their products and want their clients to love them too. What's interesting about both of these companies is that they were started by people who couldn't find what they were looking for in the bags of the world, so they set out to make them. In doing this, they were able to:

1. Put themselves in their customers' shoes
2. Understand what motivates their customers' behavior and buying decisions
3. Uncover the real reasons customers will buy their product instead of a competitor's

These are three critical factors in identifying your unique sales position. Basically, they were the customers, so it wasn't a big leap to get into their heads and create the experience that would drive consumers to love and buy their products.


It's easy to get a little lazy and fall into the trap of "it's good enough for now" and throw something out there, never to be improved upon again. If you love your company, you'll take the time now to make sure your brand conveys exactly what you want it to convey to your ideal client.

Peter "The Printer" Lineal
Founder/CEO
Plum Grove
2160 Stonington Avenue
Hoffman Estates, IL 60169
Ph: 847.882.4020 Ext: 133
www.PlumGrovePrinters.com
PeterL@PlumGrovePrinters.com

Like Plum Grove Printers Facebook PageFollow Plum Grove Printers TwitterConnect with Plum Grove Printers LinkedInConnect with Plum Grove Printers Google+
Printing, Marketing & Promotional Products with Powerful Execution.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Consumer Education as Your New Marketing Goal

In executing your marketing campaign, you don't simply want to get the word out about a product or service. You're also trying to position your company as an authority on a particular topic. One of the most important-- yet most often overlooked-- marketing goals is consumer education. 

The Benefits 

An increased emphasis on consumer education brings with it benefits that can't be ignored. For starters, it allows you to take a deeper level of control over the narrative that you're telling. You're retooling the information that consumers are seeking in a much more positive way. Instead of making a declarative statement with your campaign like, "Here are all of the amazing and incredible features of my product or service," you get to take a less sales-oriented approach and offer advice: "Here are the problems you have, and here is how my product or service is the answer."

















Perhaps the biggest benefit is that you get to essentially PROVE that your product/service is necessary and let your audience come to the same conclusion on their own. This helps to deepen the sense of confidence that consumers get from your company, which almost always leads to loyalty sooner rather than later.

Transformations

Another element to consider involves the subtle ways in which you change the relationship between company and customer. With consumer education, marketing is no longer a passive approach. Instead, it's decidedly active-- consumers are no longer HEARING about your product or READING about it, they're LEARNING about it. They're engaging in a whole new way. It officially transforms the marketing experience into a two-way street by way of empowerment.



















The more satisfied with the marketing experience a consumer is, the more confident they ultimately are with how they spend their money. Turning the tide of the conversation in your direction through consumer education provides a powerful opportunity for you. 


Peter "The Printer" Lineal
Founder/CEO
Plum Grove
2160 Stonington Avenue
Hoffman Estates, IL 60169
Ph: 847.882.4020 Ext: 133
www.PlumGrovePrinters.com
PeterL@PlumGrovePrinters.com

Like Plum Grove Printers Facebook PageFollow Plum Grove Printers TwitterConnect with Plum Grove Printers LinkedInConnect with Plum Grove Printers Google+
Printing, Marketing & Promotional Products with Powerful Execution.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Handling Negative Online Reviews Like a Pro




Online reviews can make or break a business.  More and more often, customers are turning to sites like Yelp, Google, and Facebook to get an unbiased view of every business they use. 


Negative reviews are pretty much inevitable, regardless of how hard you try.  Your responses, or lack thereof, can also have a dramatic effect on how people view your company's credibility and dedication to customer service.  Here are a few tips to handle negative online reviews like a pro.

First and foremost it is important to have a consistent approach to handling both positive and negative feedback. 


Meet Kelly...

Kelly owns a local hair salon and uses many types of online profiles to represent her business. Since public comments can't be deleted, Kelly has developed a solid approach to protecting her business' online reputation.


Set Up Alerts

The first line of defense for Kelly's online business reputation is daily alerts. Setting up alerts through Google, Facebook, and Twitter lets Kelly know when someone has mentioned her business. She gets these alerts sent to her inbox daily.


Comment Always

Kelly's policy is to comment on as many pieces of feedback as possible. She leverages the personal touch by interacting with her customers in a timely manner to all forms of feedback.  She's also turned her responses into an art form.


Positive Feedback   

Kelly always responds to positive feedback. It doesn't have to be the great American novel, but Kelly makes sure it's genuine and has a personal feel to it.  Observe the magic:

3/24/2015: Jen, this is one of the sweetest, most thorough reviews I have seen.  Thank you so much for your kind words about the salon and our wonderful nail artist, Nickie!


Negative Feedback  

Kelly always acknowledges the client's concerns and states in the public reply that she will contact the person to follow up and resolve the issue.  If she doesn't have the client's contact information, she invites the person who posted to contact her directly.  

At this stage, Kelly understands the importance of not engaging in justification, excuse making, claims of innocence, or outright denial.  


Here is an example of what NOT to do...

Michelle, 
I am really surprised by some of the comments in your review.  You were 15 minutes late for the appointment.  The stylist you were booked with had already packed up to leave and you were marked in our books as a no show (15 minutes late for a 45-minute appointment is pretty late).  I tried to convince the stylist to stay and see you because it was Valentine's Day and I didn't want you to go away disappointed. She needed to get to her other job but agreed to do the blowout even if it meant being late for work. I asked you if you minded skipping the complimentary hand massage that we usually do with our blowouts since you were late and she needed to get to her second job. I'm sorry if that made your experience less pleasant.  However, she did stay late and do an amazing blowout for you. 


What a complete turnoff! If you want to try and win her back and impress others? Try this instead:

Hi Jonathan,
Thank you for taking the time to submit a review. We are sincerely sorry that your experience was less than satisfactory on this visit. We would be grateful for the opportunity to make this situation right for you. Please feel free to contact me at XXX-XXX-XXXX and I will assist in reconciling this issue. A private message has also been sent. Again, many thanks for the feedback - it only helps us serve you better!  


The Clock is Ticking

Kelly promptly follows up on her commitment to reach out.  The best person for this job is the business owner or general manager - someone with the clout and authority to fix the issue in one phone call or email. She and her manager put on their best customer service hats and really listen to the client's concern. 


Follow-Up on the Follow-Up

Once the issue is resolved, and only if it was a positive result, Kelly asks the client to follow up on the posting and comment that the issue was resolved.  This can be the most impactful.  Kelly always goes back to the original posting personally to briefly talk about how the resolution went down.


The key to success lies in being genuine, working proactively, and embracing the age-old philosophy, "The customer is always right!" even if you aren't in agreement.

Brandie Nicole Richardson
Digital Marketing Specialist
Graphic Designer
Plum Grove

Peter "The Printer" Lineal
Founder/CEO
Plum Grove
2160 Stonington Avenue
Hoffman Estates, IL 60169
Ph: 847.882.4020 Ext: 133
www.PlumGrovePrinters.com
PeterL@PlumGrovePrinters.com

Like Plum Grove Printers Facebook PageFollow Plum Grove Printers TwitterConnect with Plum Grove Printers LinkedInConnect with Plum Grove Printers Google+
Printing, Marketing & Promotional Products with Powerful Execution.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Swag Is Actually Your Brand Ambassador

Edited down from something just seen on TSNN:

In marketing, swag isn’t just a party favor you give to guests at the end of the night. It’s your brand ambassador when you’re no longer there. The role of swag shouldn’t be underestimated. When utilized correctly, it provides brands with a physical and emotional connection to their customers before, during, and after an event.

In other words, swag is a gift that keeps on giving — and that’s why it has become a $21 billion industry. One study found that 87 percent of attendees keep the promotional items they receive for more than a year, and 79 percent of them say they’d be likely to do business with that company again.

The power of swag can open doors for your brand anywhere. In order to unlock its potential, remember that not all swag is created equal.
Smart phone stand
Smart phone stand


The Wide World of Swag
Call it swag, promos, giveaways, freebies, tchotchkes… Swag can be as small as a pen or as big as a VIP trip to a concert. It can be a tangible item that sits on a desk or an experience that lives inside the mind. One thing remains consistent, though: The better your swag strategy is, the more important, valued, and excited your consumers will feel about your brand.

swag pen
High-quality pens


Match Your Swag to Your Message.
Offer swag that reflects your brand’s message and values. If your company’s identity revolves around practicality and productivity, don’t hand out time-wasting junk like yo-yos and rubber balls. Instead, give your audience something they need, like a branded roll of duct tape or a Swiss army knife. Remember, this is something your customer plans to have in his or her home for years to come. Make sure it reflects the right brand image.

purp-copy
USB drives


Solve a Problem.
Even if your brand isn’t all about practicality and productivity, giving your customers something they can actually use is a smart way to gain their respect and gratitude. For example, if you’re marketing at an outdoor event, consider offering branded umbrellas, bottles of water, sunblock, or towels. Customers are much more likely to remember brands that help them out.

Multipurpose blanket
Multipurpose blanket


Don’t Fall Into a Rut.
Customers will eventually forget a brand that relies on the same key chain for years on end. It’s wise to vary your swag offerings both over time and depending on the scenario. Pins, badges, and stickers might be perfect for one event, while personalized putters could be perfect for another. Change it up to keep the attention of your audience.

Planting kits
Planting kits


Don’t Be Logo-Happy.
Logos are an easy way to get your brand name into somebody’s home, but they’re also an easy way to get your swag into somebody’s trash can. If your swag is actually impressive or useful in its own right, a small, discreet logo will do the trick. Customers will naturally remember who gave it to them.

Wall calendar
Wall calendar


Avoid Playing Favorites. 
Creating multiple tiers of swag can be a dangerous strategy because it suggests that your company values certain customers over others. If one demographic is handed cheap-looking pens but knows that another market got bottles of champagne, they’re going to leave your event feeling jealous and underappreciated. Your best option is to make sure the swag you offer is of a consistent value, but if you must create multiple levels of reward, keep it under wraps.

Leather portfolios
Leather portfolios

Whether it’s a pad of paper that attendees end up writing their grocery lists on or an air freshener that dangles from their rearview mirrors, swag is a great way to provide a useful (and free!) souvenir to consumers that keeps your name at the top of their minds.

See the whole thing! 

d91b6480-d2c8-40d9-8b5c-08848c84da8d
About Joan Weis

Peter "The Printer" Lineal
Founder/CEO
Plum Grove
2160 Stonington Avenue
Hoffman Estates, IL 60169
Ph: 847.882.4020 Ext: 133
www.PlumGrovePrinters.com
PeterL@PlumGrovePrinters.com

Like Plum Grove Printers Facebook PageFollow Plum Grove Printers TwitterConnect with Plum Grove Printers LinkedInConnect with Plum Grove Printers Google+
Printing, Marketing & Promotional Products with Powerful Execution.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Super-Charge Your Sales Force

Converting prospects into clients is often a difficult and expensive process. Sales reps can spend weeks, months, even years trying to convert a prospect into a client. So, how do your reps keep the conversation going and the interest building when they’re away? The answer: put high-quality, effective print sales collateral in their hot little hands.

Your sales reps can leave a "spokesperson" behind their prospects, one that will subtly sing the praises of your company when your reps leave.
That advocate for your products and services is the right mix of marketing materials.

Highly effective print sales collateral doesn’t just mean you leave a brochure and a business card and hope for the best. To super-charge your sales force, you need well thought-out, quality-designed materials that will continue to grab the prospect’s attention and not end up in the recycling bin. Top sales experts have weighed in with the following best practices.

Case Studies

The single most effective piece of sales collateral that you can leave with your prospects is the case study. Including one or two case studies targeted to the prospect’s needs can do more for your sales than a holiday gift basket. Your case studies should concisely discuss:
  • What the client’s greatest challenge was prior to purchasing your product or service
  • How the client implemented your product or service
  • How the client’s challenge went away or was reduced by implementing your product or service

These three ideas will communicate more to the prospect about how your product or service works and the value that it can provide to them, than merely listing the things your company does. If possible, include solid numbers about money and time savings, as these are the top two complaints companies have.

Testimonials

Finding three or four clients to rave about you is also a fantastic way to show your prospects that (1) you have clients, (2) your product/service is LOVED and (3) why your clients love it. If you can guide your clients in crafting a testimonial that discusses how your company changed their life for the better, the more effective the testimonial will be. Including their name, business name, and even a picture can go a long way in building credibility. Nothing says, “Trust us” like someone else saying, “Trust them!”

The Sales Page

Sales and Marketing Strategist Walter Wise notes that successful marketing messages use the "Marketing Equation of Interrupt, Engage, Educate, and Offer.” Let’s break down that equation. 

  • Interrupt: your main headline, designed to interrupt your prospect's attention
  • Engage: your sub-headline, crafted to keep the prospect’s interest and get them to keep reading
  • Educate: this is where you add some valuable information on solving your clients’ problems
  • Offer: this should be a low-risk, free report, checklist, white paper, or e-book that will position your company as a thought leader in the field.

Take the time to provide your “offer” in your sales package. The longer you can keep that prospect engaging in your company’s materials, the more likely they will be to buy.

Putting It All Together

All of your materials should be printed on high-quality paper stock and designed by a professional graphic artist so that the materials are aesthetically pleasing and project an impeccable image. Too much text and low-quality graphics can be an instant turn-off regardless of the quality of your product. Remember: These materials speak for you when your reps are not there.


Peter "The Printer" Lineal
Founder/CEO
Plum Grove
2160 Stonington Avenue
Hoffman Estates, IL 60169
Ph: 847.882.4020 Ext: 133
www.PlumGrovePrinters.com
PeterL@PlumGrovePrinters.com


Like Plum Grove Printers Facebook PageFollow Plum Grove Printers TwitterConnect with Plum Grove Printers LinkedInConnect with Plum Grove Printers Google+
Printing, Marketing & Promotional Products with Powerful Execution.