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Friday, December 28, 2012

You may be a genius entrepreneur -- but are you really a genius at everything?

You may be surprised to learn that Richard Branson, the famous and a true genius entrepreneur, when speaking about his many companies or successful ventures, rarely mentions "I" and always refers instead to "we." Why? Because he knows that his success has been due in large part to a team, each of whom brought a certain strength to turn the vision into reality.

There are three essential characteristics of any successful business:
  1. A Product or Service -- You must be able to make or provide a fantastic product or service.

  2. Marketing -- You must have a great story and be able to sell your story to the market.

  3. Financial Management -- You must be a smart money manager and reinvest the cash wisely.

Since each of these skills requires a vastly different mindset, no single person can do all of these with any degree of high expertise.

The most successful businesses have all three of these skills spread among their team. The long-term success and viability of your business depends on these three areas. Therefore, it is vital that you have the best-qualified team members for each skill.

Whether you're a micro business or a global brand, the success and growth of your venture depends not only on making the correct hire but also on getting out of the way and letting the experts manage what you hired them to do. Both hiring right and delegating to that hire are critical to the long-term success of your company. One does not work well without the other.

For all businesses small and large, sometimes that expert team member is a consultant or even a vendor -- think accountant or marketing agency.

Your company may not be the size of Richard Branson's companies, but the lessons of hiring the best possible candidates and giving them the necessary space to manage their parts of the business are lessons that apply to all successful enterprises.


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

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Printing, Marketing & Promotional Products with Powerful Execution.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Flash Sale Marketing Tips

Flash sales have become one of the marketing industry's hottest new ways to not only grab attention but also boost web traffic and create front-of-mind awareness. While email is typically the key driver of flash sale campaigns, social media is a close follower. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your next flash sale marketing campaign:
  • Create urgency with a short time window for your sales. These can range from a few hours to a day or two maximum. The longer customers put off buying, the less likely they are to make a purchase. Studies show that flash sales with a three-hour window have the best transaction-to-click rates. Most purchases are made within the first hour.

  • Be sure your inventory is adequate for a flash sale, and alert customers if supplies are limited.

  • Consider a flash sale with an open-ended coupon promo to increase foot traffic. For example, you might offer a $150 salon coupon for only $75 from 11am-1pm.

  • Use multiple avenues to spread the word quickly. These may include email, texting, mobile coupons, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social sites.

  • Encourage recipients to share or forward your message to their friends.

  • Create an attention-grabbing subject line or header, and follow through with a concise message that communicates the necessary details of your sale.

  • Consider sending a reminder. Light a fire under the feet of customers who are interested but dragging their heels, and remind them that your offer expires soon.

  • Remember that timing is everything, so determine the best times to blast your recipients. The most common times for a flash sale revolve around lunch or evenings, making the sale accessible to buyers who work during the day.

  • Monitor your social accounts closely during a flash sale, since customers will want immediate answers to any potential questions or concerns before the sale expires.

  • Consider mailing postcards for big weekend flash sale events to grab attention and give customers a little extra time to prepare for your sale. For example, grab attention with an oversized postcard that says "Save 40% off everything in our store for four hours only on Saturday!"

  • Consider offering a live online counter to show how many "deals" have been purchased. Popularity sells, so if XX other people thought it was a good deal, many others will think they need to buy one, too.

  • Suggest that shoppers follow you on Facebook or Twitter to ensure they don't miss out on your next exciting sale!
Peter "The Printer" Lineal
Founder/CEO
Plum Grove
2160 Stonington Avenue
Hoffman Estates, IL 60169
Ph: 847.882.4020 Ext: 133
www.PlumGrovePrinters.com

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Printing, Marketing & Promotional Products with Powerful Execution.

Friday, December 7, 2012

After Sale Marketing

Following up after a sale provides an opportunity to offer a heart-felt thank you and ensure customer satisfaction. It also lets you discuss additional services and improve a customer's probable return to your business. Here are a few follow-up tips for after-sale marketing:
  • Show your gratitude with a free offer that complements the original purchase. For example, a hair stylist could show thanks by offering a voucher for a free hair styling product. Include specifics, such as a $15 maximum value redeemable within 60 days of postmark.

  • Boost sales by providing a coupon for free shipping or 25% off their next order. Encourage customers to pass it on if they don't need to use the offer themselves.

  • Suggest complementary products or services that will enhance the initial purchase and increase the customer's satisfaction and loyalty. Consider creating an affiliate program with non-competing businesses to expand your offerings.

  • Reward customers for providing referrals. Offer an exclusive discount to both your existing customer and a new referral to increase the number of referrals you receive.

  • Highlight your contact information on an item your customers will keep, such as a business card, calendar, customized notepad, magnet, or pen.

  • Become a resource to your customers by encouraging customers to sign up for an informational newsletter with industry tips and tricks. You might also consider providing valuable tutorials and training classes.

  • Consider using the 10-10-10 follow-up pattern (or even a less-aggressive 30-30-30). Send an initial thank you within 10 days after the purchase. Contact them again after 10 days, then a third time after another 10 days. Vary your method of communication, such as a hand-written note, email, and phone call. Include an offer in all communications, and build on the urgency in each contact.

  • Ask for feedback about the customer's recent purchase or send a survey with an incentive to respond. Many customers will be eager to discuss their experience or may even have questions.
If you need creative print ideas to stay in touch your customers, give us a call today. Our creative team is full of ideas to ensure your customers come back for more, and bring new customers with them!

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Power of Lists

Lists are more than just an effective way to grab attention. They're also great at getting key points across quickly and increasing readership. Here are a few tips to help you use lists more effectively in your marketing:
  • Use abbreviated or partial lists on marketing pieces, such as postcards and email campaigns, and encourage readers to visit your website to learn more.

  • Promote your company's competitive advantages with a "top 10 reasons" list.

  • Popularity sells. Use a list to advertise your biggest selling products, such as "Our Top 5 Most Popular Products from 2012."

  • Use a list to announce or introduce new products or services.

  • Use a list as an alternative to long paragraphs of text, and enable readers to quickly scan your key points.

  • For greater effectiveness, keep your lists brief, such as "10 Ways to..." or "15 Tips to..."

  • Structure your list logically (largest to smallest, most to least popular, or simply your strongest tips first).

  • If your list includes more than just a few words for each key point, consider using bold sub-headers with brief descriptions behind them.

  • For "top 10" style lists, always number your entries, so readers can easily follow along.

  • Be sure to include a source whenever appropriate, especially if your list contains hard facts or data.
Peter "The Printer" Lineal
Founder/CEO
Plum Grove
2160 Stonington Avenue
Hoffman Estates, IL 60169
Ph: 847.882.4020 Ext: 133
www.PlumGrovePrinters.com

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Printing, Marketing & Promotional Products with Powerful Execution.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Please Give Your Business Some Air

Humans can't live long without breathing.

A plant will wither and die without sun, water, and air.

A car can't get very far without fuel.

So what makes us think that a business can keep going without doing effective marketing?

It can't.

Leads are the life-blood of any business, regardless of size or industry. Leads turn into profitable customers and revenue.

Having a business without a marketing strategy and marketing plan is like having a garden that's left to its own devices. Without constant pruning, watering, and the sun, the beautiful garden will be choked with weeds and soon turn into an eyesore.

Your business needs a continual flow of quality traffic. This traffic won't come to you on its own. People won't seek out your products and services unless you give them a reason to.

A marketing plan can be very simple.
  • Figure out who your best customers are.

  • Come up with messages to attract more prospects who are just like your best customers.

  • Use various media (like direct mail) to let that market segment know what you're all about.

  • Create a marketing calendar to help you remember to market on a consistent basis, so your prospect pipeline never runs dry again.
Your business is a living, breathing entity. Prospects, leads, and traffic are like the air it needs to breathe.

Marketing your business with a strategic plan is the best way to ensure your business will never run out of the air it needs to survive and grow.


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

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Printing, Marketing & Promotional Products with Powerful Execution.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Your Print Marketing 3-Step Rule

Every print marketing piece should have an end goal in mind. Depending on the type of marketing piece, these goals can range from simply building name recognition to creating curiosity and ultimately generating sales. The next time you find yourself struggling to create print marketing that will get noticed, remember these three steps to maximize your effectiveness:

Step 1: Grab attention.
Start by getting your reader's attention. Remember this must happen from the initial glance at your promotional piece. Try using a bold headline, graphic, photo, or marketing claim. Choose something that encourages viewers to take a moment to read your marketing message.

Step 2: Create interest.
Provide teaser information that will engage prospects and entice them to learn more. Teaser information could include an announcement about exciting new products or features, a current or upcoming promotion, or anything else that will persuade customers to learn more.

Step 3: Engage the reader.
Provide a call to action for readers who have taken time to read your marketing message. This could vary from prospects who simply want more information to those who are ready to make a purchase. Provide a website address, phone number, directions, or other contact information that makes it easy for prospects to get in contact with you about your product or service. Consider creating a website landing page that is specific for the highlighted product or service. A landing page can not only make it easy to track interest generated from your promotional piece, but it can also make it easier for the reader to learn more without losing interest wading through an information-packed website.

Our creative team specializes in creating marketing pieces that will get noticed and remembered. Give us a call today if you need help or ideas for creating the perfect marketing piece that will increase awareness and boost sales.


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

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Printing, Marketing & Promotional Products with Powerful Execution.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Marketing Tips from Animals Pics

When it comes to marketing, we can learn a lot from photos of adorable animals. One of the most visited site on the internet is all about Buzz -- and animals at http://www.buzzfeed.com/animals. Here are a few key tips to take away the next time you catch yourself oohing and aahing over an adorable fuzzy kitten or roly-poly puppy:
  • Have you ever noticed how adorable animal photos have a knack for engaging a wide variety of people with various interests? While marketing is most effective when aimed at a targeted audience, you should strive to appeal to a variety of personalities within your audience.

  • Photos grab attention and have the power to invoke emotion. The sight of a baby animal can easily warm the heart of most people. Think about the photos or imagery you use in your next marketing campaign, and focus on the emotions your selected images will create for your audience.

  • Consider using humor whenever appropriate. Have you ever seen a hilarious photo of a cat and felt the need to show others so they can laugh with you? The same is true of humorous marketing. By sharing something funny, WE also become funny by association.

  • Just as people love to share adorable photos with others, be sure to create your marketing materials so they are easy to share. For example, create a durable mailer that includes a coupon for the recipient and one to share with a friend. Add a link to your web-based promotions to recommend friends, and consider a reward for those who pass the word. Include a "share" option to make your message easily available for friends or family who may be interested. By making your message easy to share, you can empower your audience to do the selling for you.
If you need more ideas for creating marketing materials your audience will look forward to receiving, give us a call today!


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

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Printing, Marketing & Promotional Products with Powerful Execution.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Repurpose Marketing Content

Repurposing content is often one of the most cost-effective and efficient ways to create an abundance of creative content, while at the same time extending the shelf life of your current marketing investment. A brochure mailer to prospects can become a show handout that then can be used to build up sales collateral in your presentation folder. Here are a few other tips to help you creatively repurpose marketing content:
  • Combine related blog posts on specific topics into an e-book. Add content as needed to make it flow smoothly from one post to another.

  • Convert PowerPoint presentations into videos by adding animations, background music, or a voice-over. Maximize exposure by posting your videos on YouTube and sharing links via social media, your website, email, direct mail, and other marketing tools.

  • We recently took a series of one-sided presentation sell sheets and some PowerPoint slides and turned them into wall graphics for one of our clients. What a great way to share product information with staff while creating a colorful office environment that builds the brand with visiting clients.

  • Turn publications or articles into podcasts by simply reading them aloud or having a narrative conversation about a topic of interest.

  • Create a company history timeline highlighting the stages and evolution of your business. Include news releases, company posts, social media announcements, and articles about your company. Put it on your website, on Linked-In, on Facebook and more.

  • Review unconventional content as well, such as an employee handbook that may include an introduction from the president outlining the company's vision or a well-written summary of your target audience meant to educate new employees.

  • Archive your news releases in a "news" section on your company website to increase ongoing exposure.

  • Reuse parts of press releases, case studies, white papers, and other publications. Pull key quotes, stats, facts, and highlights, then use those materials in brochures, newsletters, blog posts, website pages, and email campaigns.

  • Create a landing page or microsite using in-depth product pages or articles that you've already written.

No matter how you repurpose your content, just remember that the more content you create, the easier it is to generate interest, educate and inform prospects and customers, and increase sales.
PS: I would be very upset if my wife turned my hiking boots into a planter!


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

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Printing, Marketing & Promotional Products with Powerful Execution.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Loyalty Marketing... or We HEART You!

Customer loyalty programs are an easy and effective way to keep customers coming back to your business. Here are a few tips to help you create a loyalty program with a simple yet important goal: rewarding repeat customers.
  • Offer custom-printed punch cards or stamp cards for customers who frequent your business. A simple reward (such as "buy five car washes, get the sixth free") may be enough to keep customers from visiting your competition down the street.

  • Utilize the back side of your loyalty-marketing promotions to advertise upcoming events, highlight exclusive offers, share helpful tips, and more.

  • Celebrate! Be sure to recognize customer birthdays, holidays, and even the date your customer joined your loyalty club.

  • Provide loyalty club members with special coupons for free upgrades, such as "upgrade to a premium deluxe XYZ for the same price as our standard XYZ."

  • Reward customers who buy ahead. For example, if you own a repair shop, you might offer a year-long package of oil changes for a discounted rate. Not only will the customer be happy to save money, but you can ensure the customer will return to your business all year long.

  • Invite loyal customers to join a review panel group, and offer free products or services in exchange for their valuable feedback and input on how to improve your business.

  • Develop creative ways to show your company's reciprocal loyalty to customers. Send "thank you" campaigns, for example, with exclusive discounts or promotions.
Give us a call if we can help you create loyalty program marketing materials your customers will love!


Peter "The Printer" Lineal
Founder/CEO
Plum Grove
2160 Stonington Avenue
Hoffman Estates, IL 60169
Ph: 847.882.4020 Ext: 133
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, October 23, 2012

Why You Need to Use Pattern Interrupt in Your Marketing

From the time you wake up until the moment you close your eyes, you're bombarded with marketing messages. You may even have dreams of the ads running in your sleep!

Most of the messages you see during the day just blend together without much notice. Many are of the "me too" variety. Either the owner or the advertiser is practicing the lazy marketing technique of simply copying a competitor's ad with very little real change. Maybe the original ad had some creativity to it, but now it's lost in a sea of similarity.

For your ad to have any chance of succeeding, you must use "pattern interrupt marketing" as one component of your message.

What's pattern interrupt marketing? As the name implies, it's marketing that stops a prospect in their tracks and engages them. Your message must be able to capture a prospect's attention if it's to have any chance of being noticed.

Imagine you're driving down a street looking for a place to eat lunch. The street is packed with similar looking eateries on both your left and right. The buildings all look the same and have signs with business names on them. The business owners have all copied each other in building design, colors, and layout so much that it's very difficult to tell them apart. But one smart business owner has hired someone with a colorful costume and given them a professional-looking sign with delicious-looking food photos and a message that clearly states all the benefits of their restaurant; in addition, if you come in today, you'll receive a great discount. The guy holding the sign interrupts your attention, and the offer lures you in to try the food.

That's what pattern interrupt marketing is all about.

Now, you could try any number of gimmicks to grab a prospect's attention, but there are only a few things that will truly capture their interest and hold it long enough for you to make an impression. Here are three steps to get you started:
  1. Make a list of problems your product or service can solve.

  2. Pick just one as the focal point for your marketing message.

  3. Think about the types of language and visual cues your customers would use to best understand this message.

With those elements in place, you can better plan your marketing.

Pattern interrupt marketing can be used in every type of business and in every type of marketing communication. Whether on a billboard, through direct mail, via email marketing, or even at a trade show, pattern interrupt marketing can be very effective. The goal is not only to capture the prospect's attention by doing something different or unexpected but also to encourage them to take further steps with you once they're engaged.

Pattern interrupt marketing is only the first step in a process, but in some ways, it's the most important step. After all, if you can't capture their attention, the rest won't matter.


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

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Printing, Marketing & Promotional Products with Powerful Execution.

Monday, October 15, 2012

What is Your Customer Hiding From You?

In order to sell any kind of product or service, you first need to know the challenges your prospects face, so you can offer the best solution. On the surface, this seems like an easy problem to resolve. You send out a few surveys and questionnaires. You dig and do your research. You think you've found the answers. Yet when you build your pitch or presentation around what you think your prospect wants and needs, it falls flat.

Why? Because the prospect is hiding the truth from you.

It's not done with malicious intent. They're not even necessarily lying. They simply want to be liked and don't want to hurt your feelings by telling you things they think you wouldn't like to hear. Also some prospects don't really know what they want. Emailed and online surveys aren't the best at this type of information gathering.

That's the reason most surveys don't reveal many helpful answers. The problem isn't with the surveys themselves, but with the questions and how they're presented. Most survey questions don't get to the heart of the matter in order to pull out the answers you're looking for.

What can you do about this? Pick up the phone!

The best way to get the answers you're looking for is to call your prospects and engage them in a conversation. But before you do that (and if you don't want the phone slammed in your ear), do your homework first.

The responses will only be as good as your questions. Your questions need to be open-ended. You must be able to tap into the emotional and/or logical reasons why a prospect would (or wouldn't) buy your product or service. The more you're able to get them to open up and give you honest answers, the closer you'll get to the heart of what you're looking for. Keep good notes on the data you gather, and review it so you can make the next call even better at intelligence gathering.

Start your call with a very brief description of why you're calling, then quickly turn your attention to the prospect. Let them know you're not trying to sell them anything (so it brings down the wall and barriers they automatically put up). State that you respect and value their opinion, which is why you chose them to call. Make them feel respected and special before you dive into your questions.

Once you have your answers, take the time to carefully review all the information. Look for common themes or threads in the answers. If you don't find any, go back to your questions and reword them to get better answers. Yes, this takes real work. But the end result will be well worth your time. After you analyze the information, it will make your job of creating an irresistible offer that your prospects can't refuse much easier.


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