Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Appreciation Marketing

Everyone likes to feel appreciated. That's especially true when it comes to your customers. Appreciation marketing can help you develop lasting relationships and make customers think of you the next time they're ready to purchase. Here are a few ways to show customers your appreciation:
  • Send a hand-written thank you card every time someone does business with you.

  • Reward repeat customers with special deals, exclusive discounts, and coupons. Many times we can do a mailing to prospects and customers, and offer a Preferred Customer offer to only some people as part of our mailing process.

  • Send holiday, birthday, or anniversary cards. These simple, pressure-free greetings will help increase top-of-mind awareness throughout the year.

  • Offer useful information and helpful tips to educate customers and promote your expertise via blogs, newsletters, social media, and the like.

  • Invite customers to an exclusive appreciation event designed for existing customers.

  • Collaborate with non-competitive local businesses to create a coupon book or discount program across a range of industries.

  • Create a customer loyalty program, such as a loyalty punch card, upgrade offers, or cash rewards after reaching a specific purchase level.

  • Respond quickly to customer questions or requests, and follow-up to be sure all questions were thoroughly answered.

  • Ask for customer feedback in the form of surveys and response cards.

  • Send out a voucher or postcard for a free gift, redeemable at your business.

  • Send discounts and coupons "just because" to thank customers for their business.

  • Include statement stuffer coupons with bills not only as a thank you but also to encourage customers to make additional future purchases.
If you're interested in any of the above print marketing ideas or need help brainstorming the perfect promo to show customers your appreciation, our creative team is eager to help. Give us a call today!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Your Honor, I Object!

When you're in any kind of selling situation, getting objections from your prospect is actually a very positive sign. Many will see the objection as a "no" when that really isn't the case at all.

When your prospect objects, what they're really saying is that some issue is causing them to pause and hesitate. The mere fact that they're giving voice to their objection offers a great opportunity to address those areas of concern. If they were truly not interested, you would receive little or no response at all to your proposal.

Objections are like an open door -- an invitation for you to convince the prospect that your solution is the best fit for their need.

One of the most popular objections is the price objection, especially in today's economic cycle. Most people are willing to spend more, but they must be given valid reasons why your price is higher. You must be able to show them the benefits and advantages of agreeing to your proposal.

In this economic environment, you'll have to work a little harder to overcome the price objections. You'll need to prepare your compelling reasons and unique selling proposition ahead of time. Remember that even a price objection is merely an invitation to prove your worth.

Always remember not to take objections personally. The prospect isn't rejecting you. Just like an attorney in court, they're merely raising their hand to voice concern about something in your presentation. Answer the objection, and you'll win the case.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Plum Grove Printers Achieves 22% Sales Growth in 2012

Amid the lingering effects of the recession and a difficult business environment for the printing industry, Plum Grove Printers has achieved a dramatic upswing in sales during the first six months of 2012. Compared to the same period last year, the printing and business services firm realized a 22-percent improvement in sales.

Plum Grove has rebounded due to the diversity of its services and the acquisition of key new clients. The printer has spent the last decade diversifying its services beyond its core ink-on-paper business—offering marketing consultation, custom print-ordering websites for franchise organizations and other large firms, and even QR Code SmartPhone websites for mobile devices. The firm has also expanded sales of promotional products, such as imprinted shirts, hats and mugs.

Direct mail marketing, one of Plum Grove’s key services, has also been making a comeback. The printers offers a comprehensive direct mail marketing program with targeted consumer lists, a professional design studio, printing and sophisticated mailing services.

Peter Lineal, who founded the company in the northwest suburbs of Illinois in 1980, acknowledged that direct mail is “old school,” but nevertheless effective.

“While businesses must use digital marketing, our clients have found that traditional print, collateral, and direct mail are coming back because they’re working. Real estate marketing has rebounded, using direct mail as a way to reach potential clients in their homes,” Lineal reported.

He also cited technology changes as lowering the cost of direct mail, such as the U.S. Post Office's Every Door Direct Mail program offering discount postage to mail every house within a zip code, and Information Age prospect-targeting techniques.

About Plum Grove

Plum Grove Printers has a staff of over 20 employees, and is a full-service business printer providing art and design services, printing services, copying, bindery and mailing services. The firm has an award-winning design department; five presses from a two-color letterhead press to a five-color large-format press and several digital presses; a complete bindery; and an addressing and mailing department. The firm is a State of Illinois environmental award winner for its green-friendly practices and a 2010 recipient of the Business Ledger Annual Award of Business Excellence. Founded in 1980, the firm has been active in the community through their charitable grants program and involvement in chambers of commerce and other organizations.

Bounce 'Em Back to Your Site

After all your work hard and marketing efforts enticing prospects to visit your website, it can be frustrating to see high bounce rates. Bounce rate is an Internet marketing term that represents the percentage of visitors who enter your website and bounce -- or leave the site quickly -- rather than continuing to view other pages within your site or complete a desired action.

Sometimes there are good reasons for them to bounce. They want some company in the neighborhood and you're across town or across the country. Or they want one cat calendar for Aunt Millie and you sell 100 at a time -- we get that with our promotional calendar website. It's your company name and that little bit of info about your company that shows when you do a search that puts people on the scent for a cat calendar and brings them in -- and they go BOUNCE!

But there are bad reasons for bounces too -- Here are a few common website mistakes that are often responsible for driving away potential customers:
  • The basics. An unattractive design, spelling errors, broken links, images that take forever to load, and other annoyances will quickly cause visitors to lose trust and confidence in your business.

  • Poor navigation. If visitors can't tell where they are, where to click next, or how to get back to your homepage, they will likely just exit.

  • Complicated, lengthy web pages. Instead, provide information that is brief and organized with headlines and sub-headings, bulleted lists, and short paragraphs.

  • Too many distractions. Popup ads, flashing information, and similar devices can easily frustrate or lead visitors away from your site.

  • Dated content. How will visitors know if anything is the latest and greatest information if you don't take the time to update key areas on your website?

  • Music or sound effects. These are not only annoying, but also embarrassing for visitors viewing your site from a public place. Users will likely close out of your site as quickly as possible.

  • No contact information. While a "contact us" form is helpful, your website should also include your telephone number and physical address. The more contact information you include, the more visitors will be reassured you are legit.

  • Asking too many questions. Requiring too much information from visitors may scare some away. Make it easy for visitors to request additional information by simply asking for their name and basic contact information. Also provide quick turnaround in response to show you respect their time.
Our creative team would love to help you develop outstanding marketing materials to supplement your website. Give us a call today!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Marketing with Posters

Poster marketing has been a popular way to spread the word for more than 200 years, dating back to posters for everything from World's Fairs, recruitment, and war propaganda to bicycles and bullfights. Today, posters continue as a flexible marketing tool for publicizing upcoming events, promoting ideas, and advertising new products and services. Here are a few benefits of poster marketing:
  • Versatility. Posters can be printed on a variety of surfaces, protected with UV coating or laminating, and mounted or framed. As a result, they can be used either indoors or outdoors in any number of ways.

  • Simplicity. Because posters are created for viewers on the move, some of the best posters don't say much. Effective posters capture the viewer's attention immediately -- often with large, eye-catching graphics, a catchy headline, and a web address that is easy to remember. You can then provide more detailed information on your website and entice readers to join your mailing list for additional updates.

  • Any size you need. When creating posters, think about where you plan to display them. While the most popular posters are 24"x36," this large size would be overpowering on corkboard displays (which would be much better suited to an 11"x17" poster).

  • Fresh factor. Because posters offer a high-quality, low-cost marketing solution with fast turnaround, replacing posters frequently with new content is a great way to prevent your advertising efforts from going stale.
Give us a call if you need help creating posters that will make an exciting addition to your marketing materials. Our creative experts specialize in bringing great ideas to life!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Stand Out and Get Noticed With Folded Business Cards

Everyone knows that business cards are an essential marketing tool for exchanging contact information, so why not double your marketing effort with a folded business card?

Folded business cards not only provide your standard contact information, but can also provide your audience with something useful to them, such as an events schedule, appointment card, coupon, map, menu, frequent customer discount, punch card, or response card.

The extra space can also be used as a mini-billboard, provide a list of your products or services, highlight helpful tips or industry resources, and much more.

Creative options are endless, including designs, paper and ink choices, diecut shapes, finishing touches, and even the placement of the fold. Folds can made along the top edge, short side, or even offset, where part of the card is shorter, revealing information on the panel below.

Check out your options for folded business cards next time you want to make a lasting impression and ensure your prospects and customers keep your business card on hand.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Things to Avoid Saying to a Customer

A big part of customer service excellence is saying the right thing to customers. Here are a few phrases to avoid, since they may cause you to lose a sale...and possibly even a customer:
  • "That's our policy." This is a frustrating response that's aimed at shutting down conversation and shows no interest in customer satisfaction. It can be just as maddening as hearing someone say "tough luck."
  • "No." Nearly everything is possible for a price. Respond to unusual requests by telling customers you will check into it. Then get back to them with a cost.
  • "Check our website." Instead of making customers hunt around, offer them a direct link to the page or file they are looking for.
  • "We're closed." Customers may not be aware of store hours or what time it is. So rather than turning away a sale, try saying, "We close at __ o'clock and reopen at __ o'clock. Is there something I can quickly help you with now?"
  • "I don't know." If you don't know an answer, tell the customer you will find out for them.
  • "That's not my department." Instead of pushing customers away with a vague answer, try saying, "I'll find someone who knows more about that department."
  • "No problem." By saying "no problem," you are implying that customers are causing a problem. Remember, customers are not an interruption of our work; they are the purpose of our work.
  • "It's out of stock." If you can't tell a customer when an item will be restocked, they will likely buy it elsewhere. Try saying, "That item is currently out of stock and will be back in on _____. Can I get your name and number to call you when it comes in?"
Customer issues arise occasionally at all businesses. However, it is the way your staff handles those issues that determines if customers will return to your business or take their money elsewhere.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Business Card Etiquette Tips

Business cards are an inexpensive, yet valuable way to introduce yourself and your business. Here are a few etiquette tips to keep in mind the next time you exchange business cards:
  • Be prepared by having business cards on you at all times, including weekends.

  • Never distribute tattered business cards that show wear from being stuffed in your wallet. Instead, use a hard business card case to keep your cards clean and crisp.

  • Offer your card during informal conversations if the person you're talking to expresses interest in your products or services.

  • Distribute only one card to each new contact (unless more are requested), rather than expecting them to distribute your cards for you.

  • Exchange cards at the beginning of meetings to have the names and titles/rank of everyone involved readily available.

  • Show respect when receiving a business card by briefly looking it over (front and back) and placing it in a portfolio, notebook, or card case. Never fold or crumple the card, and don't stuff it in your pocket or bag within eyesight of the card giver. Reading over or commenting on the card right away may also help you build a better association between the new contact's name and face for future reference.

  • Be aware that foreign countries have different business card customs. If doing business in a country that speaks another language, consider translating one side of your card into their language.
Let us know if we can help you print customized business cards that will make a lasting impression with every exchange.