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Monday, March 24, 2014

The 9 (or 10) Best Business Blogs You Should Be Reading



Ever feel like you're missing out on the latest buzz from the business world?
We get it: The sheer amount of info out there can seem overwhelming, but whether you're a business owner, entrepreneur, or manager, it's essential to keep up.

Now, here's the good news: 
We're here to make it easy for you to keep your finger on the pulse of the industry. We've searched the web for some of the best, brightest, and most innovative business blogs out there. Add these top blogs to your reading list for a simple way to stay in the loop!

1. You're the Boss (http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com)

This New York Times blog is all about small business, from best practices to breaking trends. Written by entrepreneurs, business owners, and experts from a range of fields, You're the Boss provides a place for small business owners to connect, share their successes (and mistakes), and compare notes from the battlefield.

2. Seth Godin's Blog (http://sethgodin.typepad.com)

Seth Godin, a.k.a. marketing guru extraordinaire, provides a wide range of tips, ideas, advice, and general musings on a range of topics. The best thing about Godin's blog, however, is simply his quirky, creative writing style, which allows him to be motivational, inspirational, and insightful without ever slipping into cheesy territory.

3. Workshifting (http://www.workshifting.com)

Not only is Workshifting beautifully designed, but its content is hyper-focused on its readers' needs and interests. Content melds work and lifestyle topics relevant to today's on-the-move workforce, with an emphasis on the issues that affect work-from-home, flex schedule, and other employees who work outside the office environment.

4. She Takes on the World (http://www.shetakesontheworld.com)

With accolades from sources such as the Stevie Awards, Inc., and Forbes, She Takes on the World offers tips of the trade with a focus on female entrepreneurs. Along with content from founder Natalie McNeill, this blog offers content from a series of guest bloggers, expert advice from industry leaders, and articles about work-life balance. Yes, it's geared toward women in business, but hey, it's got a lot of great content for guys, too.

5. Pando Daily (http://pando.com) 

For the latest in news from the tech front, turn to Pando Daily. Founded by Sarah Lacy -- formerly of TechCrunch -- this comprehensive blog serves as a journal of record for Silicon Valley. Its focus on start-ups, the tech industry, social media, marketing, and almost everything else that impacts the business world makes for interesting reading, as do its interviews with and features by industry insiders.

6. Naked Capitalism (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com)

Naked Capitalism offers a no-holds-barred look at the current state of the economy and the financial industry, and how it affects business. Economists, investment bankers, political advisors, and journalists make up the contributor list. Expect to put on your critical thinking cap when you sit down to read this thought-provoking blog.

7. Anita Loomba (http://anitaloomba.com)

For a clear picture of the confluence of digital marketing and social media, turn to Anita Loomba's blog. Offering helpful tips, best practices, success stories, and the latest in industry news, Loomba covers the ever-changing, always increasing influence of social media and business marketing in her accessible blog.

8. How to Change the World (http://blog.guykawasaki.com)

Author, former Apple marketing guru, venture capitalist, and all-around smarty Guy Kawasaki offers hands-on advice to entrepreneurs in his How to Change the World blog. Expect to be motivated and inspired, but in a practical, realistic way.

9. Peter Shankman (http://shankman.com/blog/)

Finally, for a dose of humor to lighten the work week, give Peter Shankman's blog a read. An angel investor and entrepreneur, Shankman has a, shall we say, creative approach to the world of business, and his entertaining writing style reflects it. Plus, he's got some good advice -- so give it a try.

10. Ideas, Resources, and Reflections on Custom Printing - (Yep. http://blog.plumgroveprinters.com)

Of course, we have to include ourselves in here! Yeah, we're printers, but we know a lot about business, marketing, and what's going on in the design world too. Follow Us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook to get instant access to some of the awesome bits we discover on the web. We get a kick out of sharing the best marketing advice with you, so go ahead and subscribe to our blog in the box above to make sure you never miss a beat. We've also got some great free resources and newsletters available through our website.

Thanks for reading!

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, March 11, 2014

All Brochures are NOT Created Equal


When it comes to marketing your business, professionally printed brochures are a great way to build credibility, while also telling your story.

Do you really need a sales collateral brochure? Yes! Here's a few reasons why:




  • A brochure helps your salespeople to tell your story and the headlines are almost like headings on a PowerPoint presentation.




  • Once you leave the sales call, the person you met with frequently will confer with others and they will present your story for you. Your brochure will help them to sell others on selecting your firm.




  • Isn't it good enough to have a website? You need a solid website, yes, but it is difficult to share a website in an in-office meeting. And a brochure builds your firm image, brand and impression of quality and size.

    Here are a few tips to help you create successful, sales-building brochures:
    • Tell a story, see if your can get your brochure to create an emotional connection, as well as give the facts and figures, features and benefits. Include a note or letter from the President with an emotional connection point.

    • Focus on your audience and their needs. List benefits your customers will receive by choosing you and your products.

    • Design an appealing cover that motivates readers to look inside. Include product benefits, a thought-provoking statement, industry tips, and other items your customers will find valuable.

    • Provide clear headlines that make it easy to find information, along with high-quality imagery that supplements your messaging.

    • Consider a creatively shaped or unusually sized brochure to grab attention.

    • Include information that encourages the ready to keep your brochure. This may include how-to information, tips and tricks, sales calendars and more.

    • Consider providing a Q&A section to answer questions you think your readers may have when learning about your products or services.

    • There many learning types among your buyers. There are English majors, Math majors, Artists and Engineers -- give them all what they want: words, numbers, pictures, charts and more. (Just because you are the English Major it does not mean that your buying prospect is going to be a person who learns by reading.)

    • If your brochure is lengthy (8 pages or more), consider creating a table of contents to pique reader interest and make information easier to find.

    • Include a call to action, so readers know how to respond. An 800 number, reply card, website landing page, or email address are all good examples to try.

    If you need help creating an effective brochure, give us a call today. We have many samples and creative design ideas your customers will be sure to 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
    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.

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

    10 Ways to Turn Your Competitors' Customers into YOUR Customers




    You know you've thought about it. So here it is:

    10 creative ways to help turn your competitors' customers into your own: 

    1. Be Visual 
    Offer a comparison chart that focuses on reasons why customers should choose your product over the competition.

    For example: You may offer a standard five-year warranty, while your competitors may only offer a three-year warranty. Or perhaps they offer an extended five-year warranty option, but at an additional price. Or maybe they just charge too much for their product.

    Take a look at how we've done this with one of our products here.

    2. Upgrade Ideas 
    Stay informed of what your competitors are doing, but avoid copying their ideas. Instead, add your own value and make the idea even better.

    For example: If a competitor offers free shipping on purchases of $100+, you could provide free shipping on all purchases and possibly even returns.

    3. Keep it Catchy 
    Create a unique tagline or slogan that focuses on your key selling points, such as: "Hassle-Free Returns" or "Receive your lunch order within 30 minutes or it's free."

    4.  Stand Out
    Add value to a comparable product through added services, such as longer support hours, free training, and live phone operators (no automated phone services).

    5. Get Feedback 
    Feedback from your clients and leads could make or break your business. Create a customer survey. Ask your audience how you can improve, what new offerings they wish you provided, what they like best about your company, and what areas they may find lacking. Their answers could easily point to ideas that will help you gain a competitive advantage.

    6. Prep the Bait. Offer the Freebie. 
    Provide a risk-free trial to test your products or services before committing to a change. Content marketing is also a great way to spark the interest of potential customers.

    7. Build Trust
    Compare your guarantee to that of your competition. If your competitors don't offer a guarantee, this is an extra reason to promote your guarantee heavily. Customers need to know that they can trust you and form quality relationships with you.

    8. Get Creative 
    Compete with low-price competitors in creative ways. Offer exclusive discounts when items are purchased together as a package, or offer free or discounted add-on bonuses.

    9. Be Suave 
    Yes, that's right. Romance your competitors' customers. Show them the affection they may be missing from their current vendor, and let them know you're willing to go the extra mile to win their business.


    10. Don't Give Up
    Even if prospects are happy with their current provider, be sure to continue your marketing efforts. We're not telling you to be downright annoying... But it is key to create front-of-mind awareness so you're at the top of their list if they ever change their mind.

    I'm hoping these tips will help you generate some new business. Or maybe you're worried you'll lose some business to your competition if you don't put some of these things into practice.... Either way, if you have questions for me about how to work these top ten things into your marketing plan, just let me know.

    Happy Friday Eve!

    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.