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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Integrating Social Media and Print: Leveraging the Best of Both Worlds to Your Advantage

It's no secret that social media is increasingly becoming one of the single most important tools to connect with your target audience. After all, sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more have hundreds of millions of unique users who are actively engaged in social activities on a daily basis. It would be a shame to let such a valuable resource go to waste.

At the same time, you certainly don't want to neglect your print campaign. It's still one of the most effective marketing weapons in your arsenal-- and always will be. So how do you ensure you're paying proper attention to both print and social media?

Integrate social media into your print campaign and leverage the benefits of both.


Grab Attention and Refuse to Let it Go

In today's crowded marketplace, the goal of any campaign is to grab the attention of prospective customers. You aren't just trying to sell a product or service -- you're trying to quickly show why your product or service is leaps and bounds ahead of the rest.

Integrating social media elements into your print campaigns is one of the best ways to accomplish that. It allows you to get your message in front of more people in the places they're most comfortable holding that conversation.

For example, consider the hashtag. People use hashtags for everything from highlighting key words and phrases in a post to finding trends, joining ongoing conversations, and adding a definitive statement at the end of a sentence. By including a hashtag at the end of your print mailer, you're giving your customers multiple options regarding how they can join the conversation and communicate with your brand. If they'd like to continue to learn more about your product or service via the hashtag, they can always do so. If not, they can continue their exposure by way of the print materials the same way they always have.

In essence, you're giving them interesting choices.


Tracking Success

Integrating social media and print is also a great, easy way to track the success of a particular campaign over a long-term basis. Consider putting a unique hashtag on the end of each print piece you mail. If messages with that hashtag are then re-tweeted 200,000 times on Twitter, you know your message is being received loud and clear and that your target audience is more than willing to continue the conversation online.

Digital and print marketing don't have to be independent of one another. Anyone who tells you it's a "one or the other" proposition is wrong. Print and digital are both great at accomplishing their own things, or even the same things in different ways. By integrating social media and print together, you're combining the benefits of both platforms into one environment and are truly creating a "best of both worlds" scenario.

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, and Tradeshow Displays with Powerful Execution.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Why Customer Service is One of Your Most Important Marketing Channels

All of the different marketing channels you have at your disposal are working toward the same goals, though in different ways. Each one helps to spread the word about your brand-- or about a specific product or service you provide. Each channel also helps create new ways to interact with your customers in a meaningful way. Most importantly, they all give you the opportunity to establish yourself as a trusted source of information in your industry and build a reputation as a place people can turn to in their time of need.

Though that description certainly applies to marketing channels like social media, direct mail, print, TV and radio commercials, etc., it also describes one very important element of your business that people tend not to think of as marketing-- customer service.


The Role of Customer Service in Marketing

When you set out to create a new marketing campaign, one of the first steps involves taking a long, hard look at what your customers need. This is most obvious in television campaigns, where you have just 30 seconds to outline a problem and show how your product or service solves that problem.

Think about the function of customer service in your business-- it's doing the exact same thing. You're helping people have meaningful, satisfying experiences with your brand, while showing them that the products you're selling are backed by trustworthy individuals with a strong sense of integrity.

In many ways, your behavior is the marketing tool in this scenario. If you can turn a bad experience with your product into a good one through sheer customer service, you're building the same type of relationship with your customer that a successful ad or direct mail campaign might. The benefit you get is the ability to control the conversation as it's being played out.

In that respect, your customer service department is almost like a fully interactive television ad. If customers have a positive experience, they'll tell people about it. If they have a negative experience, be sure they'll tell people about that, too. 


Customer Service Considerations

The point of this relationship isn't that you should start treating your customer service department as just another in a long line of marketing opportunities that can be exploited. In fact, the opposite is true. Doing so will almost certainly come off to the customer as artificial and can do far more harm to your reputation than good. Overloading your potential and existing customers with overt marketing messages can also make your brand come off as "pushy" when people are just looking for answers to important questions.

Honesty and integrity are the name of the game, especially in terms of customer service. By using your customer service capabilities to resolve issues and create meaningful interactions with customers, you're accomplishing many of the same goals you aim for with your other marketing channels. When people have a positive experience with your CSRs, they're far more likely to tell their friends and family. You're also creating loyal followers that will generate repeat sales.


Peter "The Printer" Lineal
Founder/CEO
Plum Grove
2160 Stonington Avenue
Hoffman Estates, Illinois 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.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Voice: Emphasize What Makes You Special in a Crowded Marketplace

In creating marketing materials, one of the most important aspects to focus on is your voice. Even if you're operating in a crowded marketplace and competition is stiff, your voice is one of the best opportunities to emphasize what makes you special. Embracing and projecting your sense of individuality can do wonders for your marketing return on investment.


Create An Impression

Understand that your voice isn't necessarily something you can artificially create. It's something that develops organically as your business continues to grow and evolve. Once you discover it, though, grab onto it, use it, and never let it go.

Consider Nike's recent campaign "Find Your Greatness."
Nike played up the idea that amazing things typically have small beginnings, and sometimes you only need a simple "push" to unlock your full potential. The thesis of the campaign itself is, "If you want to be a great athlete, your journey begins with a pair of Nike shoes." But, the use of Nike's voice as a reflection of the brand individuality is unmistakable: Nike is telling its audience that the shoes themselves are not necessarily great, but the combination of the shoes and the perseverance of the individual is what will accomplish great things. Nike's voice has created an emotional connection with its audience. They aren't saying, "Buy these shoes because we are the premiere footwear manufacturer on the planet, and they're the best shoes you will ever have." They're saying, "You are on the verge of greatness, and a pair of Nike shoes can push you over the edge."

Is it bold? Yes. Is it brash in its confidence? Absolutely. But regardless of whether or not you buy into the marketing line as a consumer, you can't argue with the fact that it is a startlingly simple campaign that distills what makes Nike unique into one positive message of empowerment. 




Your Unique Voice

The form your voice takes depends on the impression that you're trying to create. If you sell shoes and you want to come off like a friendly neighbor who just happens to be a clothing manufacturer, you would want your marketing language to take a much more casual and flowery approach. If you want to come across as a professional expert, you would go in the other direction and prove yourself trustworthy through more formal word choice. You'll want to experiment as you find the voice behind your company. Then, you can use it to separate yourself from the rest. 



It isn't necessarily what you sell that makes you successful-- it's how you choose to sell it. A million different companies sell widgets, but what is it that makes people want to buy YOUR widgets above anyone else's? Your voice.


Have you found your voice? Tell us about it!

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.