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How to Build a Corporate Image – Building a Company Brand Image 101

Good Impressions, Got One?

bigstock_Working_Meeting_2660700There are five things that drive sales. They are price, quality, service, perception and promotion, not necessarily in that order.

In the 1970s Wal-Mart came on the scene with astounding success. The retail industry tried to follow Wal-Mart’s lead and compete with them on price. Price was only part of the Wal-Mart formula for success. The other parts of the Wal-Mart formula were building it bigger, providing good service and value to the customer. They built the perception of the lowest price through good marketing. Fact is, you can go through a Wal-Mart store and find hundreds of items that you can buy else where for less. This strategy worked so well that today Wal-Mart is the largest retailer in the world. Their size now enables them to take advantage of economies of scale in purchasing and in supply line that makes them juggernaut in the retail. Remember they did not start off dominant. What they did have was a founder with a dream to build it and who had an understanding of how to use price and service to attract customers. He molded the perception of his company with sound marketing.

This is not an article on pricing. So on price I am only going to say that it has to be fair and in line with the quality of the product and the level of service being delivered. If you talk to most consumers you will find price is important, but quality and service are more important (they don’t want to be gouged). They don’t mind paying a little more for good quality and good service. There are plenty of examples of businesses that sell their products for higher prices, sometimes a lot higher price than their competitors. Starbucks and Nordstrom are two examples of this. Starbucks is selling $4.00 cups of coffee by packaging and selling a “coffee experience”. Nordstrom is selling quality and superb service.

You can see that creating the perception of quality and service and effectively communicating it, allowed these companies to compete and succeed much more so than selling price.

The definition of perception is: an idea, conception, notion, thought, belief, judgment, or estimation. What ideas, notions, thoughts or beliefs do your customers have about your business? Do you have a program to help guide and mold these ideas, notions, thoughts and beliefs of your customers? Or, do you just kind of let the chips fall where they may? Good or bad we are living in a marketing and P.R. world. You are competing and may be losing business to competitors who have a better perception than you do.

There is an old adage, which goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” This is very true with the printed materials you use in your business. What kind of impression does that invoice make? Does the flyer you passed out last week look professional, build trust and confidence or did it look kind of amateurish? Do you have a professional looking brochure that tells your story and builds the perception you want? Do you have professional looking thank you or birthday cards to send out to your customers? All of these things, when done professionally, help build sales.

I don’t mean to overwhelm you but a lot goes into creating and building a company brand image and communicating it. You don’t have to do it all at once. Just take one thing and improve that, then move to the next thing and so on until you have the basics covered. One of the easiest and cheapest things you can do is with the cleanliness of your office or store. A clean, organized office and storefront goes a long way to building customer confidence and creating a perception of professionalism.

The public is leery of getting slip-shod service. They have been burned by poor service and poor quality and will stay away from a business they feel is not up to par. Like it or not, the company brand image and perception your customers have of your business will make or break you.

Existing customers are good to have, but all businesses have a certain attrition level. Customers leave for various reasons; they move, they go to a competitor, they sell out or they just die off. If you are going to stay ahead of your natural attrition you have to have an on-going marketing program to reach and attract new customers. It does cost money. You do have to do it regularly and consistently. If you don’t the alternative, for most people, is not an option. One of the best ways to attract new business is with postcards. Postcards are inexpensive to produce. They allow you to target exactly whom you want. And, compared to other forms of advertising, are relatively inexpensive to get in the hands of your customers. A professionally designed and printed postcard can go a long way in communicating and building a company brand image. There are some basic laws of postcard marketing that we use to boost response rates.

Flyers are also a tried and true way to increase sales. A flyer that is created in Microsoft Word and copied on a copy machine is better than nothing. But what perception does it give of your business? A few dollars spent on a professional design and reproduction can increase your response and build on your image. You want to create a perception of professionalism.

When customers call or come in the next thing that is useful is a brochure. The best use of a brochure is to give further information and help the customer come to a decision. A professionally designed brochure guides the customers through the buying process. We can help you to create a brochure that will help you sell more and build on your image. Brochures are great as handouts at trade shows and other events.

Your internal paper work is also important. Work orders, invoices, letterhead and envelopes should all support the image of a professional operation. Invoices are the last thing your customer sees and also goes home with the customer. These things are inexpensive and play an important role in molding perceptions of your business.

In short, anything that a customer sees or touches either builds and supports an image of professionalism and trust or tears it down.

Think about it for a minute, who would you be more likely to buy from, the business that projected a professional image or the unprofessional image? Aesthetics and the “look” of your materials matters. If the design and look of the piece are poor, prospects may never read your content. And, what’s worse, decide they could get better quality and service from a competitor.

You may have noticed that Wilson Printing is not like your average commercial printer. I realized a long time ago that people could buy paper and ink anywhere. What separates us from 99% of the other printers you find is that we offer more than paper and ink. Our staff are trained and experienced in marketing and design as well as in printing. Our purpose is to help you improve your business with our experience and expertise by creating professional materials that make you look good. We can help you create materials that look professional and are yet easy on the budget. The money you invest in improving the image and perception through professional marketing material will pay for itself tenfold.

Mark Hale
CEO

Breaking Past The Budget Barrier – Marketing Budget 101

bigstock_The_word_budget_falling_into_a_22255019A topic that is of great interest to most businesses is how to get more people to buy their products or services. Three factors affect your ability to get more business – people, product and promotion.

Of the three, promotion has the ability to affect a business positively or negatively the fastest. Products and services in most industries today are very similar so there is little that is totally different from the competition. People are always key to a successful operation. If you have competent people working with you, you have a definite competitive advantage. If you have a good product and good people then it comes down to promotion. The business with the better promotion wins. But marketing and promotion is expensive, so how or where can you find the money to promote like you know you need to?

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Maintaining a marketing budget can be tough. If you are not promoting yourself regularly – you are essentially “trying to sell a secret” and you are losing business. Having said that, when it comes to promotion, having the money to do so is obviously important.

Many businesses do not have a marketing budget per se or worse have no marketing plan. At least when you have a plan there is a tendency to find the money to support the plan.

The definition of the word budget is the amount of money needed or available for a purpose. Your purpose is to get more customers. How much will it take to get the customers you need to take your business to the next level? I have found by experience, to generate sales, it takes more money and effort than you think.

How to Create a Marketing Budget For Sure Fire Growth

There are basically three ways to create a marketing budget:

1. The static method. You simply decide an amount you will spend on advertising. This is a static method because it does not allow for flexibility to create growth beyond a certain point. If you mis-guess the amount needed and due to competitive or economic forces it takes more to move the needle, your sales will stagnate or worse. With this method the number chosen is usually arbitrarily picked out of the air or set by some bean counter type who is simply crunching numbers to make the bottom line look good. Marketing is an easy target to cut when business slows down, and when you cut marketing and promotion you are making a decision that you can sell a secret. The secret you are selling is your business. Businesses who use this method of budgeting usually are the first ones who cut marketing and promotion when things get slow. Henry Ford once said, “Cutting back on marketing to save money is like stopping the clock to save time.”

2. Budgeting by percentage of sales. You set a percentage of your gross sales to spend on marketing and promotion. What percentage should you use? You will have to work that out. You may have to try different percentages until you find the number that allows you to create the growth you want in your industry. I can tell you that in today’s economy the percentage for most business models is north of 10% of your gross sales.

3. The spray and pray method. This method is akin to playing chicken with a Brahma Bull. You may get lucky and dodge the horns a few times but the bull will eventually win. The business that operates this way usually has no plan, no marketing budget and is rolling the dice with their advertising and promotion. They usually become the victim of some slick magazine or bathroom ad sales person. Eventually they run out of mediums to advertise in because they have tried them all and they did not work for them. What did not work was not the advertising but the guy’s message. He either spent a lot of money promoting the wrong message or was gun-shy and did not spend enough money promoting the right message.

Which of the above methods of budgeting your advertising is the best? You will have to decide that for yourself based on your business. I can tell you, of the three methods, number two gives you the best chance of winning because it is a model that allows for growth. As your sales increase so does the amount you spend on promotion, so your business gets larger and you have more money to reach more people. For mature industries with little or no competition, method one will work OK. Method three above will eventually drive you into apathy on advertising and promotion.

At Wilson Printing our company purpose is to help entrepreneurs and managers of businesses and industry to greatly improve their business and financial conditions by providing turn-key marketing, promotion and business tools that help you to build the successful businesses of your dreams.

If you need any help along these lines please give us a call.

Mark Hale
CEO

Color Talks, Are You Listening?

bigstock-woman-telling-secrets-pop-art-25371263Do you want to make a bold statement? How can you add punch to your printed materials? One of the simplest things you can do to add impact to any graphic design is to use color. Marketing materials printed using color get noticed and are more effective.

Depending on the type of message or meaning you wish to convey, the color combinations you choose can support, emphasize or contradict your message. Color gets attention and stimulates the senses, symbolizes abstract concepts and thoughts, expresses fantasy or wish fulfillment and produces an aesthetic or emotional response.

With the advent of full color printing, both digital printing and also offset printing, color is very affordable. Sometimes simply adding one color to a business card or service estimate will increase the impact and effectiveness of the piece. You never get a 2nd chance to make a first impression. Humans make a subconscious judgment about a person, environment or item within 60 seconds of initial viewing. Because color delivers an instant impression that is generally understood universally, color is very important in conveying a mood or idea where verbiage is not used or understood.

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The power of color combinations can also be seen on many levels of marketing communication, including corporate identification and logos, signage, television ads, billboards, print media and packaging, online web sites and on point-of-purchase displays. Here is a small sampling of dominant colors and the responses they elicit:

  • Red – Exciting, energizing, sexy, hot, dynamic, stimulating, provocative, aggressive, powerful
  • Bright Pink – Happy, attention-getting, youthful, spirited, fun, wild
  • Light Pink – Romantic, soft, sweet, tender, cute, babies
  • Orange – Fun, childlike, harvest, juicy, friendly, loud
  • Beige – Classic, sandy, earthy, natural, soft
  • Brown – Wholesome, warm, woodsy, rustic, durable, masculine
  • Purple – Royalty, powerful, expensive
  • Light Blue – Calm, quiet, peaceful, cool, water, clean
  • Bright Blue – Electric, vibrant, stirring, dramatic
  • Bright Yellow – Enlightening, sunshine, cheerful, friendly, energy, happy
  • Black – Powerful, elegant, mysterious, bold, classic, magical, nighttime
  • Silver – Classic, cool, money, valuable, futuristic
  • Gold – Warm, opulent, expensive, radiant, valuable, prestigious

Wilson Printing can help you add color to brochures, postcards, and product manuals; just about anything you need printed.

Mark Hale CEO

Debunking the Myths About Direct Mail Marketing

bigstock-Mythd-1199245There are many myths about direct mail; I can’t afford direct mail, postage is too high, I should get a 2% return or the mailing is a flop or it’s difficult to measure results to determine a return on my investment. Or, my personal favorite, “what if they all call, I won’t be able to handle the traffic!”

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Myth #1: I can’t afford direct mail marketing. Determining your budget is the first step. There are a couple of ways to do that. I would refer you to an earlier article on how to calculate your advertising budget. Once you have determined what you are able to spend for your direct mail budget, next figure out the number of leads you can create for the campaign to be a success. The final step is to set up a tracking system and to groove in everyone who answers the phone or waits on a customer in your company about your direct mail program.

Myth #2: “We aren’t a big company. How could we send out 3,000 postcards all at once?” “What if they all call, we could not handle the traffic and customers would get mad at us! ” This seems like a valid concern, but in reality, it isn’t.

The unfortunate truth is they won’t all call. Some will go to your web site for more information, others will walk in. Realistically speaking, there is no sure way to tell how many people will call if you haven’t done this type of marketing before. Think of it this way: What would happen if they did all call? You may not be able to handle all of them, but you would handle as many as you possibly could, right? And your sales numbers (as a result) would be up, right?

The basic purpose of marketing and promotion is to drive in more business than your business can possibly handle. So much business that people are lined up around the block and down the street. What happens when business is booming? You figure out how to deliver to the influx of customers. You cope for a while then you hire more help and organize your delivery to better be able to handle the influx of public. You take a percentage of the extra money you are making as a result of the increased sales and you buy more advertising to drive in more customers and the cycle starts over. Somewhere along the line you wake up the CEO of a fortune 500 company reminiscing about the good old days when you built this business by rolling up your sleeves and taking care of the customer! You look at every large successful company in history and none of the founders ever stopped marketing and promotion because they were afraid they could not handle the business. Their attitude was we will make it go right, more customers wanting to buy than we can handle is a good thing. As you probably know from your experience, too few customers buying is the real problem.

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Let’s say you held back and didn’t send as much direct mail as you could in the beginning? Say you could afford to send 6,000 direct mail pieces every two weeks, but you think you will get too many calls to handle them all. So instead, you send 3,000 and the response is decent. However, you still have some down time and have to “create” sales from somewhere.

You saved $500 in marketing money but had enough down time where you could have closed quite a few more sales than you did. The question now is, “Which gives me more money in my pocket – saving $500 on marketing or closing more sales?” More than likely the answer is to send more direct mail and close more sales.

A Good Tracking Program Will Help You Sleep at Night

If you do not install some sort of tracking system for your marketing, you will become disillusioned and be easily pulled off course, not to mention be worried that you are wasting advertising money.

Hopefully you have more than one way to market for new customers. So how do you know which marketing campaigns are working and which aren’t? Set up a system to track the results.

The answer: ask them, “How did you hear about our company?” The hard part is making sure all employees who answer the phone remember to ask the question every time. The fewer prospects who are asked and answer this question, the less accurate your information will be when making future marketing decisions. Your front line people need to know what you are doing.

For example, say you start a direct mail campaign. The first week you send out 3,000 postcards and get 30 calls. Did all of these leads come from the postcards? Probably not – because the week before you got 8 calls and hadn’t sent any postcards yet.

Most people use the Internet to check out companies and products before they buy. Do you have a Google Analytics account set up? If so you can see how many people did direct searches for you business. A direct search is where prospects typed your name or web address in directly. When doing a post card campaign you will usually see direct searches number jump. And if you are tracking and you hear a lot of people say they are coming from the internet you might think you should spend more on the internet until you look at your direct searches and see that 45% of your web traffic came from people who typed your business name directly in. So tell me how did these people come up with your business name, out of the blue? They didn’t. They were exposed to one of your advertising pieces and decided to check you out on the internet.

Now, let’s assume that you have been direct mailing for a while and you have a good number of calls coming in. If you ask the question, “So how did you hear about our company?” they may respond, “I got your postcard in the mail.” But, by now you have sent direct mail to four different lists, three times each. How do you tell which list and mailing this customer was from?

The answer: Put a marketing code on your direct mail that tells you which postcard they received and when it mailed.

Give each list a name and work the date into your marketing code as well. And the only thing your employees have to ask is, “Would you mind reading me the marketing code above your address?” This code gives you all the info you need and helps keep your direct mail results tracking as accurate as possible.

Try not to operate off of assumptions about “how to market” if you haven’t educated yourself about direct mail. And make sure you collect all the data and make your future marketing decisions based on facts.

Direct mail is not complicated. It is the only advertising medium that 99.999% of all people receive. There is less competition in the mailbox for the customers attention. There are only three things that cause a direct mail program to fail, so it is easily fixed. Direct mail allows you to target EXACTLY who you want to reach without waste. And direct mail is easily tracked.

Mark Hale
CEO

 

 

Discover 30 Powerful Words That are Proven to Increase Sales Now

bigstock-Key-Words-Gold-Keywords-Keyhol-5369503In the last 30 years the purpose of advertising has shifted from selling products to winning awards for the advertising agency. A quick test of this is the Super Bowl advertising, which is often cute, clever and aesthetically magnificent but usually the point of the ad is buried in the cuteness of it.

If it sells, it is creative. After all the point is to generate a return on your advertising investment, right? This, in essence, is the first rule of direct mail design according to legendary designer and author, David Ogilvy. But what sells?

The following are 30 powerful words you can use to increase response and sales:

Use words that grab the reader’s attention. Here is a recent list of “Words that Grab Attention,” produced by Starch INRA Hooper Research Worldwide:

  •  Announcing
  •  Discover
  •  Easy
  •  Exclusive
  •  Free
  •  Guarantee
  •  Health
  •  Help
  •  Immediately
  •  Introducing
  •  Know
  •  Learn
  •  Love
  •  Money
  •  New
  •  Now
  •  Powerful
  •  Profits
  •  Protect
  •  Proven
  •  Results
  •  Safe
  •  Save
  •  Secret(s)
  •  Today
  •  Trust
  •  Understand

The other rules to creating effective results driven advertising are:

  1. Keep it simple. When the prospect receives your post card or brochure in the mail you have about 2-5 seconds before they make a decision to keep or trash it. The message and design has to grab attention and communicate a benefit.
  2. Benefits sell. Make sure that whatever your offer is, it contains benefits to the end user. People buy benefits.
  3. Layout and eye trail. Eye trail simply means where your eye goes when you look at the piece. The design must guide the eye to key points of the message. Post cards that have too much information on them tend to be confusing. Another element that ads to “eye confusion” is too many photos or a photo not matching the message. If you have looked at a post card and felt confused and had the urge to throw it in the trash, it was most likely because the design of the card did not guide your eye but scampered you all over it.
  4. Call to action. You have to tell them why they should respond, how to respond and a benefit of responding “now” as opposed to six months from now.

The above is a short list of key elements necessary to creating an effective ad. I would refer you to a previous article on the 10 points of a successful ad.

Our purpose is to help make direct mail marketing simple for you. We offer turnkey service from design to print and mailing depending on what you would like.

If there is anything you have questions about please give us a call at 727-536-4173.

Mark Hale
CEO

Four Reasons Why Direct Mail is Still Your Best Bet For Reaching Customers

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Facts About Direct Mail You Should Know:

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  • Direct Mail is more popular with the “younger generation” than you think… Research from ICOM’s 2010 study of North American consumers’ marketing communication channel preferences showed that the always coveted and desirable 18-34 year-old demographic prefers to learn about marketing offers via direct mail than social media platforms. Seems social media to them is just that, a place to socialize not read about products and services.
  •  How can you hit a moving target? Are your prospects and customers on Facebook? Twitter? YouTube? All or none of the above? Are they watching TV? When are they listening to radio? Are they surfing channels? The point is, while electronic media is here to stay, the one place you can ALWAYS find your prospects and customers is in their homes. People like getting mail. There are ways to increase open rates and ways to design postcards so that they get noticed. The fact is, usually only you will be in the mailbox with little or none of your competition. Have you noticed the endless commercial breaks on TV & Radio with back-to-back commercials? The Internet is worse. It has turned into a flashing array of advertising not to mention exposure to viruses and other malware. It is more difficult than ever to get the attention of customers and prospects.
  • With direct mail you can zero in on whom it is you want to zero in on… say that 3 times fast. The point is you can target specifically by a demographic, psychographic and geographic profile so that your message can go to who is likely to buy your product, service or wares. In this over-advertising society targeting is more important than ever.
  • Direct mail allows the recipient to get all touchy and feely, if they want to of course… all kidding aside, nothing will EVER replace the feeling of being able to hold something in your hands and refer back to it time and again without having to enter a user name and password each time. Designed properly, your direct mail piece jumps out and grabs attention. According to recent survey if given a choice, people would rather read the printed word than something on a computer monitor.

There are several forms of direct mail advertising. Postcards are affordable and can be printed in full colors and on a variety of papers. Self-mailing brochures printed in full colors are a great way to make your message pop. Brochures also give you more room to display your products. If you design a self mailer you can also save envelope costs. Sales letters are very effective for both business to business and consumer mailings. Of course there are other designs of mailers, check mailers and shipping envelope mailers. All are effective and do have special applications.

To sum up all the above, direct mail is here to stay. More and more businesses are moving back to direct mail as a way to increase sales.

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©2005-2015 Mark Hale, All Rights Reserved

Go Green – How Going Paperless is Better For Mother Earth, NOT!

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Going green is the buzz today. Seems many want to go paperless and move everything electronically. Sounds good at first blush, but when you look at the true environmental impact, going paperless is far greater than printing it on paper.

No doubt that the paperless trend is less expensive than printing materials on paper, but electronic/paperless is usually less effective than solid printed materials and is more harmful to the environment.

Paper comes from trees, which are a renewable resource that, properly managed, provide both economic and ecosystem benefits. According to the latest data in The State of America’s Forests, a 2007 report by the Society of American Foresters, forested land in the US increased 49 percent from 1953 to 2006.

Using paper motivates private landowners, who provide most of the pulp for papermaking, to actually plant more trees. Private landowners plant about four million trees every day, which is three to four times more than they harvest. This gives them the income they need to maintain, renew and manage this valuable forest resource sustainably. Without that income, landowners face economic pressures to convert forestland to other uses, including growing more profitable crops or selling the land for development. (Source: International Paper-Go Paper, Grow Trees website.)

Computers and other electronic devices require the mining and refining of dozens of minerals and metals as well as plastics that are refined from petroleum, hydrocarbon solvents and other non-renewable resources. Several key metals are classified as “conflict metals”, and their use from the Congo region requires reporting to the US government. Your computer monitor contains a high level of toxic materials that are hazardous to the environment.

According to the American Forest and Paper Association, paper in North America is made with about 60 percent renewable energy. According to the US Energy Information Administration, approximately 89 percent of the electricity used in the US comes from non-renewable fossil fuels.

Printed products have a one-time carbon footprint. Electronic devices, data centers and servers require a continuous supply of electricity. According to Greenpeace, if the global cloud was a country, its aggregate electricity demand would make it among the top five in the world. Many of these centers are located in areas powered by coal and other dirty sources of electricity. Some coal is obtained by mountain top removal mining, which decimates ecosystems.

Paper is one of the most recyclable materials ever conceived by man. According to the American Forest and Paper Association, 63.5 percent of all paper used in North America was recovered for recycling, which makes it one of the most recyclable materials. Paper is also biodegradable, thus when disposed of is less harmful to the environment.

According to EPA, in 2008 only 13.6 percent of all electronic waste was recycled, and the remaining 50 to 80 percent of the waste was shipped overseas to be dismantled. The dismantling process is unsafe for workers and surrounding communities, and usually involves burning the waste to recover the metals. (Source: Electronics Take Back Coalition). Plastic is not biodegradable and exists long after disposal.

If you are serious about going green you should print it, the environmental impact is far less than the “paperless” options, and promotional materials printed on paper more effectively reach and impact your prospects and customers.

When you put something tangible in the hands of your prospects you make more of an impression than something emailed. You are reading this now, but the fact is only a small percentage of people actually read their email, that is if you get through spam filters. When I mail you a post card and the card is designed well, you see it and you get the gist of what I am offering. You either respond for more information or you don’t. The point is you saw the advertisement. I also don’t have competition in the mailbox competing for the prospect’s attention and neither do you.

Then why am I sending emails? Well, it is part of a media mix. Emails used properly can be used to build and support your company’s brand. Email and Internet marketing should be part of your marketing program but not your sole form of promotion.

Mark Hale
CEO

How Many Times a Day Are You Getting Fired?

I recently read a quote from Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart. “There is only one Boss. The customer. And he can fire anyone in the company from the Chairman down simply by spending his money elsewhere.”

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If you will please excuse me for a moment, I am going to get on my soapbox about something that might not seem to be a problem to you. But this problem could be costing you and your company business and you probably are not even aware of it.

During the course of a week doing business our Marketing Department makes hundreds of phone calls to customers and prospective customers. One thing struck me the other day – how impersonal business is today. A full 80% to 90% of businesses now use some sort of auto-attendants or voicemail to handle incoming phone calls. You may say, “Well OK Mark, ain’t technology great! So what’s your point?”

Well my company’s purpose is to drive business and sales to our customers businesses through direct mail marketing programs and customer referral programs. We are very good at what we do and many of our customers have these auto attendants and voicemail systems. So here is my point.

The success or failure of your business whether you realize it or not, lies simply in communication. The more open the lines of communication are, coming in and going out of your business, the more successful your business will be. Anything that slows, stops or diverts communication to or in your business is an enemy of your business. Auto attendants and voicemail systems by design slow, stop or divert communication coming into your business.

The economy has been rough the last few years. Businesses spend tens of thousands of dollars advertising to get new customers. Yet they build a layer or an obstacle, depending on how you look at it, between themselves and their customers and prospects who are reaching out for their service.

Consider this, the first thing customers and prospects get when they call these businesses is a machine not a person. Granted the “machine” always has a sweet sounding voice asking you to please press 1 for English, press 2 for service and so on. You press 2 then you get. “Sorry we are helping other customers now, but your call is important to us, please leave a message and someone will call you back.” By this time, usually three to five minutes later, your customer is thinking maybe I can “talk” to a human being if I call Brand X. The other day I called a customer and reached a voice message stating to please leave a message and she would call back “at her convenience”. You have to be kidding me! This woman’s message is sending customers in droves to their competitor.

Bean counter and accountant types love the cost cutting benefits of auto attendants and voicemail sounds. They say after all, you don’t have to pay overtime, benefits or payroll taxes on an auto attendant or voice mail system. The fact is, you will never cut costs enough to make up for the business you lost by bad service. I am sure you personally have tried to call a business in the past and got stuck in a voicemail system. Did you get a trapped feeling? Did you feel you were wasting your time calling that company?

The basic purpose of every business in existence is to help people. And every business in existence is really selling help. People have problems and need solutions to the problems. Your product or service provides that “help” they need. Your customers usually are very busy and in a hurry and want help now. They do not want to wait. And they shouldn’t have to wait, if only because one of your competitors will not make them wait.

I know I am really on my soapbox on this one, but your customers are living, breathing human beings. Nothing can communicate to and help a human being like another human being. If your company is using one of these systems as the first contact with a customer, I am going to be so bold as to say that you are losing business because of it. A person answering the phone and then sending a caller to a voicemail is better than a fully automated answering system. But there are 3 rules for voicemail. You are probably aware of them, but just to recap.

  1.  Keep your message short, sweet and to the point. Usually 5 to 10 seconds. You don’t need to recap what you have going on that day. Just thank them for calling and tell them you will call them back.
  2. Check voicemail every 30 minutes for messages.
  3. Call people back within 2 hours after the message was left.

One answer to not putting a receptionist on your payroll is to hire an answering service to answer the incoming calls. There are several of these services, some better than others. Yes, it will cost you money to hire them. How do you justify the expense? Well ask yourself what an average customer is worth? My guess is if you save one or two customers a month you will have paid for the service.

I’m going to get off my soapbox now.

If you need something to help your phone ring please give me a call, 727-536-4173.

We create marketing materials like direct mail, postcards and self mailing brochures that will generate traffic to your business.

How you handle the traffic when it is being generated will, to a great extent, determine your success or failure with advertising your business.

Mark Hale
CEO

Improving Your Company’s Logo

Have you taken a close look at your company logo lately? Does it look like it came straight out of the 1980s, or have you kept it up-to-date? An outdated logo can make your company look stagnant and stale in the minds of prospective customers. To combat this effect, many companies redesign their logos every few years to keep them fresh.

bigstock-Logo-Templates-4247928If your company is considering a logo update, here are some tips to help:

  • Choose a logo that looks good large or small. This will allow for more variety in your ads and other printed materials.
  • Limit yourself to two or three colors of ink. Having too many ink colors in your company’s logo will put an unnecessary strain on your printing budget and might actually look distracting, rather than distinctive. A nice looking, one or two-color logo will give you the professional look you want at a reasonable price.
  • Use standard ink colors. Custom-mixed inks cost more, and many standard ink colors offer just as unique and professional a look as their more expensive, custom-mixed cousins. I have seen some of our clients pay graphic designers large sums of money for logos that look fantastic. The problem comes in when it is time to print and the logo is six spot colors and costs a fortune to print. Sometimes a graphic designer not being familiar with printing technology can design something that is very expensive to reproduce. Using four-color technology almost any color can be created affordably.
  • Avoid heavy, solid backgrounds in your logo. Heavy, solid backgrounds on a white sheet of paper can make your logo look blocky.

What message do you want your logo to communicate? A logo should help to build a brand identity and communicate a message about that brand. Some of the most effective logos ever designed are the Nike “Swish”, the Golden Arches of McDonalds and the Star Bucks “Mermaid” and all of them are very simple in design. All of these examples use one or two colors and simple designs.

The purpose of a logo is a simple platform to create a brand identity for your company. The logo does not even necessarily have to make sense with the product or company, at first. Branding is the process of putting a meaning or significance into the logo. After all, what did a “Swish” have to do with tennis shoes, or a “Golden Arch” with a hamburger or a “Mermaid” with a cup of coffee? At first probably nothing, but after years of associating a good product, service and consistent message with the logo – a lot.

The process of creating a logo starts with the symbol and design first, then you put the meaning and significance into the symbol. It is almost impossible to do it in reverse, by starting with the meaning and significance and then designing a logo to match the meaning. I am sure someone has done it along the line but I cannot think of any examples of companies whom are still in business.

For more, great logo ideas call us or stop by and see us. Because Wilson Printing has professional graphic designers who also know printing technology, we can design a logo that is simple, effective and will not cost you a fortune to print. We can help you develop a distinctive logo at an affordable price and professionally print it for you for a reasonable price. If you already have a logo in mind, we can show you how to use it more effectively on your printing.

Mark Hale
CEO

Increase Web Traffic With A Proven Traffic Generator

Most businesses today have an Internet presence of some sort. You want to make the most of this investment and use your website as a tool to get more business. The Internet presents two problems, how to drive web traffic and how to direct people away from your competition. You can do what is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO), you can buy ads on Google or use some other listing service to drive web traffic. This is good to do, but you should not rely on it as your sole traffic generator. When you rely on SEO or purchased ads, your ad or website will be listed with a long list of your competitors and you may or may not get calls.  It becomes the game of who has the best “Geek” employed to get their website listed higher in the Google ranking. Also, believe it or not, many people still do not have access to the Internet or are computer-challenged.

Combine Direct Mail With Google Marketing…Find Out More Here!

Because this audience will not likely seek out your website online, a “web card” is a great way to highlight your site benefits and entice prospects to visit.

If you want to increase your web traffic and avoid competition on the web, you have to get people searching for your business directly. The idea is to direct them to your website where you can educate them about your offer and get them to call and buy something.

What are Web Cards?  Web Cards are postcards that are designed specifically to drive traffic to a website. The purpose and design are a little different than with a regular postcard. The purpose is to increase web traffic to a website. The Web Cards are mailed to a targeted mailing list. Direct Mail is still the best bet for targeting and response.

You can easily track the results two ways.

The first way is by Google Analytics, which is a free service. You can see how many people went directly to your web site. The second way is by the number of phone calls and or sales you are getting from your website. You will see more calls coming in after you do the mailing.

Find Out More About Our Result Tracking Program!

Because the Internet experience level of your audience may vary, web cards are a great, unique way to announce a new (or re-designed) website to your web savvy audience, and can also help pique interest among those who are new to or still learning how to use the Internet. Web Cards are a proven web traffic generator. Using them will help you generate more direct traffic to your website. This gives you a way to bypass search engines and all of your low cost competition that is on the Internet because people are typing your website in directly. This does not mean you should not use Search Engine Optimization on your website, but it does mean Web Cards give you another tool to use as a traffic generator.

Many businesses use email blasts to announce websites as a means of a traffic generator for their websites. This is okay but it cannot be the only method you use to drive traffic to your website. There are three problems with relying on email as your main means to increase web traffic, 1) spam filters stop a good portion of emails from getting through, 2) people do not pay attention to emails like they used to, and 3) with can-spam laws it is difficult to get enough emails on a list to actually make a meaningful impact on your website traffic. Most people simply scan email, deleting as they go.

Direct mail may sound old fashioned and is more expensive than email for sure. But the fact is, if it is inexpensive and it does not produce results, you have wasted your time and energy and you are more than likely fooling yourself if you are depending on email alone to increase your sales. People still like getting snail mail. Direct mail works and believe it or not has a longer shelf life than email. Direct mail generates interest by directly reaching your target market, by passing competitors and creating a high value lead.

direct mail factsheet

FREE DIRECT MAIL FACT SHEET

The Effectiveness of Direct Mail vs Other Forms of Marketing!




    A Web Card can be mailed as an oversized or folded postcard, as an enclosure in a standard #10 business envelope along with a cover letter, displayed in public areas, handed out at trade shows, enclosed in packages, distributed by partners and handed to customers and prospects that are browsing or making a purchase.

    When creating a Web Card, keep the message simple. It is good to define the primary benefit of your website and direct readers to it by using colorful visual images. You should also have something that entices readers to make the trek to your website with some kind of special offer not offered anywhere else or a simple register to win program also works well.

    When created to mimic the design of your site, Web Cards can highlight functionality and new features of your website. For example, a car dealership’s Web Card could show their home page and say, “Check out photos of new vehicles, view pricing and get detailed information instantly.” If you want to highlight multiple site features, consider creating subsequent Web Cards that can be mailed to your mailing list over several weeks or months, which will also increase your top of mind awareness. The Web Cards we print for you are full color digitally printed. In addition to digital printing, we offer direct mail mailing lists.

    If you’re looking for other innovative ways to increase web traffic click here or give us a call today! 727-536-4173

    Mark Hale
    CEO

    KISS Method

    Keep it Simple Method For Selecting an Effective Direct Mail List

    Red Lips (Kiss)What is the “right” direct mailing list? Is there a wrong way to select a direct mailing list? Roughly 50% of the potential response you get from a direct mail campaign comes from the mailing list you use. A good direct mailing list targets people who have a need, want and can afford your product or service. There are good lists and bad lists. A good list is targeted and fresh. A bad list can be old or simply full of unqualified prospects.

    There are only three factors that can cause a direct mail campaign to fail and the mailing list is one of the factors. If you want to get the most return from your marketing investment, the first step is getting the correct mailing list.

    What elements go into getting a “good” mailing list?  The answer lies in the KISS method of selecting a direct mailing list.

    The biggest single factor in the success of your direct mail marketing strategy is who you send your mailings to.

    You need a targeted list. But what exactly is a targeted list for your business? This can be:

    • A list of existing customers or prospects who have inquired as a result of any of your marketing efforts or a list which you purchase or in some cases obtain for free.
    • The mailing list must contain the names of people who are likely to be interested in the benefits of your products or services. They also need to be qualified to buy what you sell. Some business models have a broader scope of who is qualified to buy, others are more narrowly defined.

    Click Here For Mailing List Pricing

    What kinds of lists are available?

    There are a few different (basic) types of lists that you can use:

    • Your own list of prospects and customers. This is a list that you collected with your own personal marketing efforts. This is known as a “house” list. These people are most likely to respond to your offers, because they have responded in the past.
    • A response list. A response list is a list of people that have actually done something. They have either purchased something from the people who put together the list or inquired in response to some offer or asked to be on the list. They have shown some sort of interest in what you sell.
    • A prospect or suspect list. These people have not previously responded to you, but they have responded to someone in a related area (if you have purchased a correctly targeted list) so you know they are at least warm. This is a direct mail mailing list you can purchase from the owner (such as a magazine or company) or a list broker.
    • A compiled list. A compiled list is a list of people who were selected to be on the list because they possess the characteristics that you asked the list broker to screen for.

    Examples of characteristics used to target correctly may include age, sex, geographic location, income level, etc. These are more fixed characteristics rather than response-list characteristics, which are behavioral characteristics.

    • An ‘opt-in’ list. An ‘opt-in’ list is a list of people that signed up to be on – they are asking to be mailed and emailed to; these lists are pretty pricey but can have incredible ROI. These can also be purchased from a list broker.
    • A segmented list. A highly defined (segmented) list based on hi-tech systems analysis can give you the ability to micro-target your market for extreme results. Using technology, you can access information about your client base that goes way beyond the standard criteria of age, income and gender used in list purchasing.

    The reality is that purchasing a targeted direct mail list is only limited by the data you have about who buys your products and services. The more defined your data is about who your best prospects are the more accurate the mailing list and the better your response.

    Direct mail is the only advertising media available that 99.999% of the people get (everyone still has a mail box). The United States Post Office still delivers the mail regularly and reliably. If the direct mail list is targeted and good and the mailer is designed properly you will get results.

    The final element to a successful direct mail program is tracking and ROI. We can help walk you through what you can expect on an ROI with a simple formula.

    Wilson Printing can help you generate new customers with a targeted direct mail program. We can help ensure that your direct mail, postcard or brochure mailer generate the highest possible returns.

    ©2005-2016 Mark Hale, All Rights Reserved.

    Kudos For You

    Great Job ImageWhen is the last time you received recognition for a job well done?

    Considering that a little recognition can go a long ways, it’s surprising that people don’t give it out more often.

    Here are five popular excuses for not giving recognition:

    1. I don’t know how. You don’t need formal training to recognize a job well done. Just make an honest effort to offer a sincere compliment or show your appreciation.
    2. I don’t have time. How much time does it really take to say, “You did a great job” or “thank you”?
    3. He’s just doing his job. When saved for a special occasion, individuals strive to do better when their effort is acknowledged.
    4. It’s not my responsibility. Recognition is appreciated from any level and doesn’t have to be given from the top-down. Surely you know how disappointing it feels to have your achievements be overlooked or feel taken for granted.
    5. She will quit working hard if she thinks she’s “made it.” Recognition for a job well done does just the opposite. In fact, it is proven to make people work harder and take greater pride in their work.

    Here’s the way I see it: Recognition is just as important away from work.

    Perhaps your spouse cooked a delicious meal, your child did great on a test, your neighbor planted beautiful flowers in his yard… the list goes on. A little recognition won’t cost you a dime but can have amazing results.

    If you are the chief executive of your company, a custom designed “kudos card” can go a long way to raise morale and create loyalty in your business. It only really takes two things; one, for you to observe when your people are doing their best and two, taking the time to jot down a note that you noticed what they did and that you appreciate it.

    If you decide to make Kudos a part of your day, we hope you will call us for your custom design.