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How to Get More Results Out of Your Online Marketing

Advertising and promotion isn’t simply about using one advertising medium. There is no magic promotional vehicle; there is no one-shot-does-it-all advertising medium out there. Because people are busier than ever and their attention span is about 30 seconds, they are generally overwhelmed with advertising so you need to promote as broadly as possible using several different, but targeted forms of advertising.

Get More Results of Online MarketingA lot of businesses are using the Internet to market today. The Internet should be an important part of your marketing, but it should be used it in conjunction with other tactical marketing tools.

Postcards and direct mail are effective marketing tools for small business, but what tools do you have in your marketing arsenal to help you close the prospects when they call or come see you? How can you close people who do not buy right then and there, you know the “be-backs”? Probably one of the most overlooked marketing tools is a brochure. When I say brochure I mean a nice full color brochure that is well designed in which the prospect can touch, read and take with them.

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You need printed full color sales literature for two reasons:

  1. Credibility Factor: People expect a “real” company to have printed sales literature. You see potential customers that are extremely cautious about buying an item from an unknown online vendor. They worry about poor quality, getting ripped off down, and even are concerned about identity theft.

It is easy to think about spending $60 of business cards, letterhead, etc., and you can call yourself a corporation. But a reputable business is a business that has a full color brochure of some sort. That is one of the reasons why, in order to succeed, EVERY company whether an online company or a brick and mortar business must have full color brochures and other forms of printed sales literature to hand out to customers and prospects. It is OK to have a PDF of a brochure to send a prospect via email, but most of the time people skim and don’t really read electronic emailed brochures. The first rule of marketing is to get noticed and make and impression. When your prospects are holding in their hands your full color-marketing brochure, I think it is safe to assume you are noticed.

  1. Timesaving Factor. People want printed material to take home and read at their leisure. Four color printing these days is very affordable and there is no reason not to have a brochure with full color graphics. Yes, you can direct them to your website, but a brochure adds a personal touch, tells your prospect what the product or service can do for them and why they should buy from you. Brochures can be designed to also support other advertising, direct mail, and online promotions and can be used as a sales tool by you. In short, a good brochure sells.

Here are 12 tips on designing a full color brochure that will support your online marketing efforts, and increase your sales:

  • Know Your Market. When you write the copy foryour brochure or leaflet, do so from the reader’s point of view. Begin by analyzing what your reader wants to know; what problem does your product or service solve for your customer; what questions do your prospects ask about you’re your product or service? Now present the answers to this so that it is easy to understand. Your brochure should answer their questions in a logical sequence, following the reader’s train of thought.
  • Design so That Your Brochure Looks Nice and Is Easy to Read. Entice your reader to look inside. The first page your reader will see is the front cover. Get it wrong and that sale is long gone.
  • Make Your Brochure Easy to Understand. A common mistake is presenting your services using technical jargon. If a prospect does not understand it or your use of jargon confuses him, you have lost a customer and a sale.

 Check Out Our Brochure Samples!

The ten rules of effective postcard design definitely apply here: headline, benefits, eye trail and call-to-action should be used to motivate the reader to pick up the brochure and open it. The reader should be able to tell in an instant that there is something inside your business’s brochure that will interest them. Don’t be tempted to simply put only your company logo or product name on the front. It won’t work.

Optometry/Ophthalmology Brochure Sample

  • Contents Page – What’s in It and Why Do They Want It? Brochures of twelve pages or more, a list of contents is useful. Make yourcontents list in bold and separate it from the rest of your text. Use the contents to sell the brochure. Don’t bore your reader to death by using mind-numbing words like “Introduction” or “Model No A848DHGT”. Pick out your most important sales point and use that as a headline on your contents list.
  • Describe Your Product. To help you describe your product, draw up a list of product features and next to the features begin to list the benefit of that feature. A benefit always answers the question – “so what?” or “what’s in it for me?”
  • Mix in Appropriate Photos with the Text: Photos break up the text. Use photos and other graphics to help sell the content. Photos make the brochure easier to read.
  • Make your Brochure a Keeper. Putting useful information in your brochure to encourage your reader to keep it, refer to it often, or pass it on to other people. For example, if you’re selling paint you can provide hints on color schemes, painting how-to information, tips from the pros etc.
  • Alter the Shape. Who says a brochure has to be an 8.5 x 11, trifold? Are you selling sandwiches? You can design a brochure in the shape of a sandwich. Season tickets to soccer matches? Design it in the shape of a soccer ball. By using your imagination when designing your brochure you can produce better than average results.
  • Make Your Full Color Brochure Personal. An experienced speaker talking to a large audience will pick out a face in the crowd, and talk to that face. This connection with one person allows the speaker to make his talk more personal than if he were merely addressing a mass of faces. In a similar fashion, the words in your brochure should use this technique and zero in on one imaginary single person. Why? Your brochure will be read by one person, even if you print 10,000 brochures, each brochure will be read by one person. Writing your copy for the brochure in a direct “I’m-talking-only-to-you” style will increase your results.
  • Have Fun with Your Business’s Brochure. Tell me exactly where it says a brochure has to be boring? Boring brochures do not get read. Let your reader share your feelings. There’s no reason why a brochure about a wood burning stove has to go into the ins and outs of how the stove works. Tell your reader about rain swept winter evenings and snow-bound afternoons. Let your words show them how warm and snug they’ll be when they purchase one of your stoves. This also goes to selling the benefits of the product.
  • Get Selling…Fast. Remember, not everyone wants to be educated on every aspect of your product or service. Nor does everyone want to know the manufacturing details of your product; in fact most people don’t care what goes into manufacturing a product.

All people want to know is what will it do for them, will you back it up after they buy it and how can they buy it? Don’t waste their time telling them about things that do not convey benefits to them of owning it.

  • Talk About your Reader’s Needs. Don’t get carried away with your own interests. Talk about your reader, not yourself.

Auto Service Newsletter SampleHere are the first words in a brochure from an auto repair company: Jim Jones Automotive has been around for 75 years. Our technicians work hard to fix your car using state-of-the-art analysis and quality auto parts. Jim Jones Automotive’s reputation is unsurpassed in the industry…” BORING! The reader is yawning and directing the brochure to the trash.

Better, “Jim Jones will give you an estimate before doing the work so you will know exactly what needs repaired. Jim Jones shuttle service will drop you off and pick you up so you have the least disruption to your day.”

  • Don’t Forget the Call-to-Action. Regardless of how you organize your brochure, there is only one way to end it—ask for the order. If you want your reader to respond include an 800 number, reply card, or some form of response mechanism. In fact, to increase your brochure’s selling power you should include a call to action and a response mechanism on every page.

Designing full color brochure for small businesses is one of our specialties. Wilson Printing USA will make getting a brochure for your business easy. We save you time and money, while creating a brochure that generates customers and sales for your business.

©2005-2014 Mark Hale, All Rights Reserved

The Reason Why for Your Slow Sales – You Only Coast When You Are Going Down Hill

The question is: Are your flat or slow sales good? You will probably agree that up sales are better than flat or down sales. But how bad is it to have flat or slow sales?

The rule of thumb here is you only coast when you are going down hill! Often by the time you get to the bottom of the hill and notice how fast you are moving, usually it’s too late.

riding businessman

In business nothing stays the same. Everyday your business is either getting better by a little bit or it is getting worse. It may be getting worse ever so slightly. One might be tempted to say, “Well at least its flat, it could be worse.” You may not be able to see the decline, but nothing in this universe stays flat or levels off for too long. The halls of bankruptcy court are lined with the fallen of businesses who thought flat or “down a little bit” was okay.

The flat sales state is the most dangerous of all states a business could be in because it is the state that is easiest to be reasonable about. A few months will pass and what was once a .1% or 2% monthly decrease, 10 months later is now a 10 or 20% decrease in sales volume.

We do surveys with business owners and managers to find out business conditions and uncover how we can help them. To date, we have completed marketing surveys with over 1000 businesses across 20 different business categories.

One of the questions on the survey is “How has business going?” The responses range from great to flat to very slow.

The people who are in the slow, flat or unchanged condition are the most interesting to me. They usually are very nonchalant about sales being flat. Their attitude is that it’s no big deal or it could be worse. Yeah, it could and will get worse if they do not do something to handle it.

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How do you handle a month or week when sales are flat?

Well you should look at flat sales as an EMERGENCY situation and take steps to handle it.

  • Rule #1: you cannot handle slow sales by cutting back your advertising. You have to get the word out and let people know you are there, by promoting. Look at it this way, if you have a small fire in the kitchen, do you wait until the entire house is on fire to take action? NO, you put the fire out now.

The first step to handling slow or flat sales is you have to promote. If you don’t promote as your first action the situation will turn dangerous and you will have to take drastic actions—you know like lay people of, cut expenses or close locations.

To put out a fire, you direct a stream of water towards the fire. Promotion is like water and you direct it outward towards a target.

By promoting you invite people to do business with you. The more people you invite, the more business will come in. People will not buy a secret and you cannot sell a secret. You have to make yourself known.

You can promote by sending out a direct mail piece; getting on the phone and calling customers; get in your car and go see people; call old customers and see how your product is holding up and if they need anything else. You can even print some flyers and pass them out. Promotion does not have to cost a lot of money, but it does require that you do something.

Direct mail is a great way to target exactly the market you want to hit. There are several forms of direct mail for small business. The simplest form of direct mail is a full color postcard. Depending on your target market, note card mailers, check mailers or a simple sales letter might work best. We can help you select the type of direct mail piece that best suits who your are trying to reach.

Do you feel like your businesses sales are on a roller coaster?

One month sales are good, the next slow, the next month is up a little, then only to crash the following month?

Sales that are roller coastering are almost always caused by sporadic, in consistent or poorly planned and targeted advertising.

  • Rule #2: always work to increase the amount of promotion you have going out and tweak the targeting as you go.

We can help you put in an effective advertising and promotional programs for your small business.

©2005-2014 Mark Hale, All Rights Reserved

 

14 New Rules of Word of Mouth Advertising for Small Business Marketing

Referrals Customers Walk Through Store DoorwayTalk to almost anyone working in, managing or who owns a small to medium sized business and they will tell you that word of mouth advertising is their best form of advertising. This is very true.

Word of mouth advertising, as good as it can, be has three drawbacks: one, it moves very slowly; two, it depends on your customers to spread the word; and three, word of mouth advertising is a double edge sword. A recent study found that a satisfied customer will only tell three to four people about a good buying experience. On the other hand, an unhappy customer will tell 15 to 20 people about their bad experience.

There are two basic laws that govern word of mouth marketing:

  • Law #1 – control your word of mouth advertising or it will control you.
  • Law #2 – you have to find a way to amplify word of mouth advertising for it to have a dramatic effect on your bottom line.

Gathering testimonials is an effective way for you to accomplish the above. A testimonial is a written success story that you can spread to prospects on a very large scale. If you incorporate testimonials in your promotional marketing like postcards, brochures, on your website or in your catalogs that is one way to control and amplify your word of mouth advertising.

The following is a list of guidelines and rules to help you to collect, develop and use customer testimonials in your small business marketing:

  1. Always ask for testimonials. Don’t be shy about asking for a good testimonial to be used in your small business marketing. You never know unless you ask and if you’ve done your job as a company, odds are you know what the answer will be before you even ask.
  2. Print up success story forms. Having a success story form at hand will make it easier for your employees to ask for testimonials and for your customers to give you a good testimonial.
  3. Make sure your testimonials are real. False or misleading testimonials will spread bad word of mouth advertising like wildfire. Remember people tend to tell 15 to 20 people about a bad experience they had. Combine this with the reach of the Internet and you can see how using false or misleading testimonials could back fire on a very large scale.
  4. Know your audience. People want to hear good things from other people they can relate to. If you are targeting middle age men, do not use testimonials from middle age women.
  5. Get a photo. When possible have photos next to the people giving the testimonial. This adds to the creditability of your testimonial.
  6. Have your sales staff asks customers for testimonials. Your sales staff most likely has developed a close relationship with your customers. Teach them how to ask for a good testimonial and make sure they do it on a regular basis.
  7. Use testimonials in lots of different places. If you mail a postcard, have a testimonial on it. Put them on your marketing brochures. Print posters to display in your office that have testimonials on them. Put testimonials on your web pages and blogs. Remember, you are trying to spread good word of mouth on a large scale.
  8. Focus on success stories. The best way to present success stories is first by presenting the problem the customers was having followed by how your business helped them with the problem. Encourage your customers to use their testimonials as a way to showcase how your product, service and employees helped make their life easier.
  9. Strike when the customer is happiest. This one goes without saying. Don’t ask a customer for a glowing testimonial if you’ve just bungled their order.
  10. Use testimonials as a sales tool. Especially when you’re selling to a specific customer set, use merchandise specific testimonials for other prospects that fall into the same category. Testimonials are very effective on sales sheets, brochures and product catalogs.
  11. Use video testimonials where possible in small business marketing. We now live in the era of YouTube. Use those flip cameras to easily record video testimonials of your customers saying nice things about your company and services. You can then upload the testimonials to a YouTube page or on your website and blog site.
  12. Use social media as a way to get testimonials and create interaction. Spread your testimonials around on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  13. Offer up rewards or freebies on glowing testimonials. Customers give you testimonials because you did a good job taking care of them. Reward them and take care of them even more so that they rave about you. It’s not about buying them off, it’s about creating a relationship based on value.
  14. And finally, don’t forget to ask for the referrals. Don’t get so caught up in getting testimonials that you don’t ask the customer if they know of any other person that would benefit from your company’s services.

Referrals are part two of word of mouth advertising for small business marketing. Drill anyone in your company who has direct contact with customers how to ask for referrals and what to do with the once they receive a referral.

Use Care to Share referral cards. A Care to Share referral card works well for service type industries. These cards help you reward customers for sending you referrals and give you a way to track the referrals as well.

 

When the customer is happy is the best time to ask him to write a few words about his experience and also whom he knows who would be a prospect for your services.

If you got in a program of gathering testimonials and asking for referrals, you would have control of your word of mouth advertising and a way to expand and create more new customers to buy from your business.

Click Here for Pricing on a Customer Referral Program

Combine word of mouth with an effective direct mail program and you will see your sales rocket to new levels.

©2005-2014 Mark Hale, All Rights Reserved

Marketing for Dentists – Attract Quality New Patients for Your Practice

Dentist and patient

How to attract quality new patients to your dental practice.

Is your practice thriving as much as you would like? Dentists everywhere can thrive in private practice if they have systems in place to attract qualified new patients.

We work with a lot of dental practitioners across the country and found that most every practice has one problem. The problem is finding an affordable way to reach qualified new patients.

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Most of the time, the doctor is busy seeing and treating patients and is too busy to do much marketing. The task of marketing is often delegated to an office manager whose expertise is in handling people and running an office, not in marketing. The practice experiences sales peeks with large valleys during the course of the year.

However, every private practitioner who knows how to attract quality new patients (people who want to keep their teeth and are willing to pay for it) to their practice will do so.

Click Here for Pricing on a New Patient Program 

There are four things you can do to attract quality new patients to your dental practice:

1. Start and maintain an on going direct mail program. Direct mail allows you to target quality patients that are in your immediate area. Postcards work very well for most dental offices because they put something directly in the hands of prospective patients. Wilson Printing USA works with dental offices across the country designing effective direct mail programs for their practice.

We also have programs that can help you get the postage on your direct mail down to .17 – .19 cents per postcard, so this is not an overly expensive program. All of our programs are turn key and effective.

Click Here To See Dental Marketing Samples

2. Create a turnkey referral program. If you do not already have one, get a Care Enough to Share referral program. We have a turnkey Care to Share referral program complete with referral cards to hand your patients, training materials to train your receptionists and office staff, and posters for your reception area.

3. Newsletter mailer to stay in front of existing patients. A newsletter goes to your existing patients and should be mailed at least every other month. The newsletter allows you to educate your current patients about services they should consider and is a way to stay in front of your current patients.

4. A quality control program. Every dental practice should have a person whose job is to call and follow up with patients after they receive care. I saw one of the dentist in our area almost see her practice completely destroyed by a rude and discourteous receptionist. The practice administrator, who also happened to be best friends with this rude receptionist, discovered the problem and it was handled immediately. A quality control manager would make follow up calls and survey patients about their experience to make sure this scenario never happens.

©2005-2018 Mark Hale, All Rights Reserved

How to Effectively Use Newsletters

Slide2Newsletters have become a great way for businesses to spread information, tell their story, solidify customer loyalty, and increase sales. When correctly done, a newsletter generates customer retention and increases sales.

Newsletters can seem like a lot of work, and its true, they can be a lot of work—if you don’t know what you are doing. Does that mean you should not send out a newsletter? No, it means you should get help creating and mailing your newsletter.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind while designing your company newsletter:

  • Content is important. Successful newsletters provide interesting content for their readers in addition to product information from the newsletter provider. An important note here is to be careful not to error in providing too much technical or product information. The newsletter needs to have an element of entertainment that is dispersed with product information and specials. Think of a newsletter as being a mini magazine for your business.

Click Here for Pricing on Newsletters

  • Color draws the eye. Use multiple colors of ink to draw attention to important articles and information. Two-color newsletters are very effective, and full-color newsletters are gaining popularity.
  • Pull quotes to create interest. Quotes create interest and increase the likelihood that an article will be read. These quotes are taken directly from the article and focus on the interesting key points.
  • Highlight your customer success stories. Newsletters are a great way to highlight your good service. Use them as seasoning.
  • Good design provides more room for copy. A well-planned and designed newsletter can contain 20% to 30% more content than a casually designed newsletter. Seeking advice from professional graphic artists is often a good idea.
  • Good back-page design is important. 
An estimated 15% of readers start reading at the back page of a newsletter and work their way to the front page.

Usually it is best to have a professional graphic designer design a template for you. We can help you design a theme for your newsletter that will identify with your business.

Once you have the theme, we simply plug in the new information for each issue. Having a template makes it easier to keep a consistent look. Our graphic designers can usually design a professional newsletter template in a few hours that will match the feeling and tone of your company.

Newsletters are an effective tool for drip marketing and are a fun way to stay in front of your customers or prospects.

If you would like to look at getting a newsletter done for your company, give us a call. We would like to help you.

©2005-2014 Mark Hale, All Rights Reserved

Separating Marketing from Selling

 

young businessman has an idea

Some marketing experts recommend that in creating an advertising program you should offer many different options and to fully explain the product in the advertising. They suggest for you to fully educate the customer in the postcard or brochure and that you sell the prospect on the product in the advertising.

The attention span of most people today is 3 to 5 seconds. The reader is not going to read an information packed postcard or brochure direct mailed to them; nor are they going to watch or listen to a information laden billboard, TV or radio ad.

Think about the last time you received a direct mail piece at home that was chocked full of information. Did you read it? Did it seem too confusing? All of a sudden, did you feel like you did not have time to read the postcard? Let me ask you this, did you respond to the direct mail piece or throw it in the trash? I’m betting your trash got a little fuller that day.

At this point, let’s look at the purposes of marketing and sales for your business.

True marketing has an element of sales in it and selling has an element of marketing in it, but the basic purpose of each is very different. When you mix the purposes of both marketing and selling, you end up with advertising that is ineffective and sales people with too many pending sales cycles and not enough closed sales.

  • The purpose of marketing three fold is to get noticed, to create interest and to invoke a response.
  • The purpose of selling is to bring about decision and closure through enlightenment and education. A sale is achieved by answering the customer’s questions and handling concerns then asking for the order.

The postcard or other marketing piece must first get noticed, then give the prospect enough information to gain their interest, but not so much information that the reader can make a decision one way or another.

A well-designed direct mail ad will build a kind of mystery sandwich that creates a few questions in the mind of the reader. Being interested in the product, the prospect wants to call to get his questions answered about the product.

Your printed brochures, postcards or any of your advertising should contain several easy ways for the prospect to contact you to get their questions answered. There must be a reason to call and an offer to call now.

The trick is to present just enough information—in the form of benefits—in the ad that the reader thinks he might need the product. A benefit can also be referred to as a solution to a problem. People are generally looking for solutions to problems they have. The easier it is for them to see a potential solution in the advertisement the more likely they will be to want more information.

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Sales and selling

When the prospect sees you advertising and calls your office the way your sales people handle them will determine whether the lead is lost or converted to a sale.

An effective sales person knows his job to qualify the prospect by asking the right questions to identify exactly what the prospects needs are and what problem the prospect wants solved and then to enlighten the prospect as to what product or service best solves the problem, then to answer questions and concerns the prospect might have.

The enlightenment part of the cycle is where information is provided, but it is only the information that demonstrates the solution to the prospects problem he wants solved.

Selling is not telling, selling is asking. The more skillful your sales team is at asking questions, the more information they will get that will qualify the prospect, and about the prospects problems, needs and wants. Armed with this information, your sales team can make the product or service recommendation to the prospect that they will buy.

Never ask the customer to choose between two or more options. I know some sales trainers teach the “either-or” close. The “either-or” close should be limited to delivery or payment options; would you like to pay by check or credit card, not would you prefer the red or the blue suit.

The “either-or” close usually does not work because it asks the prospect to choose between two product options. The prospect has been asked to choose then says, “I need to think about it…”

When a sales person makes a recommendation that is based on a solution to their problem, the recommendation is real to the prospect—it makes sense. This makes the buying process easier for the prospect and you will see fewer prospects needing to “think about it” and more prospect buying.

Marketing and sales work together, but each has a specific role and purpose. Understanding and separating these purposes makes marketing your small business easier and more effective.

Mark Hale is a 28-year sales and marketing veteran. He started his career as a radio sales person selling poofs of air to businesses. The successful marketing program he has created has helped his clients’ businesses to boom. Soon he was promoted to training and managing sales teams. Mark is a successful entrepreneur and businessman whose experience encompasses broadcast marketing, magazine campaigns, direct mail promotion, promotional programs and display advertising. He has created successful marketing and promotional programs for small, medium and large businesses.

©2005-2014 Mark Hale, All Rights Reserved

 

Why Does It Seem so Difficult for My Printer to Match My Colors?

Color paint cans

So why is that the colors in your brochure or postcard do not look exactly like it did on your computer monitor when you signed the proof?

Color perception versus color accuracy in graphic design is difficult to achieve, it is also one of the most important aspects of design and can be affected by many factors, including the following:

     1.         Not all computer monitors are created equal.

Have you ever gone to a store to buy a new television set? Displayed on a wall there are 50 different types and styles of televisions. The first thing you notice is that no two pictures look the exact same.

The same is true with computer monitors. The average computer monitor will show slightly differing colors depending on how the computer is set up, the type of monitor (for example, flat-panel LCD monitors tend to show colors as more blue), how the brightness/contrast is adjusted, and many other factors. How your monitor is color calibrated determines how color looks on the computer screen. Most monitors are not color calibrated.

Arts files are generally set up using CMYK (four color process or full color printing) and professional printing equipment prints in CMYK. Most computers display colors in RGB (Red, Green, Black). This is one of the main reasons why the color differs from monitor to paper.

If getting a specific color in your logo or in a postcard design is important, do not trust that the electronic proof you receive will look like the finished printed piece. Get a printed proof to look at.

*A note on “professional” printing technology: Colors can vary between printing processes. If some of your materials are printed on a four-color digital press or on an offset printing press there will be slight differences in color due to the different printing technologies.

Colors can also vary between presses or digital printers, depending on their setup or calibration, so if you print materials at different times or on different machines, they could appear different. Always ask your printer to match the job to the last job they printed. At Wilson Printing USA, our pressmen always match the job to an approved proof or a sample from the last run in order to get consistency for our clients.

     2.         Human perception

The way each person sees a color can vary, depending on the structure of the individual’s eye. This is particularly true in the range of the color blue.

The type, quality and amount of light in the room can greatly affect the shade and tone of color as perceived by the human eye.

Colors can also impact each other when placed side by side—either through reflection or as a visual illusion.

To demonstrate this, hold a piece of bright-colored paper or object next to a white piece of paper near a sunny window. The white paper will take on some of the color, to become a pastel shade of the bright color paper.

     3.         Paper color and texture can also affect color.

Something printed on a linen paper sheet will look more faded. A pastel color sheet will also alter the look of the final piece. A glossy stock will make photos and graphics look sharp, but may make written text difficult to read because of glare.

These tips should help you achieve good color consistency, and to get the results that you expect from your color.

To get an idea of exactly how the finish piece will look, you can ask for a hard proof. We are happy to send you a printed proof before we print your job.

Looking for Pricing? Click Here.

©2005-2014 Mark Hale, All Rights Reserved

Direct Mail vs. Junk Mail: What’s the Difference Really?

Green No Junk Mail MailboxThe difference is that direct mail generates a response and junk mail ends up in the trash. Just because it’s delivered by the post office does not mean that it is direct mail.

Junk mail does not appeal to the reader and is not wanted by the reader, so ends up in the trash. Direct mail is targeted to a specific reader and is designed with benefits that the reader is interested in and is combined with an offer that entices the reader to take action.

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There are two parts to an effective direct mail program:

1)   A good mailing list.

2)   A well crafted message.

The first step in not wasting your money and getting results is obtaining a correctly targeted mailing list. The direct mail list should be current and contain the demographics that match the target demographics of your product or service.

A bad mailing list does not target the people who have a need for the product or service. In fact, this is what people refer to as “junk mail”. It is considered junk because it is mail that is not relevant to the people it is mailed to.

Getting a good direct mail list is a key factor in a successful direct mail marketing campaign and a major point to consider in small business marketing strategies where marketing ROI (Return On Investment) is a key concern.

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How do you find a good direct mail list?

All mailing lists are created after specifications are entered into a master database. The computer filters out prospects that do not match the specifications. So it goes with out saying that the first step in getting a targeted mailing list is the knowing your customer. The very minimum needed is sex, age income and area. The more you can tell us about your best prospect the better we can hone in the mailing list.

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Where do mailing lists come from?

Mailing list comes from usually one of two sources. The first source is from the three major credit bureaus. That’s right, they know all about you and they sell that information. The second source is lifestyle information, which is complied from magazine subscriptions and other sources people subscribe to. For example, if I wanted to market to people who play tennis, the list would be generated from people who subscribe to “Totally Tennis” or “Tennis Magazine”.

Another source of a mailing list can also come your company’s database of people who have bought your product or service or inquired about your services.

You might think, “Well, shouldn’t I use my in house mailing list and just mail to my existing customers? Since I know they already have an interest and I already have that list.” You would not be totally incorrect in this assumption, you should promote to your existing customers. However, just mailing to your existing customer list does not usually create expansion. You need new blood to grow your business.

I usually recommend that you invest 65% – 75% of your marketing efforts finding new customers and 25% – 35% marketing to existing customers. This is a formula for growth and expansion of your business.

We can help you get the correct mailing list your business needs and create the perfect type direct mail piece for your business. Our job is to make sure you do not waste your money on junk mail.

©2005-2014 Mark Hale, All Rights Reserved

Tips for Unleashing the Marketing Power of Your Business Cards

Part of body of business man who takes out business card from thBusiness cards may be small, but their impact is huge. A business card plays an important part in making a lasting impression upon those you do business with.

When choosing a business card, don’t be cheap. (If you’re on a limited budget, try to save elsewhere.) Cheap business cards will make a cheap impression of your business. Experienced sales reps know how important it is to make a good impression on their prospects. They buy nice clothes, drive nice cars, and wine-and-dine prospects and clients—only to give them a 1¢ business card?! Why not consider a 10¢, 15¢, or 20¢ business card that would really “WOW” a customer and add to the overall good impression?

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Here are some tips that will boost your business cards first impression:

  • Feature your company name prominently, with your name and title smaller. Using your company logo is important, because it will help people associate your name with the product you are selling.
  • Don’t take up too much space listing all the ways you can be contacted. It’s best to list your phone, fax, and email address. Personal cell phone numbers and beeper numbers should be given to the client verbally and when necessary.
  • Full color printing can add a dramatic impact to the look of your business card. If your budget doesn’t support full color, there are a lot of creative possibilities using two colors of ink combined with a third color of paper.
  • For an added element of flash design your business card with your logo foil stamped or embossed. A foil stamped business card stands out.
  • Don’t overlook the backside of your business card. It is a great place to add more sales and marketing information, your mission statement, a map and location, or photos of your products.
  • It’s worth the time! Business cards are one of the most important tools for business today. The time and effort you spend creating and printing excellent business cards will pay future dividends.
  • Go with a larger full color business card. A larger card gets noticed.
  • Make the business card useful to the end user. For example, if you operate a tire store, put a tire depth gauge on the back of the card. Or a beauty salon put a makeup color wheel on the back of the card. This makes the card more useful, creates a better impression and guarantees the card will be used.

Business cards are generally not very expensive. The advent of digital full color printing has brought the cost of nice business cards way down. The design and lay out or the card today is the most important. A well designed business card is easy to read and conveys a impression of professionalism. You can design the business card yourself, some people try to use business card templates provided by cheap on line printers and usually the card ends up looking cheap and does not portray the impression intended. It is usually worth the money to hire a professional to design your business card.

©2005-2014 Mark Hale, All Rights Reserved

Where Are the Qualified Prospects?

 

Customer Target

How to Zero in on Your Best-Qualified Prospects.

Do you feel that you are wasting your time, money, and enthusiasm on people who are not interested or qualified to buy what you sell?

The biggest time waster and profit killer for a business is getting caught up dealing with people who are not qualified to buy. For a business (or sales person) to grow they need to develop a way to zero in on the best-qualified prospects for what they sell. From a marketing standpoint it is almost impossible to design a postcard or send out a direct mail campaign that is effective unless you know whom the best prospects are.

Many business owners have a vague idea of whom they want as a customer, sometimes the idea of who they want does not match the reality of what they offer. In other words the people (this vague idea) they usually market to would not find what they offer of value, need or buy what they sell. Marketing done with out knowing exactly who the prospect is and if the product or service is needed and wanted by the prospect is doomed to fail.

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Instead of looking for suspects who may or may not have the capacity or need to buy your product or service, some day down the road, start seeking prospects that are qualified and need your product today.

Know the difference between suspects and prospects for what you do as a first step. You have to go where the money is. Here are some tips on how to zero in on your best-qualified targets:

  • What does a “qualified prospect” look like? Hint, it is more than just “has the money to buy”. If people really see how your product will solve a problem for them they can usually find the money to pay for it. The rule here is that prospect has to really need what you sell. And, what you sell has to solve a real or perceived problem the customer has. Start by listing what problems your product or service solves for your customer

Then make a list of who would have the type of problems you solve.

You can also look at your current best customers and list out similar characteristics. They all live on the beach, of have 2 children and have middle or upper incomes. Or our best prospects are business owners with ten or more employees who need help with money management. What ever it is the first step is to identify.

  • Build a database of your current customers, names, addresses, e-mails, and phone numbers, even notes about transactions, interests and needs and wants of these customers.

You should attempt to do ongoing surveys of current customers so that you can identify new opportunities to service the customers you have. *IMPORTANT: one of the best sources of qualified prospects is from referrals from your existing customers. Always ask for referrals from existing customer, they always will have friends or associates with similar needs. Often your existing customers are also good prospects for reorders and up sell to additional products and services. After all they already purchased from you once and if satisfied with your service are easy up sells for other services you offer.

  • Use the Internet to search for other industries that have a similar target audience (those who are complementary versus competitive with your business). When you determine which other businesses would also sell to your client, contact them and offer to share or trade prospect names with them.
  • Make sure your website is set up to capture leads and it is easy for people to request information. The design of your web site needs feature information and data that is helpful. Most people go to the Internet to search for information before they buy. The better information you offer the better educated and qualified the prospect will be who calls you. Also the easier it will be to close the sale. It is also important to present your information using terms and language the customer can understand.
  • Study your biggest competitors identify strengths and weaknesses. How are you different? Look for holes in their service that you can do better.
  • Don’t limit your prospecting simply to previous or current customers. Use previous or current customers to identify traits and characters you can use to buy targeted direct mail lead lists. Then use direct mail lead list and mail a postcard or letter to them.
  • Avoid general advertisements, lead letters, or promotions. Always make sure that your offers refer to a specific product or service. This way, readers with strong interests can easily qualify themselves and take advantage of your offer.
  • Always focus your efforts on the markets, prospects, and activities that offer you the highest probability of a payoff.

Finding better-qualified prospects for your business is simple and involves research. Once you have the basic research done, you can spend less energy and time on suspects, and more time with qualified and rewarding prospects.

©2005-2014 Mark Hale, All Rights Reserved

The Ten Commandments of Building a Successful Business

In the United States, we are fortunate to live in a country that allows us to gain the benefits of our hard work. Often people see the rewards of their hard work. Recently, we have seen people attacked because of their success.

The uninformed or inexperienced may think success is easy and undeserved or that we as business owners/managers did not create our success, “someone else built that”. I am sure you have experienced and seen for yourself what it takes to create a business. I say “create” because the process is ongoing, it does not stay there unless it is created everyday. If you take your eye off the ball, the ball rolls off the table and on the floor, sometimes rolling into the basement.

Business Success

The following are ten laws (commandments) that all successful enterprises use to keep the ball on the table:

  1. Someone had a dream. All big businesses started out as a dream in someone’s head usually in a garage. You name it…Facebook, Microsoft or Ford all started off as a bright idea. If you don’t have a dream you won’t have a business.
  2. All successful businesses have a well-defined basic purpose. The purpose drives and pulls the business forward. The purpose creates a bond between the employees and is a common goal everyone works toward. One person always defines the purpose, usually the guy or gal who started the business in their garage.
  3. Having a product or service that is needed by someone; ideally a lot of someone’s.
  4. Production of a quality product.
  5. Honest handling and care of the customers of the business.
  6. Quality control. A system to correct and improve poor products and to correct the employees who produced the poor product.
  7. A program of hiring and training employees to expertly help and handle customers.
  8. Hard and consist work towards achieving a goal.
  9. Consistent and targeted promotion of the business to people who need the product or service. You have promoted on an ever-widening basis, resisting all urges to pull back.
  10. Continually promote the dream and purpose of the business. When a business starts operating based on making money, neglecting the dream and purpose, that business soon loses focus and soon shrinks.

So the next time you hear some pompous politician say, “big business did not build that, someone else did” you know that they themselves have never really built anything. Every big idea that was turned into a howling success was first thought of by one man or woman and was driven by that person to success.

Business big and small and the people working in them create the prosperity that is the United States of America.

©2005-2014 Mark Hale, All Rights Reserved

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