Make Your Marketing Powerful With Humor

Quick! Stop what you’re doing and watch this video!

Did it make you laugh? Every time I see this commercial, it makes me smile.

It’s probably true that all of us can use a good laugh. Humor is a big component of what makes many advertisements successful. It can strongly affect the way we connect with and respond to marketing messages.

A key concept of marketing today is to not just provide your customers with products or services, but to also serve as a knowledgeable source of information about anything and everything related to what your company does. When you provide customers with helpful info, it builds trust in your relationship with them and gives you greater credibility.

That seems great, right? So much so that you probably want to focus the bulk of your content development efforts on generating information that will be the most useful to readers and help them to best achieve whatever it is that they are trying to achieve with your guidance.

But helpful information isn’t the only way you can build trust in your brand. Humor is an extremely effective piece of content marketing. And if you aren’t making use of it, you should be.

3 Key Benefits of Humorous Marketing Content

Think of the person you know who’s most likely to be the class clown. Is it sometimes hard to take them seriously? Probably. One of the arguments against using humor in marketing is that it can cause you to lose credibility and seriousness in the eyes of your audience. If you lose those, your brand is in bad shape.

two people laughing and drinking wine
People image created by Freepik

But guess what? This isn’t true, at least most of the time. Humor is not just a laugh as we skim through funny cat videos. Rather, humor creates a human connection.

Humor is a natural part of conversation. It has an impact on our emotions, bodies, and brains. When you use humor in your marketing, it gives your business a human side. You’re not just a faceless source of information. You’re a real person who understands the emotions and problems of your customers and can help to solve them.

Because humor is so impactful, it has significant influential power. We watch funny videos of cats or ridiculous comedy movies because they are an emotional distraction, helping us to reduce stress. Humor inspires a feel-good reaction. When you can make your customers laugh, it creates a connection between you and them. If you can make your audience feel less stressed, you are giving them the impression that your business can help to relieve their stress in relation to whatever services your company offers. You create a bond with them that makes your business more relatable.

Humor is also memorable and enhances learning. A study by Chegg, a textbook rental service, found that nearly 80% of college students remember ads that make them laugh. The basic purpose of an advertisement is to tell your audience who you are and what you do, while inspiring them to purchase your products or services. If your ad is memorable, it will stick in people’s minds. Though their brain is remembering the amusement they felt from viewing your ad, they will also remember what you’re offering. And they’ll be more likely to go to you for their future needs.

Think about the above Volkswagen video, or the last piece of funny content you saw. After you laughed at it, what did you want to do? Since humor is such a key part of our conversations, it’s likely that you wanted to share the laughs with someone.

Humor has been cited as the key reason why content goes viral. When your audience shares your content, they are increasing your brand awareness as well as the positive emotions they associate with your business. Humor can also catch people off guard, lowering their defenses and making them more receptive to your message.

So, to recap—3 benefits of humor are:

  1. It creates a human connection between you and your audience.
  2. Humor makes your advertisements and content more memorable.
  3. Funny content is more likely to be shared, leading to greater brand awareness.

Your Sense of Humor = Your Brand

There are also three reasons why marketers are afraid to make humor a part of their content development strategy:

  1. That fear of not being taken seriously
  2. The humor could fall flat, and no one will find it funny
  3. Humor can be offensive

While these are all valid concerns, instead of focusing on if you should use humor, consider how you will use it. Humor is a spectrum. No single tone or joke is going to be appropriate for all businesses and audiences. This is where you need to know your brand—the level of humor you use should align with your brand values. If you make use of humor that is visible and shocking but ultimately offensive to your audience, you are more likely to lose customers than to gain them.

Your demographic is key to determining what kind of humor fits your business. Funny content is more likely to be shared, but if you are sacrificing your reputation to reach a larger audience, you’re alienating the customers that feel loyalty to your brand.

So, how can you be funny?

Keep it Casual

You can adopt conversational humor by sprinkling it into your content in small doses. Maybe you use some irony or exaggeration in your blog post, or add a funny component to your next advertisement. I like this ad from Amazon:

Amazon has become a popular online retailer for a wide demographic. This ad is heartwarming and made me smile. And, you don’t lose sight of the ad’s message, which is the ease and speed of ordering from Amazon. At the same time, Amazon comes across as a fun company to do business with.

Just for Fun

Separate your more serious content with posts created just for laughs. Share a meme or video with the sole intent of putting a smile on your customer’s faces. You can relate them to your brand in some way, or they can be totally random.

Rock the Boat

Some brands have the flexibility to be edgy in their marketing, while others need to stick to tamer content. If you feel confident your audience would respond favorably to shocking content, go for it. Create an ad campaign that makes you stand out from competitors in your industry, and will get your audience talking.

The most important thing to remember with humor is to keep it simple. If your audience has to think too much about what you’re saying, they won’t be laughing, and you’ll lose the chance to make that powerful connection. But if you can get it right, a touch of humor could be just what your business needs to increase marketing success and develop a stronger relationship with your audience.

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6 Key Statistics: The Stickiness of Promotional Products

Branded promotional products collageAs I waited in line at an event this weekend, my gaze settled on the back of a man standing a bit ahead of me. His black shirt featured the intriguing name and logo of a brewing company I hadn’t heard of before.  I was instantly curious—what’s the story here?

I lost track of this individual in the crowd. But his shirt stuck with me. I did a search for the brand on Google, and decided to bring along some of this beer next time I get together with friends. Without any commercials, traditional advertisements, or over-the-top marketing campaigns, this brewery earned itself a customer.

If you look around your desk right now, it’s likely you’ll find a promotional product or two. Any item printed with the logo of an organization you support or company you do business with falls into this category. These promotional products may be a part of your daily routine. Consider the coffee mug you carry to work, the pen you write notes with, or the shirt you wear to the gym.

The use of promotional products is an increasingly popular method of growing brand awareness. As the brewery shirt shows, putting branded promotional products out into the world can help your fans become brand ambassadors. In doing so, you’re creating more fans (and paying customers) for your business.

Investing in Promotional Products for Your Business

You’re probably using traditional forms of advertising to market your business. These efforts are vital to maintaining your sales strategy. Combining current methods with promotional product advertising can help to take your marketing to the next level. According to the British Promotional Merchandise Association (BPMA), advertising with promotional products directly correlates with improved brand recognition and increased sales. It’s also been shown to have a higher return on investment than other marketing strategies.

A major reason for investing in promotional products is to create increased brand awareness, especially in ways that resonate with your customers.

Want some compelling statistics?

  1. A study by Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) found that 76.2% of people who received a promotional product in the past two years could remember the product, the company it came from, and the message behind the item
  2. 80% of consumers own at least one promotional product, and over half of them use a promotional product at least once per week
  3. 60% of consumers keep promotional products for up to two years
  4. Including promotional products in advertising increases the effectiveness of other marketing by 44%
  5. In the PPAI survey, 52% of respondents did business with an advertiser after receiving a promotional product
  6. Promotional products create a more positive impression of the advertiser 53% of the time

Targeting Your Customers

Consumers like to receive promotional products. As the numbers show, these products can have a big impact on spreading brand awareness and bringing in customers. But how can you ensure that your promotional products will do the same?

Think usefulness. You may have a fantastic idea for a promotional product. But if consumers don’t make use of it on a regular basis, its potential impact diminishes. It’s also important to consider the longevity of the product you’ll give away. Can it be used up in a month or two? Then it’s probably not the best choice for making a significant long-term impact.

Make yourself familiar with the term environmental targeting. This simply means giving away items to be used in an environment where your company’s services would be required. For instance, USB drives are a popular promo item. If you’re a tech or software company, it makes sense to give away USBs branded with your logo.  When consumers are using your USB at their computers, they’ll be reminded of your company. Since they’re working in an environment in which your services would be called upon, they are more likely to make the decision to invest in your business.

If possible, it’s helpful to give your customers a choice between a few different promotional items. This way, you can ensure that the items will actually be used. A survey by BPMA found the top four categories of promotional items were: the USB stick, electronic items, writing instruments, and mugs. Another way to speak to your customers is to give them an item personalized with their name or business, rather than just your logo.

Extend Your Advertising Reach

promotional products statistic graphicPromotional products can reach across time and space in ways that other forms of advertising can’t. Consumers tend to keep promotional products around for long periods of time. This creates the potential to make many more impressions of your brand than would come from a one-time newspaper or digital advertisement. Customers could wear your shirt while traveling outside of your advertising area, giving a new audience exposure to your brand.

And it’s also a good thing if consumers give away promotional items. Here’s a bonus statistic: 63% of consumers will pass along promo items they no longer want rather than throwing them away.  Sharing promo generates opportunities for new people to be exposed to your brand and, hopefully, become customers.

Giving away a promotional item can be a great way to break the ice with a potential customer in a way that a cold call could never do. And, a gift often creates an unspoken obligation on the part of the customer to do business with you. Some consumers are even willing to switch to a different brand to receive a promotional gift. The relatively small investment you make in creating the product could lead to a valued relationship and a lot of sales from that customer down the road.

Promotional products are a great way to increase the impact of your advertising, and we’re here to help. Contact Paw Print & Mail today to start increasing your brand awareness, or visit our promotional products and branded apparel online store to shop ideas for your company.

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Wearing Your Brand Awareness

employees wearing matching branded apparel for brand awarenessIncorporating Brand Awareness in Your Business Strategy

As a business owner or manager, you have a lot on your plate. Every day, you have multiple people and projects competing for your attention. You have to ensure customer and employee satisfaction, generate new business, fulfill client needs, and consider potential business and marketing ventures. From the small details to the major decisions, you have a hand in each and every part of what makes your company run smoothly.

An essential piece of marketing your business that you’ll want to consider is creating brand awareness. In addition to ensuring customers know your company exists and the kinds of services and products you offer, brand awareness also includes consciousness about who your company is beyond the basics. The image your business portrays includes the quality of your services, the way you handle customer inquiries, and your company’s personality. Are you a start-up technology company focused on youth and innovation? An established construction business proud of time-tested methods and your connection to the community? Or something in between?

Owning or managing a business comes with a plethora of responsibilities and considerations. When you think about incorporating brand awareness on top of all the things your company has to consider on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, it can seem overwhelming, right?

The impression you develop for your business can go a long way toward helping you to build a customer base and make a lasting connection with clients. And it’s easier than you may think to bring an effective brand awareness strategy to your business.

The Impact of Branded Corporate Apparel

Making an impression is all about perception, and a proven way to improve the perception of your business is to incorporate branded apparel into your marketing strategy.

Branded apparel is a cost-effective and relatively inexpensive way to increase brand awareness. While other forms of marketing are certainly necessary and successful, investing in branded apparel for your employees usually requires less of a financial investment than many of these strategies. And, the long-term impact of branded apparel is big. It will be repeatedly seen by customers and the general public and continuously deliver you a return on investment.

Though it is relatively inexpensive, branded apparel can make a big impact. One of the strengths of branded apparel is its possibility to alter your relationships with customers, both current and potential.

It may seem like a relatively small change putting your logo on a shirt, coat, or hat. But having your employees wear these items becomes part of the personality of your company. In the minds of customers, branded corporate apparel is often associated with businesses that are well-established, large, and successful.

So, even if your company is relatively new to the marketplace, you can use branded apparel to convey to your intended audience that you are a professional in your field and have extensive knowledge of the products and services you offer. Your customers will have more confidence in choosing to purchase from your company. They’ll feel that they are working with capable employees who are experts in their field.

When your employees wear branded apparel, they are acting as brand ambassadors for your company. And when customers see employees wearing clothing with your company logo, not only does it give the employees a sense of authority.  It also conveys to the customer that the employees are proud of the company they work for and confident representatives of the product or service their company provides. If your employees consistently provide positive service for your customers, seeing the logo repeatedly on employee clothing is a reminder to customers that your company is reliable and has been good to them, making them more likely to continue to work with your business in the future.

Customers also equate branded products with quality. They view a branded item as superior to an equal, unbranded product. Including your logo on employee clothing works from this idea. It gives customers the impression that your business provides high-quality products, services, and customer care.

Need a compelling reason to incorporate branded apparel into your company culture? Consider these words:

  • Professional
  • Knowledgeable
  • Expert
  • Well-established
  • Authority
  • Reliable
  • High-quality

If you want your company to embody words like these, consider investing in branded apparel to increase the success of your brand awareness. Contact Paw Print & Mail today and inquire about our branded apparel services to find the perfect fit for your business.

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Using Branded Apparel to Unite Your Employees

Paw_Print_Team_Branded_Apparel
Created by Peoplecreations – Freepik.com

Think about the last sporting event you attended. What was it like? You may have heard music, the voice of an announcer, and cheers of delight, alongside cries of disappointment, as one team scored over the other. Maybe you sat on a hard bleacher, with a basket of warm food or a cold drink, your eyes trained on the field, court, or rink as you waited breathlessly for your team to take the game.

You feel a strong affinity to your team, aided by the hat, t-shirt, or jacket you’re always wearing with your team’s logo on it. If you’d happened to look around at other fans during that last sporting event, it’s likely many of them were wearing something to support the team, too. You may have little else in common with your fellow fans. But in your support of the team, you’re united. You share a high-five with the person next to you as your team scores. While you may not be a part of the official lineup out on the field, you are part of an even bigger team of fans.

Your Workplace is a Team Environment

Buying apparel to support your team brings you into a circle of loyal and united fans. Investing in branded apparel for your business team can be a unifying force, too. In the same way that you feel pride in supporting your sports team, your employees will feel a sense of pride representing a company that they respect.

The promotional products market in the U.S. is currently worth over $20 billion in annual revenue. One of the most popular forms of promotional product advertising is branded apparel. It’s an effective tool for creating brand awareness.  And branded apparel can have real effects on the inner workings of your company, too.

When you make the decision to invest in corporate apparel, you are helping to change the culture of your business. You can decide whether to make branded apparel a part of the required dress code for all employees. Doing so can alter the mindset of your work team—in a positive way. The notion of a uniform may not appeal to some workers. But there are so many apparel options available that it’s possible to find something your whole team will be proud to wear. Many employees are happier having branded apparel as a part of their dress code. It makes it easier to decide what to wear each day. And, it can be viewed as a more casual and comfortable clothing alternative.

Foster Commitment in the Workplace with Branded Apparel

If you’ve given thought to cultivating your brand, caring for your employees and bringing a thoughtful and professional manner to your business strategy, your employees are likely to feel a sense of loyalty to your company. When loyalty is present, employees will feel proud sporting your logo on their clothes and associating themselves with your brand.

One of the most important benefits of company apparel is that it can lead to more open communication. Whether your business is large or small, there is certainly a hierarchy. That hierarchy won’t disappear. But having all levels of your company wear branded clothing can help those lines between upper and lower management to fade a bit, which is good for your company culture. Seeing others wear the company logo is an equalizer, a reminder that you are all on the same team. This can lead to more open discussions and greater cooperation among the work team.

Being part of a team creates a sense of shared identity not just among coworkers, but also with your company’s values and mission statement. When your employees are wearing clothing branded with your logo, it’s a frequent reminder of what they are working for and what they represent.

This can change your employees’ mindset, so that they feel a greater responsibility for upholding your company’s values. With this responsibility often comes a commitment to better represent the company, leading to a better customer service experience for customer and employee. Your employees can even become brand ambassadors, who will carry your vision out into the world.

If you’d like to make branded apparel a part of your company culture and marketing strategy, contact Paw Print & Mail, and ask us about our branded apparel and promotional product services.

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A Top Way to Increase Brand Awareness

Promo_Products_Paw_Print_And_Mail
Business card vector created by Freepik

 

With so many marketing channels available to spread your company’s message, and so much competition, your business needs something to help it stand out from the crowd. One strategy you can adopt is to develop promotional products.

What are Promotional Products?

Promotional products have a rich history in America, dating back to 1789, when a commemorative button was created for George Washington’s campaign in the presidential election. Since that first button, the promotional products business has grown into a booming industry with an annual revenue of over $20 billion.

Why are so many businesses jumping on the promotional products train? Because it’s effective. Including promotional products in your marketing strategy can increase overall marketing success by up to 44 percent.

Promotional products are essentially another form of advertising. This category consists of any item featuring your company’s name, logo, or slogan. You probably have many of these kinds of products around your home or office. Think t-shirts from events, a branded stress ball, and numerous pens from all the businesses you frequent.

Why Should You Use Promotional Products?

Giving promotional products to your existing or potential customers is a great way to increase brand awareness, grow sales, and improve your return on investment. According to SAGE, one of the top promotional product companies in the U.S., using promotional products creates a more favorable impression of your company over 50 percent of the time. In one case, 55 percent of people did business with a company before receiving a promotional product, while 85 percent chose to work with the company after receiving the product.

Plus, 8 out of 10 consumers own at least one promotional item, and 89 percent of consumers can remember the advertiser of a promotional product they’ve received in the last two years. Often giving something for free to a consumer creates a sense of obligation. They’ll be more inclined to return the favor and do business with your company. It’s all about brand awareness, getting your name out there so more consumers know who you are and what you do.

What Kinds of Products?

One of the most important factors in the development of promotional products is how useful they are to the consumer. SAGE reported that 77 percent of consumers cite usefulness as the top reason for keeping a promotional item.

Keeping the item also means keeping your brand close to the consumer. It’s important to consider who your audience is and how they will be using the products you give them. You can use environmental targeting, giving out items to be used in situations where your company’s services would also be called upon. That way, your logo will be right in front of a consumer when they’re looking to make a purchase. Think mouse pads if you’re a tech company, water bottles if you’re in the fitness industry, or dog bandannas for a pet store. If you have the resources and opportunities, you can develop a few different products. That way, the consumer can choose what is useful to them. They’ll be more likely to use the item and more likely to remember your brand.

When developing these products, time is an important factor. In general, you want products that can be used repeatedly over a long period of time. If a consumer can use up your promotional product in a short amount of time, it won’t have the impact or sales potential of a more lasting product. The longer your promotional product is around, the greater the chance of increasing brand awareness for a wider audience.

Branded Apparel

A great way to start marketing your promotional products is to have your employees use them. Some of the most popular branded products on the market right now are branded apparel items. Clothing featuring your brand can be made to sell or give away at events. Or it can be worn by your employees.

Branded apparel helps to build an image of your company that fosters positivity for both employees and consumers. Having employees wear branded apparel nurtures brand identity and creates a sense of unity among your work team. Unity promotes communication and a stronger connection and dedication to the company mission. This sense of team spirit can increase productivity and grow revenue. And it’s another chance to spread awareness of your company as consumers interact with your employees.

Consumers tend to associate branded apparel with professionalism. In the consumer mindset, these are companies that can be trusted, produce high-quality work, and are authorities in their fields. Designing and creating a high-quality apparel product can go a long way toward creating a favorable and memorable public opinion of your business.

If you’d like to make promotional products a part of your marketing strategy, contact Paw Print & Mail about our branded apparel and promotional product services.

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Do Your Company Colors Match Your Personality?

Brand colors on cork boardMaking an Impression

When you buy a new car, sweater, or sofa, you consider a number of factors: durability, comfort, ease of use. These are, of course, important qualities. But the initial appeal of the product, what draws you to it, may depend on one thing—the color.

So when evaluating and strategizing your company branding, how does color play into the mix?

Items like sofas and sweaters have the advantage of coming in multiple colors. If you don’t like one, there may be another that fits your needs. But when it comes to your company’s brand, there can only be one color combination to consider—the one with the best chance of making a good first impression.

And that impression is almost instantaneous. You may not realize it, but you’ve made up your mind about a product in 90 seconds or less from your first interaction with it. In that unconscious moment, your assessment is based 60 to 90 percent on color alone.

Studies show that 93 percent of consumers consider visual appearance of a logo and other branded materials before deciding whether or not to purchase. No matter how compelling your company’s services may be, or how well they are performed, your brand is only as strong as its presentation.

It is critical, then, to make a strong first impression. Color can be an impactful way to do so.

But Which Colors?

There are many theories about the emotions different colors evoke. However, the guidelines of color association are imprecise. An important reason for this is personal preference. People prefer certain colors over others and associate different things with the same color. Any meaning a color may have comes in infinite variations. Thus, choosing the color yellow for your brand will not automatically make consumers associate your brand with happiness.

This is not to say that color does not have an effect on how your brand is marketed. Rather than attempting to have the color of your logo speak for itself in terms of meaning, make sure that the color is appropriate for your brand.

What does this mean? Essentially, you want the color of your logo to represent your brand’s personality. The context of personality is necessary to make color choice important –otherwise, you could use any color.

Content creator network Dashburst found that 80 percent of clients believe color is the primary way to recognize a brand. A common example is Apple, which uses white as its main color. White can represent simplicity and cleanliness, and Apple is aligned with that. Their products are promoted as easy to use with a simple appearance, focusing on clean lines and a basic design. Apple is such a well-known company that the color of the product alone can trigger an immediate association.

Color Speaks to Your Customers

Consumers generally see white as an appropriate color for Apple’s brand. That feeling of appropriateness is important. Choosing a color that a majority of people favor is not as important as choosing a color that customers believe appropriately reflects your brand and what it represents. Though one study found that blue is the favored color of 1/3 of women and over 1/2 of men, blue should not necessarily be used in every logo or advertisement.

By this logic, even an unpopular color can be used to sell a product or brand well if it fits the product. Brown was only the favorite color of 3 percent of participants in the color survey. But it can be used effectively if it is aligned with what the brand does. If you are a woodworker or own a gardening company, shades of brown would be perfectly appropriate to include in your advertising, as it is representative of what you do.

Sometimes it is less about individual colors and more about color schemes. Similar base and background colors with a contrasting accent color help to accentuate the importance of the information presented in the accent color. If your background colors are mostly whites and grays, using red or green in small amounts will direct customers to those parts of your advertisement or website that you most want them to see.

Which Pulls Better, A or B?

It is also important to test different color schemes when you can. Track how those different campaigns compare to see what resonates best with your audience. In the Button Color Test, the website of Performable created two pages that looked the same, except for the color of the “Get Started Now” button. On one page, the button was green to align with the accent color scheme. On the second page, the button was red, the only place that color was used on the page.

The result? There was a 21 percent higher conversion rate with the red button page over the green button page. Many sites have such a button, whether it reads “Join Today” or “Donate Now.” You don’t want anyone viewing your site to have to search for these links. Having a color scheme that flows throughout the site and a high-contrast button can make aligning with your brand easy.

Other Color Considerations

Want to design a brand-new logo or re-evaluate your existing logo? Here are some additional nuances to consider before you release your brand to the world.

  • Know your competition. If your logo looks a lot like Company X’s, consumers may be confused. Making your brand colors different from your main competitors will help your company to differentiate itself.
  • Keep culture in mind. Different countries and cultures have associations with colors that can vary widely. Color association is imprecise. But, there are some colors that have culturally been assigned to certain things. (Think red and green at Christmastime.) If you’re going to market your brand globally, make sure you know your audience. Consider how the logo may need to be adapted or changed in different areas to avoid cultural gaffes.
  • Men like shades, while women prefer tints. Depending on which gender you are marketing towards, you may want to try using colors more appealing to that gender.

Using color is only effective if you choose the right color, one that fits with what you want your brand to say to the world. Ensuring the appropriateness of the color you choose can increase your potential of making a positive and lasting impression on your intended audience.

Whether you have an established color scheme or are looking to start fresh, contact Paw Print & Mail for all your printing needs.

Direct Mail Marketing, Alpha Romeo Style

Alfa-Romeo-mailing-panelWhat’s the most powerful and effective way to engage your clients and prospects in your marketing message? Speak to them one-on-one. Communicate in such a way that each person you mail to knows, or better yet feels that they are special to you; that you have something to say that they’ll be eager and enthusiastic to hear about.

One of the best ways to do so is by using one simple word… “You”.

The following real-life example and images are used to illustrate just how valuable it is to speak to your target audience when conveying your brand in your sales and marketing messaging.

And by “brand”, I don’t mean just the logo, which is only one graphical representation of your brand; but your BRAND – that special something about your company or organization that defines who you are, what you do, and how you do it. It’s what attracts customers to your company, converts them to customers, and prompts them to spread the word.

I’m a car guy. I am a big fan of sports and performance cars, both vintage and new. Back in the day, I drove a bright yellow 1973 Triumph Spitfire; one of those teeny-tiny British 2-seat roadsters that helped define the classic wind in your hair (when I used to have some) description of top-down motoring. To this day I’m still an enthusiast and enjoy driving cars for more than mere transportation. My current Audi has a manual transmission with a stick shift that for me, is simply fun!

So when this mailer arrived in my mailbox from Berlin City, the local Alfa Romeo dealership for this Italian car manufacturer’s reintroduction into the US market, they had done their homework by identifying me as a member of their target audience – someone with an interest in fun sporty cars.

Let’s breakdown this mailer… Alfa-Romeo-mailing-panel

First, the iconic Alfa logo and branding is front and center on the outside of the mail piece. They don’t design logos like this much anymore.

 

Alfa-Romeao-Greeting-Paw-Print-and-MailI turn the piece over to find the headline at the top that reads:

YOU ARE INVITED TO EXPERIENCE THE ALL NEW 2017 ALFA ROMEO GIULIA.

This could have easily been written to read: CHECK OUT THE ALL NEW 2017 ALFA ROMEO GIULIA INSIDE; and while I still would have been curious, the actual headline speaks to me by using the word “YOU”.

They also used another very powerful word in this headline… EXPERIENCE. Let’s face it, the fundamental function of a car is transportation; carrying people and things from point A to point B. Any car can do that and for many people, that’s all they need, want, or expect out of a car. But for the driver of a hot Italian red car like this, the point, or more aptly the unique selling proposition, shifts from utility to emotion, and the experience you see, hear, and feel when behind the wheel of this automobile.

Alfa-Romeo-Direct-Mail-Paw-Print-and-MailNext, I open the mailer and the very first thing I notice are the letters VIP – with the “V” creatively crafted using the V-shape of the Giulia’s classic signature Alfa Romeo front grille.

We’ve been trained through language and marketing to put a high value on the letters VIP, and it works every time. Then, right below the VIP is the coupes de grace… the Call-to-ActionSchedule your personal Test Drive Experience, employing an equally influencial derivative of the word “you”… “your”.

Alfa-Romeao-OfferPaw-Print-and-MailYes, there’s more throughout the mailer that visually shows off the car, along with an attractive lease offer, but the REAL call-to-action is the invitation to experience driving this car; because Alfa Romeo and the dealership are pretty confident that once driven, the sales process gets much easier from there.

People buy on emotion

So THIS is a great example of the power and attraction that direct mail has and will continue to have so long as marketers know how to use it and apply direct mail marketing’s three fundamental best practices:

  1. Know your target audience and focus your time and budget on them
  2. Include a compelling offer that speaks to the person and evokes emotion
  3. Design the mail piece to be relevant and attractive to the target audience; integrating personalization and the word “you” whenever appropriate.

For the best experience and results for your direct marketing projects, Contact Paw Print & Mail to discuss your objectives and needs with us.

Marketing 101: What to Avoid

reinvigorate-your-marketing

When marketing for your small business, there’s a number of things you should do. You should hire a designer to do graphic work, you should define your own brand, you should develop a campaign plan and so on and so forth. However, you’re not often told what you shouldn’t do.

The truth is, when it comes to marketing savviness, there’s a variety of practices to definitely avoid. These can be common mistakes or specific scenarios, but they all fall into the category of Marketing 101: WHAT NOT TO DO. If you’re still unsure about what you should avoid while marketing for your small business, check out these top categories.

Lack of Self-Promotion
The idea “My small business doesn’t need any marketing” is a long and archaic concept which should be erased from your brain database indefinitely. The fact is any business wanting to make money should have a marketing and promotion strategy.

You may believe your product or service can speak for itself, and people will naturally come through word of mouth. While this may be partially true, nothing is going to bring in customers more than your own promotion. In other words, your business should sell your business.

Undefined Target Audience
Consider your ideal customer. Someone who fits your business values perfectly, who loves every single product and who would be willing to spend quite a bit of money with your organization. What do they look like? How do they act? How would you define them?

If you’re not sure who your target audience is, develop a plan as soon as possible. An undefined target audience can make your marketing campaigns appear scattered and uncertain, leaving your business looking unorganized and unreliable.

This is particularly applicable to direct mail marketing which carries the investment in graphic design, printing & mailing production services, and postage. Direct mail can be very effective as part of a multi-channel marketing mix when mailing to a targeted audience.

Social Media Ignorance
There’s no way around it: social media is here to stay. That means if you want your business to stay, then social media marketing needs to be a staple. Help your organization out by avoiding social media ignorance.

This means creating a Facebook page for your business, and depending on your target audience, a Twitter or Instagram as well. Not only will you be meeting your customers on a more personal level, but you gain free promotion and increased search engine rankings.

Aggressive Email Blasts
If your small business utilizes email marketing, wonderful. Keep it up! According to Entrepreneur.com, email marketing for mid-size businesses offers a 246% return on investment. However, make sure to be careful about how the emails go out.

An unregulated email blast to all of your subscribers can leave customers feeling more isolated than engaged, and before you know it you have consumers leaving your list. Practice audience segmentation of topics and avoid overdoing timely emails.

False Promises
Above all, when marketing for your small business, avoid making any false promises to customers or clients. False promises can negatively affect your company’s response rate by clients and brand affinity.

For example, if you advertise fast and effective service but fail to treat customers in the same way, potential clients will be unconvinced your business can come through for them. When developing a marketing plan, be clear and concise, while avoiding any confusion or falsity.

Marketing is an important part of any small business plan, so make sure to take it under careful consideration. Decide on what your marketing strategy should consist of, but be reminded of what it shouldn’t as well. Then you can be certain of your business success.

Put the “why” in your marketing

In a 2009 TED Talk, leadership expert Simon Sinek said, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. If you talk about what you believe, you will attract those who believe what you believe.”

Do you know your company’s “why”? (Hint: It’s not to make money). Think about the core purpose of your business, and then think about how you market your products or services. Are they aligned? As Sinek has found by studying successful companies like Apple, Southwest Airlines, and Patagonia, having loyal customers is all about attracting the people who share your fundamental beliefs.

In each of these companies, and other similarly focused companies and organizations, leadership has flipped the typical business model upside down. Instead of leading a company’s marketing with the “what” of the company – the products and services they sell – followed by the “how” a company does what it does, companies that enjoy the strongest brand loyalty, which tends to translate into profit, lead with clarity on “why” they are in business and “why” they do what they do.

Ideally every product, service, and cause should exist to make a positive difference in people’s lives. Who would buy it or why do it, otherwise? What’s a positive difference? That depends on a person’s need; from making someone smile, to saving someone’s life and everything in between. At the end of the day, the “why” is your most powerful value proposition and not your product.

Your “why” sets you and your business or organization apart from your competition. Your “why” resonates and imprints on your customers’ psyche and emotions which helps shield your “what” from competing solely on price.

It’s your “why” that gets people talking about you and spreading your brand.

Once you are clear on your “why”, share it with your customers and your staff, and sprinkle it into all your marketing efforts. While you may have the best product or service on the market, sharing your “why” will help potential customers understand how working with you will benefit them.

Curious to hear more about what Sinek had to say? Join the over 27 million other viewers and watch his TED talk here.

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Top 7 Ways to Grow your Business on a Small Marketing Budget

Paw-Print-Mail-MarketingI don’t know what it’s like in your business or organization, but here at Paw Print & Mail, summertime is our slower season. The pace will pick up soon as people come off vacations, schools ramp back up, and businesses and nonprofits in general return to the mindset and realization that “as the 4th quarter approaches, it’s time for that final drive downfield to end the year with a score!”

Quite often, the first thing to go when times get slow or get tough, is the marketing budget. But that’s a mistake as marketing your business or organization is essential, especially during the slow times and tough times, to maintain brand awareness and being “top-of-mind” when your customers are ready to buy.

Try these seven low or no-cost tips to create a “buzz” and generate leads when your marketing budget is small.

Social Media. Devote time to setting up or improving your Social Media footprint. It requires little in terms of financial investment but does require a time commitment in providing high-value content and frequent updates.

So, what’s “high-value content”? This depends on who your customers are and what products or services they sell or provide; but some of the most valuable and high-ROI content you can generate is simply paying attention to what’s happening in your customers’ worlds and promoting them.

The sweetest sound to anyone’s ears is the sound of their name, including their business name. By simply devoting 30 minutes a day or every other day towards seeking and finding tidbits of information on your clients’ world, and posting a “shout out” on your Social Media site to mention their event, storewide sale, awards, accomplishments, and achievements, to express thanks for the project you and your team just completed for them, or kudos to them for how well they took care of you as their customer – goes a long ways towards building goodwill and strengthening your relationships.

Public Relations. Getting PR for your business does not require paying a PR firm. Check out local journalist gatherings or contact media directly. Get to know your contacts and help them learn about your business and how you provide value to your clients. Come up with your own questions and answers to make their jobs easier too.

Network. Expanding your circle of professional contacts can help drum up more business. Consider bartering your services for services you need but do not have adequate skills to perform.

Another effective form of networking is to invite your clients’ out for a cup of coffee. Asking a client or prospect to lunch can sometimes feel like too much too soon depending on where you are in the sales and marketing “dating” process, whereas a coffee visit is a more casual outreach towards building client relationship. If this sounds more palatable, give it a try; who isn’t game for a coffee break on some of those more hectic days?

Increase Your Community Involvement. Being involved in your community, whether on a nonprofit board, as an organizer or participant in fundraising or civic events, as an advocate or ambassador for an organization, by donating your products or services to a local charity, or on some level that finds you working with others towards a common goal or cause, can result in building your personal and professional brand, and social capital.

The key point here is to be involved for the love and benefit of the cause and not for self-promotion. By doing so, not only will you meet new people to strike up new relationships while making a positive difference, but the exposure and involvement can be good for business as a side benefit as well!

Try Direct Mail. Direct mail has been producing solid returns for years. If you haven’t sent a mailed piece to your list in a while, it might be time to consider sending a campaign via mail to help support what you are doing online as well.

To optimize your direct mail budget, thoughtfully construct your mailing list to include true target audience recipients to avoid wasting printing and postage dollars on mailing to those who are less likely to buy what you sell. At Paw Print & Mail, we’re experts at direct mail marketing and helping our clients optimize their mailing dollars.

Ask for referrals. This often overlooked function feeds off the most powerful form of marketing there is – word of mouth – to produce faster results than most any other type of approach.

Testimonials. Similar to referrals, ask your clients for testimonials and begin adding them as positive reinforcement content on your website, brochures, direct mailings, and Social Media sites.

At Paw Print & Mail, we contract with online survey specialist, Survey Advantage, to collect post-sale customer satisfaction data that we then post on our Paw Print & Mail Reviews page to not only inform visitors, but to optimize our SEO strength.

So you see, when you focus on “relationship”, it doesn’t necessarily take a large advertising and marketing budget to pull together some very powerful, organic, meaningful, and sustainable tactics to get your business or organization through the slow times, and beyond.