Reaching the Elusive Millennial

Who Are Millennials?

What goes through your mind when you hear the term “millennial”? It’s a word that seems to be everywhere these days. But who are millennials? What makes them tick and drives their decisions? And how can you communicate with them?

group of young millennial people
Created by Javi_indy – Freepik.com

Understanding what a millennial is and how exactly you can reach them is an elusive concept. It’s one that is often frustrating to marketers who are trying to connect with this generation. You may have experienced this yourself. If so, I have both good and bad news for you. Since they are a very diverse group, no single marketing strategy is going to allow you to reach every millennial.

But the good news is, there are several approaches proven to resonate with millennials. And they’re not as hard to grasp as you may think.

Watch this video to get a clearer idea of who millennials are and what’s important to them:

Millennials have a different world-view, and need to be marketed to differently. They are a demographic that, in sheer numbers alone, is more populous than the baby boomers. This gives the millennial generation significant purchasing and decision-making power, a power that continues to grow annually.

Since millennials currently make up 25% of the U.S. population and will compose half of the American workforce by 2020, it’s important that marketers understand the best way to reach this demographic. Though they cannot be defined by income, career choice, or marital status, there are a few generalities that can be made:

  • An individual born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s is a millennial.
  • As the first generation to grow up in the online era, they are used to digital communications and having more choices than previous generations.
  • Millennials are the most educated generation, though they also have more student debt.
  • Meaning, experiences, and causes are all important topics/ideas for them.

So, how can you successfully market to millennials?

1. Enhance Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Millennials are used to receiving information from many channels. They tend to be multitaskers, plugged in across devices and sharing content across media. Consistency across platforms is key for engaging millennial consumers with your marketing. Having a constant message and representation of your brand helps them to connect with your company.

Since so many millennials are accessing content on smartphones and tablets, you need to adopt a multi-channel strategy focused on mobile optimization. That may mean reworking your website into a responsive template. This will make it accessible and easily readable across devices of any screen size.

Millennials spend 48% more time watching video than the average online user. And 60% of them upload their own video, images, and blog content to the web. According to Hubspot, millennials are 247% more likely to be influenced by digital resources like blogs and social networking sites than previous generations.

That’s huge! And, it means that connecting with millennials requires you to develop a social strategy. Find the social media sites that work best for you and make them a part of your daily marketing plan. Adding a YouTube account or creating your own video content for Facebook or your website can also be effective. Millennials want to see helpful, informative content that they can engage with. Make sure your digital strategy offers them more than just what you’re trying to sell.

2. Embrace User Generated Content

The Baby Boomer generation relied on traditional forms of advertising, like radio and television ads. Marketers could expect that running an ad on TV would lead to many new sales and customers. Millennials, however, are much less likely to make a purchase decision from such an ad. What do they like? Brand interaction.

User generated content is one of the top ways that millennials make purchase decisions. They want to read honest reviews from customers who have purchased a company’s products or utilized their services. A study by Bazaarvoice found that 84% of millennials are influenced by user generated content when making purchase decisions. And 73% believe it is important to read others’ opinions before making a purchase.

Traditional ads are all about getting consumers to pay attention. Utilizing user generated content in your business is about building trust, which is high on the list of what millennials want from businesses. They like to do business with brands that are authentic and human. And they want to be able to interact and have a conversation with those companies.

What does this mean for you? Make it as easy as possible for public discussions about your brand to happen. Whether it’s on your website, a blog page, or your social media sites, get customers talking about your brand.

Facebook gives you the option of allowing reviews on your page, and this can be a great place to showcase what people are saying about your business. They might not always have good things to say. But a public forum is a place where you can show your willingness to resolve issues and take customer suggestions. Potential customers will see this, and it will help you to appear more human in their eyes.

Millenial giving 5 star review
Business image created by Photoroyalty – Freepik.com

Customers that love your brand will want to say so. They will become brand ambassadors by talking to their friends and family about their experience. This group is more likely to respond to a peer review than a pop-up ad. You can also invest in influencer marketing, essentially building relationships with individuals that have influence over your customer base and can reach them through mediums like social media, in ways that your brand may not be able to.

Try giving customers a chance to bring their personality to your brand and be a part of brand decisions. For instance, Lays has given customers the ability to choose the next chip flavor. Coca-Cola ran a campaign asking fans to get creative and interpret what the brand means to them in an artistic medium of their choice.

3. Personalize Direct Mail for Millennials

Millennials are used to digital marketing channels, and they rely heavily on what their community has to say about a brand. However, this does not mean that online methods are the only way to reach your millennial audience. US Presort, a direct marketing company based in New York City, conducted a surprising study about millennials and direct mail. Check out some results:

  • 84% of millennials regularly read through their mail, and 64% would rather find useful information in the mail than from an email.
  • 50% of millennials ignore digital ads, while only 15% ignore direct mail.
  • 90% of people between 25 and 34 believe direct mail is reliable.
  • 77% pay attention to advertising through direct mail, and over half have made a purchase from a direct mail offer.

Those are some pretty compelling statistics in favor of using direct mail to market to millennials. As we learned above, millennials like to hear personal stories when considering a brand. One of the reasons direct mail is so popular is that it can be extremely personalized based on categories like purchase history, interests, and geographic region. Printing technology is also considerably advanced. You can add to the tactile benefit of direct mail by incorporating creative folds, colors, and textures that will make your mail memorable.

4. Increase Millennial Engagement & Market an Experience

Millennials feel trust when a brand’s values align with their own. Those values often include a desire to support a cause or charitable mission. Nearly half of millennials are more willing to purchase from a company if that company supports a cause, and 37% will pay more for a product or service if it will help a cause they believe in. Philanthropy adds to the human side of your brand that is so important for millennials. If your business supports a cause, make sure people know about it.

Being able to give back while conducting business with your company changes the brand experience. For millennials, experience carries more weight than a physical purchase. 78% of millennials prefer spending money on experiences rather than purchasing an item. Over half are spending more on events and experiences now than they ever have.

This may seem hard to work with if you’re in the business of selling a product. But it’s all about how you market it. Millennials are very receptive to storytelling in advertisements, and you can use that to your advantage. If you sell tents, for instance, make your ad about the experience of camping, how it allows you to relax, have fun, and connect with friends and family, rather than focusing on the physical and monetary benefits of the product.

You can also hold an event to get prospective customers more excited about the buying process. Attending the event heightens the experience of shopping, It’s also a great opportunity for millennials to connect to the personality and human face of your business.

We recognize that crafting a marketing plan can be a challenge. Contact Paw Print & Mail and let us help you find the right strategy to market your business to millennials, or any demographic you are trying to reach.

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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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Enhance Your Sales With Marketing Automation

marketing automation graphic
Be more effective with your marketing. Image created by Freepik.

As a business owner, staying in touch with your customers is the key to solidifying vital relationships and growing your business. You want to be able to have a conversation and convey your brand so they’ll return to you for their needs, rather than go to your competitors. But penning a personal message to a customer (and being able to anticipate when you might need to) can consume a lot of time.

Marketing is a core function of any business or nonprofit organization. It should be high on the list of your resource investments. But that doesn’t mean it has to consume all of your work time. An effective way to keep communication open while consuming less time is through the use of marketing automation.

What Is Marketing Automation?

Wikipedia defines it as the use of an automation platform to streamline sales and marketing efforts by replacing high-touch, repetitive manual processes with automated solutions. Essentially marketers can do more in less time, with greater efficiency, allowing them to focus on high gain activities while the technology delivers effective marketing results. Most marketing automation solutions today are cloud-based applications. These enable marketing professionals to seamlessly integrate off and online media, such as Direct Mail, Email, Web, SMS (text messaging), Social Media, and Mobile, to create highly personalized and unified experiences across multiple channels.

With an automation campaign, you develop content that the application sends to your customers when it is most effective. The technology allows you to give your messages a human touch. Make them as personal as you’d like them to be, so your customers will feel connected to your brand.

The components inherently built into a typical automated marketing campaign include:

  • A trigger, most often an email, direct mail piece, or both.
  • A campaign-branded landing page, with one to a few qualifying questions. You can include a download deliverable like an eBook, white paper, or other offer of value.
  • Thank You or follow up touch(es) to continue the conversation or close the loop. Throughout the entire process, personalization is employed to greet and engage.

This process gives marketers keen insight into the level of interest and/or stage in the buying cycle the customer or prospect is at. The qualifying information gathered forms a higher level lead for your sales team to evaluate and act on. This saves companies and nonprofits time and money by focusing on leads that have a higher probability of advancing in the sales or donor cycle. Whatever goals you have for your business, marketing automation can help you meet them through the development of targeted campaigns that will get you results.

Marketing automation is also a means of scaling your marketing outreach. You’ll be able to reach all or segmented parts of your contact list at once in a highly personalized fashion. This allows you to accomplish your objectives of building brand awareness, educating your customers, prospecting for leads, asking for referrals, and client nurturing.

Marketing automation is an effective tool that you can use as part of your marketing mix to not only generate leads, but generate QUALIFIED leads. This is an important distinction to understand. Since the number one goal of most marketers is demand generation for their sales organization, one of the key opportunities of investing in marketing automation is to be able to develop well-executed lead nurturing programs. The added capability to create rule-based multi-touch drip marketing campaigns, leading to improved results, is one of the reasons why marketers embrace the solution.

Employing this strategy, the marketer is able to deliver “Sales Ready” leads to sales for immediate follow-up. The remaining prospects are nurtured until they move to the “Sales Ready” category. This approach leads to significantly improved revenue results and marketing ROI. In fact, Forrester Research reports that companies leveraging this approach generate 50% more sales-ready leads (key revenue producing opportunities), at 33% less marketing cost.

4 Essential Benefits of Marketing Automation

While automation is a complex and layered process, here are four main reasons to invest in it.

1) Do More in Less Time

Setting up your automation software will take time upfront. But once you have developed your content, you’re saving time in the long run. Rather than crafting emails individually, the software contacts customers and leads for you. This leaves you with more time to focus on high-gain activities, developing new areas to market and grow your business. You’ll be able to generate more revenue, from increasing the number of leads who convert to customers as well as the extra time you’ll have to enhance your marketing strategy. 

2) Target Leads More Specifically

Customers and prospects will receive content in a timely manner that is targeted to their needs, interests, and content preferences. You can reduce the quantity of cold calls by generating a supply of qualified leads. 

3) Increase Action

Content is specific to where each customer is in the sales process. Thus, it increases the likelihood of that person taking the intended action. 

4) Enhance Communication

Being in contact with your customers more often and more specifically increases your connection with them. It can help to create more of a dialogue, as you learn customer preferences, needs, and behaviors.

Marketing automation is essentially using applications software to automate your marketing efforts. It is a digital tool that executes a predefined marketing campaign. Once the launch button is pressed, it delivers your marketing message in a systematic, consistent, and timely fashion.

While not all automated marketing campaign applications are created equal, the more robust applications, like those employed as a service here at Paw Print & Mail, are capable of effectively using cross-channel touches, like email and direct mail, working in harmony to put your message in front of your customers and prospects in an orchestrated fashion. Contact us to get started on marketing automation for your business.

 

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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

Source: PPAI

You’re probably using traditional forms of advertising to market your business. These efforts are vital to maintaining your sales strategy. And 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

Prospects_Paw_Print_And_Mail
Background vector created by Iconicbestiary – Freepik.com

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.

Promotional products infographic
Source: PPAI

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.

Need ideas for using promotional items for your business? Check out this blog for 5 major ways brands are making use of promo. 

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.

Gifting 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 powerful and effective way to increase the impact of your advertising, and we’re here to help. Contact, Sarah, our Promotional Branding Specialist, 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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Boost Your Marketing During the Slow Season

Group sitting around table discussing marketing strategy
Business image created by Peoplecreations – Freepik.com

The dog days of summer may inspire you to do little more than stretch out in the sun with a cool drink and a good book. Blue skies and warm breezes have you running to the beach, not to the office.

The hottest time of year weather-wise can often be the coolest time of year business-wise. Whether your slow season falls during the summer months, the colder season, or somewhere in between, extra time on your hands can be a great opportunity to invest in your business.

Less business may seem like a bad thing. In fact, slower times are a welcome chance to revisit and revise parts of your company, like your marketing strategy, to ensure busy times will come around again.

Reach Out to Your Customers

Woman working in office speaking on phoneOne of the most important things to remember, especially during slow times, is to create consistent content. If your business is only open certain months of the year, don’t market your business only during those months. Your goal is to keep your company relevant and in people’s minds, so that when you open for business again, customers are excited about it.

Get into the habit of creating and sharing content on a schedule, that is consistent during busy and slower times. Social media is always in season. Keeping up with social media accounts ensures that your followers regularly receive content from your brand. Your content is likely to change  throughout the year. Yet the most important function of social media is to engage with your clients and customers, regardless of how busy your company is.

One way to utilize social media is to share content you create, like marketing offers or blog posts. If you can find a way to translate your content across seasons, you can show the relevance your product or service holds at all times. What interests your audience? Work to carry that interest throughout the year.

Producing content consistently ensures that you can be seen not only as a source for products and services, but as a source of knowledge. Providing your customers with relevant, helpful information means that consumers will be more likely to look to you when making a purchase.

Reconnect with Clients

Young women greeting male clientWhen you’re so busy working with clients that you barely have time to take a breath, it can be hard to find the time to follow up on potential leads. During a busy period, you’re focused on all of the opportunities that are coming in to you, and not thinking as much about lead generation. When slower times do come, they are a great chance to connect with leads. Look to individuals that have expressed interest in your products or services, but were previously not ready to follow through with a purchase. Having allowed some time to elapse, these leads may now be in a position to work with you. And, you’re able to devote more time to making their experience with you the best it can be.

Evaluate your client list as well, and get in touch with clients you haven’t heard from in a while. These customers could be in the process of creating new business for you. In reaching out to them you can show how you value the relationship you have with them, and help ensure they follow through with their purchase.

Slower times for your business could mean taking the time to develop materials for reaching out to a new niche market, in order to generate fresh leads. If you’ve seen a trend of a certain industry or demographic that frequently uses your services, you can create a campaign to generate more leads from that niche.

Another way to utilize slower periods is to organize and host an open house or an off-season sale. You’ll create a chance to talk and connect with your customer base. Everyone loves a sale! Your past customers will be drawn back by the quality and deals they’ve come to expect from your business. An event also attracts new business from those who are interested in your company but would welcome the chance to learn more.

Reinvent Your Marketing Plan

colleagues discussing marketing plan during slow seasonSlow business is a good time to rethink your marketing strategy. The marketing goals you set a year ago may have been surpassed. Or, they may no longer fit the direction of your business. Now, you have the opportunity to set new, relevant goals.

These goals could include developing a plan that makes marketing easier when you have a lot on your plate, so your strategy can stay consistently strong. This may involve implementing a marketing automation campaign. That way you can develop compelling content now to be used as business picks up.

Consider any new projects or systems you want to bring to your marketing strategy now:

  • Want an upgrade to your website? Research new templates or services to make your site more appealing.
  • Are there broken links or a lack of pertinent information available to your customers? Clean up your web pages and make your content clear and accessible.
  • Can potential customers find your site easily? Adjust your language to increase the SEO value of your web page. That way, potential customers will be more likely to find you.
  • Do your print campaigns need a boost? Consider giving your direct mail, posters, business cards, and more a redesign to keep things fresh.
  • Thinking about adding promotional products to your marketing? Explore your options for creative promo campaigns.

While assessing your marketing plan, you may find that tactics you once relied on have simply become dead ends. Eliminating them now will allow you to focus your efforts on more lucrative enterprises.

A slow time for sales doesn’t have to mean a slow time for your business. Make the most of the down time to evaluate your business strategy. Develop new approaches to marketing so your busy period becomes even busier!

Whether you’re going through a slow time or a busy one, Paw Print & Mail can help you find the printing, mailing, and promotional product solutions to enhance your marketing strategy.

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The Power of One Drop

drip campaign graphic water droplet coming out of pipeThink of water dripping out of a faucet. Each droplet seems minuscule, like it would never be enough to make a difference. But if your faucet dripped all day, you’d have quite a bucket full of water. In the natural world, a trickle of water can take a wall of rock and turn it into a canyon that stretches for miles. Never underestimate the power of a single drop of water. When many drops come together, they can make quite a difference.

Drip Drip Drip…

But how do drops of water relate to marketing? Drip campaigns are a marketing strategy you can use to connect with leads. You may have heard other terms like “autoresponder” or “marketing automation.” A drip campaign is essentially another name for this kind of marketing plan. It can be used across marketing channels, including direct mail and telephone marketing, and is very popular when used as an email approach. You can combine content from different channels into your drip campaign, connecting them in ways that are most appropriate for your audience.

In a drip campaign, you can connect with leads on a schedule, and follow them throughout their relationship with you. Each piece of content they receive, each drip, will add to their experience and knowledge of your company, helping to build them into full-fledged customers.

Right as Rain

A big benefit of this kind of campaign is relevance. When someone subscribes to your email list or qualifies for your direct mail campaign, they could be anywhere in the sales process. They may have already invested in your company’s products or services, be in the process of exploring your options, or are still deciding between your business and a few others. Because of this, the content you send them, while informative on its own, may not be relevant to where they are on the sales timeline. You want to stay in touch with leads throughout their relationship with you. But sending them a stream of content that doesn’t fit with their interests may drive some leads away.

Drip campaigns are intended to provide your audience with content tailored to the specific actions they are performing in regards to your company. You can track this activity and send emails to potential or existing customers with appropriate content at an appropriate time. For example, you can tell someone has been exploring a product or an upgrade page on your website. You could use the drip campaign to send them an email outlining the benefits of the product or upgrade you are offering.

Implementing a drip campaign can have significant benefits for your business. Targeted emails were found to bring in 18 times more revenue and have 119 percent higher click rates than more generally broadcast emails. And when you nurture leads with relevant emails, they make 47 percent larger purchases than non-targeted leads.

Say a lead is on the fence about making a purchase. Offering them more specific information or offers related to the product or service will give them more knowledge going into the purchase and make them more likely to buy. After a purchase is made, your drip campaign should continue. You want to keep your customers coming back, after all! Based on your knowledge of the customer’s purchase, you can offer insightful content about how to make the best use of the product or service as well as similar offers or promotions they may be interested in. Drip campaigns are also a great way to reengage customers who haven’t purchased from you or used your service in a while, to confirm reservations or renewals, or to transition from a trial to premium membership. You can use them for almost anything!

Liquid Asset

Drip campaigns can help you find stronger leads and bring in more revenue. Worried about the extra work this kind of strategy would require within a marketing plan already stressed for time? Never fear! Another advantage of a drip campaign is that it works great when automated. First you develop the kind of content you want leads to receive, like a well-written welcome email. Then you can set it up so that every time someone subscribes to your email newsletter, they automatically get a letter of welcome. (In fact, nearly 75 percent of people have come to expect this).

And it doesn’t have to end there. You can automate your system so a few days after the welcome email, the lead receives a series of emails. These could encourage the lead to utilize resources on your website or explore new product features.

As you build profiles on leads and customers, you can make your drips even more targeted, increasing the campaign’s success. Automation will remove the need for you to personally send each drip to a lead or customer. But you’ll still want to make sure you’re segmenting and targeting your audience groups, determining a schedule for contact, and evaluating overall campaign success.

There are a number of software programs that offer marketing automation services for your drip campaign. Or you can do some legwork on your own if you have the time to do so. Check out this helpful infographic for more details about running a drip campaign:

Drip_Campaign_2_Paw_Print

Turn On the Faucet

Interested in learning more about or getting assistance for a drip campaign for your business or organization? Paw Print & Mail can help you with that. Contact us for a free one-hour marketing discussion and consultation.

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The Best Way to Add Value to Your Direct Mail

customized direct mail personalization letter and envelope
Personalizing our direct mail letters and envelopes shows potential clients you have experience working with experts in their field.

Direct Mail [Still] Works

When you reflect on the different ways to get your message in front of your intended audience, you may be thinking about marketing emails, social media strategy, or hosting an event. All of these are essential to a well-rounded marketing plan. But a piece is missing. You’re forgetting direct mail.

“Snail mail” may not seem like it fits in with our technology-driven world. But direct mail has proven itself as a vital piece of any marketing strategy. Consider the following statistics:

  • 56 percent of consumers believe print is the most trustworthy form of marketing
  • 59 percent of U.S. consumers like to get mail from brands regarding new products
  • 40 percent of consumers will try a new business after receiving a direct mail piece

While direct mail is most effective as part of a multi-channel marketing approach, it holds real potential for boosting your business. One thing that helps direct mail stand out is the personal touch it can bring. Here’s another statistic: 70 percent of Americans believe that mail is more personal than the internet. There is so much competition for consumers’ attentions. You need a way to show consumers that you value them as distinct individuals and can satisfy their individual needs.

Personalizing your mail changes the emphasis of your campaigns from what your company does to who the consumer is and how your company can fulfill the consumer’s needs. Your goal is to make a connection with the recipient, whether you are contacting them for the first time or are maintaining an existing relationship.

Personalization Techniques

In an InfoTrends Growth Survey, 55 percent of respondents said personalization of a mail piece increases the likelihood that they will open it. If your goal is to get your message in front of more consumers, your strategy should include personalization. While it takes time to segment your mailing list and create more specific content, you’re going to see an increased rate of recipients opening and acting on your mail piece—a significant return on investment.

One of the most basic ways to personalize a direct mail piece is to use each recipient’s name. It can be placed in the salutation (i.e., Dear Bob) and throughout the piece. Names should certainly be used over addresses such as “Dear Friend” or “Dear Supporter.”  These aren’t wrong. But the less personalized your mail piece is, the less likely the consumer will be to open and to act on it. General terms like “friend” are inclusive. However, it gives the sense that the recipient is one of many, rather than a specific individual that you wanted to reach out to.

Depending on how much you know about the members of your mailing list, you can customize your mail pieces to be as specific as you want. For prospective customers, the information you have will vary based on what you’ve managed to gather. At the very lest, you can segment your list by geographic location.

If you’re mailing to current customers, you can draw from information such as past purchases or how long it’s been since they’ve placed an order. This will affect both the type of mail you send to them as well as the wording and content of the mail piece. In one example, Target sent personalized direct mail to a group of customers who had spent over a certain amount on their Target credit card. The mailing included coupons based on customer purchase history. Target saw a 50 percent increase in response over non-personalized campaigns they had run in the past. Having the data to be able to identify distinct groups to target can have a big advantage for your marketing strategy and generate more sales.

The end of a direct mail piece offers a final way to personalize the piece. Thinking in terms of a letter format, have the letter be from an individual at your company. Have that person sign the letters for a personal touch.

P.S.

Research shows that one of the most important parts of a sales or fundraising letter is the P.S. Very often people will look at the opening of the piece, then turn to the back to see what the offer is. If there’s a P.S. there, they’ll often read it before anything else.

So make sure you always put an appealing P.S. that reiterates the most important points of your sales pitch. Remember, you want every part of your piece to work hard for you. Make sure your P.S. is doing everything it can to convert the sale.

Envelope Tips

Another way to bring personalization into your mailing is to hand address envelopes. This may be ineffective for bulk mailings. But if you have a smaller mailing and can take the time, hand written envelopes could be the personal touch that encourages a consumer to open your mail piece.

Envelopes are important to consider for any mailing. You may want to give some thought to the appearance of your envelopes if you are using them for your direct mail piece. Traditionally, window envelopes have been used for mail like bills. Using them for your marketing mail can have different effects. Because they appear like a bill, these pieces are almost guaranteed to be opened; however, the recipient may be unhappy if they perceive your use of the envelope as a deception.

You can also make your direct mail more interesting by creating a teaser, an image or phrase to print on your envelopes. The hard work you’ve done to personalize your direct mail piece will be lost if the mail is unopened. Your envelope has to be enticing enough for the recipient to become curious about what’s inside. A teaser could include your logo. It should suggest what is inside without revealing too much. And, never falsely represent what the recipient will find if they open the envelope.

As with any marketing strategy, you’ll want to test different approaches to personalizing your direct mail campaigns. The basic tenet of incorporating personalization in your direct mail pieces is to show value. Including aspects that are personal to a recipient gives them the sense that you value them as a unique customer.  By using your direct mail to speak to consumers’ individual needs, you are also helping to show the value your business can hold for the consumer. This gives them a reason to look for you for their next investment in goods or services.

Direct mail services are a big part of what we do at Paw Print & Mail. Contact us today to make your next direct mail piece the best yet.

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5 Steps for Attracting More Qualified Leads

illustration of ways to generate leads
Background vector created by Photoroyalty – Freepik.com

In a perfect world, there would always be people seeking out your business, in need of the services you provide. You’d have so much business that you’d never have to worry about generating new leads.

Real life is rarely like that. Even if you’ve got a solid client or donor base and your services are in demand, it is a good idea to have a focus on generating leads as part of your marketing strategy.

If you want to increase sales or fundraising for your business or organization, as well as engage new people in what you have to offer, you’ll have to develop a strategy to connect with those who know little to nothing about your company. And while your efforts may seem unsuccessful at first, time and practice will help your business to grow.

In 5 Steps to Growing Sales Automatically, I outline a five-step process for enhancing your marketing strategy, steps I have put into practice to enhance my own business, that work! A recent way I’ve successfully connected with new prospects is by developing a mailing packet to send to a particular vertical market.

Generate Leads in 5 Steps

Step One:

In order to increase growth in your business, you need to have a solid understanding of where your current sales are coming from. Did you know that 5 percent of your customer base can provide over 50 percent of your sales? Often there is a trend among these customers that you can focus on when marketing. It may be where they are located, the size of the business, or age of the consumer. Whether you are a B2B business or a B2C business, there are ways you can find your “perfect customer” to better tailor your marketing efforts. When you’re ready to upgrade your marketing strategy, we can help you find your perfect customer.

Developing our marketing packet began with examining our customer base to determine who is utilizing our services the most. Examine your sales from the past year to find out who is making up that top 5 percent. Then, define those customers. Since we work from a B2B perspective, we asked questions about company size, location, annual revenue, and market niche, to create a picture of the perfect customer. Once you have that definition, you can better determine your sales focus, with a clear picture of which leads you should specifically market to.

Step Two:

Once we determined that we wanted to reach out to more of these particular customers, we identified what kinds of services they need from us—what we can provide them with to best match their goals and objectives. To do this, focus on why current customers that fit the perfect customer niche are using your company. Ask them what services they are happy with, as well as what they may need more of from you. This can benefit your current client base, too. Their answers can help you to reach out to new customers. And, you can improve the experience clients are having with your company, which will in turn boost revenue.

Knowing the kinds of services our current niche clients utilized, we wanted to provide prospective clients with marketing materials that would highlight how we could best meet their needs and help them to meet and grow beyond their expectations.

Step Three:

You know who your perfect customer is and, in general, what they will want from you. Now, you have to figure out the best way to find and connect with them. There are many marketing channels to choose from. The ones you ultimately use will depend on the demographics of your target audience. Using multiple channels, with a consistent message across the board, can be an effective method.

We made use of data channels in order to find perfect customers to market to. We were able to take the criteria that make up the perfect customer, and find businesses which fit those categories.

Step Four:

Increasing sales can seem complex, but can be broken down into a formula:

The perfect customer + a targeted message + the right marketing media = more qualified leads

One way to bring all of these elements together is through the use of direct mail. Since Paw Print & Mail is a printing company, using direct mail and including examples of what we could offer potential customers was how we chose to reach out to new prospects for our particular campaign. 56 percent of direct mail recipients feel value from a piece of direct mail, and showing potential customers both that you can offer them value and that you value them is a major factor in turning a prospect into a client.

Our direct mail piece makes use of personalization to show value. The packet consists of a padded folder holding a pad of graph paper personalized with the company’s logo and contact information. There is also a letter addressed directly to the prospective client, an insert detailing our services, and a business card so they can contact us for more information.

The packet itself is eye-catching, due to its size and originality. In constructing it, we put together our knowledge of what we know these companies need. The folder itself is a useful and relevant tool for this audience, as is the personalized pad. The pad, business card, and insert show that we know what clients in that line of work need. These items also demonstrate the quality of the work we produce here.

Even if it seems like direct mail is not the right method for your business, don’t discount it. No less than digital giants Google and Amazon are two of the top users of direct mail!

Step Five:

The culmination of all this work is a contact follow up plan. If you are inconsistent about when and how you follow up with prospective clients, it’s hard to know if your strategy is effective or not. We have developed a strategy and schedule for mailing and contacting our potential clients. It’s important that your business or organization make a plan and have everyone on board before you begin your campaign.

Our campaign has gotten a positive response, because we tailored the value proposition to what these clients need and understand. It takes more time, work, and money up front to develop and implement a campaign like this. But you can greatly increase your response rate and ROI while making a strong first impression on potential clients.

Contact us to make an appointment to discuss and strategize a plan to generate more leads for your business or organization.

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What’s All the Buzz About Data?

illustration of data maps and charts
Logo vector created by Freepik

We live in a world where technology is advancing faster than ever. Making use of technology has allowed information to spread and be gathered on a previously unseen level. Though info has long been collected for many reasons and across many industries, “data” is now a buzzword that has taken on new meaning. We worry about protecting data and recovering from leaks, analyzing data and paying to access it. Data has become a cornerstone of economics. 40 percent of companies around the world are using big data analytics in their marketing strategy. We create data with every web search, every phone call and every purchase.

But what does data mean for business owners? And how can all this information be used to make a business more successful?

Where Does Data Come From?

According to Falon Fatemi, CEO of data intelligence company Node, “without data intelligence to prescribe the right prospects, creatives and number crunchers are stuck in separate worlds.” However, bringing data into the equation can create “a powerful revenue machine.”

Data has strong potential to strengthen your current marketing strategy. Having this information to work from can be an integral part of finding your target audience and increasing ROI.

One way to help target your marketing campaigns is to directly reach out to your audience. Allowing those you’ve already built a relationship with to determine their preferences for the type and amount of content they receive from you can be a way to strengthen the relationship and ensure their continued interest in your company. This data can be used to target specific content to more specific audiences.

It is also possible to develop a database based on information you already have about your clientele. Keeping track of what services or products your consumers are utilizing can be valuable data. It allows you to more deeply consider who may be interested in what, as well as how your services could be altered and improved to generate more interest.

Making use of data for direct mail and email campaigns can lead to a higher response rate. By using it, you are focusing on an important term: relevance. Data can tell you which recipients will likely be more interested in your particular campaign, based on how relevant it is to their situation. By streamlining your campaigns, sending to fewer, more receptive members of your audience, you can save money by not sending to uninterested clients. And, you can increase response rate and potential results, as you market to those who most need or want your services.

Business is also about generating leads. There are external sources from which you can gain access to data. You can pay certain companies for access to lists containing information about consumers and businesses that can be used to find new prospects and areas into which to expand. All of these techniques allow you to segment your marketing content into variables like interest level, gender, and geographic location. You can even separate businesses by size, annual revenue, and trade.

Data has power when it comes to marketing, and it has power under the law, too. Issues related to privacy go hand in hand with data. It’s important to respect both the laws surrounding how you can use data and the promises you make to your customers about how their information will be used. Do keep in mind that, according to a BlueVenn study, 81 percent of marketers only collect strictly necessary data. But 61 percent of consumers would be willing to give up some of their privacy in exchange for better products and services.

How Else Can You Use Data?

There is an obvious benefit to using data to increase campaign response rates and better connect with your audience. But it can also have benefits when it comes to the internal workings of your company. It is possible to collect data about almost anything to do with your business, and this is a valuable tool.

However, it is just as important to know how that information can be used as it is to collect it. Depending on your industry, different information will be gathered about different things. But according to a study by BARC, the Business Application Research Center,  there are four main benefits of data analysis. These include being able to make better strategic decisions, improving control over operation processes, understanding customers better, and reducing costs.

Once you know what the data is telling you, it is important to consider it in light of how the information will improve your business, and what you are going to do with it. You may want to use software that can better help you to visualize the data you are collecting and determine how internal data can be used with external, client-centered data to strengthen your company as a whole.

The BlueVenn report found that 64 percent of marketers in the US and the UK believed they should collect customer data, but shouldn’t analyze it on a daily basis. 51 percent of marketers felt data analysis took too much time away from the more creative aspects of marketing. Just as it is important to find a balance between how much personal information you divulge and make use of, it is important to find the right balance between analyzing your data and implementing the knowledge you have gained from your analysis. If you’re looking to make data analysis a larger part of your business, consider hiring an expert or training your staff to make the most of the information available to you.

Data collection and analysis can be implemented across any industry and any size company for a variety of purposes. It will continue to add value to your company as tools and processes become more streamlined.