Ready, Set, Print! Must-have Materials for Your Next Event

shutterstock_127914380Well before you host a special event or exhibit at a trade show, consider your printing needs and build a comprehensive list. You’ll not only save yourself hours of effort later, but also ensure that you’ve touched all the bases of a successful event marketer!

Banners, Posters & Other Signage: Outdoors, these might include flags and pennants. Indoors, you might opt for posters, roll-up banners and fabric graphics where your display is set up or to direct visitors to you.

Business Cards: Do you have enough? And for all the team? Also, consider if your card’s design and information is up-to-date. Remember, this is first-impression time!

Direct Mail: Reach out to all those on your internal database with an invitation or letter package. To increase attendance, work with your marketing services provider to identify those who fit your target profile, and have them recommend a rental list of names that match.

Handouts: Don’t let visitors leave empty handed. Distribute a flyer or trifold brochure summarizing your key selling points – and including contact information on how prospects can seek more information or make a purchase at a later date.

Postcards: They’re a cost-efficient way to distribute event reminders or save-the-date communications.

Programs: For a multi-day conference, create a program with session times, locations and topics.

Sales Brochures: Reserve high-quality sales brochures for those who express a genuine interest. To strengthen relationships with promising prospects, consider mailing the brochure to them or, even better, delivering it in person post-event.

What Else? You might also need place cards, contest or drawing entry forms, event or raffle tickets and name tags. Giveaways that are imprinted with your company name and logo are also a great way your company or organization can stay top of mind once everyone heads home.

Contact us for assistance with printed materials including promotional items for your next special event.

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Social Media for Nonprofits: 5 Tips to Get Started

shutterstock_social mediaFacebook, Twitter and other social media sites hold many advantages for marketing your nonprofit. On the pages you’ll post and maintain, you can communicate with donors regularly. You’ll grow your membership by urging followers to “share” your content with their like-minded friends. And, beyond the time you’ll put in to establish your presence and create new content, your participation is free.

Here are some tips on beginning your efforts, if you’re new to the game:

  1. Start small, with one or two social networks. Begin by evaluating the efforts of others you admire. Then resist the pressure to post your pages everywhere; there’s no need to conquer the entire virtual world all at once.
  2. Tap into the talent at hand. If you’re not up to speed on social media, draw on the expertise of a staff member, intern or volunteer to assist in your initial efforts.
  3. Make a good first impression. Upload a great photo and other interesting content to your social media page or pages, and use a title that will get noticed.
  4. “Jump start” your efforts. Send your current members an email inviting them to become your friend, join your group, or like your social media page. Follow up by incorporating links to your social media in all of your communications such as e-newsletters and your website.
  5. “Activate” your audience. Sooner or later, you’ll want to turn your followers into donors, members or volunteers. So give them every opportunity to do so – beginning by incorporating contribution or membership sign-up opportunities in your social pages.

Need help with social media or other aspects of marketing your nonprofit? We’ll provide the assistance you need.


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Teach Before You Sell to Fill the Funnel

WebLong before they become active customers or donors, prospects are in the market for information. That’s a unique opportunity to earn their trust by using publicity (what an objective third party says about you) and content marketing (creating or curating and then distributing your own information), to teach instead of sell, priming the flow of future leads to your sales or donation funnel. Both can play a role in your promotional marketing mix.

Before you start, set clear goals to keep the messaging on track and help measure success. Then create a detailed audience profile to capture their interests and preferences, so you can define the information you’ll share and the ways and places you’ll share it.

1. Select your spokesperson. Small and mid-sized companies have multiple individuals with unique perspectives on the business and its customers. However, not all can translate their knowledge to the written word or be tapped to teach at live events.

2. Create quality content. The golden rule of content marketing: it’s not about what you can sell, it’s about what your audience wants to know. Business prospects are generally looking for ways to do their jobs more efficiently or cheaply.  Prospective donors might be asking, “How can I make a bigger difference or direct my giving more effectively?” For consumers, it’s often how to save time, increase convenience or balance their personal or family budgets.

3. Vary content format. Prospects may have different attention spans or reading preferences, so tailor messages accordingly. Long-form white papers demonstrate a firm grasp of subject matter to those who are ready to become deeply immersed. Deliver brief excerpts in Tweets, blog posts, forums or on social pages to capture the fleeting attention of busy readers.

4. Make it visual, too. Successful content cuts through clutter, so think beyond just words. Use videos, slide presentations, infographics and other rich media to attract interest and share your information in a visually entertaining way.

There are many ways to teach. Let us help!

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Enter the Mighty Pen . . . and More Killer Promo Items

Sales promotions typically take shape as contests, prizes and product samples that are used for a defined period to stimulate interest and purchase. Do you need an effective, affordable and flexible way to keep attention alive long after your promotion ends?

Enter the mighty pen . . . and thousands of other logoed items.

According to a recent global study of more than 7,000 consumers in 21 cities conducted by the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI), a promotional product is kept by the recipient for an average of more than six months; some even longer, up to nine months.

This allows the advertiser who provided the item a unique opportunity to have their brand reinforced with the consumer on an ongoing basis in a strongly-engaged manner.

Far from campaign throwaways, promotional items are kept because they’re useful or given to someone else, meaning advertisers’ messages often go beyond the initial target.

Consumers can’t pass along a radio or television advertisement that doesn’t appeal to them. But they can, and do, with promotional products. Nearly two-thirds of consumers who receive promotional products they don’t want give them to someone else.

Advertiser recall among recipients is especially high, with more than 8 out of 10 indicating they remember the source of their promotional item. One of the key objectives to providing consumers promotional products is to make them more likely to buy from the advertiser.

To this end, more than one-third of consumers who received an item from a company they hadn’t previously done business with reported that they are more likely to do business with them in the future.

For selection, service and support, contact us to help you find the right spots for your company logo.

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Marketing That Pays Off? Consider Events

Event marketing is made to order for small to mid-sized businesses, nonprofits and other organizations with aggressive goals but limited sales resources. Participating in the right local, regional, national or international events allow you to present your sales story to many prospects in one place within a short period of time. Individual sales calling can’t match it for efficiency.

Experiences and events positively improve brand perception. According to Event Marketing Institute’s EventTrack 2014 report, 74% of participants have a more positive opinion about the company, brand, product or service being promoted following an event.

Event marketing also adds a personal contact dimension to the less personal, technology-driven engagement that defines so much of the marketing and sales conversations today. It creates face-to-face opportunities to meet important prospects and the chance to reinforce your relationships with current customers.

Here are five quick tips for a show-stopping display:

1.  Location, location, location. Try to reserve prime real estate in a high-traffic location so your booth will be seen by as many prospects as possible.

2.  Plan your display graphics and messages to stop visitors in their tracks. Express your value proposition powerfully, and keep messaging clear and concise. Don’t make visitors guess what you are selling.

3. Use freestanding posters or roll-up banner stands to reinforce key messages and offers or to promote special demonstrations, educational sessions and other “events within the event.”

4.  Schedule presentations or demonstrations in your booth, and promote the times and dates. You’ll boost attendance and allow your experts to “wow” entire groups of visitors at one time.

 5. Stream live or recorded video footage of presentations or demonstrations to your event website and post to your YouTube channel. Email or use Twitter to alert non-attendees that they can experience your content remotely.

Need help with your event? We can help with displays, signage, handouts, apparel, giveaways and more.

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A Letter, a Phone Call and Pair of Well-worn Shoes

Long before the term “cross-media” found its way into common usage, successful salespeople and the companies that employed them relied on a three-pronged strategy to reach their prospective customers and to sell their products.

First, a letter was mailed to the prospect introducing the salesperson, the company and the product being offered. An appointment with the prospect was requested, and a return envelope was provided to allow a convenient way to respond.

A few days later, a follow-up phone call was placed to remind the prospect of the letter and the benefits of learning more about the product or service being offered. The sales call itself concluded the process where product or service features, advantages and benefits were spelled out. Hopefully, the final result was a sale and a new customer.

The effectiveness and timelessness of this approach is well-established and widely-used. If you think about it, the time-honored sales process has many similarities to the basics of direct marketing:

1. Focus. Just one message directed to one individual at a time.

2. Personalization/Relevance. The content of the message is relevant to the particular needs and wants of the receiver.

3. Media Integration. The particular strengths of each medium – the letter, the phone call, the sales presentation – are integrated and used to maximize effectiveness. When combined, the precision targeting, high readership and personalization of direct mail, the immediacy and connectivity of a phone call and the interactive nature of a personal sales meeting create the ideal opportunity to gain the attention, stimulate the interest, build the desire and motivate the buyer to action.

4. Interactivity. Enabling two-way communication between the salesperson and the customer makes it possible to better understand the customer’s needs and to reveal potential obstacles in the sales process. As a result, the sales presentation can be more specific and relevant, and obstacles can be uncovered and addressed.

Have a different take on direct marketing or the sales process? Let us know.

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To-Do List: Think Strategically in 2015

gearbrainEffective marketing communications plans all have the same general goal: Say the right thing to the right people at the right time through the right channels to generate the action you want . . . at lower cost than can be accomplished with personal meetings.

To meet this universal goal, a considerable amount of information is required so you can evaluate and select the activities that stand the best chance for success. The goal is to use a mix of communications that match up to your target audience, then make price and performance decisions based on the strengths and weaknesses of each option.

Start planning by answering these key questions:

  • What’s the goal that communications can meet or help meet?
  • What is the size of your target market?
  • What channels could be used to reach them?
  • What combination of channels should be used to reach them?
  • What can you say or offer to generate the action you want?
  • How much activity is enough to meet the goal?
  • How will you measure success or failure so you can improve in the future?

Clearly and precisely define your target markets. Without having a good estimate of the number of people in your target audience, you cannot do a good job of evaluating and selecting the media channels available to reach them.

Then choose your channels wisely. Use impersonal channels, like mass media advertising, during the early stages of the sales cycle and more personal channels at the end.

And always measure the effectiveness of your marketing in ways that align with your specific objectives, like website traffic, store visits, coupon redemptions, appointments for personal meetings, event attendance, phone or email requests for estimates or more information, or direct sales.

Need help with your planning? Let us know.

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Getting Personal: 5 Steps to Turn Leads to Sales

Remember when the roles of Marketing and Sales were distinct? When Marketing was responsible for generating leads, and Sales was responsible for closing them? The Web has permanently changed that relationship, making integration of your marketing and sales plans more important than ever.

Today’s empowered buyers are taking charge of their purchase decision-making, often hidden away from your sales team. To nurture these opportunities, it’s essential to engage with prospects before they are visibly “in the market” for what you offer with easy-to-access educational content that can influence their decision making.

Despite all of their legwork, it fails to override the necessity for personal selling. Here are five steps to maximize one-to-one sales opportunities and integrate marketing assets along the way:

1. Act quickly. Follow up on all inbound sales leads generated through your inbound and outbound marketing. For example, incorporate a Web-based lead capture form in your direct mail appeal that drives recipients to a campaign landing page for a special offer. Treat these inquirers as you would direct calls, and reach out promptly.

2. Do your research. Before a telephone or in-person B2B sales call, visit the prospect’s website to learn the company vision, its key customers, and product and service lines. Also check industry forecasts and review any media coverage the company may have received.

3. Be relevant. Know who you are contacting, ask what direct marketing vehicle prompted their inquiry and remind them of its messaging. (“You downloaded our guide about ABC.” “You requested a call via our e-newsletter about XYZ.”) Ask qualifying questions to gauge their needs and timeframe for buying. If appropriate, ask for a personal meeting.

4. Plan, do, check and adjust. Track all your leads from every marketing channel, and record the contacts you make and the dates: phone calls, voicemails and emails. Telephone scripts, pre-drafted email templates and follow-up fulfillment mailings should be prepped in advance. Evaluate your sales outreach frequency, methods and messaging, and adjust when your efforts fall short of forecast. Underperforming marketing channels may need a tune up, too.

5. Follow up. Turning qualified leads into sales may take time. Develop relationships by continuing to provide valuable information and be recognized as a trusted and reliable source. Schedule follow-up calls, emails and telephone calls on your contact calendar to stay on track, and create reasons for additional follow up. For example, “I thought you might be interested in a new research report that confirms you are on the right track, wanting to automate your systems….”

Need help with your lead generation? Let us know how we can help.

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9 Tips for a Persuasive Sales Letter

Woman opening envelopA major advantage to direct mail is its capacity for one-on-one communications with the prospect or customer. Unlike other forms of advertising, you can get “personal.” What makes a great sales letter that motivates action? Here’s the breakdown:

1. Employ a “Johnson box”: Named after legendary direct marketer Frank Johnson, it features the letter’s key message. When it makes sense, make it BIG and bold, and place it at the top.

2. Make ‘em an offer. Sales letters are best with a strong offer that’s repeated.

3. Address it by name: Assure the recipient that your message is intended expressly for them.

4. Break up copy blocks. Use subheads and bullet points, and underline for emphasis.

5. Include a call to action. Just as a good salesperson never fails to ask for the order, your sales letter should always ask for a desire action.

6. Support cross media marketing. Drive recipients to a promotion-specific landing page. With an online lead capture form, you can collect more customer data (product interests, email addresses) for further nurturing.

7. Sign off with a signature and include a title. They’ll give your letter and offer added authenticity.

8. Set a deadline. The notion of missing out can motivate recipients to act now while your letter is in hand and message top-of-mind.

9. PS: Don’t forget a PS! Scanners are drawn to postscripts; re-state your offer here.

Need help? Contact us for expert assistance with writing, printing, list research and integrating your direct mail campaigns with other marketing channels.

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4 Smart Ways to Save on Print

happygroupCMYKDoing more with less is a common anthem among today’s small business and nonprofit marketers. Here are just four of the many ways you can cut the cost of your print communications – without cutting corners:

1. Plan ahead to stay on schedule. Printers are accustomed to working with tight turnarounds. You can smooth the process and save money by avoiding “do-overs.” On the front end, ask for help if you’re unsure how to prepare your art files. Then, leave yourself plenty of time to review proofs and catch errors you may have overlooked early on to prevent re-dos and re-prints that can multiple your costs . . . and extend your timeline.

2. Skip special orders. For many projects, you can save money by using in-stock papers. Ask your print provider to show you samples of what’s on hand. Unless you require a specific look or have budgeted for a higher-end piece, stick to the basics for your day-to-day materials to stretch your dollars.

3. Target your mailings. Databases are more plentiful and robust than ever before. Many are highly-targeted to help direct marketers easily and affordably reach a very specific audience, preventing unnecessary waste and expense. After all, why spend money mailing to people who will not be receptive to your message or worse, those who may want to hear your message but who have moved and won’t receive your mail?

4. Print digitally, on demand. Many projects considered too small to be worth the investment in set-up charges on a traditional offset press can be affordably printed digitally. This printing option is ideal for short runs as the unit price is the same whether you print 10 or 1,000. It also opens the door to variable, customized text and images from sheet-to-sheet for more targeted and effective messaging. Keep on-demand digital printing in mind to avoid the waste associated with storing and ultimately throwing away materials that are quickly made obsolete when service specifications or product parts numbers, for instance, are frequently updated.

For more money-saving tips, contact us when you’re ready to print.

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