Nonprofit Marketing Strategy: Manpower Over Money

shutterstock_223938031While many charitable organizations are in search of donors, others are seeking something that’s often more difficult to get than financial assistance . . . and that’s someone’s time. Here are five ways you can find more volunteers by bolstering your online presence:

  1. Your website is where current and prospective donors and volunteers go to research your organization, sign up and learn about upcoming events. Enhance your website with content that entices visitors to return to it often – and refer it to others. Post blogs, informational guides, research, reviews, case studies, videos, upcoming events and more.
  2. Boost your visibility with organic search engine optimization. If your website has low rankings on Google, Bing or Yahoo when common search terms are used, have your webmaster or marketing services provider assist you with SEO. With it, keyword placement and other techniques can boost your site’s rankings – and its traffic.
  3. Optimize your website for mobile use with simplified navigation and content that’s rendered in narrower columns for easier viewing on smartphones. Increasingly, that’s the way people are accessing online content.
  4. Employ the sharing power of social media. Establish pages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other top social media sites. You’ll not only strengthen your nonprofit’s ties with current followers, but also gain an opportunity for them to “share” their interest in it with like-minded friends.
  5. Maintain contact with email marketing. While direct mail is often a viable and attractive option for ongoing volunteer communications, email or contact marketing has its advantages. It’s immediate; your email messages can be created and distributed with great speed. It’s low in cost. And it enables precise targeting to those who have opted in for continued messages from you.

Contact us for more online marketing tips to grow your nonprofit organization with the help of volunteers.

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Online print ordering cuts waste, ensures consistent marketing

shutterstock woman reading tabletSometimes called online print ordering, e-procurement or W2P, many small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) are calling web-to-print a smarter way to go.

In today’s business environment, changes occur at rapid pace that, at times, can make bulk printing inefficient. In a Chief Marketing Officer Council study, 78% of marketers reported having a closet or warehouse full of old materials, and 84% admitted to using outdated materials.

The solution? Web-to-print. Online print ordering systems offer real-time visibility of spending, costs, and usage, and the ability to better manage the entire communication process from order entry through delivery.

The software allows users to access company-approved images, typefaces, guidelines, marketing collateral — anything related to the brand – via a central online hub. There, they can order and/or download customized materials. It’s especially beneficial for those supporting a wide and varied staff in many locations who require access to communications materials.

Savings in time and money can be significant. According to InfoTrends’ research, users of online print ordering and management systems report an average savings of more than 14%. Beyond cost efficiencies, other key benefits to web-to-print include:

  • Empowers local, regional and even global personnel to create localized versions of customer communications.
  • Develops more powerful communications through greater personalization and more relevant content.
  • Reduces the time to fulfill orders for printed materials and other marketing and sales support items.
  • Maintains centralized control over the branding of critical sales, technical and legal content – including logo usage and graphic design standards.
  • Tracks purchasing and spending history for better planning and budgeting.

Factoring in these efficiencies, some estimate that overall savings could go beyond 14% and reach the high double digits! A final piece of good news: Firms with fewer than 500 employees are benefiting from web-to-print solutions much in the way larger organizations are. An InfoTrends’ study of the SMB market found that close to a quarter of total respondents’ print volume is ordered online.

Like to explore your web-to-print options? Ask us! As your local, full-service print, mail and marketing services resource, we have the answers.

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Faithful to Your Brand? A Brand Identity Audit Will Tell

shutterstock_149484518Some businesses and organizations open their doors with little more than a logo and basic identity materials like business cards, letterhead and a few forms. Others make their mark in the marketplace with a well-defined set of brand identity guidelines for application across all of their marketing communications.

Some quickly discover it’s not long before brand standards begin to slip. As you open new locations, launch new products, services and packaging, or create new marketing materials, it’s not uncommon to see logos and branded materials with different color shades, inconsistent fonts and other unwelcome variations.

If this situation applies to your operation, don’t panic. Instead, audit.

Begin by collecting all of your printed materials, like business cards, invoices and statements, letterhead, annual reports, brochures, newsletters, point-of-purchase signage and sales materials. Lay them out on a desk or conference room table, and evaluate every piece to see if your logos as well as brand colors, typefaces and other elements are used faithfully – or if “rogue” styles have crept in. You may even discover you’ve produced some items that aren’t displaying your identity at all.

Follow the same process for your online branding. Websites, email templates, and social properties should reflect your offline branding.

When conducting your brand identity audit, consider enlisting the expertise of a graphic designer. Logos, colors, typefaces and more are their “stock-in-trade,” and they’re often able to identify irregularities that others might overlook. Of course, if an inconsistency is detected, you’ll have a design professional on hand to suggest or implement a solution.

To Do: If you don’t have it documented already, create a style guide or sheet that outlines proper and improper logo usage, company fonts and colors, email signature standards and more for easy reference throughout your organization.

Need help conducting your branding audit? Require assistance in updating or applying your branding to any marketing materials? As your local full-service resource, we’re here to help.

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Shop Early for Year-end Logoed Gifts

shutterstock_42819484About six in 10 companies say they plan to share their holiday cheer this year with a wide range of logoed gifts, says the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI).

Looking for ways to acknowledge leading customers and promising prospects? Consider things that can be easily shared. A little can go a long way! According to the ASI survey, most plan to spend an average of $43 on gifts like food baskets or wine bottles branded with a company logo. Of course, there are options for every budget.

Pen/pencil sets and other desk accessories are perennial favorites among staff as recognition for accomplishments and service. ASI reports that food and beverages as well as logoed apparel, like shirts, hats and jackets are welcome recognition, too. Also consider:

  • Calendars – These are versatile gifts for business contacts. When branded with your company name and logo, recipients will have a year-long reminder of you and your services. Calendars are also practical because they can be distributed for several weeks before and after the holiday season and still be considered timely.
  • Custom Memo Pads or Stationery – Memo pads and stationery are functional gifts that can be used throughout the year. Personalized with the recipient’s name, initials or other individual expression enhances the value of this token of appreciation. Incorporating a customer’s personal hobby or interest into the design makes the notepads or stationery unique and shows you have put time and thought into the gift.
  • Gift with Labels or Tags – Any gift becomes more personal when customized with a label or tag. From floral arrangements to gift baskets, tastefully labeling or adding a hang tag with your name or logo and a special message helps distinguish your gift from others.
  • Cards – Customized holiday cards and gifts add a distinctive touch that will be noticed. While acknowledgement is especially important during the holidays, you can also surprise your best customers with a small gift at other times during the year for a feel-good gesture that lasts.

Looking for unusual or personalized ways to recognize those most important to your business? Let us know! Our professional promotional products “shoppers” will take it care of it for you from start to finish.


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Mobile-friendly Website is a Marketer’s Must-have

shutterstock_252720652If you haven’t yet optimized your website for smartphone users, you risk losing customers. Potentially a lot of them.

Why? Google reports that Web searches performed on mobile devices are now more common than those conducted on tablets and desktop computers.

To satisfy these on-the-go shoppers, you’ll need to meet their need for speed. Research from notes that 46% of mobile users expect the load time on a smartphone to be as fast as their desktop, while 12% expect it to be even faster. The same study reports that most smartphone users will wait only six to 10 seconds for a website to load before abandoning a page – presumably to search for the next alternative.

One more reason why a mobile-optimized website is no longer simply a nice-to-have? Mobilegeddon. This event occurred earlier this year when Google changed its search algorithms to favor sites that are mobile optimized with higher search rankings.

So, what’s a smart marketer to do? Two priorities. First, implement a responsive website design that automatically renders your site in the best format by recognizing the device where it will be viewed. With it, mobile websites display in narrower, vertical columns for smartphone viewing as opposed to the wider columns better viewed on tablets and desktops.

Also, streamline your mobile website’s content. You’ll accelerate loading times by avoiding large image files and pages not relevant to on-the-go searchers. They generally want the basics, like location information, hours of operation and key products or services.

Need help optimizing your website for mobile users? Let us know; we can assist you with everything, including responsive design for greater speed and ease of navigation.

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What a Pleasant Surprise! A Handwritten Note in Print

shutterstock_178904063When you have a need for communications speed, nothing tops a digital message. Yet, we all know what an email inbox can look like at the end of the day. And how attractive the delete key can be when we have to prioritize what gets our attention.

Your customers, donors and business associates are feeling the same way. So how can you build essential one-to-one contact needed to nurture these important relationships? It can be as simple as print.

Few small gestures reap bigger rewards in relationship-building than a handwritten message on a printed notecard. When marketers think about print communications, we tend to focus on strategic marketing campaigns, like direct mail or print advertising. Yet, the value of a personal, handwritten message cannot be underestimated. Use print to:

  • Share your appreciation with a client who’s remained loyal over the years or has placed a substantial order.
  • Acknowledge a donor who’s contributed money in support of your nonprofit or a volunteer who’s helped out with a charitable cause or community event.
  • Offer special thanks to a vendor or service person who’s come through for you in a pinch.
  • Recognize an employee who’s gone the extra mile on behalf of your company or organization.

While many of these occasions are reactive, there’s also a proactive use for print communications, and it has to do with one of the most effective marketing tactics: business-building through referrals. You can get the ball rolling by making it part of your sales process to say “thank you” on a regular basis with handwritten notes on cards branded with your colors and logo. Then, it’s easier to ask satisfied customers to share their positive experiences with friends, colleagues and social networks.

For high-impact print ideas, talk to us. We can show you touchable papers, special inks and printing finishes that will get your important messages read . . . and remembered.

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Direct Marketing Offers That Stand the Test of Time

shutterstock_106827236Open now for 25% savings! Receive our free guide! Respond today for a no-cost demonstration!

The importance of the offer you present on your postcard or mailing envelope can’t be overstated. Among direct marketing pros, it’s generally accepted that it will account for fully 30% of your campaign’s success – second only to the list (50%), but ahead of the creative (20%).

When crafting your offer remember, it should be easy to explain, quickly understood and, above all, motivating.

That said, an offer doesn’t have to be costly, but your target must perceive that it has value. Equally important is conveying a sense of urgency, most often by limiting the redemption period or number of benefits available. Also note that the best offers will appeal to your specific audience, but not be so generous as to attract unqualified customers.

Where to begin? Consider these tried-and-true appeals:

Five top business-to-business offers

  1. Free information: Offer a guide, white paper or case study.
  2. Free demonstration: Important for vehicles or business equipment.
  3. Money-back guarantee: Receive a refund for a product or service if not completely satisfied.
  4. Free survey or assessment: Used by service companies such as accounting, legal and maintenance.
  5. Free trial: Common for higher-priced services or merchandise.

Five top business-to-consumer offers

  1. Free gift: Effective for driving traffic to retailers or service-oriented businesses.
  2. Customer appreciation sale: Special deals, but for past customers only.
  3. Trade-in offer: Dollars off when you purchase new and surrender the old.
  4. Seasonal sale: Add a sense of urgency by making it for a limited time.
  5. Special terms: Bill me later, low or no interest, or installment payments.

Need help with your direct mail effort? Whether it’s crafting an effective offer, locating a targeted list or developing a creative approach, let us know. We’re here for you.

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Variable Data Printing Drives Better Response

shutterstock_237220768The average person is exposed to 5,000 advertising and promotional messages every day. That’s more than 1.8 million annually. How can you cut through the clutter to be noticed . . . and remembered?

With personalized, relevant messages that drive higher response, increase engagement and deliver greater ROI. Technology makes it easy! Enter variable data printing for one-to-one marketing.

You can drive your direct mail response rates up to six times higher than generic, one-size-fits-all messages by:

  • Using your customer or targeted prospect data to include names and/or company names.
  • Adding personalized URLs to capture online response.
  • Changing promotional offers based on past purchases.
  • Varying images based on the recipients, age, gender, interests, geography and many other data points.

What’s behind the success of any direct marketing campaign? Delivering the right message. To the right people. With the right offer. At the right time. Variable data printing for direct mail can help!

Let us know if you’d like to learn more about one-to-one marketing to enhance your next campaign.

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Mining for Gold in Your House File

shutterstock_lead conversionToday’s savvy marketers can’t afford to waste time or money reaching out to prospects that have little chance of becoming buyers. Even if you have a pretty good idea of who your best customers are, can you define them in terms that will help you find the next “like kind” business or consumer?

Your company’s house files can offer a gold mine of information for “cloning” customers and minimizing the waste associated with marketing to the wrong prospects.

Using your house files, you can take the basic information you have about your best business or consumer customers that reflects the existing relationship, and working with your marketing services provider, add demographic information to enhance your customer profile.

Both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketers can benefit from customer profiling. More robust customer data improves the effectiveness of targeted marketing campaigns, helps you to cross-sell and up-sell, and can guide your efforts to reactivate dormant or lost customers.

B2B data fields that can “flesh out” a top customer profile would include annual sales, number of employees, legal status, location type, minority-owned business, nonprofit, owner versus renter or years in business, just to name a few.

Examples of B2C data fields would be adults in the household and their ages, credit card ownership, home ownership or equity available, household income, length of time in the residence, marital status, and number and ages of children present in the home.

Want to learn more ways to capitalize on your house data? Let us know; we can help.

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Goodwill is Good for Business

shutterstock_108991745Sponsorships, donations, pro bono services, discounts and volunteering. These are just a few of the ways through which small and mid-sized business owners can begin to build a profile as a good neighbor in the community.

Your customers will love you for it, too. A recent Cone Communications study says nearly nine out of 10 would switch brands to one associated with a cause, given comparable price and quality.

Besides the “feel good and do good” nature of philanthropic activities, there are business-boosting ancillary benefits. Community involvement can give you the chance to network with other business leaders and may occur by sitting on the board of a nonprofit, for example. In this setting, you not only contribute your expertise to a clear need but can gain exposure to heavy hitters who could be potential business partners or customers.

Where to Start

1. With endless ways to share your time and talents, develop a purpose statement for your giving that defines your interests.

2. Provide opportunities for your employees to give back, too. Encouraging your staff to support your company’s or their own pet projects has shown to increase morale, teamwork, employee retention and satisfaction.

3. Don’t overlook professional affiliations. Chambers of Commerce and other business and professional organizations and consortiums require volunteers to survive. Head a committee or help with an event, and build important business (and personal) relationships.

4. For established events, explore sponsorship opportunities. Or, you may be able to pool your resources with other business people, and share event space to create a unique experience.

What’s the payoff?

When you and your organization are woven into the fabric of your community, everyone wins. You gain the reputation as a good place to work, allowing you to attract talent and retain top employees, customer satisfaction is higher and you grow as a business person. Above all, stronger businesses mean a healthier community.

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