How to Survey Your Customers to Boost Satisfaction

shutterstock_234358672A 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect as decreasing costs by 10%, say Emmet Murphy and Mark Murphy in Leading on the Edge of Chaos. And we’ve all heard it said that most unhappy customers don’t complain; they just don’t bother to come back.

How are you gauging customer satisfaction in your organization? And how open are you to a candid and measurable evaluation?

Like many small businesses, customer care is one of our company cornerstones. Consequently, we routinely ask our clients for their honest feedback. High satisfaction ratings are a result of knowing which of our processes are working really well . . . and which ones might need our prompt attention.

Recently we talked with Michael Casey, president of Survey Advantage, a Rhode Island-based market research firm. We asked him to share some quick survey planning tips:

1. Keep it brief. Ask questions that are logical to help better serve the customer. Be careful not to ask too many that are open-ended; it drives up abandon rates. Many B2B surveys yield over 30% response rates if done right and are “other centered,” he says.

2. Weigh the added benefits of online surveys. Businesses that deliver an electronic survey right after the service get high response rates because they make it easy. Bonus: You may be able to push those “very likely” to recommend you to a social media site to leave a positive review. Or, ask for permission to use their comments in your marketing.

3. Take the bad with the good. Surveying and asking for feedback shows you care. Companies are always fearful of the bad news, but you should look at it as a gift. A disgruntled customer now can go to dozens of social sites and post all of the details about their dissatisfaction. Why not catch this early and put it to rest before this happens?

4. Share the results with your team. Your employees will react better to objective feedback from customers rather than a manager or owner saying, “Customers want us to answer the phone faster.” Have a plan. Identify who is going to get back to customers who need attention, who will follow up on sales leads generated and who decides which areas to invest in.

Find out something you didn’t know via a customer survey? Share the most important lesson you learned as a result of asking for feedback.

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The Mail ‘Habit’: Why Consumers Like Mailing Campaigns

personalized_mailA recent observational study commissioned by Canada Post aimed to understand how people interact with their mail. The results are eye-opening for marketers who may have questioned the value of traditional mailing campaigns in our highly digital world.

Here are just a few of the findings that may have you thinking twice about your customer communications and postal mail:

1. Mail inspires. Reading the mail is part of the “coming home” routine that’s engrained in everyday life. Researchers found the routine has become a ritual for many, taking place at the same time, in typically the same space and tapping into feel-good emotions. Reading email, on the other hand, tends to be much less routine-oriented and can happen on multiple devices throughout the day. Triggers to check email can be having the free time or just being bored.

2. Mail gets noticed. The study showed consumers are more likely to notice, open, read and enjoy mail than other digital forms of advertising communications. Canada Post says 81% read their mail the same day they receive it, and 85% will open mail if it looks interesting. Supporting data from the Direct Marketing Association’s 2015 Response Rate Report shows direct mail outperforms all digital channels combined when using either a house list or prospect list.

3. Mail persists. Some of the power of mailing campaigns lies in its physicality. Canada Post’s neuromarketing study revealed that because physical media is more easily understood, “it is more likely to be encoded into memory.” And in the case of coupons, for example, mail is often kept for extended periods of time, giving it immediate and deferred value.

4. Mail persuades. The ultimate question is, “Does a mailing campaign prompt purchases?” According to research, the answer is a resounding “yes.” Canada Post data shows 50% purchased a product in-store over the past six months as a result of a direct mail ad. Whether an impulse decision or one considered over time, mail is positioned to influence both.

Planning your marketing mix for 2016? Mailing campaigns may be the missing ingredient to help you cut through the clutter. Let us know if you need support to source mailing lists or design, print and mail your campaigns. We’re here to help!

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Target Marketing: Personal Plus Relevant Equals Power

shutterstock_99861236According to a recent InfoTrends survey, 64% of customer communications and marketing campaigns are personalized with one-to-one messaging, or targeted to a segment of customers or prospects. Only 35% are generic, one-size-fits-all.

Across age demographics, InfoTrends research shows that the majority of people want to be marketed to with personalized information . . . and are willing to give personal data to receive more relevant content.

How do you make your target marketing outreach more relevant and integrated? Here are three quick tips to build in ways for your customers and prospects to engage with your communications tactics:

1. Make print communications interactive. Personalized URLs included in direct mail campaigns allow your target to quickly and easily go online for more information. You gain the ability to track response and specific interests for further nurturing tactics that move them closer to purchase.

2. Add rich media links to digital communications. Imbed video into your digital messaging. The best topics are those for which your consumers have a deep interest or even a passion. Use videos to anticipate – and answer – customer questions. And always consider its unique storytelling capability by showing your information “visually.”

3. Make it easy for customers to talk to you. For print or digital communications, think about ways to simplify interaction. Links to additional information in your email outreach remove barriers for those who are still researching a product or service – and give you insights into what’s of most interest to your target. For example, a health clinic’s e-newsletter may have links to an infographic on nutrition and a video with flu prevention tips.

Want to learn more about target marketing and how to extend your marketing budget in 2016? Let us know; we can help you drive better results!

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Local Lead Generation is Top Goal for 2016

shutterstock_184648112A top business marketing priority for the next 12 months is to gain new customers, according to recent research by InfoTrends.

However, not all customer leads are created equal. Some prospects turn into buyers right away, while others may never buy from you. Still others will take nurturing and more information before becoming customers or donors. How do you know if your local lead generation tactics are working as well as they should?

While results vary widely based on the channel used, the message, the offer and the suitability of the campaign’s targets, overall an average lead generation campaign should bring in slightly more than double your initial investment.

Keep in mind, though, that many campaigns are improperly executed and fail to recover their full costs. Any local lead generation activity must keep in mind the expected lifetime value of the customers gained, not just their initial spend.

If your campaigns are falling short, consider the following to help you refine your program:

  • Is my list accurate and targeted to the right people?
  • Is my offer valuable, relevant and appealing to my prospects?
  • Is the creative piece attention-grabbing? Does it include a strong call-to-action?
  • Is my value proposition evident in all of my marketing communications?
  • Would I buy from me?

Learn how to make the most of your digital and print marketing dollars during our one-hour webinar, “Ready, Set, Grow! Proven Lead Generation and Customer Retention Strategies for 2016” on Nov. 10 at 1 p.m. (EST)

Presented by a leading cross-channel marketing expert, Kate Dunn, you’ll learn important ways to enhance your local lead generation strategies for better results. Kate is the director of InfoTrends’ Business Development Group and regularly shares her expertise at events around the world.

Space is limited; register now for this free webinar.

Ready to get a jump-start on 2016? Let us know; we can help.



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Top Metrics for Multi-channel Marketing

shutterstock_143016715It’s the time of year when many begin addressing  marketing strategies for 2016. Planning-wise, before you formulate, it makes good sense to evaluate.

After all, your marketing plan will serve as the blueprint for your company, organization or nonprofit’s strategy – laying out what’s to come over the year ahead. And, to help judge whether your new initiatives will deliver the best possible results, it’s good to review any available marketing metrics – hard numbers that enable you to evaluate your achieved performance against your stated goals.

Of course, if you don’t yet use metrics, you’ll want to build them into your 2016 strategy. With a multi-channel marketing mix, here are a few suggestions for measurement:

  • Direct Mail: Usually measured by response rates, other metrics for this tactic include qualified response rates (by those judged as serious about purchasing), order rates and customer acquisition costs.
  • Email Marketing: Common metrics here include open rates (how many people who’ve opened your email) and click-through rates (the percentage of people who’ve clicked on one of your email’s links), as well as rates for deliveries, earnings, forwards and unsubscribes, among others.
  • Event Marketing: Here, many marketers employ metrics to evaluate actual vs. expected attendance, cost-per lead, quality (i.e. serious) leads generated, conversions, and survey completion/abandonment.
  • Website Marketing: Often sourced through Google Analytics, metrics for this tactic include total visits, new sessions (as opposed to those who are returning), channel-specific traffic (differentiating those who’ve clicked on your site directly vs. referrals from external links), and many more.

Attend our FREE webinar for more smart ways to achieve – and evaluate – your marketing goals. Learn how to make the most of your digital and print marketing dollars during our one-hour webinar, “Ready, Set, Grow! Proven Lead Generation and Customer Retention Strategies for 2016” on Nov. 10 at 1 p.m. (EST)

Presented by a leading multi-channel marketing expert, Kate Dunn, you’ll learn important ways to increase brand awareness, gain market competitiveness and inspire long-term loyalty. Kate is the director of InfoTrends’ Business Development Group and regularly shares her expertise at events around the world. She knows her stuff! Space is limited; register now for this free webinar.

Like an in-person evaluation of your multi-channel marketing efforts and suggestions on how to improve your results? Ask us! We can help.


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Research Confirms the Power of Print Marketing Communications

shutterstock_1577808Recent buzz around the effectiveness of direct mail and print marketing communications may have marketers who’ve had all of their eggs in a digital basket rethinking their strategy in 2016 to incorporate a multi-channel approach. This “best of both worlds” strategy blends the emotional impact of paper with the convenience and immediacy of digital delivery.

When you want to motivate, persuade and connect, consider multiple studies including neurological research that show:

  • Direct mail requires 21% less cognitive effort to process than digital media, suggesting that it is both easier to understand and more memorable. (Canada Post)
  • Physical material is more “real” to the brain and is better connected to memory. (Millward Brown)
  • Direct mail outperforms all digital channels combined by nearly 600%. (Direct Marketing Institute)
  • Nearly 6 out of 10 say they enjoy getting postal mail about new products. (Print in the Mix)

Learn how to make the most impact with your digital and print marketing dollars during our free one-hour webinar, “Ready, Set, Grow! Proven Lead Generation and Customer Retention Strategies for 2016” on Nov. 10 at 1 p.m. (EST)

Presented by leading cross-channel marketing expert, Kate Dunn, you’ll learn important ways to increase brand awareness to gain market competitiveness and top tactics that save time and money plus inspire long-term loyalty. Kate is the director of InfoTrends’ Business Development Group and regularly shares her expertise at events around the world. She knows her stuff!

Space is limited; register now.

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Webinar: What Every Marketer Needs to Know for 2016 Planning

shutterstock_130940975For small and mid-sized businesses as well as many organizations and nonprofits, the fourth quarter is prime time to begin planning your marketing efforts for the upcoming year. Of course, it’s also the period when countless other priorities come calling.

Your efforts are likely to be further complicated by the “many hats” syndrome, which is common to business owners and managers who are often required to multi-task like few others!

The good news? Help is close at hand. And it’s free. You are invited to join us for an important one-hour webinar, “Ready, Set, Grow! Proven Lead Generation and Customer Retention Strategies for 2016,” on Nov. 10 at 1 p.m. (EST)

Perfectly timed to coincide with your marketing planning for the year to come, it will be presented by one of the foremost authorities in cross-channel marketing, Kate Dunn, director of InfoTrends’ Business Development Group.

Over the course of 60 fast-moving minutes, she’ll share her time-saving and business-building strategies for 2016 to guide you in improving awareness of your organization, keeping and growing existing customers or donors, and reaching new prospects. Register now.

And please contact us when you’re ready to plan strategic marketing and print campaigns that can deliver better results.

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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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