Tips for Re-purposing Your Print Collateral for Online Marketing

I’ve just read an article I think you should read especially if you think that you are struggling for marketing ideas and online content.

Unless you have been locked in a cupboard for the past few years, you have no doubt come across the whole content marketing strategy to help pull clients towards you, your products and or your services.

The article “Go Green: Tips for Recycling Print Collateral for Online Marketing” by Barb Schmitz posted on the Business 2 Community website is a top quick read of how you can leverage the investment you have made already in your past and present print collateral and drive a greater return on your marketing budget!

I encourage you to read more at Go-green-tips-for-recycling-print-collateral-for-online-marketing

I would like to say thank you to Barb for not only what I believe to be a great quick read article with some great ideas for re-purposing etc but for also not canning print.

If you have read a few of our blogs while we are in print we strongly believe in and embrace ourselves that it is important to have a good cross media approach these days when it comes to your marketing and embracing both online and offline channels, horses for courses! Unfortunately there has been a fair amount of green bashing against print this year, but “paper is renewable, recyclable and the natural support of ideas” (courtesy of the team at Printnet.com.au) and still has a great role to play in your marketing campaigns albeit it has to share more of the lime light with our online marketing opportunities.

Remember, even when time is short, don’t miss out on an opportunity to promote your business.

Wishing you all the best for creating and actioning effective and efficient marketing in your business.

Cheers

Tom Dickson.

 

Not sure about online and electronic marketing?

We sent out an email newsletter last week and it was exciting as we had an extremely positive response from several of our clients within in minutes, and by the COB day 1 we had just under a 30% open rate which is fantastic.

 However one of our clients also happens to mention to me through email that they are having an uphill battle with convincing her management to embrace more online tools than just their website. Now my first thought was this is crazy this is 2013 and this is not something I thought would still be a question i.e. should we do some form of online marketing? Let’s get something crystal clear… some form of online marketing is an absolute imperative. Implementing online marketing is not a question of if, it is when, and if you are not marketing online, you should start today.

In todays’ world we have so much to choose from when it comes to online marketing opportunities; Websites, Email marketing, Pay Per Click Campaigns, Facebook Pages / Advertising, LinkedIn Advertising, Twitter, Video/ Youtube Channels, Blogging etc. So I think the biggest challenge is in fact not that management don’t want to implement online marketing, it really probably comes down to not knowing where to start.

It should come as no surprise that as we are a printing company we certainly believe in the value and power of print and can demonstrate that it continues to work well in today’s market. However, we also suggest that it is important to have a good marketing mix with some online channels as well. In short, we 100% embrace online and electronic marketing opportunities in the development and growth of our business and it is working for us.

Developing and implementing a good cross media Marketing Activity Plan (MAP) is not only beneficial it is a necessity for the ongoing success of your business.

If you have the same or a similar challenge in your business with your boss, senior management or it could even be yourself not wanting to try something new – take one step at a time. How do you eat an elephant? Well, one bight at a time!

If you are not sure where to start, here are 4 suggestions:

  1. Business Newsletters
    Start by creating and implementing a mix of an online and an offline Newsletter to your existing client base – and it does not need to be war and peace. As a suggestion produce an offline (printed) version once a quarter and the online one every month. This way not only saves you some dollars in doing a printed version and distributing it every month, it will allow you to test and measure almost instantly what is grabbing attention in the electronic version to role out in your printed version.
    Now with your printed version there is also some great tools including QR Codes and pURLs that allow you to take your reader from offline to online. Even in today’s very mobile device world, you still cannot discount the value of a printed version of a Newsletter when produced right. In my opinion print has benefits that online doesn’t. In addition to the touch & feel aspect of a printed newsletter, printed items are likely to float around in the office, providing greater marketing longevity from your investment.
    Like most things in life, good solutions and tools do require some investment. There are a lot of great email marketing tools to produce professional electronic newsletters these days.  So whether you are looking to set up a self-managed account right, or need an ongoing mostly outsourced solution including content creation, there are solutions available.Our sister company Joomba is a Constant Contact Partner, so if you are looking for a good solution that we trust, touch base with them to learn more. Click the link above to access a 30 Day Free Trial.
  • Search Engine Optimisation
    While Search Engine Optimisation is certainly something you should be working on to help drive traffic to your website, we cannot recommend highly enough to create and commence a good Google Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign. The beauty about a pay per click campaigns is that you can start as small as you like, set what you are prepared to pay for a click and limit the daily, weekly and monthly spend. It’s all within your control, tweak and adjust instantly, do split testing and it is not as difficult to set-up as you might think. Or you can do what we have done, we started ourselves, we were not bad at it if we do say so ourselves however we now outsource to an expert. After all, we like to concentrate on doing what we do well and helping our clients with our assisting them in creating great and effective design and quality printed products that help them with their offline marketing opportunities – including collateral and communications to help find & nurture clients and promote products and services.
  • Facebook
    Create and update a Facebook page – especially if you are in the business to consumer (B2C) space. This can be a great way to build an audience of clients and prospects who are interested in what you have to offer and or what you do – and to build them into raving fans. We have several clients who are having a great deal of success with their Facebook pages, ourselves, we are still working on it, and while we believe we will build it up, from research so far it seems to be a bit more of a challenge for business to business (B2B).
  • Blog
    Create a blog on your website with content like product tips and tricks, or industry related content that helps add value to your clients businesses or personal lives.

There is obviously a lot more to creating an effective MAP than looking at these four online marketing options, and it is without a doubt an ongoing investment of both time and dollars. When done right you will reap the rewards, but certainly don’t just go throwing money at it. Start with a good (even if somewhat basic marketing plan) to begin with. There is no silver bullet to any marketing initiatives whether offline or online, but to keep moving ahead ensure you are always doing something, remember to test and measure, and continue grow your marketing initiatives over time.

Depending on the size of your business, allocate someone to be responsible for your marketing initiatives moving forward from tomorrow and if it is you, be accountable. After all, no matter what business you are in, you will have no business without sales and marketing. It is an important business activity that helps you to generate leads to convert into sales to ensure the continuity of your business.

Remember, even when time is short, don’t miss out on an opportunity to promote your business.

Wishing you all the best for creating and actioning effective and efficient marketing in your business this week.

Cheers

Tom Dickson.

Image cutlines for T-shirts and apparel

We are often asked what is possible when it comes to customising your T-shirt and apparel prints.

Same Day Printing offer several available finishes as standard options to help you meet your design and costing requirements. We have listed the available standard finishes below – but as with everything we do, we are here to help you achieve your desired results, so if you need a custom finish, just let us know. We’ve achieved some amazing results so far and would love to see how we can help you stand out from the crowd.

Two quick tips to keep in mind when deciding on your artwork and cut-style:

  1. Your artwork is printed on white media as standard (not clear), so if you want a background colour other than white, you will need to include it in your art. We also have speciality stock including metallic, fluro and puff, crystal and many more.
  2. The blue lines on the images below indicate where your image will be cut with the different cutline styles.


Rectangle Cutline for Digital T-shirt Printing.

If you have a photo, or raster image such as a .jpg or .psd file, a standard rectangle cutline with either square or rounded corners will often be the most cost-effective finish for your t-shirt print. The result has your image or logo printed on a white or coloured background (depending on your artwork), professionally applied on your t-shirts, polo shirts, hoodies or other apparel.

img-cutline-rectangle  img-cutline-rectangle2


Ellipse Cutline for Digital T-shirt Printing.

Similar to the Rectangle Cutline, the Ellipse Cutline is another cost effective option if you have a photo or raster image such as a .jpg or .psd file that better suits a rounded finish. Your image will be printed and applied to your choice of t-shirt or other apparel, providing a professional full colour finish.

Ellipse Cutline for T-shirt Printing


Bubble Contour Cutline for Digital T-shirt Printing.

The Bubble Contour Cutline provides a clean finish to your vector logo or image print without the need for editing files to add bleed. Available as an external cutline that follows the outer edge of your artwork (ideal for small fonts and detailed patterns), or with internal areas also removed, the Bubble Contour Cutline is a popular choice globally.

Note: minimum gap width for removable areas is 1mm

Bubble Contour Cutline - External Bubble Contour Cutline for T-shirt Printing


Flush Contour Cutline for Digital T-shirt Printing.

The Flush Contour Cutline provides a premium finish. Your artwork is edited to add a bleed to each individual element of the design (see image 1 below). Once complete your file is printed and cut to the very edge of the print, and looks like a seamless element of the shirt (See image 2 below – shown after cut).

Flush contour cutlines are most suited to artwork with smooth outlines, as this allows the excess print to be removed (weeded) relatively fast, keeping costs in check. This being said, we love a challenge, and our team have output some phenomenally intricate designs – so if your project needs detail, and you have budget available, show us what you need and we will let you know how we can help.
Flush Contour Cutline for T-shirt Printing

Flush Contour Cutline for T-shirt Printing


Don’t have vector artwork?

If you do not have vector artwork but would still like a Bubble Contour or Flush Contour finish… it’s likely we can still help. Send a sample of your artwork to our talented creative team (creative@samedayprinting.com.au) and we’ll provide a quote on drawing the cutline for you.

Have you got a MAP for your Business?

Alright, what is it that I'm referring to when I say a MAP for your business? Well in this instance MAP is short for a Marketing Activity Plan.

Okay, time for honesty, hands up, do you have a MAP for your business this year? If not why not!

Why should I have a MAP, I hear you ask? Well it's really simple and no different to a road map. Do you go on a driving holiday to a specific destination that you have not been to before without some sort of MAP or plan of how you are going to get there? For most of us the answer is "of course not" as I am sure you have heard "Fail to Plan – Plan to Fail"

That said, here are 5 good reasons to develop your Business MAP

  1. Better lead generation / customer acquisition – Whether it is because you want to grow your business or you want to maintain the current size of your business (after all we don't all want to take over the world), we all need to find new customers from time to time because whether we like it or not some of our clients leave to a new supplier, some unfortunately cease to exist and some no longer feel the need or want for our services.
  2. Customer nurturing and retention – now a good marketing plan is not just about generating more sales and new clients. You need to consider the value of your marketing and ensure that you are implementing activities that help to great create customer loyalty.
  3. Happy Stakeholders – a good map is one component that will help you to create a great business environment that all of your stakeholders should benefit from including your customers, your team (employees), your suppliers, your bank manager etc etc. Then ultimately it will certainly go along way to helping you with a long and happy life for not only your business but also yourself.
  4. Better profits – a good MAP should not only help you with better overall profits in the beginning i.e. it will help ensure that you are not wasting money on marketing activities that are not working or returning the best results that can be achieved. It should ultimately reduce your costs of acquisition, as we all know it is generally cheaper to retain an existing client than it is to acquire a new one, and then if you also factor in the life time value of your customer, you original cost of acquisition reduces every year your client stays and spends with you
  5. Overall ensuring positive and sustainable business growth  a well thought out and implemented MAP in most cases will help you to attract and then also retain the right client base, creating a win-win, mutually beneficial business relationship, where your customer receives the value they are after for their hard earned dollars and in return you get a good return on your investment. 

So, what does a MAP look like?

I'm actually going to cover that one off in my next post, but to make a start, it can be as simple as 12 boxes (i.e. a 12 month wall planner / calendar). In each month's square fill in with what you are going to do in the way of marketing activity for that month.

However, preferably you will invest a little more time and effort and develop a more detailed plan that includes some quality detail on the who, what, where, when and how much areas. Equally it does not need to be a 200 page document, unless you are that way inclined and/ or have the time on your hands, in which case a detailed MAP could be a very good investment in your business and your future.

It may seem there is a lot to cover when you start developing your MAP, but don't be frightened to just make a start. Work on the Ready – Fire – Aim principal and it will evolve and improve as you continually work on it.

Remember, even when time is short, don't miss out on an opportunity to promote your business.

Wishing you all the best for creating and actioning effective and efficient marketing in your business this week.

Cheers

Tom Dickson

7 Reasons Why Snail Mail Still Works

In business when choosing how to market our products or services we are confronted with so many choices of marketing tools and channels and as a result it can be difficult to know which one/s will deliver the results we desire and need to ensure the continuity of our businesses.

What’s even worse, recently in a conversation with a potential new client, he told me that they find it that overwhelming to a point that they had just continued to do they same thing they have done year in and year out in the past. I am sure you have heard something to the effect that “if you do what you always did, then you will always get what you always got!”

Every business may have one marketing tool or better yet (actually I believe a necessity) a mix of marketing tools that has and does deliver results. The question is, is Direct Mail one of them?

Proven results show that old school direct mail campaigns is still going strong and should be a part of that mix.

Put aside what the doom sayers are preaching about print and direct mail being a dead marketing channel, break away from the heard, did you know that even a basic direct mail marketing with all the right elements can be more effective than ever and even produce better results than some other digital channels. Here are just 7 reasons why direct mail still stands out in our digital marketing age:

  • 1
    With the rapid growth of online marketing and especially then combined with the situation that some businesses in your industry who have possibly shifted largely or even completely away from Direct Mail campaigns there is less competition today in peoples mail boxes than there was yesterday. Generally people only have one mail box and not numerous filters and redirections to other folders or inboxes that even I have set up in my email, so even with a good but basic mail piece you have more opportunity to stand out from the crowd.
  • 2
    Direct Mail is physical, your prospect and or client can touch, feel and even smell a direct mail piece. They can sit it on their desk, put it in their in-box, stick it to their fridge, put it on the kitchen bench and save if for later. How quickly does an email disappear in the digital inbox never to be seen again, or what’s worse even be seen in the first place if the spam police pick it up? Same can be said for banner advertisements on websites.
  • 3
    Direct mail is still a very trusted by recipients
  • 4
    Direct mail is generally still viewed as less intrusive by people, as they can choose to view it when and where they want. As opposed to some other forms of marketing which works on an interruption approach , this results in them generally being more receptive and providing you with greater opportunity to capture and retain their attention.
  • 5
    You can target your audience very precisely.
  • 6
    You can make your campaign as big or small as you want to ensure you can handle the business that a powerful campaign may generate with direct mail. Or you can even start by doing a small campaign either as budget allows and or to test before you invest more money and roll it out.
  • 7
    Digital printing now means that you can supercharge your direct mail and make it even more powerful with personalisation (for more see my blog on Cross Media Marketing) which is proven to capture, engage and retain a prospects or clients attention, what’s more effect results.
  • 8
    You can target your offline clients or prospects and direct them to your online initiatives.

All right, that was 8 but there are plenty more reasons to consider Snail mail, just think about it, you may have even received a direct mail piece from one of the online giants like Google who have put out Direct Mail Campaigns recently encouraging small businesses to take up Good Adwords accounts.

For most of us in business we need to generate an tangible outcome, let’s be honest we need to generate some business primarily as it needs to be more than just a branding exercise, as with any marketing channel, there are some rules to follow to help you generate positive results. Here is a snapshot of what you need can include:

  • 1
    Identify your ideal clients and really know who your target audience is.
  • 2
    Create a headline that resonates with the prospect and or client that grabs their attention.
  • 3
    Have a great incentive / offer that encourages them to take a next step, this does not mean an insane discount unless of course you have some stock or something you are prepared to move at any cost. It can mean providing a fantastic value add offer or directing them to some free but value adding content that helps them solve a problem.
  • 4
    Have a great call to action
  • 5
    Have some great visuals and a good overall look and feel to your design
  • 6
    You also need to be tracking your results so have a unique offer to the particular campaign, specific offer codes, and or even a specific phone number to ring or person within your business to ask for.

Remember there is no silver bullet in marketing so continue to improve your campaigns by testing, measuring and modifying future campaigns based on the results from your previous campaigns.

Just because time is short, there is no reason to miss an opportunity to promote your business!

Cheers

Tom Dickson

What do I choose: Online or Offline Marketing?

Are you feeling a little overwhelmed about what to do as a result of the amount of options there seem to be when it comes to direct marketing techniques and opportunities?

How do you choose between online or offline?

Well let’s try help make your decision a little easier by starting off with, why choose between Offline and Online when you can combine them to make a very powerful marketing combination. With Cross Media Marketing you can take advantage of both online and offline marketing tools to build unique and dynamic marketing campaigns that engage, retain and interact with your prospects and clients.

Cross Media Marketing has and is proving to be one of the best ways to not only get a response from your prospects and or clients, but to achieve an overall much higher response from majority of DM (Direct Marketing) campaigns. It can include 2 or more tools including email, print, Landing Pages, pURLS (personalised landing pages) and QR Codes from your marketing tool box to be used in your next DM or Customer Loyalty Campaign

Cross Media (CM) Marketing connects the power of offline marketing tools like print ads, business cards and direct mail with the interactive capabilities of your online tools i.e. your website, Facebook page and even your YouTube channel.

Why do this? CM Campaigns are proven to deliver higher conversion rates of direct mail and email recipients into more qualified, better educated prospects and then ultimately valued customers.

Here are some ideas for some simple types of basic Cross Media implementation:

  • QR code on your Business Card directing them to a landing page, Facebook Page or a YouTube video
  • Direct Mail Postcard and/ or Email, with a specific landing page on it for what you have to offer, taking them offline to online
  • Print, Television, Radio or Online Banner Ads directing them to a specific landing page on your website

Online or Offline Marketing

 

Want to supercharge your campaign? Well, if you have a database of prospects and or clients you can with personalisation, turning your marketing campaign into a 1 to 1 Personalised Marketing Campaign. If you only have names and addresses, well you can create some pretty eye catching images with their name in it that will help grab your intended recipients’ attention.

Then depending on the information you have in your database, for example if you have more than just a name and address and have details like gender and date of birth you can increase the relevancy of your campaign material by personalising the combination of visuals (i.e. matching imagery and colour schemes to better appeal to the gender and generation of the recipient) and messages (i.e. matching your copy to demographic) too.

Just some ways you can go much further:

  • you can change the type (font) and presentation style according to the age group to better appeal
  • promote a specific product based on their age and gender
  • up-sell or cross-sell a specific product based on each customers past purchases
  • display individual special and unique offers to each customer or prospect and test what gets a better response
  • create links to personalised landing pages taking them offline to online and keep the unique experience going
  • Postcard or Direct Mail piece with a Variable Map Route specific to the recipient

With the power of 1 to 1 Personalised Marketing campaigns the possibilities of what you can do are practically limitless.

If you like the sound of implementing personalised campaigns but don’t have a database with even names and address, here are a few examples for collecting data:

  • Start collecting them when they purchase, I know it takes a little more time, but it is well worth it to create a database
  • Offer your prospect or customer a free sample, discounted or value add offer in return for some basic contact details
  • Create a landing page with a sign up form for great deals or special offers
  • Send a questionnaire or survey with the chance to win something as a result of participating.

So this all sounds great, but we are told these days and rightfully so, with any marketing initiative we implement whilst we all want the overall end result to be more sales and or increased customer loyalty right off the bat, there is no silver bullet in marketing. Cross Media and Personalised Marketing campaigns do enable you to track and measure results and include areas like:

  • Initial response and levels of engagement
  • Cross media tracking
  • Overall conversion percentages and results

There are many more factors and opportunities to consider when developing and implementing successful campaigns. So we need the capability of tracking and reporting as they are extremely important in providing you with vital information on which stage/s (Email, Postcard, Landing Page or pURL) produced or may not have produced the desired results of the campaign, and further which combination of things like headlines, offers, imagery, copy and overall creative is returning you the best overall results especially when we are split testing. With this information you can then either tweak and fine tune the next campaign which is hopefully the case or worst case scenario go back to the drawing board, but you will have captured some great data on what has and hasn’t worked.

Overall there are many benefits to bridging and combining offline and online in your next marketing initiative and implementing a Cross / Personalised Marketing Campaign. In summary outcomes you can expect:

  • trackable, measurable results and much higher response rates
  • engage your prospects and or clients in more meaningful and relevant dialogue leading to increased customer loyalty
  • better qualified and warm sales leads to help generate more sales and
  • create or regenerate your database

which overall all adds up to creating a better ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment), or as we like to say “much more bang for your buck”.

Don’t miss an opportunity to promote your business just because time is short!

Cheers

Tom Dickson.

Paperless 2013- Smoke and Mirrors?

Today I’m writing in response to a post on the website Environmental Leader (http://www.environmentalleader.com/2013/01/09/google-is-greenwashing-paper-industry-claims/) and the Paperless 2013 Campaign.

I have to say that I 100% support any robust discussion that not only makes us think about the environment but encourages us all to take action. While I’m in business I whole heartedly support proactive moves in creating positive outcomes that help to produce an environmentally friendly and sustainable business model that will assist in creating a better future for both ourselves but more so for our future generations. I have to agree with others who have posted their thoughts that at the moment it seems it is difficult balancing the world’s delicate economy and the even-more pressing (excuse the pun) delicate environment with no easy solutions it appears in immediate sight. However, I am disappointed in what seems to be to be an article that seems to me is skewed towards supporting Google’s and other “online” providers “Paperless 2013 Campaign”. In my opinion it is at least a bit of a pot calling the kettle black.

As you may know we are a cross-media marketing promoter and provider in which we promote both online and offline marketing tools and we do ourselves use Google’s, Constant Contact’s and Xero’s excellent solutions to help us promote and run our business. I also have a young family to think of and as a result while trying to ensure they are looked after financially I do believe in trying to continually develop and achieve a balanced approach to creating an environmentally sustainable business into the future. However as others have mentioned to me in discussions and in various posts, I have to agree that it seems that e-waste is unfortunately one of “our” fastest growing environmental challenges that we face due to “our” obsession with technology, for better or for worse, and the need to produce and update items like TV’s, phones, tablets and computers etc. in what seems to now be periods of even every 9 months. No sooner have we purchased what appeared to be the latest gadget but almost the next day the new version is coming out, come on let’s just look at mobile / cell phones / tablets and how frequently a new model is being released… I am certainly not advocating that the paper and print industry does not have its’ own challenges and does need to continually look for opportunities to become truly green with both production and recycling with at least a truly zero environmental impact. However as Mary Beth from Girls Who Print rightfully points out “to start with, because paper GROWS trees. More trees are planted than harvested for paper. Additionally, these forests, intentionally planted as a sustainable crop (like wheat for bread) stand for DECADES before being harvested. Paper is also 100% recyclable, unlike the e-waste created by all our computers, servers and cloud-based services. ” (http://girlswhoprint.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/sighagain.html) I personally had an experience of the challenge of e-waste recently when I was doing a spring clean a few weeks ago of our home, the shed and the yard and I had to go to the tip as a result, my green waste had a recycling section, my cardboard and paper products had a recycling section, but my e-waste went to land fill in this particular tip? Anyone seen the movie Wall-E? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHH3iSeDBLo) Is it a crystal ball into the future? I know e-waste reduction solutions are being worked on, but I don’t think at this stage the electronics world is on par with the paper and print industry. http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/toxics/electronics/ I think in a lot of parts of society including business too quickly we try to shift the focus and/ or the blame in another direction. Now while I love the tools they provide and we do use them, how about the team at Google and other “online” solution providers before throwing stones in a glass house be good world citizens and sort out their own backyards first. Start practicing what they preach, by both investing in, and working on delivering truly sustainable solutions for their own and third party products that are required to utilise their services. Because becoming a paperless office, or even popping solar panels on the roof if they choose too, does not cut it! How about they work on sustainable ways for producing and reducing their own e-waste created and educating the public and their consumers about the challenges of e-waste and how we can deal with it responsibly. Although I do love the irony with Google promoting a “Paperless 2013” over the years I have received more than several direct mail campaigns from Google themselves who are one of the principal companies pushing the Paperless 2013 encouraging me to start an online Adwords campaign with a voucher card attached but with the condition that I must be a new account… apart from the fact that some of the Direct Mailers I received were in my opinion somewhat poorly executed (not even a QR code linking me to a pURL encouraging me to shift offline to online) when it comes to the power of direct and personalised marketing, the biggest kicker is that I have had an Adwords account for several years, so they themselves appear that they cannot even find the time to cleanse their own database and reduce unnecessary paper waste let alone the cost to them to run a worldwide campaign of this nature…. While it can certainly be easier said than done, let’s firstly look internally (in our own respective industries) at solving our own industry environmental challenges and then opportunities to try and work together with other related industries in creating environmentally and economically sustainable business and marketing solutions. Then once we have exhausted all possible and plausible options and avenues in developing ways to neutralise any negative impact on the environment, and if there isn’t any, we then need to address and make some really tough decisions. Let’s make a start by saying “2013 the year of working towards improving and engaging environmentally sustainable marketing tools and opportunities”. Just a thought, please let us know yours. Cheers Tom Dickson.

Deck the halls, Christmas is fast approaching!


I don’t know about you but I love Christmas time for so many reasons, taking some well-deserved time out to enjoy more of life, spending even more quality time with family and friends, enjoying some good food (and all right the occasional festive drink), decorating the business and the house, sharing the festive season with the neighbourhood and the list goes on!

It’s hard to believe there is only 40 days left to Christmas 2012!

With that in mind, do you have all your Christmas shopping organised, well if you are like me, of course you haven’t.

What’s more, let’s get down to business, have you sent out your Chrissy cards to your present and even some of your past clients?

If you have not considered it or you are just sitting on the fence and are unsure whether or not to and you are asking why should I give a Christmas card to a customer? Here are just 5 quick but important reasons:

  • It gives you the opportunity to show your customers that your are thinking of them and that you care.
  • Allows you to thank your customers – we have all no doubt heard about the benefits of saying thank you, and how it is vital in creating personal and long lasting relationships with clients.
  • In today’s technological age, sending a physical Christmas card allows you to keep in touch in a more personal way with your customers and especially those you rarely see in person. It’s important to have a number of touch points when fostering your relationships with your customers.
  • Building your business branding – put your business literally, in your customers hands and the earlier you send your cards, the longer your message will be seen by them and others if they pop them on their desk or in their window.
  • Depending on who you use, you get the chance to also help raise valuable funds for various charities, enabling them to continue with their crucial contribution to our society. Remember, social responsibility is important.

Things you can do when you send your Christmas cards to either add that little more personal touch and or value include:

  • You can personalise the card and or your message to each recipient. Don’t have time to write them out by hand? Allow us to do some creative variable data printing for you.
  • You can get to be as creative as you want in getting both your message and your brand across, in a positive way.
  • Include a gift voucher as a Christmas gift for your client and or even entice them to buy one for someone else.
  • Remind them of your Christmas trading hours.

We have an exclusive range of cards that you can choose from and add your logo and personal message too or if you really want to stand-out from the crowd we can create a unique design for you ensuring you get a fully branded message to your clients.

So what are you waiting for, not only can you just simply share the joy this festive season, why not capitalise on this once a year marketing opportunity!

Don’t miss an opportunity to promote your business just because time is short!


Cheers

Tom Dickson.

Go Old School – Part 1

Are your email campaigns getting lost in the electronic crowd that is constantly hitting your clients or prospects inbox?

Are the spam police cutting your emails off at the intersection and quarantining your important messages before they get seen? When an email just won’t get through to who you want it to, what do you do? Well, you can consider going old school and turning to the trusted, proven and effective form of snail mail. It is a road that can be less crowded and easier to stand out in these days. Yes it is more expensive, yes it can take more time, however it can be a lot more effective and create much higher response rates. Stop, before you just hit print and post, how can you help ensure that you increase the success rate of your targeted recipient both receiving your mail piece and then opening it?

Now there is a lot to cover when it comes to a great printed direct mail piece and far too much to cover in one article, so we will spread it out in a few articles over the next few weeks. So let’s start with what the client sees first, the envelope. The envelope can help ensure that your marketing piece get’s to your intended recipient and grabs their attention! A custom printed envelope not only screams professionalism it can provide your client or prospect with the feeling that you have invested in and do really care about their business! You can apply the same rule to all marketing, 40% Call to action, 40% Copy and 20% Creative. The key is to capture the recipients attention and get them to take action and open the envelope. No budget for flash envelopes, or you don’t think you really need 500 or 1000 envelopes – as an option consider a stand out sticker. When it comes to addressing the envelope, personalise it! When and where possible use the recipients name, rather than something like “To the manager”, I am sure you would agree that if you see your name on the front, you are more inclined to open it.  Consider hand writing your prospects or clients contact details on the front, or if your database is way too big another great way is to use a handwriting font. Food for thought, a client of ours told us that they had hired several uni students with great handwriting skills to handwrite name and address details for a pretty large database.  

TIP: A very very important tip when investing in a printed direct mail campaign is to ensure that you have cleansed your database and made sure your contact details are up to date and all spelling is correct. Attention to detail goes a very long way in both earning your recipients respect and demonstrating that you do care. Depending on the size of your campaign, don’t underestimate the value of applying a real postage stamp on the envelope, it can make your direct marketing piece feel a lot less like a mass mailer and for a small cost per piece it might be a great investment! The key is to test and measure and measure the opportunity cost of each campaign. Are you tight on physical resources or the dollars you can invest – or have you got a fairly big database to get out too? Have a think about how you can break it down to several smaller campaigns. How do you eat an Elephant? One bite at a time! (metaphorically speaking, we don’t condone eating elephants and no animals were harmed in the production of this article….) The important thing is to start taking action, getting your campaigns out and as they generate results, reinvest some of the return straight back into your marketing activities, keep on sewing and reaping. These days it is not only amazing how much bang you can get for your buck when it comes to adding both a splash of design and colour to your envelopes. Yes it can cost more than an email, but it is more important to consider the possible and greater return on your marketing investment (ROMI). The power of print and the return on investment it can deliver when creating a nice printed direct mail campaign will surprise you. 

Wednesday Wisdom: Size does matter!

Well I’m tipping that caught your attention.

Hear me out before you judge the article by it’s title, I was recently reading an article that provided the tip to “Make the most of your small size” when it comes to your business.

The writer pointed out that no business, regardless of  how big or small, can afford to stand still in the products and services it offers. After all if you stand still you are actually going backwards as the rest of the market is moving forward without you – and these days in some industries it is moving considerably faster than it was even a couple of years ago.

However the important thing is to remain positive and of course take action. For those of you out there who are in businesses that fall into the micro to small businesses category, well, we are well-positioned and even fortunate in a lot of cases. Even in particularly difficult times like some of us have experienced the last few years we have the opportunity to and can react quickly to changes in our industries and or the economy – without the need for hundreds of meetings, cutting through red tape, getting sign off by any number of people higher in the organisation etc etc.

To illustrate, a conversation springs to mind that I had in a past business life in which I was an Operations Manager for an Australian Branch of a global business. Fortunate enough to have a great, very accessible Divisional Director at the time, we would have indepth business discussions. On one occasion when I was feeling particularly challenged about how to effect change that I believed needed to occur quickly within the organisation to help add value, I remember Richard telling me, “Tom, you’re like a speed boat – you want to be able to change direction quickly and either react or pursue opportunities in and for the business as quickly as you physically can. Whereas our company is more like an Oil Tanker, we are a big ship, with a lot of people and processes and it can take hours to plan, set-up and change direction”.

Now there are certainly pro’s and con’s to both being a larger business and a smaller business. However, in small business if we see challenges ahead, we can quickly slow down to minimise or more importantly avoid any collusion that could potentially sink our boat. But more importantly if we spot an opportunity in the market we are more often than not in a better position to have the flexibility and capability to quickly steer port (left) or starboard (right) and capitalise on it.

No matter the size of your business, it’s important to continually review your business, the economy and your marketplace, and to then be proactive. Chart and where possible implement pre-emptive changes that will help to ensure you survive and sail through any stormy weather and rough seas – and more importantly sail or motor (for the power boat lovers) into growth mode.

Remember, don’t miss an opportunity to promote and grow your business.

Tom Dickson

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