5 Reasons to Beef Up Your Visual Content

Is your marketing content heavy on the text? Or graphics? If it’s the former, you might want to change your strategy. Today’s marketing content, whether in print or electronic media, is increasingly heavy on the visual content.

Here are five facts supporting the importance of graphics and images that every marketer ought to know.

1. Ninety-three percent (93%) of communication is non-verbal.

2. Ninety percent (90%) of the information transmitted to our brains is visual.

3. People only remember about 20% of what they read, but as much as 80% of what they see.

4. More than half (55%) of website visitors spend less than 15 seconds actively reading text on the page.

5. Social sharing more than doubles when images are used.

According to the infographic from HubSpot, the average number of Facebook shares of posts without images is 28. With images, the average number of shares jumps to 65. Without images, the average Twitter shares is ten. With images, it jumps to 20.

Strong, powerful graphics are critical to any print marketing program and can make the difference between your message being noticed and remembered and not. Need help finding great stock images to complement your print and electronic marketing? Let us help.

Data source: http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/boost-engagement-visual-content

5 Steps to Building Customer Loyalty

Customer loyalty is an important topic among marketers these days. You work hard to gain your customers. Now you need to keep them. Here are five principles of customer loyalty you need to know.

1. Know your customers. This means tying together all the data you have on your customers to get one holistic perspective. For example, John W. Smith in your mailing database is also Johnny Smith Jr. in your email list and J.W. Smith on Facebook. Most customers need help tying these databases together. If so, contact us, and we can help.

2. Be a friendly company to deal with.  Reduce barriers to communicating with you. Provide more choices. This includes multiple options for customer inquiries, response, and communications. Make it easier to buy and make repeat purchases. Something as simple as pre-filling response cards and subscription forms can improve the experience. Make dealing with your company as easy as possible.

3. Personalize your interactions. According to Thunderhead.com’s “Engagement 3.0” report, 82% of customers feel that being treated with a one-size-fits-all approach give them a negative perception of the company. Take what you know about customers and personalize your communications, whether in print or email. Invest in expanding your marketing database to include new variables that will increase relevance.

4. Listen. Are you only pushing information out and not listening to feedback coming in? Respond quickly and appropriately to comments sent through email, your company blog, or even social media. Use customer surveys, feedback forms, and personalized URLs to listen and gather as much information as you can. Respond appropriately so customers know you are listening.

5. Be in it for the long haul. Forget the gimmicks and quick fixes. Prizes, sweepstakes, and “experiential events” can get results, but they are short lived. As one strategist has put it, “Get to the trenches, examine how your customers live and use your products, and then design a complete meaningful solution for them across all touchpoints.”[1]

There are no quick fixes for customer loyalty. It requires a commitment to meaningful communication and ongoing relationship that includes listening, as well as talking.

Need help? Give us a call!

[1] “The Missing Link to Customer Loyalty” (CrowdTwist, 2014)


3 Ways to Use Psychology to Boost Results Today

Studies have shown that simple techniques related to human behavior can boost the results of marketing campaigns significantly. Here are three techniques that are particularly simple and easy to implement.

1. Set minimums.

Set a minimum purchase or, if you’re fundraising, a minimum donation. In research done for the American Cancer Society, Robert Cialdini found that, by adding a minimum to the call to action increased donations by 78%.

2. Use the power of labels.

People tend to be become who they are labeled to be. If you label someone a “power donor,”or if you’re a bakery, a “strudel lover,” for example, recipients tend to see themselves this way and act accordingly.  This is supported by a behavioral study examining voting patterns. Researchers found that people randomly labeled as “politically active” were 15% more likely to vote.

3. Make it urgent.

It’s easy to delay making a purchase, so reduce attrition by adding deadlines to motivate your audience to action. “Three days only!” is more powerful than “Act now!” 

It might be hard to comprehend how such simple wording changes could pay such huge dividends, but repeatedly, the studies show that they do.

Want to prove it for yourself? Contact us and let us help you transforming your marketing using these simple behavioral techniques.

Based on data drawn from “10 Ways to Increase Conversions Using Psychology [Infographic]” from HelpScout.

Can’t Touch This: 5 Reasons Online Can’t Replace Print

In a world in which people have already checked their email, logged into Facebook, and responded to a dozen text messages before they drink their first cup of coffee, what is the enduring allure of print? Let’s look at five reasons print marketing remains the anchor of any great multichannel marketing program.  

1. Print is beautiful. It doesn’t matter how gorgeous your JPGs are, a beautifully printed piece will blow away your screen graphics any time. Print has a richness, depth, and allure that mobile devices and laptops can’t match.  

2. Print communicates beyond the subject line. When you communicate by email, recipients can’t see beyond the subject line unless they open the message. With clear envelopes, windows, and exterior envelope printing, you can communicate a tremendous amount of information in print before recipients even open the envelope.

3. Print plays well with others. Today’s complex marketing environment often requires multiple touch points.  Not everyone will respond to your message through the same channel or at the same time. Print remains a critical channel in the overall mix.

4. Print influences buying decisions. Marketers once thought that, as e-commerce became mainstream, printed catalogs would fade away. History indicates otherwise. Surveys consistently find that consumers who receive printed catalogs are more likely (in one study, twice as likely) to make online purchases at the retailer’s Web site as those who do not.

5. Print is credible. Open your e-mail. How much junk email do you receive? Unless it comes from a known brand, people are skeptical of claims made by email alone, and for good reason. Print still carries greater weight and authenticity than digital marketing. Combine that with personalization and you have a communication people feel they can trust.

Print remains a critical component in today’s fast-paced, “what’s in it for me?” world. While e-marketing is a necessary component in our multi-channel marketing environment, print — particularly 1:1 print — brings benefits that online channels just can’t touch.

Call us today to chat about how print can help your company succeed.

Need One Reason to Use QR Codes? This Is It

Do you offer retail products and haven’t yet incorporated QR Codes into your business model? If you’re still looking for motivation to get on board, this might be it. According to a new study of mobile shoppers [1],

  • While shopping in the store, the majority (58%) prefer to look up information on their smartphone or tablet rather than talk to a store employee.
  • Well over half (62%) feel the information they get via their mobile device is more helpful than information on in-store displays or sales literature.

When people would rather interact with their mobile phones than a live person, it’s time to start paying attention to mobile.

Moreover, sales made through mobile devices is climbing, even for products sold in the store. Walmart, for example, has reported that 70% of the orders taken through its digital business come through mobile devices, and 10% of shoppers in its physical stores end up purchasing on mobile devices while still in the store, typically to order out-of-stock products or have products delivered to their homes.

If you’re selling retail products, it’s time to add QR Codes into the mix. Use them on packaging, shelf talkers, product displays, and in-store signage to link to more product information, consumer reviews, “how to” videos, and other sales support information. It just makes sense.

Need help adding QR Codes to your product mix? Let us help!

[1]Enhancing the In-Store CE Retail Experience Using Mobile Devices” (Consumer Electronics Association, 2014)

So, is your printer more than “The Guy Who Prints My Stuff”

Quick! Define commercial printer. “What? You mean the guy who prints my stuff?” If that was your answer, maybe it’s time you took another look.

At one time, the printer was the guy with ink under his nails. He wasn’t the idea man. He was the guy who ran the press. He knew paper. He knew ink. He was the one who could take someone else’s idea and get it done. Somewhere along the line, that changed. Over time, print shops became more than just a place to output print.

At the Center of It All

Printers have always been at the center of marketing campaigns. They know how to manage color so it outputs best on press. They know what finishing techniques can be produced most cost-effectively for which designs. This is more than someone who puts ink on paper. It’s a consultative partner who can save you time, money, and hassle at the stages before and after the press. 

Over the years, this consultative relationship has grown. Printers have improved the cost and quality of their clients’ marketing campaigns simply by offering their expertise. 

Now, as part of their growing value proposition, printers have begun adding a wide range of services that transform their customers’ marketing capabilities. First, printers added binding and mailing services. Now they are offering software solutions, print-on-demand, online storefronts (Web-to-print), 1:1 marketing, cross-media, email services, personalized URLs/general URLs, survey services, database management, and much more.

Printers are no longer just printers. They have integrated into the customer’s business to become part of its marketing department or advertising agency.

So, quick—name three services your printer (whether it’s us or someone else) provides beyond merely putting ink on paper. Can you do it? If not, it’s time to look again. 

Boost Response Rates by Providing Choices

Want to boost the results of your next marketing campaign? Give customers a choice in how to respond.

You might be thinking, “What do you mean? We provide a phone number or website address. Isn’t that enough?” Not necessarily. Customers have different personalities, different lifestyles, and different preferences. The easier you can make it for them to respond, the more likely they are to do so. How this looks will be different for different people.   

For example:

  • A retiree might not respond to a personalized URL, but might send in a pre-filled tear-out card.
  • A busy mother might not fill out card but might make a phone call on the way out the door.
  • Generation Y consumers who might never make a phone call might respond to Facebook invitation.
  • A traveling executive might not take the time to log into a URL, but might scan a QR Code on his way to the airport.
  • A 20-something might prefer logging into a personalized URL where she can generate “personalized” communication without the pressure of a live person.

What are some of the commonly used response mechanisms? Phone (local, 800 numbers), tear-out forms (yes, many people still prefer them), general URLs with online forms and customized landing pages for tracking different campaigns, personalized URLs, QR Codes, social media (Facebook, Twitter), and even SMS text messaging.

Are you giving the response options that they prefer and are most likely to use? If not, talk to us about helping you identify your audience’s communications preferences so you can give them what they want.

You might be surprised by how this simple change can boost your response rates.

QR Codes: Making Your Print Interactive

QR Codes. You may have seen them in on direct mail pieces, in print ads, or on billboards. When you scan these 2D barcodes with your phone’s camera (you may need to download free software if it’s not pre-loaded), you are taken to a mobile landing page. You access a coupon. You see a video.

QR Codes serve as an immediate response mechanism for your print marketing. Your prospects don’t need to wait until they get home or back to the office to see the content. They can access it right away — right where they are.

QR Codes add interactivity to your print materials. Because they are simply 2D barcodes, they cost nothing to add to your layout. Using one of the many free QR Code generators out there, simply enter the URL to which you want people to be sent, hit “get code,” and insert the resulting .jpg or .png into the layout like any other image. Yes, it’s that easy.

Here are some places you can add QR Codes to spice up previously static print items:

  • Sell sheets. Send people to a YouTube video to see a demo of the product.
  • Business cards and letterhead. Customers and prospects can add your contact information automatically with a single snap of the code.
  • Trade show materials. Allow people to view your entire product line and pricing right from the trade show floor!
  • Window clings. Give passersby access to discount codes that encourage them to come in and buy.
  • Direct mail pieces. Make it easy for people to sign up for sweepstakes in exchange for answering a few survey questions to beef up your database.

The possibilities are endless. You can do great things with just a little creativity and brainpower.

Talk to us about putting our QR creativity to work for you.

The Reply Card: Art or Afterthought?

The sales letter, lift letter, and brochure tucked inside your direct mail package all share one purpose – to compel the reader to complete and return the reply card. While most cards may never be returned, every card that is returned represents an interested prospect. The value far outweighs the cost of printing and insertion. When you look at it this way, you begin to view this thin, rectangular piece not as an afterthought, but as an integral component of your direct mail strategy.

Creating an effective reply card is an art. Within the defined space of a few inches, you must capture interest and summarize your selling proposition while leaving room for the respondent’s contact information, your return address, and postage. Graphics should be subtle to avoid confusing or distracting the reader. Coated cardstock won’t work because the respondent needs to write on the piece.

Well-conceived reply cards have several things in common:

  • They get straight to the point about what is being offered and what the reader needs to do.
  • Checkboxes are included with a positive call to action and often an incentive as well: “YES! I accept your free trial offer!”
  • Additional avenues for responding are featured prominently, such as a toll-free telephone number, QR Code, and links to social media.
  • An expiration date is included to create a sense of urgency.

Studies have shown that response rates can be greatly increased when response devices are personalized. In this age of identity theft, however, you must be sensitive to the amount of information that is traveling through the mail on a postcard. If your business requires personal data like date of birth or a credit card number, be sure to include a reply envelope. Whatever approach you take, make sure your piece meets Canada Post’s standards for cost-effective processing. 

A reply card is arguably the most important piece inside your direct mail package. Rethink the role this seemingly simple piece plays in your overall direct mail plan.

Let’s get together to map out your next effective Direct Mail campaign.

Ways Colour Makes You Money

When we think about colour in print marketing and direct mail, we think about stunning images and eye-catching graphics. But colour packs a punch in letters, product brochures, and other text-heavy documents, too. What makes colour so powerful?

Here are just a few of the benefits that colour provides:

  • Increases recall dramatically. Studies show that colour increases recalls in the 80% range.
  • Gets attention. People are about 40% more likely to select or read materials when they are in colour.
  • Helps readers find information more easily. This is great for insurance policies, contracts, and other lengthy documents.
  • Reduces errors. Highlight instructions or account information to help people get it right the first time.
  • Slashes payment time. Highlight the amount owed and the due date with colour and watch your invoices get paid faster!
  • Increase the ability of readers to understand and retain information. This is great news for your sales presentations.

When you want to draw your readers’ attention to something or when you need to draw out an immediate response, you can’t beat the use of colour. Make phone numbers or payment information stand out in a letter. Highlight discounts in a brightly coloured star-burst. Use arrows or coloured bullets to focus attention on key points in a brochure.

Looking for ways to incorporate more colour into your direct mail or marketing collateral?

Contact us. We can help.

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