What’s little, powerful, and packs a real punch?

A postcard from you!

Postcards are often overlooked as a great way to market, but they effectively get your message out. People are forced to read your message even before thinking of throwing it away.

It’s right there, in the pile of envelopes, shining through with full color and catchy wording. If you haven’t thought of postcard marketing in a while, or ever, here are a few ideas to help you on your postcard journey.

6 Tips for Effective Postcard Marketing

1. Hone Your Message

What message do you want to get out? An event? A sale? A thank-you? A new product?

Be specific about what the purpose is, and stick to that message. You don’t want to try to promote everything at once on a postcard. Think about what your best, most immanent message should be.

2. Research and Determine Your Size Options

It’s common to use oversized postcards as well as regular postcards. What type of impact do you want to have?

Are you having a BIG event? Then go BIG on your postcard size. If it’s more of a personal message, a regular postcard will do just fine. It also depends on your budget. A larger postcard costs a little more, but its impact is much more significant.

3. Perfect Your Design

Your design means a lot.

Pick a design that has your message front and center. You want to have an organized design that represents your business.

Work with a graphic designer to come up with a gorgeous design that no one else has.

4. Headlines Matter

Write a headline that is clear about what you are offering or trying to say.

Make it fun, clever, or serious. Just be consistent throughout the postcard. If you are silly, stay silly. If you are urgent, keep the tone urgent.

Need help? We can offer you some suggestions.

5. Include a Call to Action

Tell the customer what you want them to do next.

Don’t leave it up for them to figure out. Ask prospects and clients to come into your store, call your business, or check out your website.

Whatever it is you want them to do, tell them.

6. Think of Your Audience

Who will be receiving the mailer? Will it be to future customers or someone familiar with your business?  

If it is going to prospective customers, be sure to say what you do in a short, concise way. No need to get wordy, but be sure to tell customers what you do and what you offer.

Whatever direction you choose, whether an oversized postcard or a traditional one, we can ensure you will come out swinging.

We will help you succeed in your marketing efforts when it comes to high-quality printing and design. Connect with us today!

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Time management is something we all strive to improve.

When you think you have it down to a science, a big project comes along and stretches us. But we all know that time management is the key to being successful.  

These tips will help you re-evaluate your time management skills in case you have been bombarded by stress.

Delegate. Okay, we said it. Delegation is key but make sure you give the job to the right person so you don’t feel like you have to micromanage them.

Don’t multitask. It feels like we are being more productive, and people often applaud it but don’t fall into the trap of multitasking. Studies show we are actually less productive when we spread our attention among several projects. Instead, make a list of things you need to do and cross them off as you go. That way, you won’t forget a project, but you can get it off your mind right away.

Deal with stress positively. We all get stressed out at times, but it’s how we handle it that counts. Exercise helps us deal with stress in a positive way. Other ways to deal with stress: meditate, call up a friend, listen to a podcast, get outside in nature, and write in a journal.

Set both short- and long-term goals. Your goals should be measurable, specific, relevant, and time-based. For example, if your goal is to get a raise in six months, figure out the specific steps you will need to achieve in order to do this. Then tackle it head-on.

Don’t overbook your calendar. Make sure that not every second of every day is taken. You will need some downtime, as well as time for phone calls and meetings that pop up. This will help you stay on track and not get discouraged when you can’t stick to the actual schedule.

Get up early. Most successful people start their day with a little extra time in the morning. Just getting up half an hour earlier will help you be more productive throughout your day.

Take regular breaks. Schedule these in so you are sure to take them. This ensures you don’t get distracted and helps you push on when you are tempted to look at your phone. Just 10 or 15 minutes is all it takes. You can get something to drink, go for a walk, check your phone, or talk with a coworker or friend.

Say no sometimes. When people ask you to do something, if possible, examine your schedule and workload first. Don’t just take on new assignments that you don’t have to. This also applies to get-togethers as well. If you are busy, don’t feel bad telling someone you are not able to go right now. But be sure to follow up with them later when you are free.

Don’t procrastinate. This is a good rule for both the office and in your personal life. Procrastination causes unneeded stress. We tend to procrastinate when we are overwhelmed or bored. Whatever the case, try to overcome it by making yourself start right away on a task.

Be realistic in how long a task takes. If you have a task to schedule, make sure you accurately estimate the time it takes to accomplish it. Will it take an hour to write that speech? Or will it take a week? Be realistic so you can stay on track.

Time management is something we can all work on daily. It’s important to keep honing those skills because we won’t be successful if we don’t. When you work with us, we will keep you on track with our on-time delivery and great products.

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Public relations help your company look good in the eyes of the public and create more sales.

PR can be a powerful marketing tool because it is regarded more highly by consumers, given that it is a third party advertising your business.

Even better, it can sometimes be possible to use unpaid tools, such as media, the internet, and business networks. 

Marketing vs. Public Relations

On the surface, PR and marketing may appear to be the same; however, there are key differences.

  • Marketing promotes your businesses’ products and/or services.
  • Public Relations focuses on promoting a positive reputation for your company.

The goal of marketing is to increase sales, while PR’s goal is to generate a positive reputation. Marketing generally targets the consumers, while PR aims to reach the public, especially stakeholders and media. 

3 Tips for Developing a PR strategy

A good PR campaign will cause the public to think more highly of your business, increasing their likelihood of doing business with you. Here are some tips to help you create a PR campaign of your own.

1. Develop your goals.

Make sure your goals are SMART goals.

SMART is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. According to Chron, some beneficial PR goals include “raising awareness; generating interest; promoting goodwill; reinforcing/burnishing brand image; providing information; and creating demand.”

2. Create a budget.

PR campaigns can be costly.

Start with a budget and then research various PR strategies. Choose the ones that will accomplish your goals and within your budget.

3. Cement your key messages.

Key messages are the main points you want your audience to remember.

These messages consist of five to six sentences clarifying your goals while answering the who, what, where, when, and why. Be sure to mention these message points in all press releases and keep them concise, memorable, and relevant. 

Where to Get Your Message Out

There are several places you can get your message. Check out these public relations outlets.

Media.

The media loves to report on interesting happenings.

If your business is doing something newsworthy, the media is going to want to report on it. You want the media to report because this equates to free advertising that customers will likely trust more than marketing campaigns.

Get the attention of journalists by releasing media statements and fact sheets. Even better, offer on-site media tours.

Newsletter, brochures, and catalogs.

These are all useful ways to utilize the power of print.

Inform current customers and draw in new ones by disseminating these tangible printed works. Customers will enjoy looking through these. Plus, customers will leave these around their house for quite some time.

Sponsorships or partnerships.

People love it when businesses support non-profits.

It elevates the business’s image in their minds as they’re happy to see a company caring about its community. It’s a win-win because you get the chance to help others, while goodwill and loyalty towards your business are elevated.

People will begin to associate your business with selflessness and good ethics. It will give them a greater motive to do buy from you. 

PR strategies can be an extremely effective way to increase sales in the long run by positively influencing the public’s view of your business. 

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Branding helps your business create the desired image of your company by clarifying and expanding what your company stands for.

According to Kotler and Keller, “Branding is endowing products and services with the power of a brand.” It helps put your business above the competition by giving customers an idea to attach themselves to. It affects consumers, employees, and shareholders. 

Brand vs. Products

Branding can be challenging to understand, but it helps to know the difference between a product and a brand.

A product is an item or service your company is selling. Although unique products or services are excellent, they can usually be easily copied by other aspiring entrepreneurs.

A brand is the idea and image behind the product. It is the promise made to the customers regarding what the product can deliver. It fulfills the customers’ desires while creating an emotional appeal for customers to attach themselves to. 

Why Focus on Branding? 

So, what’s the big deal about branding? Well, branding has many advantages. Here are just a few of them.

Branding makes your business unique.

In saturated markets where similar products or services are being sold, it can be too easy to get lost among the many other businesses.

However, branding gives you the chance to stand out. Customers may prefer the image and idea you are selling above that of a competitor. 

Branding creates greater customer loyalty.

Although quality products and/or services will be what keeps the customer coming back, you can strengthen that loyalty by giving the customer a brand to attach themselves to.

It is easier for people to connect to ideas and images over products. The customers you bring in through your branding are going to be your ideal customers. Why? Because there was something about your brand that they loved and will most likely continue to love for a long time!

Branding generates consistency.

Consistency is important because it better helps consumers identify your products by giving your company a unique look that can be attributed back to you.

Developing a great brand will make it much easier to release new products or services and provide a framework for your company to work under, alleviating the pressure of figuring out the little details. 

Developing a Brand Guide

The purpose of a brand guide is to solidify your company’s visual design and the voice, tone, and messaging.

Brand Guides include creating and finalizing the logos, color palette, typography, and voice and tone. This can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t have professional design skills. So, don’t be afraid to hire a professional when developing your brand guide. Great designs can really make a difference. 

Where to Apply Branding

Advertising

Your advertising campaign should incorporate consistent designs and messages.

Some great ideas for advertising include large print advertising, including banners and posters. When designing these, refer to your branding guide to create consistent color schemes, fonts, and messaging.

A fantastic design will catch potential customers’ attention, and the incorporation of your branding guide in your advertisement will help them better identify your products in the market. 

Product and Packaging Design

Try to apply your brand guide to your products and packaging.

Again, it’ll significantly help your company’s consistency, making your business and products easily identifiable to customers. 

Branding helps your business stand out among the competition by generating consistency and amazing design throughout your business’s endeavors, translating into more outstanding sales and customer loyalty. 

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Selling isn’t easy, no matter what you’re selling. How do you know which tactics work best and in which situations?

Check out the difference between a hard sell and a soft sell below to determine which approach will work best for your business.

In Corner One: The Hard Sell

The hard sell is used to close a sale quickly and is often pushy and aggressive.

It’s not uncommon for the salesperson to keep pushing until the customer has said no three times. The hard sell method has actually fallen out of favor with most businesses because it can leave the customer feeling unsatisfied and regretful, causing them to share their negative experiences with their friends and acquaintances.

Despite this, the hard sell is still utilized today because it provides immediate rewards and is great for 100% commission jobs. Hard sells also minimize the competition because the customer has little to no time to compare your product or services against another business. 

Despite its potential drawbacks, the hard sell can still be productive if it’s not done too aggressively.  

In Corner Two: The Soft Sell

The soft sell is generally favored over the hard sell.

The soft sell uses subtle persuasion and casual language in a low-pressure environment to close the sale. However, this approach usually takes longer, causing the seller to have to follow up multiple times.

The soft sell is somewhat counterintuitive because the sales representative focuses more on building a relationship with the client rather than selling the item.

Because of this, the sales representative must be persistent, frequently checking back on the customer. However, it is quite effective because customers like doing business with people they know and trust. The customer is more likely to keep coming back because they’ve had a good experience with you. 

6 Tips for a Successful Soft Sell

1. Do Your Research.

Researching your client before meeting them will give you a better idea of their needs and how you can best help them. You’ll also be better prepared and equipped to meet their needs.

2. Develop a Relationship.

Customers like doing business with people they know.

You want them to see you as someone they can trust, so take the time to get to know them. Ask your customers and prospects questions and truly listen to their responses.

It can be challenging to remember everything your customer says. Keeping notes you can refer back to in your future meetings will make following up with them easier. In addition, they’ll be surprised and happy that you remembered.

3. Give the Customer Space to Choose.

Don’t ask for a response right away or pressure prospects into buying.

Give them time, about 48 hours, to think it over. Then, follow up with them to inquire if they need any extra assistance from you.

4. Develop Your Emotional Intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is the “ability to perceive, manage, and regulate emotions” according to verywellmind.com.

This intelligence involves five components: emotional awareness, self-confidence, self-regulation, adaptability, influence, and leadership.

Having high emotional intelligence better equips you to understand your customer and their needs. You’ll be able to better direct your questions and advice based on how your customer is feeling.

5. Utilize Print.

The soft sell can be challenging because customers don’t feel pressure to close the sale in the near future.

Distributing business cards or brochures or leaving behind your print marketing collateral can help solve this problem. The prospect will have something physical to hold onto that will remind them of your business and keep your business top-of-mind.

6. Stay Resilient!

The soft sell does not happen right away.

It requires checking in with your customer and following up with their questions and concerns. Sometimes, the sale never happens. But, what matters is that you provided the customer with sound advice and connected with them to feel valid. This helps build the reputation of your company. Maybe the sale didn’t happen this time, but it will in the future. 

The Choice is Yours

Between the soft sell and the hard sell, the soft sell is generally recommended because it allows the customer to make an informed choice that they are happy with, ensuring a good company reputation and a loyal customer.

However, aspects of the hard sell can be beneficial to incorporate into your business when the circumstances call for it. Just don’t be too aggressive and pushy. 

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The last year and a half with the COVID pandemic has been highly disruptive, breaking relationships and forcing distance between people in all facets of life.

Business hasn’t been excluded from that effect.

That’s why it’s more important now to reintroduce your products and services to clients and remind them that you exist, you can help, and you’re available for them.

Remember, out of sight is out of mind; clients forget why they used a service when there’s a lack of contact and frequency. And that leaves room for your market to erode and someone else to fill the gap if they happen to be present.

5 Ways to Reconnect To Your Audience

1. Be Proactive

Part of reconnecting means being proactive and reaching out again, even without an invite.

A client will be fine with communication most of the time, noting they forgot how much they relied on your service. Use that opener to remind them how valuable your support was for their needs. Even if they don’t need an order right away, get your presence and recognition back on their radar with a simple meet and greet through direct mail or an office visit.

2. Take the Blame for the Disconnect

Blame yourself for not staying in touch instead of letting the client feel guilty.

With so much happening, the last thing anyone wants is to feel criticized for not staying in contact. Instead, carry the blame and let them feel better about the disconnect, as well as note that you’re making amends and reaching out again.

It reframes the discussion, making the client feel comfortable and noting you want their attention and communication. You want them to feel valued.

3. Reposition Your Value

Clients can begin to forget why partnerships and support relationships existed.

As clients come back into the office again, you want them to remember why they used your service in the first place. Don’t let them guess, show them and reinform again.

4. Make Sure Contact Info is Updated

Most reconnects are not about a sale; they are about re-establishing a relationship.

Ideally, you want the client to have the latest means and contact info to reach out when their need is realized, and they have to act on it. People are more prone to work with a tried and true path. Make sure they have your current information, and it’s readily available to them.

5. Remind Your Clients Why You Appreciate Them

If one of your clients generated a referral over the last year, let them know you appreciated the help and support.

By communicating your gratitude for a referral or past sales, clients will likely do business with you again and send new referrals, both activities positively affecting your bottom line.

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While people are finally able to obtain a vaccine for COVID-19 and the ability to travel, move around, shop, and dine out is increasing, restaurants have a long hill ahead of them before getting back to a business “normality.”

In fact, entire behavior patterns have changed in people after a year of completely living at home and avoiding regular work presence, school, commuting, and traffic. And that means businesses have to work extra hard in diversifying how they produce income and revenue channels to stay viable.

Many restaurants realized early the only way they were going to stay in business was to boost their ability to handle delivery, ordering out, pick up, and other forms of fresh-cooked food transfer to customers who could no longer dine in.

While people generally tried producing their food regularly at home, overall, Americans are used to picking up and eating out. So, the demand never actually left; it was stifled by COVID restrictions.

However, even now, many communities are still maintaining social restrictions to prevent new COVID infections until vaccinations are fully in place at every age level. That means restaurants and food preparation businesses have to continue leveraging direct mail to be heard, seen, connect and remain on the attention radar of customers.

4 Reasons Direct Mail Works

1. Direct mail is almost always local.

The most likely customers that can and will visit a restaurant from the surrounding area are the primary target for print mails.

2. Direct mail is significantly lower in cost than other marketing channels.

This is a key factor for food businesses that are already strapped and trying to stay in breakeven with the loss of income thanks to COVID.

3. Direct mail has a higher return on investment.

The return on investment of a simple print card mailer can be thousands upon thousands of dollars when a customer responds to an included call to action.

Add in the additional benefit of discounting, and that same customer is likely to buy even more, increasing a business’s revenue and cash flow per sale.

4. Direct mailers should be designed to be re-used.

Customers love the ability to use a marketing tool or coupon repeatedly.

And that creates both business retention and a greater amount of income stream for a restaurant or food business, again the primary goal of the effort in the first place.

Now is the Time

Restaurants and food businesses that rely on retail traffic shouldn’t be waiting for social restrictions to lift further.

Marketing takes time to have a positive effect, which is why direct mail efforts need to be sent out on a cyclical basis, pushing and reminding folks of a restaurant’s presence and availability.

As people keep being reminded, especially as they start commuting to work again, the food business will become viable and convenient for a warm meal, even if it is still takeout or delivery. Card stock direct mailers can help tremendously. So don’t wait for the market to reappear. Get out there and chase it now!

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“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” (Ronald Reagan)

What is the difference between a boss and a leader?

John Maxwell said it this way:

“He who thinks he leads but has no followers is only taking a walk.”

If you can’t influence others, they won’t follow you. And you can’t lead people where you aren’t going yourself. Inspiring managers are those who do more than delegate tasks; they put skin in the game by personifying the actions and attitudes they hope to replicate in others.

Nearly 250 years ago, a man dressed in civilian clothes was riding a horse when he encountered a group of weary soldiers. The exhausted troops were digging a defensive position to prepare for the next battle. Though morale was already low, the leader of this beleaguered group was a mean-spirited man who threatened to whip those who could not finish the work in an hour. He barked orders from the rear while pacing back and forth behind them.

The stranger on horseback was appalled. “If this is so important, then why aren’t you helping them?” In response, the battalion leader growled about how he was in charge, and the men will “do as I tell them.” Then he shouted at the stranger, “Help them yourself if you feel so strongly about it!”

To the surprise of all, the rider disembarked from his horse and pitched in alongside the fatigued soldiers until they finished the job. After congratulating the crew for their perseverance, he turned to the crew leader and snapped, “You should notify top command next time your rank prevents you from supporting your men – and I will provide a more permanent solution.”

That day the pompous manager learned a lesson in humility. But not until after he recognized the stranger as General George Washington.

Why Little Things Count

Leading from the front is more than just asking people to imitate you. It is a modest attitude that says, “I am willing to do whatever I have asked you to do.”

This means living consistently in the big “whys” of what you do every day and being willing to get your hands dirty to show that little things count. Leading from the front in your position might mean:

— Finding (and articulating) the silver lining of challenging moments

— Sending handwritten birthday or thank you cards

— Having open office hours (and a listening ear) at least one morning a week

— Keeping accurate files to demonstrate the importance of order and accountability

— Asking hard questions that lead to uncomfortable — but necessary — conversations

— Taking ownership of mistakes and protecting your team in crisis moments

— Make a point of doing small jobs (that are below your pay grade) each day

— Greeting people by name

True leadership typically doesn’t involve mountaintop moments and brag sessions. Instead, it serves others in authentic relationships.

Morale will climb as you stop bossing and start leading.

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More than 40 years ago, Dale Miller conducted a study that compared two groups of executives.

One group was identified by their colleagues as highly effective and ready for promotion. Individuals in the other group initially seemed promising but were later deemed unready for an advanced role.

During evaluation, each group received a deck of 62 statements describing management behavior and was asked to sort the statements on most effective versus least effective leadership qualities. After the first group finished sorting, the top behavior they selected was this: “accepts full responsibility for the performance of the work unit.” This phrase was chosen above delegation, staffing, time-management, or even technical skills.

The primary difference between these groups? Those primed for high-level leadership took full ownership over the team, its cohesiveness, and final project outcomes.

Practical Ways to Practice Personal Responsibility

“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.” — Theodore Roosevelt

Many people who enter management are willing to accept the benefits of their position without fully embracing the pain points of this role.

Modern society often views leadership as self-serving, with the needs and desires of the individual taking priority over those of the team. But effective leadership primarily benefits the followers, not the leader. People who put the team’s needs above their own will achieve maximum influence and increase efficiency and effectiveness in their organization.

What does it look like to embrace a results-based perspective in your leadership? Ultimately, this starts with a mindset that says, “I am the person who must make this happen.” This goes beyond merely completing a task to a wholehearted commitment to the company’s best interests, including doing things for which there is no immediate reward. Do you turn off the lights if you are the last one in the building, or do you assume the custodian will do this? Responsible leaders use organizational resources with great care; they take the long view and see their own well-being as intrinsically linked to this organization’s success.

On a tangible, daily level, here are several ways successful leaders take personal responsibility:

— Asking, “how can I help?” instead of “what does that have to do with me?”

— Sharing credit when things go well but acknowledging personal shortcomings when a team fails

— Proactively seeking honest feedback about personal performance

— Acting as a buffer to protect the team from unreasonable demands on time, resources, or output

— Delegating tasks (using clear job descriptions) while avoiding the temptation to micromanage

— Being willing to forego being one of the group (or everyone’s “buddy”) to accept the social stigma of leadership

— Encouraging people to take responsibility for their own roles by highlighting the importance of what they are doing and how these efforts tie into the bigger picture

— Breaking large ventures into small steps, so people feel proud of their progress (rather than overwhelmed by the magnitude of a project)

— Ensuring team members have the resources needed to do their job (including training, equipment, access to mentors and coaches, etc.)

— Documenting poor outcomes and intentionally communicating them to struggling team members so positive changes (or eventual termination) can occur

Empower Yourself and Encourage Others

While taking responsibility can be difficult, it is also empowering.

Pursuing this results-based mindset allows you to take ownership over a situation and avoid feeling like a victim. When you take ownership over your role in every situation, you become an active participant, not a passive bystander. You are a trustee of these intangibles, and this empowering attitude helps others move forward in vitality – even when they’ve forgotten how to believe in themselves.

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In a post-pandemic world, marketers are tasked with a unique balancing act: helping people return to reality while remaining sensitive to the challenges of this era.

Today’s consumers appreciate businesses that prioritize people over products. Research by consumer authority Mintel has shown that as many as 56% of Americans will stop buying from brands they believe are unethical. Additionally, in a global survey, 91% of consumers reported they were likely to switch to a brand that supports a good cause, given similar price and quality. 

Corporate responsibility, or cause marketing, occurs when a company’s promotional campaign has a dual purpose of increasing profitability while bettering society. Or, more colloquially: cause marketing occurs when a brand does well by doing good.

Visual campaigns are potent, and they are even more compelling when combined with a social initiative of some sort. Here are three dynamic examples.

Cadbury’s “Donate Your Words” Campaign

In the United Kingdom, 225,000 older people often go a week without speaking to anyone.

During the pronounced isolation of COVID-19, Cadbury chocolates launched an initiative to benefit Age UK, the country’s leading charity dedicated to providing companionship, advice, and support for older individuals.

In a stark visual, Cadbury removed all lettering from the front of its dark purple packaging and replaced it with a blank tag: instead of a price, there was a pledge to talk to an older person. Blank pledge tags were also available for customers who wanted to write personalized pledges. Shoppers could take any display item to the till, but instead of paying money they could pledge to talk to an older person.

Cadbury donated its chocolate and challenged a nation to donate its words.

American Express and Small Business Saturday

Did you know that the original founder of Small Business Saturday was American Express?

Without a non-profit partner, American Express embraced entire communities by encouraging consumers to shop local and support the mom and pop stores in their own neighborhoods (presumably while using an American Express card to do so!).

Launched in 2010, local profits leaped from $14.3 billion in 2014 to $19.8 billion in 2020. Key to this success was visual marketing; to equip local businesses, American Express designed creative pieces like signage, social posts, scavenger hunt maps, recipe sheets, and themed passports to support their “Neighborhood Champions”—men and women that vowed to formally celebrate Small Business Saturday in their areas.

A Meaningful, Memorable Message

Consumers want to see positive change in the world and when your brand can be part of it, the emotional impact of your marketing will ratchet up.

Choose your cause wisely, listen to your audience, and lean in to the power of print marketing to put your message front and center. 

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