Archive for January, 2011

Improve Your Writing… Understand Grammar

January 7, 2011

An interesting and perhaps unanticipated result of the growth in social media for marketing is an increased need for good writing skills. Blogs, drip marketing, opt-in electronic newsletters, and other “new media” require both useful content and good writing to attract and keep readers.

The elements of good writing are simple: grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. By mastering the rules and conventions, you will make your writing easier to understand and more enjoyable to your readers.

Grammar explains the forms and structure of words (called morphology) and how they are arranged in sentences (called syntax). In other words, grammar provides the rules for speaking and writing that give us a common way of using language so we can more easily understand each other.

Integrating Print Into Your Marketing Mix

January 7, 2011

A few months ago in this newsletter we introduced you to the power of combining traditional direct mail marketing with web-based communication, and provided supporting research for the concept. Since then, new research has been published, providing even more evidence for the idea that print remains a viable and valuable part of any marketing campaign.

FedEx Office, in conjunction with the Ketchum Global Research Network and Braun Research, conducted the third annual Sign of the Times small business survey in spring 2010. The survey respondents were small business owners employing 5 to 100 employees and whose companies generate over $100,000 in annual revenue; over 500 interviews were completed. Survey results include:

• 87% of survey respondents indicated that printed marketing and advertising tools are somewhat to very effective in driving customers to their businesses.

• 57% of owners aged 18-34 believe in the power of flyers and brochures – more than their older counterparts (47%).

In addition, 44% of respondents said they plan to increase communication with existing and potential customers via a printed piece – a newsletter or direct mail.

8 Tips for Managing Print Buying

January 7, 2011

Our goal in publishing Printips each month is to provide useful information to our customers and prospects on the things that we know best – printing, digital printing, mailing, and web services. Often we discuss technical or production issues that are important for you to understand, or share ways to that the products and services we provide can help you expand your business. But sometimes – like this issue – we reveal inside information that will help you better manage the process of buying printing.

Good Graphic Design… The Secret Ingredient in Visual Communication

January 7, 2011

Communicating via visual means is central to the selling process. Imagine trying to explain your product or service without having the assistance of a brochure, a display ad, or a web site. Think how difficult it would be to differentiate your product from others on the shelf without attractive packaging. All buying decisions include some amount of emotion – how would you quickly evoke emotion without the assistance of images?

Visual communication is a process that uses investigation, analysis, and planning to identify a communication requirement as a first step in designing something meant to be seen rather than heard or felt. Visual communication is a broad discipline that uses graphic design, drawing, illustration, typography, and color to convey a thought, to inform, to educate, or to persuade a target audience.

You may have heard us use the term graphic design when discussing a marketing or sales-related printed piece, creating or refreshing a logo, or updating a web site. What we mean by this is all the techniques, from composition to page layout, that are needed to prepare for the final step – printing, taking a web site live, branding, etc.

How to Use Direct Mail fIor Marketing Success

January 7, 2011

If you’ve been reading our most recent newsletters, you’ll notice a theme – that traditional direct mail and e-mail work best together. Both have their place in a marketer’s tool kit, neither cancels the need for the other, and the two may even work symbiotically, as when a post card is sent offering a premium if the recipient provides an e-mail address.

While we acknowledge the growing importance of web-based communication to reach customers and prospects, computers and mobile wireless devices like smartphones cannot by themselves reach everyone in a business’s or organization’s target market. That could change as the use of mobile wireless devices spreads (which is happening rapidly). But until that time, traditional direct mail still has valuable place as a marketing tool.

Traditional direct mail is a good choice for some audiences (such as an older demographic whose adoption of web-based communications may be lagging younger audiences) and for anyone who clearly states a preference for direct mail.

Traditional direct mail is also a good choice for businesses and organizations whose target audience is local. Sustaining member campaigns, fundraisers and financial support appeals by community-based non profits are a good example where outreach by traditional direct mail to the homes of donors is likely to outperform web- based appeal.

Anticipating the addition of, or even the switch to web-based communication, businesses and organizations are collecting e-mail addresses and starting permission-based newsletters and blogs. But until that task is complete, traditional direct mail could be the only way to reach a customer or prospect.

Content is King… Direct Mail or E-Mail Marketing

January 7, 2011

Amid the ongoing debate about whether direct mail or e-mail is the best method to market to customers and prospects, very little is being said about the one thing that is crucial to the success of both – the message. Unless the message is relevant to the audience and persuasively presented, it doesn’t matter how it is delivered. So while the discussion about direct mail versus e-mail continues, focus on developing good content and honing your writing skills.

Why market with mail?

The objective of both direct and e-mail marketing is to persuade a customer or prospect to take action, either now or later. When a seller consistently and regularly sends a communication such as a mailed post card or a newsletter (either mailed or web-based), a buyer is more likely at a future time to take the action desired by the seller. In other words, direct or e-mail marketing is less about an immediate sale than about positioning the business or organization to be top-of-mind when the potential buyer is ready to make a purchase.

This is especially important in business-to- business selling where the sell cycle is often long (especially when compared to business-to- consumer), and it is hard to stimulate demand. Direct mail is also important during an economic downturn when either budgetary constraints or the unwillingness of the purchaser to spend money creates a long sell cycle for both businesses and consumers.

Multi-Channel Marketing… Many Ways To Vary Your Promotions

January 7, 2011

The lifeblood of any business or organization is keeping current customers interested in your product or service while finding prospects to become new customers. This necessarily means that your business or organization must devote time and resources to promotion – using various methods to reach a target audience with a specific message.

Effective promotion is not limited to large businesses with substantial budgets. Smaller businesses and organizations can be successful by understanding how promotion works and adapting strategies and techniques to fit the available resources.