The Six Secrets of No-Surprise Printing

The Six Secrets of No-Surprise Printing

Even When Using Digital Printing… it pays to plan.

Methods

Successful print jobs are all about planning and communication. If you plan carefully and communicate exactly what you want, it is unlikely that you will need an expensive do over by a problem or disappointment later.

Number One.

The first step is to have a rational idea of the physical piece you want to create. That means determining the size, shape, folds, and other characteristics. For anything more complicated than a flat sheet, it is wise to create a dummy or mock-up to make sure that pages and folds are where you want them to be.

Number Two.

If you are printing for a mailing, a mock-up helps to ensure that the individual pieces will fit in the envelope properly. It can also help determine the type of printing equipment, such as die cutting or masking that will be a much-needed impact. Simple steps now could lead to savings to make the printing process more efficient. Changing the dimensions, for example, could allow a piece to be printed on a smaller press to save money. Check with the post office or your direct mailer. Non-Traditional size and shape mailers may require a special rate.

Number Three.

Proofing is also important. It is often tempting to rush when you are working under a deadline, but it is always better (and much cheaper) to correct a mistake before printing begins. Show your last design to several people, include those who have not worked on the project. Their input will be fresh and objective. Look for the usual spelling errors and grammatical mistakes. Carefully check the headline and subheads. Most important, be sure that all vital information is correct, including phone number, return address, postal indicia, and bar codes. 

Number Four.

One common mistake is to include photos that look good on a computer screen, but which do not print well on a press. For most, you will need photos or graphics with 300 dpi resolution. Always use stock or vector images from a reputable company. If the budget permits, hire a photographer, designer, or direct marketing mail copyrighter. Make sure they sign off the rights of their property to your firm.

Number Five.

When submitting your design file for printing, you must include not only the file but all the attached files, including fonts, photos, graphics, and logos. Check early on with your printer what they need to get what you want to achieve. Just because it is digital, printers need to follow a protocol to get the best-looking printed material.

Number Six.

Finally, it is important to keep in mind that printing involves putting ink onto paper. The ink and paper you use will affect the last look. You cannot rely on how a design appears on a computer screen. Paper can come in various colors, thicknesses, and textures which affect the last appearance of printing. When in doubt, ask for samples before you begin the design and writing process.

Please share with others–except your competition!

Direct marketing copy is like a puzzle.

Sharing my time with you is not over at the end of a post. There are many ideas I experienced in owning a small business. My ideas about using and writing direct marketing and customer-centric copy are intertwined in the marketing, advertising, and selling content, articles, reports based on my philosophy of people learn by reading, then learn by doing.

Please join our Direct2Customers Marketing Community today!

Learning by reading and doing, marketing, and selling ideas, is what you will find in your Direct2Customer Community. Join us today by clicking on the button.

This is what I do and what I love to do.

Thanks again for reading. Questions?

Mdoc@direct2customers.com or 800-251-3608

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Are Today’s Customers Harder to Reach?

Are Today’s Customers Harder to Reach?

The competition today is humongous!

In our history as a nation, for example in the 1800s, all selling was face-to-face. Store owners studied customer purchases to determine their likes and not so likes of goods and services. Sounds simple, because it was, then.

Now fast forward to the present. It is difficult to get a grasp on why and what a potential customer would buy. There is a loss of useful, outmoded communication channels seceded by the internet and all things technology.

Further, the competition today is humongous. Customers shopping at stores is low, B2B company industry shows are trying to make a comeback, trade publications are disappearing or bought out, and a small business is erratic with selling goods or closed for good.

The timing is right getting back to the basics.

When I put my thoughts together for this post, I realized how much has changed since the pandemic reached our shores in the first quarter of 2020. Companies, big and small, had a very difficult time on how to communicate with prospects and customers. Try this, do that, or even maybe this will work.

Hopefully, the time is right for a change. The pandemic may wind down as we approach the summer of 2021. Fresh cases of Covid-19 are at their low and in single digits of deaths in Illinois. People vaccinated twice are slightly over 50%.

Selling to people in the 1800s.

The biggest takeaway from the 19th Century was face-to-face selling. In the B2B industry, a person may sell a high-cost product or service. The salesperson usually receives a lot of objections. A good salesperson studies his customers and their company. He must know how to react to the objections.

With negotiations, both people must know as much as possible about each other. Each person wants to walk away as a winner.

So, what is different today? We have the technology to meet face-to-face. For example, any good salesperson would say, “I need to set the table on why my product or service is better.” A small ticket price salesperson must also set a table to get a sale. It is not what you know or who you know, it is what you know about the person you are selling to. What does he know about you?

Look at what other companies are doing.

To become a useful tool, you must transform data into information that can help drive strategic direct marketing and selling programs, financial decisions, and product development. To minimize manual data collection and conserve resources, a company should focus on metrics for readily available data.

In today’s direct and digital marketing, data will capture information needed to drive decisions. The idea of having a good marketing automation tool to capture more data at a reasonable price is a worthwhile investment. The Pareto Principal comes into play when you collect data. Twenty percent of your customers usually provide eighty percent of your revenue. Buy a CRM or database and build one today.

Adding value-oriented work habits.

When you summarize feedback in charts, graphs, or simple to understand language, you’ll always know the score. You know if you’re winning or losing–and to what degree. 

Go get’em slugger!

Useful methods of setting a table for a sale.

  1. Printed Materials. If you have not printed marketing materials in sometime, there are many knowledgeable printers to help you with paper ideas, paper types, color, black and white, sizes, postal requirement and so forth. Look up a direct mail company who process mail for delivery is a logical choice.
  2. Contact List. Every business needs a customer and prospect list. The average list may lose 20% of contacts each year. You can count on over 20% based on the present pandemic. Before you do any mailing, search your current customers from accounting. Compare each list and update your mailing customer list. That is just a start. See #5.
  3. Direct Marketing Mail. Whether a large or small business direct mail can deliver. For example, get creative with printed materials. Get creative with the envelope or other size package, so when it reaches the person’s hand and eyes, they have creative printed material, such as a call-to-action.
  4. Communication Channels. Besides mail you should add additional communication channels such as email, landing pages, your website, telephone, zoom, video such as You Tube and other digital marketing techniques. Your choices are many, but it all depends on what your contacts prefer.
  5. Data Management. Personalization assumes that you know something about the people to whom you are mailing, emailing, or sending to a landing page and so on. It is an effective way to keep customers spending their money on your products and services.

Summary

Yes, there are more. However, without having a good contact list, your results are not always what they could be. The key point in any of the communication channels is personalization. You need to collect customer data, such as what channel (email, mail, etc) is the best revenue channel.

A database, such as a CRM, will disclose more about your customers and prospects. Think about using segments in your CRM. Start simple. For example, what buyers are in the top 20% of revenue. They may have different copy than the other 80%.

Here is a collection of articles and posts for each of the five tactical tools from the list above.

mdoc@direct2customers.com

Please share with others–except your competition!

Direct marketing copy is like a puzzle.

Sharing my time with you is not over at the end of a post. There are many ideas I experienced in owning a small business. My ideas about using and writing direct marketing and customer-centric copy are intertwined in the marketing, advertising, and selling content, articles, reports based on my philosophy of people learn by reading, then learn by doing.

Please join our Direct2Customers Marketing Community today!

Learning by reading and doing, marketing, and selling ideas, is what you will find in your Direct2Customer Community. Join us today by clicking on the button.

This is what I do and what I love to do.

Thanks again for reading. Questions?

Mdoc@direct2customers.com or 800-251-3608

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Why do I Share Content?

Why do I Share Content?

Why Not?

In larger companies, such as ACE Hardware or State Farm Insurance, you will most likely find a human resources title, such as marketing manager, to accomplish the marketing planning goals set by upper management.

In small business, maybe 2, 15, 50 or 500 employees or an owner of one, another person anointed with organization leadership, is the marketing manager. This person knows his customers at a higher level than anyone with the title of marketing manager in big business. HE or SHE knows a happy customer is a great customer. The more they know about their customers is critical for success.

We all need feedback.

Owning a small business, I always needed to receive feedback from my marketing tips. Such as in my blog, website, newsletters, email, or discussions with customers and prospects. I have three principles of marketing/sales that always work.

  1. Learn by reading.
  2. Learn by doing.
  3. Find a solution for a problem.

The Marketing Doc name was a label from an eye doctor while I was gathering information from him to build a marketing and advertising program for his small practice, in 1994. “I can’t treat a patient until I find the problem. Your questions helped me think about the future of my practice. You must be a Marketing Doctor.”

In the beginning of my business in 1984, I created a series of questions and started building my first small business manual marketing workbook, CustomMark. These were exploring questions to learn more about prospects looking for marketing and selling help. I changed the name and added new content two other times since the early nineties, but the latest, Custom-Made Marketing, is the sixth edition.

The answers to questions tell me a story of their usage of marketing, advertising, and sales. I look at marketing as everything you do to get more customers strategically. For example, getting a database or CRM to build a customer-centric strategy. Segment your customers and prospects, develop customer profiles, and consider training your employees who sell using tactics of solution selling.

Learn by reading, learn by doing, and learn how to become a solution provider for your prospect and customers.

I see smaller traffic to my new blog, on Direct2customers.com, Blog-MarketingDoc. I had over 10.000 readers on marketingdoc.net blog, but still trying to surpass it on this blog. So, I’ll share two blog posts on October 2020. Just click on the Two Blog Posts button under this content.

I hope you find them interesting and meaningful to your business. If not, please let me know. If you have a question or an idea to discuss, you can reach me via email, Mdoc@direct2customers.com or 800.251. 3608.

When you join our marketing community, you’ll have a variety of content to read, plus it is free to join.

“I always write content that helps people work better and reach their goals.”

 MarketingDoc

Please share with others–except your competition!

Direct marketing copy is like a puzzle.

Sharing my time with you is not over at the end of a post. There are many ideas I experienced in owning a small business. My ideas about using and writing direct marketing and customer-centric copy are intertwined in the marketing, advertising, and selling content, articles, reports based on my philosophy of people learn by reading, then learn by doing.

Please join our Direct2Customers Marketing Community today!

Learning and doing, marketing, and selling ideas, is what you will find in your Direct2Customer Community. Join us today by clicking on the button.

This is what I do and what I love to do.

Thanks again for reading. Questions?

Mdoc@direct2customers.com or 800-251-3608

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2021 J. Mike Deuerling
Why do I Share Content?

Direct marketing has hundreds of tactics to reach your customers…

Direct Marketing Has Hundreds of Tactics to Reach Your Customers

More and more companies, big and small, are searching for direct marketing ideas. *

 

The efficiencies of direct marketing led to a long success for many small business marketing firms and importantly, how to make them work for your small business today. Today I read a report that larger companies are eyeing ways to use it as well.

In small businesses today, B2B, healthcare practitioners, start-up companies, and retailers, advertising to the masses is possible but not likely effective. In fact, small business advertising was and still is harder for a small business to function properly and to sustain growth, but even worse in the pandemic.

There is a lot of noise created by the thousands of mid to large companies trying to get the attention of any person and convince them to buy their products. There is no room for a small business to even think of trying.

Did you ever travel with your favorite sports team to an away game? I bet the noise was deafening whenever the home team had the ball, were at bat or handling the puck.

That is a metaphor for the present state of small business advertising today. For your message read or heard by a customer or prospect, you must shout louder than the home team. Here, a small business can never match the advertising dollars of the much larger companies or worse yet, maybe their competition.

Direct marketing techniques are more than a single communication channel.

Direct Marketing is a good defense communication channel when using direct mail. Direct Mail is an important channel of direct marketing, and many of the small businesses that use it will agree. Even the postal service offers programs, such as Informed Delivery and Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) is affordable for the many small business’s market.

“Direct marketing means delivering an opportunity to buy directly to a single customer through any channel that the customer may use or prefer.”

Or what we call, direct 2 customers.

No mid to large corporation would ever use direct marketing in their advertising based on the definition above. But there are looking. Yet, a small business can and should use direct marketing in all their advertising to customers.

Specifically, direct marketing has a variety of tactics to reach customers. A marketing message can gather the reader’s attention with captivating copy, an impactful design, and crafting an offer that is hard for anyone to refuse. Using a website landing page will keep the communication moving to a sale.

If you like that idea, let us look at another strategy when combined with direct marketing to speed up company growth.

Today's small business marketing environment is ideal for using direct marketing.

First, advertising is a tactic of marketing. Everything marketing starts and ends with your customers. You need to listen to them and respond to them. Customers will share their thoughts about your products.

If you believe that this is the “age of the customer,” then it is the perfect time for you to behave like a customer you would love to have as a customer. Ask your customers daily.

As a marketer, the purest, most simple goal you should have is to get a potential customer to receive your marketing message, read the message and make a purchase. Direct marketing’s developed PROVEN strategies and tactical tools for helping customers to respond to your message. Check out the graphic on our web page today.

In summary,

Knowing what type of marketing works well today is not a guarantee for tomorrow. However, when you stay true to your commitment on gaining a better understanding of your customer’s needs and wants, you will always know when a change is in the wind and figure out how to react to it.

*Direct Marketing Solutions Market 2020 Size, Share, Forecast to 2026: MRM//McCann, Acxiom, Leo Burnett, Epsilon, SourceLink, Merkle, Harte-Hanks Direct, Rapp, Wunderman

The market study also includes the detailed data regarding the performance of all the market leaders. For more information, https://www.orbismarketreports.com/sample-request/163321?utm_source=Maia

 

 

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Here is a Short Story About Buying into a Long Tail

Here is a Short Story About Buying into a Long Tail

How is your customer acquisition program performing these days?

Now, you will not tell me you do not have one in place. Good if you do, but shame on you if you do not. Here are a few ideas if you do not or if you do here are a few new ideas that will help.

Locating and recruiting new customers is an essential activity for every business. So, you spend much of your time attempting to attract the attention of viable prospects and make an initial sale.

Sometimes, however, there is a tendency to concentrate so heavily on seeking new customers that we often overlook the ones we already have. 

That is why it is so vitally important to make sure you divide your direct marketing and mail dollars appropriately between the two activities. 

Go for a tail. 

Go for the “long tail in direct marketing and mail” with as much energy as you go for the initial sale. Go for developing strategies to build repeat business over the long haul with the same energy.

  • What type of tactics were used to capture the first wave of repeat business?
  • Can these businesses become aligned with existing business to see if there are any similarities?

For example, by providing a greater variety of inventory (extending the long tail), businesses hope to reach more customers and generate more total sales. If your customer is a printer, you have an inventory in place of paper, toner, color cartridges, service contracts, and so on. 

You may not think your company does not have a tail but check it out.

  • Could you build in and offer a service or maintenance contract?
  • Could you devise annual reviews or client updates?
  • Could you create innovations in your products or services that encourage customers to repurchase more frequently?
  • Longer life of cartridges? Toner?

Many businesses have tails they do not even know they have. By looking closer at your existing customers, are there different ways consumers use your product? 

If you have weak or non-existent customer profiles in your company database, now is a good time to build them. Just make sure you keep “going for the tail” as the end goal that brings in another revenue stream from existing customers.

No, you will not find a whale in a stream. But you may find a whale of a tale from a new customer!  

Please share with others–except your competition!

Direct marketing copy is like a puzzle.

Sharing my time with you is not over at the end of a post. There are many ideas I experienced in owning a small business. My ideas about using and writing direct marketing and customer-centric copy are intertwined in the marketing, advertising, and selling content, articles, reports based on my philosophy of people learn by reading, then learn by doing.

Please join our Direct2Customers Marketing Community today!

Learning and doing, marketing, and selling ideas, is what you will find in your Direct2Customer Community. Join us today by clicking on the button.

This is what I do and what I love to do.

Thanks again for reading. Questions?

Mdoc@direct2customers.com or 800-251-3608

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2021 J. Mike Deuerling