Re-Branding: Times They are a Changin’

Change

If your planning to re-brand your business (whether through a name change, a new logo, a business merger, or some other means), remember the name and/or logo is not the only thing that changes. Re-branding can be a large-scale operation that involves effort from multiple departments. While your to-do list may seem endless, here are a few of the top items to consider to ensure your re-branding process runs smoothly:

  • Create a list of all printed collateral that needs to be updated (such as letterhead, envelopes, business cards, flyers, brochures, labels, forms, notepads, and packaging). Give us (Minuteman Press-Fort Myers) a call anytime if you have questions about turnaround times, company colors, logo changes, quantity purchase discounts, or anything else related to your printing needs.
  • Update your trade show booth, banners, posters, giveaways, company pens, name-tags, and other trade show related materials.
  • Keep customers in the loop by mailing “we’re changing our name” postcards, including a blurb in your newsletter, and providing social media mentions (among other things).
  • Update employee bios. Add your new name to each employee’s company bio to show the transition. For example, “Mark Davis has worked at XYZ Company since it was founded in 1989, when it was called ABC Company.”
  • Change your name and logo on invoices, accounting templates, quote preparation software, and other types of reporting software.
  • If you’re considering a web domain name change, make sure the new domain name is available before switching, and then set up your old web address to forward automatically to your new website to ensure a smooth transition.
  • Update email addresses and consider using an auto-responder to remind people to update their email address books. Also update email signatures and inform readers your address will be changing so they can update their spam blockers — especially if you send email newsletters.
  • Ensure your phone service provider has the correct company name, so it shows up correctly on caller ID.
  • Inform all professional organizations, business groups, subscription services, and other interested parties of your name change.
  • Update on-hold marketing messages and voice mail messages. Consider using both names with a greeting such as: “Thanks for calling XYZ Company, formerly known as ABC Company.”
  • We know that re-branding can be a daunting task, but you don’t need to go it alone. Our team of printing professionals can help you every step of the way. When it comes to updating your print collateral, we’re here to help, from developing creative new ideas to carrying the finished products to your document storage area. Give us a call today.
Advertisements

Content Marketing: An Age-Old Strategy that Still Works Today

content-marketingContent marketing has become one of the buzzwords in the business marketing world. Many claim this is a new way to market. That is not correct. Providing valuable content to lure prospects and visitors has been around for a while. The distribution channels for this content may have expanded recently, but the strategy has been around for many years.

One case in point involves a tiny electronics firm in Seattle. The company opened in 1954 as Magnolia Stationers and Camera Shop in the Magnolia Village shopping district of Seattle. The owner, Len Tweten, loved music, which eventually led him to move the business into the world of high-fidelity audio. This transition over time also prompted a business name change to Magnolia Hi-Fi.

High-quality products and commitment to service were just a part of the overall plan to grow the business. Being a small business with no real marketing plan or budget, Magnolia Hi-Fi decided the best way to differentiate itself was to educate prospects with valuable information about the Hi-Fi world. To do this, the company introduced stereo buyer’s guides (over 30 years ago), which provided educational content and answers to commonly asked questions on buying audio equipment.

The buyer’s guides set Magnolia Hi-Fi apart from the competition. They also positioned the company as leaders and experts in their field in the eyes of their audience.

Did this content marketing plan work?

The tiny store grew into a small chain, which was acquired by Best Buy in December of 2000… for $87 million! In 2004, the Magnolia brand was incorporated into Best Buy as a store-within-a-store, known as Magnolia Home Theatre.

Content marketing works. It works best when you use multiple channels to distribute and share your content (print and digital work in perfect tandem for this strategy). Creating valuable content your prospects are looking for takes some work and resources. But don’t overlook the rewards that can come from that work. It may not net you $87 million, but it can prove to be nearly as valuable.

You can read more of the details behind this remarkable story here.

Email versus Direct Mail Marketing: Which Works Better?

laptopAs more businesses and marketers have turned to email marketing, it is fair to wonder if direct mail marketing still works as effectively as it once did.

Email marketing is a good way to stay in touch with customers and prospects. Just like social media marketing, it has its place in the marketing mix. However, a downside to the massive increase in marketing emails is that only an estimated 19% are even being opened (according to the Direct Marketing Association).

Direct mail marketing still works, and it works very well. However, marketers cannot just create any type of campaign and expect it to be successful. Here are some tips and suggestions from the pros:

  • Keep specialized lists, and target each with the right message. That means no mass-mailing everyone the same message and offers. This requires a bit more preparation but will generate the best responses because you are offering the right message to the right audience.
  • Instead of mass quantity, think quality first. Fewer, better-targeted and better-crafted mailing pieces are more effective than regular, lesser-quality pieces.
  • Think lumpy mailings. People still enjoy receiving freebies, so include a logo pen, pencil, tiny Frisbee, mini-DVD, or mini-CD card with your contact info on it. Although these types of mailings can be more pricey, the retention and response rates can pay a handsome ROI on the investment.
  • Be creative. People still enjoy programs that offer discounts or a gift with repeat purchases. Set up a loyalty rewards program that ties a buyer’s repeat purchases with discounts and rewards. Then announce it with a direct mail campaign.

Head to the link below to learn more information from the Small Business Administration (SBA). Then start setting up your next direct mail print campaign today!

3 “Old School” Marketing Tactics that Still Matter

Increase Sales, Not Postage

Envelope StuffingIf you’re looking for an easy way to get more bang for your buck on regular mailings, try inserting statement stuffers. These printed promotions can be easily slipped into an existing mailing, such as a monthly invoice or statement, without adding additional postage fees or the hassle of a separate mailing.

Here are a few tips to consider when creating statement stuffers:

  • Highlight a different product or service every month to educate customers about unique products or services they may not know you offer.
  • Insert valuable coupons to increase sales and show customer appreciation.
  • Use statement stuffers to introduce new personnel or include an employee spotlight as a way for customers to get to know existing staff.
  • Provide information about a customer loyalty or customer referral program.
  • Use statement stuffers to announce upcoming sales, open houses, holiday events, or corporate anniversary celebrations.
  • Reinforce your brand image by coordinating your statement stuffers with your company colors, imagery, logo, and brand.
  • To easily track offers, design them as a coupon that must be turned in to redeem the discount.
  • If you enclose an exciting offer, consider applying a label to the outside of the envelope to increase excitement. Have it read something like this: “$20 coupon value inside!”

We’re here to help if you need creative money-making ideas to stuff in your statements!

How Time Management Can Pay Off

Sticky Notes for Time Management

Ivy Lee was born near Cedartown, Georgia, on July 16, 1877. The son of a Methodist minister, he studied at Emory College in Atlanta before graduating from Princeton University. He went on to found a PR firm, among many other accomplishments, before becoming a management consultant.

About a hundred years ago, Bethlehem Steel found itself in trouble operationally. The company’s chairman, Charles M. Schwab, hired Ivy to study the company’s ills and report back.

After some research and interviews, Ivy handed the chairman his findings and recommendations on a small sheet of paper. He then said, “Follow this, and your company can correct its problems.”

This short list of recommendations was directed at all the executives of the company:

  1. In the evening, each executive was to write down the six most important tasks to be done the next day and arrange them in the order of importance.
  2. The next day, they would start the first task and finish it before starting anything else.
  3. After finishing the first task, they would start the second-most important task, finish it, start the third task, and so on down the line.
  4. After their day’s work, before leaving the office, they would spend five minutes reviewing the day’s tasks and making a list for the next day. Unfinished tasks could be put on the new list.
  5. Each executive was to do this for the next 90 days and check the results.

Ivy left the chairman’s office, asking him to put the plan into action but to pay him only if the company got results. He further asked to only get paid whatever the chairman thought the advice was worth.

In two weeks, Schwab sent Ivy a check for $25,000. At the time, the average worker in the U.S. was being paid $2 per day, so this was worth approximately $325,000 in today’s dollars. He added a note saying this was the most profitable lesson he had ever learned.

Did it work?

Within five years, the Bethlehem Steel Company had become the biggest independent steel producer in the world. Schwab became the best-known steel man of his day and went on to make a hundred-million-dollar fortune.

The story of Lee and the advice he gave to Schwab is well-known in the business and self-development world. But even if you do already know it, it’s still worth studying again and again until it’s ingrained into your daily habits. The lesson to be learned is the importance of defining top priorities and focusing on those important items until they are finished, rather than letting the mundane and unimportant distract us. Master this habit, and you might be able to write your own $325,000 check.

Sell With Sincerity

sales_cartoon

That’s pretty sincere,
if you ask me!

In a sea filled with competitive businesses, sincerity is a must if you want to get (and keep) customers. Here are a few tips to help you sell with sincerity:

  • Sincerity is more than just a smile or a firm handshake. It can be heard in your voice, your words, and your actions.
  • Don’t read from a script. No one wants to listen to a sales pitch that sounds like a recording. Mix in your personality, passion, and even personal experiences with the product.
  • Ask questions and listen with interest. Show that you really care about what the person is saying (in contrast to simply listening because it is the polite thing to do).
  • Be yourself. Remember that people buy from other people. If they like working with you, they are more likely to remember you and return again.
  • Back off the business mode when using social media sites. Rather, use them for their intended purpose: to be social and build relationships.
  • Remember that sincerity has to last. It doesn’t end after the sale. If customers have a problem with a product or service, sincerity is a must to resolve their issue.

George Henry Lewes once said, “Insincerity is always weakness; sincerity even in error is strength.” Sincerity in sales can not only help you build a stronger relationship with your customers, but will also help your business receive honest feedback and suggestions for improvement.

Lessons from the Humble Shopping Cart

shoppingcart

In 1937, Sylvan Goldman, owner of the Piggly Wiggly supermarket chain, noticed that customers would stop buying more groceries when their arms got too full. He decided the solution would be to create something that would help his customers and, in turn, help him sell more groceries.

Sylvan and an assistant took a wooden chair, put a basket on it, and added wheels to the bottom to form the first crude shopping cart.

But the new invention didn’t catch on like Mr. Goldman had hoped. Men thought the carts were too feminine, and women said the carts reminded them too much of baby strollers. It seemed like the only folks using them were the elderly.

Instead of giving up, Mr. Goldman hired some young male and female models to push the new carts around Piggly Wiggly. The greeters would point out the models to the skeptical shoppers and explain the benefits. In a short time, the shopping carts became very popular, which in turn made Mr. Goldman a very wealthy man.
Here are a few lessons you can apply to your business from this story:

  • Pay close attention to your customers and how they use your products and services.
  • Observe and ask questions.
  • Determine what you can do to make customers’ lives better when using your products and services.

Sometimes an increase in revenues comes from simply helping your clients in small but meaningful ways, like the humble shopping cart.