5 Best-Value Print Products to Increase Your Sales

 

Money growth Saving money. Upper tree coins to shown concept of growing business

Advertising dollars are sometimes in short supply, and it can be hard to know where to invest yours.

Print marketing is alive and strong, but if your budget is limited, you may need to focus on a few thoughtfully-crafted items. Here are five pieces that can stretch your dollar the farthest.

1. Business Cards

First impressions can make or break your business, and a positive experience can create long-lasting relationships.

Despite our online connections, business cards continue as a staple of every industry, because of their role in the branding experience. These cards hold more than just contact details: smart strategists view them as a glance into a company’s quality, personality, or services.

While they are inexpensive to print, their impact is significant!

2. Targeted Postcards

A physical object in their hands gives your message palpable weight.

And recent stats bring news of impressive direct mail response rates. In 2018, postcards sent to generic prospect lists generated a 4.9% response rate, while targeted household mailing lists generated 9%. Thanks to technological advancements, today you can send content-tailored mail to people who actually look forward to it, prompting a higher response!

Want to step it up a notch? Today’s printing capabilities allow you to dream and DO almost anything with sizing, shapes, or finishes. Think outside the rectangle with tri-fold layouts, square promo cards, or coupons with detachable referral slips that people can give a friend.

3. Presentation Folders

Want a tasteful way to share your message?

Presentation folders allow you to distribute information in a convenient, memorable package. Offering people a stack of papers is a good way to have your marketing thrown away quickly, while packaging pricing information, brochures, and contracts in a folder is a great way to keep documents safe and front-of-mind. Containing anything from USB flash drives to stepped insert flyers, even smaller folders can offer the business solution you need. Here are two examples:

Use a 3 * 7-inch promo (including a business card, personal introductory flyer, and coupon incentive) to share during informal introductions or social gatherings.

Try a 4 * 9-inch pocketed folder (including a business card cutout slot, stacked product promos, and customized question/answer flyer) to use during client meetings or referral contacts.

4. Retractable Banners

Want to put your message front and center?

Gain exposure for your brand with classy custom banners! Retractable banners radiate excellence, and can be used for retail spaces, special events, trade shows, and more. Portable and cost-effective, retractable banners are well-suited for changing out banner prints, ensuring your message stands tall in the busiest pedestrian spaces.

5. Catalogs

Ready to give catalogs or booklets some consideration?

You should. Studies from the Data & Marketing Association show that the response rate for catalogs is increasing, partially because younger people enjoy catalogs:

“Millennials stand out a bit higher than other generations in terms of engaging with mail,” said Neil O’Keefe, the association’s senior vice president of marketing and content. “Millennials are very engaged by imagery, and the catalog really allows that to stand out. So, the response rate there is very different than what you would experience with a display ad, even an email. The response rate for a printed piece has been on the rise.”

The return rate on catalogs can be especially effective when you reach the right audience at the right time. According to CNBC, catalogs sent to key customers at strategic times yield an average return of $3 for every $1 invested – and up to $9 for every $1 invested when sent to the very best customers.

Look Your Best in Print

Print marketing is an effective way to generate leads, make sales, and solidify customer loyalty.

Ready to start your next masterpiece? From first-glance flyers to head-turning portfolio pieces, we’ll resource you with compelling pieces that make your reputation shine.

Sell the Story, Not Just the Product

Pricing Strategy

When it comes to marketing, one detail people often overlook is how pricing comes in to play.

If you think pricing is an insignificant part of your messaging, you should think again. Pricing is a marketing tool, not simply a way to get money. And while marketing may change your pricing, the opposite is also true – pricing should change your marketing.

Stories That Sell

In any sales transaction, countless stories are being told, including the stories we tell ourselves and the image we convey to those around us.

The exorbitant price of a brand name basketball shoe communicates an obvious story to the people who see you wearing it. And the rock bottom pricing at a clearance closeout tells your internal budget coach a story about what a fool you’d be to overlook this sale!

As a marketer, price determines what your business stands for, who you’re designing for, and the story you tell customers. How might that play out? Here’s a practical example.

Consider a baker who wants to adjust prices and marketing accordingly. This entrepreneur might take one of four approaches.

1. A Free Baking Blog with Helpful Recipes and Webinars

If a business wants to make money, it can’t afford to give away freebies, right?

Wrong.

A free idea is far more likely to spread than an idea that’s tethered to money. When a chef gives away her recipes or leads an online seminar, she’s distributing ideas for free, but building popularity and leverage for her name.

While you can reproduce her baguettes at home, enjoying a pricey, oven-fresh roll in her bistro is even better. This allows her generous compensation while building awareness, trust, and a larger platform to sell her products.

2. Products Priced for a Quick Sale

If the ingredients and overhead associated with a loaf of bread cost our baker $1.95, selling loaves for $2.00 may allow the baker to move a lot of product, and fast.

In this case, the marketing storyline should match the budget-conscious shopper’s mindset, using phrases like “your bargain bakery favorites” or “first-class French bread at no-frills prices!”

3. Mid-Level Markups

Say the baker decides to sell loaves at $3.00 apiece.

Now she makes more than a dollar a loaf, or more than twenty times she made at the previous level. If she kept prices a dollar lower, she would have to sell 21 loaves for every loaf sold at $3.00, which might mean the difference between a few customers an hour versus a line out the door.

To sell her story at the $3.00 level, the savvy baker might invest in a sparkling clean shop, a new sign in the window, and taglines like “artistry in every bite” or “you deserve something delicious.”

4. Majoring on Luxury

Here the baker prices loaves at $6.00 apiece, choosing to sell not just a product, but also a full-scale experience.

Loaves are nestled snugly in custom burlap bags and paired with a small spread of the customer’s choice. Elegant café seating allows customers to enjoy savory soups and decadent desserts onsite. Everything about the bakery screams indulgence, and marketing is based around taglines like this: “Heaven on Earth is here.”

Intentionally Shape Their Experience

As you price your products, craft marketing narratives that correspond to the story people will experience.

And remember, when people are heavily invested in a bigger financial commitment, they need narratives that justify this expense. Work hard to set their conscience at ease, and you will be rewarded with loyalty and sales.

Simple Strategies for Mobilizing Powerful Testimonials and Reviews

Consumer reviews concepts with young person putting report score on application smartphone and packaging product behind.rating or feedback

How do you grab a lifeline on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”

Ask the audience! While “experts” tend to get a trivia question right two-thirds of the time, the audience gets that answer right 91 percent of the time.

Why? Because individually we are limited, but collectively we are genius.

In today’s global economy, buyers understand the importance of collective intelligence. People rely on others to help them decide what movies to see, which vet to patronize, or the best software to buy. More than half of adults under age 50 consult online reviews before making a purchase decision, and 88% read reviews to determine the quality of a local business.

Meet One of the Millions

AutoTrader.com put testimonials to work in a recent print ad for their company.

To recruit new dealers for their association, AutoTrader.com used a pocket folder with sell sheet inserts featuring recent, happy buyers. These 5×7 flyers introduced customers with the headline, “Meet One of the Millions,” and displayed photos of real clients next to their most recent car purchase.

A family of four who purchased from Shults Ford in Pittsburgh had this to say about their car search:

“When we couldn’t find the exact vehicle we wanted in our area and saw your commercial, we logged onto your website and found it instantly! Who knew the perfect Volvo V70 was sitting at Shults Ford, just 50 miles away.”

Autotrader.com produced a variety of sell sheet flyers with a common theme: real customers, standing next to real vehicles, listed in real geographical locations, with upbeat reviews about their experience.

While testimonials varied, the tagline stayed the same: “Your next customer is here.”

How to Build Social Proof

People depend on reviews, and companies that publish testimonials dramatically increase the quality and quantity of their marketing leads.

This means your company’s best marketers aren’t your employees – they’re your existing customers. In many industries, there is nothing more powerful than social proof, and this is something that can be mobilized in your favor.

What is the best way to gather testimonials?

By asking! Ask clients directly, especially when your customer has just complimented you, tagged your brand on social media, re-ordered your product, or referred a friend. Ask people face-to-face, by incentivizing employees to collect feedback, or by using the “tip” trick.

The tip trick is effective when you’ve spent a significant amount of time with a client or a project. After your commitment is complete, ask for a review with this prompt: “if you had a good experience and include my name in this review, our company will give me a $__ tip.” In this scenario, happy clients are more likely to offer testimonials because it offers a free way to tip someone they appreciate – a win for everyone!

When asking for testimonials, you can help people find the right words, with questions like:

  • What was it like before you had our product/service?
  • What problems were you trying to solve with our product/service?
  • What made our company stand out from other options you considered?
  • What has exceeded your expectations since working with our company?
  • How much time/money does our product save you each day/week/month?
  • What have you been able to achieve since making this decision?
  • What would you tell someone who is considering this purchase?

Get the Good Gossip Flowing

Telling people your business is the best in the industry won’t prompt people to reach for their wallets.

But hearing this message from others might convince them to do so. Great reviews can make or break your brand and serve as a lead generating engine for your sales team.

What are you waiting for? Start collecting and featuring customer stories today!

 

How to Establish Trust with Potential Clients

Trust chain as business concept

Have you ever received a cold call from someone trying to sell you something?

Which of these actions characterized your response?

  1. You found an excuse to hang up
  2. You used short words or sentences in response to leading questions
  3. You used delay tactics or told the salesperson you’d call them down the road
  4. You were excited about the call and took proactive steps to learn more

If you are like most people, you probably lean toward a quick disconnect. That’s because behaviors 1-3 are basically kneejerk reactions that display a lack of trust.

Easing Past Apprehension

Sales can be scary – for everyone involved.

When you begin by recognizing this, you gain an immediate advantage. If you want to influence how a person thinks or responds, first you must guide them out of the calm sea of apathy and into riskier waters of decision.

And that requires trust.

So how do you get there? Especially if you’re wooing prospects you might never see face-to-face? Here are three helpful options:

1. Become More Transparent

Transparency simply means making something accessible.

There’s been a shift in marketing, especially as content marketing has gained traction, and your clients expect answers at their fingertips, without a middleman or any layers of hidden information.

Want to get things out in the open?

List prices on your website

(rather than hiding them behind a phone call)

Address uncomfortable or controversial questions upfront

(instead of waiting for prospects to ask)

Invite people into your world

(show prospects the faces and voices of your team: a group of actual humans who have lives and families and who are working hard every day to make your business thrive)

2. Stop Trying to Praise Yourself

Claiming you’re the best or tooting your own horn can make you seem unrelatable.

Instead, do everything you can to provide social proof from previous or current customers, such as

  • Sending surveys with every order
  • Using follow-up calls to get feedback on your service
  • Advertising where and how people can place a review
  • Creating case studies or testimonial examples around frequently-ordered products

And remember, reviews mean nothing unless you use them! Add them to your sell sheets and brochures. Paste them at the bottom of emails or sales letters. Create an arsenal of testimonials for your marketing team to pull from, and categorize them around pain points or specific buyer personas so they can be used at just the right moment.

3. Provide Assurances

Want to tip people toward a decision?

There are several little things you can do to bolster trust. Here are just three areas you can tweak:

Email Sign-Ups

What’s the biggest reason prospects avoid offering their email address?

Fear of spam. Assure your leads with phrases like, “We hate spam and promise not to spam you.” Or let people know up front how often you intend to communicate.

Account Registration

Doubt or uneasiness can creep in when people are asked to create an account on your website.

To alleviate this, provide assurances about how people can cancel or the benefits they will receive by moving forward.

Affirmation

Sometimes people need a little validation to boost their confidence.

You can do this by adding encouragements to your sign-up or order forms, like: “Thanks for choosing Acme Associates. You’re in good hands!” or, “Over ___ subscriptions filled each week!”

Customers Buy from People They Trust

The economy doesn’t run on money – it runs on trust, and so does your business.

When you’re selling, first focus on building trust with buyers. Then you’ll find people will not only listen to your advice, but they’ll be more willing to take it and to move forward with you.

Overcome Nervousness in Your Video-Conference Meetings

Pc screen view over woman shoulder during group videocall elearning

 

If you were called to stand up and give an impromptu speech, would you flourish or would you flee?

One of the world’s richest men said he used to be so scared of public speaking that he was “terrified of getting up and saying [his] name.” Warren Buffett spent most of his college years avoiding courses with group speaking elements, and even signed up for a public speaking course but dropped out at the last minute.

Beating Back the Butterflies

Glossophobia, or fear of public speaking, is believed to affect at least 75 percent of the population.

From small butterflies to full-on panic, public speaking causes many to tremble. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld once joked that some people report that they fear public speaking more than death, so “if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy!”

With the 2020 pandemic thrusting us into a new world of virtual meetings, this discomfort can be amplified. Professors and teachers around the world report teaching to dark blank squares, as students turn off cameras and “hide” from their cohorts.

In real-life groups, we don’t feel the same pressure to perform socially as we might through online platforms. Experts say that 15 percent of our communication is done verbally, and 85 percent is sent through body language, so the extra effort it takes to engage through socially distant meetups can be especially stressful.

How can you overcome this discomfort? Here are recommendations from the pros:

Adjust Your Camera at Eye Level

Don’t have the webcam pointed up at you, or you’ll offer teammates a revealing glance at your nose hairs or double chin.

Eye to eye is the best, so even if it feels weird, try to look directly at the camera (straight ahead) as you speak. If necessary, stack books under your device until your webcam is eye level.

Look at Others While You Listen

Perhaps you’re distracted by seeing yourself onscreen and feel more self-conscious as a result.

Adjust your lighting and image touch-ups at the start of a meeting, then do your best to look at others, not yourself.

Treat the Meeting Like an Ordinary Group Discussion

Forget the idea that a video meeting can make or break you.

Treat these like ordinary conversations or casual brainstorming sessions. Speak in a relaxed tone, act like yourself, and show engagement by nodding, leaning forward to listen, or tilting your head to “give them your ear.”

Practice an “Others First” Mindset

During public speaking, you feel “all eyes” watching you.

This can be painfully vulnerable, like a caveman exposed in daylight. While you may want to shrink back, calm your anxiety by focusing on your desire to encourage others. Sarah Gershman, President of Green Room Speakers, says this:

“The key to disarming our organic panic button is to turn the focus away from ourselves — away from whether we will mess up or whether the audience will like us — and toward helping the audience.

“Studies have shown that . . . showing kindness and generosity to others has been shown to activate the vagus nerve, which has the power to calm the fight-or-flight response. When we are kind to others, we feel calmer and less stressed. The same principle applies in public speaking. When we approach speaking with a spirit of generosity, we counteract the sensation of being under attack and start to feel less nervous.”

Before you chime in to share, make small bullet points of what you want to contribute, so you are focused on connection and less critical of your own, awkward voice.

Finally, building confidence takes time. Each time you participate, push yourself to do a bit more.  Unlearning self-conscious thoughts and fears won’t kill you. But it will take practice! So what better time to try?

6 Simple Ways to Improve Your Graphic Design Skills

 

Graphic designer drawing sketches logo design.

“There are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no, and WOW!

Wow is the one to aim for.”

(Milton Glaser, graphic designer & co-founder of New York magazine)

2020 is a great time to hone your hobbies and sharpen your skills.

What have you been learning in your quaran-TIME this year? One no-fail possibility is to brush up on your eye for design. Whether you are an amateur decorator, an urban planner, or you are planning a client presentation, small tweaks to any project can really enhance your reputation.

Before you embark on your next masterpiece, consider six basic DO’s and DON’Ts of design:

Fonts

DO worship classic typefaces.

Every designer needs an arsenal of tried-and-true typefaces that work for almost any project. Classic fonts are easy to read, balancing timeless elegance with contemporary style. Consider fonts like Garamond, Helvetica, Futura, Clarendon, Bodoni, Avenir, Orpheus, News Gothic, Canela, and Gotham, to name a few.

DON’T use any more typefaces in one layout than is absolutely necessary

Using fewer fonts increases readability, while too many fonts changes can distract and confuse the reader. Long multipage publications (such as booklets) can support a greater variety of typefaces, but for short brochures and ads, limit font families to just one or two.

Image Presentation

DO apply some sharpening to digital images.

Digital camera sensors and lenses always blur an image to some degree, and sharpening tools will improve the apparent image quality even more than upgrading to a high-end camera lens. Image sharpening provides a powerful option for emphasizing texture and drawing viewer focus.

DON’T use Photoshop or Adobe filters to disguise a low-quality image.

Bad images are bad images. When a photo lacks resolution or focal clarity, don’t slap a vintage or distortion filter on it and hope for the best. What can you do when there aren’t other options? When a high-resolution option (or a substitute graphic) absolutely will not work, print out the poor image and photograph it as a physical snapshot. Make the poor quality highly visible and part of the solution.

Layouts

DO create a focal point and natural movement for every layout.

Just like a musician reads notes on a staff, a reader should follow a visual journey through your design. For viewers to engage, they must have a path to follow, so try to tell a “visual story” with a beginning, middle, and end.

To move people through your piece, use bright colors to grab attention, jagged lines to build excitement, curves to slow people down, text sizing to create hierarchy, or bulleted lists and patterns to guide readers.

Whenever possible, tell your story with visuals rather than text!

DON’T use equally weighted objects on a page.

When your focal elements are the same size, it forces competition among them, which confuses and fatigues readers. Instead, allow for plenty of white space around your key element and call to action, giving these lots of room to shine.

Reduce the sizing and color of less important objects or use selective grouping to set important elements apart.

Create a Dynamic Viewing Experience

First impressions are lasting impressions. Whether you realize it or not, the design principles you use form the foundation of your publications, creating dynamic experiences before people read a single word you’ve written.

Need a hand? Through the planning, design, and review process, don’t hesitate to contact us. Whether you’re creating a template or need start-to-finish graphic design, we’re here to consult, create, and bring your best ideas to life. Patti and Greg are ready to bring your ideas to a higher level of design.

How Anxiety Can Bring Out The Best in Your Business

Worried Businessman Got Virus and Data Loss on Laptop Computer

“Anxiety is essential for creativity.” –Soren Kierkegaard

Have you ever been stressed in your sleep?

Perhaps you tossed through a restless night of dreams, finding that, when you were most physically exhausted, you ended up “working hard” all night. Common anxiety dreams include arriving late to the airport (without a passport or luggage), laboring at work with frustrating results, arriving for a huge test and realizing you never did any prior homework or studying, or falling, being chased, or losing something.

Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worry, and physical changes like increased blood pressure. Whether you sense foreboding about the future or you’re responding to the trauma of the past, everyone deals with stress or anxiety sometimes.

And while most of us dread the pangs of anxiety, it can actually be a productive and inspiring muse.

Keys to Harnessing Your Mental Energy

Neuroscientist and author Joseph LeDoux called anxiety, “the price we pay for an ability to imagine the future.”

“That’s what anxiety is,” he told the New York State Writers Institute in 2016, “an imagination of a future that hasn’t happened yet, but that you are concerned with, worried about, dreading, and so on.”

If you find your worries sometimes kick into overdrive, remember that every artist is blessed with an active imagination, and your mental energy is something that can be harnessed for everything from your next poem to your solution for today’s biggest obstacles.

Want to conquer stress before it conquers you?

In his book, “Mastering Creative Anxiety,” creativity coach and psychologist Dr. Eric Maisel lays out 22 different anxiety management tools (enough that everyone can find at least one or two that may work well!).

Here are just three he recommends:

1. The simplest is to remember to breathe; a few deep cleansing breaths can do wonders for reducing anxiety.

2. The most important anxiety management tool is probably cognitive work, where you change the things you say to yourself, turning anxious thoughts into calmer, more productive thoughts.

Want ideas? Here is a free PDF from The Creative Independent on how artists deal with creative anxiety.

3. Creating a lifestyle that supports calmness is also very important: if the way you live your life produces a lot of anxiety, that’s a tremendous extra burden on your nervous system.

A Time for Creativity and Strategic Marketing

Many entrepreneurs believe that mastering professional anxiety involves focus.

While some things are beyond your control, worrying about these can make you crazy. Instead, focus on what is within your influence: like creativity, productivity, and strategic marketing. As you hit reset in your summer or fall season, now is the time to push ahead on new projects, get strategic about networking, or to establish self-care habits that maximize energy while inspiring great ideas.

While you can’t take the anxiety of life, you can see it for the positive aspects it brings. For example, the two characters that make up the Chinese word for crisis, when taken separately, mean “danger” and “opportunity.” We’ve all felt the alarm of the COVID-19 season, but now it’s time to embrace the opportunities and innovation this reset may bring.

Want to see some examples of how other businesses are approaching marketing at this time? Give us a call to chat about strategic print options!

Direct Mail Postcards: A Proven Winner

Male sending letters and bills in mailbox in front of house, mail delivery

Results. Whether it’s weight loss, test scores, or finances, tangible success is the payoff everyone wants.

With a limited marketing budget, it’s important for your business to make every penny count. And, according to a 2018 DMA Response Rate Report, direct mail consistently outperforms all digital marketing channels.

Direct mail allows readers to comprehend, process, and remember the material more quickly and easily, with postcards and large envelopes eliciting the best overall response. Think about how quickly you process your own mail – ‘bill, letter, junk, ad . . .’ It takes a split second to accept or discard each piece. Postcards put the message front and center as soon as the printed piece hits their hand.

When it comes to results, 52.5 percent of potential recipients claim they will read a postcard, whereas a letter-sized envelope will be opened only a third of the time. Postcards get a fairly high response rate – 4.25% – followed by dimensional mailers with 4% and letter-sized envelopes at 3.5%. And larger postcards (6-inches by 11-inches) are an ideal choice to ensure your piece stands out in the mail pile.

Success Starts Here

Ready to acquire new customers and increase your profits? Here are some tips for head-turning postcards:

Get to the Point

Postcards should have one obvious call to action. Understanding the audience and key message will drive design, with branding that will reinforce this theme.

Stress Benefits

Highlight the benefits of what you are selling. If you are selling a booklet-folding machine, don’t just say, “stainless steel hopper, 10 inches wide.” Add, “assembles 600 booklets per hour!”

Use Engaging Designs

Even classy postcards can have some sizzle, whether it’s font, bright colors, foil, or creative cardstock and graphic combinations.

Follow Headlines with Delivery

The promise of the headline should be fulfilled in the body copy—immediately. Your first few sentences should explain, elaborate on, and support the promise made in the headline.

Don’t Be Boring

People take in loads of information each week, and postcards have a split second to catch their attention. A sharp layout is great, but be sure to integrate this with a lively message to keep them reading past the headline.

Offer a Next Step

Don’t assume the reader knows what to do with your card. Include instructions and crystal-clear action steps, like, “For a free 2020 landscaping guide, visit http://www.lawnparadise.com, or call Betsy at __________ for a blueprint on a total yard makeover.”

Enhance Readability

More than 30 percent of the population classifies themselves as “scanners,” so aim for improved readability with bullets, generous white space, screened boxes, yellow highlighting, crossed-out text (like $19.95, $9.95), and simulated handwriting in the margin.

Front and Center with Eye-Popping Postcards

Want to make the right offer at the right time?

Postcards are ideal when:

  • You want to generate leads.
  • You’re offering a free or premium item.
  • The primary response is a URL landing page or a phone call.
  • The concept is easy to explain or familiar to the reader.

Finally, the sure advantage in postcards is knowing where to send them.

Savvy marketers know who their audience is, and they realize it’s not just one group. The most successful postcard marketing sends unique messages (and even segmented landing pages) to the groups they most want to reach.

If you can reach out to 500 targeted people (versus 5,000 bulk addresses), your success rates will skyrocket.

Adapting to the Changing Needs of Your Audience

Adapt Word In Wooden Stamp Cube

Everyone knows Fender.

Fender makes amazing guitars, amplifiers, and more. They also have a popular digital learning program called Fender Play. In March of 2020, Fender started giving away free 3-month subscriptions to this tutorial service.

The response was overwhelming.

Statistics show that most new learners quit playing guitar after six months. Fender realized if it could reduce that abandonment rate by 10%, it could double its market. As people began to watch videos and play along, they grew in confidence and in the joy of playing. By May of 2020, one MILLION people were strumming along with Fender from home.

How did Fender decide to release a 3-month tutorial? Here’s what general manager Ethan Kaplan said:

“Right after folks went into lockdown, we started talking about how we could help people get through . . . it was clear [part of the answer was] the power of music. A free three-month offer felt like a good idea. So, we started by offering it to 100,000 people. And we blew through that number in around 36 hours. Then we opened it up to 500,000, and we closed it at a million.

In addition to making elite equipment, Fender became a streaming tutorial service overnight. Kaplan says Fender Play shoots for an engaging and rewarding user experience:

“. . . we’re kind of like a streaming video service with a lot of extra furniture around it. We have 3,000 pieces of video content, but those lessons also include scrolling tabs, chord settings, backing tracks. So we’re a video platform with all these extra dimensions.

Tools to Keep You on Track

Whether your customers are experiencing a pandemic or a culture shift, keeping in touch with their needs is vital. By understanding key clients, you can tailor content to their needs, provide tailor-made services, and ensure your business addresses their current challenges.

There are several ways to take the pulse of your target customers. Here are just a few:

Review current data and analytics

When studying key clients, begin by reviewing data you’ve recently collected. This includes relevant purchaser info, website or focus group feedback, or stats on the latest industry trends.

Connect with your rock star customers

If you have clients who keep coming back, you must be doing something right! Find out what’s working for your VIPs in terms of products, services, customer support, or marketing.

Eyeball competitors

Want to save time and keep creativity flowing? Keep a watchful eye on your competitors! Here you’ll gain easy insight into design features, customer personas, pricing strategies, and more.

Conduct surveys or polls

Directly engaging your prospects or customers is a helpful way to get specifics about your product marketing, customer support, and more. Because surveys can be both targeted AND anonymous, they offer a unique way to get raw answers and data that really matters.

Monitoring audience feedback through your blogs, live chats, or community web forums is also an easy way to resolve pain points or identify the features people love.

Experiment

Don’t be afraid to experiment with content or service packages to understand your audience better. As Fender found, testing new ideas is a great way to determine whether your business is evolving with changing client needs. You can always start small and make course corrections as you go!

Keeping Customer Needs at the Forefront

In terms of inspiration, Kaplan says the pandemic has highlighted the importance of connecting with customers in ways that makes their lives easier:
“I think what we’re all discovering is that the strength of a service or a product is how well it enables people to make their day-to-day lives easier . . . you’ve seen that with Zoom, you’ve seen that with Slack, [and] certainly with Apple, Spotify, Netflix, Disney+, etc. These companies are not being opportunistic because of the circumstance, but being empathetic . . . because of what the circumstances have now afforded.”

5 Thoughtful Strategies for Advertising During the Pandemic

Marketing and Communication Strategy, Monitoring Advertising Campaign.

If you’re like many people, you’ve probably been more conservative in your spending lately.

Recent research shows that, during the pandemic, many people were rationing food to save on expenses and grocery runs, and 23% of people were eating more plant-based meals. Discretionary spending has decreased, and consumers are shifting to digital solutions and reduced-contact channels to receive services.

On a larger scale, consumers worldwide say they expect the pandemic to affect their routines or spending for at least two to four months.

A Shift in Content and Scope

In recent months, many companies have shifted the scope and content of their marketing efforts as well.

Instead of pushing products and promotions, proactive businesses have focused on building relationships and adding humanness to their brand, including inspirational direct mail newsletters, heartfelt emails, and down-to-earth videos.

In one example, eBay championed small businesses that power the nation with its “Stronger as One” ad. Other companies highlighted safety changes and customer convenience options, like this “Call In / Pull In / Pick Up” curbside delivery ad:

“During these challenging times, we are here for you. We are making changes moment by moment to ensure the safety of our customers and employees. And what matters most is doing this together, for the community that we all call home.”

A Vision for Marketing Beyond COVID-19

Beyond connecting and empathizing, what is next for marketing beyond coronavirus?

For starters, you’ll need a commitment to move forward. Research shows that 92% of consumers believe brands need to keep advertising. Ads offer people a glimpse at a prosperous future or something hopeful to look forward, and your marketing gives people a welcome taste of distraction, entertainment, and normalcy.

Also, if the firms competing against you have lowered their ad output, now is a great time for you to invest more. As others scale back, your ads are more visible, allowing you to gather leads with a lower cost-per-acquisition.

And even if the economy seems shaky, pulling back now may actually lengthen the time it takes you to recover. If you need to tighten expenses, don’t turn off your marketing. Instead, look at ways you can rethink intake, client services, or business expenses in general.

Need some concrete marketing ideas? Here are five types of ads to consider:

1. A Product Focus

Showcase how your product is safe, accessible, or helps people strengthen their health or physical well-being.

2. A People Focus

Show prospects you care about them and that your business is standing with them during this time. This Fitbit ad offers its premium package for 90 days to help people work out at home, manage stress, and eat and sleep better during COVID-19: “Thank you for doing what you can. We’re all in this together.”

3. A Values Focus

Here you might feature positive company values or champion the solidarity and togetherness of your community.

4. A Nostalgia Focus

When things feel uncertain, old songs or vintage photos can bypass the brain and connect straight to the heart.

5. A Humor Focus

While being sensitive to people’s pain, you can still connect with your audience through humor during challenging seasons. Encourage people to laugh at their weaknesses or make the most of this strange season, like this Ben & Jerry’s “Netflix and Chill’d” campaign.

Though it may seem counterintuitive to up your print output today, now is the time to invest in a strong comeback after COVID-19.

With today’s carefully crafted message, you can ahead of shifting customer needs and shape people’s long-term expectations. As your partner in print, we are open, and we are ready to help! Contact Patti today to visit more.