Rethink Ink on Paper in a Digital World

Image result for 2017 imagesThe New Year is the perfect time to rethink your print marketing strategy, revamp your messaging, consider mobile and refresh your brand. This requires an understanding of the role traditional ink on paper plays in a time when technology adoption and digital delivery are reshaping marketing and customer engagement.

  1. Invest in customer retention. We all know that it costs less to keep the customers you have than to capture new ones, so keep your customers engaged with a consistent multi-channel marketing plan. Maybe you’ve abandoned a print newsletter for an e-version, but your email is getting lost in the inbox and anti-spam legislation is creating new challenges for deliverability. Mailing a newsletter, particularly one that uses variable data to deliver a personalized message, is a great way to keep your company top of mind.
  2. Get to the point. Your customers have more choices and less time than ever before. Rewrite your copy to tell consumers why your company is the only real choice. Change rambling copy into a powerful, focused message.
  3. Be the customer. When you take a step back, are you engaging customers at the right time through the right channels? The way content will be created, delivered, and consumed in 2017 isn’t the same as it was only a few years ago. Is it worth your prospect’s time to follow you on Facebook or Twitter? When they scan the QR Code on your direct mail piece, are they landing on a page with a specific call to action?
  4. Freshen up. If you’re anticipating a change in management, introducing a new product or service, or celebrating a significant business milestone, consider a brand refresh. With slight revisions to your branding elements and positioning, you can preserve your brand’s existing equity while infusing new energy into your offerings.
  5. Mobile. Is your website easily viewed and navigated on a mobile device? If not, make this the year to do that. If visitors have to scroll left and right, or take extra steps to enlarge the type to a readable size, they’ll probably just click out and go elsewhere – likely to your competitor. Mobile is not only the first screen, but often the only screen that targets use to read your email and view your website. Make it easy!

Need help navigating the increasingly complex world of marketing? Let Multi-Craft help get you off to a profitable start in 2017 by putting your ideas in motion!

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Happy New You!

No, the title isn’t a mistake. This is the time of year when we look back to assess our lives over the past 12 months and plan for the next year. For most of us, this means New Year’s resolutions.

According to statisticbrain.com, 45% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. Some of the most common resolutions are:

  • Lose weight
  • Get organized
  • Save more
  • Quit smoking
  • Stay fit

Resolutions tend to be inwardly focused – all about us! Our body, our life, our habits. Yet, according to Forbes.com, only 8% of us will succeed in keeping those resolutions. Why?

Apparently, we are all a little too ambitious when looking at what we want to accomplish in the coming year. Instead of focusing on 1 or 2 worthy goals, we develop a laundry list of things we want to change or accomplish. A long list of to-do’s can be overwhelming and set us up for failure.

So, consider setting a few, small, attainable goals  to focus on throughout the year so you don’t become overwhelmed. I would suggest that those goals should also be measurable. A measurable goal can help us stay focused and let us know when we have met the goal, or if we need to adjust our tactics. For example, don’t just say you want to lose weight. Instead, state that you want to lose 5 pounds by March 1. It’s a sensible goal, it’s timebound and it’s measurable.

Just stating a goal isn’t enough. You must have a plan that will help you meet that goal. If you want to lose 5 pounds by March 1, what will you need to do to make that happen? Your plan would likely include:

  • Exercise – detail what type and how often.
  • Gym – can you afford a gym membership or will you need to focus your exercise plan around a home gym or personal activities such as walking or running?
  • Healthy eating – decide what type of food you will eat and what you will avoid. How will you handle food at parties or out to dinner with a friend?
  • Partner – some of us do better when we have a workout buddy or someone we report to on our progress.

A plan can help you make those daily changes that are necessary to help you attain your goal. A goal without a plan is really just a dream.

Once you’ve accomplished a goal, you can replace it with another. This can set up a cycle of continuous improvement that can become a lifestyle.

Happy New Year! Happy New You! Multi-Craft hopes that your 2017 is everything you want it to be!

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Freshen Up! Give Your Mailing List a Makeover!

When was the last time you updated your customer or marketing database? One month? One year? Five years? Never?

Your marketing database is the list of contacts and everything you know about your current and prospective customers that enables you to create targeted and personalized marketing pieces. It might include name and address, email address, birthdate, age, gender, and a variety of other demographic or even psychographic information. It is your lifeblood.

Although you may run your list through NCOA or CASS on a regular basis, when was the last time you really gave this database a second look? Added a new variable field? Broadened into a new vertical market or geographic territory? There are three ways to freshen up your data.

Purchase a new list. Freshen your database by infusing it with new names. That starts with profiling your existing data so you know who your best customers are. Then you can purchase a list of new names that look just like them.

Add to an existing list. Are you looking to beef up your list with email addresses, mobile phone numbers, or demographics? Working with a third-party data provider, we can append this list with just the variables you want. Most data houses do what is called a “triple check,” which verifies the data in three different places before you buy it. This allows you to be certain of its accuracy.

Conduct your own surveys. You can do your own data gathering through customer and prospects surveys using feedback forms, personalized URLs, QR Codes to online forms, or other techniques. Because these contacts have already communicated with you, they are prequalified as being interested in a relationship with your company.

Interested in what a new list, data append, or customer survey can do for you? Just ask us! We’re ready to help you put your ideas in motion!

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Targeting High-Value Millennials

Why target Millennials in your prospecting? Because once their loyalty is secured, they are more likely than non-Millennials to share their love of your brand, product, or service with others. Furthermore, once you gain their loyalty, they will often spread the word for you, especially if you help them do it. How do you go about attracting this key customer base?

Use multiple channels. Millennials are multi-channel researchers. One study of their travel planning habits found that Millennials use an average of 10.2 information sources during the planning stage [1].

Don’t provide irrelevant information. Millennials don’t like to be inconvenienced, so target and personalize the message. Know what types of information they are looking for and how they want that information shared before you move them into the sales funnel. Respecting channel preferences is critical to these consumers.

Shorten the timeframe. Millennials use a lot of devices and draw on lots of information sources during the research process, but they make the actual buying decision fairly quickly. If you are selling brick-and-mortar, adding QR Codes to hang tags, product packaging, and in-store displays is a great way to take this audience directly to customer reviews, product comparisons, and feature-rich product videos that can help them make that decision right then and there.

Make it easy to share. According to the Boston Consulting Group, Millennials are twice as likely as non-Millennials to share pictures or experiences online using their mobile phones [3]. So help them do it! Create incentives for social-media sharing such as “Post a picture of yourself in our store on Facebook or Instagram and get 10% off immediately!”

Take the time to get to know Millennials and refine your strategies to woo them.  After all, what could be better than attracting customers who, once their loyalty is secured, will turn around and attract more of the same type of customers for you?

[1] http://hotel-online.com/News/PR2013_2nd/Apr13_MillennialTrends.html

[3] http://mashable.com/2012/04/16/millennial-consumers-study/

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How Much Personalization Is Too Personal?

When you are personalizing print or email communications, it’s important to remember that there are real people on the end of the line. Good use of data can be very effective, but the poor use of data can make people uncomfortable.

One marketer caused a stir, for example, when it targeted men with a personalized communication that used their names with “Jr.” added to the end to represent the son they might have some day . . . if they aren’t careful. Needless to say, plenty of recipients were uncomfortable with that approach! This is something many industry commentators call “the creepy factor.”

So how can you personalize your content in a positive way without crossing the line? Here are three tips.

  1. Protect private data. There is a difference between selling educational materials and selling refinancing offers. If you’re selling educational books to children, for example, you might want to know that your neighbor down the street bought a set of the same materials. But you probably don’t want a mortgage company outing you as a good candidate for a refinancing offer.
  2. Make sure your data is current. Keep your data clean and current. One company was criticized for marketing to recipients as if they were one step from a retirement home when, in fact, many of them were not even retired. Use surveys to stay in touch with your customers and get to know them. If necessary, use third party data houses to fill in critical details.
  3. Be considerate. Use the data in a way that is respectful and considerate of the person receiving it. You may not want to let recipients know just how much you know about them upfront. Some marketers start with basic targeting and segmentation, then layer that communication with name personalization, rather than using highly personal details overtly.

Remember that data is just data. When it comes to personalization, it’s what you do with that data that matters. Need help making sure that your use of data is a good one? Talk to us—we’re here to help put your ideas in motion!

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Is It Time For A Fresh Look?

Rebranding is a big deal, and it shouldn’t be done lightly. But sometimes, the time is right. When should you consider rebranding your business? Here is some advice from the experts.

  1. When something has significantly changed in your business.

Businesses evolve, and there can come a point at which you are a different business than you were a few years ago. Maybe you’ve expanded into new areas. Maybe you’ve had a growth spurt and your local brand needs to grow with it.

  1. When your customers have changed.

Not only do brands change, but also their customers change. McDonald’s customers have become more health-conscious, for example. Harley Davidson’s customers have gotten younger. With these changes have come significant changes in presentation of the brand. Has your customer base gone through a significant and long-term change? If so, does this need to be reflected in your branding?

  1. Your visual brand looks stale.

Eventually, even the best visual branding begins to look dated. What looked cool in the 1970s isn’t going to play today. Color trends, fonts, logos, and entire brand representations need a makeover every once in awhile. How long has it been since your brand had one?

  1. When customers have lost engagement with your brand.

Customer engagement can often be recaptured with fresh, new ways of marketing, but sometimes, there is something about the branding that no longer connects. If you can’t get sales out of a slump, maybe new branding can help prospects see your products with fresh eyes.

  1. You look like everyone else.

When you opened your business in a hot new market 10 years ago, you were unique. But as new competitors poured into the space, that uniqueness is disappearing. If you are no longer standing out from your competition, fresh branding can help you break through.

Think it might be time to rebrand your business? Give us a call and let us help you put your ideas in motion!

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Switching from Static to Personalized Makes Results Soar

With consumers squarely in charge of product research long before they ever contact your company, content marketing is more important than ever. One of the most important forms of content marketing is the customer newsletter—and more and more are moving to personalized editorial.

What happens to results if you switch from a general-education newsletter to a fully personalized one? One community-based healthcare system found out. After sending a traditional newsletter for years, it began matching the content to what it knew of patients’ health conditions. Personalized content ranged from advances in treatments to schedules for clinical trials.

After about a year, the healthcare system conducted a readership survey to find out how the new approach was being received. The results?

  • 93% of respondents felt the articles were relevant and of interest.
  • 73% read the entire newsletter every time it came in the mail.
  • 77% said it was easier and quicker to read.
  • 95% said they became aware of services that were previously unknown.

Not only did the healthcare system solidify its relationship with existing patients, but nearly every one of those patients learned about some of the provider’s services they didn’t know about before. Imagine the impact on revenues!

Not every marketer can track to this level of detail, but there are many simple, cost-effective steps you can use to monitor your marketing effectiveness too. Personalized URLs, barcodes (visible and invisible), discount codes, and multiple landing pages for various iterations of the same campaign are all ways to track and measure results.

Talk to us about converting your content marketing into personalized content marketing! We’re ready to put your ideas in motion!

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