Build a Lasting Legacy Through Thought Leadership in Your Industry

GettyImages-1090216744.jpgLooking to increase your strategic visibility, gain exposure for your ideas, and change the world in meaningful ways?

Everyone is following someone. Maybe it’s time to engage others, so they follow you!

Facebook GROWs with Print

What does thought leadership look like from an industry perspective? Here’s one example:

In 2018, Facebook launched a thought leadership campaign (GROW) to help leaders grow businesses and networks while challenging the status quo. To communicate complex ideas, the social media empire developed a quarterly print magazine and marketing program aimed at business owners in the United Kingdom and Northern Europe. GROW is sent directly to marketing clients and distributed at select airports and train business lounges to reach top professionals:

“We know that business leaders have limited time for long reads at work, so we’ve also created a physical version with journeys in mind,” said Leila Woodington, Facebook’s head of business marketing in northern Europe.

Facebook’s goal is to position itself as a dominant thought leader among corporate executives or government leaders to grow marketing influence. Facebook understands that combining hard-hitting print with a steady drip of digital content is an especially effective strategy.

People Influencing People

The term “thought leader” is more than a buzzword; it’s a dynamic reality.

People influence people, and thought leaders are those that others respect and follow. Do you want to shape trends, spark movements, or voice unique ideas? Informed individuals can add tremendous value to their field of expertise!

Your ability to shape perspectives will grow as you show yourself to be relatable, engaging, and consistent in three specific ways:

1. Building Connections

Build your engagement quality by cultivating regular contact with close friends and family, with current and former colleagues, or with analysts, writers, or industry leaders.

Engage and follow others through face-to-face networking, regional training opportunities, social media, or online discussion groups. Gain traction as you contribute, follow, share, or add your own commentary to material relevant to your industry. And – as often as you can – share your picture with printed pieces or online content. Matching a face with your voice makes you more memorable, credible, and real.

2. Growing Your Name and Niche

Thought leaders are people who fully immerse themselves in the needs and concerns of their audience. ­­

To stand out from the crowd, concentrate on a niche market or seek to communicate with a specialized group of people. Write, speak, share, and comment on the things most relevant to this area. Think of yourself as a translator (explaining the concerns at hand and interpreting their meaning) or a tour guide (predicting trends, forecasting effects, or helping people interpret what they see). Here you’ll maximize impact, giving people “Aha” moments, or making them think, “Wow, I never thought of it like that!”

Grow your influence by writing articles for publications, requesting to share on panels or policy boards, publishing via social media and printed newsletters, or inquiring about opportunities to speak at events.

Once you establish credibility, you’ll naturally become part of bigger and better opportunities.

3. Educating and Empowering Others

Leaders who inspire loyalty are those who empower others.

Thought leaders don’t just impress people by how “smart” they are – they teach others to produce fruitful results as well. Your focus may be building educational tools, helping people with decision making, or establishing yourself as a one-stop resource with scalable models that bring answers people need.

As you grow your influence, you will advance your career, access new industry opportunities, and create top-of-mind awareness for your business.

How Innovative Print Partnerships Save You Time and Money

GettyImages-922780438.jpgAlmost every business needs paper products (like brochures, letterhead, and large-scale marketing) to build and strengthen their brand.

Between graphic design, production presets, and regular re-orders, keeping things organized can be a challenge. Consistently partnering with the same printer can make things much more efficient and convenient.

Creative, Collaborative Marketing

Since each company has its own unique needs, a professional printer can work with you on an individual basis to design and print materials that are just right for your business.

Beyond commercial printing, today’s print professionals can make a huge difference through graphic design services, brand building creative elements (like logo and packaging design options), or through securing “extra” promotional products (like magnets, notebooks, or water bottles). Innovative printers serve as true marketing partners, often costing less than you would pay to individually produce or order these items yourself.

Most businesses don’t have the capacity to produce and develop high-quality marketing on their own, so it is vital to consider a collaborative partnership with a print and design company. A professional printer can easily adapt your designs or logos to work for professional booklets and brochures, banners and flags, letterhead and business cards, presentation folders and flyers, and more.

And craftsmanship is paramount in printing, which ensures your projects receive meticulous attention to detail, seamless color matching, and superior finishes. Collaborative printers stand behind their products as they combine an experienced eye, a skillful touch, and unrivaled personal service.

Questions to Ask When Evaluating a Professional Print Partnership

To be successful with graphic print production you need a close working relationship with a quality provider. How do you find the right printer? Here are six questions to consider:

1. What Level of Competence and Quality is Needed?

Competence and quality are often the most important factors in weighing commercial print options.

Although it can be difficult to evaluate skill levels before you’ve worked with someone, there are several indicators to look for. Request to see samples of jobs done for other customers. Inquire about areas of specialization and if bundled pricing or services are included. Also, ask your printer what work steps they see as critical for obtaining good results. If you know in advance how they prefer to manage projects, it helps ensure good workflow and communication along the way.

2. Does This Printer Have a Large Personnel or Production Capacity?

How large is the printing staff? If you need substantial output in a short time, does the printer have the equipment or workforce to handle this?

3. How Will We Optimize Communication?

Is there a key contact person you will always correspond with? What is the preferred method of communication?

4. Does This Printer Offer Concrete Delivery Times or Guarantees?

How dependable is the printer and how quickly can projects be delivered? Is there a timeframe guarantee?

5. What is the Level of Environmental Consciousness?

Is your printer committed to eco-friendly standards or procedures? Some companies may have special requirements in regard to environmental impact issues, and this may influence the printing practices they are able to approve.

6. Are Proximity and Availability Important to Me?

How geographically close do you want your printer to be? If high-quality service and fast delivery times are important, proximity may be more of an issue.

A Wise Long-Term Investment

Your time is valuable, so making wise choices is of utmost importance. Taking time to enter a print partnership that maximizes your investment is well worth your consideration. Often, choosing the right printer means you are beginning a relationship that will last for years.

Ensure Staying Power for Your Business with Great Local Marketing

GettyImages-1145054296.jpgEarlier this year, Gerrit Curran and Emily Wessner opened a Jersey Mike’s Subs in Muhlenberg Township, Pennsylvania.

To gain traction in their township of 20,000, these entrepreneurs knew that their new business must be intricately tied to a community connection. Curran and Wessner chose to use print as their primary marketing channel. The Jersey Mike’s staff distributed nearly 7,500 sandwich coupons throughout the community, encouraging patrons to enjoy a free sub and also to donate the cost of that sandwich to the Muhlenberg Township Athletic Association.

In the end, the promotion helped raise over $15,000, and the franchise gained an admirable reputation as a devoted community partner.

Stand Out in Your Community

Print marketing can be especially effective in creating a local marketing presence, especially when combined with integrated campaign efforts.

Smart business owners know that catering to a local market can be a point of power. But how do you leverage this connection? Here are several ways to connect your on- and off-line presence in compelling ways.

Demonstrate Community Connection

Integrate your business into local festivals, sponsorship opportunities, and regional traditions.

Does your community host a lobster festival? Find fun ways to weave this crustacean into your flyers or sales. Share pictures or postcards about your brand participating in local fundraisers, theme weeks, or service drives. Start conversations on things that are happening locally and, whenever possible, relate them to your business.

Personalize Advertisements

When advertising for your business, highlight testimonies or quotes from real, local customers. Try before and after pictures, photos of your customers in well-loved parks, or advertisements featuring your content in front of an area mascot.

Another option is to tailor your ads to regional events. Is your city sponsoring a music festival? Offer helpful content like advice on cheap parking, a schedule of places where kids eat for a discount, or print coupons that correspond to a felt need of these visitors. Creating ads with local content will connect with your audience on a very personal level.

Invent Reasons to Make a Difference

Too often, organizations focus on community involvement with a selfish perspective: more profits, more marketing, etc.

Instead, take a “community in the front, business in the rear” approach. Whether you build a nature center with other businesses or create a contest for local charities, genuinely help people, and the benefits will follow. Plus, employees and volunteers will love submitting their photos to your company newsletter or your social media pages.

Tell Your Story

If you’re from the area you’re targeting, do your best to tell the story of how your business came to life.

Make a video, print inserts for your bags or envelopes, or have a brand story display onsite. Customers love to support local businesses, especially those founded or run by a hard-working local resident.

Find, Engage, Repeat

While your brand may serve customers beyond your region, an enormous 85% of business owners depend on word-of-mouth referrals, so it is vital to actively influence your friends and neighbors!

When satisfied local customers are committed to your success, your business can do more with less while continuing to succeed.

Need help giving your brand an extra boost in the community? We’d be happy to help with your local marketing needs. Contact us today to find out more!

5 Ways to Spruce Up Your Holiday Branding

Tis the season to set yourself apart!

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Year-end sales are a crucial part of many small businesses, and this year, the National Retail Federation predicts November and December sales will increase around 4% (for a national total of between $727 and $730 billion!).

With this natural uptick, year-end festivities offer a great opportunity to add extra flourishes to your brand. Clever seasonal packaging can add a homegrown feel to your products or be the deciding factor for customers choosing between your brand and a more generic option. Adding professionalism to your packaging can grab attention, personalize your products, and show that you really care about your clients.

Looking for inspiration? Here are five clever ways to spruce up your holiday messages.

Holiday Packaging Tape

Holiday-themed tape is an easy update to your year-round packaging.

Add a strip to your bubble mailers, a border to the top of your brown bags, or a smidge to seal your gift boxes. These minor updates bring a splash of colors to make your brand pop.

Custom Stickers and Labels

Whether it’s a stocking, a pumpkin pie, or a tree-topping star, custom stickers and labels can be die-cut to the exact shape you want.

Or you can keep things simple with square stickers in the shape of gift boxes. Adding stickers and labels to your envelopes or in-store displays brings a festive touch or a package-sealing alternative.

Gold Foil or Frosted Bags

Want to add shine and turn heads your direction?

Transparency can be a great way to reveal what’s inside your package or cover, with a sophisticated vellum quality that brings structure and depth. Add that frosty feel or a hint of gold in your:

 

  • Translucent window clings or hanging sign displays
  • Clear frosted business cards
  • Frosted tote bags (with optional artwork or logos foil-stamped on the surface)
  • Gold-tinted or frosted interior wrapping (or zipper bags)
  • Translucent wrapping with a gold ribbon
  • Gold foil stamped postcards, flyers, or custom envelope labels

Very Merry Business Cards

If you don’t normally add business cards to your orders, now is the time!

Using festive-themed business cards can bring a colorful element to each of your mailings. Holiday business cards can also make fun custom gift tags for larger parcels or a hangtag add-on for unique products.

Want some extra incentives? Print business cards with key holiday shipping deadlines or January re-order specials.

Cheery Inner Boxes

The holidays are the perfect time to think about inner boxes.

Rather than putting your product directly into a box or a mailer, an additional inner box allows people to gift something directly or to mail it on to others. Printed boxes also offer you a chance to add extra messaging (like under the inside lid) or to add die-cuts with bold, bright fonts.

Custom Packaging That Makes the Season Bright

Whether it’s getting the mail each day or unwrapping a customer appreciation gift, the ”unboxing” process has become a critical part of the customer experience.

Around 45% percent of surveyed people say they were more excited about receiving their order when this included customized wrapping. Want to increase the emotional attachment customers have to your business? From a dash of color on your envelope to a custom print piece, holiday pizzazz can be a part of any business budget.

Want to talk options? Give us a call today!

Four Ways to Track Your Print Marketing

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When you call someone on the phone, are you glad when they pick up? If you had to pay for each call, would you be especially glad when they picked up?

Marketing is essentially a call to your customers, a financial investment you make in hopes that people will “pick up.”

And print is one of the best mediums for engaging your audience.

Direct mail response rates for print are much higher than e-mail response rates (4.4% versus 0.12%). 60% of consumers said receiving and handling tangible objects leaves a lasting mental impression on them. And 57% of people say they feel more valued when they receive print marketing from brands.

When you place a call, are your customers picking up?

When you send advertising through print, you’ll have a better estimate if you are tracking responses. Every business using print marketing needs an effective testing system. Tracking your marketing will help you answer two questions:

  • Are your marketing dollars resulting in leads or conversions?
  • What specific parts of your marketing are responsible for prospect visits or sales revenue?

Four Ways to Track Your Print Marketing

Here are four ways to find out:

  1. Unique Promo Codes

Promo codes are like hashtags, but better.

They are fun, expressive, and they bring tangible savings to your clients. Offer distinct coupon codes in print pieces you want to test, and be sure the call to action is strong and clear (e.g., “Get 25% off patio decor by presenting this card in stores or using the code ‘LOVE25PATIO’). If your customer uses the code, you’ll know they’ve responded.

  1. QR Codes

How do you build bridges between digital and print advertising?

One easy technique is to include a QR code to drive traffic to your landing page. By adding these handy tools to your flyers, postcards, or brochures, you can track relevant info while storing data, location, and text. You can also experiment with social media hashtags to track success and increase online engagement.

  1. Distinct Online Landing Pages

Online landing pages can be created specifically for promotion through your print ad (for example, see Uber’s landing page targeting new riders here).

While your website homepage typically offers an introduction to your business, a promotional landing page:

  • Is designed to receive traffic from specific sources
  • Prompts visitors to take one well-defined action
  • Stays focused on a single topic or offer
  • Omits or downplays site navigation options

Beyond narrow landing pages, you can also record general web traffic during a campaign to note whether a spike in visits may indicate a particular ad’s effectiveness.

  1. Asking Customers

Want to know what’s on their mind? Ask them!

While you may not be able to connect with every customer, take time to ask new clients how they heard about your business. Speak with people face-to-face and you may gain insight into their motivations, frustrations, or preferred benefits.

Also consider adding a drop-down element to your website to ask how customers were introduced to your business (direct mail, word-of-mouth, social media, etc). Finally, including a unique “point of contact” email address or phone number (specific to the campaign) on your print materials to make response tracking easier.

Record and Recalibrate

From big business to small firms, every business using print should track and recalibrate based on results.

Print ads are more compelling when they use clear calls to action and high-quality pieces. Ready to set up a campaign with distinct tracking points? We’re happy to help if you have questions!

Digital + Print = Success

A BLEND OF PRINT AND DIGITAL MARKETING

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If your business is struggling to find the perfect mix to stay in touch with your customers, you may want to consider a blend of print and digital marketing.

Chances are you are already using digital marketing to promote your business, whether it be your website, online ads, or social media. While digital media is essential, print is also a powerful marketing tool that is universal, credible, durable, and portable.

Many people still prefer looking at print materials at their leisure without being connected to a computer. The chances of a customer flipping through more pages in a print catalog are much higher than randomly clicking through various pages on your website, increasing exposure to a wider variety of products. In addition, print materials can easily be shared with others and offer an enduring message that can be seen again and again.

By joining your print and digital marketing efforts, you can create a powerful campaign that gets noticed and remembered. For example, your print marketing can direct traffic to your website, and your emails can remind customers to keep an eye out for a catalog or exclusive coupon in their mailbox. You can also use campaign hashtags on print to funnel traffic to social media.

If you’d like ideas or help to create the perfect print campaign to complement your digital efforts, our team would love to help! Stop by or give us a call today at 856.4290715.

4 Print Marketing Trends to Inspire You in the Year to Come

GettyImages-144188300.jpgPrint marketing is compelling, memorable, and engaging.

As people touch, hold, and even smell paper, they respond in a profoundly personal way.

While digital communication is booming, this has only enhanced the unique voice that print brings for any business. Millennials and Gen Z are very difficult crowds to reach digitally, with 63 percent using AdBlocker and 82 percent ignoring online banner ads. This trend toward tactile is stirring potential for many exciting creative opportunities.

Today, we’ll highlight four print marketing trends from 2018 to inspire you in the year to come.

Simplicity

The world is filled with chaos, and fundamentally, viewers long for a return to simplicity.

Minimalist designs offer the respite people crave. Minimalist designs include images with a clear, elegant purpose, maximizing white space and using layouts that are clean and authentic. Uncluttered visuals bring an honest, compelling point into focus in a quick and arresting way.

For years, TBWA Paris has been on a mission to advertise McDonald’s in the most minimalist ways possible. This started in 2013 with extreme close-up photos of food and followed with computer-icon-style pictograms featuring McDonald’s menu items reduced down to very spare illustrations. Many of these ads used no branding whatsoever: the point was that the food was so recognizable it didn’t need a label.

By 2017, McDonald’s had the food disappearing altogether, featuring top sellers like fries, McNuggets, or Big Mac cartons that were completely empty (apart from a few crumbs), because the food had already been devoured by famished customers.

Effective? Absolutely. These simple ads bypass the brain and go straight to the stomach.

Personalized Print Pieces

Print is already a highly personal medium, but advances in technology allow businesses to enjoy increased access to personalized posters, flyers, direct mail, and more.

If you want to impress, try gathering online data about customer preferences and include that in print.

Branding even the simplest products has also allowed companies to gain a more personal touch. For example, a local auto garage printed customized labels for its water bottles and offered complimentary water to customers while they waited.

Color

If you’ve ever painted a room, you know the significance even a slightly darker hue can bring. Color experts Pantone released color trends for 2018 with this advice:

  • If you want to look resourceful, employ blue and orange hues
  • If you want a playful tone, choose yellow
  • If you’re looking for something discreet, try pink
  • If you want more sophistication, choose gold

What if you want to reach a diverse crowd?

According to Pantone, rosy tones bring a palette that “reaches out and embraces many different cultures.” Pantone said in 2018, print marketing was trending away from pastels and toward bright, bold colors:

“Intense colors seem to be a natural application of our intense lifestyles and thought processes these days.”

Storytelling

Storytelling is not just for YouTube.

Print that tells a story can alleviate suspicion and make instant connections, especially with younger audiences.

A Spanish lollipop grabbed this edge with its “ant aversion” ad for Chupa Chups lollipops. While normally a company might bore viewers with guilt trips for sugar-free products, Chupa Chups chose a “visual story” to make their point.

In the print ad, a sticky sucker had been discarded on a rock slab near the lawn. Meanwhile, a triple-wide line of ants detoured around the candy, heading toward the grass. The headline, “It’s Sugar Free,” brought a resounding finale to this playful story.

Chupa Chups reminds us that print is at its best when it is used as an art. Use vibrant colors, minimalist designs, and personalized print pieces to grab their attention and tell your story this year.