Please Give Me a Call

With the recent explosion of marketing avenues available to businesses, it’s easy to forget some of the fundamental building blocks that go into making a company successful. Take, for instance, that telephone in your office. It may not be as sexy or new as social media, but it packs a much bigger and more immediate punch than tweeting or Facebook posts! Perhaps the most important method of communicating with your clients and prospects is still that little old telephone.

The phone connects your business with your audience in ways that email and social media can’t. The sound of the human voice and the interaction between two people on the phone can never be replicated or replaced by any other medium. That interaction can either increase or decrease your business in terms of traffic and revenue. Most callers will base their decision about whether or not to do business with your company on how they are treated on that phone call.

No amount of marketing and PR can overcome a negative experience on a phone call with your office. So before you move forward with any new marketing, make sure all that effort doesn’t go to waste when a prospect calls your business.

You can either pay someone or ask a friend to call your business and pose as a potential customer. Have the calls recorded. Review these recordings on a regular basis, and share both the positive and negative calls with your staff, along with items you find that need to be corrected. These are extremely valuable training times. It takes a little effort on your part, but the rewards will pay off for many years to come.

By making sure that all callers experience a positive event when calling your business, you have a strong pillar to continue building your successful business.

It’s 11:30. Are You Ready?

Deadline Lessons from Saturday Night Live

Saturday Night Live (SNL) producer Lorne Michaels once said, “I say it every week: We don’t go on because we’re ready. We go on because it’s 11:30.” He went on to say that being “ready” is a state of mind, one you can condition yourself to overcome with regular deadlines.

SNL is a long-running late-night live television sketch comedy created by Lorne Michaels. The live aspect of the show requires an absolute commitment to being ready to go on air at 11:30 eastern time every Saturday. It’s a hard deadline. No excuses can be accepted or tolerated. The show begins with a topical sketch, at the end of which someone breaks from the skit and shouts: “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!”

But before the show airs each Saturday night, an entire week’s worth of preparation has gone into making that episode a reality. Monday starts with a production meeting where ideas for the following week’s skits are pitched. On Tuesday, the ideas chosen are turned into skits, and on Wednesday they’re reviewed to pick the best ones to move forward.

On Thursday, the skits are tweaked and adjusted as needed. The winning skits are rehearsed on Friday and then once more before a live audience on Saturday at 8 PM before the actual live performance at 11:30.

Whatever project you’re creating — whether large and elaborate or small and simple — you likely follow a similar process. Your ideas are put on paper, the best survive, an action plan to move forward is chosen, and deadlines are given. Everything is ready, so then why do some ideas and projects never get done?

Over-thinking, doubt, procrastination, and perfectionism are the enemies of deadlines. Each one can play the role of devil’s advocate in your head to delay and destroy deadlines.

The cure might be to learn from SNL and Lorne Michaels. Take imperfect action when necessary. When you delay, nothing can move forward. You can always correct course and improvise as you move toward your goals, but nothing can happen unless you make that leap of faith to take the first steps.

SNL has aired some 730 episodes since its debut and began its 38th season this year, making it one of the longest-running network television programs in the United States. It has produced countless stars, created immense wealth for the creators, and entertained several generations of audiences over the years. The live aspect of the show creates a certain drama that most other shows lack. Some of the jokes fall flat, and there are unexpected surprises in many shows that had not been rehearsed. But the actors improvise as needed, and the show always goes on.

SNL doesn’t go on air at 11:30 every Saturday evening because they are ready. It goes on because it’s 11:30. You may never be “ready” enough if you don’t commit to a deadline to go live. Set aside your fears and worries. Time is wasting, and you may never get another chance to go live again.

Your Print Marketing 3-Step Rule

Every print marketing piece should have an end goal in mind. Depending on the type of marketing piece, these goals can range from simply building name recognition to creating curiosity and ultimately generating sales. The next time you find yourself struggling to create print marketing that will get noticed, remember these three steps to maximize your effectiveness:

Step 1: Grab attention.
Start by getting your reader’s attention. Remember this must happen from the initial glance at your promotional piece. Try using a bold headline, graphic, photo, or marketing claim. Choose something that encourages viewers to take a moment to read your marketing message.

Step 2: Create interest.
Provide teaser information that will engage prospects and entice them to learn more. Teaser information could include an announcement about exciting new products or features, a current or upcoming promotion, or anything else that will persuade customers to learn more.

Step 3: Engage the reader.
Provide a call to action for readers who have taken time to read your marketing message. This could vary from prospects who simply want more information to those who are ready to make a purchase. Provide a website address, phone number, directions, or other contact information that makes it easy for prospects to get in contact with you about your product or service. Consider creating a website landing page that is specific for the highlighted product or service. A landing page can not only make it easy to track interest generated from your promotional piece, but it can also make it easier for the reader to learn more without losing interest wading through an information-packed website.

Our creative team specializes in creating marketing pieces that will get noticed and remembered. Give us a call today if you need help or ideas for creating the perfect marketing piece that will increase awareness and boost sales.

Marketing Tips from Animals Pics

When it comes to marketing, we can learn a lot from photos of adorable animals. Here are a few key tips to take away the next time you catch yourself oohing and aahing over an adorable fuzzy kitten or roly-poly puppy:

  • Have you ever noticed how adorable animal photos have a knack for engaging a wide variety of people with various interests? While marketing is most effective when aimed at a targeted audience, you should strive to appeal to a variety of personalities within your audience.
  • Photos grab attention and have the power to invoke emotion. The sight of a baby animal can easily warm the heart of most people. Think about the photos or imagery you use in your next marketing campaign, and focus on the emotions your selected images will create for your audience.
  • Consider using humor whenever appropriate. Have you ever seen a hilarious photo of a cat and felt the need to show others so they can laugh with you? The same is true of humorous marketing. By sharing something funny, WE also become funny by association.
  • Just as people love to share adorable photos with others, be sure to create your marketing materials so they are easy to share. For example, create a durable mailer that includes a coupon for the recipient and one to share with a friend. Add a link to your web-based promotions to recommend friends, and consider a reward for those who pass the word. Include a “share” option to make your message easily available for friends or family who may be interested. By making your message easy to share, you can empower your audience to do the selling for you.

If you need more ideas for creating marketing materials your audience will look forward to receiving, give us a call today!

Repurpose Marketing Content

Repurposing content is often one of the most cost-effective and efficient ways to create an abundance of creative content, while at the same time extending the shelf life of your current marketing investment. Here are a few tips to help you creatively repurpose marketing content:

  • Combine related blog posts on specific topics into an e-book. Add content as needed to make it flow smoothly from one post to another.
  • Convert PowerPoint presentations into videos by adding animations, background music, or a voice-over. Maximize exposure by posting your videos on YouTube and sharing links via social media, your website, email, direct mail, and other marketing tools.
  • Turn publications or articles into podcasts by simply reading them aloud or having a narrative conversation about a topic of interest.
  • Create a company history timeline highlighting the stages and evolution of your business. Include news releases, company posts, social media announcements, and articles about your company.
  • Review unconventional content as well, such as an employee handbook that may include an introduction from the president outlining the company’s vision or a well-written summary of your target audience meant to educate new employees.
  • Archive your news releases in a “news” section on your company website to increase ongoing exposure.
  • Reuse parts of press releases, case studies, white papers, and other publications. Pull key quotes, stats, facts, and highlights, then use those materials in brochures, newsletters, blog posts, website pages, and email campaigns.
  • Create a landing page or microsite using in-depth product pages or articles that you’ve already written.

No matter how you repurpose your content, just remember that the more content you create, the easier it is to generate interest, educate and inform prospects and customers, and increase sales.

No Apologies, Please

In order to be successful in business, you must portray confidence. If you aren’t confident in your abilities or the quality of your products and services, why should a prospect or customer have confidence in you?

The words you choose in sales and marketing are very important and should portray a positive, confident image of your business. That’s why you should never start a marketing or sales pitch with an apology. If what you have to say is important, you should always say it confidently, with no apologies.

Starting a conversation with an apology (“I’m sorry to both you…”) suggests that what you have to say isn’t really important and may influence prospects or customers to think the same.

Rather than apologizing or downgrading your approach, try showing confidence by saying, “I have an exciting new product I’d like to share with you, and I need a few minutes of your time. Do you have a moment to discuss this now, or can I make an appointment with you at a later date?”

If you’re promoting a product or service of value, you should never apologize for getting in contact with prospects or customers to promote it. So, if your sales pitch isn’t important, don’t use it. If it is important, don’t apologize for using it.