PFL has been a long time sponsor of StartupNation and its community. We`ve learned the hard way with our marketing efforts, and hopefully that knowledge can be passed onto the StartupNation community.
I`ve been at PrintingForLess.com for nearly 3 years and enjoy working with small businesses around the country. PFL is a great place to work, in a great place to live. We`re an entrepreneurial company serving entrepreneurers.
It looks like you`re getting some good sugestions. I think that all are beneficial, but I notice that one thing is missing. (at least it hasn`t been stated directly)
Be memorable! You`re stading in a sea of thousands of booths who all look the same and are all trying to get the same people to stop and talk. When I attend a show as a vendor, I want to be sure that people walk away thinking, "that booth with that one thing was really cool." Wow them, otherwise your brochure and business card will be the one that is dumped as they clear room in the suitcase for the trip home.
We`re a montana company that attended MacWorld in SanFrancisco a few years back. We knew that there was no way to be "cooler" than Mac...or any of the other tech presenters. So, we played up our "hick" location. We had a kiddie pool with fake trout and a fly fishing rod. (A River Runs Through It was filmed in our hometown.) We had a tiny booth in the back corner, but people were standing in line during the whole show to get a shot at casting the fly rod from the "Montana Guys." Everyone remembered us, and then had a reason to keep the sales material that we were passing out.
What is memorable about your company? What will everyone else be doing? It`s important to know that so that you can run in the opposite direction.
If you`d like to brainstorm a bit, I`d be happy to help. Feel free to email me and we can set up a time to talk. Or, tap into the community and let`s brainstorm here!
The Wall Street Journal had a great article in the Marketplace section this Tuesday about companies using keyword information to determine customer needs and interests. For example, knowing that your customers are searching for a specific product on your site, or coming to your website through specific keyword searches are a great way to know what customers are looking for.
My company has had some good experience with this in the past. By watching customer searches, we knew that customers were in need of business card templates and we launched a business card template page in response.
I`m going to be digging deeper into customer`s searches over the next few weeks, but wanted to get some examples from others who have taken the same approach before doing so.
So, what have you seen with your business and your websites? Have you had success following the customer`s lead? I`d love to read about it.
Gail, I couldn`t agree more. Going the extra mile is where positive word of mouth begins.
I think that small businesses blow away the competition when it comes to over producing. Think of how stagnant and structured large companies are when compared to the nimbleness of small businesses. Having a happy, referring customr base becomes an equalizer in the market at some point. Several people on the street raving about your business will overshadow the large marketing and advertising campaigns that the big guys use.
The best part is that over delivering for your clients is the right thing to do. I find great satisfaction in that.
Somthing that you may want to keep in mind is that you should measure your direct mail campaign to make sure that you are getting some sort of return. I`ve found that by measuring a campaign, and then making adjustments accordingly, I`ve been able to drive response rates over the typical 1-3% rate that the USPS, and other industry experts say that you can expect. Some ways to measure are comparing your mailing to a control group that doesn`t receive a mailing. This way, you can tell if your efforts are paying off. Sometimes a control group isn`t an option, so you can use things like specific coupon codes, unique phone numbers for people to call or a landing page on a website. Anything that you can measure to judge your return. Then, try to improve upon your baseline in the next mailing.
iouone2 makes a good point about list scrubbing. The trick is to get the most qualified list of addresses possible. This can be done by buying a list of highly targeted addresses in your town. An example of a highly targeted list for you may be everyone in town who has shipped something in the past 6 weeks. This may not be possible, but I think that you get the idea.
"Scrubbing" also takes place after you have your list developed. CASS certification is a process that removes duplicate addresses from your list and ensures that the addresses you are mailing to are real. Most mailing houses provide this service. At PrintingForLess.com, this is included with every mailing, and you should check out the Mailing Services page to get some specific information on how you can improve your mailing efforts.
I think that you`re on the right track when you asked about creating a piece that really stands out from the junk mail in people`s mail boxes. One easy way to improve your piece is to have it coated with Aqueous Coating when it`s printed. This will protect it from being scuffed and scratched in transit, and it provides a nice sheen to gloss paper. Some mailing houses can`t address on coated paper, so be sure to ask. The alternative is a label over the coating or uncoated paper. Both look a little less appealing in my opinion. A designer will be able to create a piece that is really eye-catching, but there are other options if you don`t have the budget for this.
At PrintingForLess, I`ve seen some really great pieces that people have created themselves using Photoshop, Microsoft Publisher and even Word. *This part is important*If you do create a mailing piece on your own, be sure to know the postal regulations. A piece that has been designed without considering the USPS` specs can end up costing you a lot of extra money. Sometimes that USPS fees for working around a design can end up costing more than if you would have individually stamped each piece....and the whole point of direct mail is getting that bulk price. You`ll want to take a look at our US Mail Layout Guide page to make sure that you`re designing your piece correctly.
I run the Marketing Department at PrintingForLess.com and we`ve printed and mailed postcards to our customers using these suggestions. I hope that this information has helped. Even if you don`t print and mail your piece with PFL, please feel free to call Wes on the Pioneer Team (our top-notch mailing team) at PFL. 1-800-930-7018. He`ll be happy to answer your questions and point you in the right direction.
I have to admit that I haven`t read through all 3 pages of these posts, but one reply from Nuevolution at the beginning caught my eye. I`d like to let everyone in on a little secret relevant to the conversation.
Print shops are major con-artists
...generally speaking of course.
One "printer trick" is that full color costs more than 1 or 2 color printing. Printers typically price everything on a cost basis so that they can nickel and dime you to death and keep you from accurately comparing one company`s price to anothers. In short, it sucks...and isn`t true!
In fact, full color (also known as 4-color printing) shouldn`t cost any more. We`re talking about ounces of ink, not pounds. 4 inks used to make full color printing doesn`t really cost any more than 1 or 2 colors of ink. In some cases, it`s less expensive!
Full color logos look great! I read some comments about how logos should be simple, look good in one color and full color and also communicate your message clearly. I couldn`t agree more with all of these statements. I`d just like to encourage people to keep from limiting themselves because of a gimmick that printers have used for years.