Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Improve Your Marketing Letters with Custom Letterheads

Boring letterheads just don't cut it these days in business. If you are going to use marketing letters today, you need special kinds of letterhead printing that delivers more than just a company label. What you need in your letterheads are custom designs and powerful professional letterhead printing. Here are the advantages of investing in such for your marketing letters.

1. Better overall impact - Of course, as expected, custom letterheads with fancy designs will always get a better overall impact. If you compare a simple, “canned” letterhead design with a professionally made and customized color letterhead, you will easily see the difference. Custom letterheads have personality, emotion and energy, all contributing of course to a larger overall impact. This can really help get you more responses and interest from your marketing letter, so the customized designs are well worth the price.

2. Chance to show your capabilities - With customized letterheads, you will get the chance to show off your capabilities as a professional. As you well should know, letterheads are of course an expression of your business image as well as your company's. By creating a very powerful design that shows off what your business can do, you can easily impress people with your special marketing letters. Instead of just the text of the letter itself, the letterhead can communicate the strength and professional skill of you and your company. So if you want that opportunity to flex your business image and show off your capabilities, you can use custom letterheads to communicate those great characteristics.

3. Chance to advertise - Custom color letterheads also give you the opportunity to advertise your products and services. Besides serving you and your business image, you can task your marketing letter to advertise your newest products, not only via text, but also via a color letterhead.

It is easily possible to insert advertising images and content into a large professional letterhead. Typically you can put them on the right side, whilst all the other important information is at the left. This will add extra functionality to your letterhead printing, giving you more things to do with your marketing letters. This is a great investment that you should really consider.

4. Chance to develop a business image - With custom letterheads, you should also be able to develop your own unique business personality. By using a certain style of design along with your business contact information, you can easily impress upon people what kind of business image that you want to convey. You can use corporate themes to establish a professional reputation, or you can add in very creative and wild themes to convey the energy and innovative spirit of your firm. It is all up to you and your design, as long you have that customized color letterhead it is quite possible to develop any image that you want and need.

5. Chance to be more memorable - Finally, custom letterheads give you the chance to become more memorable. This is simply because customized letterhead designs look more unique and original than the typical ones used today. This makes custom letterhead printing quite the lingering powerhouse for marketing letters that is well worth the price of printing.

So why don't you improve your marketing letter's chances by using custom letterheads? It will be one of your best decisions for your business in your life. Good luck!

No. of Times this article has been viewed : 446
Date Published : Nov 7 2010

View the original article here

Your Database: Your Most Valuable Asset

Your most valuable asset is not the money in your bank account. Your most valuable asset is what you know about your customers - because that will lead to more money in the bank. Money in the bank is good. But it's more important to consistently generate more. Money in your bank reflects what you did yesterday. Knowledge about your customers determines what you will do today and tomorrow.

If your business depends on strong relationships then you need information to maintain and strengthen those relationships. Maybe that's why some companies call this process "CRM" - Customer Relationship Management. It's just a sexy term for simple database management.

Some say that information is valuable. Not by itself. Relevant information about your customers is not only valuable but vital to the growth of your business.

If you know who your customers are - you know whom to call. If you know what your customers want - you know what to offer them. If you know when your customers want it - you know when to offer it. If you know your customers' challenges you can help them. If you know your customers' concerns you know how to sell to them. The more you understand your customers' habits, environment and personality - you can more likely anticipate their needs and wants.

Today it is imperative that you maintain a useful database of customer information. A database is a record of information. Here are a few examples of databases: the yellow pages, a recipe book, a shopping list, a game schedule and a TV guide.

The Rolodex, a simple database system, worked very well However, today technology allows us to get more from our customer databases. We put it on the computer. There are many computer databases you can choose from.

Criteria in selecting your database
Your database is a combination of: name and address book, phone book, journal, bring- forward (tickler) file, idea file, activity planning tool, business map and to-do list.

In selecting your database consider these basic needs:
It should be simple to update information.
Information must be found quickly.
There must be multiple search methods.
If more than one person can update information it must name and date stamp the update.
You can categorize contacts by different groups.
Contacts can be part of more than one group.
You can set date and time sensitive reminders
It tracks history of contact details.

When more people need access to your database you will have additional needs concerning access, security and timeliness.

Typical questions about a customer database:
Who should be in your database?
What information should be in your database?
How can you use your database?
How else can you leverage your database?
How do you protect your database?

Who should be in your database?
Almost everybody. For example: everybody you ever did business with, everybody you expect to do business with, and everybody who might influence those you do or might do business with.

Your database might include clients and prospects, but also: media, suppliers, association leaders, community leaders, corporate executives, associates and competitors. Some of these might also be clients or prospects. But others can influence your clients and prospects. You want to keep track of them - and influence them.

What information should be in your database?
It depends on your business. you might include: details of every business transaction; details of every discussion, meeting, and bid; alternate contacts including assistants, associates and superiors; personal details about family, likes, dislikes, activities, education, alma mater, awards received, association memberships, significant dates; information about their customers; all promises you made to them; all promises they made to you; your feelings about the person and company; notes that trigger your memory about their appearance or character; where you took them for lunch and who paid etc.

Get the idea?

Maintaining your database might feel boring - but the results you get from it can be very exciting and profitable.

How can you use your database?
This is the exciting part. Using your database allows you to think and plan your activity then follow the plan systematically.

Use the reminders in your database to remind you of the next step. For example: depending on the contact, you might set the reminders to tell you to call regarding status in two weeks, send more information in 3 months, or meet to renew the contract in one year. By setting these reminders no one falls through the cracks. Of course you must check your database every day.

When you contact your client or prospect you can quote what you both said the last time, then move quickly forward with your follow-up discussion. When you talk with them you don't need to rely on memory. Instead you have the details about the relationship on your computer. You can tell them, "You paid for lunch last time - this one is mine." You can ask them about the project they were working on, their daughter's soccer tournament or their anniversary vacation in Hawaii.

How else can you leverage your database?
More excitement. Use their past behaviours and buying habits to predict future patterns and behaviours. Remind them before they realize they need you again.

Segment your database into categories. Not all of your customers are equal. Not all of your prospects are equal. So don't treat them equally. Some deserve more attention than others so allocate your resources and time appropriately. Some you contact every month - some only twice a year. Send special offers to your best customers. Send postcards to your hottest prospects.

How do you protect your database?
This is the most boring part. Until you don't do it and things go wrong. Then watch the excitement fly. Your computer only works for you part of the time. The rest of the time it is scheming to make your life miserable. Everything from viruses, power glitches, general freeze-ups, and other nasty pestilences that are inflicted upon us by the gremlins of technology.

But you can prevent these pains by backing-up your database - regularly. Backing up your database might seem boring and time consuming. So ensure it happens regularly by making it a habit. Better still make it an addiction. You will thank your foresight one day.

Who wins?
It's not the information that determines who wins. It is the innovative use of that information that makes you different from your competitors. In the game of chess everyone knows the rules, all the previous moves of the game and all the possible moves. The one who wins is the one who understands the relevance of that information and makes the best use of it.

About the Author:
© George Torok helps business grow. He is co-author of Secrets of Power Marketing. Get your free copy of "50 Power Marketing Ideas" at http://www.powermarketing.ca/ You can learn more about his speaking and training programs at http://www.torok.com/ To discuss your needs and how he can help you call 800-304-1861 No. of Times this article has been viewed : 517
Date Published : Nov 9 2010

View the original article here

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Why do you exist?

Normally at the end of year I would write a post about getting your marketing plan and budget in shape for the coming year. Not this time. This time I'm going to ask a simple question… Why do you exist? Or, more specifically… Why did you start a business in the first place?

The obvious answer for most is to make a profit selling a product or service. Some may even say it's to make a profit doing something they are passionate about. But, that's not really why your business exists. As Simon Sinek describes it in his book Start With Why, why your business exists is “The problem it set forth to solve or the change it wanted to make.” It is not your strategies or your goals, it is your reason for being.

This reason must lie outside the business itself. It must lie in society, because business is a major force in shaping society. No, I'm saying that all businesses must be philanthropic in nature — but wouldn't that be wonderful — what I'm saying is that your reason for existing as a business is to make an impact on society. This impact may come in the form of helping underprivileged children get shoes on their feet. It may be that you intend to change how the world uses computers. Or it may be something more practical like helping dog owners find a good place to eat. Whatever the case may be, this is the reason that drives your business. this is why you exist.

Why does Catch Light Productions exist? That's an easy one. We want to help small businesses stop settling for less when it comes to their marketing — to fill the gap between modest budgets and outstanding results. We achieve this by remaining lean and pulling together specialized teams to match the specific needs of each individual client.

So, as the new year approaches take some time to think about why you exist. When you realize your reason for existing, the game changes. Your marketing efforts will seek to fill a valid and well defined need rather than simply persuade a consumer to make a purchase.

About the Author:
Catch Light Productions http://www.catchlight.com Established in 1989, Catch Light Productions is a creative agency specializing in turnkey advertising, marketing solutions and graphic design for small business, new business, and the entrepreneur. No. of Times this article has been viewed : 288
Date Published : Dec 2 2010

View the original article here

Branding Secret: Controversy Sells

Do want a powerful branding strategy? Take a controversial position. Offend someone and attract your target market. But you have to pick your position and enemies carefully. Don't offend your fans or best customers.

Controversy sells newspapers, books, and movies. You can also use controversy to sell your product, service or yourself. Notice how they often do it in the movie business. The entertainment industry has lots of vivid controversy lessons for marketers.

Controversy can be a powerful branding technique. But it comes with a cost. It means that you will need to take a position. You will offend some and strongly attract those who like your position. Are you willing to be so bold?

It could be as simple as the title that sells the movie. Consider the success of "Texas Chain Saw Massacre" or "Snakes on a Plane". Both of those titles were vivid, graphic and controversial. People either immediately hated or loved the movie when they first heard the title.

At one time in the entertainment world it was enough to title your program as "The Greatest Show on Earth" to grab attention and get people talking. Today you might need to label your show as "The Vagina Monologues" or "Puppetry of the P*nis" to get attention and create controversy.

The Guides for Dummies and Idiots series of books generated attention with the controversial titles. They sold very well. The multiplicity of topics tells you that.

The sensitivity of the content could create enough success in a movie. Consider "Passion of the Christ" and "The Da Vinci Code". There was little need to advertise those movies. The controversy did all the heavy lifting for promotion. The media was talking and bloggers were blogging. Church leaders were preaching. People were protesting and arguing. What a great controversy.

Along came another movie with content guaranteed to raise controversy, "Death of a President". To fan the flames the promoters not only published the usual supporting testimonial reviews - but also the comments from the detractors as well. Let's hear from those who hate us. What delicious controversy. What terrific and profitable promotion.

And to tilt the readers' perspective of the views they headed the positive views with the title, "Have seen Death of a President". And on the other side the heading, "Have Not seen Death of a President."

The controversy is both shaken and stirred by the strength of the negative comments as well as the sources.

Here are the negative 'testimonials" for the movie, Death of a President:

Have Not seen Death of a President

"I think it's DESPICABLE." Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton

"I find this SHOCKING. I find this DISTURBING." Gretchen Esell, Republican Party of Texas

"(Director Gabriel) Range is a SICKO." Rush Limbaugh

"We're not commenting because IT DOESN'T DIGNIFY A RESPONSE." Emily Lawrimore, White House Spokesperson

Powerful words from powerful people. It's impossible to buy endorsements like that. Unwittingly those people endorsed the movie by polarizing the controversy. Imagine how many folks would watch the movie because of those powerful negative endorsements.

Controversy sells. Why? Because controversy is one technique for branding. Powerful branding declares both friends and enemies.

What people say against you can be powerful promotion.

When you want to create a strong brand in the marketplace first decide on who you want to attract then who you are willing to annoy. This could be the beginning of a strong branding position.

Are you ready to make some passionate friends and enemies? Go ahead, make your brand.

About the Author:
© George Torok helps business owners gain an unfair advantage over the competition. His bestselling book, "Secrets of Power Marketing" is the first guide to personal marketing for the non-marketer. Get your free copy of "50 Power Marketing Tips" at http://www.powermarketing.ca/ To arrange a speech to your conference or team meeting visit http://www.torok.com/ To arrange a media interview call 905-335-1997 No. of Times this article has been viewed : 515
Date Published : Nov 10 2010

View the original article here

How to Craft the Perfect Offer and Weed Out the Bad Ones

There are a lot of moving parts that go into creating an effective postcard campaign. Make sure you are addressing the ten elements of a successful postcard design. One of the most important parts in the article "Ten Elements of a Successful Postcard Design" is "The Offer". This article will show you the difference between a good offer and a bad offer when marketing to your customers and prospects.

It may seem counterintuitive to give your customers a price break when you are struggling with your revenue, and it may seem crazier to give them one when they are lining up to pay your normal rates, but there is more to it than meets the eye. Allow me to explain...

There are two major functions that an offer (special rate, sale, discount, etc.) plays in your marketing campaign:

1. Enticing new customers to try out your product or service.
2. Rewarding current customers and ensuring future loyalty.

In a successful marketing plan, these are your two main goals. Neglect new prospects, and your business will plateau. Ignore your current customers, and your business will see high customer turnover, and plateau - right before it drops off a cliff! Here are some tips you can use to reinforce your marketing.

Marketing to New Prospects

The offer you present to prospects will be different from what you offer to your customers. It needs to have the following attributes:

1. High Value
Do your homework. Come up with something that would be considered a great value in your industry.

· Good Example: FREE Dental Exam & Cleaning
It is of high value to the prospect, and it gives you the chance to WOW them with your service and professionalism.

· Bad example: 5% OFF Haircut & Style
The incentive is not valuable enough to inspire action. Nobody jumps at savings in the single digits.

2. Low Cost
The prospect needs to feel as if they are getting a steal, especially if they're trying something for the first time. The profit you gain from a lifelong customer far outweighs the price of a free promotion. If a free promotion brings in a new patient who spends $400 a year for 10 years, you more than paid for the free promotion.

· Good example: FREE!
Anything FREE is enticing. But don't attach many strings or you will lose customers' trust.

· Bad example: $400 OFF Outdoor Kitchen!
You may know that's a great savings, but if the dollar amount is too high, it will frighten away your prospects.

3. Believability
Your offer needs to be straightforward. It can't sound "too good to be true," because the prospect will write it off.

· Good example: Buy one sweater, get a second one free!
It is believable. The customer understands the cost involved and will think it is a great value.

· Bad example: FREE* Phone!
The customer instinctively (and thanks to that asterisk) knows you're not giving them a phone for nothing, and will not trust you.

Our results manger tracks successful offers based on industry. Here are a few examples that were great successes for my clients:

· Dental — FREE Teeth Whitening
· Chiropractic — FREE Massage ($260 value)
· Landscaping — First Two Lawn Cuts FREE
· Restaurant — Celebrate your anniversary with a FREE dinner on us!

These were successful for our clients because they offered something that had a high-perceived value — for free! Free is great because it has automatic value for consumers. But as long as your prospect feels they are getting a great value, it will work.

Remember! Price differs in many industries. A free massage at Benson Chiropractic is worth $260, while a free dinner at The Grotto restaurant may be worth $15, but both were successful deals because the offer was valuable within their respective industries.

Marketing to Current Customers

To tailor an offer to your customers, you need to follow the same basic principles as a new prospects offer, but with an added condition.

The offer must have:

· High value
· Low cost
· Believability
AND
· A reward

Your customers need to know they are getting this deal as an exclusive reward for their loyalty, and because you value their business. This is not an attempt to draw them in — you've already done that!

Here are some examples of what reward offers look like:

· Dental - Free cleaning on the anniversary of your first visit!
· Jewelry - A "secret sale" scratch-off coupon to customers who spend over $100 in a month!
· Skin Care - $100 off next purchase and a free sample product!
· Theatre or Entertainment Services - Save $10 off your next ticket!

It's important to reward your customers and continue the relationship. Even a small gesture can go a long way. Consider what you can offer and make sure your bottom line isn't taking a huge hit. If you can't offer a free product or service (e.g. free dinner), scale down your offer to something that still offers value, for example, free appetizer with any 2 entrees.

Follow these simple tips and you'll see your offer will do the work to bring in more sales and build loyalty! Remember, if you give a little, you'll get back a lot!

You can find the article "Ten Elements of a Successful Postcard Design" at http://www.postcardmania.com/marketing_articles/article.php?articleID=58

About the Author:
Using a powerful, simple, extremely cost effective way of communicating with customers has earned Joy Gendusa Inc Magazine's recognition as the nation's fastest growing direct mail postcard marketing firm with year 2007 revenues estimated at $19,000,000. Gendusa began her firm, PostcardMania, in 1998 with zero investment capital. Today her firm employs over 150 people and prints 4 million postcards each week. Visit http://www.postcardmania.com/ No. of Times this article has been viewed : 244
Date Published : Dec 5 2010

View the original article here

Enhancement Options for Your Color Labels

Continual enhancement is the name of the game in label printing for business products. The more you try to improve and enhance your color labels, the more successful you should be in selling those products. In this guide, we will teach you how to enhance your color labels. You have five major options to help your color label designs look better. Just read and learn with the list provided below.

1. Digital filter effects - One very simple way to enhance the look of your color labels is to add some digital filter effects. Many design software such as Adobe Photoshop or Corel Draw have features that can apply filters to your label designs. These filters can enhance the visibility of your color labels by making them more vibrant with more vivid colors and effects. Usually these effects can be added automatically by just clicking on the effect you want. Of course the effect you need varies depending on the design, so you should try to mix and match the filters that you want to use.

2. Digital blending effects - Another great enhancement technique for your color labels is to apply special digital blending effects. This is different from filters because these effects are localized only to the design element selected. For example, you can use special blending effects in Photoshop to add shadows to your text elements. It is also possible to make design elements glow or even add shape fitting borders to the whole element. These blending effects can help you make a label that is more coherent with its theme and integrated with its parts. Moreover, you can even emphasize certain parts of your labels with these blending effects, giving them more impact.

3. Delivering the gloss effect - You might want to enhance your labels by adding that gloss effect to symbols and text. This gloss effect is basically a kind of lighter segment of color in a design element that simulates the effects of something smooth and glossy. This can easily be done through design software by just adding the gloss effect, or the embossed effect. You can use this trick to enhance the look of text elements as well as symbol or shape elements. This should make your labels look sleek and professional, so you should try these out in some of your color labels.

4. Upping the color quality - You can improve your labels by simply increasing the color quality of your label. This is easily done by special color correcting algorithms to your draft, or by just increasing the brightness and color vibrancy level of the whole design. With brighter more intense colors, labels can usually attract more people since they can be more visible with their fancy colors.

5. Using some expensive materials - Finally, one of the best enhancement options for your color labels is the use of some special expensive materials. Full gloss paper materials, with thick waterproof coatings are the ideal upgrades for your labels. By using these material enhancements, your color labels can be tough. They can look fresh and new for a very long time, even if they are bombarded by various environmental stresses. So if it is possible it is good to invest on your label printing and use high quality materials in its make.

So those are your enhancement options for label printing. If you need your color labels to look extra great, you should try one or even all of these tips. Good Luck!

No. of Times this article has been viewed : 518
Date Published : Oct 22 2010

View the original article here

Get Affordable Custom Poster Printing Services

Printing numerous posters for business marketing can be quite costly for your company. You may have to go for a high-quality custom poster printing service that is not easy for your pocket. If you are managing a business start-up, you may want to lessen your expenses. Money does not grow on trees, so if you can get these for free or cheap, the better. If you wish to save on costs, you may want to consider getting affordable custom poster printing services. These custom poster printing services can be your convenient approach in business marketing. Finding these affordable custom poster printing services can be quite tricky. So, read the following guidelines to improve your search for affordable custom poster printing services.

- Not many people know that you can get discount cards over the internet. Many of you may have received these discount cards being offered at department stores and shopping malls. On the dates the discount cards are valid, you can make purchases which can have huge price cuts, depending on what you get.

- Get hold of these online discount cards and make use of them when you are ready to make your purchase. There may be restrictions with regards to the use of your discount cards, so read these carefully. Take note of all the relevant information you need.

- Get design and printing services from reputable companies. You can save on costs if you get only one company for the services you need. You can earn discounts by just simply availing of their services. Bulk printing can also offer you discounts. Thus, it pays if you do not go for staggered printing.

If you wish to go for custom poster printing services, just go online. You can have various offers from different companies. Make a search over the internet, and you will be provided with a lot of options. Out of these options presented to you, make a shortlist of your top choices. On this shortlist, write down each of their advantages and disadvantages. Weigh your options carefully. In order to help you out in your decision making process, here are some pointers:

- Check the registry or payment system. You do not want all your financial details to be compromised, right? Thus, take time inspecting how the online transaction works. If you are dubious about the process, scratch the company off your list.

- Take a look at the pricing system. Different companies may offer different prices. That does not mean that you have to deal with the company that offers the lowest price. You should know all the services inclusive and make sure there are no surcharges.

- Always read reviews over the internet. If you have not availed of design and printing services before, conduct a thorough research. Read online reviews that were written by different clients. You can find these in discussion forums and blog posts.

- If you wish to be assured that you will only be provided with quality services, ask for product samples. Make a request over the internet. Expect these product samples be delivered to you in no time.

- Provide your design template. You can have the option of making your own design template or choose from the selection of online companies. You can get a graphic designer to provide you with a unique template.

No. of Times this article has been viewed : 558
Date Published : Oct 14 2010

View the original article here