Category: Customer Relations
Marketing is a simple concept with a complex equation for success. No salesman has ever pitched a product that didn’t need selling, which means more often than not you’re going to have to make an appeal to customers that entices them to act. For product- and service-based businesses alike, this means leveraging your product/service and touting the benefits. When people see what they’re getting in return for their action, they’re more likely to jump. The non-profit conundrum But what about for non-profits? Non-profit businesses find themselves in a tight situation when it comes to marketing. They rely on altruism to succeed, which means having a marketing approach that appeals to selflessness, rather than benefit. You’re not selling benefits—you’re selling a good feeling. Despite even the most positive outlook in the world, marketing for non-profits tends to be an uphill battle, which means you’ll need a coordinated approach to appealing on your side. Choosing the right type of appeal can make all the difference when it comes to garnering a donation and convincing someone that their altruism is worth more than their donation. Finding the right appeal An appeal to altruism depends largely on your audience. If people truly believe in your cause and the change you’re affecting, they’ll be more likely to support you. But, before they invest their time or money, they’ll need to be prompted. Take a look at 3 appeals that have the potential to prove effective for non-profit marketing, when leveraged appropriately: 1. Appeal to outrage: People stand up for what they believe in and if what they believe in comes under attack, they’ll choose to fight back in any way that they can. If your non-profit works to preserve or protect and is fighting against forces that aim to abolish or absolve, appealing to outrage is a common marketing tactic that has proven results. Example: “Protect our marshland from corporate development and keep the habitat of the great blue heron safe!” 2. Appeal to sympathy: There is always someone less fortunate than yourself. Many non-profit organizations dedicate themselves to helping the impoverished and rely on donations to continue this work. Appealing to those who have disposable income means tugging at the heartstrings and showing them the direct effect that their generosity can have. Especially during the holiday season, a genuine appeal to sympathy can have a profound effect. Example: “Please donate a dollar to help us buy 100 local children a winter jacket, to keep them safe this season.” 3. Appealing locally: Pride in their community is a core value for many people and often, they’ll exhibit altruism to raise the quality of life for their local man. When they know that their donation goes directly to a local issue, they’ll be able to see the change they’re affecting in real-time. A local appeal can have tremendously strong results that apply to numerous causes. Example: “Buy a coffee from XYZ Coffee Shop and we’ll donate a portion of the proceeds to the local women’s shelter.” When you strike the right chord, it’s easy to play a tune of altruism—however finding the right way to appeal means taking a step back and looking at your audience. Learn about what’s important to your audience and align yourself with these values, and you’ll quickly find that they’re more willing to support your efforts. Read article →
December 21 / 2016
It’s something that’s been drilled into your head since your very first job: “always treat the customer with the utmost respect.” Offering quality customer service is a core tenant of most business’, and for good reason. The difference between good customer service and poor customer service can mean the difference between a sale and a lost conversion. And, more importantly, it can make or break your brand’s reputation. Just how important is the idea of good customer service? Let’s take a look at 5 game-changing scenarios where customer service plays an integral role in how your brand succeeds or fails: 1. Reputation: Customer service is so important in terms of brand reputation that there are entire digital platforms dedicated to it! From Yelp reviews to Google recommendations, there’s no shortage of metric for evaluating customer service. Not coincidentally, this is also where new and prospective followers of your brand are going to look first. If your customer service is praised, it’s a good chance you’ll gain a positive reputation. 2. Trustworthiness: People trust those who are nice to them. If you foster a quality relationship with your customers by providing exceptional service, they’ll trust you in other ways—including for recommendations or advice. This opens the door for healthy sales, repeat customers, meaningful interactions and sustainable business. No one is going to do business with someone they can’t trust! 3. Value: Showcasing a high level of customer service means building the value of your brand and any products it offers. If your products are priced higher than a competitor, for example, you need to instill value in your offerings to help people equate your higher price to a great value to them. Superior customer service is a premier way to do this. If your competitors are cheaper but don’t follow your lead for customer service, their product is going to be diminished by comparison. 4. Brand advocacy: Have you ever heard the phrase, “…and they’ll tell two more?” It’s in reference to having a positive experience with something. It holds true for great customer service, as well. If your customers receive superior treatment when interacting with your brand, they’ll tell people. When those people have that same experience, they’ll tell people. The domino effect keeps on toppling and, as each person tells two people, your brand advocates grow exponentially. 5. Employee accountability: Encouraging your staff to offer “above and beyond” customer service creates a level of accountability within your business and helps each team member thrive. If an employee goes the extra mile, recognize their efforts and help them own that interaction. If someone is slacking or not putting in the effort, work with them one on one to help them feel more invested in their interactions. Building a culture of superior customer service means having a team that enjoys doing what they do. Exceptional customer service shows itself in many ways. It could be taking a few extra minutes to help a customer resolve their unique problem. It might mean greeting a regular client with a smile and a friendly conversation. Or, it could mean rising to the occasion to provide a solution that earns the business of an upset customer. Whatever form it takes, however, great customer service equates to all of the above benefits and beyond. Read article →
November 15 / 2016
Many businesses—especially small to medium-sized businesses—leverage the interconnectivity of different technologies to improve day-to-day operations. And while using smartphones to keep up with social media followers or collecting in-store signups for an email newsletter are great ways to keep your business’ marketing machine moving forward, there’s a simpler, more encompassing technology that needs to be taken into consideration: a customized Web-to-Print portal. AlphaGraphics has always worked hard to help bolster the successes of its local area business clients and now we’re taking it one step further with the advent of agOnline: our Web-to-Print portal solution. Through agOnline, we’re helping our clients leverage the convenience of digital technology to get the superior quality printed products they need for marketing, advertising and regular business operations. (more…) Read article →
March 10 / 2016
The New Year is a time that everyone looks forward to, simply because it signals a fresh start: a new opportunity for you to put your best foot forward and kick off the year right. If you’re a small business owner, the New Year is a prime time to consider approaching your sales and marketing materials with fresh eyes and a plan for the future. For many, this means making updates accordingly so that you’re ready to sell, sell, sell over the next calendar year! Getting the right information out there The problem many small businesses have when it comes to sales and marketing materials is that their products and services are rapidly evolving to meet the demands of their customers and, as a result, the information associated with them is constantly in flux. It’s a good problem to have! Having up-to-date materials and information in regards to your product and service brochures is essential to the sales process, however. Falling behind on updating this information means not being able to give prospects accurate information, which can lead to miscues during the sales process or worse, a lost sale altogether. If your business is still growing out of its infancy and depends heavily on new sales to fuel that growth, these are troubles you can’t afford to have. On the flip side, having a spec sheet or sales brochure prepared, complete with current information and clear selling points means cultivating a transparent relationship with a sales prospect. You’ll be giving them everything they need to understand your value proposition and you’ll be generating sales in a passive, yet powerful way by letting these materials speak on your behalf. Updating your materials the right way You might look at your sales materials and think, “these are fine, why would I update them,” but it’s important to realize that how you perceive your materials and how your customers view them may be very different. Having the right information, images, layout and design are all integral to the creation of great sales materials: • Content/information: Hand your existing materials off to someone outside of your industry and ask them to take a look at them—if they can get all of the information they need at a glance, you’ve done your job well. If they’re left asking questions, it’s time to revisit the content of your materials. • Images: Images and visuals are critical in selling your products and services. Products of course need to be displayed predominantly and in a manner that makes them enticing. Services should also follow this trend, with images supplementing the sales pitch put forth in your copy. • Layout: Cluttered images, big blocks of text and jumbled sections are all detractors from your sales materials and can convolute someone’s understanding of these materials. Make sure everything is laid out appropriately, in a professional manner that’s appealing to browse and read. • Design: Do your materials proudly display your company’s branding? Does the color scheme create brand cohesion? Are the text and pictures synergistic in the way they work together on the page? Design is critical in creating superior sales materials. Unless you’re a print and design specialist, getting all of the above variables can be a major challenge when it comes to updating your sales and marketing materials for the year ahead. To make sure you’re going about a refresh the right way, consult with your local AlphaGraphics professional. We’ll help you transform your sales sheets and brochures into critical components of your core sales strategy and make sure they speak volumes about your business, in a way that attracts sales and closes deals. Read article →
January 06 / 2016
When you think about the complexity of a business—from the physicality of the brand itself to the operational aspects that keep it running—it can be easy to overlook single components in favor of seeing the big picture. And while big picture prospects might be ideal to look at, it bodes well to remember that single business attributes can play a tremendous role in how that big picture is shaped. Take business signage for example. Could a simple sign really be the chief driver of business, the identity of your brand or the selling point for potential customers? Absolutely! Take a look below at the power a good sign can wield and how having the right sign could allow your business access to this type of clout. A few facts on signage First things first: what’s the purpose of a sign? To bring in customers? To create brand awareness? To let potential customers know you exist? If you said “all of the above,” you’re right: a good sign is a multipurpose tool that your business can and should use to its advantage. Take a look at some key pieces of data in regards to the different functions of a good sign, as compiled by signs.org: - A good sign has been proven to attract up to 50 percent of a new startup’s initial customers. - Roughly 35 percent of customers report that seeing a sign has alerted them to the existence of a business without any prior knowledge of that company. - Customers living within five miles of your business will likely see your sign an average of 50-60x per month. - The impressions made by one sign are equivalent to 24 full-page newspaper advertisements made annually. The remarkable statistics keep going. In the end, the message is this: a business with good signage is going to see impressive returns on their investment in that sign, whether it be in the form of quality advertising, cohesive branding or persuasive allure. A case study in signage success Statistics are all well and fine when it comes to proving a point, but what really convinces people is an example they can relate to. And, when it comes to making an example of signage that has dramatically impacted the growth and perception of a business, there’s absolutely no substitute for a closer look at the iconic Golden Arches of McDonalds. No matter what country you travel to, what language you speak or what your understanding of the business world may be, everyone understands immediately what the Golden Arches mean: they stand for Big Macs, French fries, chicken nuggets, coffee and more—everything McDonalds is selling and everything their brand revolves around. Today, the Golden Arches are widely considered the most recognized brand symbol in the world. What does having the biggest and best signage get you? In the case of McDonalds, the Golden Arches are responsible for pulling in more than $21 billion each year—more than the entire economy of Vermont! All in all, the value of the Golden Arches rings in at around $85 billion, making it more than just the most valuable fast food brand by a wide margin, but one of the most valuable brands regardless of industry! Now, it’s fair to say that McDonalds has done a lot more than just put up Golden Arches to achieve the success that it has—but it is fair to say that the brand’s iconic sign is largely responsible for its continued notoriety. Think of it this way: would you pull into a drive through at an unmarked building if you were craving a hamburger or would you keep your eyes peeled for those Golden Arches? Harnessing the power of good signage Signs come in all shapes and sizes—what makes a good sign effective is its appeal to the customers you’re trying to garner. Make sure your sign speaks to your target audience, that it communicates your business’ values, that it’s proper and professional, and that it’s clearly recognized. Paying attention to your sign—even if it is only one part of your overall business—means setting a foundation for growth that can be traced back to good signage. If you’re designing a new sign from scratch, take the time to get it right and put in the effort to make sure it’s a sign that you can be proud of. If you already have a sign proudly hanging over your entryway, go outside and take a look at it—would you shop at your store based solely on the signage? Evaluating this singular component of your brand could have ramifications that transform your business for the better. Read article →
September 15 / 2015
The real estate market, like any market, is governed by supply and demand. For a seller bringing their home to market, it’s all about creating demand for that unique home; for prospective homebuyers, it’s about having enough homes and enough variety to choose from. It’s simple economics. What’s not so simple, however, is creating demand for singular components of the market: or, in layman’s terms, generating interest in a home as it relates to others on the market. If a home you’re trying to sell is put side by side with other, similar homes on the market, what’s going to make people choose it over another that might be just like it with a more flexible price point? It’s something that every realtor has to think about and overcome if they’re going to help their clients succeed. Distinguishing a home starts with understanding the power of vertical marketing within the real estate niche and utilizing the right advertising mediums to generate better bids for potential buyers. Multi-channel advertising to bolster your home’s image How do people search for homes in today’s day and age? Most people head online to their favorite real estate hub. Some people still buy the paper for the classifieds section. Some people visit a real state office. No matter where they go to get information about available real estate one thing remains certain: if the information about a home isn’t accessible through the channel they’re visiting, they’re likely not going to know about that home. This is what makes multi-channel real estate marketing so valuable to you as a realtor. By utilizing every vertical channel within the real estate market to leverage a home, you can target a wider audience, cast a wider net and reel in a buyer that’s going to pay the right price for the home you’re helping to sell. But multi-channel marketing isn’t always easy and it takes the right tools and materials to not only reach everyone, but to entice people that you do reach. In short, the home you’re pitching needs to be appealing, accessible and worthwhile for anyone who might be interested. Utilizing the right materials Generating interest in a home in every available marketing channel comes down to having the right materials at your disposal and a message that prompts people to act. Take a look at a few of the modern marketing methods good realtors use to help boost the value of their clients’ properties:
- Online advertisements: By utilizing geo-tagged keywords, buzzwords and appealing imagery, realtors can create targeted online ads that funnel online users to your home’s web listing.
- Postcards: Postcards are by no means an antiquated form of advertising and are actually making a resurgence in the real estate marketing niche of all places! By coupling intriguing postcards and appealing messaging with targeted lists and every door direct mail (EDDM) campaigns, realtors are able to get the word out about your home to people who are actively looking to pull up roots and set them down elsewhere.
- Email templates: A good email goes a long way when it comes to generating interest in your home, simply because an enticing email can open the door to all forms of interaction with your home’s online listing. Link it to the listing, hyperlink your phone number, enable email responders, etc.—these options and more will get people interacting with your listing so that you can field offers in real time.
- Video tours: With a video tour in your repertoire of marketing materials, potential buyers won’t even have to leave their seats to see what a home has to offer. These tours can give people a basic glimpse into a home and generate excitement before a showing, to up the “wow” factor of the real thing when they finally come for an open house or walkthrough. It’s a nice primer that often lends to the value of the home, driving up the perceived and actual value.
- Slideshows: The more you can show someone about a home before they visit, the more reasons they have to visit. Slideshows, like video tours, are a great way to give people a glimpse of the home before they visit. Giving people pictures of the interior and exterior can get them thinking and envisioning themselves in those areas and slowly, people get attached to these homes. All of this leads to concreteness when it comes to maintaining the home’s market price!
- Restoration photos: If you’re pitching a home that has had work done, showing before and after pictures really ramps up the value. People like to see what they’re getting for their money and what better way to show them than what could have been! Whether it’s new moldings, restored floors, a finished basement or something else, giving people a true peek into the upgrades that have been made to a home can really cement the asking price at a higher level.
June 26 / 2015