Alphagraphics blog

Category: Email Marketing

6 Ways to Market Locally with the Help of AlphaGraphics

For any small business, being able to reach out to your community and generate local business is the single biggest tenant of your success or failure. Simply put: if you’re not attracting local customers, you won’t be a local business for long! MarketingMarketing locally is much different from marketing nationally or indiscriminately. For one, your geographic focus is smaller, which means your pool of potential customers is more defined. This has pros and cons alike: you’re able to make more of an impression with more of an opportunity, however your chances for success are limited. In other words, marketing right the first time is imperative. Take a look at 6 tips on how to market effectively to your local region and how AlphaGraphics can help better position you for local success: 1. Speak to people: National advertisers are so big that there’s no expectation for them to know your name. Local advertisers, however, are dealing with their own local communities—which means you better be addressing your neighbor by name! In cases of direct mail solicitations or targeted local advertising, AlphaGraphics can help you leverage variable data printing to ensure your local customers are being addressed by name. 2. Print local: Local business begets local customers in a wide range of different capacities. By partnering with your local AlphaGraphics for print products, you’re keeping your local economy thriving and showing your potential customers you’re invested in your community. Likewise, you’ll be forming a network of local businesses that support one another. 3. Local SEO: More than just print products, AlphaGraphics also offers digital marketing and design services. Building your website through AlphaGraphics also means getting local SEO expertise to help boost your profile within your service area. Through local SEO, you’ll get better online exposure when applicable customers search for you, driving business to your storefront organically. 4. Banners and large-print: Nothing stands out quite like a banner or window sign. Foot traffic is higher in local areas because the people who live there tend to walk where possible. Having large signage for these pedestrians helps to market your business to passersby. AlphaGraphics can also help you design large-format signage befitting to your unique needs, to attract local business. 5. Business cards: If you’re an engaged member of your community, networking is probably a big part of your life. And, the king of networking resources is the time-tested business card. Having a beautiful, informative business card that you can hand off to another local business member could mean the difference between your next sale or partnership. AlphaGraphics is here to help you create business cards that legitimize your business in the eyes of your networking community. 6. Quick-print, on-demand: Marketing opportunities can come from anywhere. Maybe you’re sponsoring the local softball team? Hosting a blood drive with the local Red Cross? Contributing to a local 5k fun run? No matter the opportunity, a local AlphaGraphics can provide a wide range of print products to ensure you’re fully capitalizing on that opportunity. From flyers to apparel, large-format signage to promotional items and beyond, we help your business get the word out locally. Make sure you’re giving your local business the best shot at success by partnering with your local AlphaGraphics. We’ll help you get the print products you need, so you can continue doing what you do best: serving the local customers responsible for your success. Read article →

Simple Marketing Automation Will Save You Time in 2017

Automation is the way of the future and in the coming years, it could determine the success or failure of many businesses. Those that adapt and streamline their automation will be able to save money, conserve resources and innovate on a better scale than those that don’t. It’s important to start thinking now about how you can start automating different facets of your business. Perhaps the easiest place to start investigating automation is through marketing. There exists a number of relatively simple tools for marketing automation that allow business owners to get a feel for the process and to instantly improve their day-to-day capabilities. Let’s take a look at a few automation tips and tricks across different marketing mediums! Email automation Chances are, your business sends emails regularly—be it a newsletter, sales email, receipt of purchase or something else. If you’re still manually sending emails, this is the first place you should think about automating. Email platforms like MailChimp, Constant Contact and others come equipped with automation scripts built in, allowing you to cut down on the effort you put into sending an email. For example, it’s possible to create a month’s worth of emails ahead of time, schedule them all and automate their dissemination throughout the month. For a more advanced automation example, consider the possibility of using variable data in emails. You can set up triggers that automatically take a customer’s name from a form submission, insert it into an email and then send that email—all without you ever having to touch it! Social media automation Businesses that can succeed on social media are businesses with brands that flourish. If you’re putting in a ton of time on social media but seeing very little in the way of returns, it’s a sign that automation might be in order. Use platforms like HootSuite or TweetDeck to schedule social posts throughout the month, so you’re not spending countless hours per day investigating newsfeeds. Through these platforms, it’s also possible to investigate what time of day your posts are best sent and what type of response or reaction they’re getting. To take things up a notch, consider using a program like IFTTT (If This, Then That) in conjunction with your social posts. This program allows you to create “recipes” for your social channels—for example, “if someone posts a picture to your Facebook wall, download that picture automatically.” Print marketing automation If you use business cards, flyers or letterhead, the opportunity for print marketing automation is within your grasp! Consider working with AlphaGraphics to open your own agOnline web-to-print portal. A print portal will allow you to automate the order and re-order of these essential products, among other printed collateral. It’s a quick, efficient, effortless way to keep your tasks in line, while maintaining a hands-off approach. Seek out automation! The above are just a few examples of how you can automate in 2017 with relative ease. Make no mistake—this is just the tip of the automation iceberg! Once you become comfortable with basic automation, start looking for other ways to streamline your various marketing prospects. Then, start investigating automation in other aspects of your business. The secret to automation is experimentation and you’ll never know if something works unless you try it! Read article →

Budgeting Your Print and Signage Needs for the Year Ahead

The secret to running a good business is planning and organization. When you’re able to plan ahead and organize your approach to the future, it bodes well for your ability to keep things running smoothly on all fronts—especially when it comes to budgeting.   With the end of the fiscal year in our sights, now is the prime time to start budgeting for 2016 and that means taking a good, long, hard look at the expenses you’re going to be faced with over the next year and taking the time to allocate funds to all of the essential components of your business. Perhaps the most important of these allocations is the money you’ll be dedicating to your marketing and branding budget.   Planning for marketing perfection   Marketing your small business shouldn’t be a fly by night approach—it needs to be something that’s well thought out and planned with specificities in mind. Budgeting and planning in advance of the upcoming year’s marketing and branding efforts is a first step in the right direction so that you’re not slinging money you don’t really have at half baked marketing ideas.   Now, it may be hard to sit down and plan out multiple campaigns a year in advance or figure out exactly how much you’re going to have to set aside to accomplish the marketing you want to in the coming year, which is why it behooves every small business owner to consult with an expert when setting up their budget.   At AlphaGraphics, we enjoy sitting down with small business owners during the early stages of budgeting, because it allows us to help our clients grow positively over the course of the coming year. In knowing your wants, needs, goals, budget and ideas, we can help you create an airtight marketing plan for the future, complete with pricing and timelines that will keep you out of the black when you’re reviewing your expenses this same time next year!   Inventory, plan and promote   Print materials and signage are going to be core components of any marketing campaign you undertake and thankfully, these components are easy to price out and quote—even a year in advance. This is why, at a minimum, it’s a great idea for you to consider the physicality’s of your marketing platform and get your ducks in a row when planning for 2016.   Where do you start? Easy! Start with what you have! Take a look at your signage inventory, your collection of printed products from the previous year and anything else you may have invested in during prior months and see if these things can be reused or repurposed for campaigns in the future. Qualifying your inventory is going to cut down on costs—even if it’s just reusing a sale sign from a past event or digging into your stock of fliers and handouts.   Once you know what you have, figure out what you need. Again, this is where an AlphaGraphics marketing professional can come in and help you to get a better handle on the future of your marketing endeavors. Whether it’s printed fliers, direct mail, promotional materials, business cards, brochures or anything else, realizing your needs during the initial planning process is going to keep you within your budget and eliminate superfluous costs that can creep up on the unplanned marketer.   Finally, once you know what you have and what you need, you’ll need to set the ball rolling on these items. Break down your marketing campaigns and attach dollar values to these things throughout the year; break down different print and sign products so you have itemized budgets; lock in pricing wherever possible to eliminate flux in your budget—all of these things and more will help you enter the new year with a better handle on what your marketing efforts and funds look like on paper.   Plan ahead and reap the rewards   When you’re running a business, it’s hard to set anything on autopilot. Luckily, if you’re proactive in your planning and take the time to sit down to look at what you’ll need in the future, you can cement a few variables early on—namely your marketing for the upcoming year and the funds you’ll need to set them in motion.   Give your local AlphaGraphics center a call today to learn more about how we can help you take the reigns of your marketing plan for 2016 and what we can do to make this all-important part of your business just a little bit easier in the coming year! Read article →
November 23 / 2015

Five Tips for Crafting Relevant, Engaging Marketing Messages

Any advertising professional will tell you that crafting an optimal message is about more than just stringing together some words or pictures and kicking a product out to the masses. More often than not even the best marketing messages fall flat, sometimes for the smallest of reasons, leaving entire marketing teams to head back to the drawing board.   If you’re a small business, creating relevant, engaging marketing messages might sound impossible as you don’t have an entire marketing department to fulfill your needs; it’s just you and your knowledge doing all of the work. But, while it might seem like an uphill battle, understand that being a small business doesn’t put you at any less of an advantage when it comes to understanding what goes into creating a good message.   Take a look at five things you can always fall back on when you’re brainstorming your next advertising campaign and why taking into account these five tips can pay off:   1 - Emphasize seasonal messages: You may or may not realize it, but the seasons have significant sway over the world of marketing and advertising. Certain products become available or emphasized during certain seasons; different tones and feelings are characterized by the time of year; and, most importantly, consumer mindsets shift with the seasons. Understanding and wielding seasonal power for the benefit of your marketing message is absolutely going to turn favor and give you a better chance at landing a message that’s effective.   2 - Evoke emotion: There’s nothing more ineffective than an advertising message that makes a person feel nothing! If someone feels nothing when they intake your message, they’ll have no motivation to act, meaning you’ve lost them right from the get-go. Instead, make sure your messages evoke some kind of emotion! Make a person laugh, pluck at their heartstrings or even make them angry—whatever it takes to provoke emotion and inspire action!   3 - Be transparent: We’ve all seen those advertisements that are too good to be true, that usually end up being a scam in the end, right? They’re not just annoying—they’re a great way to lose customers. People don’t like being tricked or taken advantage of: they prefer to be spoken to with a straightforward message and honestly. With this in mind, tailor your messages to be honest in their appeal—no asterisks with hidden messages or sneakily-worded jargon that tricks people. Your audience will appreciate transparency and know you for being honest, which will lead them to pay attention to what you have to say now and in the future. On the flip side of this, remember that it’s okay to talk things up and embellish a little—so long as the message is clearly understood and everyone has the same expectations!   4 - Showcase value: Benefits-driven content is the key here and it’s truly the cornerstone of any successful marketing message. People want to know what they’re getting and they need to fully appreciate the value of what you have to offer them. Whether you’re selling a product, advertising a service, offering a membership or creating awareness, the chief takeaway from your message for every customer should be the value.   5 - Talk the talk: Know how to talk to your customers! This can never be overstated. Knowing how to talk to your customers means knowing how to relate to them, which ultimately leads to better communication and a more engaged audience. This means using the right vocabulary, embracing the right values, speaking to the right “person,” showing the right images and communicating the right benefits. It may seem like a tall order, but if you know your audience and what it has to offer people, bridging the gap to create effective marketing messages becomes a whole lot easier than you might think.   Keep these five tips in mind the next time you’re sitting at a blank computer screen trying to come up with the next feel good marketing hit of the summer! Embracing as many of these tips as you can means raising the bar for your success when it comes to pushing out messaging that’s truly effective. Read article →

Help for Realtors: Using Marketing Tools to Generate More Offers

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.
The above materials and more are just basic examples of how a realtor who understands the marketing verticals of the real estate market can generate more interest and more offers in a home. And, the best part is that with each new, interested prospector you reach, you’ll be able to leverage another offer into the value of a home, driving the market price up, rather than settling as it goes down.   Generating better offers   It’s not enough to just get people interested in a home—you need to truly sell the value of that home if you’re going to hook a potential buyer at the right price. To this end, it’s important to understand the tools and materials can be utilized in the latter half of the selling process: when people are actively considering the home you’re selling versus other options on the market. Take a look at just a few simple ways to distinguish a home with the right materials:
  • 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.
If you’re a realtor carving out a place in the marketplace, make sure you understand multi-channel marketing and the materials to execute it properly. Speak with an AlphaGraphics professional today about getting the superior, high quality materials you need to succeed at vertical real estate marketing! Read article →

Physician Marketing: Using the Right Messaging and Medium

Being a private practice physician means having a steady stream of new clients coming through your door to make sure you stay in business … however this can be hard when your business is healing your clientele so that they don’t need your services on a regular basis! And while there will always be illnesses driving your patients back to you at some point or another, having the ability to self-market means not having to wait for the next flu outbreak to see people in your waiting room.   But how exactly does a physician advertise themselves to new patients? Or, better yet, how does a doctor advertise to someone who isn’t sick? It all comes down to smart marketing: having the right message and the right medium.   The right message   Whether they realize it or not, people need healthcare at times—not just when they’re sick. Physicians understand this better than anyone, which makes it an important message to communicate. Marketing with this aspect in mind, it becomes easier to target new and returning patients with calls to action that will prompt them to pick up the phone and schedule a visit.   As any marketing professional will tell you, communicating with the customers you have is far easier than getting the attention of those you don’t—this is an idea that’s also true when it comes to marketing to your existing patient database. Take a look at a few calls to action that can prompt your existing patients to step on into your office:   1 - It may be summer now, but the new school year is right around the corner—meaning immunizations and checkups are a priority for kids during the summer months. Scheduling an appointment today means not having to wait in a crowded waiting room come fall. 2 - Summer sports season is upon us, which means physicals are in order for most participants. Having your child come in today for a physical will ensure they’re in tip-top shape to hit the field running at every big game. 3 - Allergy season can be a huge pain—especially if you don’t have the right medication to deal with major allergy attacks. Scheduling an appointment with a physician means accessible relief during peak allergy season.   The list goes on and on with seasonal and topical reasons to visit the doctor. Tapping into any of these reasons to bring your existing patients through the door starts with smart marketing and the right message.   But what about new patients? How can you reach out to new people to make your office the destination for doctor visits, as opposed to another private practice? Take a look at a few trends that make for great messaging when targeting new clientele:   1 - “Having trouble getting an appointment at your usual doctor’s office? Come to XYZ clinic where we always have time to focus on your health!” 2 - “Looking for a whole new level of patient care, from physicians who are comforting and personable? Come to XYZ clinic!” 3 - “Feeling a little under the weather? XYZ clinic is here to help you get back to feeling bright and sunny!”   As you can see, being able to leverage a better quality of care, more personable atmosphere and a penchant for delivering results can be enough to sway prospective clients away from other practices… but only if you’re diligent in reaching out to these people through the right marketing means!   The right medium   The right marketing message is nothing without the right medium and when it comes to physician marketing, tapping into the verticals is absolutely the way to get your message out there. What verticals? Take a look at these basic few outlets that should always be considered:   1 - Direct mail: Postcards and pamphlets are critical pieces of a physician advertising campaign because they’re tangible pieces of information that a person can keep to remind themselves of their need for a doctor visit. Whether it’s a call to action that brings them through the door today or a passive sell that sticks in their mind the next time they encounter a situation, having that tangible reminder is going to ensure a conversion. 2 - Email: With most people operating online today, email is the quickest and by far the most interactive way to reach your audience. From linking them to appointment scheduling pages online, to enabling smartphone call links, to pushing traffic to splash pages on your website for certain procedures, all it takes is a single email to get people engaged with their physician’s offices. 3 - Business cards: Business cards represent a bridge marketing material that can be paired with just about any other to facilitate a sense of professionalism. Having a business card from their physician helps people to feel more connected and in the case of an emergency or any other medical situation, that business card could be the tool that separates a visit to your office from a visit to some other physician.   These basic examples, when paired with the right messaging, can have a profound effect on the flow of your patients. From encouraging more frequent visits to creating demand for medical care through topical subjects, the right marketing message in the right medium is what many physicians need to keep the pace of their waiting rooms steady throughout the year.   If you’re looking to increase exposure and connect more with those patients you’re not seeing as often as you should be, take the next step to marketing yourself and let AlphaGraphics help. We’ll worry about your marketing while you worry about the health of every new and returning person who steps through your door. Read article →

Five Surefire Ways to Improve Your Email Marketing

Email marketing can be one of the most beneficial and direct ways to market to specific groups and demographics—however it can also be one of the most fruitless if done incorrectly. There’s a fine line between great email marketing and an email that’s going to be kicked into the trash or worse, one that doesn’t even make it past the spam filter. Take a look at five ways you can make sure that your email marketing campaign is treading on the side of success, rather than floundering when it hits a customer’s inbox:  
  • Personalize your messages: Through the use of integration tags and other snippets of code, you can create tailored emails that are completely unique to the different customers you’re sending them to. This will ensure that your recipients feel appreciated, rather than just marketed to like one of the masses. Some personalization tips include designating the customer’s name, rather than their email address in the “To:” section, inserting their name in the greeting of the email and integrating other known information throughout the email, such as past account activities on a certain website.
  • Get to the point: The last thing people want to see when they open up their email is a huge wall of text—nothing is going to put your email in the trash faster. Instead, get to the point of what you’re trying to say and make sure that your clear selling points or important objectives are laid out in a way that’s quickly recognized by your reader. If you’re offering a percentage of the price of an item for sale, make that clear; if you’re hosting an event, make sure that the details are front and center; and if you’re introducing something brand new to a select few email recipients, let your reader know how important they are! Graphics and images go a long way in these scenarios and staying close to the main point is always a good idea.
  • Filter your mailing lists: The quickest way to get someone to unsubscribe from your email list is to inundate them with emails. So how are you supposed to send weekly emails, monthly newsletters, sporadic special emails and other company communications without overloading your customers? Easy: let people pick and choose what they want to get from you. Some people may love getting everything you have to send, while others might only be interested in your monthly newsletter recap—whatever the case, you’ll retain that customer and be able to market to them in a way that they’re comfortable.
  • Make your emails worth reading: Along the same lines as points #2 and #3 above, be sure that the email you’re sending is full of information or opportunities that people actually care about! You need to look at your email through the eyes of your customers and consider what the value is that they’re going to be getting from it. If it’s a memo about your company’s new partnership with another organization, customers might not be all too interested—on the other hand, if it’s an email about a blowout sale you’re having and all of the great deals you have to offer, it’s much easier to see the value in this message!
  • Time your emails: The time of day you send your emails can greatly dictate the likeliness that they’re opened and read, as well as responded to in some way, shape or form. For example, sending an email at 2 a.m. would generally mean that your message is going to sit around in an inbox until morning, when someone opens it up. By this time, your email might be buried under other morning communications and it might be disregarded as a result. On the other hand, if you send your email at 12 p.m., it might be just in time for someone to get it while they’re setting up for lunch, where they’ll leisurely be able to read what you have to say and potentially respond to it. Timing is everything—figure out when your customers are most active with their emails and plan around this time to send your communications.
  By researching, practicing and implementing these five tips for your email campaigns, you’re bound to see better traction and higher return rates from your digital marketing campaigns. Spend a little time considering how your existing email campaigns can be improved by the factors listed above and you’re sure to see a higher return on your investment of time and effort! Read article →

Email Marketing – A Conversation Not An Ad

Create a Conversation Not an Advertisement Email is one of the most influential channels of digital communication and can significantly set your business apart from the competition. A recent email marketing report stated that:

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Multi- & Cross-channel Marketing: A Love Story

"Jill, will you marry me?”  That’s what the billboard said.

I couldn't believe it.  My roommate had pulled it off.  Of course, he was only able to negotiate the rep down to a one-month lease, rather than the standard three-month.  So the actual proposal happened a couple weeks ago.  Since then, someone had the (genius) idea to spray-paint the reply “No, leave me alone!!” in big, red letters across the bottom.  Made me laugh every time I saw it. (more…)

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Making Email Newsletters More Social – 5 Tips to Create Content Users Will Share.

Among the many moving parts of a successful marketing plan, email newsletters are still an essential component. It is, hands down, the most direct way to engage with customers. But integrating with social media has become increasingly important, since it can help those messages can be projected to a much wider audience. Persuading readers to share the content of your email content is the key. This is accomplished by providing content that demonstrates you're in touch with what's important to customers and sharing information that not only solves their problems, but also entertains them and asks for their insight. (more…) Read article →