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Tag: marketing

3 Marketing Appeals for Non-Profits and How to Leverage Them

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
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On-Page and Off-Page SEO: Separating Two Sides of the Same Coin

Many small businesses are already familiar with the beast of burden that is SEO. You’ve been told time and again by marketing gurus and other professionals that SEO is critical to business success in the Internet Age. Telling you again doesn’t make it any less true, however breaking it down and simplifying it might make it a little more understandable for the common business owner! On a macro level, the overall concept of SEO can be split into two distinct, yet equally critical focuses: on-page and off-page SEO. Understanding both sides of this same coin offers great insight into some of the core tenants of SEO and how they all come together to boost your business’ success. On-page SEO Think of on-page SEO like looking at the outside world through the windows of your home—you’re inside, and everything else is outside. Everything involved with on-page SEO is done right at home: on your website. Some examples include:
  • Optimizing your website’s text to contain relevant keywords that people might be searching for in search engines.
  • Having markups in your website’s code that tells search engine bots how to behave when they’re on your website.
  • Managing meta-data so that external websites pulling information are met with properly formatted, accurate datasets.
On-page SEO is all about building your website and all of the information on it to make it as easy as possible for people to use it and for search engines to find the answers they’re looking for. Having good on-page SEO means creating a beacon on the World Wide Web that sends a signal to search engines that your website is open and ready for business, and that you’re intent on helping your customers find what they need, be it information, products or access to a guru. Off-page SEO Everything not done on your website, yet still done for your website, is considered off-page SEO. It’s like landscaping your property: you might not be doing any work to your house, but you’re still working to increase its value! Some examples of off-page SEO include:
  • Sending out a press release about your business, with links back to your website.
  • Guest blogging on an industry website, to share your brand’s expertise.
  • Re-selling products on Amazon or hosting videos on YouTube.
Off-page SEO is all about helping your website rank higher and become an authority for its core focus. The more places online that are saying your name, giving you credit, linking back to you, etc., the more clout you’ll develop and the bigger your reputation will become. With great off-page SEO, you’ll be weaving a web across the Internet that helps create paths back to you. Whether you’re building sales funnels or establishing a repository for information, off-page SEO is a critical focus that broadens your reach online. Putting the two together On-page and off-page SEO, as mentioned above, are two sides of the same coin: you can’t have one without the other. Building focus for both on-page and off-page also means building leverage for your brand in two different ways that have crossover appeal. For example, your on-page SEO efforts to boost conversions may actually draw in new customers, while your off-page efforts in building a brand name might actually help bring focus to a specific product you offer. When you put the two together, you’re putting together the pieces of the puzzle to digital success. Making your website easier to find and easier to use means building a presence on the Internet that’s sustainable and defining. Even if you don’t quite understand the nuances of SEO, it’s important to understand the concepts. Talk to an AlphaGraphics professional today if you need SEO help—both on-page and off-page—and learn more about what steps you could be taking towards success online. Read article →

Update Your Sales Materials for the Upcoming New Year

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 →

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 →

It used to be so easy…

A decade ago, driving customers to your business consisted of placing an ad in yellowpages, building a website and displaying a sign out front - TA DA!, you’re all set for business. Today, not so much. In fact, yellowpages as a business search tool is unheard of, particularly within the millennial generation. When it comes to a website and social media within your business – nothing could be more important. We’ll touch on websites today and cover social media as Part 2. In today’s world, the mentality can no longer be “build it and they will come.” Websites need constant care, attention and updates but are, without a doubt, the cheapest 24-7, 365-day sales person that you can hire. Technology is constantly changing and updating. Your website needs to do the same. The website that you had your nephew build in 2004, to be frank, is worthless. Your website needs to be built in the latest technology and on a device responsive platform. This means that the website display automatically adjusts to the size of the screen. Check the screenshots below, they show a sample website appearing on desktop and mobile screen.   [caption id="attachment_1907" align="aligncenter" width="300"]AlphaGraphics Sample Good site Sample Website[/caption]  

AlphaGraphics website design1

 The mobile version isn’t exactly readable. A mobile customer would have to work hard at pinching and expanding to find out about your business. In a quick and fast-paced world, why would your potential customer spend additional efforts trying to find your information when they can go to your competitor’s updated and readable website? Look at the following image, this is what it’s all about.  

AlphaGraphics website design 2

So how do you know if you have to revise your website? The first clue to look at is your website analytics. It is here where you will find the breakdown of customer traffic between mobile and desktop users. Your analytics will identify the exit rate of those visiting your website. If you haven’t updated your website in a while, odds are, you will see a higher exit rate of mobile users than desktop users. If you’re questioning yourself and wondering if you even have an analytics systems…it’s time to install Google Analytics. It’s easy and there are many instructional video’s available to teach you everything that you want to know about website analytics. Once installed, you will start to receive a wealth of information at your fingertips and have all the information necessary to make sound decisions regarding your business. We all know that you don’t get a second-chance at a first impression and our website is typically the first impression for the majority of your potential customer-base. Invest some time and money into your website. It will build trust and confidence with your customers and make it easy for them to do business with you. Seem overwhelmed? Take one step at a time. Start with the first step: Research. This is done with your analytics. Once you have that information, you can make plans for change. AlphaGraphics has a number of resources for you to draw from in planning out your next steps. Marketing professionals, copywriters, graphic designers and programmers to help make your website work for you. More information is available in this document or if you want to set up an appointment with your local center, click in this document. Read article →
July 17 / 2014

Think Big – Signs, Banners and Posters

If you are thinking of making an impression you need to think “Big” – big signs, banners and posters that is. Studies continually show that in-store and out-of-store signs, banners and posters make a big impact on your customer’s buying process. A recent study on the effects of in-store posters shows that:
  • 76% of consumers have entered a store simply because of an interesting sign
  • 68% of consumers stated they bought a product/service because a sign caught their interest
  • 58% of consumers didn’t enter a store because of lack of signs
  • 42% of women will enter a store they’ve never visited based on signage
The study additionally showed that consumers believe small businesses should have on average at least two to three large signs or posters around its storefront and multiple sales signs within the store. Not only do signs play a big role in the storefront (reference), but they are pivotal in impacting a customer’s sales behavior within a store. Think of the amount of effort businesses spend on trying to get customers in the door. Once customers are in a store, a business’ in-store sign strategy is the final effort that affects the sales process and creates last opportunity sales. It’s clear that small businesses need to think big – big signs, banners and posters. (more…) Read article →

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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The Continual Rise of the QR Code

Think for a moment if you will, when was the last time you walked down the street, and didn’t have your cell phone with you? If you are anything like me, there a couple of things that I always make sure I have prior to heading out, whether heading into the office, to meetings, or simply out and about in my free-time.

Wallet?             Check. Keys?               Check. Cell Phone?      Check.

As cellular phones have evolved over the years, whether in size, morphing from large brick like objects, to what is essentially a miniature computer that fits into your pocket, so too have they opened up the almost endless possibilities as to what they can actually do, (more…)

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The Key Components of a Successful Marketing Campaign

Targeting: Your Audience Your product or service is most likely going to be purchased or used by a definable audience with characteristics that make them more likely to purchase or use your products or services. Identifying exactly what these characteristics are, seeking new leads that match these characteristics and performing some basic research will help you determine how to engage these users and persuade them to become customers. You can even “reverse engineer” user characteristics from a list of existing customers. (more…) Read article →

Beating the Odds

"Doing business without advertising is similar to winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does." - Steuart Henderson Britt

We have all heard the saying that “small businesses are the engine to the American economy.” I do agree with this statement, however, as an entrepreneur looking at starting a new venture, there are some intimidating stats staring you in the face. For example, a few of the failure rates for new startups are: (more…) Read article →