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How to Show Appreciation to Your Staff This Holiday Season

The holiday season is fast approaching.  For some businesses, this is the beginning of their busiest season.   For others, this is a time of year for reflection and planning.  For almost everyone, year end and the associated holidays are a time to reconnect and strengthen relationships, including with employees.

If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught businesses anything, it’s just how vital good employees are to the survival of any company.  Showing gratitude to employees is always important but this season is an especially good time to acknowledge employees and thank them for their hard work.

If you’re an employer who wants to recognize and reward employees this holiday season, start planning now. Here are a few things to consider before we get into the thick of the holiday season.

What if I Can’t Afford Gifts for Everyone?

Can you afford to give a bonus?  If so, have you determined your budget? If cash is not an option, are there affordable alternates that your employees will value?

Employees gifts don’t need to be flashy or expensive.  In fact, a heart felt note accompanying even a small gift or gesture can improve morale.  Giving employees a little extra time off is always appreciated but not always practical, especially if the holidays are your busy season.  Maybe a company luncheon or a small outing is more affordable than providing gifts to every employee.

If you can afford personal gifts, take the time to determine what employees really want or need.

Should I Give Cash?

Holiday bonuses and cash gifts are a time-honored tradition for many companies.  Everyone can use a little extra money during the holidays.  Some companies base bonuses on annual performance.  Some base bonuses on length of service.  Still others give every employee the same amount.

If you choose to give cash gifts, be consistent.  Employees often discuss and compare bonus amounts and discrepancies will be noted.  What you intended to be a reward or sign of appreciation can turn into a point of contention if employees don’t feel their bonus measured up to that of their coworkers.

Unique way to give cashA cash (or check) bonus doesn’t just need to be a bump in your employees’ paychecks.  Most company gifts, including cash, are taxable but giving employees a bonus separate from their usual paycheck makes a bigger impact.

You can find creative ways to distribute a gift of cash that will add to the seasonal merriment.

What Type of Gifts Are Appropriate?

If you opt for something other than cash, consider a gift card and gift certificate alternative.  These make great gifts if they are for businesses that your employees will use.  Some companies will offer you a discount if you purchase certificates or gift cards in bulk, which will help you stretch your budget even farther.

If you decide to purchase actual gifts, take time to think about your business culture and your individual employees.  What types of gifts will your team appreciate and use?   What gifts are appropriate for your entire staff.  We’ve compiled a list of some ideas to consider.

A Holiday Care Package

Holiday care packageA gift box filled with snacks, seasonal gifts or personal care items are fun ways to show appreciation.  A holiday “care” package might be filled with warm gloves or a scarf along with sweet treats and even some company swag.

Gift boxes don’t need to be expensive but should show you gave some thought as to what went into them.

Useful Items

Branded pens or stationery sets may not seem like a holiday gift.  Add apparel with your company logo, an upscale padfolio, or even a custom keychain and you’ve created a company kit that employees will actually use.

Practical giftsCompany apparel is always a popular gift.  But skip the usual t-shirts in favor of more popular wearables like trucker’s caps, rain jackets or fleece vests.

If your employees spend time in the field, on the road, or working from home, consider a branded travel mug or product specific to your industry.  Almost anything can be branded with your company logo or message.  But shop early!  Supply chain disruptions may cause delays in the delivery of certain types of products.

Company Collectables

How to Show Appreciation to Your Staff This Holiday Season-4Did your business reach a milestone during 2021?  Commemorate any achievement with a specialty gift like a collectable medallion, trophy, or lapel pin.

Service awards are also great holiday gifts and acknowledge individual accomplishments.  Special packaging can create a great presentation and keepsake.

Tickets to Local Sports, Events or Entertainment

If you’re not working with a tight budget, giving employees tickets to local events could be, pardon the pun, just the ticket.  Be sure tickets are to events your employees will attend and enjoy.  You can often get a discount if you buy tickets in bulk, especially if you purchase them for the same event on the same date.

Bear in mind that childcare needs and other situations at home may make it difficult for some employees to attend an after hours or weekend event.  What you think of as a fun outing, may be a logistical nightmare for some employees.

Start Planning Now

Whatever you decide to do for your employees this season, start planning now. Supply chain disruptions may cause shortages or delivery delays this year.  If your holiday plans include custom-printed cards or any import products, the time to place those orders is before the end of October.  Don’t miss an opportunity to show your employees a little love and appreciation this season because you waited too late to get started.


AlphaGraphics Franklin can help with your holiday card and corporate gift needs. We have a team of talented designers who can create the perfect season card.  Our sales and marketing team can help you match the right gift products for your team and your budget.  We can even handle the mailing, kit assembly, shipping or distribution.

Get Ready for the Holidays: 5 Things Your Business Can Do Now

Get ready for the holidaysIt might still feel like summer where you live, but the start of the holiday season is only a few weeks away.  The key to having a successful and stress-free season is planning ahead. Working through the details of what you’ll need in the upcoming season can keep the “Grinch-y-ness” at bay.

As you start to think through your business initiatives for the holidays, determine how you’ll want to show appreciation to your loyal clients and also your valued employees.  Here are a few things to consider.

1. Order Your Promotional Products Early

Branded promotional productsPromo gifts are a holiday season staple. Custom, branded gifts are great ways to thank special customers.  Clients will be reminded of your company each time they use a product branded with your info.  The large variety of promotional products available means there’s sure to be something to fit any budget or industry.  There have been supply chain disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic, so it’s more important than ever to over early.

2. Don’t Forget About Your Employees

The past two years have demanded a lot of flexibility and perseverance from your employees. The holiday season is a good time to show appreciation for their hard work.  Customized products can help boost moral and build pride in your brand while showing your employees that your value their contributions.

3. Send Out Seasonal Greetings

Holiday CardsHoliday cards are a beloved tradition that helps strengthen relationships with clients, partners, and vendors. Custom cards created with special inks, contour cutting, or foil embossing can ensure your cards stand out.

Cards can be customized with photos of your business or employees.  Cards can also be designed to reflect your industry, geographic region, or local flair.  A little creativity and a great design can leave a lasting impression.

4. Prepare for Holiday Promotions

If your business relies heavily on the holiday season for a large percentage of annual sales, now is the time to brainstorm ways to get customers in the door or to your website.  Promotions are always great ways to motivate consumers.

Planning your promotions in advance allows time to explore ways to link printed pieces (flyers, point-of-purchase signs, mailers, etc.) with digital marketing.  As more people shop online, making it easier for customers to find you online becomes imperative.  Consider things like QR codes linking to specific products or services on your website.  Remember, print and digital can work together to drive business both online and at your brick-and-mortar location.

5. Deck Your Halls

Get festive! Create a holiday atmosphere that will energize employees and excite customers.  Removeable window and wall graphics are great options for turning your business into a winter wonderland. Branded holiday signage can also reinforce the festive mood and promote your services.

Get Professional Help

The holidays can be stressful.  AlphaGraphics Franklin can remove some of the pressure by helping you plan for the season.  Our team is ready to assist with:

  • Holiday Card design & printing (we can even address & mail your cards!)
  • Promotional product selection & design
  • Seasonal marketing campaigns (both digital and print)
  • Holiday Signage design, printing & installation

Don’t let the holiday season creep up on you or steal your joy. AlphaGraphics Franklin is ready to help you make the most of the season without the bah-humbug.

Vehicle Graphics Add a New Dimension to Local Marketing

You might have heard a lot about OOH (out-of-home) advertising recently.  The term is usually used to refer to traditional forms of advertising like billboards and other types of exterior marketing.  OOH advertising is encountered outside the home, often away from the site of the actual business or service being advertised.

Vehicle Graphics are “Mobile” Advertising

Panel Van Vehicle Wrap Vehicle graphic advertising can take traditional OOH marketing to a new level.  Adding magnets, decals, even full vinyl wraps, to any business vehicle, transforms that vehicle into a form of mobile advertising.

While magnets may be a great short-term way to add advertising messages to metal vehicles, durable vinyl graphics are more permanent and offer more flexibility.  A full wrap, one that encases the entire vehicle, can transform any car, truck, or van into a rolling billboard for your business.

Vehicle Wraps are Durable and Long-Lasting

Manufacturers like 3M™ have created superior vehicle vinyl that is guaranteed to resist fading, cracking, or peeling. When created by professionals and applied by certified installers, vehicle graphics can be mobile messaging for your brand that will look great and last a long time.

Vehicle Graphics

In markets like the metro Nashville, Tennessee area (where 3 major interstates converge), any vehicle wrap or decal may be seen by up to 80,000 people per day.  Each siting is an advertising “impression” which could convert a bystander or passerby into a customer.

Vehicle advertising helps build brand recognition locally any time your vehicle is on the road.  Your brand and your business are exposed to even the hardest to reach consumers.  This form of advertising consistently generates positive ROI, making it one of the most cost-effective forms of outdoor advertising.

From food trucks to fleet cars, delivery vans to service vehicles, vehicle graphics can help businesses of any size get noticed and get business.

Want to learn more about vehicle graphics?  AlphaGraphics Franklin has a team of experts who can help you from concept to installation.

How to Create a Brand Experience Using Print and Signs

Create a brand experience with print and signs

 

 

 

 

Print and signs are everywhere.  They are a fundamental part of our daily lives, from the products we purchase to the ways we navigate the world.  We interact with printed materials and signs routinely, often without even realizing that we’re doing so.

Print and signs are the primary ways businesses communicate with customers.  These elements define the customer experience by relating information about products and services.  Menus, flyers, point-of-sale counter signs, window graphics, billboards – all are ways business or brand tells part of its story.

When handled poorly, print and signs become part of the background noise.  When used appropriately, these materials create memorable experiences and forge deeper connections that resonate with consumers.

Break through the Noise and Create a Connection

As consumers, we see thousands of marketing messages every day and most barely register in our consciousness.  Breaking through to consumers and prompting them to take a desired action is a challenge every brand faces.  The key to success it to know your audience.

Targeting your message to your ideal customer means understanding what they value and what challenges they face.  Are they short on time and need a solution that is quick and easily accessible?  Do they need actionable information to help them reach a buying decision?  Your print materials and signage should offer a solution to the consumer’s needs quickly, with your value proposition clearly illustrated and easily understood.

Bridge the Gap from Message to Experience

Print material and signs go beyond just relaying the right message.  These also set the tone for an immersive brand experience where every piece of print material and signage reinforces your brand messaging.

In a retail setting, consider all the places consumers look for information: Exterior signs about location and parking, interior signs and product packaging, counter signs, handouts, rewards cards, and more.  Each of these is an opportunity to “sell” your brand to consumers and to create a visual impression of your business.

Immersive experiences aren’t only for brick-and-mortar businesses.  Even companies without a consumer destination (like real estate agents and service companies), any business can create engaging experiences by using vehicle graphics, printed flyers and brochures, promotional products and more.  Even business cards and forms reinforce your brand.

Bring Your Brand to Life in Meaningful Ways

Think about the ways your printed materials and signs can help create unique customer experiences.  Are your messages aligning with your customers’ needs?  Are you making the best use of all your printed materials?  Are you signs communicating effectively?

At AlphaGraphics Franklin, we can help you review your brand messaging to look for opportunities to create a more immerse experience for consumers.  We can guide you through choices for signs and print materials that will connect with customers in new and unexpected ways.

Why You Should Keep Your Branding Consistent Across the Customer Journey

Customer interactions build brand awarenessLoyal customers are essential to the success of any business.  These customers are your repeat business and often advocate for your brand with their recommendations, reviews, and referrals.  To help build and maintain that base of customers, you need to ensure you deliver a positive customer experience every step of the way.

Every interaction with a customer should be reliably “on brand.”  Strong branding reflects a confidence in your company and helps solidify consumer trust.  To help ensure consistency, consider how your brand is represented at each stage of the customer journey.

What is the customer journey?

While every business is different, the process that consumers use to decide when to make a purchase follows a remarkably similar roadmap.  This framework of consumer experiences is the customer journey.

The main steps in the customer journey are:

  • Awareness – consumers become aware of your brand
  • Discovery – consumers research your brand (and others)
  • Purchasing Decision – consumers make the decision to purchase
  • Retention – your brand continues to engage consumers
  • Advocacy – loyal customers advocate for your brand

Why is consistent branding important?

Typically, it takes 6 to 8 interactions for a consumer to consider your brand when making a purchasing decision.  Brand recognition and trust for your business are more easily accomplished when your branding is consistent through each touchpoint of the customer journey.  Each stage in that journey has its own considerations.

Awareness

At this stage, consumers are just becoming aware of your business and your brand promise. It’s extremely important in this stage to establish your brand clearly and to use customer-centric messaging that is appealing and concise.  As you build awareness, don’t forget to include your logo and contact information in all marketing.

Discovery

Once consumers are aware of your business, they’ll likely research you online to learn more.  Consistent design across all online channels, including all your social media, is extremely important.  Stay on brand with your colors, fonts, imagery, and all other design elements.

During the discovery phase, consumers are exploring your value proposition to determine how you can help them.  Make sure your brand promise is explained and that you have someone ready to respond quickly to any inquiries.

Purchasing Decision

Once a consumer decides to make a purchase from you, they move into the next stage of the customer journey.  You want customers to feel good about their decision to buy from you and confident that they made the best choice. At this stage, you want customers to recognize that your business delivers on the brand promise made during earlier stages.

If your business has a brick-and-mortar location, all on-site branding needs to be consistent with what consumers saw during their online research.  All in-store signage, exterior signs, even packaging, should match your branding.

Your sales and customer service teams need to be using fresh, up-to-date collateral.  All your brochures, flyers, rack cards, catalogs, and stationery need to be consistently branded.

Retention

The sale might be final, but the customer journey doesn’t end there.  It took several stages and multiple touches to get to the purchase, so you’ll want to leverage all those efforts to ensure customers come back for more.

A negative or inconsistent experience with your brand can destroy all the good will you’ve created.  Pay close attention to any follow-up communications.  Make sure any additional touches (whether digital or printed) stay true to your branding.  Each contact should reinforce your value proposition and build trust.

Sending a thoughtful, branded Thank You card after the sale is always a nice touch.  Make sure any follow ups (written or digital) are on-brand.

Advocacy

Focusing on customer retention creates happy, repeat customers.  These are exactly the people you want advocating for your brand.  Make it as easy as possible for customers to sing your praises by directing them to places where they can leave reviews and feedback.

Be sure you’re responding to all comments, especially any that are negative.  Bad reviews happen, but they are an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your customer-focused approach by apologizing and working with customers to regain their trust.

Great customer experiences start with great branding

Building brand loyalty is a multi-step process.  It begins with the very first impression a consumer has of your brand and continues long after a purchase is made.  Reinforcing your brand at every step of the customer journey builds trust and results in repeat customers who are happy to recommend you to others.  Don’t neglect any step in the customer journey and you’ll likely be rewarded with a loyal customer base that will help your business grow.

Learn more about our brand identity services.

Learn more about using content to create customer loyalty.

Does Your Print Collateral Need a Refresh? Here’s How to Tell

Is your marketing collateral up to date

Marketing and sales collateral are essential to every business.  Printed materials are effective ways to communicate with your clients, customers, and prospects.  Their effectiveness can be significantly diminished, however, if your content and branding are out of date.

It’s easy to take a “set and forget” approach to your marketing materials, especially when you’ve expended time and energy to create all that collateral in the first place.  Stale content, however, may not be sending the message you want to send.  That’s why it’s important to regularly audit your marketing materials.

Why should you audit your collateral?

Marketing materials that are out of day or irrelevant may not adequately represent your business.  If your company’s branding has changed, your outdated collateral may be confusing for buyers. Erroneous or incomplete information may cause frustrated consumers to disengage.

Ensuring that your collateral is fresh and up-to-date will reinforce your brand message and showcase your company’s value proposition.

When should you do a collateral audit?

Every business should perform regular audits of all marketing collateral.  Annual audits are most common but for some companies that audit should happen every quarter.  Quarterly reviews will allow you to catch necessary updates and provide opportunities to capitalize on seasonal promotions.  This is also the perfect time to align your collateral with new trends.

Beyond those routine audits, there are other critical times when a collateral audit is warranted.  Those include:

  • When new products or services are launched
  • With any company rebrand or logo update
  • Before every industry event or tradeshow where your collateral will be distributed
  • With any change to contact information, location, website, or social media

As businesses begin ramping up post-COVID, now is a great time to perform a collateral audit.  Chances are that some aspect of your business has changed over the past year and should be reflected in the materials you use to communicate with buyers.

How do you tell when your collateral needs a refresh?

As you audit your collateral, there are some important things you should consider to help determine if updates are needed.

Are materials consistent with your branding?

Review your current sales materials to see if they are consistent with your current branding.  Each piece should fit seamlessly with visuals on your website, email, and social media.  Brand recognition is important and is difficult to achieve when your collateral isn’t coordinated.

Do they speak to your target audience?

Are you using customer-centric messaging on every piece of collateral?  Your message should align with what your customers and prospects care about – their needs, challenges, and pain points.  If you use imagery with photos of people, ensure that those images will resonate with your target audience.  Think in terms of age, ethnicity, family status, and lifestyle.  Customers and prospects want to feel represented and to understand that you are prepared to engage with people in their situation.

Do they have a clear call to action?

The most effective marketing collateral will include a clear call to action.  Give buyers a next step.  Whether it’s “Visit us online” or “Call for a free estimate,” each marketing piece should include a CTA that prompts consumers to take some action.

Do they reflect your current offerings?

Businesses evolve.  The recent pandemic forced many companies to change the way they interact with consumers.  Your marketing collateral may be geared toward a pre-COVID business environment.  Take a look at how your business has changed and be sure you’re communicating those changes in your collateral.

Do they include your contact information?

Don’t forget to tell buyers how to reach you.  Many consumers prefer to pre-shop online before visiting a brick-and-mortar business.  Be sure you’re letting them know how to reach you digitally.

Don’t let your collateral fall behind

As you start the process of auditing your collateral, don’t forget to include your team in the review.  The audit is the perfect time to consult with your sales team to discern what collateral they need.  What’s on their wish list?  What’s worked for them in the past?

This might also be a good time to survey your existing customers.  What collateral resonated with them?  What CTAs moved them to respond?

Keeping your sales and marketing materials fresh and pertinent is essential to remaining relevant with your target audience.  If you haven’t revisited your collateral in a while, now is the time to do so.  And don’t forget to make a plan for regular audits in the future.

(And once you’re through with your collateral audit, it might be time to take a look at your business signage too!)

Learn more about the branding services we provide.

Download a copy of our Brand Refresh Checklist.

 

The Resurgence of QR Codes

The Resurgence of QR Codes

There’s no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic collapse disrupted business.  Large and small companies struggled to find ways to connect, communicate, and serve their clients.  Apps like Zoom and ecommerce platforms like GrubHub and Postmates helped many businesses stay alive.

Use of QR Codes increased during COVID-19 quarantines

While newer technology may have grabbed the spotlight, a bit of throwback tech from the early 2000s steadily made a comeback.  The innocuous QR code started popping up again for a variety of uses.  Short for Quick Response code, this little square of code was introduced in the late 1990s to provide more information than a traditional bar code.    First used in manufacturing, it slowly spread to other applications but never really got much traction.  Until recently.

Download the CCC Report

Download the Report

As smartphone cameras and technology improved, the QR code became easier to access. Without the necessity for special apps, those little blocks became easier to read, making it possible to quickly link consumers to online sites like product videos, menus, signup forms, and more.  In fact, when the Connected Commerce Council conducted a survey in 2020, 76% of U.S. small businesses indicated that they relied more on digital tools and software than before the COVID-19 crisis and economic downturn.

QR can be used in new ways

QR codes provide another way to connect to consumers for a variety of purposes.  Just recently, PayPal announced payment processing through their platform using a Scan/Pay QR code.  As more people worked remotely during quarantines, some WiFi providers began using QR codes as a way for users to easily scan for access without requiring them to type in lengthy domain names and passwords.

As retailers and other businesses begin reopening post-pandemic, many rely more frequently on QR codes to continue to connect, communicate, and educate consumers.  QR codes are great ways to encourage online engagement, to provide additional product information or to suggest related products.  Cross-selling and upselling using QR codes can be an extremely effective way to increase sales without high-pressure selling.

Uses for QR Codes

  • Point of Purchase Signs
  • Product Packaging
  • Catalogs & Sales Sheets
  • Rack Cards & Handouts
  • Posters & Banners
  • Menus & Mailers

QR Codes don’t have to be boring

As QR codes evolve, they no longer need to be the simple black and white block we’ve grown accustomed to.  Designers who know the QR code “rules” can create unique codes that will get noticed.

QR codes continue to demonstrate their utility.  As their popularity grows so will their impact.  Far from being a novelty, QR codes will become an expectation of consumers and a way for businesses to augment their sales and marketing efforts.

AlphaGraphics Franklin has a team of design and marketing professionals who can help any business find creative and effective ways to use QR codes.

4 Ways for Your Business to Support the Community

Support your communitySometimes it takes a pandemic or natural disaster for a community to truly come together.  The Nashville and Middle Tennessee area learned this firsthand last year. The year 2020 brought with it devastating tornadoes, the spread of COVID-19 and the accompanying economic slump, and ended with the Christmas Day bombing in the very heart of Music City.

Local businesses often play a big role in recovering from challenges. As a member of the community, your business and employees are uniquely situated to get involved and offer help.  Lending a helping hand is not only the right thing to do morally and ethically, but it also further knits your business into the community and helps forge deeper connections to other individuals and businesses.

We’ve outlined four ways to use your brand to plug into your community and offer support.

Call Attention to Milestones

Throughout the pandemic, a lot of milestones that would normally have been celebrated didn’t get much recognition.  Acknowledging and celebrating those special occasions can show your awareness and support.  Use storefront signage, yard signs, and banners to thank essential workers, to celebrate graduations, acknowledge local events, and to show support for other local achievements or milestones.

Small in-store giveaways (like stickers, mini posters, pens, etc.) are fun ways to spread the celebration and are tangible reminders of your brand and your support.

Sponsor a Local Cause or Event

There are a lot of small businesses and non-profits in your community who need extra support right now.  Bolstering these organizations provides them the help they need and also gets your brand in front of potential customers.

Monetary support (in the form of donations to non-profits or purchases from small businesses) is always welcome but in-kind offerings of products and services can also be helpful.  Organizing a volunteer day with your employees is another way to help.  Remember to keep your brand name front and center, whether with branded t-shirts for your team or with branded signs or giveaways.  Doing so will reinforce your involvement in the community and build awareness for your brand.

Share Your Expertise

Demonstrate your value by sharing what you know.  Perhaps that means offering small workshops or lunch-n-learn events to share information (you can also do this by Zoom).  Consider creating how-to videos to share on your website or social media.  Maybe your business can offer your services to community members pro bono or at a discount.

Find the needs in your community that are the best match for the products or services you provide then find ways to help meet those needs.

Partner with Local Businesses

With very few exceptions, most other businesses in your community faced the same challenges you faced in 2020.  Partnering with other local businesses provides the opportunity to make a bigger impact in the community.  A mutually beneficial partnership, especially between businesses offering complementary services, can provide extra exposure for everyone involved.  Co-branding sales materials and signage is a great way to save money and drive customers to each other’s business.

Community Participation is Key for Your Business

As a local business, it’s important to stay involved in your community. Supporting your neighbors through tough times benefits everyone.  Your involvement not only helps other businesses and individuals, it also strengthens bonds and demonstrates your investment and support of others in your area.  Gaining recognition for your brand is a beneficial by-product of your efforts.  Your participation is a boon for everyone.

Direct Mail in 2021

Mailboxes

2020 is finally over and we’re well into 2021.  To say 2020 was a year of challenges would be an understatement.  As rough as the year was, however, there were some valuable lessons to be learned.

One of the revelations for a lot of businesses in 2020 was how difficult it was to reach new and existing customers during lockdowns and when budgets were tightened.  Marketers learned that social media offered great ways to keep their brand in front of customers but was not so great at converting those eyeballs into dollars.

Digital marketing via email, Facebook ads, Google advertising, etc., can be effective but can also be unpredictable and costly.  Plus, as businesses were forced to pare back their marketing teams, it became more difficult to manage and monitor all those digital channels.

Surprisingly, one of the biggest lessons of 2020 was how impactful and cost-effective direct mail could be.  While digital marketing may have become the “go to” medium for building brand awareness, printed direct mail still had a vital role to play.

Consumers are inundated with marketing emails – too many to read each day.  And email filters are better at spotting and flagging marketing messages as spam.  Direct mail, however, gets directly into the homes and hands of consumers.

Print is tangible – it engages with consumers in both tactile and visual ways.  And print still provides the most robust form of customer engagement.  ROI for direct mail remains higher than other forms of marketing.  Even with recent postal rate increases, direct mail is still a bargain.

When planning a direct mail marketing campaign, there are three important elements to consider.

LIST

Your list is the most crucial piece of any marketing campaign.  Whether you need to saturate an area near your business or target a specific subset of consumers, the right list is imperative.

OFFER

Once you have your direct mail piece in someone’s hands, you must prompt them to respond.  Your Call-To-Action is the offer you’re extending.  Whether that’s a coupon, a discount, an early-bird special, or some other incentive, your offer needs to be clear and compelling.

DESIGN

Never underestimate the creative elements of your direct mail.  Does the verbiage you’re using match the visual images on your mailer and does it speak to your target audience?  Do the graphics grab attention and compel someone to read the piece?  Your design can include specialty treatments like foil, metallic inks, soft touch lamination, or other embellishments that make your piece stand out.

LEVERAGE PRINT WITH DIGITAL

Combining direct mail with digital marketing can create more memorable experiences for consumers.  The interactivity between print and digital marketing allows you to customize marketing efforts.  Print can drive traffic to your digital channels, adding more touchpoints to the customer journey.  More touchpoints in varying formats can boost brand awareness and improve engagement.

When done well, direct mail will reinforce your brand’s message and create a lasting impact.

Learn more about combining direct mail with digital marketing.

As we move through the uncertainty of 2021, every business needs to plan for the unexpected.  While we all hope business will be back to “normal” by mid-year, the future remains unpredictable.  Including direct mail in your marketing plans can help you reach customers throughout the year in ways that engage and drive business.

4 Ways to Boost Your Marketing Using Social Distancing Signage

Social Distancing In-Store Signage

A year into the COVID-19 pandemic and we’re accustomed to seeing social distancing and safety signage everywhere.  It’s become so pervasive that it often doesn’t even register any more.  And when we do notice it, it may only be because, after a year of use, the signs themselves are looking a little worse for wear.

Worn, outdated, and dirty signage isn’t appealing and it can be sending the wrong message about your business.  If you let your safety signage fall into disrepair, how seriously are you taking other public-safety protocols?  If your business signage is shabby, it’s a reflection of your brand.

Now is the time to refresh and replace your COVID-19 signage.  It’s also time to review how this signage can be put to dual use – to communicate safety information and boost your marketing efforts.

Consider these four ways to maximize your marketing with social distancing signage.

1. Align your signage with your branding

By now, everyone knows what your signs need to say.  They’re in place as reminders and to encourage people to follow basic social distancing guidelines.  Incorporating elements of your brand identity – colors, fonts, shapes, logos, icons, company mascots, and other images – will make your signs unique and noticeable.

2. Advertise your products & services

Instead of simply telling people to stand 6’ apart, try including product messages and imagery into your signs.  Use floor graphics to introduce new products, to cross-sell products, or upsell your services. Remember, many customers see your floor graphics while waiting in line and have a little idle time.

3. Get creative

Social distancing signage doesn’t have to be standard issue, cookie cutter or generic.  In fact, the more creative you get with it, the more effective it is.  In addition to branding your signage, try pulling in seasonal flair (think snowflakes in winter and flip flops in summer).  Surprise people with signs that educate or entertain.

4. Generate leads

Safety signage can be interactive!  Consider adding QR codes to signage so customers can quickly scan to learn more about your products and services.  You can also direct people to your social media or website to claim a coupon or sign up for a newsletter.  You can even include information for downloading your app or link to your online ecommerce platform.  Using safety signage to generate leads can help you grow your business long after COVID-19 signage itself is no longer needed.

Find a strategy that works for your business

Whether you opt for fun signs, lead-generating signs, or something that cross-sells, your signage doesn’t have to be boring.  The more creative you get, the more attention you’ll grab, which keeps everyone safe and helps you build your brand.

AlphaGraphics Franklin can help you develop a safety signage strategy that informs, educates, and entertains so you can get noticed and grow business.

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