Tuesday, June 28, 2022

5 Key Customer Service Skills and How to Develop Them

Above and beyond customer service leaves customers satisfied and impressed. 


Customer service is essential for many clients in determining their overall satisfaction with your company. Most customers have little patience for poor customer service.


Customers with a bad customer service experience are more likely to leave than those unhappy with prices. That’s a primary reason why 89% of consumers switched to a competitor after a poor customer experience. 


Customer retention saves your company money. Repeat customers spend more and in larger amounts while also bringing in more customers. Customer service is at the forefront of keeping customers happy and coming back for more. Providing top-notch customer service is imperative for the success of your business. 


Check out the qualities that make for great customer service. 


1. Customer service skill: positivity


Often, customer service representatives are dealing with angry customers.


It’s important for them to keep a positive spin on the situation while not being insensitive to the customer’s emotional state. 


Being aware of the customer’s emotions is a key part of empathy. 


2. Customer service skill: empathy


Consumers use emotions over information when evaluating companies. 


Therefore, customer service should focus on the emotions of the customer. This begins by being able to perceive these emotions and then meeting the customer’s emotional needs. Ultimately, the customer is going to take away how they felt during the encounter. Make sure it’s a positive experience! 


This task of guiding the customer’s emotions is greatly aided by clear communication. 


3. Customer service skill: effective communication


33% of clients say the most important skill a customer service representative can have is efficiently answering questions.


Unclear communication and an inability to clearly answer customer questions escalate the situation, turning dissatisfied customers into angry ones. 


Speaking isn’t the only form of communication. Written skills are important as well. Although often underlooked, writing within customer service can be more challenging because it’s harder to convey a tone. An email taken the wrong way will further aggravate the customer. 


One effective way to avoid aggravating customers is by responding in a timely manner. 


4. Customer service skill: timeliness 


The quicker you respond, the better. 


Of online consumers, 71% expect to be helped within five minutes, and 31% will go elsewhere if help isn’t immediately provided. Being available to quickly help customers is an important aspect of great customer service. 


It’s also important to streamline your methods because the more time you spend on one customer, the later you’ll be able to address another’s needs. Therefore, find the balance between being attentive and listening to the customer’s needs while moving things along in a timely fashion. Being tech-savvy and able to use the programs within your company can go a long way in speeding up the process. 


Having a genuine work ethic will speed up the process as well. 


5. Customer service skill: work ethic


A strong work ethic is important in any role, especially in customer service. 


Going above and beyond to meet customers’ needs will help your business stand out positively, building loyalty and trust. 


How to Develop Quality Customer Service Representatives


Quality customer service primarily comes down to hiring the right people who naturally possess the above qualities. However, there are specific actions your business can take to develop quality customer service representatives. 


1. Provide customer service training 


Customer service training can take many forms, such as a formal course, online resources, or a mentor/coach. 


Whatever form the training occurs, it should be effective. Your customer service representatives should feel confident in addressing various customer needs. Your employee should feel comfortable with company knowledge, knowing the buying process and your product/service. Learning all the ins and outs can take time, depending on the company. This is why employee retention is important. 


If your employee doesn’t know the answer to the customer’s inquiry, they should be able to get the customer to someone who can. 


2. Have a clear customer service pathway


If the customer service representative can’t answer the question, it’s imperative the next person in the chain can. 


Customers hate having to repeat themselves over and over to multiple people within the same company. The fewer people they need to talk to and the faster the problem can be resolved, the happier the customer is. 


It’s okay if the employee doesn’t know the answer to a question. Learning how to say, “I don’t know, but I know someone who does,” will help keep customers satisfied. 


3. Thank the customer 


Every customer complaint indicates about 26 other unhappy customers who remained silent.


Many unhappy silent customers leave. 91% of the 96% of unhappy customers who don’t complain will leave and never come 


Therefore, although it may be unpleasant to be on the receiving end of an unsatisfied customer, ultimately, the customer is doing you a service. They are pointing out a problem that has affected many others. Now, you can fix the problem and retain customers. 


After the altercation, consider sending the customer a thank you card for their feedback. This will further help your company get back on good terms with the customer while also elevating your business in the customer’s eyes. Perhaps provide a personal discount for the customer to further share your appreciation for their input. 


We’re here to help you satisfy your customers by printing marketing materials your customers enjoy. For all your printing needs, including thank you cards, we’ve got you and your customers covered! 

Friday, June 24, 2022

5 Key Trends in Direct Mail for 2022

In a world of online and virtual marketing, direct mail promotions are still going strong.


According to a study by the Direct Marketing Association, direct mail has an average return rate of 4.4%, which is 10 to 30 times higher than digital marketing efforts. With these stats, businesses that are not taking advantage of direct mailing marketing are missing a large group of potential customers and clients.


Below are five key trends in direct mail for 2022:


1. Send Out Postcards


Direct mailing campaigns using postcards have grown in popularity, providing an inexpensive method to reach customers and clients.


Postcards are affordable to print and mail, offering many opportunities for a quick turnaround and fast marketing effort. Keep information on the postcards minimal, to the point, and visually appealing.


2. Mail Out Gift Cards


Materials can increase the return by including gift cards featuring a discount or special offer with direct mail.


Gift cards entice recipients to want to come in and learn more about your products and services and may encourage them to make a purchase using the discount.


Businesses that take advantage of sending out gift cards to customers stand out and make an impression on potential clients.


3. Send Personalized Offers


Creating a mailing list of loyal customers is the best way to develop a personalized direct marketing plan.


Get in touch with your customers and send out customized discounts and offers based on their past transactions with your company. Getting to know more about your customers also helps you create personalized offers via mail.


4. Partner With Local Businesses


Partner with local businesses which complement yours by offering a specialized promotion for both of your client bases.


By partnering with another local company, you can tap into their mailing list while allowing them to use yours while sending out a single mailer with a special for both of your companies. The direct mailer partnership helps grow your reach while creating a great relationship with another business owner.


5. Use a Sustainable Marketing Plan


Sustainable marketing plans help those using direct mail promotions to use paper stock created from a sustainable source.


Using an FSC-approved paper, reducing the quantities sent out, and using smaller mail pieces can help reduce your business’s carbon footprint while also maintaining a direct mailing marketing plan.


Creating a direct mailing marketing plan can help keep your business relevant, in the minds of your clients, and in front of potential customers. Creating a direct mailing campaign involves several factors to help you stay on top of your competition and be environmentally friendly. Take advantage of the above-listed tips to help enhance your business’s mailing plans this year.


 

Friday, June 10, 2022

Top Offline Marketing Tips in 2022

The digital marketing age has become an essential component of any company’s marketing strategy.


Since much of the world has moved online, search ads, blog content, email newsletters, and social media posts are relatively inexpensive and practical tools to increase a marketing plan’s reach.


Although we find many of our clients and customers online, we must not forget the importance of having a non-digital marketing strategy and getting out face-to-face with our potential clients and customers. 


What Is Offline Marketing? 


Essentially, offline marketing is any advertising, marketing, or promotional practice using channels that are not online or accessible via cell phones, computers, or tablets.


Though many do not always consider offline marketing because they feel it is an outdated practice, it can be somewhat effective. Using both online and offline marketing strategies, businesses can expand their reach and capture the attention of many more clients and customers.


Offline Marketing Tips for 2022


There are many things you can do offline to help market your business.


It may seem primitive to some to get out and meet others face-to-face, but in the long run, doing so, along with a solid digital marketing plan, can take your business to the next level. 


Some of the best offline marketing tips for 2022 include:


  • Join your local chamber of commerce and attend meetings and events.

  • Business cards work well, especially when wanting to set your business apart using a unique design reflecting your brand values.

  • Printed pamphlets and flyers offer an informational marketing tool that you can hand out at exports, events, and during networking meetings.

  • If you own a business, you are an expert in your field. Write and publish a book sharing your expertise with a larger audience.

  • Offer existing customers loyalty rewards and coupons and send unique coupons to attract new customers.

  • Send seasonal cards and gifts to your loyal customers and members of your mailing list.

  • Find another business that shares your values and business model to work together to co-develop products, cross-promote each other’s company, and co-sponsor events.

  • Get involved with the community by setting up a booth at local events, sponsoring local nonprofits, volunteering, attending government meetings, networking events, etc.

  • Host your community events and workshops, inviting other local businesses to join in for cross-promotion and providing entertainment for residents.

  • Send out press releases to local media outlets, including radio stations, new stations, and newspapers.

  • Try a local billboard to reach a new market and help your business stand out. 

There is a lot of untapped marketing potential in offline advertising. So take your business marketing efforts offline and get more involved in your local community. If done correctly, both digital and offline marketing can be very beneficial for businesses. 

Friday, June 3, 2022

7 Facts About Offline Marketing You Probably Didn't Know

Offline marketing consists of advertising conducted through traditional offline media, including billboards, print, and in-person events. Although conventional advertising methods like these are all around, there are many things you probably didn’t know. Check out these seven facts about offline marketing. 


1. It’s not online versus offline


It’s not a competition between online and offline marketing as both have their pros and cons.


Plus, your marketing strategy is usually more effective when utilizing multiple platforms, leading to greater brand exposure and returns on investment. Offline marketing effectively brings people to your business’s online website and social media platforms. This is why 58% of offline retailers use offline marketing to build online customer engagement without being too invasive. 


2. Offline marketing is not invasive 


As the market becomes more competitive, marketing strategies are becoming more intense. 


However, this can lead some consumers to find marketing to be invasive. 91% of survey respondents agreed that ads are more intrusive today than two to three years ago.


A potential client who finds your advertising invasive may not want to purchase from you. A helpful way around this problem is through offline marketing strategies such as direct mail, which tends to have a more positive reception. In a study conducted by Epsilon, 59% of U.S. respondents agreed with the statement: “I enjoy getting postal mail from brands about new products.” This positive reception is partly because offline marketing is less common.


3. Offline marketing stands out


As some companies move away from offline marketing strategies, a space reopens for your company to stand out. 


People naturally remember less common things. Think of all the ads you see and hear on social media, email, and your internet searches. You may struggle to remember them all. Now think of the advertisements you’ve received in your mail. They’re probably easier to remember because they’re less prevalent and because people remember print better than digital. But, just because it’s less common doesn’t mean it’s a dying business. 


4. Offline marketing is a growing business


Going off the language used around offline marketing, it may come as a surprise that it’s a growing business. 


In 2020, the spending on offline media in the U.S. was 182.2 billion. In 2021 it was 196 billion. In 2022, it’s projected to reach 207.6 billion. Thanks to its persuasive attributes, offline marketing has recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic. 


5. It is possible to track offline marketing 


Although offline marketing can be challenging to track, it’s not impossible, thanks to some creative solutions. 


The success of any marketing campaign is primarily measured through analytics and data and then using that data to inform your future decisions. Check out the following methods to better track your offline marketing. 


  • Custom landing pages. Insert a custom URL in your offline marketing campaigns. This will take the potential customer to a custom landing page, allowing you to track your offline marketing.

  • Discount codes. Distribute unique discount codes depending on the means of advertisement. For example, a direct mail discount code could be “DIRMAIL201,” while an online code from Instagram could be “INSTA202.” When the consumer uses that code, you can track the sale back to the advertisement method. 

However, it is important to remember that customer journeys are becoming more complex. Usually, a customer will see your company through many channels before looking the business up and buying. Allow room for this ambiguity by asking customers how they found the business and allowing them to select more than one option. 


Gaining new customers through offline marketing is wonderful, but those that stay are even better. 


6. Offline marketing boosts brand loyalty 


Various marketing methods are useful for specific purposes. 


Offline marketing is especially beneficial for building trust, brand loyalty, and customer engagement. This is why 60% of primarily online retailers use direct mail to build brand loyalty and awareness. 


7. Offline marketing is more versatile.


The non-online world isn’t constrained to a screen, allowing for greater opportunities.


Offline marketing allows you to get more involved in your communities by attending local events. It also allows you to play with the texture, size, and smell. 


The majority of people’s lives are spent in the offline world. Therefore, what better way to reach them? We can help you with your offline marketing campaigns by providing for your print needs. Reach out today!


 

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

8 Tips for Creating an Effective Business Card

Business cards are a business staple.


These affordable and portable cards allow you to share information with prospective clients and business owners to make a good impression and expand your customer base. According to Statistic Brain Research Institute, 72% of people judge a company based on the quality of its business card. Make your business card a great one with the help of these eight tips. 


1. Make your business card legible


It can be easy to get so caught up in the design you forget the most critical part: legibility. 


If a business card can’t be read, it is useless. This means staying far away from color combinations that may be hard to read. For example, white on yellow is usually a big no-no. 


Furthermore, avoid fancy or funky fonts. They may look cool, but it’s not worth frustrating your clients. Opt for standard-sized fonts and account for those with failing eyesight. 


If you feel the need to reduce your font to fit everything in, you’re trying to include too much information. 


2. Less is more on your business card


You may be tempted to include as much information as possible on your cards, but don’t.


Only include the essential information to avoid information overload, leaving room for the essentials. 


  • Name

  • Company name

  • Position

  • Telephone number

  • Email address

  • Social media

By including only the most important information, you’ll be able to have adequate white space. 


3. Leave room for business card blank space


White, blank space allows the recipient to jot down notes on the card.


Don’t risk angering prospective clients by not providing them with adequate blank space to do so. It’ll also enable you to write down specific information for clients, making the experience more tailored. 


Plenty of blank space also has a design element to it. The white space causes the information already on the card to stand out. 


Because of the utilization of blank space, it is discouraged to go for the black, glossy cards because standard black and blue ink won’t show up very well on black and a glossy finish is hard to write on. 


Avoiding black, glossy cards isn’t the only guideline to follow. 


4. Logistical guidelines for business cards


Business cards are diverse, but a few guidelines hold for all. 


For the best print resolution, aim for around 300 dots per inch (dpi). This ensures your business card comes out clear and easy to read. 


Keep the text at least 5 mm from the edge. Even the most professional printers aren’t going to reach the very edge of the card. This is why it’s important to have a bleed area. This way, nothing gets accidentally cut off. If you really want a design to extend to the outer edges of the card, opt for designs that naturally extend beyond the card. Then you can cut the white space off. 


Avoid using a straight border around the entire card. Straight borders show misalignment if the card isn’t perfectly cut. 


Standard sizes are standard for a reason. You may be tempted to change the size of your business card in order to stand out. However, if it doesn’t easily fit into a pocket, wallet, and organizer, then you’re probably doing yourself more harm than good. 


The card has two sides. Most people prefer to have the design on one side and information on the other. 


With two sides and lots of information, it can be easy to accidentally miss something. 


5. Proofread. Proofread. Proofread. 


Proofread extensively before having your business cards printed. 


Our brains are excellent at automatically correcting words on the fly. Perhaps you remember the internet phenomenon where words were purposely misspelled: the first and last letters were kept the same, but the middle letters were jumbled. 


For example: It deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.


Initially mistakenly attributed to research at Cambridge University, the study was eventually traced back to Dr. Graham Ralinson. This phenomenon shows the power of the human brain at automatically fixing mistakes and why it can be so hard to catch simple typos. 


In order to avoid this, let your business card design sit for a couple of days before coming back to it. Ask others to look it over. The more eyes, the better. 


You don’t want your mistake to be what the recipients of your business card remember. However, you do want them to remember your business card. 


6. Get creative with your business card 


Including a second use for your business card can make it memorable. 


For example, making a business card that can turn into a phone holder, acts as a seed packet, can open bottles, or can turn into an origami figure will ensure customers will be more likely to keep your card and remember you. 


It may also make the recipient more likely to follow your call to action.


7. Include a call to action on your business card


If space allows, consider including a call to action on your business card. 


This could be in the form of a discount, direction to a website, or tips. Including a call to action can make your business card a more effective marketing tool. It provides something tangible for the recipient to do. 


8. Hire a professional printer 


Your business card reflects your business. Make it a positive reflection by hiring a professional printer. 


We’re here to offer you advice, designs, and quality business cards to join the 10 billion business cards printed in the U.S. every year. 

Friday, May 27, 2022

7 Top Design Decisions Direct Marketing and Web Designers Share

You might think that web design is entirely different from direct mail marketing.


But there are many things web and offline print marketing designers can learn from one another.


7 Top Design Decisions Direct Marketing and Web Designers Share


1. Create a compelling message.


According to David Ogilvy, five times more people read the headline than the body copy. It’s essential to use a powerful, bold headline telling your story and describing your offer or service.


2. Be clear and concise.


Avoid jargon in the body text or on the webpage. Remember that being transparent and avoiding jargon doesn’t necessarily mean talking down to your audience. 


Be sure that the product or service is appropriate and compelling to your target audience.


3. Utilize data.


In the world of marketing, and mainly B2B marketing, the correct use of data can be transformative.


Understand who is in your audience – what are the demographics of the new homeowners? This information may influence your design.


4. Branding, branding, branding.


A brand is more than just a logo on your direct mail piece or website.


It involves your online experience, your retail or workplace environment, the tone of your copy, and everything that relates to the “personality” of your business.


Use your logo consistently on every online and offline component you create.


5. Focus on fonts


Typography plays a crucial role in the success of a new design.


Use a strong sans-serif font like the Helvetica or Frutiger families for your headlines and a softer serif font like Times, Goudy, or Palatino for your body text.


It’s best not to mix two sans serif typefaces, or two serif faces on one piece. Go for the contrast between sans serif and serif.


6. Make a unique masthead.


The designs that work or catch your eye will have a point of difference by instantly communicating their tone and mood from their masthead, cover line typography, and image choices.


7. Follow a style guide


Comprehensive style guides define the company image from a visual and editorial perspective to ensure a unified brand. Style guides define the company image from a visual and editorial perspective to ensure a unified brand.


Make sure you have a style guide to keep things consistent.


Great design, especially for direct mail marketing pieces, can put you ahead of your competition and in front of new customers.  


We’re here to help you get there. Check us out today!

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Tips for More Cost-Effective Direct Mail

You know direct mail works and has worked for decades. But now the question is: How can you save money on mailing your next project?


Here are some tips to make it more cost-effective to mail.


First, make sure you don’t have duplicate or wrong addresses. Scrub lists on import for invalid addresses, zip codes, and state codes. Next, run every mailing through the CASS™ program and NCOALink database from the United States Postal Service.


Mail advertising boasts a much higher response rate than social media, email marketing, and other digital channels. It’s also more memorable and, in some cases, beautiful enough to make people keep it for decades. Think of an old holiday postcard that was saved.


Direct mail might seem expensive, but it’s worth it.


Here are some things to consider when creating a direct mail piece. You can do some of these things in-house, while others will need professionals to care for them.


  • Design services

  • Copywriting cost

  • Size and volume of a mail piece

  • Mailing list volume

  • List selection (purchased from third parties or custom-built)

  • Printing quality (paper, ink, equipment, etc.)

  • Personalization

  • Chosen mail postage rate (standard and first-class mailing costs significantly differ.)

  • Before you buy or rent a list, consider using free lists. Then, if you have a digital platform, use the lists from this to start your direct mail campaign.

Finally, try tracking your success by using specific URLs or coupons.


5 Ways to Make Your Direct Mail Lists Deliver


1. Determine demographics.


Lists determined by geography and demographics are typically less expensive than those that break it down to interests and hobbies.


2. Plan ahead.


Give yourself time to edit. For example, mistakes might mean you have to send out two copies to customers instead of just one. This, of course, raises your cost to mail.


3. Clear messaging.


Reduce brand confusion by keeping your marketing message clear and consistent. For example, suppose you have two different looks and statements online and offline. In that case, people get frustrated, and you could lose business, which wastes money.


4. Choose your paper wisely.


By using thinner paper and smaller sizes, you can save money. But make sure you aren’t sacrificing your standard. For example, if people have a particular image of your company, keep it consistent.


Maybe you need a thicker postcard or larger envelope to make a statement about the quality.  


5. Allow people to unsubscribe.


Even though you want people to receive your mail, cutting out those who don’t want your marketing will save you time and money.


There are several ways to save money on direct mail. Reach out today to learn more!