Friday, October 16, 2020

Command Results with These 4 Direct Mail Brochure Formats

Ready to open doors and grab leads for your business?


Direct mail brochures are a great piece of any marketing plan and are especially useful in building consumer confidence. According to the Direct Mail Association, 56 percent of consumers consider print marketing the most trustworthy form of advertising, and 65 percent of consumers have bought something from a direct-mail piece.


When considering your next direct mail campaign, here are some reasons brochures might be best:


Clear Comprehension


The human brain is designed to understand more when something looks “real.”


As a time-tested commodity, brochures offer an easy-to-follow layout that builds instant connections with all types of people. Brochures also connect well with memory because they engage people’s spatial memory networks.


Increased Brain Response


In this busy age of low attention spans, physical materials increase the brain response of every viewer.


There’s something blissful in physical opening print pieces: the smell of the ink, the texture of a product. And that sensory stimulation has big benefits – people continue reading longer from a physical page and retain information better from print than from digital media.  


Enduring Presence


Direct mail brochures are ideal for customers who weigh a decision because people can read them many times or store them for future reference.


Brochures offer an attractive, compact option to get your advertising read or handed around to others. Every time someone new picks up your brochure, your message makes an impression. And brochures are far more likely to be saved or filed when someone needs more time to consider.


Bring Your Message to Life


When you’re building a concept for your next direct mail brochure, here are a few schematic options to consider:


1. Product/Benefit Layout


When you want to share more information about your business or its benefits, brochures provide a clean, logical layout.


Your brochure panels might tout your firm’s professional capabilities, your product’s unique selling points, or the practical advantages of your services.


2. Testimonial Brochure


Personal endorsements are extremely valuable, as prospects value others’ opinions more than any direct claims you make.


Use your brochure panels to feature pull quotes, before and after success stories, or reviews from real people (featuring names, photos, or dates). Best fit customers are influencers that prompt your readers to think, “I can relate to this person, and I trust their opinion.”


3. Question/Answer Format


Similar to a testimonial design, the Q/A format is very versatile.


Use it to address target customers’ felt needs, disarm suspicion, or present interviews with key company executives. Answering questions reduces buyer tension and creates an immediate bond with readers.


4. Fold-over Mailer with Postcard


Want to double your impact?


Try a fold-over mailer with a postcard inside. Fold-over mailers serve as both a brochure and a mini-poster and allow for heightened reader engagement as postcards are removed. Either piece can be passed to others or posted for later reference, allowing flexibility in concept and design.


Hook, Story, Offer


No matter what format you use, every direct mail piece needs a strong hook.


Most people will scan your external copy looking for a reason to read (or toss!) your brochure. State significant benefits upfront, or ask a question that must be answered. Start headlines with active verbs and keep this big question central: “What’s in it for me?”


Lead with this perspective, and you’ll entice them every time!

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

How to Use Normalization to Change Behavior

If you grew up in the early eighties, you’re probably familiar with the “Mikey likes it” Life cereal campaign.


This capstone commercial centered on three young brothers eating breakfast. Before them sits a heaping bowl of Life. Two brothers question each other about it, noting that it is supposed to be healthy. Neither has any desire to taste it (“I’m not gonna try it—you try it”), so they test it on their brother (“Let’s get Mikey . . . he won’t eat it, he hates everything!”).


Mikey briefly stares at the bowl, then starts devouring the cereal, as his brothers excitedly exclaim, “He likes it!” 


Strategically Shaping the Internal Narrative


If you are a professional marketer, your job exists to do one key thing: to make change happen.


Finding an agent to trigger change – like Mikey demonstrating healthy cereal is delicious – is the key to persuasion. But this can be harder than it sounds because all people act in accordance with their internal narrative. You can’t get someone to do what they don’t want to do! And most of the time, the action a person takes is one that reinforces their internal narrative.


In sales, your fundamental goal is to tap into someone’s internal narrative and strategically shape it. Some people have a narrative that makes them open to changing their behavior (e.g., Martin Lloyd votes for various individual candidates, not a specific political party), while others are very resistant.


But for most people, behavior change is driven by a desire to fit in (people like us do things like this) and perception of status (affiliation or dominance). People don’t make decisions in a vacuum – instead, they base them on the perceptions of their cohort.


Actions are primarily driven by one question: “Do people like me do things like ____?” For example:



  • People like me don’t speed in residential neighborhoods.

  • People like me avoid debt.

  • People like me love funky accessories.

  • People like me buy organic.

Normalization creates culture, and culture drives choices, which leads to more normalization.


So marketers can prompt change by normalizing new behaviors among a specific cohort of people. In the “people like us do ____” paradigm, the “us” matters. The more specific you can be about who “us” is, the better.


Here are three steps toward normalizing new ideas:


1. Map and understand the worldview of the cohort you seek to change.


2. Focus all your energy on this group. Ignore everyone outside this persona and build stories that will resonate with your target (soccer moms, granola hippies, techie teens, etc.).


3. Within this subculture, build an exclusive cohort. Exclusive is an internal measure (us versus them, insiders versus outsiders) that members resonate with. Exclusive organizations thrive when members are clearly identified, and inclusion is perceived as valuable or beneficial. People love to belong and to gain status as they link up with others “like us.” And when you market to “we” or “us” cohorts, your message carries much greater weight.


Case Study: The Blue Ribbon School District


Ready to see normalization in action? Here’s one example from marketer Seth Godin:


My little town had a problem. Despite having extraordinary schools (our elementary school won the national Blue Ribbon School designation), there was a schism over the upcoming budget vote. Many were upset about rising school taxes and, for the first time in memory, the first school budget failed.


Before the final budget vote, school proponents stopped trying to defend budget numbers and took a new tack: they tied one hundred blue ribbons to a big tree in front of the middle school in the center of town. Within days, the idea spread. In the week before the election, dozens of trees around town had blue ribbons hanging from them. Thousands of blue ribbons hung by dozens of families.


The message was simple – “people like us, people in this Blue Ribbon district, support our schools.”


The budget passed two to one.


When you target the smallest viable market, you maximize your chance of changing behavior. This subset of people, enriched and connected by the change you promote, can then organically share the word with the next layer of the market.


That is the power or people like us.

Friday, October 9, 2020

3 Companies with a Killer Brand Identity

Trust builds confidence.


That is why a strong corporate brand identity can make or break a business. Brand identity is more than key values or approved color palettes; it is the collection of all elements that a company creates to portray the right image to its consumer.


When a company has a strong brand, it is easily recognized, which grows people’s trust. Trust builds confidence, and confidence begets loyalty. When a business has built superiority in a particular niche, repeat customers are more willing to buy in other areas. When you have loyalty from your base, you have space to increase prices or ask for bigger commitments. 


Want to craft a style that is timely and relevant to your audience? Here are three inspiring examples of brands who have nailed it:


Tesla


Tesla is an electric vehicle and clean energy company with long-range, eco-friendly electric cars. 


They are also very expensive. To build customer confidence, Tesla leaves price out of their branding and focuses on combining its fun personality combined with its incredible quality. CEO Elon Musk has built himself up as a Tony Stark-like character, and the brand promotes its uniqueness through ads and quirky features (like Super Cars with a “Ludicrous Mode”).


Tesla also relies on communities to tell its story, and passionate ambassadors have sprouted up worldwide to shout their love for the brand. Spain’s Tesla Club on Facebook has more than 7,300 members, and user-generated content is some of the most effective marketing in Tesla’s toolbox.


Dollar Shave Club


When you see this name, what comes to mind? Probably value.


At its core, Dollar Shave Club (DSC) is an everyman’s brand with a simple proposition: name-brand razors cost too much, but DSC offers quality alternatives at a rock-bottom price.


The brand bills itself as smart and stylish, conforming perfectly to customer needs. Each month, customers receive beautifully branded boxes with playful welcome notes and dapper products. When you join DSC, you’re not just subscribing to low-cost products; you’re investing in the monthly delight that comes with them! 


To reinforce this tone, the brand snubs highbrow marketing and pursues a cheeky, casual vibe. While other shaving brands go for a sleek image (with men who look like actors and models), Dollar Shave Club features average looking people across a wide age range. 


Parkinson’s Foundation


For many nonprofits, design can be an afterthought. 


But the Parkinson’s Foundation has created a fresh visual identity that reflects the exciting, dynamic organization it is. A unique logo resembles a brain in a head, a subtle nod to the neurological disorder. The bright blue is a vibrant hue, communicating excitement and zest for life and the promise of “Better Lives. Together.” 


The brand’s fundraising hinges on a promise of hope and progress and designs highlight this sense of cooperation. Custom imagery features a wide range of real individuals from throughout the Parkinson’s community—doctors, caregivers, donors, and people living with Parkinson’s — united by a single bright blue color that symbolizes their optimistic approach to fighting the disease.


In a spirit of community, the foundation logo is specifically designed as a platform for community expression, offering an open space (like a speech bubble) for individuals to handwrite messages or personalize materials (like, “For Dad”). Parkinson’s supporters love customizing it to share their own messages on social media and engage others in the fight.


A Voice All Your Own


Corporate branding has the power to attract, engage, and communicate just what you want with your clients. 


But you can only do this by connecting with customers where they are. Strong brands succeed because they resonate with a portion of their market better than anyone else.


When you’re working to shape designs, use a voice that resonates with your audience. If your brand was a person, how would it communicate? Be consistent, confident, and unique, and your voice will shine through on every occasion!

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Shout Your Brand Identity with Strategic, Clever Imagery

If a picture paints a thousand words, then brand imagery is one of the most dynamic means for communicating with your customers.


From stained-glass church windows to the world-renowned Nike swoosh, images add immediacy, power, and clarity to your ideas, with a transformative effect on a brand’s overall impact. Colors and graphic metaphors have surprising staying power, so it’s important to consider every element you include in your brand imagery.


Brand Identity vs. Brand Imagery


So, what is the difference between brand identity and brand imagery?


Brand identity is the image or character of your business as people relate to it. For example, the BMW image of elite luxury has grown naturally from customers’ repeated exposure to BMW’s ads, endorsements, and products.


Brand imagery is the aesthetic appearance of your brand’s core identity and messaging. This is a result of all the visuals that represent your brand’s identity. These visuals may include anything from billboards to print ads or website banners to product packaging. Great imagery goes beyond simple appearance; the idea is to connect the right messages with your target audience so that they will have strong feelings that prompt a response.


Choosing brand imagery isn’t rocket science, but it takes some careful planning. Before you start slapping images on the page, think about these foundational elements:


Consistent Photography


How do the best brands convey their identity? They use graphics consistent with their brand character.


Burt’s Bees, an international personal-care company, has focused its products on nature from day one. Whether it’s their infamous lip balms or their newer makeup line, Burt’s always sticks to this mantra: “Providing customers with the best nature has to offer.”


From their “Whoa, Natural” print ads to their “unfiltered” social media posts, every image they use has an element of nature. Sometimes it’s through an eye shadow pencil held against a background of trees, while in others, it’s a little bit of honey accompanying a facial scrub.


On-Brand Colors


While colors offer a great deal of flexibility, it helps to define larger color palettes that encompass your brand.


Since colors carry psychological weight, selecting color patterns in advance can help you convey the right emotions or moods. Start with identifying a base, accent, and neutral blend. Cohesive color schemes should be woven into your logo, store design, advertisements, and even uniforms, so choose carefully and have fun!


Viewer Perspective


The GoPro technology company is all about taking their cameras everywhere you go, no matter the journey.


GoPro photos scream adventure, with deep, natural blues or stunning orange reflections. But beyond the colors, many brand photos are taken from the perspective of the camera operator. For example, perhaps a landscape with bike handlebars in the perimeter or a shot of a pair of feet on the high dive as a viewer gazes down into an Olympic pool.


When you want to generate intense emotions, set your viewers in the driver’s seat as you put them behind the lens of the delightful experience you’re offering.


Authentic Messaging


Finally, it’s essential to ask whether your images are truthful.


Can you deliver on the experience you promise in your advertising? Aesthetic is important, but it’s not enough to win over an audience on its own. Brand loyalists will only arise when they see your brand imagery as authentic to the experience your business can bring.


Compelling Images Create Community


Successful brand imagery can build an internal narrative and external community, prompting customers not just to “buy” your product but to “buy into” to your brand image.


Finding images that perfectly represents your brand is more than a strategy, it’s an essential part of your identity. Spark consumer confidence and generational loyalty as you mobilize fantastic images to shout your identity in unique, inspiring ways.

Friday, October 2, 2020

4 Reasons People Don't Buy from You (and quick-fix solutions that can help!)

Your product is perfectly aligned to meet customer needs.


Your doors are open, the sales team is ready, and your marketing is top-notch. Your employees believe in your mission and are passionate about coming to work each day, but . . . sales still seem a bit sluggish. Why? When people aren’t buying, you could have a range of possible problems.


Here are four potential snags with tweaks that could make the difference:


Problem: They Think the Price is Too High


Solution: Sell the Value


Is the price of your product too high?


This is a subjective opinion. An item is only worth the price someone is willing to pay for it, and if some people are willing to pay your price, there must be a good reason.


If you don’t make the cheapest product on the market, it’s your job to figure out why it is worth more. Do your homework. Find out in advance what your competitors’ prices are like, and what advantages your company brings. Instead of focusing on price, draw attention to the benefits of your service compared to competitors. Your product quality or customer service may be the major differentiator that cannot be replicated!


Whether it’s convenience, bundled service options, or incredible durability, price-sensitive shoppers are willing to pay more if they just know WHY.  


Problem: Decision Paralysis


Solution: Simplify the Process


Some people never master good decision-making skills.


Marketers often assume that the more choices they offer, the more likely customers will find just the right thing. However, research shows that there can be too much choice. When there is, consumers are less likely to buy anything at all (and if they do buy, they are less satisfied with their selection!).


Decision fatigue is real, and it causes many consumers to give up on purchasing. To circumvent this problem, list customer “favorites” on your website, combine items into a small number of “value-bundled” packages, or have customer service representatives walk people through decisions so they can make suggestions on the most suitable products.


Problem: Lack of Reviews


Solution: Ask Existing Clients for Testimonials


According to Nielsen research, 92% of people will trust a recommendation from a peer, and 70% will trust a recommendation from someone they don’t even know.


People depend on reviews, and companies that publish testimonials dramatically increase the quality and quantity of their leads. Reviews not only help buyers make purchasing decisions, they also grow traffic and boost conversions.


To gather (and print) great testimonials, it’s important to ask clients for reviews directly, especially if you can do it face to face. People are easier to engage when they feel their opinion is valued. Instead of asking directly for a review, start with an open-ended, conversational approach. Try questions like, “what was it like before you had our product/service?” or, “what has exceeded your expectations since working with our company?” Testimonials will naturally flow from here.


Problem: Stopping Short a Sale


Solution: Ask for a Clear Commitment


When surveyed after non-sales situations, a high percentage of prospects say they were never asked to buy.


After pitching your product’s vision, benefits, or value, it’s time to take that ball to the hoop. Ask for a commitment. Clearly, concisely, and directly ask for their order, their money, or their business.


No matter what phrase is right for your business, the bottom line is this: you must ASK!


Simplify for Success


In a world that’s rife with competition, it’s crucial to pinpoint areas where your sales process is breaking down. Make the process from discovery to purchase as simple as possible, and don’t be afraid to close the sale.


In life and sales, sometimes you’ll only get what you dare to ask for!

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Customer Trust: The Backbone of Your Business

It’s a small world, after all.


Though global population continues to expand, our connectivity is growing even faster. In 2019, the number of internet users worldwide stood at 4.13 billion, which means more than half of the global population is connected to the world wide web. The percentage of US adults who use social media increased from 5% in 2005 to 79% in 2019. And experts estimate most Americans are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 ads each day.


While the internet is a lifeline, it has also exposed the misbehavior and greed of many of the pillars we count on, leading to a unique paradox: today, more people are connected and fewer are trusted.


The Benefits of Trust


In this vacuum of mistrust, marketers find themselves on one of three paths:


1 -- Ignored


2 -- Sneaking around


3 -- Trusted


If you’re ignored, you can’t get far because you won’t earn much attention OR trust.


If you’re sneaky, you may gain followers, but not for long.


The third path – trust – is the only one that brings long-term benefits.


A trusted marketer earns loyalty by making promises, keeping them, and earning more loyalty. When the circumstances are right, that loyalty can become word-of-mouth recommendations or even tribal affiliation to your product or brand.


In a world that scans instead of reads, the best way to earn trust is through action. People remember what you did long after they forget what you said. When asked for a refund on a defective product, what do you do? When it comes to marketing, do your products hold up to the claims you make about them? When overloaded with new clients, do you put loyal customers on the back burner?


In a world of impersonal connections, you need to spend less time talking and more time doing: serving one customer at a time, day by day. Want to grow the currency of trust in your business? Consider options like these:


Improve Your Security


Make sure your customers feel safe when they shop with you.


Even if you aren’t selling your products online, customers will still visit your website, and the amount of safety they feel can play a significant role in how much they trust your brand.


Have a Strong Social Presence


People live online, and today many consumers equate a strong social media presence with relational authority.


The more active your brand’s social media pages are, the more likely it is that new customers will trust you. Equip your pages with striking images, company bio and contact info, and interactive content that meets customer needs. The higher your engagement, the deeper your relational roots will grow.


Under-promise and Over-deliver


Any time a customer feels deceived or manipulated, they’re likely to abandon your brand.


Don’t overestimate your capabilities! If it takes you a week to ship a product, tell your customers it takes two. If a product will last for 10 years, claim it will last eight. Happy customers are loyal customers; surprise them by going above and beyond what you’ve promised.


Make Your Brand More Personal


Treat your brand like it’s your business’s personality, giving it character and life. 


Don’t use scripts and formulaic responses; instead, encourage employees to speak from the heart, engaging customers like real people. This small change makes your brand seem more human than corporate, and can drastically influence positive impressions.


Always Be Available


Make sure your customers have multiple lines of contact for you at all times -- and if you have a dedicated account representative, give your clients that person's cell phone number in case of an emergency.


Finally, be consistent. The more consistent you are with your service and your brand, the more loyal your customers will be – and the stronger your reputation will grow.  

Friday, September 25, 2020

Build Enthusiasm with Gorgeous Print Catalogs

Do you have a favorite catalog?


In days past, the Sears Christmas edition or the Lana Lobell fashion catalogs were the birthplace of many shopping addictions.


But though these nostalgic beauties hold a special place in many hearts, catalogs certainly haven’t disappeared from today’s marketing landscape. Companies like L.L. Bean, Ikea, J. Crew, and Athleta continue to dominate sales through the distribution of printed catalogs.


And people enjoy reading them. According to USPS, 47% of people set aside catalogs to read later, and 84% of consumers said they genuinely enjoyed receiving unexpected catalogs from places they had previously shopped. Enthusiasm has soared – response rates from catalogs has increased 170% from 2004 to 2018! 


Using Hard Copy Catalogs in Your Omnichannel Marketing


With a decrease in printed mail, today’s paper catalog is primarily a marketing tool – one of maximum potential during the holiday season.


The most sophisticated retailers are continuously working to build a seamless omnichannel operation, and companies that integrate catalogs, websites, and physical stores can simplify the shopping experience while closing more sales.


Print advertising is a great compliment to your online sales platforms, because print marketing often prompts greater follow-through. BRAND United reports that 86% of shoppers bought an item online after seeing it in a printed catalog.


Want to weave together catalogs and online purchasing? Here’s one inspiring example of a killer omnichannel strategy.


Quadratic: Selling the Adventure


For 30 years, Quadratic has prided itself on providing Jeep enthusiasts with the best parts and accessories for their customers.


From Antenna kits to light bars, Quadratic is committed to providing parts and accessories for daily on- and off-road needs.


Today millions of people receive Quadratec’s printed catalog in the mail. Even though there are more products on the company’s website than in their catalog, Quadratec uses printed catalogs to demonstrate it is an authoritative brand leader. Jeep enthusiasts love “jeeping,” and there’s just something about a giant catalog that gets that adventurer’s heart pumping!


In combination with its print success, Quadratec has elevated digital marketing efforts. By creating a corresponding mobile app, Quadratec allows customers to scan each product in the catalog with a mobile device. Scanned items bring customers to that item’s specific page on the website, so customers can easily tag it for a wish list, add it to their shopping cart, or purchase it from their phone.


Is this effective? Absolutely. Since launching its first AR-enabled catalog, Quadratec has experienced a three percent sales boost, and its mobile app is used an average of 200,000 times each month.


A One-Two Punch


Direct mail meets customers where they live, and catalogs are a long-standing customer favorite.


Data shows 44 percent of customers visit a brand’s website after receiving direct mail marketing, which is 10 percent more than people who visit landing pages after receiving an email. And because catalogs are extremely engaging, people feel more confident about purchasing when they receive one.


David Naumann, vice president of marketing for BRP, noted studies that have shown people can spend upward of 20 minutes looking at catalogs compared to the seconds they might spend looking at product images displayed online:


"When you have that physical catalog, customers might ponder it longer, even write notes on it," he said. "It’s something you really can’t replicate in other media."


Want to explore catalog marketing options for your business? Visit us online today for a free quote!