5 Low-Cost Customer Appreciation Strategies

“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down simply by spending his money somewhere else.” 

~ Sam Walton (Founder of Walmart and Sam’s Club)

They say every business has three types of customers.

There are price-conscious people – clients who will leave if they find a better deal. There are fence-sitters – those who like your brand but could be persuaded to go elsewhere. And there are loyalists – people who are willing to pay more to maintain a relationship.

If you move people toward loyalty, your bottom line will thrive. The success rate of selling to new customers ranges between 5-20%, while that rate soars to 60-70% for existing customers. And a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by as much as 125%.

With limited time and energy, devoting some of your marketing budget to customer appreciation makes good sense.

Here are five simple ways to build loyalty by showing customers you care:

1. Handwritten Notes

Over 70 years ago, Hallmark crafted one of the most memorable slogans in history: “When you care enough to send the very best.”

The phrase was spot on – thoughtful written communication speaks volumes. When you want to touch your most valuable customers, a handwritten note is the gold standard. Though these notes take time, they really do work.

Put this goal in your task list and pen one appreciation note per day.

2. Giveaway Contests

Sharing is caring!

There is nothing like the word “free” to grab attention and earn fans, especially when you give away something of value.

As soon as you post a giveaway contest, your popularity will soar. Try weekly email giveaways featuring business books or tutorial freebies. Onsite contest entries or selfie social media posts that tag your brand are a fun option. Or build engagement with a “caption this photo” challenge.

3. Happy Kids, Happy Parents

When you put kids first, parents will notice.

What are some ways you can honor families in your line of work? It may be countertop treats, mini water bottles, waiting room play areas, a coloring contest, or sibling discounts. Even a fish tank or a set of wooden puzzles can boost the happiness factor by ten.

Appreciate your families by welcoming their kids.

4. Learn & Share

Whether you’re building your content marketing or strengthening B2B relationships, giving away wisdom is a no-brainer.

When you find a great online resource, a quick life hack, or a useful industry resource, make a point to pass it along. Or create tip sheets and videos demonstrating beneficial ways to use your product. Helping people succeed is a smart way to build relational currency.

5. Promotional Swag

Double your marketing efforts by combining a gift and your brand.

Stick your logo on USB drives, notebooks, stadium cushions, and more. People love getting something for nothing. And they’ll be reminded of your appreciation again and again.

Show Your Appreciation Through Print

As business author Michael LeBoeuf says, “a satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.” Give people time, words of appreciation, or gifts and turn price-conscious fence-sitters into loyal followers and friends.

In a digitally saturated generation, print materials are one of the best ways to solidify your business relationships. Want to win over customers month after month so your business will thrive? When you’re ready to talk options, we’re here to help you inspire loyalty through print.

Increase Customer Engagement with Out-of-the-Box QR Codes

Not long ago, scanning books or groceries by a rectangle barcode seemed quite novel.

It was fast, convenient, and just a little fun. But as society’s pace accelerated, so did our need to read barcodes efficiently. In 1994, Japanese auto-makers adopted “Quick Read” QR codes (square matrix barcodes that could be scanned from any direction) that stored a hundred times more information than conventional barcodes.

Enter QR Creativity

In this micro-attention age, QR codes can catch the fleeting attention of your audience by adding both efficiency and quirkiness to your designs.

Today’s customers love to actively participate – not just passively consume – so why not take people on a “digital scavenger hunt” you’ve created by leading them to a URL for your landing page, a direct link to your social media page, or to retrieve personalized texts from your team?

While many QR codes are bland, they don’t have to be. Here are just a few out-of-the-box ways businesses are using printed QR codes to build bridges with clients:

WiFi Network Sharing

Want to make your network accessible and convenient for your guests?

Simplify this step by building a QR code that allows them to connect to your WiFi with just one scan. Instantly connect users to the network and make their lives more simple and stress-free.

Surprise Gifts

Gifts are a treat, but surprise gifts are even better.

When you want to thank a VIP customer or impress a first-time client, offer them a printed thank you postcard with an unexpected giveaway they can access by scanning the QR code. This builds emotional engagement by adding both participation and a greater level of surprise.

Menus

Try replacing bulky tri-folds with simple table tents or bookmarks when you want to keep your menus crisp and current.

Customers can scan the QR code to read the full menu, view seasonal or daily specials, or even pay after completing the order.

Invoice Surveys

When you ship goods to your client, offer a discount if they complete a quick survey after scanning your QR code.

Happy clients are more willing participants. Grab them on the spot as they unbox their new purchases!

Die Cut Overlays

If you use plain brown gift bags or simple white boxes, you can add color and charm with die-cut labels that double as a funky patterned QR code (like this playful QR valentine).

Who says beauty and functionality can’t co-exist? Have some fun taking people on “the code less traveled.”

Captivating Colors

Why live in the monochromatic when you can design in color?

Modern QR code generators allow you to add zest to your QR code based on your aim, style, and brand theme. Some software even allows you to choose patterns, build logos or faces into your code, or add sophisticated gradients.

Bridge the Gap Between Print & Digital

Nielson found about 56% of consumers rely on printed matter for sales information, specifically when seeking information on a purchasing decision.

Print is seen as a concrete, reliable source, especially for prospects nearing a decision. By including QR codes in print marketing, you increase the potential for landing a valuable client. Consider using QR codes for:

  • Product packaging, invoice stuffers
  • Printed menus, business cards, or rack cards
  • Store promotions with discounts available at checkout
  • Promotional games, puzzles, or scavenger hunts
  • Stickers for merchandise, packaging, displays, or cards

Increase your conversion rates while coaxing prospects further down the sales funnel in a fun, effortless manner.

5 Print Marketing Pieces that will Woo Your Corporate Clients

Some of the most effective ways of communicating value don’t require looking up a website or downloading a mobile device teaser program.

In fact, non-digital marketing activities win over corporate clients regularly without ever needing to be plugged in. Here are five of them.

1. Business Cards

Yes, those traditional business cards are still winners.

Business cards provide critical contact information and enough detail on how to connect with an organization quickly. Whether by email, text, phone, or mail, the info on a business card is powerful.

People love business cards because they are easy to transfer, pack, save, and reference. In the corporate world, business cards still resonate.

2. Letterheads and Stationery

In a day and age when so much communication happens by email and texting, the traditional letter stands out, even in a mail pile full of folders and generic material.

Best used when conveying a personal connection, professional letterhead is loved by corporate leaders everywhere and often seen as a sign of respect to the reader.

3. Add to Your Digital Slidedeck

Digital presentations can be so commonplace that people are often bored to death by the lack of engaging multiple senses.

A quick fix? Add printed materials people can hold in their hands that support your digital presentation. A beautifully printed presentation contained in a clean and stylish folder is easy to carry and review hands-on later. Combine a print version of a presentation with a digital slidedeck, and you’re hitting a home run with both formats simultaneously.

4. Company Information Brochures

A tri-fold company brochure is a convenient marketing tool that easily fits in a jacket pocket or folder. And, like business cards and presentation folders, brochures engage multiple senses of sight, touch, and even smell. 

Unlike digital PDFs, professionally printed brochures can be visualized and held easily. They don’t get lost in files like emails and tweets. A well-done brochure with high-impact visuals gets shared with those who matter as well. They are often shown as an example of what’s possible with the right skills hired.

5. Everyone Loves Catalogs

Today, digital menus and scrolling lists have tried to replace catalogs online.

However, the traditional catalog publication stands firm because of its tremendous impact.

Sometimes, folks like to leaf through a well-designed paper catalog to relax and pass the time, which often triggers more sales.

Additionally, companies that provide catalogs are becoming more unique and a stand-out factor from the crowd. Folks do not always remember a general product, but they definitely remember who has a catalog.

Do Your Print Marketing Materials Need an Upgrade?

There is a great deal of time, effort, and energy placed into updating your print marketing materials.

You need to cover all the relevant information in a very limited space. This means you need to fully optimize your messaging and make sure your materials attract attention.

With all this thought going into ensuring packaging and flyers and postcards are fantastic, you may be unwilling to make regular updates. Unfortunately, this can allow your message to become stale or even allow inaccurate information to be shared with customers over time. 

Time to Make a Change! 

Donna, a local florist, realized it had been more than 6-8 months since she reviewed and revised the messaging on her printed materials.

She knew it was probably time to make some tweaks. Businesses can change dramatically over time, with shifts in hours of operation, updated special offers, and more making an appearance. 

Regular reviews to ensure your messaging is still on point helps keep your marketing materials fresh and interesting for repeat customers. Plus, it ensures that any new prospects have your best offer in front of them at all times.

Donna worked with her local print shop to update her messaging, and her customers certainly noticed! She received many positive comments and new clients from an updated postcard and flyer combination that she designed and had printed locally.

Update Graphics and Colors

Has your logo evolved a bit over time?

It’s not unusual to spread out all of your marketing materials on a table and find that you have several iterations of logos or color schemes represented. Viewing your marketing materials together as a whole can add necessary cohesion to your brand. 

While you may not want to follow on-trend color schemes or make changes based on the seasons, you may want to do a quick update to your color palette. Ensuring that your brand look stays fresh and current is an important part of brand management. 

Put Your Best Offer Forward

Are you placing your very best offer in front of clients and prospects? Do you need different offers for individuals at various stages of the buying journey?

Now is a great time to look at your audience segments and see if you can fine-tune any graphics for eye appeal while meeting their unique needs.

Whether you’re looking for options to create branding materials for a new company or simply refreshing your current options, your local print shop is here for you! We work with organizations of all sizes to ensure you have access to exceptional resources to promote your brand. 

Go Print When a Presentation Matters Most

Given the restrictions of 2020 thanks to COVID, the term “slidedeck” has probably entered everyone’s vocabulary far more than they care to know.

With nearly everyone spending at least three hours a day online in digital meetings, digital slide presentations have become commonplace. However, that doesn’t mean going digital is the best choice for those decision-making events.

The Tangibility of Print

The standard for a powerful presentation has been and continues to be the professionally printed presentation package.

Why? In a word – tangibility.

People are tactile creatures, especially when making big decisions that have significant ramifications. Print presentations finished in high-quality stock and graphics meet that innate drive to have something physical in hand before making a big commitment.

3 Reasons Digital Falls Short on Presentations

Going digital with your presentation with a digital slidedeck doesn’t have the same effect on people as print. Here are three reasons digital falls short in this way.

1. Digital Overload

Most audiences are now suffering from digital overload.

You don’t have to go far to hear the constant complaining about having to chew through 50 to 300 emails a day, thanks to an over-reliance on digital communication.

What kind of attention are your presentation attendees going to have left to click open and read through another digital presentation, no matter how well done? 

2. Easily Manipulated Digital Content

Digital files can be easily manipulated, especially if they are going through multiple hands to get to the presentation party.

Many assume that by converting a slidedeck to a PDF format, the file will be protected and its integrity kept the same. This is a false hope. Without a fully encrypted form protection, the file can be tampered with. And when a presentation matters, the sender should make sure the content isn’t tampered with from the version sent to the version being presented.

3. The One-and-Done Digital Dilemma

What happens when a digital presentation is complete?

Does the recipient in a meeting save the digital slidedeck for future reference? It’s unlikely.

Most people just hit the delete button, hoping someone else has a copy if they actually need it again down the line, or hope that it was saved in their email folder. The likelihood of someone reopening a digital slidedeck to read its content completely is highly unlikely given the digital blur most people are under today.

Capture Attention with Print Presentations

A print presentation on high-quality stock makes a huge difference in all of these situations.

People have something tangible to read and hold that isn’t a computer screen. In fact, a professionally finished presentation in print is probably unique and an immediate stand-out in 2021.

And, the presentation can’t be faked, fudged, or tampered with without ruining the package in total. The same can’t be said for a digital file.

Finally, people do actually look at print material repeatedly after seeing it for the first time. If the document isn’t discarded right away, most folks will reread the package before deciding whether to file it, scan it, or recycle it. And that means your message sink in even deeper. 

When a presentation matters, deliver it in print!

6 Tips to Improve Your Printed Newsletters

Online ads, digital promotions, and e-newsletters bombard recipients daily.

Much of this information is being deleted or filtered out without ever being read. Because of this, printed newsletters are making a comeback, and more businesses are using them to keep their customers current with what is happening. 

Regardless of whether the company is already sending out a newsletter or debating on starting one, it is good to learn new ways to improve it. Here are some tips to help improve printed newsletters. 

6 Tips to Improve Your Printed Newsletters

1. Exclusive Information

Offering exclusive information in a newsletter or a special incentive for signing up can help increase the mailing list and encourage recipients to read it.

Information can include unique advice from the CEO, advance notice for special announcements, or information someone can only receive if they read the entire newsletter. Special incentives can include discounts for products or services, gifts, or invitations to special events. 

2. Article Focus

When writing articles for the newsletter, it is essential to make them fun to read and provide valuable information.

By offering valuable information, readers become informed about products, services, or events, which lead to future sales. Encourage employees to contribute and write articles to provide more variety in writing styles and topics. 

3. Add Personalized Content

Create newsletter articles for the individual needs of specific groups.

Writing for targeted groups may require multiple newsletters to achieve; however, it may be worth the investment if a business targets multiple groups of people. For example, a major real estate company may want to create two newsletters, one for those who need real estate information to buy or sell homes and then a second newsletter for real estate agents. 

4. Use Color

Color attracts the eye and draws people in, encouraging them to continue reading.

Color animates everything, and one of the most popular newspapers — USA Today — implements lots of color in its papers. Use color to complement the article topics and other images within the newsletter. 

5. Placement of Images

In addition to using color to attract readers, the placement and use of images and photos will help draw readers.

Many will look at images and read their captions first before reading the article. Use photos and images that help better explain an article and be visually attractive for newsletter skimmers. One tip to keep in mind is to use the dollar bill test. It should be possible to place a dollar bill anywhere on the newsletter, and it should be touching an image.  

6. Offer an Online Option

Though having a printed newsletter to read in hand is preferred by many, some still want access to the same information online.

Create a section on the website to include links to PDF files or online versions of the newsletter. For example, The Disney Company has printed The Mickey Monitor for years to send out quarterly to annual pass holders to its theme parks. However, the newsletter is also accessible online. 

Nonprofits and groups are also offering printed newsletters online as a virtual reference. When signing up for the newsletter from Widowed Persons Service, recipients can select to receive a printed newsletter or one via their email. 

When done correctly, a printed newsletter can attract attention and be an excellent tool for a company. Regardless of the newsletter’s purpose — boost sales, attract new clients, or educate employees — there is sure to be a return on the investment associated with the costs of printing the newsletter.

Why 2021 Direct Mail Marketing for Food Businesses Retail Still Matters

While people are finally able to obtain a vaccine for COVID-19 and the ability to travel, move around, shop, and dine out is increasing, restaurants have a long hill ahead of them before getting back to a business “normality.”

In fact, entire behavior patterns have changed in people after a year of completely living at home and avoiding regular work presence, school, commuting, and traffic. And that means businesses have to work extra hard in diversifying how they produce income and revenue channels to stay viable.

Many restaurants realized early the only way they were going to stay in business was to boost their ability to handle delivery, ordering out, pick up, and other forms of fresh-cooked food transfer to customers who could no longer dine in.

While people generally tried producing their food regularly at home, overall, Americans are used to picking up and eating out. So, the demand never actually left; it was stifled by COVID restrictions.

However, even now, many communities are still maintaining social restrictions to prevent new COVID infections until vaccinations are fully in place at every age level. That means restaurants and food preparation businesses have to continue leveraging direct mail to be heard, seen, connect and remain on the attention radar of customers.

4 Reasons Direct Mail Works

1. Direct mail is almost always local.

The most likely customers that can and will visit a restaurant from the surrounding area are the primary target for print mails.

2. Direct mail marketing for food businesses is significantly lower in cost than other marketing channels.

This is a key factor for food businesses that are already strapped and trying to stay in breakeven with the loss of income thanks to COVID.

3. Direct mail has a higher return on investment.

The return on investment of a simple print card mailer can be thousands upon thousands of dollars when a customer responds to an included call to action.

Add in the additional benefit of discounting, and that same customer is likely to buy even more, increasing a business’s revenue and cash flow per sale.

4. Direct mailers should be designed to be re-used.

Customers love the ability to use a marketing tool or coupon repeatedly.

And that creates both business retention and a greater amount of income stream for a restaurant or food business, again the primary goal of the effort in the first place.

Now is the Time

Restaurants and food businesses that rely on retail traffic shouldn’t be waiting for social restrictions to lift further.

Marketing for food businesses takes time to have a positive effect, which is why direct mail efforts need to be sent out on a cyclical basis, pushing and reminding folks of a restaurant’s presence and availability.

As people keep being reminded, especially as they start commuting to work again, the food business will become viable and convenient for a warm meal, even if it is still takeout or delivery. Card stock direct mailers can help tremendously. So don’t wait for the market to reappear. Get out there and chase it now!

The Do’s and Don’ts for how to take great photos with iphone.

When it comes to great print marketing, high-quality images can make all the difference.

Since most people today have a smartphone they use for taking pictures rather than a digital camera. You may be asking how to take great photos with iphone? Here are five do’s and don’ts for taking better pictures with your iPhone.

DO’S

1. Do use portrait mode when capturing pictures that focus on people.

Many forget to make good use of the portrait mode when capturing a friend or family member. Portrait mode will focus on the person only and blur out the background. This mimics the effect that a professional camera reflects.

2. Do keep your “live” feature on when taking pictures of moving objects or people.

Using the “live” feature comes in handy for things or people that move quickly, for instance – a busy baby or a sports game. After the live picture is captured, you will be able to go back, edit the picture, and choose which frame you’d like to be the key photo.

3. Do make sure your camera lens is not foggy or smudged.

This is something that is commonly overlooked when pulling your phone out to take a picture. Wiping off the lens with a cloth or t-shirt will make a marvelous difference in the clarity of your picture.

4. Do use the “auto” edit wand for each picture.

It’s as easy as it sounds! Clicking that auto edit wand will do wonders on your pictures if you don’t know where to start. It’ll auto-adjust the white balance, color tone, exposure, etc.

5. Do use natural lighting for better color and clarity.

Use sunlight at every chance you get. The more natural lighting you use, the less grainy your images will look. For example, standing near a window when indoors will allow natural lighting to come into your picture.

DON’TS

1. Don’t use the front camera for anything except selfies.

The front camera on an iPhone is usually a lower megapixel than the rear-facing camera. The images taken with the front-facing camera will turn out more “grainy” than images captured with the rear-facing camera.

2. Don’t stick to the default filters that Apple provides.

There are many other filters available, especially on Lightroom and for purchase, that provide better color for your pictures.

3. Don’t expect as high of quality when using iPhone pictures at a larger scale.

iPhone has a great camera, but it can’t be compared to a $2,000+ DSLR camera. If you’re looking to enlarge a picture for a canvas or banner, it’s best to rely on the use of a professional camera rather than a smartphone.

After following these tips on how to take great photos with iphone, your iPhone pictures will be worth more than a thousand words. And, when you’re ready to get those pictures out to the world through great print marketing, give us a call!

Add Zest to Summer Designs with 10 Hot Color Combos

It has been said that color is a power that directly influences our soul.

A common obstacle for designers is choosing colors. And you should not take this choice lightly! There is great energy in certain combinations – a good color palette will be unique, seductive, and harmonious.

Warmer seasonal temps offer a great chance to color outside the lines with playful, lavish options. Need inspiration? Here are a few feisty blends for your summer design toolbox:

10 Feisty Blends for Your Summer Design Toolbox

1. Cool Gray – Neon Orange – Plum Purple

These call-to-action colors bring a sense of health and vibrancy, with an air of sophistication and an invitation to adventure.

2. Magenta – Vibrant Turquoise – Black

Fire up confidence with bright shades that bring flavor and fun!

3. Sapphire Blue – Shadow Gray – Neon Yellow

Like a bright peacock feather, this gorgeous blue-green combination brings a royal, confident air to any page.

4. Bright Green – Dark Violet – Lava Gray

Like a sunset dip in the Caribbean, these rich colors satisfy the soul in a lush, confident array.

5. Flaming Fuchsia – Black – Sandy Tan

Want to steal the stage with your design? The bold contrasts in this palette exude vibrance, feminine strength, and a rugged road for the journey.

6. Solar Yellow – Electric Blue – Charcoal

When you want to add punch to your page, the rich extremes of this triad bring a fluorescent finish that is fierce yet fun!

7. Pearl Aqua – Cyber Grape – Daisy Yellow

These colors bring a burst of energy with bright hues and an interesting, sophisticated contrast.

8. Lime Punch – Cool Gray – Tangerine

Heat up appetites with this tropical, zesty arrangement that will compel people to give your business a try!

9. Terra Firma Green – Magenta – Sunlight Yellow

Like interwoven threads of a tribal mosaic, the sharp contrasts in this palette bring a sense of depth, mystery, and variety.

10. Carnation – Dark Lilac – Peachy Rose

Like a seashell deposited on a white-washed beach, this royal blend awakens a sense of purity and opulence, projecting an air of poise and splendor.

Find Your Favorites in Nature

Still looking for just the right summer designs blend? The natural world is a great place to look.

— The sunset is not just orange; it is apricot, bronze, mauve, and amber.

— A tropical beach is not just blue; it is turquoise, coral, tan, and chartreuse.

— A poplar tree is not just green; it is a mix of jungle green, lime, silver-green, light brown, cool gray, and white.

When you find a natural image that inspires you, snap a photo and take it to the drawing board. Sample distinct colors from different parts of the photo and examine which hues move you the most. Most compelling swaths from nature include a system of colors ranging from dark to light and intense to soft. Find what is unique and powerful about these grand images and replicate them in your own seasonal designs.

The psychological association of a color can often be more potent than a visual impression. So be intentional (but brave!) with your summer designs palettes, and let these blends sell for you!