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If you want your business card to turn into sales, then you must pay careful attention to how it's created. Here are five tips for designing an effective business card.

Of course, holiday income doesn't generate itself. If you really want to rake in the sales this holiday season, you have to prepare for it... through marketing.

Survey: Marketing Budgets Soar!

Every year, Target Marketing surveys its readership to identify trends for the upcoming marketing year. This year, its “2019 Marketing Budget Survey” found that a whopping 10x more marketing budgets are increasing for 2019 than decreasing. Great news! That’s the kind of commitment that gets results.

Here’s how the data on respondents’ budgets broke out:

• 60% increasing
• 31% staying the same
• 6% decreasing
• 3% not sure

As part of its survey, Target Marketing also identified three top marketing trends that all marketers, whether digital or traditional (or both), need to know.

1. More money is going to tech and data.

Marketers’ highest spend is going for media and other outreach (28%) and personnel (20%). That’s to be expected, but this year, they take up less than half of marketers’ budgets overall. Technology, consumer data/data management, and metrics/performance measurement combined to account for 42% of spending overall. Data is the foundation of good marketing, and marketers’ budgets are reflecting that.

2. Marketing is moving from push to pull.

Channels that use pull marketing (social media, online video, content marketing) are growing faster than those that push (email). Social media advertising (59%), online video (54%), and content marketing (53%) are the fastest growing media channels. As you integrate digital media into your marketing efforts, make sure you are incorporating channels that pull, as well as push.

3. Marketers still demand conversions.

When it comes to grading performance, conversion metrics win the most favor for budgeting. As you justify your 2019 marketing budget to the higher-ups, focus on metrics that reflect conversions. Select metrics such as sales, lead generation, and sign-ups that prove that you are getting those conversions, however you define them.

Next year is going to be an exciting year for marketers, full of change and opportunity. How are you allocating your budget?

Why Some Personalized Mailings Just Work Better

When it comes to increasing response and conversion rates, personalized communications are a powerful tool. However, don’t think that all personalization is equal. It isn’t. To get great results, you must use the right variables with the right audience in the right way.

Response rates for personalized mailings can vary widely. One study found response rates ranging from 6% to 75%, with an average of 21%. These are some eye-catching numbers, but why is the range so wide? To understand the variation and set realistic expectations for your own campaigns, it’s helpful to ask specific questions.

• What type of campaign was it? Customer acquisition? Customer retention?
• What kind of list did you use? Highly targeted, moderately targeted, or undifferentiated lists will yield different results.
• Did recipients have a previous relationship with your company? Or are you using a prospect list?
• What is the value of the product? Are you marketing a webinar or selling a Tesla?
• Did per-order value go up with personalization, and if so, by how much? A “low” response rate combined with a high per-order value will often net you better ROI than a high response rate with low per-order value.
• How are you measuring success? Response rates? Conversion rates? Cost per lead? Average sale? Each measurement tells a different story.

The answers to such questions can have a dramatic impact on understanding ROI. So before setting your expectations for your next personalized mailing, talk to us about your goals, expectations, and the data you are working with. Setting realistic expectations is a critical component to making your 1:1 print program a success.

If you’re not sure where to begin your marketing efforts this week, here are seven big ideas for you to take advantage of with Thanksgiving marketing.

Guest bloggers are a great way to incorporate new content into a business blog, without worrying about generating new ideas or writing the content yourself.

With election day right around the corner, there are a few ways your business can get on board the political bandwagon and market through the red, white and blue.

With Halloween just around the corner this week, how can your business join in the festivities? Here are a few spooky good marketing tricks to consider for Halloween.

Fortunately, there are a few tips every business professional can keep in mind when it comes to creating a logo. Here's how to design an appealing logo for your business.

Reading offers a variety of benefits to business professionals, particularly in strengthening leadership skills. Check out these five reasons reading makes you a better leader.

Fortunately, there are some tips out there to help you write a powerful newsletter in order to connect with customers, promote the brand and grow the business.

Securing Your Customers’ Loyalty

Your customers are a hot commodity. Everybody wants them. So how do you keep them loyal to you? Make your relationship so great that they don’t want to go anywhere else.

1. Market in the age of “me.”

Know your customers well enough to give them a personalized experience. This goes beyond targeting with basic demographics like gender, age, and household income. Look at the channels your customers respond to, when they make purchases, and what they buy. Acting on this data helps your customers see that you know and care about them. It helps with cross-sells and upsells, too!

2. Coupons galore!

Consumers have a love affair with coupons, including mobile. According to Juniper Research, mobile coupons are 10x more likely to be used than printed coupons.

3. Don’t be channel agnostic.

Know which channels your customers are most likely to respond to, then use them. If a customer requires two emails to respond but responds the first time to direct mail, get them on the “mail first” list. If someone else is more likely to respond to an email than a printed newsletter, get them on the “email first” list. Keep your branding, message, and imaging consistent regardless of channel.

4. Ask their opinion.

Use response cards, personalized URLs, and other survey mechanisms to get your customers’ opinion on products, services, and potential business changes. When one specialty retailer wanted to give its location a facelift, it used a targeted direct mail piece with personalized URLs to ask its customers about products and services they wanted but the company didn’t offer. It got an earful! The retailer incorporated the most popular suggestions, and its sales soared.

5. Remember to say “thank you.”

Everyone likes to be appreciated. Send a personalized “thank you” letter, postcard, or other mailer once in a while. Attach a no-strings coupon or discount just to engender their goodwill . . . and you will.

Gaining customer loyalty doesn’t have to be rocket science. You just have to put in the effort.

By developing your networking skills, you can continue to expand your business circle, which provides more resources and opportunities. Here’s how to grow your circle.

While natural leaders do exist, it is also possible to learn leadership skills, put them into practice and grow your leadership capabilities.

So, how can you kick off your September marketing? Here are seven super September marketing ideas for you to jump start your marketing this month and head into the season.

Ask any small business owner and they’ll say that Labor Day sales are only as good as Labor Day marketing. But if you haven’t started yet, it’s still not too late!

When businesses fail to market to existing customers—and only focus on bringing in new ones—they leave money on the table, and can end up losing loyal customers.

Needless to say, customer service is an incredibly important aspect of any business model. So, here are five ways your business can have better customer service.

A multi-channel marketing strategy is more than simply launching some marketing initiatives on multiple platforms. Instead, a true multi-channel approach creates a unified experience across more than one channel so you can reach your target audience wherever they may be interacting with you at the moment.

This approach is effective as today's consumers have a lot of technology at their fingertips and want to engage with companies in a variety of ways, but without feeling like they are jumping around while doing so. For example, a potential customer may come across your Facebook feed and click a link to read a post on your blog. From there, they may venture into your business to learn more.

That customer wants to feel like they've accessed a single touch point--your company--even though it was really three unique points. Here are a few ways to adopt a multi-channel strategy into your mix.

Before You Get Started

Before you venture into a multi-channel strategy, there are a few important ducks to get in a row. The first is to have a consistent look and feel across all your channels, so make sure your social media feeds, website, and printed materials all have the same branding elements to create a uniform experience.

Next, take the time to create a thorough profile of your target audiences. Without a deep understanding of their needs along with plenty of details about their online and offline habits, you won't be able to leverage the strengths of different channels in a way that will make your audience respond. In other words, you can't give people what they want if you don't know what that is.

Then, make sure you have specific, measurable goals for your strategies so you'll know whether your initiatives are effective or not. That way, you can double down on what's working and take a second look at anything that's not working so you're not wasting resources.

3 Ways to Approach Multi-Channel Marketing

Any combination of marketing channels is possible when creating a multi-channel marketing strategy. Here are three of them to give you a jumping-off point when planning yours.

1. PPC Ad Extensions. Pay-per-click ad extensions from Google give you several options for bringing search traffic to other channels once your ads are seen, especially for mobile users. One option advertisers are given include a "view offer" link that directs clicks to a landing page and allows users to print or save offers for use in-store.

There are lots of other options for ad extensions, too. Some let you provide extra details about your products and services, show specific call-to-action buttons, display store locations, clickable phone numbers that dial the call, and buttons for mobile app downloads.

Each of these can be used to capture the attention of people who are using Google to solve problems and search for solutions, and bring them into the fold of your other channels.

2. Event Warmups. Let's say there's a big tradeshow or conference coming up for your industry and you're deep into the planning stages for the event. Your tradeshow booth and marketing materials are designed and with the printer for production. Your customized swag is on its way. Your collateral packages are ready and you've had extra business cards printed with a custom URL to welcome new prospects you've met at the event.

Along with these preparations, give your audience a bit of a brand warmup in the days or weeks leading up to the event. This will provide them with an opportunity to see your name a few times and have an idea of what you're about rather than encountering you for the first time at the event. For example, a targeted social media ad campaign can help boost your name recognition while also drawing in potential event attendees.

3. Paper Outreach. There are lots of ways to build your digital audience, but an often overlooked avenue is offline campaigns. A direct mail campaign that targets less-frequent digital users can be a great way to bring new people into your online space--especially if you've been unable to reach them with digital efforts due to their infrequent connection to the web.

Consider an offer sent via U.S. mail that invites people to "check in on Facebook" the next time they are in a store to receive a discount. Or a printed insert that can be handed to customers at the checkout that directs them to your website for more offers. You can keep these outreach efforts simple, or try something fun like creating a photo booth in your store with props and signage. Customers can snap a pic and upload it to social media to share with their friends.

When you encourage customers to bring their in-store experiences online, not only will those customers then be part of your digital network, but your brand will be exposed to all of their connections as well.

Always Consider Customers

The key to making cross-channel promotions work is to focus on what your customers will respond to. There may not be much action from a photo booth at the tax accountant's office, but those clients are very likely to be interested in your blog series on how to be smart about tax-advantaged savings accounts. When you put your customer's needs first and keep your branding and messaging consistent across all your assets, your audience will enjoy a seamless trip across channels and you'll meet your marketing goals.

What exactly is responsive website design, and why does it matter for your business? Let’s dive into a few reasons why your business website should be responsive.

As we approach the back-to-school season, you should have a plan in place to market to consumers in order to attract them to buy your product or service.

If you’re not sure where to start with your competition, don’t worry. We’ve compiled a list of five ways, to get you started.

A vision statement is a vital part of any successful small business, so today we explore how to craft an effective vision statement to move the business forward.

If you want your sales to stay successful after Independence Day, then you’re going to need a second strategy to implement once the day comes to an end.

With all of the excitement surrounding the Fourth of July, consumers are searching for sales. How does your business join in? Here are a few marketing reminders.

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    Canon
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    Xerox
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    LM
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    Heidelberg

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