Focus on adding value if you want to stay ahead

8 02 2011
Customers looking to buy hot food from stall i...

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I ran across an interesting quote recently that I thought I’d share. “Times are tough. In times like these, clients tend to focus on the value proposition. ‘Throw it at the wall and see if it sticks’ is not a phrase you hear a lot in recessions. Instead, your customers will tend to have their eyes transfixed on your value proposition. ‘How does this spend make me better off?'”

I saw that on a site about something entirely un-print related, but it is so true for so many industries that it cried out to be quoted. Printing hasn’t been about “seeing what sticks” for years. I bet your industry hasn’t either. I know that we have been focusing on making you better off for an awfully long time. But even so, it bears repeating.

You need marketing. Why? Because you want customers. But you don’t want to waste your marketing dollars. As printers, we recognize that and have continued to adapt our product and service line to remain in line with our customers’ needs as they evolve.

Of course, the same is true of your customers and the products and services you provide to them. Your customers don’t want to spend money just for the sake of the next new thing. Make sure your value proposition makes sense to your customers, too.

Want to be better off? I’m around! http://www.eprint.us/





The benefits of buying locally

7 02 2011
Hipermercado Jumbo Portal Tucumán, Tucumán, Ar...

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about online internet printing…something that, in a sense, we offer, too, with our website and our online ordering and our online estimating. But I was thinking about why anyone would pick an online printer when they could pick us instead.

Is http://www.mybigfatonlineprinter.com going to pick up the phone at 7 p.m. when you are having a crisis? Are they going to work on Super Bowl Sunday because you have a big presentation on Monday? No. But here is the other thing. They don’t buy stuff from you. They don’t send kids to your schools. They don’t talk to you at the grocery store.

So what’s a local printer to do? For that matter, what’s the owner of any small, local company supposed to do when faced with larger or out-of-market competitors online?

For me, I decided to fight back… and I came up with a BRILLIANT plan. Ready? I’m going to offer you incredible service, incredible quality, and be incredibly responsive to you. Best of all, I’m going to do ALL of that at a fair price! I know — IT’S UNBELIEVABLE!

Okay, I’m at the office, and I’m waiting for your call!





The surprising value of a lifelong customer

1 02 2011
Customers

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How many customers do you have? A florist might say 1,000. Printers — well, we have a few, too, right? How much is your average sale? For realtors (according to Google) — about $260,000. For florists (I’m guessing here) — $100. Printers… well, you know what you spend with us.

So think about it this way:

The big money isn’t in creating products; it’s in creating customers. A single, lifelong customer who lives his life spending the way you want him to may be worth six or seven figures. A single one.

That guy who spends $2,500 a year with you is worth $60,000 over a lifetime (25 years). That means you only need SIXTEEN lifetime customers to reach a million dollars. Want $10 million? That is only 160 lifetime customers.

Yes, I know it doesn’t work that way all the time, or for everyone. But I also know this. Customer loyalty counts. And that’s worth a million every time. What do you think? Let us know!





Social media sites are eager to answer your questions

28 01 2011
The Yahoo! Answers green smiley.
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Gotta question? Or maybe an answer? It seems more and more social media sites are listening. LinkedIn has long had a LinkedIn Answers feature, where people can ask business-related questions and get answers from experts in the community. Facebook added Facebook Questions late last year, and Quora, a relatively new kid on the block, is based entirely on questions and answers from members of its growing community.

Question and answer features provide an excellent opportunity for finding information and for setting yourself apart as an expert in your field. On Quora, for example, members can view questions based on topic, follow specific topics that interest them to see what others are asking, follow specific questions to see new answers as they appear, and rate answers, so the best answers work their way to the top of the heap. The Quora website is built on a structure similar to Wikipedia and uses moderators to ensure content is appropriate.

Starting out on any new social site can be a bit daunting. Before asking a new question on Quora, Facebook Questions, or a similar website, look for similar questions that have already been posted. With thousands of questions in place on virtually every topic under the sun, don’t be surprised if your question has already been asked and answered. As you become more familiar with the site, start answering questions that fit your area of expertise. Engage with other users who share your interests, and stay involved.

For more information about Quora, visit http://www.quora.com. To learn more about Facebook Questions, visit http://www.facebook.com/questions/. And to join the conversation at LinkedIn, go to http://www.LinkedIn.com/answers/.

Oh — and we answer questions here too you know…about printing and marketing and about color and paper and all sorts of things. Just drop us a line! www.eprint.us





The continuing growth of social media marketing

23 01 2011

Subject: The continuing growth of social media marketing

Social media marketing is becoming an important cog in the wheel of many companies’ overall marketing plans. According to HubSpot.com, U.S. advertisers spent $1.7 billion (that’s billion with a “b”) in 2010 on social media marketing. Of that, 53% was spent advertising on Facebook. Globally, companies spent $3.4 billion on social media marketing in 2010.

Pepsi — a staple of Super Bowl ads for decades — has announced that it will not run any ads in this year’s game. Instead, the company will invest more heavily in social media campaigns.

So what are the most popular social media channels for large companies? HubSpot reports that 65% of Fortune Global 100 companies maintain a corporate Twitter account, 54% host a Facebook page, 50% have a company YouTube channel, and 33% run a company blog.

Having a Facebook page, Twitter account, or blog is one thing. Keeping it active is something else entirely. Of the companies cited earlier who use T witter, 82% post multiple tweets per week. Among corporate YouTube users, 68% upload at least one new video per month. On Facebook, 59% post at least once per week. And 36% of corporations with blogs update those blogs at least once every month.

While HubSpot focused its research on larger corporations, social media marketing is ideally suited for small businesses, too. The cost of getting started is minimal, and commitment can grow and scale over time.

If you aren’t using social media marketing, I recommend you start. If you can’t commit too much time, that’s ok. Start small, and build your efforts as time allows. Begin with a Facebook page for your company, a blog (like this one), or a Twitter account. Make a plan for adding new content regularly. And engage with customers who engage with you online.

Once you’re started, include the address for each of your social media channels on your website. Add your Twitter name to your business cards. And begin to engage with your customers and prospective customers through social media. You’ll be glad you did.

If you’d like to see more from the HubSpot study referenced in this post, visit:
http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/8594/Social-Media-Marketing-By-The-Numbers-Infographic.aspx





Change — and controversy — are brewing at Starbucks

18 01 2011
CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 29:  Starbucks VIA Ready B...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Starbucks has decided to rid itself of the bothersome words “Starbucks Coffee” in its logo and leave behind only their green mermaid. The company says it’s making the change because it sells more than coffee.

This is a pretty familiar issue to printers who debate changing their name from SomeName Printing Company to SomeName Marketing Company, in order to emphasize the diversity of products and services they provide. It’s equally familiar to any company that is thinking about rebranding.

Some people think such a name change is a silly move. “I think it’s nuts,” said James Gregory, chief executive of brand consulting firm CoreBrand, in a Reuters article. “What’s it going to be — the coffee formerly known as Starbucks?”

On the other hand, there are companies for which their logo is so universal they don’t need anything else. Apple comes to mind. For their part, Starbucks says, “Our new evolution liberates the siren from the outer ring, making her the true, welcoming face of Starbucks.”

So I guess the question is — what do you think? Will you buy more stuff from Starbucks, sans the “coffee”? And would you ever consider a similar move for your own company?

For reference, here’s a link to the Reuters’ piece quoted above:
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE7045YF20110106





The Nation’s Mood, According to Twitter

14 01 2011
Follow me on Twitter logo
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Researchers using data from Twitter, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the Google Maps API have mapped the mood of our nation over a three-year span, based primarily on what we tweeted about during that time. A joint venture of scientists at Harvard and Northeastern universities, the study looked at 300 million tweets sent between September 2006 and August 2009. Here are some of the findings:

* Tweeters tend to be happiest early in the morning (around 6:00am) and later in the day (around 10:30-11:00pm). Moods dip to their lowest in the early afternoon, then slowly begin to rise again.

* Not surprisingly, weekends (Saturdays and Sundays) are the happiest days of the week. In fact, Sunday morning ranks the highest overall.

* Thursday — not Monday — sees the lowest dip, on average, of any of the days. Our collective mood bottoms out on Thursday evenings, apparently.

Tweets were scored against the Affective Norms for English Words (ANEW) word list to determine their overall “mood.” The researchers say they plan to continue their work into the future, with further breakdowns of weekday versus weekend moods.

More details can be found online at the study’s website:
http://www.ccs.neu.edu/home/amislove/twittermood/

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