How In-Plants Can Use Cross Media: Part II

Missed part I of this mini series? Please click here to read my previous post!

What cross media channels can my in-plant facility choose from?

The list of channels available today can be overwhelming. Before we get into the different channels available, a word of advice: choose a few key channels that you think will work best for your target audience, and build on them as you go. Trying to blast your message to all channels at once can spread your message too thin, so it gets lost in the marketing chatter consumers face every day.

CrossMediaLifecycleHere’s a brief breakdown of a few different types of channels you can use:

  • Traditional / Offline: This includes direct mail, signage and billboards, television, radio, and events. Just because all the cool kids are on social media these days doesn’t mean they’re not still consuming these traditional channels, so you shouldn’t drop them either.
  • Social Media: It’s the 900-lb. gorilla in the room, so let’s talk about it next. Social media is so crucial because your audience is likely to be using it on a daily basis. Twitter has more than 300 million active monthly users, generating more than 500 million tweets every day. Facebook is the bigger of the two giants, with more than a billion active users. And those users are more than happy to interact with their favorite brands on social media; Coca Cola’s Facebook page has more than 92 million followers. Imagine having the ear of that many potential customers!
  • Your Website (preferably optimized for mobile): It may seem obvious, but your website is another marketing channel. Optimize it for mobile (meaning your site displays nicely on smartphones and tablets), and you’ve got two channels in one.
  • Mobile: This includes mobile apps, which can take a number of different forms depending on your business and your customers’ needs.

Those are just a few of your choices; your final mix will depend on which channels your customers are likely to consume. More on that next:

How can we incorporate cross media into our marketing plan?

So you’re sold on cross media. Great! But…how do you get started? Probably the simplest way is to find places where you can incorporate it into your current marketing plan.

Sending a direct mail campaign? Use key elements from it on your social media platforms, and allow customers to respond to the campaign via social channels. For example, you could run a contest, advertise it via direct mail, and let customers tweet their entries on Twitter.

The most important thing to remember when using cross media is to keep your brand image consistent across channels. Use the same images, and adapt the same messages for different channels. You want your brand voice to sound the same no matter where your customers hear it.

Cross media marketing can be a powerful addition to your marketing toolkit. Keep your customers’ preferences and needs in mind, and your cross media campaign could give your profits and brand image a big boost.

I hope you enjoyed this two-part mini series on how in-plants can use cross media marketing to improve their results. Please comment below with any additional comments or feedback!

Tips for Finding Success with Warehouse and Inventory Management

interlinkONE’s team of fulfillment operations experts sat down recently and developed a quick list of useful tips for service providers who are looking to expand their warehouse, fulfillment, and inventory solutions base. It’s not enough nowadays to simply add a page to your website that says you are now offering inventory and warehouse management as a solution. So, if you’re looking to capitalize on the opportunities posed by many businesses’ difficulties with inventory and warehouse management, consider these tips:

  • It all starts with a plan. When it comes to offering services to a wide range of industries, and combating business challenges such as difficulty with order placement, it all starts with a plan.
  • Remember who your customer base is. Segmenting your warehouse and inventory offerings by industry is a key element to remember when crafting your plan as well.
  • Utilize information from friendly competitors. Before offering fulfillment services to a new market, find market leaders who have successfully offered these types of solutions in the past and that are willing to share their secrets.
  • Identify the best in class vendor suppliers who can help you. Providing quality inventory and warehouse management solutions takes partnerships and relationship building with vendors, contractors, and other suppliers who all play critical roles in your production.
  • Be conscious of any skillsets that will be needed. Before you dive in and start offering solutions to the struggling marketplace, be sure to identify any necessary skillsets you will need to run successfully.
  • Consider engaging a qualified consultant. Bringing a consultant on board who has years of experience in the order management, inventory, and warehouse operations fields can only help your business be more efficient in the long run.
  • Software is king. Lastly and arguably most important, do not take the software component to your operation lightly. Your software is a key differentiator between you and the other service providers out there.

Use these tips to give your business a head start in offering warehouse and inventory management solutions. Don’t forget to keep your end goal and end user in mind. The sales or account rep who is looking to place a simple order for one of his/her clients is looking to do just that: a routine task that should truly be simple. But, because this has become such a difficulty in today’s modern and high-tech landscape, this is your chance to capitalize on new business opportunities. Being the print, mail, or fulfillment service provider to a growing number of industries isn’t as hard as it sounds!

Oh, and one last tip! If you’re looking for more advice on tips for finding success with warehouse and inventory management, or if you’re looking to implement a new software solution for your print, mail, or fulfillment operation, that’s absolutely something we can help with. Don’t miss fulfillment expert and Vice President of interlinkONE, Karen DeWolfe, as she hosts a free, interactive webinar,Effective Warehouse and Inventory Management Tips for Success.” Click here to sign up and learn more about expanding your business operations this year.

March Marketing Minute: Improve Your Inbound Marketing

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Did you catch our Marketing Minute this month? If not, no worries! Read below to learn all about why your organization needs inbound marketing and learn tips from one of our marketing strategy specialists.

At the end of the day, the fact is that many organizations don’t focus enough on inbound marketing. In traditional marketing, you send your message out to the masses, consistently spending time and resources hoping that your target market responds. With inbound marketing, you lay the groundwork, and your audience comes to you. And, while it takes some work, in the end you’re left with a marketing campaign working on its own to help drive sales inquiries for your team.

Sounds good, right? So, what can you do to implement this type of strategy for your organization?

Click here to watch as Director of Marketing Strategy, Samantha Lake, shows you how you can implement a successful inbound marketing campaign, and don’t forget to read “Can Inbound and Content Marketing Replace Your Sales Force?” after.

4 Metrics to Effectively Track Print

While it sure can be fun to generate personalized URLs and QR codes and then put them on a piece of printed material (direct mail, flyers, brochures, etc), the real enjoyment can come from the time you spend actually tracking and measuring how things are working.

Online printHere are four metrics that may help you track print effectively:

  1. The number of people that scanned or clicked: Half the battle of launching a successful marketing effort involves simply getting someone’s attention. How can you make your message stand out from the clutter of other messages that the recipient may have received? Well, pay attention to the group that at least takes some action on your response mechanisms. Even if they do not actually respond to your questions on the landing page, the act of scanning a QR Code, typing in a URL, or sending a text message involves effort. That bit of effort may indicate a bit of interest in your message; thus, those people should be treated differently than those found a home for your printed materials in their waste basket.
  2. The number of people that responded: Yes, we love these folks. They took the time to visit your response page, enter some contact information, and perhaps answer a few questions. Make sure that you are ready to embrace these inquiries as quick as possible. Of course, pay attention to the data that they provide to you! If they shared preferences on how they prefer to be contacted or in what they’re interested in, make sure that you respect and honor that.
  3. Where the responders are in the pipeline: At some point, leads are handed off between marketing and sales departments. However, marketing’s job is to support sales the entire way through the pipeline. Thus, marketing folks should have the ability (and the desire) to see where the inquiries and leads they’ve generated have moved down to in the sales funnel.
  4. Actionable intelligence from the responders’ feedback: We often tend to look at each response and lead as its own entity. This is good and understandable. However, we should also look at the data from a high-level perspective. Take the time to look for trends — when do people click? When do they respond? What answers are being provided/selected by the majority of folks?

Answers to these four metrics should certainly help us to grasp whether our current printed materials are effectively reaching our audience. But more importantly, they should also help us to create and launch better marketing efforts in the future.

How to Boost Your Mailing Revenue in 2015

As a mailing house, you provide at time-saving service for your clients that makes their business run that much more smoothly. But, no business should rest on its laurels, so it’s always a good idea to turn your thoughts to what you can do to make your business that much more successful and see some great results in terms of increasing profits. The key to kicking your mailing revenue into high gear is to take a two-pronged approach: streamline your service to provide the best service you can in the most efficient way, and look at what you offer your clients to see how you could help them and increase your profits at the same time.

Streamline Your Service

When it comes to boosting your revenue, start by taking a good look at every aspect of your mailing business and figuring out what is working well, and where you are seeing some waste or hold ups in your processes that need addressing. From handling incoming orders to getting the timing right on production, preparation, and posting, the simple act of looking at each process and seeing what works and what doesn’t can help you to streamline the way you run your business.

Expand What You Offer

Your customers know they can rely on your services, but what else could you do for their business? The more comprehensive a mailing service you can offer them, the better. They’ll know they can turn to you for advice and help and for a complete service that supports their business.

From design services that personalize each piece of mail, to purchasing mailing lists or helping clients figure out their target market, expanding your services is an important part of giving your profits that desired boost.

Let Your Customers Know Why They Should Choose You

So, you’ve got your mailing business running efficiently, and you’ve given serious consideration to what you can offer your clients to put you head and shoulders above the competition. Don’ forget the vital step of letting your clients know about it. There are many steps you can take to self-promote your business, and you can also use a matching service to assist you in getting maximum exposure and finding the right customers who need your services. Sites such as MyMailConnection.com are available to help businesses find you and match your print or mail business with potential customers looking for work.

Take advantage of these opportunities and make sure your marketing materials make it clear how you can help your customers’ businesses to grow and be successful. Then, they will have compelling reasons to do business with you.

With care, attention, and the willingness to grow and go the extra mile for your customers, you can make your mailing house more successful than ever, giving you a bright future.

4 Essential Sales Skills Your Modern Sales Team Needs

Most businesses and associations understand that the old, high-pressure sales tactics of the past are no longer useful. Today’s businessman wants solutions from providers who actually understand the modern business environment – and who are dedicated to helping their clients succeed.

That means you might have to update your sales team’s skills to deliver what your customers and members want. Here are the four essential sales skills your sales reps need to brush up on:

Conversations and Relationship Building

In order to be successful these days, you need to build trust with your customers and members – and that starts with building meaningful business relationships with them.

Your sales team needs to know the industry inside and out, as well as your audience’s unique business world. Having this knowledge will enable them to ask intelligent questions to learn what your audience really wants and needs from your business or association, and offer solutions to help them succeed.

You can also build these relationships by using your industry knowledge to educate your customers, members, and prospects. By offering them new ideas and perspectives on their business challenges, you’ll show them the value in doing business with you.

Social Media

Maybe it goes without saying, but it’s an important point: Social media is an essential tool for any modern sales professional.

Just about everyone is on at least one social network. Many people use social media to get suggestions and reviews for products and services before buying. Your audience may check out your social media profiles to see how you interact with your customers and members, and they may tap their networks for more information about you.

Your sales team needs to understand how people use social media, and which social platforms your audience is most likely to frequent. They also need to know the basics of these networks, so that they can use them to learn what your audience is looking for, and to help build those all-important relationships.

Collaboration vs. Selling

Another crucial skill for modern sales reps is the ability to collaborate with your audience to come up with effective solutions to their specific needs.

Including buyers in the planning process will ensure that they’re more engaged with the solution and more satisfied with a successful outcome. This translates to a stronger relationship with your business or association, and a higher likelihood of future purchases.

Adaptability

While not as concrete as the other skills on this list, adaptability is an important trait for your sales team. Things change fast these days – whether it’s a new social network, a new business challenge, or new technology that changes the way businesses interact with your organization.

Your sales team needs to be flexible enough to adapt quickly to these changes and adjust their approach to meet changing needs.

With these sales skills in your team’s toolbox, you’ll be well on your way to selling more solutions and becoming more indispensible to your customers, members and prospects.