Dana on Marketing Messages: Marketing Ideas Ready to Roll
Are you secretly terrified of starting any new marketing efforts? Sometimes I think that all of the media attention on social media marketing causes business owners to turn to stone. They can't move forward to try something new or look back at what they've done to see what was effective.
Talk about missed opportunities! Smart marketing is nothing to be afraid of. Stop treating it with trepidation. Every printing company can do effective marketing without spending a fortune because, when it comes down to it, crafting a simple and easy-to-maintain strategy to power your marketing engine comes down to answering this one question:
How do you share information on a regular basis with your customers and best prospects in ways that will impress and influence them?
Here are seven simple marketing ideas that will effectively promote your business by providing information print customers need:
1) Commit to having a monthly blog that's merely 300 words. Come up with a theme. Jot down 12 topics that fit this theme. Then put it on your calendar to write the blog in the last week of every month. The same person should write it, and your blog should have a natural "voice" that reflects your company's culture.
Blogs should be less formal than other types of writing (i.e., articles and white papers). Once you have the theme developed and the blogger named, you're halfway there. Bonus points for doing a weekly blog, BTW.
Make room for this blog on a prominent page of your Website. Personally, I like to see it on a printer's home page. Barring that, make sure there's a link to it on the home page. Every blog post should have a visual, making it more likely to be read and shared.
Don't stop there. Share each blog post in an e-mail to customers. Make sure you tell them ahead of time what your plans are—and get them to opt in before you e-mail them your blog. Encourage recipients to share these e-mails.
You should also link to each blog post on Twitter and on your company Facebook (FB) page. If you're on Google Plus, share it here, as well. Add it to your LinkedIn profile.
2) Start (or revitalize) your company Facebook page. Identify an employee who's a natural at Facebook and who's interested in being your FB ambassador. Commit to posting at least two or three times a week. Make your FB posts as visual as possible.
What sorts of things make great FB posts for a printer? Try these ideas on:
- Post updates to major press or other equipment installations, using pictures, of course.
- Post employee news. Did you hire a new sales or service rep?
- Did an employee have a work anniversary?
- Did you celebrate a milestone at work, maybe with a party?
- Did you win an award?
- Did your company participate in a community event?
- Did you produce something innovative or otherwise fantastic?
- Link to articles related to great printing (paper, design, typography, etc.)
3) Ask your sales and service team members to write down the top five problems that they've encountered with customers over the past six months. This information will become fodder for terrific educational content, which can be repurposed over and over again.
Maybe common customer problems have to do with unrealistic expectations, lack of technical knowledge, or painful press OKs or mailing concerns.
Imagine that at the end of this exercise, you have a short list of customer issues that seem to be prevalent. These can be turned into "teaching opportunities." Do the following with them: write blog posts, write customer newsletters, create mini videos, develop Webinars, or develop on-site customer sessions that deal with them one at a time.
Another idea for making good use of this list would be to write Website content addressing each issue and posting it under "Resources" or your "FAQ" section. (Of course, once you do this, you have more opportunities to post links to the new content on your social media accounts.)
4) Give video marketing a whirl. Avoid taking boring videos of equipment running. Be original.
Here are some ideas for video content for printers:
- Customers interacting with press, sales and/or service staff.
- Employee interviews that let customers and prospects get to know your employees.
- Showcase stunning examples of your work and explain in less than three minutes what it is and how it was manufactured.
- A series of did-you-know videos, covering evergreen topics such as: how to use a loupe; tips for doing a press-side OK; PMS books and how to use them; or specialty finishing techniques.
Once you have some videos to share and you've created a YouTube channel, share links to each one across your social channels. Add the videos to your site. Post links to your Facebook page.
5) Make this the year you improve your Website. It may not need an extreme makeover, but if nothing else, it should be built on a content management system so it can easily be updated.
Add visuals throughout your site, including pictures, graphics and videos. Add video bios on your "Team" page, with particular attention to featuring your department heads. Add how-to videos in your services or resources section. Address those customer issues that came out of the sales and service rep challenge. Use these videos to educate site visitors and, of course, upload to your YouTube channel.
Use videos to simplify concepts, like QR codes, PURLs, or in-line vs. off-line finishing. If a large number of your customers tend to be novices to print, all the more reason for you to produce short how-to videos to get them comfortable with printing.
6) Amplify your Website's product gallery with a series of complex and beautiful pieces you've produced. Have short production notes attached to each image. Have your Web designer make it so that every time a site page is refreshed, a new image is featured. It's quite easy to have images (and such content as testimonials) rotate on a regular basis in this way.
7) Be the bearer of industry news and trends. Customers are most likely not visiting the major printing industry news and content portals daily—like www.piworld.com—the way you and I are. So bring them the news.
Share critical news with them in a monthly or weekly post, which you can e-mail to them. Keep these e-mails short by using links to the news items. Use this opportunity to be in their in-box without selling anything. This will help them associate your firm with bringing them important industry updates.
These seven ideas will help shine a positive light on your company. That's marketing. The goal is to keep this "content channel" active on a regular basis and, more importantly, to provide information that's so interesting, your audience must share it with their own audience. PI
About the Author
Long regarded as a print buyer expert and trade writer, Margie Dana launched a new business as a marketing communications strategist with a specialty in printing and print buying. She's as comfortable working in social media as she is in traditional media, and now she's on a mission to help clients build customer communities through carefully crafted content. Dana was the producer of the annual Print & Media Conference. Although she's exited the event business, she is still publishing her Print Tips newsletter each week. For more details and to sign up for her newsletter and marketing blog, visit www.margiedana.com.