Category Archive: In The Press

Want Better Profits? Open an Online Storefront

If you aren’t already using an e-commerce portal to archive, order, and manage your print materials, you are leaving money on the table. How? Let’s look at five costs associated with manual print ordering and management and how you save money using an online storefront instead.

1. Administrative time. How long does it take one of your employees to place orders for 1,000 copies of your product brochures, 500 business cards for six employees, and 5,000 full-color direct mail pieces? It’s not just the time it takes to place each order. It’s what these employees are not getting done while they do.

2. Outdated inventory. How much inventory do you waste yearly because you order in large quantities to keep the cost down, then throw out because the materials go out of date? Through an online storefront, you order what you need, as you need it, in smaller quantities. If you are warehousing these materials, you will also save money on warehousing.

3. Errors. The branding elements are locked in when you approve and centralize your materials in an online storefront. No matter who places the order, at what time of day or night, your brand colors won’t get messed up. You won’t use the wrong image, last month’s offer, or an outdated logo. You save money on remakes, brand erosion, and embarrassment.

4. Design. Repeat jobs can be transferred to templates while still allowing you to customize, update, and segment them without sacrificing creativity. You can handle these jobs in-house without compromising your brand by using templates.

5. Faster turnaround. As the saying goes, “Time is money.” By starting with a brand-approved template, you can turn around projects in hours rather than weeks, even when you need to make changes. This allows you to respond more quickly to market changes (such as moves by competitors) and make your marketing more agile.

These are some of the top benefits of digital storefronts, but they are by no means the only ones. How much money could you save by setting up your own?

Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM)

Think you can’t afford direct mail because you’re a local business with a tight budget? Think again. With USPS Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM), you can send targeted direct mail for a postal cost of $.20
or less per piece. Even target addresses by age, household income,
or household size.

Use EDDM for just the right audience:

  • Grand openings
  • Local sales and promotions
  • New locations
  • Discounts and coupons
  • Local events and more

Contact us to find out how!

Personalization Spells “Respect”

You come home from work and discover that you received a direct mail piece. Nice! We all love mail. But then you talk to your neighbor, and they got the same piece in their mailbox. Then you talk to another neighbor, and they got one, too. So did the neighbor across the street and the neighbor the next road over. So much for feeling special.

Personalization matters. It makes people feel valued, especially when it arrives in print. Digital personalization is all around us, from Amazon recommendations to shopping cart abandonment reminders, but personalization in print marketing is less common. It stands out.
While personalization in print stands out for relevance, it increasingly stands out for another reason: respect. What do we mean by that?

Personalizing your print communications shows respect for the recipient’s time. Nobody has time for irrelevant mail anymore. Buyers know that personalization is possible—they even expect it. They look for it, and they recognize it when they see it. By personalizing the piece, the recipient knows that you’ve taken the time to create something just for them. They know that when they open it, they are less likely to find something irrelevant that is a waste of their time.

It’s no wonder that, in a classic InfoTrends study on the value of print personalization, when consumers were asked how providers can improve the value of their direct mail communications, two of the top three responses were “make them relevant to me” (34%) and “personalize the content for me” (28%). Do you know the top reason for marketers to personalize their transactional mail, in particular? “Make it easier to understand,” with 43% giving this answer. This, again, shows respect for the recipient’s time.
It’s no wonder that when asked how personalization affected the amount of time consumers spent with marketing mail, nearly half (49%) agreed that they spend “much more time” reading direct mail that is “personalized and relevant” to them than they do with generic direct mail.

The data continue to tell the story. You’re missing a massive opportunity if you’re not personalizing your print or digital communications. Need to get started? Let’s do it!

Not All Targeted Marketing Looks the Same

Targeting is the foundation of any highly effective marketing campaign, but there are different ways to slice and dice your list based on your marketing goals. Here are four different ways to target your audience. Which approach might work best for your next marketing campaign?

1. Demographics. 

Demographics such as age, gender, ethnicity, and household income are simple but effective to focus your messaging. For example, if you are selling jewelry, you might show different collections to different recipients based on household income. If you sell automobiles, you’ll select other vehicles for those just out of college versus those married with young children.

2. Lifestyle.

Lifestyle data pools target audiences based on shared interests, such as fitness and wellness, green living, or pet ownership. Two people who look very different demographically may both love dogs or snowboarding. There are many ways to get at lifestyle data, including magazine subscriptions and past purchases. 

3. Life stages data.

Whether young or old, rich or poor, we face common life stages. For example, new parents deal with diapers, and recent college graduates need to furnish apartments. Retirees may be looking to downsize, travel, or invest in a lasting legacy. Targeting based on life stage is different from targeting based on age or generation in that two shoppers might be the same age but at very different stages in life. For example, one might still be single and living at home, while another might be married and with young children. Even though they are the same age, their needs and priorities will differ.  

4. Past purchases.

We can infer a lot about someone based on what they buy. If they just purchased a new pool, they’ll likely be in the market for pool accessories, too. If they just purchased home improvement supplies, there’s a good chance they’ll be in the market for new appliances.

Want to learn more about any of these data types and how to develop campaigns around them? Let us jump in and help.

5 Ways to Maximize Your Print Investment

Have a limited print budget and want to make the most of it? Even if your dollars are limited, your impact can be significant. Start with focusing your efforts on the customers most likely to give you the best return. Let’s look at four strategies to help you make the most of your investment.

1. Focus on existing customers.

Existing customers already know the value you have to offer. They may just need a simple reminder, such as a postcard or letter, to give them a reason to re-engage. If you’re looking to stretch your marketing dollars, start with those already buying from you.

2. Identify your most recent customers.

Of your existing customers, you are most likely to sell to those who have purchased from you most recently. Follow up their purchase with a relevant cross-sell or upsell.

3. Identify your top customers.

Do you know who your “best” customers are? They may buy from you most frequently or less frequently but spend more when they do. Define what your best customer looks like for your business, then create special offers.

4. Create a copy-cat list.

Once you know your best customers, target prospects with a similar profile, either in your current area or in a new market. If you don’t know who your top customers are, even a tiny investment in customer profiling can reap significant returns.

5. Be relevant.

You can only satisfy buyer motivations if you understand what your prospects love and hate—their hearts’ desires and what keeps them awake at night. Knowing your customers and engaging in sincere dialogue about what they want and why they want it will pay off in repeat sales and quality referrals.

Print marketing is evolving. Success is no longer based on trying to get a “same to all” message in front of as many people as possible. It’s about marketing smart and marketing relevant and using the tangible, confidence-building medium of print to its maximum advantage.

Need Profits Quick? Target This Group of Buyers

Let’s get real. Marketing costs money. When budgets are tight, where is the best place to spend your direct mail or email marketing dollars? Your existing customers. While you need to grow your business and backfill customers who drop off for one reason or another, your existing customers will always net you the best return. Here are five reasons why.

1. They spend more.

A retailer may win a new customer based on their need to purchase a new bathing suit, for example. But if you retain that customer, they will continue to buy everything from shirts, shorts, and blouses to accessories. RJMetrics found that, on average, existing customers spend 67% more than new ones.

2. They are more profitable.

You’ve probably read that it costs 5x more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. Now let’s put that into perspective. Let’s say it took three touches to win a new customer using a mix of channels. That customer spends $50 with you. If each touch cost you $5, on average, that $50 sale netted you $35. If you market to an existing customer, it might take only one touch to make the same $50 sale. Now, instead of netting $35, you net $45.

3. They are easier to sell to.

Your existing customers know and trust you. They remain engaged with you because they like what you have to offer. Because they are already engaged, when you make a sales pitch, you have a 65% chance of making a sale compared to only 13% for a prospect. If you need to hit a certain sales goal fast, focusing on your existing customers will be your best bet.

4. They win you new customers.

Did you know that when you treat your existing customers right, they refer 50% more people to your business than new customers do? That’s right! They do the marketing for you. What’s not to like about that?

5. They are the core of your profits.

Have you heard of the 80-20 rule? It applies to customers, too. Eighty percent of your profits come from 20% of your customers.  You want to keep them! Bain found that for every 5% increase you have in customer retention, you increase your profitability by 75%.

Every business needs a profit boost. If it’s been a while since you created a direct mail or email campaign specific to your most valuable asset—your existing customers—maybe now is a great time to do so.

How Web to Print Storefronts Can Help Your Business

Web to print storefronts provide a convenient digital solution for printing marketing materials. This type of service greatly improves the efficiency of the printing process, reducing costs while providing the customer with high levels of control and flexibility. Digital storefronts make it easy to bring digital designs to life, enabling customers to consolidate all marketing materials and fully customize each design in real-time before sending the final product to print. At ImageMark, we meet the unique needs of each customer by providing online support services, easy inventory management, and multiple shipping options.

What Is a Web to Print Storefront?

Web to print is an affordable and customizable way for businesses to print marketing materials through online storefronts. Customers use these platforms to create and submit designs online, storing all marketing materials in a single place. After submitting the marketing design, the customer can easily proof the final product before placing an order. 

Web to print platforms have the benefit of being very user-friendly, with many utilizing cloud-based systems. When printing large runs of standardized materials, web to print portals are very efficient. They also enable teams to maintain a consistent marketing strategy throughout the design and printing process.

Your Digital Design Team

Ideally, online storefronts will act as an important facet of the marketing team. Successful web to print businesses will have experts who are highly familiar with the software and the current project. This makes it possible to quickly update the marketing materials in tandem with your needs. 

A significant advantage of web to print storefronts is their flexibility, as you can upload custom creative content for a variety of projects. The setup of these digital storefronts helps you stay organized and consistent, easily managing the print materials of every marketing project.

Benefits of Leveraging a Web to Print Storefront

Although there are many options for printing materials, there are several advantages to choosing a web to print option.

Competitive Pricing

Brick and mortar printing services often have higher rates than digital options. Working with a web to print storefront is affordable, particularly for large, company-wide projects that would otherwise require a large team to properly manage.

Consolidated Marketing Efforts

Utilizing a web to print storefront places all the marketing materials into a convenient central location, making them significantly easier and more efficient to manage. Additionally, this type of printing option eliminates the need for outside design teams.

Organized Ordering and Reordering

Since web to print storefronts maintain a record of previous projects, it is easy to log in and reorder items at any time. At ImageMark, we provide a storefront solution called ResourceONE® that is designed to create a smooth and user-friendly ordering process.

Product Proofing

Working with a digital storefront speeds up the design process, as you can make changes to the final product in real-time. When it comes time to print the final materials, you can approve the design files quickly and easily before beginning the printing process.

Campaign Asset Tracking

Digital web to print storefronts make it easy to track every order. You will receive confirmation emails for order receipt and order shipment, including tracking numbers.

Standardized Custom Design and Version Control

The speed and flexibility of digital storefronts mean you maintain full control over every aspect of the marketing materials. Having all the marketing materials in one location makes it easy to create designs that meet the guidelines of your company while also ensuring that each product is providing the most current marketing information. This is particularly vital for fast-paced industries, as it provides the opportunity for rapid turnaround times while eliminating the risk of accidentally printing out-of-date information. Additionally, utilizing this type of web-based software makes it easy to track inventory and stay on top of product revisions.

Our Digital Door Is Always Open

At ImageMark, we are proud to provide the highest quality digital printing solutions at competitive prices. Using our premier ResourceONE® digital storefront, we enable each customer to easily customize and manage their orders. Learn more about our web to print services, or contact us to learn more about how we can assist you with your next printing project.

Turn brand management into marketing success!

For B2B marketers, integrating brand identity into marketing and sales collateral can be a real challenge. According to Provoke Insights, there are three main reasons:

1. 60% cannot ensure that brand assets will meet brand standards.

2. 31% lack brand standards.

3. 24% have no centralized library of approved brand assets.

Marketing solutions within reach!

Technology makes it easy to set up an online portal for all of your brand assets, along with a library of brand-approved templates for your most-ordered projects. Add rules for who can access which assets, which assets will be locked down, and how approvals will be handled, and brand management becomes a breeze.


Effective Communication Breeds Customer Loyalty

Are you up for a surprise? In a customer satisfaction study of 10 major industries, nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents indicated that they were delighted with the products or services they purchased, yet 88% said that they were willing to switch providers for any reason!

How can this be? If customers are happy with the products they buy, how can they switch so easily? Because so many companies offer products and pricing similar to one another’s. That’s why maintaining customer loyalty takes more than the basics. You have to make people feel valued, not just by offering them great stuff, but by how you treat them. Give them a great customer experience.

According to Price Waterhouse Coopers, 73% of consumers consider customer experience important in purchasing decisions. This means that all things being equal, they will go where they feel most valued and appreciated.

That’s why a consistent, high-quality drip of customer communications is so important. It makes customers feel noticed and valued, not just when you want them to purchase something.

  • Set up a series of “nurturing” mailers throughout the year. Make it a continuous client contact program that demonstrates that you are sincerely grateful for their business at regular, pre-planned intervals.
  • Use the data you’ve collected to grow your relationship with these customers. Offer valuable tips, newsletters, and case studies that remind clients of your commitment to service, value, quality, innovation, and loyalty.
  • If you are going to cross-sell or upsell, make those suggestions valuable and relevant to your customers based on the information you have collected, such as their past purchases or subscriptions that are expiring.
  • Ask for their feedback. People love when you ask their opinions. Now act on what you learn. Communicate through tangible actions that you not only care about what they have to say but are willing to act on it, too.

Direct mail isn’t just for customer acquisition marketing anymore. It is a critical part of effective customer retention.

Be Authentic and Connect with Customers

Increasingly, marketers understand the power of emotions. Product features and benefits are essential, but someone’s need, fear, or desire often motivates the actual purchase. Just look at some of the most iconic brands on the market. Johnson & Johnson doesn’t sell Band-Aids based on their adhesive properties. It shows a crying child being soothed by a loving parent. Nike doesn’t sell shoes based on the resilience of its soles. It shows athletes overcoming obstacles and achieving greatness.

Here are three ways you can tap into emotion in your marketing.

1. Think “simple” or “complex.”

Simple sales are those for which people can make quick, easy decisions based on numbers: This product is 10% cheaper than that one. That product offers 25% more longevity than the one I have. However, with complex decisions like financial, insurance, and medical products, emotion plays a much more significant role. What makes me feel safe? How can I best protect my family long-term? When writing your product copy, think about which category your products fall into.

2. Be authentic.

Nobody likes a phony. That includes customers. Honesty makes consumers feel connected and creates trust and respect for the brand. Consider Allstate Insurance. In its 30-second slice-of-life commercials, homeowners fall prey to their humanness by opening car doors into oncoming traffic or crashing into parking lot barriers because they’re looking at their children’s birthday balloons in the rearview mirror. We’ve all done it. It feels natural and familiar. Be honest, and make your brand something people can relate to.

3. Think beyond the sale.

Show an interest in your customers and prospects beyond the sale. Drop them tips and tricks that help them with everyday problems. Create emotional engagement that transcends the immediate need. Stanley Steemer does this well. It sends a high number of direct mail pieces and emails every year. While some of these pieces are designed to sell, cross-sell, and upsell, the majority are tips for various household cleaning projects. This is information people can use whether they end up purchasing Stanley Steemer services or not.

Emotion and brand connection sell. Maybe not right away, but over time. So be honest, be relatable, and invest in your customers long-term. It takes more effort, but it pays off in the long run.