If you are trying to sell costume jewelry and organic smoothies, price and opportunity might motivate customers to purchase spontaneously or switch from a competitor. But if you sell higher-end or more complex products, it often takes a different approach.
Let’s say you are a pediatric dentist. Most of your patients are at least two years old, but the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children see a dentist by age one. In line with these recommendations, you want to encourage families to bring in their children right after their first birthday. But how do you break into the lives of busy parents and motivate them to do what is the last thing most parents want to do—take their infant to the dentist?
The key is to speak to them using their language and according to their priorities. To do this, you can use customer personas.
Customer personas are models for communicating with specific types of buyers. Just as with real people, each persona has a set of demographic descriptors and other identifying characteristics. Take, for example, a “mother with an infant at home.” What other pain points does this persona have besides raising a newborn? How does she make buying decisions? Who and what are her social influencers? Her primary motivators for early intervention?
Once you have this information, you can craft messaging targeting this buyer type, identify the names in your list that match up, or purchase additional details if necessary. (We can help.)
Remember, these are not characteristics of any specific individual but an aggregate you identify as your best buyer. In this case, the “mother with an infant at home” is balancing work and home life, wants to be a good mom, is concerned about finances, and is influenced by family and social media. She makes purchases methodically and tends to be a planner and rational thinker.
Knowing these things, you can plan your mailing. You can talk about how early dental care makes her a better mom and how, with early intervention, she can avoid expensive dental expenses later. You can note how, with proper planning, she can balance her work/home life. You can also develop multiple personas and create relevant messaging for each one.
Sound complicated? Don’t sweat it. It just takes a little time and practice.
You increase your response and conversion rates by personalizing your message, whether in print or email. But “personalizing” doesn’t just mean using data to swap out images and text based on information you have in a database. Personalized printing has to feel personal. Let’s look at four best practices that must be the foundation of all personalized print (and email) marketing efforts.
1. Follow the basics of good marketing.
Personalized print might be personalized marketing, but it is still good old-fashioned marketing, too. Ultimately, all of the elements—the creative, the list, the message, the offer, the segmentation, and the call to action—come together to determine success.
2. Focus on relevance, not data.
It doesn’t matter how “personalized” a document is. If it isn’t relevant to the person receiving it, it is worthless. Take marketing to sports enthusiasts. You don’t want to try to sell baseball gear to a football nut. You can personalize a document to the hilt, but it’s a waste of print and postage if it’s not relevant.
3. Get to know your customers.
The more you know your customers, the more relevant your message can be. What don’t you know about your customers that might allow you to be more relevant in the future? To find out, do a customer mail or email survey. Purchase data from a third party. Set up a form on your website. Ask questions and get feedback that will let you reap better results over the long term.
4. Invest in your data.
To get personalization right, you need to invest in your database. This takes time and resources, but it is one of the most important investments. Develop a primary database, refine it, add variables, and keep it clean and updated. Make sure all of the new information you gather goes back into the database to be used in future marketing programs. You don’t need to be an expert in data to develop a significant data set. That’s where we can help.
Remember, personalization is a powerful tool, but it cannot work alone to get the big pay-off!
Want to geek out on marketing science? Check out neuromarketing, a field examining consumers’ responses to marketing stimuli. Neuromarketing looks at how the brain receives and processes information, and neuromarketing looks specifically at the impact of this process on the various marketing channels. Spoiler alert: These studies consistently find that while email is an important channel, it isn’t for everything. Especially for higher-end products that require more thought processing, direct mail is a better approach.
How do researchers come to these conclusions? They use three primary methods:
Eye tracking: Camera and infrared technology that monitor eye movements in speed and duration of attention. Eye tracking tracks visual attention in reaction to predetermined areas of interest.
Core biometrics: Sensors placed on participants’ fingertips that measure heart rate, skin conductance (sweat), motion, and respiration: Core biometrics gauge the depth of emotional engagement.
Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FRMI): Brain scanners measure changes in oxygenated blood flow to reveal regional activation during a task or experience. FRMI pinpoints specific deep brain activity beyond surface cognitive function (e.g., empathy and reward).
What do these methods show? A good example comes from one study conducted by Temple University’s Center for Neural Decision Making in concert with the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG). The study found that while participants could process the information from digital ads more quickly than from print ads, the details weren’t retained or recalled as easily later.
What made participants more likely to retain and recall that information more easily in print?
- They spent more time with physical ads.
- They had more robust emotional responses to those ads.
- While they stated similar preferences and willingness to pay for the item, whether it was delivered in physical or digital format, their brain activity indicated a greater subconscious desire for printed products.
“These findings have practical implications for marketers,” note the report’s authors. “If short on time, the digital format captures attention quicker. However, for longer lasting impact and easy recollection, a physical mail piece is the superior option.”
So, there you have it! When given a choice between print and digital media, especially for products and services that require deep cognitive processing, the brain loves print.
Keeping your mailing list up to date is essential for making the most of your marketing dollars. It ensures that your messages arrive in a timely fashion and provides other benefits such as cost savings and better targeting. Let’s look at five benefits of an up-to-date mailing list to motivate you to make this one of your top investments.
1. Gives you a strong foundation. Accurate, up-to-date lists are the starting point for creating relevant, personalized communications. Keeping your mailing list clean, accurate, de-duped, and up to date is a best practice that should be part of your routine. If you get in the habit of keeping up with the basics, it will help you with more sophisticated targeting later.
2. Keep customers happy. Nothing says, “We don’t care,” like a misspelled name or street address. Sure, your mailer might get there (eventually), but at what cost? Keeping your list up to date ensures that your target audience knows you care enough to get it right.
3. Keeps costs down. With an inaccurate list, you are printing and mailing pieces that may never arrive. Don’t waste money! Ensure that every piece gets to its destination. With an accurate list, you also save money by not sending duplicates to the same individual or household.
4. Provides anchor points. As you compile your records, basic data points can be used as reference points for future refinement and additions to that list. For instance, is Jane C. Cochran the same person as Jane Cochran? Can Bob Smith be distinguished from Robert Smith, Jr.? These questions can be answered by cross-referencing data points from an accurate mailing list.
5. Improves targeting. Once you are confident in your list, you can begin to build more detailed profiles of each person. You can purchase additional data to construct more complete profiles that will help you improve your targeting and personalize your communications even more.
Invest in your mailing list regularly. Not only does it help you create an accurate, up-to-date profile of your customers that improves targeting and saves money, but because your email, social, and mobile marketing all draw off the same list, it also benefits your marketing in other channels.
The global pandemic has had a profound impact on the world of consumer marketing, and one of these impacts has been to bring QR codes more into the mainstream. With consumers increasingly comfortable using QR codes, businesses can confidently leverage this marketing tool, making it more straightforward for customers to gain information, access coupons, and reply to offers.
QR codes are those boxes of black-and-white squares you see on posters, on the backs of business cards, and in the drive-through windows. When scanned with a mobile phone, they connect people directly from the world of print to the world of digital. While most people associate QR codes with taking the user to a web page, they can do much more.
When scanned, QR codes can launch a web page, play a video, make a phone call, add a calendar event, launch a survey, initiate a mobile payment, send an email, and much more.
QR codes are free to create and simple to use, and suddenly, they are everywhere.
Faster, Easier World for Customers
QR codes (short for “quick response” codes) have been around for nearly two decades. While traction has been gaining, adoption took off during the pandemic thanks to the promise of touchless interaction. Now QR codes are here to stay. Touchless interaction is still a benefit, but more importantly, QR codes make things faster and easier for consumers.
Consider just a few of the ways that QR codes are being used today:
- Restaurants are adding QR codes to menus or table plaques, allowing patrons to browse their dining options and place orders without waiting for a server. QR codes enable restaurants to update their menus or daily specials in real time.
- Hotels are adding QR codes to enable contactless check-ins, allowing customers to place in-room orders and control lights or air conditioning.
- Sports, music, and travel lovers no longer need physical tickets to enter their favorite venues. From high school sports to rock concerts and art events, patrons show the QR codes on their phones.
- Medical facilities use QR codes to let patients check in for appointments and access health information on posters.
- PayPal, Venmo, and other payment apps have launched QR code mobile payment systems, making payments even to small businesses as easy as point and tap.
Want to learn how to use QR codes to make your customers’ lives easier? Just ask!
What does it take to create customer loyalty, the kind of loyalty that makes customers stick with you, even when their favorite sales representative, hair stylist or financial advisor moves on?
Here are some tips from the experts.
1. Know your customer base. Customer bases are not homogeneous. They are made up of different demographics, with different needs and with different motivators for shopping with you. Profiling your customers can tell you a lot about how to keep them. When was the last time you did a customer survey or conducted a focus group?
The more you get to know the unique makeup of your customer base, the more you are able to adjust products and services to respond to their unique needs and the more likely you are to hang onto their loyalty.
2. Make it personal. Shift from mass mailings and generic communications to personalized print communications as much as possible. This should go beyond “Dear <<name>>” and include content driven by demographics, demonstrated preferences or past purchase history. The goal here is not just to let your customers know that you know their names, but to increase the relevance of your communications to their lives.
3. Spread the communication around. Some companies assign each customer a specific customer service representative or sales consultant. This creates a special relationship between customer and sales rep that can be invaluable. The downside is that this relationship can become so valuable that, should the sales rep leave the company, your customer might be willing to leave with them. For this reason, encourage your customers to have multiple contact points within your company.
4. Increase the frequency. Stay in communication with your customers on a regular basis, not just when there is a special promotion or event. This is the idea behind most drip marketing campaigns. They help develop a relationship that creates a value beyond price and convenience and keeps your company top of mind.
5. Reinforce and reward loyalty. When customers are loyal, let them know that you appreciate it. Then reward them for that loyalty. Send them special “loyal customer” discounts, personalized to their unique habits and preferences whenever possible.
Retaining customers takes effort. It requires a customer retention plan and an intentional, focused effort to keep those customers you’ve worked so hard to have. What’s your plan?
Digital print-on-demand services have become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason. These services offer a sustainable and cost-effective solution for colleges and universities looking to print materials such as course materials, communication pieces, and marketing collateral materials.
One of the biggest advantages of print-on-demand is that it eliminates the need for large print runs and inventory storage. Traditional printing methods often require printing massive quantities of materials, which can result in a significant amount of waste if the materials become outdated. With print-on-demand, materials can be printed as needed, reducing the number of excess materials.
A key benefit of print-on-demand is that it allows for greater flexibility and customization. Materials can be easily updated and customized to meet the specific needs of a program. This is particularly useful for universities and colleges, where curriculums and course offerings are constantly changing.
Digital printing by nature has minimal makeready and waste of paper involved, as the settings can be easily adjusted and fine-tuned digitally. Additionally, the digital printing process is much faster than traditional methods, which means less time and resources are used in the printing process. This not only saves money for the institution but also reduces the environmental impact.
In recent years, there has been a growing focus on sustainability in the printing industry, and this is reflected in the availability of more environmentally friendly paper options. Today, many digital print-on-demand services offer a wide range of paper options that are made from sustainable and/or recycled materials. For example, many providers now offer paper that is made from post-consumer recycled content, which means it is made from paper that has already been used and then recycled.
In addition to being more sustainable, digital print-on-demand is more cost-effective than traditional printing methods. Because materials are printed on demand, there is no need to pay for large print runs or storage of excess materials. The result can be a significant cost saving for universities and colleges.
ImageMark Business Services, Inc. offers a wide range of digital print-on-demand services for colleges and universities. We have invested in state-of-the-art digital presses which allow us to produce high-quality materials quickly and efficiently. Our quick turnaround time means that materials can be printed and delivered in a matter of days, rather than weeks or months.
In addition to our digital printing capabilities, we also offer a unique software platform called ResourceONE®. This platform allows colleges and universities to store their digital files, making it easy to reorder materials or make updates as needed. This is particularly useful for universities and colleges, where curriculums and course offerings are constantly changing. ResourceONE® also allows for easy ordering across multiple departments within a college or university, streamlining the process and saving time while maintaining brand standards across campus.
Is your college or university looking for a sustainable and cost-effective solution for printing materials? If so, we invite you to contact us to learn more about our services and how we can help you achieve your printing needs.
Understanding buyer psychology is key to grabbing consumers’ attention and getting people to buy. The 6 Principles of Marketing Persuasion by Dr. Robert Cialdini is one of the most influential models in this approach. Cialdini’s six principles—scarcity, reciprocity, authority, social proof, liking, and consistency—can help boost results and get customers to act quickly.
Let’s take a quick look at each one:
1. Scarcity. People want it more when something is in short supply and are more likely to act quickly. This is why marketers use messaging such as “Offer by invitation only!” or “Only for a limited time!” Offering free shipping if shoppers order within the next 20 minutes can increase checkouts by up to 300%.
2. Reciprocity. The principle of reciprocity is when marketers offer something of value, such as a gift or sample, to customers right out of the gate. This triggers the natural desire of customers to give back in kind (reciprocity). It’s why nonprofits put personalized notepads and address labels in fundraising envelopes — because it works.
3. Authority. Authority uses the demonstration of expertise to inspire trust in customers. Authority can be established through external sources such as press coverage or third-party endorsements. It can also be established through internal content like blogs, whitepapers, case studies, or interviews. By building authority, businesses can create credibility and increase the likelihood of customers responding to offers.
4. Social proof. Social proof relies on peer influence to increase credibility and trust among potential customers. This could include customer testimonials, displaying reviews or ratings, showing celebrity endorsements, or featuring influencer posts.
5. Liking. The principle of “liking” states that people are more likely to comply with the requests of someone they like or identify with. For example, popular influencers sharing their experiences and stories about using a company’s products is more likely to resonate with customers than regular advertisements.
6. Consistency. People want their beliefs to be consistent with their values. If buyers see themselves as good parents, for example, they are more likely to respond to messaging that positions them this way. “As a great mom, you know how important it is to…”
These are essential principles, but it may take some testing until you get the messaging right. Subtle changes can make a big difference, so be patient. Keep testing until you get a winner.
When a shopper walks into the store, even if they aren’t looking for something in your product category, the proper packaging can entice them to make a purchase they hadn’t planned. That’s why packaging should be considered part of your marketing toolbox. Here are five ways to use product packaging to stand out and create competitive differentiation.
1. Great design matters.
The front of your container is your face to the market. Whether a label or a folding carton, bright colors, glossy coatings, and specialty techniques like embossing and foil can stop shoppers in their tracks, and creative design techniques, such as vintage effects, can grab attention, too. Get creative!
2. Emphasize sustainability.
With more and more consumers looking to buy sustainable products, the packaging is a great way to show that your brand is committed to the environment. Use recycled materials, biodegradable packaging, and reusable packaging, then promote your efforts on the package where shoppers can see it easily.
3. Target specific audiences.
Did you know that you can break your packaging into target segments just as you do with other marketing materials? You might create complementary packaging for different audiences—one for men and one for women. Or, if you sell into areas with a high percentage of Spanish-speaking consumers, you might print a portion of your packaging with messaging in Spanish and English.
4. Create personalized options.
With today’s digital production, packaging can be printed in runs as short as one. Allow customers to purchase your hand-ground coffee in bags with their names on them (for example, “Joan’s Favorite Breakfast Mix”) or with the names of friends and family to use as gifts. Encourage businesses to brand their products for corporate events.
5. Add something extra.
Include something fun and surprising inside the package. This might be a coupon for their next purchase, a free sample of a related product, or a funny refrigerator magnet. Customers appreciate and remember this extra effort.
Packaging is one of your most essential marketing tools, so use it to your advantage. With a bit of creativity, you can surprise and delight your customers, build brand loyalty, and keep your customers coming back.
In today’s times of uncertainty, it can be challenging to know how to strike the right tone. While consumer spending remains strong, there is still much uncertainty about the future. Some Americans are doing quite well. Others are still struggling. For marketers, this means crafting messaging that is both optimistic and sensitive. It can be a tricky balance. Here are five tips for getting it right.
1. Exude confidence.
During difficult times, people flock to leaders who exude confidence. Brands can inspire, motivate, and make people feel that everything will be okay. Reach out using the theme, “We’re here to help.”
2. Invest in social and environmental justice.
Consumers like to align with brands that “do good.” Promote your support for socially or environmentally conscious organizations and let people know about it. For example, a SheerID study found that, during the pandemic, 68% of respondents wanted brands to donate to programs that provided direct support for medical workers.
3. Offer a helping hand.
While the U.S. economy continues to grow, this is still a time of struggle for many. Offer deferred payments, ideas for lowering expenses, and so on. Even if your customers don’t need the help themselves, this kind of care for others builds brand equity that pays off in the long run.
4. Show off your expertise.
This is a great time to share meaningful expertise with your customers. Think “Top 5 Ways to Save on Lawn Care” or “3 Plumbing Fixes You Can Do Yourself.”
5. Make your customers’ lives easier.
When the world is uncertain, consumers want to feel that they at least have control over their own homes and families. Position your products in terms of how they can help your customers make lives safer and easier, even in small ways. “Let us help you save 10% on your home electric bill,” or, “We’re offering FREE delivery of pool chemicals all summer long so you can relax at home!”
Brands can play a positive role in helping their customers through uncertain times. Striking the right tone tells your customers that you are paying attention… and that you care.