Make 2017 the Year of Gratitude

February 6th, 2017

“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
- Maya Angelou

We’ve just closed the books on a tumultuous 2016, and let’s face it, we feel pretty beat up emotionally. We know we’re not alone. Many of you are also exhausted from seeing everything become a political debate. It’s draining, and it divides us by pointing out our differences in just about every way.

Let’s get back to the basics by showing genuine thanks and appreciation to each other all year round! One of the easiest ways to do this on a professional level, is to send a handwritten note. It’s one small but powerful way we can feel more connected.

Thanks and Gratitude – it’s not just for the holidays
How can you incorporate more “thank you’s” and gratitude into your sales and marketing systems year round? Showing thanks and appreciation with a hand written note is an easy, one-of-a-kind way to do that, and works regardless of the season!

Building relationships the write way!
A handwritten note is such a rare treat these days, and a surefire way to make the recipient feel special. As the Experience economy* becomes more relevant, this is an excellent marketing tool to promote the customer experience.

Go Old School
It’s ironic that now, you can make someone feel special simply by putting pen to paper. There’s something powerful about a thank you note received in the mail vs. receiving a text or email. The extra effort and deliberate thought process involved in writing and sending one is definitely felt and remembered by the recipient.

Be Different
According to John Coleman in an article in the Harvard Business Review, the average home only receives a personal letter once every seven weeks. The stats Coleman cited date back to 2010. I imagine it’s even more a rarity today. What an easy way to stand out!

This past Holiday season, we were inundated by electronic season Greetings emails. Outside of a few exceptions, most were easy to delete or ignore and focused on communicating holiday business hours instead of expressing sincerity and gratitude.

Tips for sending handwritten notes
• Don’t fret about your handwriting skills! Your kind words, and the perceived investment in time will make an impression.
• Keep it to a few meaningful and personalized sentences.
• Your choice in words – and even paper stock – becomes a part of the customer experience, and an opportunity for you to express your brand.
• Build note writing into your marketing and sales process. Carve out time in your schedule each day, or week. Whatever works for you… just do it!

This month, we’re promoting a pretty cool deal on custom note cards featuring Cleveland architecture that will help you make a great brand impression.

Contact us for more information!

*The Experience Economy, written by Joesph Pine and James Gilmore. 2011. A great business read reinforcing the importance of making unique connections to secure customer affections. (back cover)

Trade Show Marketing Tips

July 28th, 2016

Trade shows can be one of the most effective and efficient lead generation tools for businesses, but they can be costly too. From design and print of the display and marketing items, the investment can be thousands. And if it’s out of town, even more. Now’s the time to start planning on how to maximize your investment.

Trade show

Get the most out of trade show marketing

Take advantage of the entire experience of the trade show attendee to build awareness, and fill your pipeline. Here are a few tips:

Before the show

  • Months before, strategize on the entire process from the attendee’s perspective. Put yourselves in their shoes and consider what they’re doing, thinking, wishing for and experiencing days before the show, during the show, and perhaps most importantly, after the show. Call a prospect or client and ask for their feedback to get really great data points.
  • How will you grow your list, and generate leads and sales by exhibiting at this trade show? Research sponsorship opportunities to the show in exchange for a list of attendees.
  • If you’re sponsoring, be prepared to receive the list only weeks – sometimes only days – before the show. Ask about timing, and plan to send a postcard or email to generate pre-show sales and excitement.  Add an offer to make reaching out or visiting your booth compelling.
  • Know what your post-show follow up will be so execution can be seamless and timely.
  • During the show

  • Capture interested prospects info. If you have multiple products/services, have them specify what they may be interested in.
  • Have plenty of options for takeaways based on the level of interest and/or quality of lead.
  • If you have a list of attendee’s, consider same day promotions using a text messaging service to draw more folks to your booth.
  • After the show

  • Follow up within 5 days. Remember, good leads can go cold fast. Make sure your follow up includes a few touch points to remind those who may have been swamped with to-do’s when they returned.
  • If sponsoring, ask for a complete attendee list, and plan one more touch point for those you have not gotten response from.
  • Build your list so you can continue to communicate with prospects in the future.
  • Track the results.  Is it worth it to invest in the show again?
  • Maximize your trade show ROI with a well thought out plan to attract, capture and follow up.

    9 Ways to Find Great Content Ideas for Marketers

    April 29th, 2016


    If you’re responsible for creating relevant marketing content for your company, you most likely have suffered from writers block or idea overload at some point.  Create content your market want with these tips…
    1. Recap five interesting things you learned at an event you recently attended.

      Don't let a lack of ideas bring your marketing to a halt.

    2. Re-purpose content from one of your existing presentations or seminars.
    3. In the spirit of recycling, take a look at older content and go ahead and re-fresh and re-use.  Trust me, your market needs to hear the message again.
    4. Ask your sales reps what questions they are most asked. Since they interface most frequently with your clients and prospect, their insight is incredibly valuable. Answer the most commonly asked question, and make sure you capture the way they ask it.
    5. Share a “how-to” tip on a favorite product. Consider video for this. Did you know that including video in emails can increase your click through rate by 300%?
    6. Ask an industry expert to be featured in an interview by you.  Ask your clients or customers in advance what they’d like to know from the expert.
    7. Curate content by compiling industry news – add your opinion or take on it for a personalized touch.  There are plenty of ways to automate gathering information. Set up Google alerts to receive the latest articles in your inbox.  Use an RSS site like Feedly or InoReader to keep up with important news.
    8. Share an interesting or touching story about an employee, or client.  Including the personal touch is becoming more relevant in our increasingly automated world!
    9. Survey your list using either social sites or email and ask what they’d like to know about your area of expertise or your products or services.  Ask open ended questions to avoid “leading the witness”.  You want to get at what’s really on their mind.

    Do you have a favorite tip for creating great content ideas? Leave a reply below.

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    Donuts and Paper Stocks – A Tasty Guide

    April 12th, 2016
    Paper and donuts image

    Click to download some tasty tidbits for printing success

    Why paper and donuts? Paper – just like donuts – comes in a wide variety of sizes, styles & coatings. Understanding the terminology of paper and how different types perform on press, leads to a deeply satisfying end result. Just like eating a donut!


    Grab your favorite sweet treat, and download our tasty and concise guide to learning about paper, and let’s get started!

    Write Like a Marketer

    February 16th, 2016

    Just about anyone can write. But writing – and writing for marketing – are two very different things. If you’re looking to sharpen your writing skills to attract and retain customers or clients, read on!


    Anyone can write, right?

    Top 10 Writing Tips for Marketing

    1. Ditch the formality. Write like you speak so your market can relate to you. Enough said.

    2. BUT, pay attention to grammar and spelling. PLS don’t write like YR 12 year old niece TXTS.  Always run spell check, and have a colleague check for grammar, proper context and meaning.

    3. Avoid the “Paradigm Shift”. All it takes is one reference to buzz words like “Bleeding edge technology” or “value-driven mandates”, and people tune out. Use language anyone can understand. If your mom doesn’t know what your organization’s paradigm shift is, don’t use it.

    4. Know your target market and write to them. Give them what they need to know when they need it. For example, you’re creating an ad campaign that introduces your company to your target audience. Highlight the main value your clients or customers gain from your products or services. At this point in the buying cycle, they need to know what’s in it for them. Your company history doesn’t matter to them just yet.

    5. Know how long your content should be. As a rule of thumb, blog posts should be 1,500 words if search ranking and social sharing is a goal.  If not, shorter is fine – especially if you don’t have enough powerful content.  Email subject lines should be 50 characters or LESS.  A line of text should be no longer than 12 words. A paragraph should be no more than 4 lines. A Facebook post should be 100-140 characters (not words). Tweets (if you’re looking for re-tweets) should be 120-130 characters.

    6. Tell your story. Share your passion – it’s what sets you apart. You may provide accounting services, but so does every CPA. Tell WHY you love maximizing your clients’ income. It will energize you, and your audience will feel it.

    7. Brevity trumps long-winded. Take out any filler and fluff. Every word needs to add meaning for your reader. Attention spans are getting shorter. The number of smart phones used to consume content is increasing. Keep that in mind.

    8. For headlines, create curiosity and use lively words. But remember to Keep it Super Short (KISS).

    9. For blog posts, consistency is key. Don’t post twice a month then abandon your blog for 3 months, only to pick up again 4 months later. Respect your readers time and be concise in your thought. Use bullet points or lists to organize information. Same applies for email marketing.

    10. Have one clear and compelling call to action. Everyone is distracted and busy. Your content needs to generate an activity. A generic call to action like “Contact us” will not inspire action. “Click today to receive a free sample” is so much better. Get clear on what you want your market to do. Including a deadline helps!

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    Built-In Marketing Ideas for 2016

    January 28th, 2016

    Have Fun today!

    It's Fun at Work Day today!

    Happy “Fun at Work Day”!


    Did you know that today – January 28th – is National Fun at Work Day? If that sounds like another bogus reason to make the day special, consider this… according to Dave Hemseth and Leslie Yerkes, the authors of 301 Ways to Have Fun at Work state “Organizations that integrate fun into work have lower levels of absenteeism, greater job satisfaction, increased productivity, and less downtime.”

    Not only is Having Fun at Work important to organizations’ success, noting the day is a great (and fun) way to stay top of mind. Showcase your culture on social channels; tell your clients a funny joke; send a goofy promo item to prospects – the possibilities are endless.

    Every business needs to create and execute a marketing strategy throughout the year, so why not work with built-in dates and awareness issues? 2016 is filled with unique and noteworthy reasons to reach out to your market to build awareness and celebrate. Download our guide with a full year of dates, tips and marketing topics broken down by month.

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    Every Personalized Marketing Campaign MUST BEGIN with Accurate Data

    April 16th, 2015

    Personalized marketing is proving to be really effective. In fact, In a study of 650 multi-channel marketing campaigns, personalized campaigns consistently and overwhelmingly beat out static campaigns in generating a high response rate from recipients. (Source: MindFire).

    Data is at the heart of all personalized marketing – whether print or online. While personalized marketing is proving to be incredibly effective, it can also be quite a risky move for marketers.  All it takes is one column in your Excel sheet to get bumped up or down, and you’re sending out a potential disaster for your brand and offer.
    Great Personalized Marketing Begins with ACCURATE DataLet me give you an example… the other day, I received a beautiful, glossy full color mail piece that personalized a romantic gift – created just for me and my true love. The direct mail piece features a personalized, heart shaped, Swarovski crystal-studded necklace with “Liz” engraved on one side of the heart with my birthstone, and “Alec” on the other, with his.  It’s a spectacular example of how data and creative can integrate seamlessly into a one-of-a kind printed piece. Unfortunately, this piece got my attention all the wrong reasons… Alec is my son, not my husband. WHOOPS!

    They key to success is to begin with data sourced responsibly. Even if you’re using in house data, following a solid set of quality control processes can help you steer clear of potential disasters.

    So, how can you reap the amazing benefits of personalized marketing while avoiding the blunders of bad data?

    Sarah Bender, of New Loyalty USA, Inc., a direct mail and fulfillment company, shares a few ways that data mistakes can happen, and offers a few tips on how to prevent it.”These types of mistakes usually happen for two reasons: 1. Excel spreadsheets are often sorted, and the person doing it accidentally highlights the spreadsheet incorrectly and the columns get out of sync – thus the variable data becomes “off”.  2. The merged and printed pieces are not being quality checked thoroughly for accuracy.

    A good rule of thumb is to SAVE the original data file. Only sort from a copy of the original. When the data is merged and printed with the variables applied, do a random quality check of at least 20-30 pieces against the original unsorted list.  Have your IT department check the Q/C samples as well, have them verify that the variable data fields match back to the original list provided.  This is critical since they could have imported the data into Excel and inadvertently merged it incorrectly – providing your digital print and/or press operators with incorrect variable data in the first place.”

    If you’d like more tips on how to keep your list in top shape, read tips on building and maintaining a high quality list.

    Let us know if you’ve found this information helpful.

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    Google Wants Your Website Mobile-Friendly

    March 22nd, 2015

    Did you catch the announcement from Google earlier this month regarding it’s new ranking preference for mobile friendly web sites?

    From Google’s statement: “Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

    If your business relies on Google rankings to be found, take action now to make sure it’s a mobile friendly site. To test your site’s readiness, use this handy Google tool. and pay attention to the items that show up on the mobile tab.

    If you’d like to learn more, check out Google’s Mobile Guide.

    Are You Adding this to Your Marketing Mix?

    October 8th, 2014

    Printed materials are making a comeback as a marketing channel that works. Considering how saturated digital marketing is, it’s pretty easy to understand why.

    Here are a few reasons you should consider incorporating more print in your marketing mix:

    1. Print allows the reader to chose when they will engage with your brand - Most digital marketing channels are out of mind, out of sight… messages are seen, then gone, and unfortunately, very hard for your audience to remember. Printed materials can be saved for a time when they need or want your information.
    2. Print allows the viewer to “unplug” - In our over-connected, and over-stimulated world of information pushed to us 24/7, it’s critical we unplug from the noise. Now more than ever, your audience will appreciate being able to learn more about your brand without having to be “plugged in”.
    3. Print can help your market remember you - Print is tactile, and touch is one of our most powerful senses when it comes to storing memory and information. Think of how effective a physical piece can be if it encourages your audience to touch and engage with it? Tactile stocks, high & dull gloss finishes, interesting folds, scratch-off’s and cool die cuts – all scream “touch me”!
    4. Print plays well with other media – Quick reader (QR) codes and augmented reality (AR) technologies are just a few ways marketers can link print to mobile ready offers or landing pages. Incorporate digital with print to maximize your engagement and reach. is a great example of a brand creating cross-platform opportunities for advertisers while responding to increasing consumer demand for a curated, printed product. Circulation of their print magazine has grown 40% within the last year to 900,000, and the advertising dollars have followed.
    5. Print is used less, so it stands out more – With so many organizations heavily marketing through online and social channels, there’s a void in the print channel. Why not fill that void before your competition does?
    6. Print can yield a high ROI - A 2010 study by the Direct Marketing Association revealed that for every $1.00 spent on print advertising expenditures, an average of $12.57 in sales were generated. That’s a great ROI, and even better, all industries showed that average.

    As you develop your marketing strategies for 2015, consider print a powerhouse in your marketing channel mix. There are so many interesting finishing techniques, stocks and ink options out now to help you create memorable brand touchpoints.

    Are you ready to get creative?

    RAD Graphics is a tactical marketing firm that helps businesses grow by creating, producing and delivering award-winning pieces and campaigns through a variety of marketing channels, including print. For a free consultation, please call 216-371-3003.

    Create Printed Marketing Materials on a Budget

    September 18th, 2014


    Great print doesn’t need to break your budget!