Social Media Isn’t Broken

February 4th, 2021

It’s a reminder to “Build on land you own”

The new year got off to a rocky start for a few major social media platforms. Regardless of how you feel about Facebook, Twitter and others’ recent actions, let’s focus on what this means for businesses relying on social media to communicate with their audience.

My friend told me a story about her aunt who built a summer cottage on land she rents. My friend has fond memories vacationing in the cute little cottage by the lake, but it had one big drawback – it had no running water. Her aunt wasn’t trying to “rough it”… she’s a big fan of flush toilets and hot showers, but because the landowner didn’t allow water access to be brought onto the property, an outhouse had to do.

What does this have to do with social media?  

Joe Pulizzi, Author, Speaker and Founder of Content Marketing Institute, has been teaching marketers to recognize the risks of building on social sites for years. He refers to them as rented digital land. Pulizzi doesn’t discourage businesses from using social media, but he does strongly advise having a strategy to move fans and followers to assets your organization owns due to the risks of having no control over changing algorithms or policies.

Why would anyone build a cottage on rented land?

I’m not sure why my friend’s aunt built a cottage on land she didn’t own, but I’m sure she had plenty of good reasons!

We dedicate time and resources to building and maintaining communities on social sites because when it works, it works really well. But if 2020 taught us anything, we have no idea what tomorrow will bring. 2021 has already shown us that we can’t rely on social as we have in the past.

The best we can do is focus on controlling what we have control of, and prepare for un-anticipated disruptions regarding our organization’s social sites.

What to do?

  1. Take a step back, and look at your organization’s marketing assets – owned and rented. Rank them in terms of risk. Facebook is at the bottom (High risk rental space); LinkedIn is in the middle; your email list, podcast subscribers, website and url are at the top (Low risk – owned).
  2. Create strategies and execute your plan to move friends, fans and followers up the ownership chain onto owned assets  – such as visiting your website and subscribing to an email list, podcast or blog.
  3. Give it time, and keep working & tweaking the plan

Reach out to us if you’d like to talk about developing more effective websites and email campaigns.

P.S. If you’re wondering about the fate of the cute lake cottage with no running water, ten years ago, the land owner agreed to bring fresh water access onto the property. I bet that hot shower feels really good!

The Many Benefits of Corporate Portals

August 19th, 2020

To say the pandemic has created challenges for businesses – both internally and externally – is an understatement. Internally with how employees work and access what they need, and externally, with the decrease in sales due to the challenging nature of working in a decentralized environment and the pulling back of budgets.

Thankfully, technology can help mitigate some of these challenges. Our software partner recently launched an upgrade to our corporate portals that helps businesses…  1. Consolidate ordering information – which saves time and resources, 2. Protect their brand while allowing 24/7 customizing of products, and 3. Provide useful data on what is being ordered and spent.  Now is the perfect time to implement a custom corporate ordering  portal to provide valuable data, convenience and free up resources going forward.

Watch a five minute overview video showing the noteworthy features of our upgraded portal.

Corporate portals offer many benefits. They can…

  • Organize and consolidate just about any product and file online
    • Custom corporate catalog can include print items, custom apparel or promotional products, forms, business cards, letterhead, etc.
    • Search feature as well as favorites catalog makes finding items quick and easy
    • Categorize your items in a way that makes sense for your organization
    • Your corporate portal can include an asset management feature to organize company-wide files that need to be located and shared easily.
  • Create new documents on the fly (24/7) with variable templates
    • Templates can include a simple business card to multi-page, and even multi-size documents
    • Lock down your brand- including critical logos, colors, fonts and imagery
    • Drop down menu’s can include pre-populated names or addresses
    • Manager approvals can be activated before final files are downloaded or printed
  • Gather data on what’s being ordered and spent in your organization with 24/7 reporting

    • Budget Reports
    • Cost Center Reports
    • Order summary & Tracking reports
    • Inventory reports
  • Manage or incentivize spend

    • Approval rules can be implemented based on dollar amount, specific item, etc.
    • Budgets can be set per cost center
    • Allowances can be allocated
    • Gift certificates & coupons can be issued to incentivise ordering
  • Simplify shipping and billing
    • Ship-to and bill-to addresses can be pre-loaded and displayed based on user’s credentials
    • Users can create a new ship-to address – ideal for work-at home employees
    • Shipping methods and payment methods can be pre-determined, or optional

If you’d like a one-on-one demo, please reach out to us!

 

Donuts and Paper – A Tasty Guide

June 4th, 2020
Paper and donuts image

Click to download some tasty tidbits for printing success

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!

Responsible Restart Resources

May 19th, 2020

Ohio’s Governor recently announced the “Responsible Restart” plan for Ohio businesses to re-open. May 4 was the date general office environments, manufacturing, distribution and construction businesses could re-open. As businesses begin to re-open in Ohio and around the country, we’ve got a range of items that can help create a safer office for your organization.

Click on the booklet to download a pdf of some of the items we can provide. Remember, this is only a small sampling of items we can provide to help you communicate effectively. Reach out to us if you don’t see something you need!  Looking for marketing news and tips? Join our monthly newsletter! 

Pushing the Envelope

February 27th, 2019

When you think of envelopes, you probably picture a boring white item from the office supply closet. I suggest we look at envelopes in a different light–as a flat form of packaging. Like all great packaging, it should grab your attention, entice your senses, and enhance the brand and product (or message) inside. Envelopes are your first impression – making them the perfect vehicle to convey your brand or promote an offer or upcoming event or to even thank someone. Following are a few ways to maximize the impact of an envelope…

Cover it – Give it a splash of color! If your are using black ink corner copy envelopes for your marketing efforts you need to stop. Flood coat it with your corporate colors or show a picture of the Caribbean resort for your upcoming sales competition. Color and imagery can evoke emotion and meaning or reinforce your brand, and this can be done by conventional or digital printing.

Print Digitally – Digital machines have made giant strides in quality and your point of entry is reasonable. The technology is further along than most design I see today. I find digital color well suited for runs up to 500 qty. It’s a click charge so digital envelopes are great for shorter runs, but you benefit from no inventory, lots of coverage, and the ability to change the messaging often. Personalization can also be used, and you can even address envelopes using a custom font instead of ink-jet addressing.

Convert your Envelopes – Converting envelopes is nothing new – it’s just not used enough. Printed sheets go to an envelope converting house where they are die cut, folded and glued. The costs of making custom envelopes is not as daunting as one might expect. Ideal print runs start at 2500 – 5,000 and you need about 3-4 weeks of production time. The end result can be terrific – especially if matching Pantone colors or using metallic inks – or you want ink coverage that extends over the edge and to the backside of the envelope.

Encourage Interaction & Engagement – Add #hashtags, Tiny URLs, or QR Codes to connect with your digital marketing efforts. Encourage interaction by using an envelope with an Easy-Open tear tab or peel-n-reveal that stands out and creates an element of surprise.

Change up the paper stock – In a sea of #10 generic white envelopes, one in metallic orange will surely draw attention first. There are a number of solid colors, translucent color paper, frosted, as well as those with different textures. Paper is very tactile which gives it an advantage over digital marketing. Think about your values or the meaning of your campaign and find an envelope stock that reinforces this message.

So break away from plain vanilla envelopes, by pushing the envelope. Give us a call – we’re happy to help.

Marketing Trends for 2019

February 27th, 2019

A few weeks ago, I participated on a panel of marketing experts at a chamber of commerce breakfast meeting and was asked “what’s new in marketing trends”? While new apps (Lumen5, Adobe Spark are a few of my new favorites) are cool and can save a ton of time, there are larger trends that marketers need to be aware of. Here’s what we see as what’s going to be important in 2019 – and beyond for marketers.

 

Trend 1: GDPR Changed Permission Based Marketing… FOREVER

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) privacy law went into affect in the US last summer regarding email marketing. Marketers are now challenged to think about how to get people to opt-in versus being added to a list. Even though GDPR is a European law doesn’t mean that it couldn’t affect you, and any e-mail marketing platform worth it’s salt has changed it’s guidelines around permission to more closely align with the stricter regulations. Gone are the days of adding people you met at a networking event to your list and thinking “they can always unsubscribe if they don’t want to receive it”.  While this may feel like more work, look at it this way – true permission-based marketing will challenge you to provide what your target market really wants from your brand – and that’s a good thing! If you’d like tips on how to get the most out of email marketing in the new age of permission, download a checklist of success tips from EMMA Email Marketing.

 

Trend 2: Be Relevant To Your Audience

With so much content bombarding every one of us on a daily basis, putting out more is probably not going to move the needle for your marketing efforts. Creating more relevant messaging for your target market will. The one and only rule for being relevant is to understand IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU! It’s about understanding what your target market needs and wants from you. Stay tuned-in to them whether that’s face-to-face, online or on the phone. Always question how you can server your customer or client better, and use this to guide your marketing language and product or service offerings.

 

Trend 3: Strive For Engagement

As marketers, we need to shift our thinking from simply pushing messaging out – to engaging in a two-way conversation. Ask your followers to respond to a question; give incentives to share your brand story with their friends and colleagues, and work on building trust via conversations – online or face-to-face.  In today’s climate of online noise, an engaged audience is so much more powerful than a large one, so focus should be on increasing engagement and not primarily on growing list size or number of followers.

 

How do you plan on marketing in 2019 and beyond?

Food for thought…

February 6th, 2018

If you’re looking to put a tasty spin on your marketing and sales efforts, think food!  Custom designed food boxes can be used to promote your brand; introduce a new product or services, or to simply say “Thank you”.  Food gifts are fun to receive and can be shared in the office. Think of it as a billboard by the coffee pot. Everyone will know who brought the treats and you have 10-20 valuable minutes of a captivated audience to tell your story as you delight them with delicious treats.

Custom Food Safe Boxes are great for:

  • A New Client gift
  • Customer Appreciation
  • Employee Appreciation
  • Thank you for the referral
  • Introduce and cross sell new products and services
  • Conferences and meetings
  • Any special day to celebrate

With the food scene so ridiculously good in Northeast Ohio, our food theme is “keeping it local”. If you know of any local artisans that create goodies, let us know. We welcome any suggestions!

If you’d like to see samples, let’s schedule a meeting. We promise not to come empty handed!

The Power of the Pen (and Paper)

January 22nd, 2018

“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 love this quote. In fact, it’s hanging on our wall. One of the simplest, most cost-effective ways of making people feel appreciated, loved or valued is to send them a handwritten note.

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!

Tips for Writing 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 the design of the card – 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!

*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)

Write Like a Marketer

January 15th, 2018

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!

Typewriter

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. 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.

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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The Amazing Beebop Bluetooth Headphones!

January 9th, 2018

Here at RAD Graphics, we fight over who gets to use these just about every day. They sound, look and perform great.

I’ve connected these to iPhones, iPads, laptops and computers easily. These can be ordered in quantities as low as ONE, and that’s what makes these great for showing appreciation to an employee, or thanking a client. These bluetooth wireless headphones have a large imprint size and feature…

  • A 33 ft. wireless range
  • Stereo sound with outside noise reduction
  • Multi-function on-ear buttons
  • Built-in microphone for phone calls
  • Cool gift box


Price for one = $41.50

Price for 50 = $32 each