Archive for May 2012

Circle of Trust

May 30, 2012

In the movie Meet the Parents, Jack (Robert DeNiro) explains to Greg (Ben Stiller) his philosophy which he calls the “Circle of Trust.” Greg is planning to marry Jack’s daughter. He’s an outsider who desperately wants to be included in Jack’s Circle of Trust.

Greg tries to fit in, but every effort is met with failure and ridicule because he tries to be something he is not.

In an effort to impress our prospects, we sometimes make the same mistake of trying to be something outside of who we are. But if you really want to get inside a customer’s Circle of Trust, you must have integrity, and you must show that you truly have their best interest in mind at all times.

Above all, be yourself.

With all the mishaps and disasters that happen during the movie, Jack is convinced that Greg is not a good fit for his daughter. But at the end of the movie, Jack realizes that Greg really loves his daughter and has her best interest in his heart.

To enter and stay in a customer’s Circle of Trust, always have their best interest in mind and show them that you truly care about them and their business.

Now, here’s a short and funny compilation of the Circle of Trust scenes from Meet the Parents. Enjoy!

Marketing with Humor

May 30, 2012

It’s been said that if you want to be remembered, make your audience laugh. Humor is a great way to connect with your audience, and it can do wonders for your marketing strategy if it’s used correctly. Here are a few tips on how to laugh your way to the bank.

* Find humor in unlikely places by asking yourself “WWJD?” (What Would Jerry Do?) Jerry Seinfield is known for finding a funny perspective on everyday situations.
* Tread lightly. You don’t want your company or product to be laughed at — just your marketing message.
* Test your humor internally or amongst a few business peers before sending it out. And remember that comedy is subjective, so don’t expect to please everyone.
* Experiment with social media. For example, try posting a few humorous tweets or Facebook updates to see how your audience reacts. * Minimize product messaging, and focus on creating brand awareness.
* Make sure the humor fits your brand’s personality and is appropriate with your product’s messaging.
* Always be politically correct and avoid controversial topics and jokes in bad taste.
* Remember that humor shouldn’t be your message. It is simply a creative way to get prospects and customers to pay attention to (and remember) your message. If you can make your customers laugh, chances are you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank.

S-L-O-W Down!

May 23, 2012

We live in the age of speed.

From fast cars to fast food.

From text messaging to the microwave.

The number of hours in the day didn’t increase, but what we think we need to accomplish did.

In this hurried environment, it has become more difficult than ever to get a marketing message heard. Even harder to sell a product or service.

Zig Ziglar may have said it best: “If people like you, they may listen to you; but if they trust you, they will do business with you.”

That may seem quaint to hear, but it is just as valid in today’s world as when Zig first mentioned it many years ago.

It is true that you have to do something unique to stand out in the marketplace. Something to get people to “like you.”

But once you get that attention, slow down the process and build a relationship so that they “trust you,” too.

Provide genuine help and value. Over time that will cement the trust.

Today’s world may seem to be made for the hare, but the tortoise who takes the time to build real relationships will ultimately win the race.

Don’t Forget the Finishing Touches

May 21, 2012

Even if your marketing document is coming together perfectly — with compelling copy, a stunning layout, and quality photos — remember it’s not complete until it’s “finished.” A document’s finishing touches help portray its overall quality and importance and can take it to the next level.

Here are a few finishing touch options that will help you create a marketing piece you and your customers will love:

* Spot varnish is available in gloss, matte, or satin finishes. Gloss varnish is often used to enhance the colors of printed photos and make ink colors throughout the piece appear more vivid. Matte varnish is used to reduce glare and improve the readability of small text. Satin varnish offers a blend of both. A contrasting spot treatment can really make a logo or other information pop (such as a glossy logo on a matte background).
* Metallic inks are available in a variety of colors and are a great way to add interest with a shine and luster not available in standard inks.
* Foil-stamping is an easy way to create focus on text or imagery, such as enhancing a classic, elegant logo. * Die-cutting is used to create a unique shape, outline, or edging.
* Embossing involves creating a raised 3D impression using a custom die under high pressure.
* Laminating can greatly increase durability and offer water protection. In addition to protecting a printed document, lamination can also enhance its appearance.
* Other finishing options include (among other things) collating your pieces into sets, separating, folding, stapling, punching or drilling, padding, scoring, numbering, index-tabbing, packaging/shrink wrapping, and spiral, wire, comb, saddle-stitch, or perfect binding.

No matter your finishing need, from simple to spectacular, we can help you determine the perfect finishing touches to help your product really stand apart from the competition.

HTML vs. Plain Text Emails: Which Should You Choose?

May 15, 2012

After seeing the visual difference between HTML and plain-text emails, it’s hard for many companies to send anything but fancy HTML formatting with every email they send. However, just because you can make HTML emails doesn’t mean you always should.

While HTML messages typically have flashy graphics that grab attention, they also lack a personalized touch and feel more “salesy.” In addition, HTML emails take longer to download, use more disk space, and often gain a bad rap for privacy threats, potential viruses, and information tracking. If a recipient doesn’t accept HTML emails (due to security, bandwidth issues, privacy, etc.) or an email program doesn’t interpret it correctly, your message will appear in plain text with random code that is extremely difficult to read.

Another reason to consider plain text is that more and more people check email on their cell phones, and many still have issues displaying HTML correctly.

Because email is a method of communication, many people believe the focus should be on the message and not how pretty it looks. But marketers also understand that sometimes the only way a message will get read is if it exudes visual appeal.

One solution may be to send emails embedded with both plain text and HTML, or to create a combination of both (an email that looks like plain text yet features basic ROI tracking, a share link, or social media buttons). And don’t forget, we’re also here to help anytime you’d like ideas for communicating in print!

Things to Avoid Saying to a Customer

May 10, 2012

A big part of customer service excellence is saying the right thing to customers. Here are a few phrases to avoid, since they may cause you to lose a sale…and possibly even a customer:

* “That’s our policy.” This is a frustrating response that’s aimed at shutting down conversation and shows no interest in customer satisfaction. It can be just as maddening as hearing someone say “tough luck.”
* “No.” Nearly everything is possible for a price. Respond to unusual requests by telling customers you will check into it. Then get back to them with a cost.
* “Check our website.” Instead of making customers hunt around, offer them a direct link to the page or file they are looking for.
* “We’re closed.” Customers may not be aware of store hours or what time it is. So rather than turning away a sale, try saying, “We close at __ o’clock and reopen at __ o’clock. Is there something I can quickly help you with now?”
* “I don’t know.” If you don’t know an answer, tell the customer you will find out for them.
* “That’s not my department.” Instead of pushing customers away with a vague answer, try saying, “I’ll find someone who knows more about that department.”
* “No problem.” By saying “no problem,” you are implying that customers are causing a problem. Remember, customers are not an interruption of our work; they are the purpose of our work.
* “It’s out of stock.” If you can’t tell a customer when an item will be restocked, they will likely buy it elsewhere. Try saying, “That item is currently out of stock and will be back in on _____. Can I get your name and number to call you when it comes in?”

Customer issues arise occasionally at all businesses. However, it is the way your staff handles those issues that determines if customers will return to your business or take their money elsewhere.

Stand Out and Get Noticed With Folded Business Cards

May 8, 2012

Everyone knows that business cards are an essential marketing tool for exchanging contact information, so why not double your marketing effort with a folded business card?

Folded business cards not only provide your standard contact information, but can also provide your audience with something useful to them, such as an events schedule, appointment card, coupon, map, menu, frequent customer discount, punch card, or response card.

The extra space can also be used as a mini-billboard, provide a list of your products or services, highlight helpful tips or industry resources, and much more.

Creative options are endless, including designs, paper and ink choices, diecut shapes, finishing touches, and even the placement of the fold. Folds can made along the top edge, short side, or even offset, where part of the card is shorter, revealing information on the panel below.

Check out your options for folded business cards next time you want to make a lasting impression and ensure your prospects and customers keep your business card on hand.