Brand loyalty: Does it exist any more?

Brand loyalty: Does it exist any more?

For years you worked to get brand loyalty rates as high as possible.  You believed that once a consumer liked what you offered, they were yours “forever.” True then. Not so true now. Brand loyalty is not what it once was.

Brand Loyalty: The impact of the internet

With the development of the internet, a whole world of unknown products and services opened to shoppers. With online shopping and door-to-door delivery there are no restrictions on where you can shop. In your city. In other cities. States. And even other countries. 

McKinsey Research confirms Brand Loyalty is in decline

The shift in brand loyalty was described by market research conducted by McKinsey and Company.

To arrive at their conclusion, McKinsey dug into its database, which covers more than 125,000 consumers shopping for more than 350 brands.

After analyzing the data, it found that of 30 categories, only three were primarily loyalty-driven. Mobile carriers: 81% of purchases in this category were driven by brand loyalty as opposed to shopping around. This is followed by Auto Insurance (76%) and Investments (69%). The chart below shows the loyalty levels of major categories. 

Brand Loyalty statistics

Where brand loyalty is almost non-existent

By contrast, most categories are skewed just as heavily – if not more – towards shopping rather than loyalty. The most competitive categories, perhaps not surprisingly to women, are shoe retail and cosmetics, with 97% and 96% of purchases, respectively, the result of shopping around.

The vast majority of consumer electronics purchases also appear to be from shopping around rather than sticking with the same brand choices: personal computers (91%), laptops (88%) and tablets (82%) each skewed heavily towards shopping around. With the disparity in pricing, it’s not surprising that people would shop around for a category moving more and more toward “generic.”

Brand loyalty is “ephemeral” 

Across 27 selected categories, an average of 87% of consumers shopped around, while only 13% could be considered loyalists. Among those who shopped around, only one-third (33%) ended up remain with the incumbent brand, while the remaining two-thirds were “tempted” away to another brand.

Overall, consumers’ purchase behavior across those 27 shopping-driven categories broke down as follows:

  • 13% – loyalists, who didn’t shop around;
  • 29% – shopped around, but ultimately stuck with the incumbent brand; and
  • 58% – switched to a different brand.

Finally, there’s an important note to the data: it’s extremely important for brands to be top-of-mind. The analysts discovered that brands in the “initial consideration set” were twice as likely to be ultimately purchased as those brands that were considered later in the purchase journey. Overall, almost 7 in 10 brands purchased by those who switched were part of those consumers’ initial consideration set.

What does this all mean?

If you’re in business, there’s a new marketing challenge to retain customers. After all, it’s far more expensive to get a new customer than it is to retain an existing one. Or, it was at one time. But let’s analyze those categories where brand “loyalty” is high. Some hypotheses I offer:

• If it aint broke, they won’t change. If their phone, insurance or investments are delivering as promised (or better), consumer inertia works in your favor. It’s a hassle to make changes in these categories.

• If competitors are pretty much as good or as lousy as all in these categories, why bother to change. People tend to prefer to stay with a known rather than an unknown.

Some ideas about making your brand loyalty stronger

Those where brand loyalty levels are low, you need to do work. Not only do you need to improve internet and phone service, but you need to improve service at retail. For some reason, people are complaining about the terrible service they are receiving at stores. Either they don’t find sales help, or if they do, the person isn’t helpful or knowledgeable.  So while you’re focusing on building your internet presence, don’t forget about the other channel of distribution. Here are some suggestions:

  • Make sure your packaging stands out and distinguishes you from the competition.
  • Make sure your packaging “sells” and not just “tells” your product story.
  • Have your packaging includes a toll-free number so prospects can call you at POP to ask questions. This is especially helpful if no one is around to answer their questions.
  • Make sure you are a constant presence online and in print so there is high top-of-mind awareness of your product and/or service.

I hope this article has been helpful to you. If you need assistance in creating brand awareness, positioning or whatever, The Marketing Garage is always here to help. Contact me at rsollish@themarketinggarage.com. Your initial consultation is gratis.

Consequences of laws meant to help disabled

Laws meant to help the disabled have had unintended consequences

Source: The Economist, May 28, 2016, SANTA BARBARA 

Image of handicapped parking

There are unintended consequences of laws meant to help the disabled. And the consequences are costing businesses a lot of money.

When the ADA was passed, it was meant to give disabled persons equal access to the same things able-bodied people utilized. It was a good idea, but it has caused a lot of problems for accidental oversights. And Congress doesn’t look like its inclined to fix it. Here’s the article. A link to the original can be found at the end of this article.

“FOR an inkling of how good intentions can go awry, consider Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Passed by Congress in 1990 with the laudable aim of giving the disabled equal access to places of business, it has been supplemented with new Department of Justice standards (in 2010, for example, the DOJ said that miniature horses can qualify as service animals). The hundreds of pages of technical requirements have become so “frankly overwhelming” that a good 95% of Arizona businesses haven’t fully complied, says Peter Strojnik, a lawyer in Phoenix. He has sued more than 500 since starting in February, and says he will hit thousands more in the state and hire staff to begin out-of-state suits.

Businesses that brave court instead usually lose. Lawyers need only show that a violation once existed—a bathroom mirror, stall partition, or sign improperly positioned can be enough, as is having handicapped parking marked with faded paint. Violators must pay all legal fees. Mr Strojnik uses the money taken in to pay helpers, including testers who hunt for infractions and serve as plaintiffs, and puts the remaining proceeds into his charity, Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities. People should give attorneys like him who enforce the law a break, he says, and instead “be grumpy at Congress”.

The money machine has sped up in the past couple of years, with some plaintiffs now filing more than two dozen lawsuits a week, says Richard Hunt, a Dallas lawyer who defends businesses and teaches disability law at Southern Methodist University. Small businesses typically settle for $3,500 to $7,500. That’s a bargain compared to the cost of a court fight, Mr Hunt says, and, for the lawyer and plaintiff, good money for a few hours’ work.

California offers a bigger bonanza. The state’s Unruh Act awards a disabled plaintiff up to $4,000 for each time he or she visited, or wished to visit, an offending business. This increases the cost of losing a lawsuit, so California’s small businesses typically pay settlements of $15,000 to $20,000, says Tom Scott, head of the Sacramento branch of the National Federation of Independent Business.

Nearly all California businesses have at least one violation, perhaps of a state building code, says Marejka Sacks, a paralegal at Moore Law Firm in San Jose. Her team cuts businesses slack for “the little minutiae stuff,” she says, but has still sued more than 1,000 since switching from criminal law to ADA infractions in 2009. Proving that a violation has caused a handicapped person difficulty, discomfort, or embarrassment is “not a difficult threshold”, she says. Nineteen of every 20 businesses paid up to avoid trial.

Serial filers say they provide a valuable service because Congress did not fund a dedicated enforcement bureaucracy. Why do businesses think it’s OK to risk our safety for profit?, asks Eric Wong of the Disability Support Alliance, himself a wheelchair user. He says that those who think there are thousands of wasteful lawsuits share “the delusional rationalizations of serial ADA violators”.

What’s next? Omar Weaver Rosales, a Texas lawyer, has sued about 450 businesses in the past two years; more than 70% paid up to avoid a trial. But even more lucrative pastures are coming into view. In March a California judge ordered Colorado retailer Bag’n Baggage to pay $4,000 in damages and legal fees thought to exceed $100,000 because its website didn’t accommodate screen-reading software used by a blind plaintiff. Mr Rosales says extending ADA rules to websites will allow him to begin suing companies that use color combinations problematic for the color-blind and layouts that are confusing for people with a limited field of vision.”

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 The original article can be found here.

 

How postcard marketing can increase sales

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Direct Mail ImagePostcard Marketing – Marketing’s secret weapon

These days you cannot have a marketing conversation without the terms “online marketing” or “digital marketing” taking center stage. While online and digital marketing are great promotional vehicles for businesses, they aren’t the only ways to market. Nor should they be. Postcard marketing is a reliable, alternative way to increase sales.

Many entrepreneurs and business owners are seeking low-cost, easy-to-implement tech-less ways to reach out to their customers. A time-proven option lies in Postcard Marketing. Even large technology companies embrace postcard marketing. Intuit, which makes accounting software, recommends postcard marketing to its accounting firm clients. So do high-tech companies like Google and Facebook. 

Smart, marketing-savvy, companies understand that digital and social media marketing are passive. That is, you have to wait for your subscribers see your post and respond. With postcard marketing (and direct mail in general), your message is delivered to ALL your prospects, whether they are online or not. That is a pro-active approach that can produce significantly higher response rates.

Postcard Marketing: An irresistible way to get attention

Whenever you have a need to promote your product or services, postcards are a great way to get in front of your customers, clients and prospects. Here are just five ways postcards can help you:

  • Generate sales leads
  • Promote special offers or coupons
  • Introduce a new product or service
  • Keep in touch with existing customers
  • Drive traffic to your website, social media site or other locations

Almost all postcards are read. The reason is simple. Unlike mail that’s sent in envelopes, nothing has to be opened in order for the recipient to read the message. It’s right in front of their eyes. 

A postcards is already “opened”, ready to read, and at the very least, the message will be seen by the recipient. It offers you at least 15 seconds to capture someone’s attention.

How to make sure your postcard marketing campaign is successful

To be successful your postcard must include the following:

Grab Attention. Make your postcards attractive. Visually relevant. Interesting. Make them relevant to the recipient and his/her business or interests.

Be Concise. Simple bold headlines world best. “Spring Fashions Are In” or “Buy one book, the second is free” capture attention and get your prospect thinking of their need for your products or services.

Be timely. Messages such as “50% off this weekend only” or “Your contract is about the expire” work as a call to action.

Utilize both sides. Consider treating the front like a poster and the back to provide a few details. Make sure you leave the required space for addressing and other post office regulations. Avoid filling up every inch of space. White space is good.Special offer

Offer something of value. Have your postcard serve as a coupon or gift certificate. You want to present information in a manner that makes the recipient want to hang on to the postcard…and use it.

Of course, before you dive into postcard marketing, you need to determine whether or not it’s right for your goals. And, if so, which customers, prospects and goals will be served well by direct mail.

If you have any questions or need some guidance, please give me a call or send me an email at rsollish@earthlink.net or call at 310-779-9682. We have over 25 years experience in direct mail marketing and offer consultation free of charge.

 

How to build traffic…

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Get Traffic image

How to Build Traffic

So you’re writing your heart out. Fingers cracked and bleeding. Eyes bleary, blood-shot. On the verge of caffeine poisoning. Your reward: Three people have read your blog. Another five have noticed your Twitter post. No one clicked onto your website. Nobody has commented or shared. What!!!!! Obviously that’s not how to build traffic.

To help you out, let me show how to build traffic; that is, how to get more people to read, like and share your posts. And as importantly, to get more to your website. After all, that’s a primary objective of the whole writing thing if you’re selling a product or service.

The short answer to how to build traffic to your website or blog:

You need the right content. Sent to the right people. On the right media.

The long answer to how to build traffic to your website or blog :

To reach the people you want (and who will be interested in what you have to say), you need to know who they are. Where they are. And what they’re interested in. Your Audience is?To create the right content for the right people in the right place, you should start with a Content Marketing Strategy.

Your content marketing strategy will help you define your customers and where you are most likely to find them. Identify your competition and evaluate your strengths and weaknesses via-a-vis your competitors. Review what you have posted, who has received it and what else you should be writing about. This process will allow you to evaluate everything necessary to develop and publish posts meaningful to those you want to reach. And, that’s how you build traffic.

If you are not sure how to develop a Content Marketing Strategy, we offer a worksheet to help you set forth everything needed. Please send us an email requesting a copy. It will be sent without any cost or obligation.

Down to the nuts and bolts…It all begins with right content for the right Content Content Contentprospects…

Like good advertising, your “content” needs to get attention, arouse interest, create desire and lead to action. Presented below are five ways to create the interest you need to draw people into your posts.

1: Write articles that are relevant and valuable to your readers.

 Quality articles may be ranked higher in search results. (I say “may be” because there are never any guarantees in ranking.) Make sure your articles address the needs of your readers, and that readers can find all of the information they need in one spot. This is the most effective means for increasing traffic to a website: offering people content they cannot obtain elsewhere, or at least, not to the level of quality that you are offering. If you use sources, provide a link to the other sites or resources. That’s helpful in making it easy for the readers to obtain all the information.

Drawing a blank? Here’s another option.

2: Invite experts to write posts on your site

There are many experts in your industry or business category that can offer valuable information to your prospects/customers. But the guest posting should be created especially for your readers. That way not only can you share it with your audience but with the guest writers as well. These guest posters probably have thousands of followers and readers that can be introduced to your services, posts and blogs. These new readers can be sent back to your site, where you’ll have additional terrific content to share with them. And, the guest poster will meet your followers. Win-win.

3: Produce or utilize others’ how-to videos

What do your customers want to learn how to do? Dye their hair pink? Take better portrait photos? Make dinner their kids will eat? Hang a picture or add a new door? Scare off a bear? Figure out some problems that lend themselves to how-to videos.

You can launch your own series on YouTube or you can share an existing series of how-to videos. A client of mine has a home improvement store and shares already-made DIY videos as well as those he makes for his customers and prospects.

If you can’t create the videos yourself, hire a company that can assist you produce a high-quality video. Remember, the quality reflects on the quality of your company.

4: Q&A series

Q&A sessions are inherently interesting, and they’re a great vehicle to show off what you know. You can use webinars or whatever tool is most comfortable for you.

Q&As don’t just encourage engagement; they’re also a strong traffic builder because they’re easy for your fans and network to promote. And that’s important for getting your networks network to share.

Plus, they will give you the opportunity to collect topics for future content based on what’s being asked and answered. When you write about your audience’s questions, you’ll be writing the type of content that gets shared — the type of content that attracts traffic.

5: Expand the possibilities. Increase your visibility. 

Explore the possibilities of finding traffic in the offline world. (You know, the part of your life that isn’t Facebook or Twitter.)

Attend in-person conferences where you can meet new people in your industry, as well as potential clients or customers.

If you’re products/services are for business-to-business markets, pitch articles to trade journals and business newspapers. They are always anxious to publish informative articles and don’t have the staff to get it all done. I’ve published many articles for clients in trade publications. It’s a very inexpensive to increase visibility, establish “expert” status and expand your possibilities.

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I hope you have found this article helpful. You may have heard it all before, but it’s really important to practice good content. If you want a worksheet to create your Content Marketing Strategy, email me at rsollish@themarketinggarage.com. We will send you one for FREE with no obligation. Please visit our website to learn more about how we can help you grow your business and to review our work and services. 

 

 

Building a successful business

 

Building a successful business

13 core tips on  building a successful business.

Setting out on your journey to building a successful business is both exhilarating and exhausting as well as nerve-wracking, challenging and rewarding. There is no end to the many financial, legal, staffing, marketing, and customer issues that will come up as you launch your business. Unfortunately, there is a lot of conflicting advice out there for the aspiring business owner. But here are 13 core tips to help you begin navigating the startup landscape:

1‎. Make sure you know about the business you start

Not only should you know something about the business you start (the more you know, the better), you should be excited and motivated about the products or services it will offer. Don’t pick a business you know little about or are just doing it because it’s “the hot thing.” It may take too long to become the expert you need to be. Or, it may “cool” before you’re up to speed and able to generate a profit.

2. Do your homework: make sure your business has a Big Market

To help you make sure you’re choosing the right business to start, do your homework. Do some research to see what kind of market there is for your product or service. Is it big enough to sustain a business? Is there enough of a revenue potential to generate money from investors—if you need them? What are the barriers to entry? Is it easy to copy?

3. Raise as much startup funding as you can

It’s almost always harder and takes longer to raise financing than you think. That’s especially true if you are a startup. You must ensure you have a cushion for all the product development and marketing expenses incurred. In an ideal world, you will have sufficient capital for your operations to break even. Don’t worry about diluting your percentage ownership in the company. Developing a great product takes time and money.

4. Constantly monitor your finances

A recent study revealed that 90% of businesses that fail do so because they don’t pay attention to the financial detail. You must keep on top of all of your expenses, income and balance sheet. Maintain a low overhead. Be frugal with expenses and avoid unnecessary costs. Learn to live on a shoestring budget until meaningful revenues start to flow in.

5. Know your competition…in all ways always

 Make sure you thoroughly research competitive products or services in the marketplace when you start and as you move forward to keep on top of new developments and enhancements from your competitors. ‎Look at their websites, learn about their product/service offerings, get on their mailing lists, talk to their customers…do whatever you have to do to know what they are doing…and hence what you should do to keep up or stay ahead. Another way to do this is to set up a Google alert to notify you when any new information about your competitors shows up online.

6. Talk to other entrepreneurs and business owners

Advice from other entrepreneurs and business professionals (such as lawyers and accountants) can prove to be invaluable. Consider putting together an advisory board, and don’t be afraid to motivate members by giving them stock options in your company. Find mentors who can give you advice on hiring, product development, marketing and raising funds.

7. Be able to describe your company in 30 seconds or less

You should have a succinct and compelling story about what your new business does and what problems it solves. Have this ready for potential customers and investors (although you will need to tailor it to specific audiences). Keep it to 30 seconds or less. Articulate your mission and goals, and why your product or service is compelling and unique. And if an investor is interested, be prepared to follow up with an executive summary about the company or a PowerPoint “deck” that dives into more detail about the company and the market opportunity.

8. Hire the right people

Hiring the wrong people is one of the biggest mistakes made by entrepreneurs. You need to bring on employees who have the relevant background and experience. They need to fit into the company culture you are trying to build. They need to be hard working and flexible, as employees in startups often have to function in multiple roles. You must do thorough reference checks on them. Make sure your offer letter says they are “at will” employees and can be terminated at any time. Don’t forget the old quote: “Hire slowly. Fire quickly.”

9. Never stop networking

Networking can land you a new investor, a great employee, a new customer, or a great mentor. Attend industry and startup events. LinkedIn can be a powerful tool to help you network, so make sure both you and your company have profiles on LinkedIn and that you are constantly adding new connections. When someone does a Google search on you, your LinkedIn profile will usually show up at the top of the search results, so be sure you’re making a good first impression.

10. Give great customer service

 Why do companies succeed and others fail? Customer service. Take some of our successes: Zappos, Virgin America, Amazon, Nordstrom’s. All provide terrific customer service. In the past year, Time Warner Cable has lost over one million subscribers. Why? They are rated among the worst companies in terms of customer service and pricing.

In fact, today I was riding up in the elevator and saw a neighbor of mine with a Time Warner Cable bag. I asked him if he was still a customer. He said he was just using the Internet service. He cancelled everything else, as they were too expensive.

You want your customers to give referrals and sing your praises to their friends and colleagues. Thank your customers personally by email. Go the extra mile to show your appreciation.

11. Hire an experienced attorney

You need a savvy business lawyer for your company, one who has regularly formed and advised many other entrepreneurs and who specializes in startups and small businesses. An experienced startup lawyer can help you:

  • Help you establish the right kind of business (DBA, LLC, Corporation, etc.)
  • Draw up contracts 
  • Prepare key agreements for the business
  • Set up a stock option plan for employees
  • Prepare protective offer letters to prospective employees
  • Prepare an employee manual with rules, regulations, rights, etc.
  • Help you negotiate terms with prospective investors
  • Limit your potential legal liabilities
  • Protect your ideas and inventions (through copyrights, patents and non-disclosure agreements)

Get recommendations from other entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. Make sure you have a good rapport with the attorney. Meet with several potential attorneys before you make a final decision (those first meetings should be free).

12. When building a successful business, you can’t take forever to launch

Your product or service has to be at least good, if not great, to start out with. It has to be differentiated in some meaningful and important way from your competitors’ offerings. All else follows from this principle. Don’t dawdle on getting your product out to the market, as early customer feedback is one of the best ways to help improve it. As Reid Hoffman, venture capitalist and co-founder of LinkedIn, said: “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.”

There is never a perfect time to launch a startup, so follow that famous advice and “just do it.” Take the first step to building your business, even if it’s only part time while you still have a paying job.

13. Market and then market some more

 You continually have to be attracting, building, and even educating your market. Make sure your marketing strategy includes the following:

  • Build a professional looking, up-to-date website.
  • Learn the fundamentals of SEO (search engine optimization) so that people searching for your products and services might find you near the top of search results.
  • Use social media to promote your business (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) if it’s appropriate. Not all businesses need all Social Media. Don’t get caught up in the “I have to be everywhere” syndrome. Takes too much time and energy for zero return.
  • Develop a marketing plan, along with your strategic plan, so you know what you will need to do to achieve near-term goals and which tactics you should use (traditional marketing or new age digital).
  • Create a database of customer from the first sale you make. There is software available that will allow you to enter and analyze your customers’ behavior. This will enable you to send targeted messages to the right clients/customers about new products, product specials, etc. If you wait too long, it will be a monumental task that is not only time consuming but expensive as well.

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I hope you found this blog helpful to you. At The Marketing Garage, we work with small businesses and startups to get them on the right path to their journey to success. If you need help building your business, get in touch with us. You can email me at rsollish@themarketinggarage.com. We offer a no-charge initial consultation to see if and how we can assist you.

 

Stand Out From The Crowd

 

Stand out from the crowd

To stand out from the crowd is the goal of every business. Creating a branding strategy is extremely important to differentiating your brand from the competition.  But branding wasn’t formally defined and set forth until the 1970’s.

Over 40 years ago, two advertising pioneers, Al Ries and Jack Trout, published a book titled, Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind. It started a marketing revolution. One that made companies understand that a successful brand required a battle for the minds of consumers. Simply, positioning is how people “think” about your brand. It’s how you stand out from the crowd. Here are some familiar examples:

Mercedes-Benz: Engineered like no other car in the world

BMW: The ultimate driving machine

Southwest Airlines: The short-haul, no-frills, and low-priced airline

Avis: We are only Number 2, but we try harder

L’Oreal: Because you’re worth it.

Walmart: Always low prices. Always.

Nike: Just do it

While these are taglines, the companies also demonstrate their positioning by how they market their brands, how they build their products and how they treats their customers. For example, Mercedes-Benz has to build cars that are like no other, demonstrate their “superior engineering” positioning and make consumers think “best engineered cars” whenever they think about the company.

You, too, need to position your brand to distinguish your business from your competitors. And you can’t just say you are committed to “superior” service. Every business says that. That’s not going to differentiate you from your competitors. Not in a meaningful way. 

When selling a commodity how do you stand out from the crowd?

 

Museum quality wood flooringA client who owned a wood flooring company, asked us to design their marketing materials. As I learned more about the wood flooring category, I noticed there was a flooring store on practically every corner. And they were selling on price: Strips of wood in various finishes, all at the lowest prices. My client designed custom flooring with the most unusual and gorgeous designs. The company was definitely upscale, whose customer base were people and companies looking for quality and custom design. They were not interested in cheap.

That’s why we  positioned the company as Museum Quality Wood Flooring. And that’s exactly what they offered and how we demonstrated it in marketing materials.

7-Step Brand Positioning Strategy Process

In order to create a position strategy, you must first identify your brand’s uniqueness and determine what differentiates you from your competition.

There are 7 key steps to effectively clarify your positioning in the marketplace:

  1. Determine how your brand is currently positioning itself
  2. Identify your direct competitors
  3. Understand how each competitor is positioning their brand
  4. Compare your positioning to your competitors to identify your uniqueness
  5. Develop a distinct and value-based positioning idea
  6. Craft a brand positioning statement (see below)
  7. Test the efficacy of your brand positioning statement (see 15 criteria below)

Then you need to formalize how you are going to stand out from the crowd, or your positioning (unique selling proposition).

How to Create a Brand Positioning Statement

There are four essential elements of a best-in-class positioning statement:

  1. Target Customer: What is a concise summary of the attitudinal and demographic description of the target group of customers your brand/company is attempting to appeal to and attract?
  2. Market Definition: What category is your brand competing in and in what context does your brand have relevance to your customers?
  3. Brand Promise: What is the most compelling (emotional/rational) benefit to your target customers that your brand can own relative to your competition?
  4. Reason to Believe: What is the most compelling evidence that your brand delivers on its brand promise?

After thoughtfully answering these four questions, you can craft your positioning statement:

For [target customers], [company name] is the [market definition] that delivers [brand promise] because only [company name] is [reason to believe].

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We hope you have enjoyed this article. Positioning can be complex. So if you need some help getting your company or brand to stand out from the crowd, get in touch. We will be happy to work with you. Contact me at rsollish@themarketinggarage.com. 

How to get customers to buy your products or services

 

Where did your customers go

Too many choices. Too little time. Too little help.

We live in an age of practically limitless options—cars, phones, products, services,
lifestyles. The choices we face for the simplest purchases seem infinite.  

Take the supermarket. Last count there were over 42,686 products (and growing) lining confused by choicesthe shelves. Choosing a can of soup can make your head spin. Then there’s electronics. Computers. Small appliances. Business supplies. How about the large choice of  lawyers. Accountants. Dentists. Architects.

Customers who walk into a store with little or no knowledge about your product or service are likely to leave without buying anything. That’s why many companies are losing business.  Continue reading

The ways direct mail is better than email

Direct Mail Marketing
 15 ways direct mail is better at getting new business than email marketing.

Email “prospecting” is losing its power and direct mail is gaining strength. And for this reason some of the biggest Internet names (Google, Facebook, Microsoft) are major direct mail users. Marketers that use direct mail will gain an edge on competitors that skip direct mail. And, it’s not just for the big guys. It’s for the little guys who want to grow.

Here are 15 reasons you should be using direct mail instead of email to get new customers and more business:

1. DIRECT MAIL GENERATES ACTION :

A DMA (Direct Marketing Association) study demonstrated the following behavior of people receiving direct mail:

… 46% direct mail recipients read/looked at their direct mail.
… 23% visited the sender’s store location
… 21% visited the sender’s website
… 12% called an 800# listed on the mailer
… 9% replied via email

2. HIGHER RESPONSE: 

Another recent study by the DMA shows direct mail being 10 to 30 times more effective than email in generating “new” customers and prospects. On an overall basis, the average response rate for direct mail (DMA, 2013) was 4.4% and an anemic rate of 0.12% for electronic media.

 3. CONSUMERS PREFER DIRECT MAIL to EMAIL: 

An Epsilon study found that over 50% of consumers prefer regular mail to email. And 67% feel direct mail is more personal than the Internet. Seventy per cent (70%) preferred mail for receiving unsolicited information from unfamiliar companies. (In fact if you have low name recognition, you have a very low chance of your email getting opened.)

 4. MORE TRUSTWORTHY:

The Epsilon study also found that 25% of consumers found snail mail offers more trustworthy than email offers.

5. MAILING LISTS MATTER: 

High quality email addresses are very difficult to acquire – mainly because most people do not opt-in for third-party offers. And when available they are expensive. Typically a direct mail list offers 80% more prospects.

 6. LESS COMPETITION: 

More than ever consumers are bombarded with digital offers that they don’t want. Email is now the cluttered option, while postal mail represents the uncluttered option. With direct mail your offer will not get loss in avalanche of competitive offers.

 7. LONGER LIFE: The shelf-life of an email offer is measured in seconds, while a direct mail piece can linger on a coffee table for days…if not weeks. Special offer mailings I have done for clients see a healthy percentage coming in or calling weeks later.

 8. MORE SELECTIVITY:   

Most email lists do not offer the extensive array of selectivity factors available with a direct mail list. With a direct mail list you can pinpoint your best prospects … cream of the crop prospects, while email often forces marketers to take the old-fashion shotgun approach.

9.  HIGHER DELIVERY RATE:   

A direct mail list is typically 95% deliverable. On the other hand, the great majority of email lists being advertised have a delivery below 50%.   

10. HIGHER OPEN RATE:  

With the great majority of email “prospecting” campaigns, 95+ percent of all emails are not even opened. The email recipient will either delete or transfer to the SPAM box … without even peeking at the email … or your brand name. On the other hand, standard mail is a tangible item that typically captures a glance. The receiver may not read every word, but your company name/brand will gain much more awareness with direct mail than email.

 11. SAFETY:

With the growing threat of identity theft, viruses, and SPAM, people are becoming more and more hesitating in responding to on-line offers … even legitimate interesting offers. Regular mail is safe … the user can visit website on own time schedule and without having to click potentially dangerous links.

12. IMPROVES EMAIL RESPONSE RATE: 

One sure way to boost email OPEN and CLICK-THROUGH rates is with direct mail. One week before the email blast, send the email recipient a postcard informing that a special “email” offer will soon arrive. This one-two punch will increase the odds that the email recipient will OPEN the email … instead of deleting before even blinking at the email.

13. MORE CONTROL:

The majority of quality email list suppliers will not release their email addresses. With standard mail you can receive the direct list. Having a prospecting database in-house … offers innumerable marketing applications / opportunities; for example, data append, market analysis, market penetration reports, Sales Force Prospecting Management, Telemarketing Follow-Up Campaigns.

14. INCREASE WEB TRAFFIC & ONLINE SALES:

Direct mail has a tremendous influence on generating online sales. Per USPS study, over 60% of direct mail recipients were influenced to visit promoted website – with the greatest influence on first-time shoppers. Direct mail recipients purchased 28% more items and spent 28% more money than non direct mail recipients. The study also noted a revenue lift of 163% for websites supported by direct mail as opposed to those that were not. (SOURCE: USPS survey of 5,000 visitors to retail websites.)

15. CONSUMERS LIKE THE TACTILE NATURE OF DIRECT MAIL:

In focus groups consumers said the interactive part of direct mail helped them connect to the brand and left a lasting impression.

 NOTE:  Email is a very effective medium for communicating and selling existing or past customers. However, from the perspective of prospecting — finding new customers —direct mail is much more effective.

NOTE 2: If your prospect is not familiar with your name or brand, email is the least
l
ikely way to get a response. Surveys have shown that businesses/consumer open emails when they know the sender and are interested in their products/services. That’s not so true in direct mail. If the package presents the company well, the recipient will open an unknown brand/company’s mail out of curiosity.

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If you enjoyed this article, please share with your friends and colleagues. If you have other reasons why businesses should be utilizing direct mail, please tell us about it. Visit our website www.themarketinggarage.com to learn more about what we can do to help you grow your business. 

 

 

 

Effects of Color on Behavior, Part 2

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Which color to choose

Specifically, what are the effects of color on behavior for business?

In our post about the effects of color on behavior, Part 1, we discussed how different colors elicit different responses. Red is the color that creates energy. Orange is color of the tropics and joy (of course). The scientific basis for the physiological response to color is psychoneuroimmunology, or PNI. For your convenience, if you’d like to review Part 1 of our discussion on color here’s a link. http://wp.me/p4tQDL-vm.

It’s important to note that the effect of color on behavior is subtle. Subliminal. Subconscious. Your reader will not hum, “I’m feeling calm” if you use the color blue. Nor Continue reading