Marketing tips to launch your new business from home 

According to research by the Small Business Association, about 50 percent of all new small businesses are launched from home these days. The pandemic caused a significant shift towards remote work, and even as many people return to the office a few days a week, the idea of working from home is likely here to stay. In fact, per an Owl Labs study about 16 percent of companies are fully remote already – but some 62 percent of workers aged 22-65 say they work remotely at least occasionally.

If you’ve recently opened up a new business from the comfort of your own home, you may already be enjoying the conveniences that a home office setup brings. But just because you don’t happen to have a commute or a brick-and-mortar location, that doesn’t mean that you should skimp out on your marketing tactics.

Developing a comprehensive marketing plan can help you establish yourself in a busy marketplace and set you up for long-term success. When you’re getting ready to start your new business plan from home, consider the following:

Bulk up on basics: Your office may be located at home, but you’re probably still conducting some business in person. Ensure that you give the kind of strong, professional impression on potential new clients, customers and partners alike with well-designed business basics. Even something as simple as a business card can help you close a deal or keep your business top-of-mind when leads think of you.

Diversify your channels: As reported during the 2021 Content Marketing World conference, 47 percent of consumers are seeking out downtime from the internet due to an increasing sense of digital fatigue. What that means for you as a new business owner is that you need to create powerful, lasting brand associations to better generate leads. To do this, you should be engaging in a multichannel marketing campaign that includes offline platforms, such as direct mail, to forge connections.

Plan your promos: Whether sent as part of a lumpy mailer or given away during in-person meetings with clients, a well-designed promotional item can do a lot of work for your brand. Useful, practical items like tote bags, calendars, magnets, pens and more have a remarkably long shelf life inside a client’s home, working to keep your business at the front of their minds.

Embrace expos: Trade shows can be a great place for you to connect with new clients, generate leads and network with other people in your industry. You can help make an impact for your business with a smart trade show booth setup that includes standing banners, tabletop displays, printed collateral and much more.

Need an extra helping hand to get your new business off on the right foot? Contact Allegra! We can help with everything from logo design and business cards to trade show booths and promotional items. Contact us today to set up a free consultation.

Three Things to Make Your Real Estate Listings Stand Out 

Real estate agents, property managers and sellers all have one thing in common: they want their listing to go for top dollar, and fast! While it seems simple enough, there are a few things to keep in mind when you are marketing commercial and residential properties alike. You are telling a story and trying to paint a picture to help your prospective buyer or leaser see themselves in your space. While practicality can sell, visualization seals the deal.  

So how do you make this happen? 

1. Use compelling images. Instead of snapping a couple of quick photos on your phone, reach out to a local expert that specializes in residential or commercial properties. Those that are trained in the field can help see things from a different perspective, merge together images to show a panoramic view and even highlight key selling points that you may overlook.  

Pro tip: If the property is a big sell – consider staging it with furniture so a prospective buyer can see themselves in the space. The additional investment will pay off in the long run. 

2. Design is key. While a picture is worth a thousand words, a prospective client needs to know what the space is going to do for them and how it fits their needs. They may be able to write off the fact it doesn’t have a wish list item if you hard sell the other pieces. Professionally-designed marketing material that lists key features along with strong photography can help drive the inquiry to you. Don’t cut corners to save costs – you could be selling yourself short in the long run. 

3. Create a sense of urgency. In today’s market, people know that properties are going fast – so make sure you communicate clearly with your prospective buyers on open house dates and when other offers come in.  That way, they know that you have their needs top of mind, which adds more value to the relationship.  

Pro tip: If they qualify for special grants or funding options, make sure you communicate those deadlines to your buyers, too. 

Ready to get started? Reach out to the Allegra team so we can help you create a listing that paints the story of a forever home. 

How to Make an Impact at Your Next Conference

A Woman Stands at the Head of a Table Holding a Presentation Folder While Businesspeople Sit at the Table for a Presentation

Conferences are a great opportunity for businesses to connect with prospective customers or grow relationships with current ones. There are many ways to make an impact at your next conference, and the most memorable companies are those who use creative and effective ways to stand out.

Here are a few ways that your business can make an impact at your next conference:

1. Business cards: A tried and true printed marketing tool, business cards help you quickly share contact information and remain memorable. Get creative with your business card’s shape, paper stock and printing techniques to stand out from the pack, and include a QR code that makes your contact information and social media profiles easy to access.

2. Name tags: People often forget a new person’s name the moment after they meet them, which makes a great name tag a useful accessory both for reminding others of your name and for increasing brand awareness by also including your business logo.

3. Presentation folders: Whether you are presenting at a conference or just manning your company’s booth, a presentation folder is a great way to share information about your services or products in an organized and memorable way. Presentation folders can be designed with multiple pockets to include a business card, catalog or even a mini-USB drive that contains contact information for your business.

4. Promotional items: Nearly four in 10 consumers who receive a promotional gift from a business that they have not previously done business with say they are more likely to do so in the future, with recall being especially high for apparel items such as hats and shirts. Providing conference attendees with promotional items that they can use such as pens, mouse pads or mugs ensures that they will think of your business every time they write something down, use their computer or have a cup of coffee.

5. Special offers: Provide conference attendees with exclusive offers that are not available to anyone else. This shows them that you value their time and gives them an incentive to visit your website or physical location, helping to move them further along the sales funnel.

Is your business preparing to attend a conference? The experts at Allegra can provide you with many ways to make a great impression on conference attendees, from printed materials to promotional items and more. Contact us today to discuss all of your marketing needs!

Is marketing a sixth sense?

Engage donors and increase donations by appealing to all of their senses.

When you want to appeal to donors, it requires proper consideration and time to think about the kind of campaigns that will generate the largest contributions to your healthcare facility. With proper planning and the right list of attendees, your fundraising event can raise thousands – or, in some cases, hundreds of thousands – that can go towards medical research, facility expansions and equipment that can save lives.

While you already know that fundraising is critical, keep in mind how the most successful events appeal to all five senses.

  • Smell. When an attendee walks into a room, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it comfort? Hunger? A childhood memory? Amplify this experience by developing décor to set the mood and enhance how your guests breathe in your event.
  • Sight. Looking around the room, are people able to understand what they are contributing towards? Is there information to tell a story? Do your signs show how funds will be invested?
  • Sound. How will your evening be remembered? Will it be an emotional appeal from a survivor? An orchestra of strong and talented individuals? Toasts that highlight large donors or even videos that combine both voice and music to tell an impactful story? Control the narrative of the evening by thinking about everything they will hear.
  • Touch. While it’s easy to cut back on expenses to try to increase the profit behind these events, touch is something that appeals to the majority, so don’t cut too many corners. Think about name cards, napkins, tablecloths and even any literature that you are going to distribute – what does it say about your facility? Will they leave feeling like they are contributing to a worthy endeavor?
  • Taste. It’s tempting to try to control all of the elements of the evening, from the menu down to the bartenders. Though it’s important to have a handle on things, it’s also important to remember that you won’t decide what everyone decides to eat. Keep in mind that it’s only one piece of the overall equation of your event.

Finally, let’s talk about the sixth sense: marketing. Some people have the natural ability to orchestrate and envision an entire event. Whether you’re already a marketing visionary or if you need a bit of guidance, we’re here to help. Contact us today to help make your vision a reality at your next event.

How to Pick the Right Fold for Your Brochure

The information for your brochure had a lot of effort put into it. From the introduction of your business, to the showcasing of your products or services, to the information aimed at prospective customers, your brochure is uniquely yours. After Allegra helps you with all of the copy and information, we can help with brochure printing and brochure design. There are quite a few different options when it comes to folds, and these folds all have their benefits.

A photo of someone holding a half-fold brochure with a blue background and white text.

Tri-Folds

Tri-fold brochures have become industry standard due to the simple and easy design. This fold creates three equal sections by folding the sides over the middle. This type of fold provides you with endless possibilities as far as design and copy. With help from Allegra, we can work with you to create the best possible read and explanation of your business’ products or services through the simple tri-fold brochure.

Z-Folds

Z-fold brochures are not as popular as tri-folds, but they are extremely versatile. A z-fold contains six panels. By folding a piece of paper into thirds, one third is folded forward and another is folded backward. When opened, the brochure looks like the letter Z. This type of fold opens up fully with one pull, meaning you can have you work span the entire paper, or work with our team to create something unique that displays your business’ products or services with tasteful design in mind.

Half Folds

Half-fold brochures are comparable to booklets or standard cards. This can open up a world of possibilities for your business to decide how they would like to showcase their products or services. Remember that you are not required to stay within the panels, and your work can span throughout the brochure. Or, take some tips from restaurant menus as to how you would like to style your brochure. Comparisons also work very well with a half-fold brochure as they are easily understandable by prospective customers.

Accordion Folds

An accordion fold is similar to a Z-fold, however, the accordion is folded several times instead of just twice. This gives you quite a lot of room for information, pictures, and other images that add to the allure of your business. Just one pull opens up a lens into your business’ products or services. This type of fold is also cost-effective compared to booklets, which can provide a similar amount of information and graphics.

Gate Folds

The gate fold brochure features three panels, larger than the panels of tri-fold brochures. This kind of brochure is unique in it’s fold and size, possibly assisting in your brochure standing out from the rest. With great copy and graphic design in mind during the making of your gate fold brochure, Allegra can work with you to help you accomplish a neat and exceptional brochure that accentuates your business’ products or services.

Whichever fold you decide on, Allegra is here to help. From design to printing, Allegra is ready to work with you to create the best brochure to help your business stand out.

Three Things Your Brand Should Keep in Mind When Responding to Current Events

When certain events or issues dominate a news cycle, many brands may want to know if and when they should make their own opinions known. Protests, demonstrations, public health crises, political controversies – these are all situations that businesses might feel the need to make a statement, or to communicate where they stand to customers.

A smart brand statement can help in gaining customer loyalty and support, while one that is less well thought-out could result in backlash or be perceived as insincere or opportunistic.

When the conversation on social media and the press is dominated by certain events, here are some things to keep in mind as your brand formulates a reaction.

 

Put Substance Behind Your Statement

A statement without substance can sometimes be worse than no statement at all. Make sure that your statement is genuine and sincere, and where appropriate, show what you’re doing to make a difference or give back, such as a donation or supporting a petition. Especially for issues related to social justice or inequality, consumers want to know where your corporate social responsibility lies. If nothing else, explain to your audience how the event has affected your brand, and what you will do as a company to ensure that you are standing on the side of justice.

 

Provide Resources

Before you comment on a situation, consider how you can lead by example. Encourage your audience to take a stand alongside your company and make a difference in their own way too. Include resources that consumers can use to educate themselves about the problem at hand. What can you share with your audience to help them be more informed?

 

Pay Close Attention to Engagement

After making a public statement, pay close attention to the engagement and feedback you receive from your audience. Whether it is negative or positive, it is imperative to respond to direct customer engagement. By acknowledging their comments, customers will feel valued and heard. Respond to a difficult comment with answers to their concerns, or when in doubt, direct them to another team member or resource that can help.

 

An open dialogue between your brand and your audience can be healthy and effective for your business. It may not always be an easy conversation to navigate, but if you are genuine, supportive, resourceful and attentive to the problem, your brand can use its platform to make a difference.

The Importance of Printed Handouts

While the advertising space has grown more diverse with the increase of digital ad platforms, print handouts have not lost their importance. Thanks to digital, the significance and value of print has grown richer. Understanding the common types of print advertising handouts and how to use them is an important part of reaching the right audience with the right message and staying competitive.Flyers

Target Marketing refers to print marketing as an “engagement goldmine” when it’s marketing to Millennials. In fact, Target Marketing reported that 65% of Millennials bought from a catalog, and 63% purchased because of a mail piece. Print is perceived as more trustworthy and the fact that they can pick it up and touch it provides a level of sensory engagement digital ads cannot. Plus, print advertisements stand out from all the digital ads with which users are bombarded while on their phones.

So what are print handouts?

Print handouts are anything that is printed and handed out free of charge for advertising purposes. This includes flyers, brochures, pamphlets, and postcards. Several factors come into play when choosing the right ones to use for your business, such as the type of business you are advertising, the goal of your print campaign, and your budget. Most companies will benefit from using all these popular handouts in the right context!

  • Flyers: These are typically single-sided sheets printed with an advertisement. They are a low-cost option used for reaching many people with your message. This message is usually short and sweet – announcing a sale or a grand opening or simply reminding recipients that you exist to help them. They can be mailed, handed out by a sales team (on a street corner, at a tradeshow event, or canvased across a neighborhood), or pinned up on public bulletin boards.  Flyers are also known as leaflets.
  • Info Sheets: A single sheet containing product specific information. These are usually handed out by employees to individual customers at the shop or made available during trade show events.
  • Postcards: Printed on card stock or heavyweight paper, they are comprised of one flat piece with no folds. Most people picture a rectangle when they think of postcards; however, postcards are not limited to the traditional rectangle but can be designed in all manner of shapes to intrigue and delight your audience. Like flyers, they’re a great way to promote a sale or build brand recognition.  The message is usually pretty simple; your postcard is not the place to unload product specs and details. Instead, postcards are used to encourage the recipient to come engage with your business to redeem an offer or to supply a reminder of what your company does. They are a popular choice for direct mail campaigns because they very flat, lightweight, and sturdy, thus making them perfect for sending in the mail. As one of the simplest pieces to create since no folding or binding is involved, postcards are great for budgets and distributing to a broad audience.
  • Brochures: There are a wide variety of brochure formats readily available at your local Allegra. Brochures can be created from single sheets or multiple sheets folded to form a small booklet. Multi-sheet brochures can be bound or unbound. Unbound brochures are also called pamphlets. Printed brochures are utilized in many ways to effectively increase sales. A few common distribution methods for reaching your desired audience through brochures includes placing them in public display racks, sending them out to a select audience via direct mail, giving them to a client during a consultation, or placing them in brochure holders in your own office or shop for interested parties to pick up.

Do you need to create custom print handouts that are sure to impress? Your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail location is ready to help from start to finish.  They’ll guide you in choosing and designing the right type of print handout for each of your marketing goals as well as handle all the printing, folding, and binding for your marketing print handouts!

5 Ways to Boost Your Trade Show Presence

Trade shows are a great place to find new customers and build relationships to help your business grow. These events are often industry-specific and not open to the general public. Most of the people who attend trade shows are company representatives in a position to influence purchasing decisions. The Center for Exhibition Industry Research found that 86% of trade show visitors are decision-makers.Trade Show Booths

Before signing up for your next trade show, it’s crucial to do some preliminary research and figure out what will be the goal your company wants to achieve during this event. Your company may be launching a new product or service, or they may be looking to get feedback on an existing offering, or they may simply want to generate new sales leads. Whatever the objective is, you will need to find out what type of audience will be attending the event. After you figure out who will be attending the event, you’ll be able to determine the best ways to attract them to your booth.

Participating in events requires a substantial investment and advanced planning is necessary to guarantee a good return on investment. Redefine success and step up your 2020 trade show game by focusing on these five event marketing strategies.

  1. Reach out to attendees before the event. Build interest before the event by sending emails to encourage attendees to visit your booth. It may seem unnecessary, but doing this will plant the idea in their heads to stop by your location when at the event. You can say something as simple as, “Stop by with our booth with your business card for a chance to win a prize.”
  2. Invest in a memorable trade show booth. Choosing the right event company to produce your display is just as important as selecting the correct trade show to attend. That’s where Allegra comes in! We can help you think of every detail, from graphics and flooring to lighting.
  3. Invest in proper signageSigns are often the focal point of any booth and they are responsible for representing your brand. Make sure you have enough signage not only in your booth but also around the event floor to help people locate your booth. Use eye-catching graphics to draw potential customers and communicate the value of your products and services. There are many different types of signage that work well for events, from trade show banners to ceiling and flooring graphics.
  4. Pick unique promotional items. With today’s printing advancements, the possibilities are endless when it comes to the type of products you can brand. Use this opportunity to your advantage by picking an unusual giveaway. Giving people something unexpected they haven’t seen before will give your company an edge over other exhibitors. The items companies distribute at events should always be useful, valuable, or entertaining. Trends to keep in mind in 2020 when picking out promotional items are: self-care or fitness items, eco-friendly products, tech accessories, weather-friendly attire, and brain teasers.
  5. Make your booth fun and interactive. An excellent idea to attract people to your booth is to offer a convenient service. An example of this would be to set up a cell phone charging station. Since most people will probably be using their phones, they are likely to stop by and use the station. Another idea to make your booth more interactive and fun is to invite people over for games in exchange for prizes. People are more likely to spend some time with your company if you are providing an experience they can enjoy.

Allegra has the experience and expertise to save you time and money with trade show displays, banner stands, giveaways, and more. You don’t need a big budget to make a significant impact! We’ve helped lots of companies just like yours. And they’ve been kind enough to give us a 5-star rating in return. That’s a win-win!

For quality and service you can trust, contact your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail location today!

10 Customer and Employee Appreciation Gifts for the Holidays

Employee Appreciation GiftWith the holidays just around the corner, many businesses are looking for creative ways to let their customers and employees know they care. Larger companies with substantial budgets have standardized strategies to reach as many people as possible, but smaller businesses have a significant advantage when it comes to showing their clients and employees some holiday appreciation.

Never underestimate the business impact of excellent customer care. Herein lies a rare advantage that favors smaller operations. A new study revealed 61% of millennials expect to shop at small businesses in 2019. One of the reasons behind this is they understand the positive impact supporting local businesses has in their communities. Another reason is they enjoy the personal customer service they experience at a small business.

Customer and employee appreciation strategies don’t need to be costly. They simply need to be creative and consistent. Is the retention worth it? Absolutely. Ian Altman, a contributor at Forbes.com, says: “It’s always a good idea to show clients your gratitude.” And according to a business satisfaction report by Knack “Employee gifting can play an important role in employee retention in a tight labor market.”

Appreciation and recognition initiatives should be a must for every company. When formal and informal
recognition is built into your business, it can help you retain customers, improve sales, and retain top performers in your organization.

If you are looking for budget-friendly options to recognize customers or employees this holiday season, check out these ten creative ideas.

Customer appreciation gifts and retention ideas:

  1. Send a card. Custom cards or postcards are always thoughtful and often unexpected. Use them say thank you after a customer makes a large or repeat purchase or sends an important referral your way. While email may be efficient and easy, nothing tops the touch and feel of a personalized, handwritten note on high-quality stationery or a notecard with your logo embossed or foil-stamped on the front.
  2. Bring lunch. For companies dealing with business-to-business clients, bringing lunch to their location can be a great call. You can use this as an opportunity to bring some branded promotional items like reusable lunch totes, water bottles, or travel tumblers.
  3. Extend the goodwill. If you want to go above and beyond for a client, invest in a customized gift. This appreciation gift can be something reusable your client can continue to use. For example, a branded crystal candy dish filled with treats can create an opportunity for your sales team to refill on subsequent visits.
  4. Get personal. If your customer data includes birthdays, anniversaries, or other significant dates, you can build in recognition beyond holiday-related occasions with personalized offers and gifts. Do you have any clients who are into fitness? Branded pedometers or exercise mats are a great way to show them your company cares.
  5. End on a high note. Year-end holidays are a prime time to send customer appreciation gifts. Printed wall calendars are still well-received despite having many other electronic options. Other welcome desk accessories include journals and portfolios or electronics, like power kits or Bluetooth speakers.

Employee appreciation gifts and retention ideas:

  1. Be specific. Acknowledging an employee of the month is good, and it can be even better if you include a branded gift as a reward. Go for trendy promotional products such as: drawstring backpacks, headphones, or travel blankets.
  2. Encourage peer recognition. Enable your employees to acknowledge one another for going the extra mile or being a team player with whimsical “high five” trophies or golden tokens redeemable for office perks.
  3. Put it in writing. Recognizing people in writing can help you raise morale and encourage productivity. Make a point to give shout outs and reward those employees who embody your company values. Send a company wide written communication highlighting their personal stories and achievements.
  4. Tie rewards to company goals. Get the most from your employee appreciation program by linking some awards directly to your goals: increasing sales, improving customer service, or identifying cost savings. Traditional plaques and crystal trophies can instill pride in your organization.
  5. Remember remote employees. Reinforce the sense of connection of remote workers by including them and leveraging your online capabilities. There are many ways to do this, for example, feature them on your social media pages, your website, or include them in your monthly companywide emails.

Before the year ends, try some of these small investment ideas; in time they will pay big dividends for your company. Your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail location offers many promotional product options to support your customer and employee retention strategies.

How to Wow Your Best Customers

This year Allegra sponsored a marketing webinar series featuring branding specialist Carla Johnson. In each session, Carla has discussed the different stages of the customer journey and how to reach the customer where they are at in their journey. Marketing Webinar Image

In the first webinar Impact Branding: Find and Amplify Your Brand’s Uniqueness,” she discussed ways to build your branding to attract prospects in the awareness stage and provided tips on how to convert those in the consideration stage into customers.

In the second webinar, Chemical Attraction: Transform Lukewarm Leads into Loyal Customers,” Carla discussed how to engage those prospects in the purchase stage and create exceptional customer relationships.

In the third and final Allegra webinar for 2019, Behind the Curtain: Inside Tips to Wow Your Best Customers,” Carla focused on the retention and advocacy stages of the customers’ journey and provides insightful tips to wow your existing customers and encourage them to become brand advocates.

Customer service should be a priority for every business but being able to deliver beyond that is what helps gain loyal customers and set your business apart from your competitors. The approach suggested in this webinar recommends understanding what it takes to make and keep those long-lasting relationships.

The most successful customer relationships start with successful employee relationships. This is why it’s essential to pay close attention to the people in your company and those you hire because they will ultimately be the ones who will represent your brand.

According to Gallup’s State of the American Workforce Report, companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%. To engage your existing employees Carla suggests these three ideas:

#1 Education:

Teach your employees about the customer journey and how their interactions at each one of these stages will shape the foundations of the customer experience. Make sure they focus on building long term customer relationships rather than short term transactions and provide them the necessary tools to help create fantastic experiences that will keep your customers coming back.

#2 Empowerment:

Empowering your employees means giving each one of your employees the authority and autonomy to make decisions about specific organizational tasks. By doing this, you will help encourage stronger job performance and job satisfaction.

Here are five ways you can empower your employees:

  • Hand out responsibilities
  • Make guidelines and best practices clear
  • Encourage communication
  • Offer individual and peer coaching
  • Allow opportunities for growth

#3 Activation

Employee activation is about encouraging employees to organically create and share content about topics they are interested in. Making sure the people who work for you feel appreciated and valued can help your company in return. If you make your employees feel valued, they will feel inspired and will help promote the company in return.

To get started implementing these ideas at your company follow these simple guidelines:

  • Evaluate the customer journey and asses what things are currently in place to ensure excellent customer relationships at your company.
  • Prioritize the places where this experience may need more attention.
  • Commit to delivering exceptional experiences and continuously improve how you educate, empower, and activate your customers.

If you are looking for more ideas to help improve your employee relationships, Allegra can help. Contact us to learn and ask about our promotional gifts for appreciation, personalized brochures and training manuals, or the recognition awards and certificates we offer. To listen to the full recording of this webinar series visit: https://allegrawebinars.com/