4 Ways e-Commerce Sites Bring Better Brand Control and Consistency

E-commerce

No matter how careful your organization may be, there’s always a chance for brand inconsistencies to creep into your marketing communications over time as your business evolves or your staff changes. In fact, your organization may be especially vulnerable if:

  • You operate several locations
  • Your marketing materials are accessed by multiple people
  • Your printed materials require frequent updates

Even the smallest breaches in brand consistency, such as differing colors or fonts, competing messaging or confusing wording, can do some major damage. According to a survey by Demand Metric Research Plus, 71% of marketers and brand managers said that brand inconsistencies result in market confusion, 56% said they result in harm to your credibility and 30 percent said they make it harder to compete.

So, the question is, how can businesses, organizations and nonprofits protect themselves from harmful brand inconsistencies? Marketers looking for a better way to manage their brand assets might consider a web-to-print solution (W2P) also known as an online order and print fulfillment system.

Here are four ways e-commerce sites can offer a competitive edge and streamline your organization’s marketing dollars:

  1. Centralize control.
    When brand standards are controlled through an e-commerce website, you can greatly increase the consistency and accuracy of your marketing and sales materials by having your most current versions of documents available to all who need access.
  2. Increase impact.
    Cut turnaround time while you empower multiple users to reach your company’s communications goals. Your marketing gets more relevant when you can easily localize your content for powerful, personalized messaging.
  3. Monitor spending.
    With a system in place, you can track both usage and purchases across employees and offices. This information can be used for further marketing and sales efforts as you determine what’s being used and where you can trim expenses.
  4. Improve efficiency. 
    By consolidating your organization’s communications resources, you can leverage your buying power while avoiding the “one off” spending that often occurs in regional offices or with remote employees.

Want better control over the consistency of your brand? Contact your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail to learn more about how a convenient and user-friendly web-to-print solution can better equip you to streamline the ordering and management of your marketing and business materials.

What to Print for Your Next Event

Event marketing can prove to be an effective strategy for lead generation and customer retention. Yet common missteps that can thwart your best intentions can happen before (lack of preparation), during (poor displays) and after (failure to follow up with leads). All can be easily avoided!

Printed Materials for Event Marketing

Many of your promotional tactics will be print-related. To ensure a greater return on your investment at your next trade show, expo or community event, here’s a rundown of what most marketers have in their event arsenal:

Banners, Posters and Signage
Whether your event is inside or outdoors, you’re competing with a lot of visual noise. Professionally produced banners, flags, pennants, posters and directional signage can drive foot traffic to your space, creating more opportunity for engagement. According to the 2016 Experiential Marketing Content Benchmarking Report, 74% of consumers said meeting with exhibitors made them more likely to buy the products being promoted or demonstrated.

Brochures and Flyers
Take along a mix of marketing materials. Inexpensive handouts are just right for anyone stopping by your booth, serving as a handy refresher once the show is over and everyone heads home. Keep a stash of more robust, high-quality sales brochures available for anyone who expresses a genuine interest.

Business Cards
Business cards are necessary for events and trade shows, so you’ll want to ensure that your team has plenty to hand out. Are they up-to-date? Visually appealing? Readable? Think about sprucing up your business cards with textured paper, vibrant palettes and graphics and unique type fonts that align with your brand identity.

Direct Mail
Use the mail to be first in line in the minds of your customers, as it can take multiple contacts with your target audience to drive action. For an event, plan on delivering a save-the-date card a few weeks ahead of your invitation mailing. Based on responses, you may need a third reminder. An inexpensive postcard will do as a last push for RSVPs.

Programs
Event apps are growing in popularity for those who always have a phone in hand. Be aware that not all venues are enabled with Wi-Fi or it can be an additional cost if you’re the event host. Cover your bases with a printed program for handy reference and note taking. Your attendees will thank you.

There are plenty of extra print materials that can boost the success of your event. Place cards or nametags for special dinners, meet-and-greets and other similar events are a great way to organize your attendees and break the ice. Raffle tickets and contest forms featuring your brand logo create a fun and interactive experience for everyone, keeping you top of mind.

Want to check off these printed materials from your list? Your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail can help you!

Simple Ways to Personalize Your Multi-Channel Marketing Campaigns

One of the most widely embraced marketing tactics for establishing and maintaining customer rapport and loyalty is personalization. Personalized marketing leverages your customer data to individualize messaging, adding important relevancy. Personalization can be applied to most of your marketing channels: direct mail, email, social media and other digital campaigns.

Allegra Direct Mail

Though personalized marketing can seem daunting, chances are you’ve already collected basic customer data that can be used to tailor your campaigns. Studies show that any form of personalization can pay off when it comes to engaging your targeted audience. According to a report from Econsultancy, 74 percent of marketers say targeted personalization increases customer engagement.

Here are a few ways to integrate personalization into your current marketing efforts to boost engagement:

  • Using data collected from your current customer base, create your ideal customer personas and tailor your marketing strategy to meet the needs of each identified group. For multi-channel marketing campaigns, segment by group and tailor your approach based on communication preferences and customer demographics.
  • Personalize a direct mail campaign by tailoring the messaging to a desired customer experience, rather than just a target customer. A pet supply store that offers grooming, for example, could share coat-care tips with a coupon for shampoo to a targeted list of past purchasers.
  • Enhance your direct mail campaign with personalized landing pages to extend engagement and drive conversions for those who like to respond online.

Count on your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail to provide solutions for personalizing your marketing campaigns in the most targeted and practical way.

Rethinking Signage: 3 Ways to Go Beyond the Banner

Large signs and graphics make a lasting impression on your audience. Whether indoors or out, there are plenty of trendy options to spice up your signage. Here are a few of our favorite ways to say hello to a new, fresh look that will capture your audience’s attention.

  1. Walk it out
    Make the most of every square foot of informational, promotional or decorative space in your facility. The latest solutions in graphics prove that you’re no longer limited to walls, windows and doors; you can now take advantage of graphics for floor surfaces and even printed ceiling tiles.
    Allegra Signage
  2. Look outside
    Perforated window graphics are a creative way to share your message. A creative twist on an old favorite, perforated graphics present a promotional message when viewed from one side (such as the outside of a door or window) and a clear view when seen from the other (often the inside of a vehicle or building). One-way vinyl graphics replicating frosted glass or displaying a design or scene also add an attractive element of privacy to office or conference room windows.
  3. Get mobile
    Whether they’re on a car, van or trailer, vehicle graphics and decals are some of the most economical ways to deliver promotional messages. Simply parking your vehicle is a marketing tactic! Smaller businesses or organizations without a permanent vehicle or fleet for deliveries or service calls can benefit from repositionable graphics. These are an ideal way to put your marketing in motion and are easily removed and replaced.

From custom design to installation, talk to the signage professionals at your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail about how to make a greater impact with creative sign solutions.

4 Ways to Improve Customer Retention

The Harvard Business Review suggests that it is anywhere between five to 25 times more expensive to acquire new customers than retain them depending on the industry. Here are a few considerations as you develop what works best for your company’s retention strategy:

Customer Retention

  1. Keep VIP customers happy.
    Track the buying patterns of your best customers and reach out with personal communication if they lapse. A dormant accounts survey may be the first step to determine the why behind their absence: needs have changed, moved their business to a competitor or there’s some level of dissatisfaction that should be addressed.
  2. Start a rewards program.
    According to a Bond Brand Loyalty Inc. report, 76 percent of shoppers think that loyalty programs are key to their relationships with businesses.Small businesses can use customer loyalty programs to reward customers who regularly buy products and/or services to incentivize repeat sales.
  3. Give special offers.
    Customer appreciation strategies go a long way when it comes to customer retention. From branded gifts and personal notes to promotional giveaways and birthday cards, regular customer appreciation activities are tangible ways for your company to show appreciation that can generate positive sentiment and measurable brand loyalty.
  4. Don’t forget the follow up.
    According to DMNews, 53 percent of consumers feel that it’s important for businesses to recognize them as the same person across all channels and devices. Engaged customers are likely to remain long-term customers, so gear your small business’ blog content, emails and other communications with customers in personal ways that keep their attention.

Interested in bolstering your customer retention strategies and driving brand loyalty? Contact your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail today.

5 Marketing Books to Add to Your Reading List

Whether you’re looking to establish a new content strategy, spice up your branding, earn new customers or simply find some inspiration, there’s no shortage of expertise on the shelf. Here are five of our favorite books:
Five Books for Your Reading List

The One Hour Content Plan: The Solopreneur’s Guide to a Year’s Worth of Blog Post Ideas in 60 Minutes and Creating Content That Hooks and Sells: Looking to populate your blog or website with original content that stands out? This is a must-read to create a solid content foundation that highlights the products or services your brand offers.

Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team: If you’ve ever felt like your brand could use a refresh but you’re not sure where to begin, pick up this book. You’ll glean leadership lessons for your whole team with takeaways that will enhance your brand for years to come.

Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing and Advertising: Ryan Holiday takes lessons from Facebook, Dropbox, Airbnb and Twitter for his guide to replacing stale marketing lessons with tools that are testable, trackable and scalable.

The 1-Page Marketing Plan: Get New Customers, Make More Money and Stand Out from the Crowd: More than 500 readers have given this book a five-star review for its strategies to start following a reliable, brief plan for rapid business growth. It’s easy to see why.

Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade: Social psychologist Robert Cialdini digs deep into effective persuasion. This is a great tool for communicators looking to bring an edge to their strategies and grab attention in powerful ways.

Contact your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail today for help in planning, designing, executing your marketing campaigns so you get the best return on your investment.

How to Make Your Business Card a Real Keeper

Though advances in technology are constantly redefining the ways in which we do business, one conventional business practice has stood the test of time: the business card.

Allegra Business Card

Printed business cards provide a tangible, personalized element to relationship-building that digital alternatives cannot. And, when tailored to reflect your brand’s image, business cards serve as important marketing collateral for creating a positive, long-lasting first impression.

According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, 72 percent of professionals say they judge companies based upon the quality of their employees’ business card. The driving force ensuring your business card reflects both you and your organization well? A strong design.

Here are some tips for creating a brand-building business card that is sure to leave a good impression:

Make it colorful.
In the same survey, 78 percent of respondents said a color business card is more memorable than a standard, white card. Align your color palette and graphics with your brand standards to help ensure a seamless brand experience at every touchpoint.

Choose an unusual material.
Although card stock is both cost-effective and practical, virtually any paper and a wide variety of finishes can be used for business cards – textured or smooth, glossy or matte. However, if you’re truly set on setting your brand apart, choose a lightweight wood or plastic sheath.

Investing a little more should pay off: Nearly four out of 10 survey takers said they would choose not to do business with someone if they have a “cheap looking” business card.

Keep it consistent.
The look and feel of your brand and all your promotional materials are likely to evolve over time. Have a plan to do a brand audit annually to weed out the materials that are outdated in information and appearance. Your schedule of design revisions just might start with your business cards.

Looking for a bolder business card design that speaks volumes about your brand? Allegra’s team of business branding experts can help create the perfect design. Contact your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail today.

Don’t Forget to Sign Up for Allegra’s Live Marketing Webinar

No matter your business or industry, providing an exceptional customer experience is critical to differentiate from your competitors and build long-term loyalty.
June 7, 2018 Webinar

So, what can you do to inspire your clients and supporters to want to champion your brand in their personal and professional networks? Is there a proven approach to architect a customer service experience that won’t fail?

Allegra Marketing Print Mail is hosting “Unlock the Secrets to an Unbeatable Customer Experience,” a comprehensive live marketing webinar to help both B2B and B2C professionals as well as nonprofit leaders deliver an experience that your competitors can never copy. You’ll also learn why customers care more about your experience than the product or service you sell, and what characteristics make up an amazing customer experience.

The free, one-hour webinar will feature world-renowned storyteller Carla Johnson. Her latest book, Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing, sets the benchmark for marketing’s evolving role in business. Today, she travels the world teaching people how to cultivate idea-driven teams that breed unstoppable creativity and game-changing innovation.

We hope you’ll join us Thursday, June 7, from 12–1 p.m. (ET) for the webinar! For more information or to register, visit www.allegrasecrets.com. If you’re unable to join us, register anyway, and we’ll send you a recording so you don’t miss a moment!

Step Up Your Swag to Build Brand Awareness

For building brand awareness, one of the most effective tools is logoed promotional products. According to a
2016 study by the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), approximately 87 percent of marketers credit promotional products with helping them to reach marketing goals.

build brand awareness

In today’s multi-channel landscape, what can brands do to get their best ROI out of this proven advertising tactic?

Here are some tips to put a new spin on the promotional merchandise in your marketing mix:

Higher tech, higher impact
When connectivity rules, logoed tech accessories are fun and functional for all. Consider branded USB drives, smartphone coasters or stylus pens as giveaways at your next event.

Packable, practical promos
A recent blog
post from ProForma shared that logoed merchandise such as bags, backpacks and totes are favorites among consumers. Prized for their practicality, bags and totes are often used for travel and errand-running, leading to wider exposure and reach. For the environmentally conscious, logoed canvas shopping bags or eco-friendly materials are appreciated and remembered.

Health is wealth
Logoed fitness and wellness items such as infusers, blender bottles, yoga mats and towels and ear buds resonate well with most audiences. Not to mention, this type of logoed merchandise serves as the perfect employee incentive and is a great internal marketing tool for workplace wellness initiatives.

Balance promotion and purpose
With so many choices, picking the best logoed promo products can get tricky. Shop with purpose. Give event attendees and targeted audiences something that they’ll be able to use. Research continues to show that people appreciate usefulness most.

Finding the right promotional products to build brand awareness can be time-consuming. Let us lend a hand. The promotional merchandise pros at
Allegra can help you make a lasting impression; always on time and on budget.