Category Archives: Business

The Truth about Newsletters

Newsletters are one of the most effective marketing and loyalty-building tools a business can use. We all know businesses that have produced their own in-house newsletters and have used them as powerful marketing resources for their company.

Newsletters “connect” potential buyers to your business in a way that most conventional advertising never will. People love to read them! Providing your customers with a monthly newsletter is an easy way to build loyalty, goodwill, and devotion to your company.

Here’s a list of three newsletter tips and ideas you might find helpful:

First, think about your content. Generally, the most popular newsletters don’t contain a lot of industry-specific, technical copy. This can seem boring and self-serving to your readers. It’s better to provide interesting articles that will appeal to most people. Use a strong nameplate masthead and a few display ads in your newsletter to “sell” your products or services.

Secondly, newsletters increase customer loyalty, so your mailing list should include customers as well as prospects that you would like to develop into customers.

Lastly, newsletters don’t have to be expensive. Our printing firm can offer several different printing options. You might start with a simple, inexpensive, one-color newsletter, and progress to two-color and full-color as your newsletter’s popularity increases.

Newsletters can help your business muscle through the mail stack with your company’s selling message. If you’d like the phone to ring more, we’ll help you make it happen with newsletters.

http://www.ParagonPress.net – Ranked #1 in loyalty & satisfaction – Print. Mail. Design. Social Media. Marketing. – 318.868.3351

Product Sell Sheets – A Simple Sales Solution

When it comes right down to it, what your company needs is increased sales, right? Your company exists to bring its product or service to the world, and your overall success is measured by how many people buy your product or service. Period.

That being said, your company is most likely looking for simple yet effective marketing ideas that will help get the word out about your company’s products or services. It may seem elementary, but product sell sheets are the answer. Simply put, they help you sell. Unlike brochures, which are big on detail, sell sheets tend to be more about an introduction to a product or service. This means an effective sell sheet depends on the right combination of a graphic that captures the essence of your company, text that will entice and engage the reader, and a well-placed logo and contact information that will easily allow interested people to get in touch with your company.

While creating a sell sheet with all of these elements may seem like an overwhelming task, it doesn’t have to be. Simply consider the personality of your company. What are your values? What is your target audience? How can you convey your company’s values to that target audience? Answering these simple questions will take you far when designing a sell sheet.

And, as always, our printing firm is ready to help you create the right look for your company’s sell sheet. We know you want to increase sales and get the word out about your company, and we are happy to work with you to achieve both of those goals through sell sheets. Give us a call today to get started designing a sell sheet that will make a great impact on your prospects and customers.

http://www.ParagonPress.net – 318.868.3351 – Leading provider of print, direct mail, graphic design, social media strategy, marketing services.

 

Generation Y!

Generation Y, aka the Millennials or the Echo Boomers, are the children of the nation’s baby boomers or older members of Generation X. Born in the years 1977 to 1994, they are well educated, hardworking, technologically savvy and tend to be somewhat narcissistic.

By the year 2012, Gen Y will be the 18-34 age group and will comprise a major portion of the nation’s workforce.

In hiring or working with members of Gen Y, keep these points in mind:

• Gen Y places high value on work/life balance. They want flexible hours or the option of telecommuting. They want shorter workdays or weeks, but they won’t waste any of the time they spend on the job. They’re excellent multitaskers who expect efficiency. They won’t tolerate long, pointless meetings or anything else that strikes them as a waste of time. When they work, they work hard, and when they get away, they are gone.

• Gen Y expects a lot from employers. They respect authority and experience, but won’t take “Because I said so” as a reason for doing anything. They want fair and direct communication. They expect full disclosure—hide anything or operate unethically in any way and you will lose them. They also desire constant input on their job performance. Forget the annual review—more frequent reviews will be seen as more helpful. Gen Y understands money and expects a good retirement plan, starting from day one.

• Gen Y wants to serve. Give them opportunities to volunteer, to donate, to help others.

• Gen Y is high-tech. These people have used computers since they were in day care. They prefer email and phone calls over in-person meetings. They know all about “second life” (living their “second life” via Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube). Provide them with the latest and most relevant technology and they will work wonders with it for your company.

• Gen Y communicates best with itself. The best person to train a new Gen Y employee is a member of Gen Y. The best go-to person for Gen Y employees is another Millennial like themselves.

• Gen Y is narcissistic. These young people tend to think that everything is about them. They may have a certain sense of entitlement, expecting high pay and high respect even as new hires. While some of these expectations need to be talked down, the truth is these workers come with college degrees and heavy school-loan burdens that realistically do need to be paid off. High pay is more than a selfish desire for members of Gen Y.

Pay them fairly, communicate with them clearly and, if you can, get used to their flip-flops. There is unlimited creativity and energy to be harnessed in the thundering horde known as Generation Y, now heading toward your office.

http://www.ParagonPress.net – 318.868.3351 – Ranked #1 for loyalty & satisfaction – Print. Direct Mail. Design. Social Media. Marketing.

Old-Fashioned Social Networking

Remember the old days when social networking meant actual face time with people? Whether at a trade show, in the elevator, or at a business lunch, networking happened in a much different way. Even with all the online social networking that is available, it is still essential to know how to network face-to-face.

With all the social engagements that occur this time of year, the holiday season can be the perfect time to hone your networking skills.

Here are a few reminders about how you can network effectively:

• Be confident, but not pompous or arrogant. You are just as important as the person you are meeting, but you are not the star of the show.

• Get to know the person you are talking to, and save your agenda until you know the person better.

• If you are with someone, be sure to introduce them as well. The more interaction, the merrier.

• Don’t be afraid to share something you are passionate about. You may strike common ground and create a lasting impression.

• If you have an idea to share, make it brief. A drop in the bucket is better than a whole bucketful.

• An invitation to coffee or a drink is more inviting than a meal. If there is more to chat about, the conversation can continue over dinner.

• Don’t fake it. Just be you. Lasting business relationships must be grounded in the truth.

http://www.ParagonPress.net – 318.868.3351

The Power of Customer Testimonials

Testimonial letters are a very powerful benefit to your business. They give you the opportunity to showcase specific reasons why you are different from your competition, and customers appreciate the reassurance that others in their situation have been pleased with your product or service.

To build a portfolio of testimonial letters, you must first determine who your most satisfied customers are.

Figure out the best way to get in touch with these customers—perhaps some prefer a phone call over an e-mail.

Ask them to send you a letter describing what makes your company valuable and special to them.

There is nothing more satisfying than seeing your company’s name in a letter from a happy customer.

Be sure to ask the customer if they are willing to let you use any quotes about your company in your marketing materials.

Such personal testimonies will go a long way in convincing prospects to consider using your company.

http://www.ParagonPress.net – 318.868.3351 – Ranked #1 in loyalty & satisfaction – Leading provider in PRINT, DIRECT MAIL, DESIGN, SOCIAL MEDIA, MARKETING SERVICES.

The Cure for the Meeting Blues

Meeting. Just the word itself can evoke feelings of fear, dread, and panic. But it doesn’t have to. The primary reason to call a meeting is to share or brainstorm information, or to develop a plan of action for accomplishing a goal. That’s it.

Unfortunately, what often results from meetings are frustrated participants, unclear expectations, and, almost inevitably, more meetings. Often, a meeting will end with no decision being made or articulated, making it impossible for participants to turn decisions into action.

One of the best cures for meeting ills—that will make sure your meetings are the best investment of your time and resources—is to find someone to facilitate your meetings. Someone who knows the essentials of good facilitation.

With that in mind, here are some thoughts that every facilitator should keep in mind when preparing for, running, and following up on a meeting:

1. Create an agenda, complete with meeting goals, and stick to it.

In order for a meeting to be considered a success, there needs to be a tangible outcome—something actionable. Without an agenda, participants will feel free to bring up loosely related subjects that aren’t critical to achieving the goals of the meeting. Good ideas and purposeful tangents can happen within the construct of a solid agenda with strong facilitation.

2. Watch the clock.

The agenda should detail specific amounts of time for the discussion of each item. A good facilitator will keep track of the clock, remind the participants of the time, and generally keep the meeting on track.

3. Allow some time for fun.

Yes, meetings are work. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be fun. Facilitators should be relaxed enough to allow joking and small talk, but know when it is time to bring the focus back to the task at hand.

4. Turn ideas and decisions into action.

A meeting’s success can be measured by the amount of forward motion that occurs after everyone is dismissed. Too often, however, participants leave a meeting unsure of where to go next. Good facilitators should get agreement on every decision, help the group develop an action item to accompany every decision, and assign a person to complete each action. This information should be recorded in the meeting minutes.

5. Learn from your mistakes.

At the end of the meeting, before excusing the group, the facilitator should take a moment to get feedback from the group. That feedback should be used to improve future meetings.

If your company needs to cure its meeting ills, a solid facilitator may be just what the doctor ordered to get things on the road to recovery.

http://www.ParagonPress.net – Printing, direct mail, graphic design, social media, marketing services – 318.868.3351

RACK CARDS – Make an Impact

Have you considered the direction of your current marketing strategy lately? Are you stuck in a rut? Maybe it’s time to stretch the boundaries of your marketing plan to include rack cards—those convenient little cards that are available in rest stops, hotels, convenience stores and other high-traffic areas.

Why put limits on marketing when something as simple as rack cards can take your company’s information to places you wouldn’t ordinarily advertise? In fact, it can be extremely beneficial to advertise in areas that may be outside your typical marketing comfort zone. You never know who needs the services you provide, and the target marketing you do really only goes so far.

Location, location, location is one of the key benefits of rack cards. Not only are the racks placed in high-traffic areas with large volumes of people walking by on a regular basis, the people who stop at the rack are looking for information. They are actively trying to learn more about the area they are visiting—and your company is right there in the mix.

If your company provides a product or service that you don’t think people would pick up a rack card to read about, think again. Rack cards aren’t just viewed by people that are passing through town—visitors and residents alike have use for the information that can be gained from the cards they will find.

If your company is considering producing a rack card, here are some things to keep in mind:

• Bold, clear graphics. Stick to images that paint a positive picture of your company and will stand out on the rack.

• Well-chosen words. You have a limited amount of space to get your message across. Craft your message carefully.

• Paper. A heavy, coated paper will provide greater durability.

• Color. Be sure your rack cards are printed in color to grab attention.

Ask us about adding rack cards to your marketing plan! http://www.ParagonPress.net – 318.868.3351 – joan@paragonpress.net

Statement Stuffers

Statement Stuffers: Sales Tools Worth Trying

Want to share important information with your clients and promote your products without incurring the expense of a typical advertising campaign? Why not give statement stuffers a try?

Statement stuffers are a simple little sales tool that national retailers, utility companies, banks, and credit-card companies have been using for years—and with great success!

Statement stuffers are inexpensive to produce and mail. Because of their dimensions, multiple stuffers can be printed on a single sheet of paper and then cut down to size. This reduces press time, saving money on each impression. Plus, adding a stuffer to each statement that is mailed will typically add nothing to the postage cost.

In many companies, purchasing decisions are made by the same people who pay the bills. A well-thought-out statement stuffer, promoting a product or service that would be of interest to these buyers, could mean more and better sales in the future.

And statement stuffers can do more than market products. They can also be used to communicate important information to your client base. Since most clients receive a printed statement every month, printing a statement stuffer with information about changing services or potential concerns guarantees that the information will reach your audience in a timely manner.

Despite the name, a statement stuffer can be used for far more than just an addition to monthly statements. Many companies use their statement stuffers as front-counter handouts, include them with promotional packs, and add one to each order that goes out. As they’ve discovered, with statement stuffers the possibilities are endless.

http://www.ParagonPress.net – 318.868.3351 – Ranked #1 among printers nationwide for LOYALTY & SATISFACTION!

 

COMPETITION Doesn’t Have to be the Enemy

Competition is everywhere you look in the business world. We compete for money, recognition, customers, and power. We compete in terms of prices, products, and even employees. You may wonder, “What’s wrong with competition? Doesn’t it help improve products and build a richer society? Doesn’t it make our lives easier, safer, and more productive?” The answer is yes, business competition is good … if it is healthy competition.

Healthy business competition is normal, good-natured, and concentrated on offering the best value to consumers. However, competition becomes unhealthy when it is excessive and mean-spirited.

One problem that surfaces when companies engage in unhealthy competition is the increased tension. This can be seen between big businesses and small businesses, businesses and employees, and even businesses and customers. But this tension doesn’t have to exist, if you are willing to see your competition in a different light.

While it is true that competition is the essence of capitalism, it does not mean that you need to declare war on your competitors. And though it may sound crazy, your toughest competitors can be positive assets to your company.

Consider this: your toughest competitors are the businesses that stand behind their products and services, charge a fair price, and enhance the reputation of your industry. Why not spend your energy finding ways to work in tandem with your competitors instead of bringing them down? Your efforts to work together could help your company reduce marketing costs, spur innovation, and even lead to new marketing opportunities.

In many industries, businesses select a particular market segment or take on a specialty. Businesses that feel limited by their existing niche markets can benefit from strategic partnerships with other similar businesses, allowing them to target a broader base without having to bear the full marketing cost. By joining forces with your competition and promoting your industry, region, or companies as a group, you can enhance the image of your individual companies and, in turn, increase sales for all.

By forming business alliances, you can not only learn more about your industry and different marketing techniques, but you can also reach more customers, gain more business through referrals, and possibly fill a gap in your company’s abilities. It’s definitely a win-win situation.

http://www.ParagonPress.net – 318.868.3351 – Ranked #1 in loyalty & satisfaction – Leader in print production, direct mail, graphic design, social media, marketing services.

 

Encourage Active Group Involvement!

Getting the most out of a team means being sure everyone is involved. Here are some ways to be sure they all feel valued:

• Develop a mutual purpose and vision for your group. It is much easier for group members to become involved if they share a common goal and understanding.

• Create challenging and relevant meetings. In order for a group to grow, the meetings must take into account the needs of members so they will want to become involved.

• Aid relationships within the group. The key to creating unity lies within each member’s ability to get to know one another and feel comfortable with colleagues.

• Committed leadership. Leaders need to take interest and invest in the group members’ lives in order to build trust and commitment in the group.

http://www.ParagonPress.net – 318.868.3351 – #1 in printing, direct mail, design, social media, marketing services