With 5 Seconds to Get My Attention, it’s Time to Get Creative

Messy Office Desk with Ideas and Vision

With just five seconds — or less — to catch a prospect’s interest, you must first get them to notice you. One of the best ways to accomplish this is through the use of eye-catching creative design and clear, concise text.
How do you get there? Try following some best practices for good “creative”:

Focus on the benefits.
Stick to customer benefits in your copy rather than your product’s features. For example, the weight and dimensions of a power drill are far less meaningful than saying it fits securely in your hand with a comfortable grip.

Add contrast to add interest.
Headlines, subheads and quotations will add visual emphasis and draw the reader to your most important information. Add visual contrast by leaving white space and varying the size of graphic elements. For example, two photos of dramatically different sizes on a page are more appealing than two photos of equal size. The “weight” difference also communicates which elements are more important.


Project the right image.

Use consistent typefaces and colors to create an easily identifiable “look” that distinguishes you from your competition. For example, you may want your audience to perceive your company as professional, friendly, corporate, dynamic or cost-conscious. The design you create reinforces these qualities and elicits the appropriate emotional response.

Never forget strategy.
Creative is designed to get results. And you can’t get results without strategy. Here’s how to motivate the desired action:
• Use a targeted list for your direct marketing to avoid waste and reach those most apt to buy.
• Create a sense of urgency. (Example: limited-time offer)
• Use incentives, like cash-back or free additional services.
• Include a clear call to action. Your prospects can’t respond if you don’t tell them what you want them to do or how they should do it. (Examples: Download a white paper, register for an event, make a donation, visit our website or contact us today.)
Talk to us about your creative challenges! Allegra can help.

Good Will is Good For Business

Digital Dictionary Give Volunteer Help Concept

Sponsorships, donations, pro bono services, discounts and volunteering. These are just a few of the ways through which small and mid-sized business owners can begin to build a profile as a good neighbor in the community.

Besides the “feel good and do good” nature of philanthropic activities, there are business-boosting ancillary benefits. Community involvement can give you the chance to network with other business leaders and may occur by sitting on the board of a nonprofit, for example. In this setting, you contribute your expertise to a clear need and can gain exposure to heavy hitters who could be potential business partners or customers.

Where to Start

With endless ways to share your time and talents, develop a purpose statement for your giving that defines your interests.
Provide opportunities for your employees to give back, too. Encouraging your staff to support your company’s or their own pet projects has shown to increase morale, teamwork, employee retention and satisfaction.

And, don’t overlook professional affiliations. Chambers of Commerce and other business and professional organizations and consortiums require volunteers to survive. Head a committee or help with an event and build important business (and personal) relationships.

For established events, explore sponsorship opportunities. Or, you may be able to pool your resources with other business people and share event space to create a unique experience.

When you and your organization are woven into the fabric of your community, everyone wins. You gain the reputation as a good place to work, allowing you to attract talent and retain top employees, customer satisfaction is higher, and you grow as a business person. Stronger businesses mean a healthier community.

Interested in formalizing a program and materials for your company to give back to your community? Let us know; Allegra can help!

Sign Up for Allegra’s Great Ideas Webinar with Speaker Carla Johnson

webinar

Wouldn’t it be nice if great ideas could come to mind at the press of the button? While this may be a bit far-fetched, there are people out there who seem to effortlessly come up with great ideas on the spur of the moment.

The good news is, their ability to generate great ideas isn’t out of reach. As it turns out, you can easily learn the principles and apply them to your own brainstorming and idea generation to drive better business results.

Allegra Marketing Print Mail will host, “How to Fast-Track Great Ideas … and Make Them Stick,” a comprehensive live webinar to teach you tips and tricks for generating more ideas faster than ever, and how to draw on past experiences to inspire your next big success. This proven formula will transform any audience from skeptics to hands-down believers.

The free 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.

No matter what role you play or how much experience you have, you can learn powerful ways to come up with great ideas and pitch them to quickly gain buy-in from peers and managers, helping your organization reach its goals.

We hope you’ll join us Thursday, October 25 at 12 p.m. (ET) for the free webinar. For more information or to register, visit www.allegraideas.com. If you’re unable to join us live, we’ll send you a recording so you don’t miss a moment.

Promotional Products that Make for Great Gifts this Holiday Season

Set of office accessories. It is isolated on a white background

The holidays are the perfect time to spread good will and remain in the minds of your customers moving into the new year. What better way than with a gift that shows them you care?

Considering that 81 percent of people keep promotional products for more than a year, now is a great time to show your customers and employees some appreciation. Here are several branded gifts they can get excited about and use all the way until next season, creating buzz for your business:

Travel Mugs
Gift your customers and employees with a branded travel mug and a box of tea, hot cocoa or a bag of coffee. Finish with a gift card and bring some warmth to the office. Reusable and easy to tote around, they’ll promote brand awareness wherever they go.

Activewear and Outerwear
Fun, functional and trendy. These are the top three reasons why people keep promotional products, according to a study conducted by researchers at Relevant Insights. How about a branded quarter-zip or a fun logoed scarf, knit hat or ball cap?

Improved health and fitness are two of the most common New Year’s resolutions. Customers and employees will both appreciate workout towels, bags and water bottles.

Calendars
Sure, there are plenty of digital options for calendars. Yet according to research by the Advertising Specialty Institute, 76 percent of consumers who own calendars say they display them prominently in their homes or offices. Topped only by umbrellas (14 months), calendars are kept longer than all other promotional items (12 months) and tied with mobile power bands.

Desk Accessories
New desk accessories are perfect for ringing in the new year. Logoed sticky notes, a pen and pencil set, and notebooks are all items that can be put to immediate use. Incorporate these little tokens of your gratitude into your holiday gifts to remind your VIPs how valued they are this holiday season.

Looking for inspiration on how your business can spread some cheer this holiday season? Contact your local Allegra today to find the perfect gifts to add to your promotional marketing mix.

3 Ways Infographics Can Take Your Content Marketing to the Next Level

infographics content marketing

Infographics are a great content marketing strategy that can serve as a powerful, informative tool for your business. Not only are they an eye-catching way to educate and promote products and services, they can also simplify complex information or processes for customers and internal audiences. Here are three ways that infographics can take your marketing to the next level:

1. They are attractive and digestible.
Given that 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual, infographics help any important numbers, facts and figures you want to share really stick. Using striking colors, interesting font pairings and graphic elements that align well with your brand image help appeal to the visual needs of consumers and those who crave a quick way to digest content.

Infographics serve as a compelling way to deliver information to your audience in the most attractive way possible.

2. They help create a narrative.
Memorable, measurable content marketing comes from good storytelling. Turning information and processes into a narrative, especially ones that are complex and difficult to understand, can help your audience receive the information more easily and retain it.

Say a veterinarian has an infographic in their waiting room telling the story of an owner’s first year with a new puppy. Relying heavily on visual elements to tell the story, it can grab someone’s attention and break down details, such as finding the best food for their puppy or housetraining tips.

3. They can be repurposed on social media.

Infographics are great for printing and hanging around your office for employees and customers or embedding into emails, but they’re also social media-ready. Posting clickable infographics on your social media channels is a perfect way to capture the attention of your followers and drive clicks to your site or collect more leads, depending on your call to action.

Plus, they boost engagement, making them more likely to go viral. Infographics are liked and shared on social media three times more than any other type of content.

Need help creating compelling infographics for your business? Contact your local Allegra to take your content marketing strategy to the next level.

4 Smart Ways to Save on Print

save on print

Print communications are affordable and effective for today’s small business and nonprofit marketers. To get the most value from your marketing dollars, here are just four of the many ways you can cut the cost of your print communications – without cutting corners:

  1. Plan to stay on schedule. Printers are accustomed to working with tight turnarounds. You can ease the process and save money by avoiding “do-overs.” Always ask for help if you’re unsure how to prepare your art files. Then, leave yourself plenty of time to review proofs and catch errors you may have overlooked early on to prevent re-dos and re-prints that can add up and extend your timeline.
  2. Skip special orders. For many projects, you can save money by using in-stock papers. Ask your print provider to show you samples of what’s on hand. Unless you require a specific look or have budgeted for a higher-end piece, stick to the basics for your day-to-day materials to stretch your dollars.
  3. Target your mailings. Mailing lists are more plentiful and robust than ever before. Many are highly-targeted to help direct marketers easily and affordably reach a very specific audience, preventing unnecessary waste and expense. After all, why spend money mailing to people who will not be receptive to your message or worse, those who may want to hear your message but who have moved and won’t receive your mail?
  4. Print digitally, on demand. Many projects considered too small to be worth the investment in set-up charges on a traditional offset press can be affordably printed digitally. This printing option is ideal for short runs as the per piece price is the same whether you print 10 or 1,000. It also opens the door to variable, customized text and images from sheet-to-sheet for more targeted and effective messaging.

Keep on-demand digital printing in mind to avoid the waste associated with storing and ultimately throwing away materials that are quickly made obsolete when service specifications or product parts numbers, for instance, are frequently updated.

For more money-saving tips, contact your local Allegra when you’re ready to print.

4 Ways to Drive Better Results From Direct Mail Marketing

In a digitally driven world, it’s easy to feel like your direct mail marketing efforts could be making a bigger impact when the goal is to generate brand awareness.

direct mail markeeting
Let’s check the numbers: According to the Data & Marketing Association, direct mail garners approximately a 5% response rate with a house file and a 2.9% rate for a prospect list. Comparatively, digital channels including email, social media, paid search and online display ads achieved a combined response rate of 2.6%.

Direct mail marketing remains an effective strategy with several key benefits including its targeting ability, measurability and memorability – all driving higher response rates. Here are four ways you can deliver a cut-through-the-clutter direct mail marketing campaign:

  1. Vary formats.
    From a simple, economical postcard for blanketing a geographic area to highly targeted, multi-piece envelope mailings, there’s a format to match your goals and budget. With textured papers and unusual folds, your mail becomes a standout in the box.
  2. Make it personal.
    With today’s variable data printing technologies, it’s never been easier for business marketers to create one-to-one campaigns with relevant imagery and content that connects with the individual. This in turn generates greater interest, engagement and response. Choose eye-catching and colorful paper and textured stock that not only represents your brand, but also stands out in even the most cluttered mailboxes.
  3. Add some dimension.
    For targeted audiences, consider using a different method to pique interest such as three-dimensional mailer. By switching out an envelope for a mailing tube or box, you can include your brand’s message along with a fun and useful promotional item that can drive your message home. According to the Advertising Specialty Institute, 85% of consumers remember the advertiser who gave them a promotional product.
  4. Clean it up and test it out.
    Mail only matters if it’s delivered to the right people. Remove duplicate addresses, names or businesses from your mailing lists to save creative and mailing costs. To further refine your efforts, test the messaging, offer or design treatment against a control to further refine your mail campaigns.

Want to learn more about driving better results from your direct mail? Your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail can help.

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.

3 Ways to Inspire Your Team

Business owners and managers who set lofty goals know it takes many contributions – large and small – across all areas of the company to reach them. And that takes cultivating an environment where your team members are motivated and engaged.

Inspire your team

As much as you may understand your business and what it stands for, communicating that effectively to those around you can be tricky, especially when you’re juggling multiple demands on your time. Here are some areas where you can make a difference right away:

  1. Live your mission.
    A mission statement or value proposition describes what you do and how it differentiates you from your competitors. Your values define who you are. They don’t change even as the business evolves.
    Everyone on your team should be regularly exposed to your organizational values through visual reminders and storytelling of values in action. From small posters or handouts for individual workspaces, to large wall and window graphics, keep your core messages front and center by incorporating them in your office décor.
  2. Get off to a great start. 
    Consider this: According to the Work Institute’s 2017 Retention Report, first-year employees are at the highest risk for turnover, and it takes up to six months for their value to offset the costs related to hiring, onboarding, compensation and benefits. Get everyone off to a great start with a “feel-good” welcome kit, including items like a logoed shirt, business cards, a personalized coffee mug and more. Distribute an employee handbook as a tangible source to seek out company policies; they’ll appreciate having a printed version for quick reference. Additionally, how your organization is perceived internally and externally is influenced by the consistency of your communications and delivery of your brand message, so be sure to maintain a unified image. You’ll want to keep it consistent across print, digital and in-house signage.
  3. Show appreciation.
    According to a survey by Reward Gateway, nearly six out of 10 respondents say they would prefer to work for a company with a culture where they receive recognition over a higher-paying job where they didn’t receive any. While acknowledging an employee of the month is good, better yet is rewarding your team members in the moment. Drawstring backpacks, headphones or travel blankets with your company imprint are great ways to show appreciation for a job well done. And enable your employees to acknowledge one another for being a team player with whimsical “high five” trophies or tokens redeemable for office perks.

Inspired to bring your team together? Contact  your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail today for office materials, logoed products and gifts, and more.

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!