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!

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 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.

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.

Tips for Conducting an Informative Brand Audit

Performing a brand audit enables you to evaluate what your current marketing and communications strategies are (or are not) saying about your brand and provides a qualitative assessment of your brand identity’s overall strength and consistency.

Tips for Conducting an Informative Brand Audit

Marketers surveyed by Demand Metric Research Plus said branding inconsistencies result in market confusion (71 percent), damage credibility (56 percent) and make it harder to compete (30 percent).

Brand audits provide the proper intel needed to set a blueprint for the future. Here are some tips for conducting a brand audit that is both informative and focused:

Know your standards. A well-defined set of brand guidelines is crucial for maintaining a cohesive brand identity. When reviewing print and online branding materials, keep a checklist to evaluate proper logo usage, preferred fonts and other stylistic requirements.

Read for tone and messaging. Make sure the verbiage used in your brand communications is up to date and properly reflects the overall direction of the brand.

Prioritize your revisions. As you conduct the audit, be sure to note any branding inconsistencies. Prioritize corrections before creating new pieces.

Embrace technology. Centralizing control with an online ordering system prevents satellite offices from going “rogue” with unapproved materials, ensures proper branding, and saves time and money. For businesses or organizations with multiple locations, a web-to-print or online ordering system is an easy way to oversee adherence to brand standards.

Keep it seamless across all channels. Integrated, multi-channel marketing campaigns are most successful when a brand’s print and digital identity are consistent with one another. Websites, email templates and social properties should always reflect your offline branding, and vice versa with printed brand materials.

Need help conducting your branding audit to ensure your marketing materials are aligned with your brand standards? 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.

Business-to-business Influencer Marketing 101

Between the increasingly competitive business-to-business (B2B) marketing space and a growing skepticism of traditional advertising, many small business marketers are beginning to turn to influencer marketing as an alternative way to build relationships.

Business-to-business Influencer Marketing 101

Traditionally more of a business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing tactic, influencer marketing has gained appeal as an effective B2B marketing strategy. By targeting the right industry influencers for your products or services, your brand generates word-of-mouth referrals from credible voices that your audience knows and trusts.

Research shows that 91 percent of B2B buyers trust word-of-mouth marketing when making their buying decisions. To incorporate influencers into your current B2B marketing strategy, it takes some planning and a clear understanding of who your audience turns to for information.

Here are a few ways to work with influencers:

  1. Collaborate on content. Collaborate with credible industry voices and outlets when creating your content, such as blogs, white papers, reports and more. Partner with research firms, leverage local business partnerships and seek leading industry experts to co-create and/or cross promote. Be sure to link back-and-forth for SEO juice.
  2. Invite local thought leaders to present on a webinar or at a lunch-and-learn event. You’ll attract a larger audience due to the guest presenter’s cross-promotion efforts, and you’ll also strengthen your business’ authority in the sector.Webinars and events are also perfect avenues for collecting email addresses for lead nurturing. Niche influencers such as local business and policy leaders, industry authors, motivational speakers, area business partners and local nonprofit leaders are great to invite as guests.
  3. Forge connections with influential media personalities. One of the best ways to start forming organic relationships with your key audiences is to amplify your brand’s story through traditional media. Connect with local news personalities to tell your brand’s narrative in way that catches their interest.
  4. Get social. The first step to creating connections with niche social media influencers is to see who your current customers and prospects are already following. Then, start following and engaging with those accounts and social media influencers as well.

Interested in learning more about how to incorporate influencers into your B2B marketing strategy? Contact your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail today.

The Ripple Effect: How to be An Everyday Innovator

When it comes to developing fresh approaches that lead to significant growth and powerful transformation, many leaders of businesses and nonprofits struggle with out-of-the-box thinking.

everyday innovator

In fact, research shows that
98 percent of adults don’t consider themselves creative and 80 percent of Americans report feeling an increasing amount of pressure to be productive rather than creative at work. This difficulty that business leaders have to both find the creativity inside them and set aside the time to be creative was the focus of Allegra’s most recent
webinar.

During the online presentation, Allegra hosted noted author Josh Linkner, a two-time New York Times bestseller, founder of four tech companies, and co-founder of
Detroit Venture Partners. A celebrated innovator, Linkner shared tangible strategies on how business and nonprofit leaders can harness creativity in everyday situations and tasks to drive meaningful results.

To help you inject creativity into your business or organization, Linkner shared five key innovation principles during Allegra’s “
The Ripple Effect: How To Be An Everyday Innovator” webinar.

Get curious
Challenge the underlying assumptions of your business or organization by asking questions such as “why,” “why not” or “what if?” Curiosity leads the charge when it comes to assessing the viability of your current processes and protocol, which can lead to nontraditional approaches and successes.

Crave what’s next
As a business leader, it’s important to first shed the past so you can focus forward. You won’t achieve long-term success by sticking to the status quo. Lean into change and utilize forward thinking.

Defy tradition
Rather than focusing on aspects that you can’t control in your business, channel your creative thinking toward factors that you can. Don’t rely on traditions to move your business ahead. Instead, ask yourself “what can I flip?” By doing a “judo flip” on challenges, processes and traditions, you’re much more likely to have a breakthrough that leads to a stronger outcome.

Get scrappy
As small business and nonprofit leaders, it’s easy to resist steps toward innovation when you’re in a resource-constrained environment. Don’t wait for external resources or support to move forward. Get scrappy and find ways to make changes without capital or resources.

Adapt fast
Innovation doesn’t always have to be big and bold. Respond and react quickly, and flip tragedy into triumph as adjustments are needed in your business or nonprofit. By breaking big ideas or problems into tiny experiments, you’ll be able to learn and adapt quickly.

Is your business or organization stuck in the mundane? Are you repeating the same marketing strategies day in and day out? We can help you challenge the norm by pushing the boundaries of innovation. Check out the recording of
Allegra’s “Ripple Effect” webinar and
contact Allegra to get started.