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.

3 Reasons to Add Video to Your Marketing Mix

YouTube says it has more than a billion users — almost one-third of all people on the internet — and each day they watch hundreds of millions of hours of video generating billions of views. Many marketers have seized the opportunities the popularity of video presents.

Video MarketingAccording to the State of Video Marketing 2017 report by Wyzowl, 63 percent of businesses are using video as a marketing tool, and out of those, 82 percent feel video is an important part of their marketing strategy.

Not making the most of your visual content? Here are three reasons why you might want to consider video:

  1. Increased reach. Wordstream estimates that videos on social media generate 1,200 percent more shares than text and images combined. Brainstorm ideas for interesting ways to present targeted messaging during four distinct buying stages: awareness, interest, decision and action. For example, at the decision stage, customer testimonials or “about us” videos that show your team’s expertise help to personalizes your brand.
  2. Better retention. According to Invisia, viewers retain 95 percent of a message when they watch it in a video. With smartphones, tablets and quality webcams, nearly everyone in your organization can be a video content creator. And, capturing a variety of perspectives may offer new angles to storytelling that you hadn’t anticipated.
  3. Long-lasting. Video content can also be used as blog articles, slide decks, interactive web experiences and more. All these things could alternately be turned into video.Looking to take the first step to add video to your marketing strategy? Contact your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail today for assistance.

Three Ways Promotional Products Can Elevate Your Direct Mail Campaigns

Direct mail is an effective way to stand out from the digital noise and reach your key audiences. One tactic to increase your direct mail response rate is to make your mail more appealing by giving it shape, compared to a typical flat mail that people receive every day.

Three Ways Promotional Products Can Elevate Your Direct Mail Campaigns

According to a 2017 Data & Marketing Association report, a dimensional mailer can outperform a flat mailing by up to 300 percent, and at 5.49 percent, has the highest response rate of any direct response medium. Already a strong performer, your direct mail can benefit from an added lift with the inclusion of promotional products.

Here are three key considerations when integrating promotional products into your direct mail campaign:

  1. Keep it useful. Pick a product that is useful, making it more likely the recipient will hold on to it. A Global Impressions study from Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) shows that eight out of 10 consumers rank usefulness as the most important attribute of an advertising specialty.
  2. Make it memorable. ASI reports that 85 percent of consumers remember the advertiser giving them a promotional product. Include your logo on the product and brief contact information, like a website or phone number.
  3. Save your budget. Promo products have a lower cost-per-impression (less than a cent) than TV advertising, national magazine advertising and newspaper ads, and are comparable to radio and internet advertising, says ASI.

The message is clear: For your next targeted direct mail campaign, say “not this time” to plain envelopes, and try a box or tube. They can be customized and printed with a key message or theme.

Looking for ways to lift your direct mail marketing and drive greater interest and response? Contact your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail for assistance.

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.

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!

4 Ways to Use Keywords to Build Your Brand

If you’re new to digital marketing and have been looking at ways to help build your company’s online presence, chances are you’ve come across the term SEO in your research. SEO stands for search engine optimization. Among other tactics, it’s how the use of certain words, or keywords, can help search engines find you and deliver your website in search returns to people who are seeking information.

build your brand

Think of your own online search behavior. What words do you type in the search bar when looking for a specific product or service? Keywords straddle the line between general industry information and narrower brand information.

Here are four places that you can use your keywords to optimize your search marketing, helping people to find your website organically as opposed to via web advertising.

Blog posts
According to eMarketer,
60 percent of marketers create at least one piece of content per day intended for promotion, SEO or other forms of digital and print marketing. If you don’t have one already, the time is now to create a blog to share your existing content.

Enrich each post with your target keywords. SEO best practices from the
Content Marketing Institute indicate that keywords should ideally appear two or three times in each post. However, readability should always be prioritized over keyword placements.

Social media posts
It’s not only long-form posts and lengthy content that provide an opportunity for keyword usage. If it fits naturally in your social media content, try using your keywords in a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram post. And, make sure that you have at least one keyword phrase in each account’s bio.

Photo captions
When you’re adding photos to your website, make sure you add a caption below the photo. Include keywords relevant to the photo, the page and your company.

YouTube captions
If you have a YouTube channel,
Search Engine Watch recommends writing long video descriptions that are keyword rich. Google owns YouTube, so they automatically prioritize YouTube videos in page ranking. Search engines rely heavily on text surrounding a video to understand its topic, and they rank it accordingly.

Contact Allegra today. We can play a key role in designing, executing and analyzing your digital marketing campaign so you can get the most mileage out of every word.

3 Ways to Build the Perfect List for Your Next Direct Mail Campaign

In today’s digital world, the physicality of direct mail can help amplify your marketing strategy to break through the clutter and drive action. In fact, according to the
Online Marketing Institute, direct mail yields the highest conversion rates for both B2B and B2C campaigns in terms of response rates.

direct mail campaign

When it comes to direct mail marketing, a campaign is only as good as the audience it reaches which comes down to the quality of the mailing list itself. Here are some key considerations for building a mailing list that drives leads, engagement and retention:

1. Analyze your existing data.
Successful marketers collect customer and prospect names, email and physical addresses via trade show registrations, social media responses, contest entry forms, white paper downloads, product warranty cards, e-newsletters subscriptions and other simple sign-up forms. Start building your organic mailing list by tapping into that information and tracking purchase behavior.

2. Rent a targeted mailing list.
Today’s small and mid-sized business marketer can easily and affordably leverage the power of highly-targeted data to reach a very specific audience. Using one of the premier list sources, there are 25,000 B2B buyer lists and more than 38,000 B2C lists, many highly targeted by demographic and lifestyle characteristics.

3. Harness the power of mailing list segmentation.
When it comes to customers, one list does not fit all. Segment your house list to enable your messaging to be more relevant and meaningful. With variable data printing capabilities from your print marketing provider, you can personalize text and images by individuals or groups to improve response rates.

Planning your next direct mail campaign?
Allegra can help you source a new list and manage your house data file. For one-stop convenience, we can also design, print and mail.

4 Benefits of Facebook Live that Can Enhance Your Digital Marketing Plan

Since its debut in January 2016, Facebook Live – the service that allows users to live-stream video directly from their mobile devices to their friends and page followers – has infiltrated every user’s timeline and changed the way the world views live news. In fact,
Facebook says that one in every five videos is a live broadcast.

digital marketing plan

It’s only natural that the benefits of this service would extend to brands and businesses. Now more than ever, brands of all sizes and with a wide range of social media budgets are taking advantage of Facebook Live’s unique ability to captivate audiences with timely content.

Let’s look at some of the marketing benefits of Facebook Live for businesses and organizations:

Provides unique content
Consumers are inundated with messaging at all hours of the day and night, so it’s more important than ever to stand out from the crowd with compelling content. A
Livestream report discovered that 81 percent of internet users said they watched more live streamed content in 2016 than the year prior. Bottom line? Your audience is already there, so use social media innovations to push new content.

Is cost-efficient
Smaller businesses and organizations may not have large budgets for social media marketing. Facebook Live is a great way to add quality video content without breaking the bank! With little more than your phone, you can create decent video. However, don’t let the low-budget appeal diminish content quality; you’re still looking to create something people want to watch. For under $50, you can purchase a tripod to stabilize your phone, a set of lapel microphones that will improve sound quality and a handheld light.

Connects to your audience
Facebook Live sessions can take place in many different formats. Some of the most effective ways to connect are with Q&A sessions, a behind-the-scenes look at your organization or service, or by giving an insider’s view of an event. You gain real-time analytics with likes, comments and reactions. Take advantage of this open channel of communication with your customers, and respond directly in the live feed! This personal connection is a great way to endear yourself to your audience and help them put a face and voice to your brand.

Take advantage of Facebook’s push to Live
Most compelling of all, Facebook is prioritizing and promoting live video. This means that when you go live, anyone who likes your Facebook page will see your video at the top of their feed. They may even receive a notification on their phones that you are live. Facebook’s large investment into its Live space helps to even the playing field for small companies, giving you Facebook’s enormous advertising power for free.

Need a hand conceptualizing Facebook Live into your business or organization’s digital marketing plan?
We can help!

Fall in Love with Promotional Products

Fall is the perfect time for small business marketers to make a bold move that leaves lasting impressions on current and potential customers ahead of the busy year-end holiday season.

promotional products

One of the most effective and cost-efficient ways to increase your brand’s awareness is with promotional products. According to a recent Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI)
study, the cost per impression of promotional product marketing is lower than that of television, magazine and newspaper advertising.

Take full advantage of the seasonable opportunities this autumn by adding these trending promotional products to your marketing mix:

Logoed Long-sleeved T-shirts
Data from ASI shows that 88 percent of consumers report remembering the advertiser who gave them a logoed shirt or hat. When you’re looking for an affordable and effective way to make a lasting impression this fall, tailor your branded apparel strategy to the change of season and temperatures experienced in many geographies. Long-sleeved shirts and fleece pullovers are warmly welcomed.

Travel Coffee Mugs
Whether it’s used for coffee, hot cocoa or tea, a quality hot beverage travel mug is a necessity for brisk autumn days. Not to mention, is there anything better sipping on a pumpkin spice latte in the fall? Both practical and reusable, logoed travel coffee mugs are a popular promotional gift or giveaway year-round and are sure to help keep your current and potential customers warm.

Branded Stadium Blankets
Fall marks the return of football season. An essential component to enjoying those Friday night lights? Staying warm. Boost your brand’s visibility by bundling up customers in a branded blanket to keep them cozy and reminded of you.

Need some inspiration for jazzing up your business’ promotional marketing mix this fall?
Allegra’s team of seasoned multi-channel marketing experts can assist you in choosing the perfect promotional items that are guaranteed to leave a positive lasting impression.