Increase Sales, Not Postage

19 02 2013

If you’re looking for an easy way to get more bang for your buck on regular mailings, try inserting statement stuffers. These printed promotions can be easily slipped into an existing mailing, such as a monthly invoice or statement, without adding additional postage fees or the hassle of a separate mailing.

Here are a few tips to consider when creating statement stuffers:

  • Highlight a different product or service every month to educate customers about unique products or services they may not know you offer.
  • Insert valuable coupons to increase sales and show customer appreciation.
  • Use statement stuffers to introduce new personnel or include an employee spotlight as a way for customers to get to know existing staff.
  • Provide information about a customer loyalty or customer referral program.
  • Use statement stuffers to announce upcoming sales, open houses, holiday events, or corporate anniversary celebrations.
  • Reinforce your brand image by coordinating your statement stuffers with your company colors, imagery, logo, and brand.
  • To easily track offers, design them as a coupon that must be turned in to redeem the discount.
  • If you enclose an exciting offer, consider applying a label to the outside of the envelope to increase excitement. Have it read something like this: “$20 coupon value inside!”

We’re here to help if you need creative money-making ideas to stuff in your statements!





Your $325,000 Gift

15 02 2013

Ivy Lee was born near Cedartown, Georgia, on July 16, 1877. The son of a Methodist minister, he studied at Emory College in Atlanta before graduating from Princeton University. He went on to found a PR firm, among many other accomplishments, before becoming a management consultant.

About a hundred years ago, Bethlehem Steel found itself in trouble operationally. The company’s chairman, Charles M. Schwab, hired Ivy to study the company’s ills and report back.

After some research and interviews, Ivy handed the chairman his findings and recommendations on a small sheet of paper. He then said, “Follow this, and your company can correct its problems.”

This short list of recommendations was directed at all the executives of the company:

  1. In the evening, each executive was to write down the six most important tasks to be done the next day and arrange them in the order of importance.
  2. The next day, they would start the first task and finish it before starting anything else.
  3. After finishing the first task, they would start the second-most important task, finish it, start the third task, and so on down the line.
  4. After their day’s work, before leaving the office, they would spend five minutes reviewing the day’s tasks and making a list for the next day. Unfinished tasks could be put on the new list.
  5. Each executive was to do this for the next 90 days and check the results.

Ivy left the chairman’s office, asking him to put the plan into action but to pay him only if the company got results. He further asked to only get paid whatever the chairman thought the advice was worth.

In two weeks, Schwab sent Ivy a check for $25,000. At the time, the average worker in the U.S. was being paid $2 per day, so this was worth approximately $325,000 in today’s dollars. He added a note saying this was the most profitable lesson he had ever learned.

Did it work?

Within five years, the Bethlehem Steel Company had become the biggest independent steel producer in the world. Schwab became the best-known steel man of his day and went on to make a hundred-million-dollar fortune.

The story of Lee and the advice he gave to Schwab is well-known in the business and self-development world. But even if you do already know it, it’s still worth studying again and again until it’s ingrained into your daily habits. The lesson to be learned is the importance of defining top priorities and focusing on those important items until they are finished, rather than letting the mundane and unimportant distract us. Master this habit, and you might be able to write your own $325,000 check.





Sell with Sincerity

12 02 2013

In a sea filled with competitive businesses, sincerity is a must if you want to get (and keep) customers. Here are a few tips to help you sell with sincerity:

  • Sincerity is more than just a smile or a firm handshake. It can be heard in your voice, your words, and your actions.
  • Don’t read from a script. No one wants to listen to a sales pitch that sounds like a recording. Mix in your personality, passion, and even personal experiences with the product.
  • Ask questions and listen with interest. Show that you really care about what the person is saying (in contrast to simply listening because it is the polite thing to do).
  • Be yourself. Remember that people buy from other people. If they like working with you, they are more likely to remember you and return again.
  • Back off the business mode when using social media sites. Rather, use them for their intended purpose: to be social and build relationships.
  • Remember that sincerity has to last. It doesn’t end after the sale. If customers have a problem with a product or service, sincerity is a must to resolve their issue.

George Henry Lewes once said, “Insincerity is always weakness; sincerity even in error is strength.” Sincerity in sales can not only help you build a stronger relationship with your customers, but will also help your business receive honest feedback and suggestions for improvement.





Features Tell, But Benefits Sell!

8 02 2013

When it comes to marketing, it’s often necessary to rethink what you’re really selling. For example, rather than selling life insurance, vitamins, or digital cameras, you may really be selling peace of mind, longevity, or treasured memories. Here are a few tips to help you focus less on features and more on the benefits your products and services have to offer:

  • Sell the sizzle, not the steak, by explaining the direct benefits your customers will experience if they choose your products or services. For example, instead of telling a customer that the cell phone they’re looking at has 16GB of memory, tell them it can hold XX songs, videos, and photos. By repositioning a product feature as a benefit, you’ll show your customers the many positive ways your product features will impact them directly.
  • Highlight benefits when creating a headline for brochures, flyers, or other promotional materials. While features are also important, they’re not the hook to get customers interested. For example, instead of writing a headline about a car’s six side-impact airbags, focus on the added safety benefits and peace of mind for your customer and their family.
  • If you haven’t already, create your own features and benefits sheet. Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On the left side, write all the features of your product or service you’re offering. On the right side, write out the corresponding benefits that go with each feature.
  • If you’re having a difficult time thinking in terms of benefits, consider a freelance writer. As an outsider, a freelance writer can separate themselves from your company and look at your products and services from a new perspective. They can also more easily put themselves in the shoes of your customer.
  • You may also consider a customer focus group that will help you identify issues that are important to customers, so you can gain a fresh new insight and perspective.





Lessons from the Humble Shopping Cart

5 02 2013

In 1937, Sylvan Goldman, owner of the Piggly Wiggly supermarket chain, noticed that customers would stop buying more groceries when their arms got too full. He decided the solution would be to create something that would help his customers and, in turn, help him sell more groceries.

Sylvan and an assistant took a wooden chair, put a basket on it, and added wheels to the bottom to form the first crude shopping cart.

But the new invention didn’t catch on like Mr. Goldman had hoped. Men thought the carts were too feminine, and women said the carts reminded them too much of baby strollers. It seemed like the only folks using them were the elderly.

Instead of giving up, Mr. Goldman hired some young male and female models to push the new carts around Piggly Wiggly. The greeters would point out the models to the skeptical shoppers and explain the benefits. In a short time, the shopping carts became very popular, which in turn made Mr. Goldman a very wealthy man.

Here are a few lessons you can apply to your business from this story:

  • Pay close attention to your customers and how they use your products and services.
  • Observe and ask questions.
  • Determine what you can do to make customers’ lives better when using your products and services.

Sometimes an increase in revenues comes from simply helping your clients in small but meaningful ways, like the humble shopping cart.





What Does the Fortune Inside Your Cookie Say?

1 02 2013

A fortune cookie has an average taste at best. So why do people look forward to eating them? Because of the little piece of paper inside the cookie. You know, the one that tells a story: your fortune.

The text on the fortune is rarely profound, yet we still excitedly break open the fortune cookie to see what it says. Why? Because those simple and sometimes silly words illicit an emotional response.

Your products and services are like a fortune cookie. In your mind, they are second to none, but to your audience, you may be one of many.

Your values, vision, and especially your story are like the fortune in the cookie. Your prospects and customers want the fortune as much if not more than the cookie itself because that’s how they connect and how they will remember you.

Strive to make your services and products the best they can be. But don’t forget to tell the stories behind them, so you can connect with your clients emotionally. That’s the key to what will make you unforgettable.





Marketing with Email Signatures

29 01 2013

Think about how many business emails you send each day. Now think about the email signature you’re currently using on your emails. While email signatures are commonly used as a way to identify the sender and provide important contact information, many people are missing out on the valuable opportunity to use their signature line as a marketing tool. Here are a few tips to help you create an effective email signature that your recipients will remember:

  • Create brand recognition by including your logo, tagline, mascot, or other graphic that is tied to your brand.
  • Choose images carefully and use them sparingly, so your signature doesn’t overpower your message.
  • Increase web traffic by enticing readers to visit your web link for a free sample, free white paper, or to subscribe to your newsletter.
  • If you include a web link, spell out the address rather than using hyperlinks. This will eliminate trust issues caused by opening an unknown link and will also make it easy for recipients to copy and paste the address into their browser.
  • Offer a teaser that entices the reader to ask for more information or to click a link to learn more.
  • Personalize your email signature with a photo to help readers put a face with your name.
  • Consider adding a brief quotation that represents your business or provides an insight into your personality.
  • Create a consistent brand image by standardizing email signatures throughout your company.
  • Change up your messaging frequently to keep it fresh and interesting for email recipients.








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