Today’s decoder ring topic jumps off from last month where I talked about making your website work for you. In that article I eluded to the fact that websites are the first conquest when trying to bring your message to market. However, that is just one of many ways you can do it in the long haul.

Much of promoting a product, solution, special, promotion or any other type of communication, whether electronic, physical print or a combination, is about effort. The time you put in directly correlates to the result.

Let’s decode some of the methods of getting the word out about your print. To start, take a look at these terms/methods:

  • Social Media
  • Purchased/Rented Lists
  • Direct Mail
  • Email
  • Newsletters
  • Word of Mouth
  • Networking
  • Telemarketing
  • In-Person Events/Trade Shows
  • Virtual Events/Trade Shows
  • Advertising
  • Websites

All of the above are ways you can get to the people who you want to do business with. Here is a hint: when evaluating the channels above you need to determine which ways will make the customer want to do business with you.

Taking a closer look at 3 of the above (stay tuned next time for more!):

  • Social Media: this is Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube…and the list goes on. Here is the rule; social media is about being social. You can get started with automated tweets or fall of the wagon and have sporadic posts, but it isn’t social. Just like talking to someone in person, it is easy to tell genuine social media and the end-customers are the best at it.
  • Word of Mouth: having people tell others about your business, unsolicited, is the most powerful way of getting your brand and message out. Make your customer experience stand out from the competition and you will benefit greatly from Word of Mouth. Think about getting a lens on this by using tools like the Net Promoter System.
  • Direct Mail: that would be the promotional or advertisement type of mail that you probably claim to throw in your recycle bin. If it hits a nerve (i.e., is relevant) to the person getting it, then it has been proven to work. Note it is expensive with a lot of planning to measure the return on the cost of making, mailing and tracking the responses from your target readers.

A key take away here is to assess the effort you are willing to make into communicating with your target customers—social media is just that social! You have to figure out what will make Word of Mouth happen (HINT: superior service, a consultative approach and in person whenever you can will help). People like doing business with people they like and trust. Build that trust and the loyalty will follow. Direct Mail is worth the money if you know your audience, their wants (not needs) and the have the resources to build in tracking metrics like personalized URLs, QR Codes, Augmented Reality, promotional codes that can be redeemed, etc.

When it comes to the channels we have talked about above there is no magic. Sure, the terminology of those who specialize in it can be a bit daunting, but the litmus test is to honestly ask yourself how you would react in the target customer’s shoes. If you can’t be that impartial, float the ideas by those with little knowledge of your industry or shoot me a note – always happy to help our fellow Printerverse inhabitants.

Have something you want decoded? Drop me a note – it might even make a future appearance in the Decoder Ring series.

jonathan-mcgrew-print-media-centrJonathan Malone-McGrew grew up around printing, software and cars. As an accredited Electronic Document Professional (EDP) through Xplor International, Jonathan has worked within the industry for nearly a decade providing direction and expertise in Marketing customer communications for transactional, commercial and specialty print, as well as, multichannel delivery through the latest technology vehicles. You can find him via @JEMcgrew on Twitter and giving advice and opinions as part of the McGrewGroup of companies.

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