HOW TO BEAT YOUR COMPETITION

HOW TO BEAT YOUR COMPETITION

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With Direct Mail

By Summer Gould

Direct mail is a great way to convert prospects and get customers to make more purchases. First of all, direct mail is a physical and tangible medium you can exploit. Using touch as part of the direct mail moment shifts the brain into a deeper level of engagement. Your prospects and customers understand and remember what they read on paper better than what they read on a screen. Make sure that they remember your message.

So how can you harness this power?
1. Attention: First you need to create a mail piece that draws immediate attention with graphics and copy. Keep in mind that the images you select should convey your message. Our brains focus on and process images very quickly, so they are a very important part of your mail piece design. You want your images to help you stand out in the mail box and from the competition. Scope out what they are doing so that you can be better.

2. Integration: Your prospects and customers expect to be able to do more with direct mail. Integrating mobile technology, personalized URLs, as well as physical elements such as special folds or textures to provide a longer engagement process with your mail piece. The longer the interaction the more likely they are to purchase.

3. Simple: Keep your copy easy to understand. Make their decision to buy from you easy. Using less words and more commonly used ones will help you to generate a bigger response. Make sure to avoid the use of acronyms. They can cause confusion and a confused person does not make a purchase.

4. Consistency: Marketers that continue to send direct mail to prospects and customers over a period of time find that they get better response rates. Sending mail to someone on a regular schedule helps to keep your business top of mind. When the right offer arrives at the right time people jump all over it. This is not to say that you should send the same thing over and over again. Change up your offers and images, but make sure your branding stays the same so that they recognize you from the past mailings.

5. Personalization: Use your data to its maximum potential! Make your offers personalized to what your prospects and customers want and need. You can base this on many factors such as purchase history, demographics, psychographics and so on. Just putting someone’s name on a mailer is not the same as a truly personalized piece. Images, offers and messaging should all be part of your personalization. You can group similar people together so that you have less versioning. Look, your competition is looking for ways to beat you, so don’t let them! Stay ahead of them with your marketing planning and execution. The early bird gets the worm in direct mail too, as long as the mail pieces are well thought out with great design, great offers and the right list of people. Be a leader in your marketing by standing out! Get creative with your design and your data to make mail pieces that your competition has never even thought of. The power of a tangible mail piece for your marketing is driving results. Use the printed piece to stand out in ways that digital marketing can’t. Think of texture, cut outs and special folds as a way to really embed your message into the brains of your prospects and customers. Are you ready to get started?

Winning Strategies:  How much is my business worth?

Winning Strategies: How much is my business worth?

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Recently, many of my clients have been asking me this question? I believe there are many reasons why they are asking. Here’s why I think they are concerned:

  • The owner or one of the partners is aging and they want to or need to retire.
  • The business has seen increases in sales and profits the past year or two which reversed the trends during the recession.
  • The fear that one or more of their top clients may leave due to price or go to someone with more capabilities.
  • The fear of losing a key employee.
  • The equipment is getting old and they need to upgrade. Many are afraid to make a long term financial commitment under the premise they will have more debt when  they want to sell.
  • The need to change their business model as customer demands change – making wrong choices could jeopardize their business so they would like to merge or sell to someone who they perceive has a rosier future.
  • Their workforce is aging. Work has shifted from offset to digital which means in some cases that pressmen are unable to have enough work for 40 hours per week.
  • Finding new profitable clients seems harder and harder and the risk of hiring new sales people who may fail is not an attractive option.
  • The perception that there is more of a demand and values may be rising as more and more printers are buying competitors as a strategy to grow.

If you can identify with any or all of the above comments, then you may want to find out how much your business is worth. Most agree that the overall business environment is better albeit no one knows how much longer it will last.

Now may be an ideal time to market your business. Buyers are looking for businesses with good clients and trained employees. Some buyers are not looking for another facility and want to tuck your business into theirs. In some instances a buyer may want to move their business into your plant or add volume to your shop and keep the location.

Buyers are also not looking for equipment unless you have new equipment or equipment that the buyer does not have. Sellers that have mailing, wide format, signage or packaging equipment are the most desired. So how much is your business worth? Here’s a guide for a few of the most common scenarios.

  1. A tuck-in – the largest value in a tuck-in is in the client base.
    Buyers are willing to pay for retained sales. They may offer some cash up front and likely to pay royalties or commissions for 2 to 5 years. Royalties can vary from 5% to 15% depending on cash paid up front, the number of payout years and the margin that the buyer will get from the acquired clients. Buyers will buy selected equipment. The seller will have to sell the rest either in an auction or advertise on-line. A good deal is where the seller and buyer share the risk of the retention of clients. Typically the buyer will guarantee some of the deal by paying cash, sign a note with the balance of the purchase price to be paid out based on retained sales.
  2. A merger – a true merger of two businesses can be an exit strategy for one of the parties or simply a method to consolidate the sales into one location. The overall profits go up with the reduction in expenses of operating two facilities. A larger merged company may be able offer more services to each company’s clients. The value will be based on a combination of the profits and sales that each party contributes to the merged company. A good merger should instantly create a combined company that has more value than each company would have as a standalone. The best merger candidates are companies that complement each other. We have seen many commercial printers merge with digital printers. Printers are also buying mailing companies or sign companies. Good mergers are ones that keep all or most of the equipment from both companies otherwise all redundant or older equipment will have to be sold.
Health Insurance

Health Insurance

BCBSM has individual health insurance plans available to PIM members. Association Benefits Company, an authorized independent agency with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, is here to help you take care of your families and your employees. Call them today to discuss the individual and group options available to you. They work with all agents!

Description for Individual Coverage:

Introducing MyBlueSM– Individual Coverage direct with BCBSM

Printing Industries of Michigan now offers new BCBSM health care plans for individuals and families at all stages of life. Whether you’re single, a recent college graduate, self-employed, starting a family, or considering early retirement, BCBSM has a plan to meet your needs and budget. Click here for eligibility, review plan options and to enroll on line!

Description for Group Coverage:

Employers providing health insurance for employees

Printing Industries of Michigan now offers new BCBSM health care plans for individuals and families at all stages of life. Whether you’re single, a recent college graduate, self-employed, starting a family, or considering early retirement, BCBSM has a plan to meet your needs and budget. Click here to get started with our BCBSM/BCN Administrator!

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Fees schedule for PIM Active Membership

Annual sales volume Monthly Membership Dues
Under $100,000 $25
$100,001 – $200,000 $25
$200,001 – $250,000 $25
$250,001 – $300,000 $25
$300,001 – $350,000 $30
$350,001 – $400,000 $35
$400,001 – $450,000 $40
$450,001 – $500,000 $45
$500,001 – $550,000 $50
$550,001 – $600,000 $55
$600,001 – $650,000 $60
$650,001 – $700,000 $65
$700,001 – $750,000 $70
$750,001 – $800,000 $75
$800,001 – $850,000 $80
$850,001 – $900,000 $85
$900,001 – $950,000 $90
$950,001 – $1,000,000 $95
$1,000,001 – $1,500,000 $105
$1,500,001 – $2,000,000 $115
$2,000,001 – $2,500,000 $125
$2,500,001 – $3,000,000 $135
$3,000,001 – $3,500,000 $145
$3,500,001 – $4,000,000 $160
$4,000,001 – $5,000,000 $185
$5,000,001 – $6,000,000 $195
$6,000,001 – $7,000,000 $210
$7,000,001 – $8,000,000 $230
$8,000,001 – $9,000,000 $260
$9,000,001 – $10,000,000 $280
$10,000,001 – $11,000,000 $300
$11,000,001 – $13,000,000 $315
$13,000,001 – $15,000,000 $340
$15,000,001 – $17,000,000 $365
$17,000,001 and over $390
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