Once Upon a Time

storytelling

Storytelling is a time-honored tradition which began before humanity had the ability to create long-lasting printed documents. The first stories were a way of passing on an oral tradition and history of various cultures around the world. There is still a storytelling tradition in many cultures, although as communities spread out, storytelling has moved to written, printed, and now digital methods of recording the tales. Oral traditions created a rich history for ancient cultures that gave rise to much of what we call myths and legends today, a blend of history and religion which gave purpose to people who lived short and often harsh lives.

Role of Printing in Storytelling

The development of the printing press gave stories new life because they could be disseminated on a broader scale and replicated easily. No longer were scribes necessary for copying expensive books and papers. Not only was the rich, cultural history and religious beliefs of various people shared among a wider community, but pure fiction was written for the purpose of entertainment and enjoyment for the masses. For those who were not taught to read, stories were read and passed around by those who could.

Storytelling in the Digital Age

While it has become easier to distribute stories in the digital age, and more of the world’s population is educated enough to read, storytelling continues to be a powerful way to distribute a message to people. Computers and the internet make spreading the word faster, but the concept of an oral tradition is easily seen in the many repetitions of news stories online from different slants or points of view. The question lies in how an entity or brand can create a unified story to present to an audience or market. With the unique ability to duplicate digital image and print and distribute them through many channels, storytelling can be a powerful tool for marketing a company or organization.

Incorporating Storytelling in Marketing and Branding

A recent article in Search Engine Journal discusses the benefits of storytelling as a method for branding. The author, Katy Katz, talks about how storytelling creates connections and potential bonds between a brand and a market. When thinking about storytelling for a brand, call to mind some of the brands that you grew up with that have become common words in the American culture such as Kleenex, Coke or Pampers, often used to replace the actual word for the item being talked about. While creating a storytelling campaign for your own brand may not turn it into a common household word, you will still be able to cement the story with the brand name to create lasting memories in the minds of your audience.

Benefits of Brand Storytelling

Katz mentions 5 benefits to brand storytelling in her article.

1. Storytelling builds memories.
2. Storytelling is a natural motivator.
3. Storytelling builds relationships.
4. Storytelling makes content exciting.
5. Storytelling can make something old, new again.

How Can You Use these Benefits to Your Advantage in Marketing?

Since most businesses have competitors that offer products or services that are similar to theirs, branding offers a way to show your differences. Creating a brand story or even just telling your brand’s story in a cohesive manner can give your audience reasons to bond with you beyond pricing or product quality. An excellent example of brand storytelling is the way Tom’s Shoes has incorporated their brand name with their history of giving. (http://www.toms.com/stories/giving/10-years-of-giving-together) They have created not only an excellent product, but a compelling reason to buy from them.

You can do the same.


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Connecting your brand with your customers in West Palm Beach

No business starts with the mission of becoming run of the mill and ordinary. But somewhere along the way, after the excitement wears off and the daily routines take over, some businesses seem to lose their way.

Running and managing a business isn’t for the faint of heart.  The daily tasks of keeping the operation flowing smoothly and bringing in enough revenue to keep the lights on while managing customer demands has a way of making one forget about the dream of creating an extraordinary business.

But the reality is that the customers of today want more than just a product or service. They want an experience. Simple delivery of goods and services may bring a customer in, but it takes more effort to turn that buyer into a steady client who will come back often.

Businesses that provide a way for the customer to feel like they’re part of something special (and maybe even a little extraordinary) attract the kind of clients who not only return themselves but also refer others to enjoy the same level of service they loved.

People have a way of flocking to businesses that give them this type of unexpected experience.  This is the type of experience that we strive to give every one of our clients at Print-It Plus, whether the client comes to us for printing, advertising, promotional product, marketing or website design help.

Who wants to go somewhere ordinary when they can experience a business that makes them feel wanted and special? Most people expect average, so when they find a business that goes above and beyond, they don’t need prompting to refer others.

Being different and offering an experience in addition to products and services doesn’t have to be difficult. It only requires that you stand apart from your competitors. Sometimes all that takes are some simple tweaks.

Going above and beyond might be as simple as the presentation you make when you deliver your products and services. The Apple iPhone is just a smartphone. However, from the product announcement down to the packaging, the stage is set that you’re about to experience something extraordinary.

How can you package what you sell in a way that sets you apart?

When you give your customers the expectation that they’re part of something special (a fun company that makes them feel exclusive), then you’ve gone from an ordinary company with a logo to a brand that connects with its clients.

Customers connect with brands that make them feel special. The revenue and profits flow naturally when you can achieve that level of branding.  For more information go to http://www.printitplus.com.

6 Ways to Ramp up Your Referral Marketing in West Palm Beach, Florida

It’s no secret that one of the best ways to grow a business is through strong referrals. Whether these referrals come to you through a system you have in place, through networking at a Chamber of Commerce or through some other group, or because of the solid reputation your business has built over the years, each referral is a precious gift. You have one chance to turn this opportunity into a client who will in turn refer others to your business.

If you drop the ball in some way, not only will you lose this chance for new business, but you could also discourage others from referring business to you. Therefore, you must handle these warm leads with extreme care. Referral Marketing has been a key to our growing our business at Print-It Plus over the last 25 years.  We have received numerous referrals from our printing, direct mail, promotional product, brochure, color printing and website design clients… and the following process is a great outline for anyone trying to turn a referral into a client.

Here are six key steps to consider as you guide a referral into becoming a real client:

1.       Respond quickly. Nothing will stop a referral process faster than slow response and showing a lack of urgency in communication. Lead360 conducted a study of 25 million data points which showed that successful conversion rates are 391% higher when a lead is called back within a minute, 120% within two minutes, 98% within three minutes, 62% in under thirty minutes, and 36% in under an hour. Clearly calling back and following up with referrals quickly is the first and most important part of the process.

2.       Gather information and qualify. Once contact has been made, it’s time to gather any necessary information to make sure there’s a good fit between what the referral is looking for and what you can provide. Having relevant, open-ended questions to ask will help you find what you’re looking for while at the same time establishing your expertise in helping solve client problems. This is the time to develop insight into the scope of the opportunity and key factors.

3.       Be the expert. Once you’ve established that the referral is a good fit for your business, it’s time to do your homework. You must spend a little time to learn about the referral’s business. The more you learn about what your prospect is looking to solve, the better you can prepare a solution. This in turn will position you as the expert who took the time to present a customized solution when your competitors offered a generic, cookie-cutter bid.

4.       Make your offer stand out. The best way to make your offer stand out is by adding value. People like to buy, but they don’t like to be sold to. You can add value and help your offer stand apart by helping a referral evaluate your capability and see their problem clearer. Relevant, simple, and insightful information that helps your prospect will lead them to buy much more readily than if they feel they are being sold to.

5.       Create a powerful experience. Turning a referral into a client can be as simple as contacting them quickly with information they’re seeking. However, the real secret to make them truly want to do business with you on a consistent basis is to create a “wow” experience. Your “wow” experience doesn’t have to be complex. Building it can be as simple as:

– Responding to inquiries within 30 minutes

– Offering a small gift or thank you note for contacting you

– Sending a small gift or thank you to the person who made the referral

– Delivering a professionally prepared, customized solution with clear information

– Following up after the sale to answer any questions

– Being persistent without being a pest

6.       Use technology. As great as your memory may be, relying on the old pen-and-paper system is just asking for trouble. The way to truly systematize the referral process is by using a CRM system that can help you track your referrals. Determine if the software will help you give the prospects the experience you set in your action plan. But remember that technology can only go so far. Sure, it can help you manage the referrals, but converting those leads into customers takes the human touch that only you can provide.

Turning referrals into customers is not an act of magic or accomplished through luck. It’s done by developing an action plan and by implementing the plan. Keep track, stay organized, and monitor the process. Referral marketing can be a gift that keeps on giving, but only if it’s treated with the care and respect it deserves.

For more information about hiring new employees or on a whole host of other helpful tips to help you take your business to the next level, go to http://www.printitplus.com

Finding Your Next Great Employee in West Palm Beach, Florida

“To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.” – Doug Conant, CEO of Campbell’s Soup

Great companies need outstanding employees in order to grow. The problem is finding and retaining that caliber employee. Most small businesses don’t fully understand the process of hiring top-notch employees.  As a result, you can stunt or even halt your growth entirely before it gains the momentum needed to take your business to the next level.

“Effective organizational leadership is simple: 1. Have a vision of where you want to get to. 2. Clearly and persuasively communicate that vision to employees. 3. Be consistent in your behaviors as you strive to achieve that vision.” – from A Roadmap for Employee Engagement by Andy Parsley

Many make the mistake of hiring an employee without clearly thinking the process all the way through. They neglect to think about what they actually want from the new hire. Hiring in this way sets the new employee up for failure before they ever walk in for their first day of work. This turns out to be a waste of time and resources for everyone.

To help avoid this, you need to go through the interview process. The first and most critical step is to write an advertisement that attracts great people in the first place — one that encourages the kind of candidates who want to work for your company.

Thinking this through will also make you consider the short-term and long-term responsibilities and tasks required for this position.

The challenge of finding great job candidates starts with the ad itself. Mediocre job ads attract mediocre workers. To improve your placement ad, you should incorporate the following in the description.

Make your company sound innovative and interesting. This will help attract more dynamic applicants who want to work for a fascinating company. 

Let the applicant know with whom they will most likely be working. Candidates will look forward to learning from someone who is the expert in their field.

 If the location of your company is a plus for applicants, make sure to mention it. The more benefits you can mention in the ad, the more attractive your ad becomes. 

Make sure to mention that the position offers growth for the right candidate. Everyone wants to know that they can grow with the company. This also implies that they will be able to make more money as they grow.

Include the total compensation and benefits in the offer. Paid holidays, flexible hours, and other perks can be very attractive. 

Mention that the position requires hard work and dedication. This can help filter out the lazy applicants before time is wasted with the interview. 

The ad should stand out from all the others. If you want creative, superstar applicants, the ad should be creative, too.

Finding and retaining top talent is one of the most important tasks for any growing company. A strong recruitment ad is just the start but one that can’t be overlooked. Include these tips in your next ad, and hopefully you will attract the type of superstar employee you desire.

For more information about hiring new employees or on a whole host of other helpful tips to help you take your business to the next level, go to http://www.printitplus.com