Should We Bother to Measure Love, Loyalty and Trust?

These are soft and subjective things… love, loyalty, trust, satisfaction, engagement, commitment, pride. They are feelings that people have toward other things, like our products or services or brand. So it’s tempting to want to measure these things, as evidence of our success. But I’m not so sure we should bother…

Measuring the amount of a particular emotion or internal state that people feel is not easy, but also not impossible. We can measure such things with clear questions about the emotion and likert scales to quantify the degree to which the emotion is felt.

There’s nothing wrong with doing this. Customer satisfaction surveys (well designed ones) have done this for many years and provided very useful and actionable feedback to companies to improve their services. But we can over-do it.

We over-do it because often it’s much easier to think about how a stakeholder might feel about our performance, than it is to think about the real results we want. With our tendency to measure too many things that don’t matter, we need to remember that it’s the real results that are most worth measuring.

Why do we want our customers to love our products? Why do we want our employees to feel strong loyalty to our company? Why do we want our shareholders to trust us? Why do we want our target market to feel engaged with our brand?

If our business exists to simply make people feel in love with our products, then sure, we’d measure that feeling. But what if we want customers to love our products so that they will use those products and tell their friends about those products? Then it’s better to measure how much they are using the products, and how much they are telling others about them.

If our business exists to simply provide a long term employment opportunity for people, then it makes sense to measure the loyalty employees feel as a result. But what if we want employees to be loyal to the company because we want to eradicate instances of employees saying “I don’t know; I just work here.” And instead we want them saying “No problem!”

I guess the point is that the first thing we think about isn’t necessarily the best thing to measure. It helps to think about why, about the real result we want. And often, it means that instead of focusing on soft and subjective emotions, we focus on tangible and objective behaviours. And they’re easier to measure.

How To Write Learning Objectives

The purpose of any training is to change behaviour, you want people to do something different afterwards.

The learning objectives for a course cover what you want people to be able to do at the end of it.

Why is it vital to have clear objectives?

For one thing, the objectives will help you determine what new skills or knowledge people will need. Unless you’re clear about the ultimate objectives of the course, you can’t make decisions about the content. If you’re struggling to choose what to leave in and what to take out, it’s usually because you’re not clear enough yet about the objectives of the training.

This is not the whole story, because changing people’s behaviour will involve changing their attitudes, feelings and beliefs. It will also involve motivating them to want to make the changes, otherwise nothing will happen. When you have determined the objectives, you will have to think about these other issues as well.

Also, you need clear, specific objectives in order to evaluate the training. How can you tell whether the training has been successful if you don’t know exactly what it was meant to achieve in the first place?

The learning objectives should relate back to the training needs which were identified which gave rise to the training. Why do people need the training? What needs do they have (or does the organisation have)? What is the training meant to achieve?

Objectives are usually written in behavioural terms, i.e. what will the participants be able to do as a result of the training?

For example:

  • Operate a piece of machinery safely and effectively
  • Follow a process or set of procedures
  • Use some software to achieve a specific result
  • Speak a foreign language to a certain level
  • Identify 6 ways to use their time more effectively
  • Describe the health and safety policies which apply to their department

They’re expressed in this way because then the outcomes are measurable. You can test whether you’ve been successful.

You shouldn’t write objectives in vague terms such as, “The participants will understand… ” or, “The group will learn… ”

How will you know that they’ve understood or learned something? Only if they’re able to do something with the information. You should make your objectives detailed, precise, specific and measurable.

The sequence leading to the learning objective may be as follows:

  1. A training need is identified, e.g. managers in an organisation need to implement a new performance management system.
  2. This is turned into a broad training objective: “The training will introduce the managers to the company’s new performance management system, including the forms to be completed, the timing and format of appraisal meetings and the skills needed to carry out performance reviews.”
  3. Finally, this leads to specific learning objectives for the course. For example:
    • “Participants will be able to describe 4 simple models for giving feedback.”
    • “Participants will be able to plan an agenda for a performance appraisal meeting using the recommended format.”

Some trainers dislike writing out objectives, it can seem a bit of a chore or the trainer may think, “I know what the course is for, I don’t need to write it down.”

Humor As A Negotiation Tool, Or How Humor Saved The World

OCTOBER 1962 – The world held its breath as America and Russia went to the brink, with nuclear weapons at the ready. Russia was installing nuclear missiles in Cuba-a mere 90 miles from the Florida coast. The 13-day crisis played-out in real time on TV around the world.

As American and Soviet delegates came together to negotiate, tensions were high, and they soon became deadlocked. And then… a Russian delegate told a joke: “What is the difference between Capitalism and Communism? In Capitalism, man exploits man. In Communism, it is the other way around.”

Delegates on both sides laughed, and this created a bond among all of them. (Hey, ya gotta start somewhere!) With the tension eased for the moment, talks resumed, and eventually a deal was struck that avoided blowing up the planet-no small feat!

Whether you’re negotiating for world peace or for which movie to go to, humor can play a crucial role in your success.

According to a recent study on business negotiations, humor has numerous functions in the negotiation process. It can put the negotiators at ease; it can introduce a difficult issue; it can foster togetherness and team spirit; it can help the other negotiator save face; and it can be a way of being cooperative in spite of disagreement.

Additional studies show that if you can inject humor into your negotiations, you’re more likely to get what you’re negotiating for.

Once when I was negotiating with a potential client over the phone, it became obvious that budget was a delicate topic. I could feel the tension rising, and when he posed the question: “How much is this going to cost me?” I wanted to reduce the tension.

I paused and said, “Are you sitting down??” He laughed, and from that point, the conversation about money went smoothly.

Those four little words, spoken in just the right tone of voice, have helped me close dozens of deals over the years.

Think strategically. Who do you negotiate with? It might be with a colleague, a competitor, a customer, an employee, a boss, a colleague or even a family member. (You do understand, I hope, that getting a child to go to bed is not something that you command, but rather something you negotiate. Some of those rugrats make Johnnie Cochran look like an amateur. And don’t even get me started on teenagers!)

What are you negotiating for? Examine it and look for an opportunity to weave in a little humor-like a humorous and relevant anecdote, a funny comment or gesture. You probably want to start with something whimsical. Something short. Something that relates to the situation at hand. Negotiations are often important and intense, so use humor wisely, cautiously and professionally. (No “sharp jabs” like Don Rickles is famous for!)

The ability to successfully negotiate is a helpful skill for everyone, but it’s an essential tool for anyone who plans to sell or lead. You may not be called upon to save the world from nuclear war-but I guarantee that sometime soon you will be called upon to save a deal, or make the sale, or advance your agenda in some manner. Humor, used strategically, can make you a more powerful and effective negotiator.

© 2016, Karyn Buxman. All rights reserved. Reprints welcome so long as the article and byline are reprinted intact and all links made live.

Managers – The Most Comprehensive Seven Type Categorization

Manager: This word evokes a lot of emotions in all of us. Many a time our manager or manager(s) decide our fate and career prospects in our professional lives based on various well written, documented processes and sometimes on completely fictitious and insane self-assumptions, which have no sensible logic! This word will flood our memories with many words: supportive, demanding, task-master, kind hearted, humorous, motivational, energetic, knowledgeable, flexible, reasonable, human, egoistic, approachable, mentor, allergic, aggressive… unrealistic, scheming, unreasonable, fearful, de-motivating, sarcastic, sadistic, the list is endless. Some managers have had an immense positive effect and some drastic negative effects on our lives. I have segmented them into seven categories and briefly detailed only the positives aspects of each of these categories. Check out your type, or your manager type. Most have over lapping qualities, but all will have one of these as a dominant style of managing teams.

  1. Emergency Manager: These managers fully understand the importance of profits and returns. They are good planners, care for the health and safety of their colleagues. They are great at handling crisis, take risks, and seldom compromise on organizational goals or cross legal boundaries. They are control freaks and authoritative in nature. They are decisive and calm even among the midst of chaos and emergency situations. They never lay back and are always pushing you beyond your limits.
  1. Relationship Manager: Their ability to build and work on relationships is their primary strength. They handle conflicts easily on the basis of this inherent strength of investing a lot of time with everyone. They use their interpersonal and strong communication skills to gain trust and loyalty among team members. Their emotional quotient is very high and hence can give you good and bad news with equal élan. They are customer focused, open in praising and recognizing your work. They are always available to listen to your problems and issues. They are quiet protective and demanding of their teams.
  1. Adaptive Manager – They are good at logic, rational and scientific in approach. They use data to manage work and measure performance. They believe in systems and processes, and use them effectively in enhancing efficiency and driving productivity. Being experts in their field of specialty, they have strong analytical and technical skills. They think strategically and make quick decisions to capitalize on available opportunities. If inwardly focused, they are good at organizing information and monitoring results. If, outwardly focused, they anticipate work flow issues and get things done. They plan and prioritize their work and provide stability and continuity. They embrace and adapt best practices of others.
  1. Supportive Manager: They focus on developing the healthy facets of your personality. They are accountable and take responsibility for all their thoughts, feelings, and actions. They seek opinions, build consensus, and empower their teams. They give others freedom, making them accountable for outcomes and results, hate micromanaging direct reports. They research well, evaluate risks before embarking on new ventures. They promote participation, equality, and diversity. They ignore or remove hierarchy. They are quite flexible. They are enablers and innovators, encourage others to express themselves and share their ideas. They enjoy challenges and are bold in their approach to problems.
  1. Inspirational Manager: They have a clear vision and mission for themselves, others and the organisation. They demonstrate integrity and are living examples of values-based leadership. They build cohesiveness and focus on bringing values, openness, fairness, and transparency, they build trust and commitment among their teams. The culture they create unleashes enthusiasm, passion, and creativity within the teams they lead. They are more concerned about getting the best result for every one rather than their own self-interest. They are focused on the common goal for good. They are honest and truthful and display integrity in all they do. This confidence and their openness allow them to reclassify problems as opportunities.
  1. Mentoring Manager: They are the game changers in your life. They are fully responsive, recognize and focus on building a working environment where individuals are encouraged and empowered to deliver their full potential. They collaborate to create win-win situations. They are practical and display empathy. They create an environment where individuals can excel. They are always actively mentoring and coaching their subordinates. They are intuitive decision-makers. They are inclusive. They are on top of their game. They are very active in building relationships that create goodwill and build resilience. They display emotional, social, and intellectual intelligence.
  1. Visionary Manager: These managers are motivated by the need to be of service to all. They can handle any level of complexity. They care about legacy and what others think about them. They are focused more on long-term results rather than short-term gains. They see their own mission and that of their teams from a larger, organisational perspective. They are committed to social responsibility and ethics. They act with humility and compassion. They are generous in feelings, patient, and pardoning by nature. They are at ease with uncertainty and can tolerate ambiguity. They enjoy solitude and can be reclusive and reflective. They are admired for their wisdom and vision. They are great role models and achieve high status and success in life.

Crank Up the Heat: Traffic Temperature 101

We all know that in marketing, we have the best chance of success when we can put the right message, in front of the right audience at the right time.

Understanding traffic temperature will help us craft that perfect message.

TRAFFIC TEMPERATURE is basically a way that we can categorize different traffic sources and the relationship that we have with the prospects from those sources.

You’ve probably heard people talk about warm leads or cold leads… this is basically the same thing.

Traffic temperature comes in three stages;

Cold Traffic
Warm Traffic
Hot Traffic

Our ultimate goal is to try to get as much hot traffic as possible so let’s start there and work our way backwards.

HOT TRAFFIC
These are people who know who we are, know what we do and we already have some sort of relationship with them. These are our customers – the folks on our email list.

What do we know?

This is traffic we own
The relationship is built
They know, like and trust us
We have direct access – meaning we can reach out to them anytime we want
It costs us no extra cash to contact them

What does this look like?

When I was signing people up for one of our training webinars – the first thing I did was notify the people on my email list. These people know me and the quality of the work we do, so the messaging was really simple…

“Hey Joe, long time no chat – hope things are well with you. We’ve been slammed for the past few months turning our internal client attraction methods into a reproducible process and we’re going to be teaching it next week on a LIVE webinar… you need to check this out.”

It’s like a message from a friend.

WARM TRAFFIC
These are people who know who we are and have checked us out. Maybe they read some of our blog posts or skimmed by the site, but they aren’t customers and haven’t been added to our list yet.

What do we know?

This is traffic we can control
We have a semi-relationship
They know of us, but not deeply – they haven’t committed yet
To get more traffic, we will have to spend more money

What does this look like?

About 6 months ago we ran an expert interview series where we interviewed 9 successful pet business owners. On the back-end of that series we sold a program. To fill out the series we ran Facebook ads – but instead of using my picture which would make sense, when talking to the hot traffic (because they already know me) – I talked more about the experts because the experts had more value to the audience than I did.

So they know about me but now they see that I’m associating with big-time industry leaders. It makes the offer more compelling.

COLD TRAFFIC
This is the traffic that we don’t control. We don’t know who it is, where they’re coming from or what their experience is. This is usually the worst converting traffic and we don’t have much control over how it comes to us. This is your SEO, blogging content, social media, etc.

What do we know?

Not much
We have very little control over when and where we get it
We don’t know anything about them
Our goal here is to qualify the traffic and move up the temperature scale

What does this look like?

When we were pushing the registration for the webinar, we received a lot of traffic to our site, blog posts, etc., so we tried to get users qualified as quickly as possible. We used a series of sidebar ads to lead magnets and pop-up windows to see what type of content the users were into.

This traffic was the lowest converting of any. That’s exactly why I’m not a huge fan of blogging and social media for small businesses. It’s too unpredictable and there are a lot of different factors that determine how much benefit you’ll get out of the work. 6-month lead time on SEO… forget it! I can create an ad in the morning and have 100 clicks by evening.

For my business… I used to pay marketing assistants to blog and do social media for me but I’ve found that I can get 10 X the results by investing that money not in salary, but in traffic.

Marketing Alchemy: 3 Ways To Turn Marketing Expenses Into Profit Centers

Are you tired of writing checks for advertising and promotion expenses, month after month, and feeling like you have nothing to show for it? Learn 3 ways that you can turn your advertising and promotion activities into profitable assets, shift from marketing expenses to income, and begin to think of your marketing activities as a profit center instead.

1. Save the money you are now paying to advertisers.

Does the idea of writing checks to yourself each month rather than writing them to someone else for advertising expenses sound good to you? Here’s how to make that happen.

When you run a typical ad, you have no idea who has seen it unless they come to your establishment, call you, or buy something from you. In order to make your marketing a profit center, you have to know who those people are and how to contact them.

Don’t run another ad unless you can use it to capture the contact information of everyone who sees that ad and is interested in what you are offering. If you are advertising to get new customers, then be sure to make them an irresistible offer in exchange for their contact information. For example, a restaurant offers a two-for-one coupon that is delivered after the contact information is provided. What irresistible offer can you make to your prospective customers that they can’t refuse?

You can even test different offers to learn which ones are most popular, and have a record of which people responded to which offer. Is that valuable information to have for your future marketing campaigns? Of course it is! You can just deliver more of what your customers have already told you they want. And as you build a list of those people who have raised their hands, the list you are building becomes an asset for your business.

With a list of prospective customers and how to contact them, you no longer need to run blind ads. You can send targeted offers directly to your list in an email, so there is no mailing cost.

Instead of putting a coupon in an envelope with lots of other offers and hoping that someone will respond, you will be able to send a coupon directly to your list. You can even suggest that they share it with their friends and co-workers who might be interested in what you have to offer. And watch those “advertising” dollars go right to your bottom line!

2. Send special offers to your list that they can’t get anywhere else (and cash checks from other business owners that are providing the offers for them).

What’s even better than saving marketing dollars? Earning marketing dollars! Imagine how excited your customers will be to get “secret, special deals” that no one else gets! Of course, they can pass those offers on to their friends too, but those friends have to give you their contact information to get the deals!

You can send the offers to your list in a monthly newsletter, an email, or several other options. All can be done at low cost or no cost — but you won’t pay a dime without getting a check from another business owner first to cover the cost.

Send offers for other local businesses (that don’t compete with you, of course). Look for complimentary products, or even just products that have a similar target market that matches your customers. If your customers would be good customers for another business, that business can pay you an “advertising fee” to connect the offer to your list.

Partner with local museums or other non-profit arts organizations. Even if you don’t earn cash for your mailing, you can likely take a tax deduction — but check with your accountant so you will know what you have to do to earn the deduction. Just make sure you are getting a “special” deal for your list members.

If you have other business owners who are your customers, ask if they would be interested in having you do marketing for them.

Get in the habit of thinking of marketing as a profit center, and you will see many possibilities for profit.

3. Write a review for your customers that is included in your newsletter or an email, making a recommendation and including an offer.

Start with your customers who are business owners themselves and think about how you can promote their businesses with a review and a recommendation. Then approach the owners of those businesses and offer to provide a review and recommendation of their business (or product or service). In exchange, they will provide an irresistible offer (exclusive to your list, of course) which you will send for a small fee to cover your “expenses,” along with your review and recommendation.

This is powerful in marketing terms. This is not just “a shot in the dark” advertising, hoping that someone will respond. Your list members know and trust you, and when you give them your point of view (review) and your recommendation that they do something (take advantage of the offer that is being made), the expectation is that a larger number of people will respond to the offer than if it was just another ad placement. However, the offer must be something that your list members will find irresistible and it should be exclusive, only available to your list.

Reasons Why You Should Consider Regular Corporate Training For Your Employees

Continuous staff training and development courses can go a long way in improving your business. Corporate training benefits both individuals and the company and hence any serious business should consider training for staff once in a while. Most businesses only offer such kind of training to new employees, but the truth is it can be beneficial even to long serving employees.

Corporate training can touch on different areas relevant to the business and there are so many good companies offering the corporate training services alongside other kinds of training and development courses. The training can be based on leadership, customer service, culture development or even employee development and there are so many reasons why it is important to any business to prioritize such training including the following.

1. It helps in ensuring the employees keep up with the latest changes in the industry

There is really no one industry that stays the same through the years. There will always be new and better developments related to the industry and the only way you will manage to keep your business up to date and compliant with the regulations is through staff training. You stand to achieve better as a business when your staff skills and knowledge rare updated.

2. It makes technological developments easier to comprehend

Nothing can be harder than trying to find your way around complex technologies by yourself. Through relevant corporate training, it becomes easier for employees to learn the ins and outs of latest technological developments so they are able to comfortably use them to their full potential. You can have training programs customized to the exact IT needs and support you feel your staff needs so they can all benefit from one training session.

3. It increases satisfaction levels on the job

One of the reasons why employees get unproductive is the feeling of unworthiness. One of the best ways of ensuring they remain motivated and excited about their jobs is by getting them through exciting training programs. When they feel appreciated you can be sure of greater productivity and turnover, thus improving profitability of the business. When you have happy, loyal employees you do not need to worry about your competitors poaching them.

4. Corporate training makes it possible to identify skill gaps and weaknesses

Unless you get third party insight, you may never know of any existing skill gaps and weaknesses in your existing workforce. Training can open your eyes to such loopholes that could be holding you back from making progress. With the acquired knowledge you will be able to seal them by equipping employees with what they need to fulfill their roles effectively.

5. It helps business stay ahead of competition

Constantly advancing your staff members will help them move forward and remain competitive in the marketplace. You will not only manage to maintain skill and knowledge, but also advance employee skills to favor your business among competitors. Your staff will be able to offer more to help business stay afloat of the competition.

Trade Shows – The Companies You Dream About Doing Business With – Stop Dreaming, Start Selling!

Just about every business owner will know the names of the dream companies that they would love their company to be doing business with.

These are companies who if they place an order can have a transformational impact on a business.

I call them the “High 5” wins. These are the orders that the owner’s sales team live to achieve and will celebrate mightily over when they win their first piece of business however small from one of these prospective giants.

In all of the years that I sold exhibition space to trade show exhibitors, I was never once asked by an exhibitor if any of these particular companies attended the show that I was selling and yet, I was in all modesty, hugely successful at my job.

The reason I was so successful was that I always asked who those “High 5” companies were for each of my clients. When I was able to show would-be exhibitors the people that attended our show from their dream businesses and others very like them, I always made a sale.

And when I say show them, I mean I highlighted the names of people, their job titles, the number of individuals attending from each company. I showed them to be real living and breathing people.

People that could be reached, could be pitched and could perhaps be sold to if the two parties were able to get together at the show.

Which brings me to the importance of pre-show marketing and a curious mindset among some exhibitors.

Trade Shows Hatch New Beings

If I told you that trade show organisers hatch completely new beings to be their visitors in advance of every show they run, you would wonder what I was talking about and yet, many exhibitors would appear to hold this belief.

They aren’t thinking clearly about how to use events to enhance and develop their list of prospective customers especially when it relates to those businesses that they are already communicating with.

They don’t see the value in alerting people within companies that they want to be doing business with to their presence at an upcoming exhibition or see that some of those same people might well be planning to attend.

When this is the case, it highlights a disconnect between ongoing marketing ambitions as laid out in a marketing plan versus a company’s trade show activities. Sometimes the two things seem to be only very loosely connected and this must be the reason why some exhibiting businesses undertake so little promotion in advance of a show.

The reasons most commonly given for this lack of pre-show activity are;

“That’s the organiser’s job” or more commonly “we just didn’t think it was necessary – we will be meeting lots of people at the show.”

Yes, you will meet people but you don’t have to wait until the show to be talking to many of those “brand-new” specimens. They have already been hatched. They are already out there in the world and that includes those mystical “High 5’s” you’ve been dreaming about.

Your Prospects Are The Show’s Prospects Too

A trade show is a platform, a platform that through the activities of the organiser generates a huge amount of publicity in advance of the event’s opening.

Organisers invest heavily to attract the best possible attendance to their events because the attendance is their product.

Pre-show messages from organisers to the marketplace can be both indirect or direct in nature.

Indirect messaging is designed to create awareness of the show, to highlight themes and reasons for visitors to attend. Direct invitations are issued when organisers contact their database of past visitors and people who enquired about attending previously (many direct invitations will also be issued by your fellow exhibitors at the show).

Given all of the activity highlighted above, if you don’t undertake any kind of pre-show promotion about your presence at an exhibition; alerting current clients; prospective clients; people from businesses that have recently asked your company to quote or to send them samples etc… then you are missing a big opportunity to set-up meetings and interactions at the show.

People (businesses) will be attending and people from the companies that you most want to meet and sell to may well be there too. Let them know that you will be there and why it’s in their best interest to visit your stand.

What Is My Client Doing On Their Stand?

Over the years, I’ve had conversations during shows with exhibitors who have expressed shock and dismay because they have seen a client (or clients) on a competitor’s stand or they have seen people from known, new business leads, walking the halls with neither group having been invited to the show by the dismayed exhibitor.

When you take part in a trade show, you will certainly meet people and businesses that your company has never met or dealt with before, this is one of the massive attractions of shows when it comes to developing new business.

But you will also have the opportunity and more importantly, an excellent reason to contact your current clients, your dormant clients, your hot prospects, your slower-burn leads, your would-be distributors, those friendly journalists and the many other people that you have already invested time and money in with a view to making them interested in some way in your business.

This is such a straightforward piece of trade show marketing, but it is so often overlooked and neglected and it will cost you sales if you don’t take the opportunity to alert people to your presence.

Trade Shows And Databases

If you are a brand new company just entering a market, then a trade show is going to be great for helping you build a database of prospective and confirmed clients.

I know and have known many exhibitors who use trade shows as the only form of marketing to build their enterprises.

For them, trade shows are the only form of marketing activity that their company undertakes (other than their website). They have never advertised, never run email or telemarketing campaigns, have done very little with social media but their businesses have thrived none the less.

If you have been trading for some years and you already have an extensive list of clients and prospects on a CRM system, then the names and details that you collect at a trade show will help keep your database up to date.

People move jobs and join other companies or they get promoted so job titles change. They may move locations or get married; their companies may acquire others… all these things can affect the data you hold and this information is what you rely on to develop sales.

The Most Active & Interested Companies Attend Trade Shows

Contrary to belief in some quarters, trade show organisers do not hatch new people for their events, but what they do very effectively, is attract the most active and interested specifiers in a market to their shows.

Anyone who makes the effort to travel to a show is telling you that they are on the hunt for something or someone that will solve a problem for them or help their business to grow or develop in some way. They are interested in finding solutions. They are in a buying frame of mind.

And many of these active and interested people will be the very same people that your business markets to throughout the year. They will be people and businesses that are on your sales database or CRM system. They will be from enterprises that you would like to know more about and that you would like to be talking to including your “High 5’s.”

They are real people. They can be reached. They can be sold to. So, stop dreaming and start selling.

Can Online Customization Revive the Greeting Card Industry?

Do you recall the time when Greeting Cards used to be the answer to everything? People used to rely on cards to wish their dear ones be it birthday, new year, festival, or for any other reasons like saying sorry, thank you, get well soon, etc. It almost seems like a bygone era now. With the rise of internet and e-greetings, paper based greeting card industry is on a decline and almost dead.

But the good news is it can be revived. With a little effort and ingenuity, paper based greeting cards can thrive even in this internet age. The question is how?

Since internet is the reason why paper based cards have declined over the years, it can be the very medium to revive it as well. On the condition that it has to be more user friendly and creative than it ever was. Only then can it again find a place of preference like it used to a decade or so ago.

All of the above can be done through personalization.

Customers love personalized goodies because of reasons more than one. One of the important reasons is that they are sending gifts by ordering them directly from the internet and when they can add a touch of personalization to it, it feels nice. Same can be done to the paper based greeting cards as well.

Let’s understand why greeting card personalization is a good idea.

It’s creative

Paper are more creative and customization will work as a cherry on top. Customization lets the customers design their own cards. They can use their own graphics that makes it more interesting. A greeting card with pictures and text you can relate to is definitely more preferable and customization makes it possible to get the exact thing one is looking for.

Easily Accessible

Web-to-print or online selling of customized greeting cards save the customer’s effort and time which it takes to visit a greeting card store and search for the card they want. Posting it to the concerned person is another task to do. E-commerce eliminates all the efforts by letting the customer order and send cards within a few clicks. Printers can use an effective web-to-print tool to facilitate the selling of cards online.

Cost effective

As stated earlier, people love customized things and it goes without saying that cost of the product always matter to the customer. If someone wants to send over a personalized gift to someone, what can be more cost-effective than a paper based greeting card? While other customized products are costlier, the affordability of these cards can helps in its revival.

Make tangible gifts

The biggest advantage of paper based cards over e-greetings is that paper based greeting cards are tangible. While e-greetings get lost in the lists of mails, paper based cards are more thoughtful and psychologically more thoughtful. E-greetings are preferred because you can edit it and make it special for the receiver, if paper based cards are offered with the same line of thought, it can make a grand comeback.

5 Ideas You Can Use To Promote Your Brand Effectively

One of the 3 “Ps” of authority brand positioning is Promotion, which involves deciding what messages to use to support your brand as well as how those messages will be delivered. Promoting your brand involves creating awareness, influencing the perception of your brand, and managing its reputation. Promoting your brand also includes using the Personality you develop to enhance your promotional activities. Promoting your brand should emphasize and reinforce the brand image you choose to represent your business. When you are considering broader marketing activities, you want to make sure they are consistent with the image you want to portray.

Here are 5 ideas you can use to promote your brand effectively.

1. Don’t just “sell” — TELL. Fancy promotional copy won’t be as effective as examples, testimonials, endorsements, case studies and results. Wrap your fancy promotional copy around real results to put your brand face forward in its best light.

2. Connect your brand to your customers’ wants and needs. Use checklists to help your customers determine if they are being served effectively. Infographics, blog posts and videos can help deliver education to help both customers and prospects learn more about how your brand can help them.

3. Build partnerships to help build trust with both customers and prospects. Partnerships that link your brand to another quality brand can build trust faster and elevate the perception of your brand.

4. Brand promotion should be “gR.R.R.eat,” and “gR.R.R.eat” promotion does 3 things:

  • It should help your customers and prospects Recognize your business through your brand. Use logos, graphics, taglines, and creative marketing tactics to create awareness so your brand is recognized and stands out in a crowded marketplace.
  • It should help your customers and prospects Remember your business through your brand. Continue to use logos, graphics, taglines, and creative marketing tactics to reinforce your presence in the marketplace.
  • It should stand for the Respect you share with your customers and prospects. A highly trusted brand reputation is an extremely valuable competitive edge, and maintaining a strong reputation should be the goal of your brand promotion and messaging.

5. Consist communication in brand promotion is key to brand momentum. Communication goes beyond your promotional messaging; it also encompasses “little things,” like how your telephone gets answered, how the business responds to customer complaints, and how the brand’s image is managed on social media. Create a brand promotion plan, update it regularly, and follow it religiously.

Jan Sandhouse Hurst, the Authority Mentor, shows business owners, service professionals, entrepreneurs and experts how to use her signature marketing formulas to attract more clients, generate profitable leads and create killer authority positioning. Jan has taught hundreds of individuals and businesses her creative strategies, systems and solutions that pay off.