I have been using a company called Enthusem.com to send out thank you cards to my customers after a sale of one of my capital pieces of equipment for about a year now and I love it. The system allows me to upload my own image to personalize the outside of the card and also allows me to upload a list using a .csv or .xls file to send to large groups of people. What’s cool about this type of communication is you are able to create a special card for each marketing campaign. So if this months campaign is based around electronic devices, you could create your own design in any program you prefer as long as you can turn it into a .jpg file. Once this is done, you simply go to enthusem.com and upload your design and POOF you’ve got a personalized card! Now…what sets this service apart from any other online card service is this:
Trackable Greeting Cards
You all should know by now, that I don’t do anything “Marketing” unless I can track the behavior of my customer. I personally feel online tracking is the best method, because it’s in real time and it allows for the messaging to be changed very quickly without wasting a lot of money. So with Enthusem cards not only can you personalize the cards with your own image and message, but also, you can “Attach” a file or website for the user to go look at. So as seen in the example below you would be able to literally attach a document to the card that the customer would be able to view once they receive their card. The way it works is the customer receives their card. Inside of the card is your personal message and at the top half of the card it says “Visit enthusem.com to pick up your personalized message,” it can be a website or a document that you upload to enthusem.com and is hosted on their site.
What happens Next?
When the customer clicks on their attachment, an email is sent to you! So, you know in “real time” when they received the card and opened their attachment. It’s the perfect time to call them and ask if there is anything they need from you! Remember, from my earlier post on PURL’s the best time to communicate with a customer is when they are on your website. You’ve got approximately 5 minutes from the time they log on to keep their interest peaked!
When should you use Enthusem?
•Introduction Ice-breaker with a new prospect.
•Thank you Follow up to a meeting.
•Congratulations When a customer reaches a significant milestone or was in the news.
•Closer Send proposal as an online attachment.
•Keep in touch When you don’t have time for a phone call.
So…what are you waiting for? Get your marketing more creative today with some of these great trackable tools!
Note: There are plenty of other services that do similar types of communications, I just use Enthusem and that is the only reason I am promoting them. I am in no way affiliated with them, nor am I stating that you will make more money by using their service. Only that I have had great success using them. Good luck to you!
Adobe Illustrator CS3 has built in so many tools so that you don’t have to waste time trying to create your own techniques anymore. One of the ones I love is the built in gradients. If you have a vector art image that you pull in to Adobe Illustrator simply click on the image. Go to Window, Swatch libraries, and choose gradients. There are a bunch to choose from so I would start with “Earthtones.”
While the image is highlighted simply click on one of the gradients and viola! You have a great gradient for your image. If you want to change the direction the gradient is moving in, then choose the Gradient tool from the tool bar and drag your mouse from any direction on the image after you have picked a gradient and you’ll be able to have a more precise design.
Also, if you want to change more specifications of the gradient, then go to Window, appearance, and you can change each individual attribute of the gradient.
Adobe InDesign CS3 has tools in it that are great for a designer. If you don’t have time to use Photoshop or Illustrator but want to just learn InDesign, there are some ways to manipulate a photo or illustration within the software.
CS3 and CS4 allow you some awesome abilities to blend a photo with a background color. In this instance I have a Orange-ish background that I created using the “Eyedropper” tool. I then chose to right click on the photo and click “Effects”.
From the Effects pallet that pops up on the screen you have sooo many options of what to do next. I like to add a directional feather and a basic feather. My feather widths are set at .2 all around to create the illusion that the photo blends perfectly with the background color.
Click okay and your done! Yep, it’s that easy! Gotta love the help that Adobe InDesign CS3 and CS4 bring us!
My favorite tool in Photoshop CS3 is the surface blur tool.
If you want your photo to look FANTASTIC and like you just got a face lift, well I have the perfect trick and now all of your photo’s will be picture perfect!
Open your photo in Photoshop CS3. From the layers panel, create a duplicate layer. While on the duplicate layer go to the menu and choose Filter, Convert for smart filters as in the example below:
OK almost done. Now go back to the Filter menu and choose blur, surface blur. For radius put in 4 and for threshold put in 12. This will give you a very painted look but never fear, keep following these instructions my friends!
Now come over to the layers pallet again. Notice under surface blur you now have something new called “Smart Filters”. Click on that white box. Go to the menu up top again and choose Edit, Fill. Under contents click the drop down and change it to black. This makes all the changes you just made with the surface blur disappear.
But Why Sylva? I want a makeover…you promised!! Hold on my friend! Watch this..now go over to your toolbar and choose the paintbrush tool. I would change the roundness to about 20 or so. Now you can start brushing on the photo where you want the facelift. I have even done strokes to my hair to give it that extra “glow”. Hahaha! Now you know how to look MAGNIFICANT all the time! Any questions, just hit me up on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/sylwilson and be sure to follow me!
What is a PURL?
PURL is short for Personalized URL. It allows personalization and tracking of direct mail pieces, email, magazine advertisement, and virtually any means of media. Customer’s appreciate and acknowledge marketing that seems to be about them (personalized) and their industry more than random bulk mail.
What is the Purpose of a PURL?
The goal of using PURL’s on your marketing campaigns is to increase response rate, track & test marketing pieces in real time, and create targeted and better focused campaigns for segmented lists. All of these things will improve the quality of your customer database lists over a period of time. The reason is because of the data that you will receive back from using the online method of tracking and requiring certain data to be filled out prior to receiving their intended item.
When you couple a PURL with Direct Mail what are the advantages?
Using variable printing, I have been able to switch out the imaging on every mailed piece along with the actual copy changing based on location, product of interest, or any cataloged item in my excel spreadsheet. When you use four color presses this technology is not as readily available and certainly not at a low price. With variable printing and PURL’s the price actually drops lower due to the digital print along with bulk mailing methods. Even if you don’t have a lot of mail in one particular zip code, now marketing companies have so much mail going out, an individual company can qualify for bulk rates under the marketing companies rate. You just have to find the right company!
How does a PURL work?
- With direct mail each piece is dynamically printed using variable data printing and an excel file.
- Printing personalized information on the card or changing the message on the card does not change the cost of the printing
- It matches a unique URL with the customer’s name at the end to a personalized website
Where is the PURL pointing to?
- My PURLs are all being hosted on my vendors online system (there are several out there but if you need direction on where to turn, I am more than happy to refer you to the company I use)
- This management software allows us to upload any html coding
- Their system generates a PURL using our company’s domain name. (A quick setup was required by our IT department)
What hiccups did I encounter when I started using PURL’s?
In order to get high response rates and have qualified leads, the customer list is the most important piece of information for a direct mail campaign that uses a PURL. Since the goal of each direct mail piece is to get people to visit a “microsite,” where the most important information is located, the call to action is the second most important piece of information for a direct mail using PURLs.
So now, I am able to mail direct mail pieces that are more focused to a more qualified and targeted group of my list. This has allowed for much faster conversio in the lead to sale process.
Testimonials sell your brand better than anything else you probably have in your bag of tricks. In my findings when I use PURLS (personalized URLS) on my magazine ads, email campaigns, and direct mail pieces, and then link to a “microsite” if I put a Testimonial section on the Microsite that customers can click on and read actual stories about the product we are trying to sell, it is the highest clicked on section of the site.
So when thinking about developing your microsites, your direct mail pieces, or any media for that matter, always remember a key element we learned in basic marketing 101 which is that customers believe what others say about your own brand!
On a recent magazine ad I did, we actually put a photo of a customer who was able to get 85% ROI using our product and to hear the entire story, you had to visit the “microsite.” Once at the microsite, customers were able to read the full testimonial and see a video of the customer talking about his experience with the product at his place of business in action! The impact was great and the PURL (personalized URL) allowed for the entire campaign to be tracked instantly. The campaign had one of the highest response rates I have seen so far.
How do you obtain these testimonials?
What one client I work with does, is every time they sell one of their items (they sell $100K capital equipment) they immediately ask for a survey to be filled out and at the same time ask if the customer is willing to answer 12 questions about their buying experience. They then ask if it’s okay if they turn that questionnaire into a testimonial using their name and company name. In most cases the customer says yes, especially if you tell them “And we’ll put a link back to your website from this of course.” That is marketing for them and you! Also, tell them you’ll add their phone number and contact info in case anyone wants to call them as a way to entice them. They just may get a referral from your testimonial! Now that’s smart marketing!
Social Media concerning Testimonials
If you’re concerned about the usage of a testimonial in social media, Andy Sernovitz has it all broken down on his blog. It’s not complicated at all! So, get moving with your testimonials!
Hope this helps you to keep the clients rolling in and to remember, getting back to the basics can be fun!