Tag Archives: Brand

Why businesses need social media to keep in touch with their customers

I am still learning the intricacies of social media along with its Social media conceptambiguities whilst not forgetting that it is about being SOCIAL and not just a means of delivering a continuum of sales messages.

But where does it fit in to business and why should we be spending time doing it?

What prompted the thinking behind this post?

Last Friday at a recent print industry event I caught up with some old friends and colleagues and the one question that kept popping up and being asked of me was:

 Why do I/we need social media for our business?

Why do I/we need to be on social media?

I’m in the print business not social media?

Mobile devicesI pointed out that the print business is not all about pre-printed forms, catalogues, direct mail but is one part of the multi channel experience that customers come in contact with and I’ve talked about it in detail here and here.

But, I then backed up the above comment saying that social media is only important to you and your business if you understand the reasons why you are using it in the first place.

If you get lots of business via telesales, advertisements, referrals, yell.com and the ‘lead bank’ is full to bursting point then social media may not be what you need to do.


What you need to ask is what can social media do for my business and me?

Do I need to have an online presence?

I should point out that this is not a ‘how to do’ post as I am not a seasoned expert but rather some ideas to consider when it comes to why do social media.

A company needs to be able to project a unified brand in other words show the customer more than just products services and words. But how do they do this?

It isn’t about straplines on stationery or marketing collateral or the consistency of logos across your marketing it is the way your company or brand conveys its meaningfulness across all touch points.

Every advertisement, email marketing, direct mail even chatting with a customer service representative through to the delivery of your product or service provides a great opportunity for your brand or company to deliver on its promise and demonstrate its purpose, all of which strengthen the bond between customer and your company or brand.

To answer the question that was put to me:

You need to understand where your audience is?

What social media platforms you are likely to find them on?

And how can you convey your messages so they can be found and, more importantly get noticed?

Why do you want to invest your precious time in social media and more importantly what do you hope to get out of your time being ‘social.

I put it to my colleagues that they should be asking the question how can social media add value to the business or brand?

How can being on social media provide any other benefits to your existing customers or target audience?

Social media is more than just aiming to set your company apart from its competitors.

You are telling a story that conveys the values and the company’s ethos, it’s attitude toward its customers and how it projects itself online, all of which define the organisation.

Your social media and online presence is more than just that it is an experience that you hope your customers will identify with and that requires commitment by the organisation as a whole.

If this is followed up by poor execution and delivery of the service then the brand or customer experience is negative, credibility is lost and bad experiences are spread by word of mouth.

Our customers are deluged with information from social media – news, product recommendations, opinions and no matter what line of business you are in if you want to build a buzz about your business, it’s products or services then the cheapest and quickest way of doing this is by building an online social media presence.

Every business needs some kind of marketing and promotion and every business needs new customers and social media is an additional channel to expose your business.

Every business needs repeat business and by providing your customers with the knowledge so they know what you offer reminds them where to go when they need that new widget or solution.

iStock_000034282008SmallAny business needs to market themselves to generate leads and create new business growth but when I was asked should I be doing social media my response was ‘it’s not a case of if you need or should do it, but rather how well you do it.’

To answer the question at the start of this post:

Yes, social media can add another valuable channel to your marketing strategy if it’s done the right way.

And how does that help being in the print industry?

Print can position itself at the start of a customer’s journey from the physical to the online world and so social media forms part of that brand experience.

Marketers know that print can do things that digital cannot.

Print is at the heart of brand marketing.














How to target your audience with personalised communications.

Last week’s post talked about what Digital Print Management do when it comes to delivering customer service.  content personalisation

Knowing your customers well not only helps you deliver a personalised customer service but ensures they get personalised communications suited to their needs.

Most organisations think they know who their customers are but do you?

  1. Can everyone in your organisation define what your typical customer is, what do they look like? Where can you find them?
  2. How does you audience vary according to the services or solutions you offer?
  3. Which industry sectors do you work in and where have you had the most success?
  4. Which industry is most receptive to your business?
  5. Is your audience clearly defined by industry sector?
  6. What other products and services are your customers likely to be interested in?

content personalisationStudying your current customer profile should be a good indicator of the audience you successfully engage with but it will also help you target other companies or sectors that may want your services.

The key to understanding your customers is being able to understand the data you have about them.

This in turn drives personalised communication.

One of the important things about managing your customers is segmenting your audience into specific products or services and establishing if a pattern emerges between the two.

Thereafter you can identify the audience that is most likely to be receptive to any future personalised communications by direct marketing campaigns keeping it targeted and specific.

By understanding and interpreting your existing customer data helps you identify the criteria on which your customers purchased your products and helps you define which prospects you can target in the future.

For B2B customers this could be region, industry type/sector, company size, contact types.

This is all well and groovy but how do you collect prospective customer data on your target market so you can define your content marketing specific to them?

The more information we have on customers the more personalised we can make our marketing efforts.

content marketing and cross media

Who is your audience? Where can you find them? What do they want?

Personal details are crucial for marketing success and brand growth but how do you get customers to share more information when privacy and security are uppermost and trust is prevalent in most buyers minds.

No one wants to be inundated with salesy emails.

The more personal details we collect the better we can market our products and services and increase customer engagement with personalised communications.

Being able to market in a positive and meaningful way to your target customers builds up trust, expertise, knowledge and showcases your companies services and abilities.

customer security and trust

How do we build up customer security and trust?

But how do we build up trust in an online world?

Unlike meeting someone face to face, building creditability in an online world takes time and determination. It is not about blasting out full on sales messages one after another.

Here are five points to consider for building customer brand, loyalty and engaging your audience.

Showcase positive customer experiences

Hi-light case studies where your services have really helped one of your customers.

Digital Print Management used a case study of a big higher education institution who outsourced their payroll processing and printing. This case study was so effective it helped us pick up two large customers.

The customers were so reassured in conversations about our expertise and knowledge and we were able to back it up with good references, they choose us as their main service provider.

This is a good example of a positive customer experience without a typical sales pitch.

Using effective marketing strategies reduces the worry over privacy and security but ultimately builds up trust.

Ensuring your content messages are consistent across all media channels builds up trust, loyalty and familiarity in your brand this helps customers to be more willing to share information across the various channels.

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have.

The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe”. (Anon)

business team standing

I wish I could lay claim to the above statement but I think whoever thought it up nailed it.

Promote brand loyalty

Consumers are more willing to share personal data if they are loyal to a brand.

The more you promote your company beliefs, culture and its ethos the more you are likely to connect with a customers personal beliefs and principles at which point they have the confidence to share their personal details.

Your brand is representative of your company culture and what your company stands for and brand loyalty comes out of your audience getting to know, trust and respect your company culture and its beliefs.

Recommend new products, solutions and services

Customers know that by giving away information companies will showcase new products and services which customers are likely to be excited about because they know they will be the first to view or experience them.

This is where personalised print marketing used in conjunction with cross channel marketing can be a highly effective way of moving the customer’s buying decision along.

A highly personalised mailer with discounted vouchers or coupons is a great way to get customers involved.

Give incentives

Free postage, 10% off the next order, vouchers and limited time offers, free downloads are great ways to get customers to give over their information.

Customers realise they are getting something for free by giving over their data willingly.

Provide location specific offers

Amazon local is a great example of location offers.

They send you an email containing various offers at discounted rates on goods and services in relation to where you live and according to some of your recent purchases.

The increasing use of smartphones and mobile devices makes location based offers even more relevant for targeting your audience and persuading them to give personal details based on where they are or live in return for an offer.

The end goal is to connect with your customers on an emotional level so they are confident to give you the information you need to personalise your marketing content to suit your potential buying audience, which then enables you to start the sales cycle.





How to engage your customers across multi-media channels

Customers are demanding faster and better information which has traditionally been delivered by direct sales and marketing planning.

Being able to interact with customers through multi-media channels is necessary for brands, companies and organisations to get their message out there by developing strong personal relationships with long term customers.multi-channel engagement

Creating a successful multi-media channel experience can seem beyond the capabilities of most organisations not only in time and internal resources but also cost and ROI.

Creating your own brand or imagery and being able to interact on a variety of multi-media channels is key to long term success.

A brand is not just the name of a business, a product or service it’s about establishing an emotional connection with the customer.

Your company or persona is more than just a company name on the top of your letter-heading it is about the identity of the people in your organisation and it’s personality.

The old adage that people buy people rings true. People buy your services based on emotion and the honesty they perceive in your brand or company.

By creating an identity and personality for your company the customers buying decision is easier because they are able to identify with the company, product, or service through association.

Increasing recognition by building an online presence are integral to making your brand and organisation credible.

content personalisation

How do I build my brand identity using multi-media channels?

Brand awareness is built through print media advertising, social media and multi-media channel touch points.

Whether you use the more traditional methods of marketing like direct mail, emailing, product launch events, blogs and video campaigns.content personalisation

Whatever strategies your business employs says a lot about you and the personality of the organisation or brand.

The key is making sure you stay in front of your audience so that when they are ready to buy they call or contact you.

Multi-media channel interaction is pretty much expected through all types of customer interactions including communication.

Customers want to be able to view documents on different media, from email, mobile, online and print depending on context and convenience.

This makes it impossible to predict which media channel will be used when, where and by whom, content has to be available on all platforms.

Organisations need to be transparent, honest and flexible so that the customer sees similar information on all media platforms this in turn creates consistency and continuity and creates familiarity which the prospective customer can identify with when they are ready to buy.

In the world of online, choice is easier for customers and an organisation that gives customers easy access to a variety of channels can differentiate itself. e-payslips

Knowing your audience and interpreting the data from the various multi-media channel touch points provides more opportunity to gather information about customers.

Complicated registration web forms which look more like A-level science questions than the simple sign up forms enable your customers to sign up and register easily without the customer being made to feel they are giving too much away and makes the process easier to collate information.

Using a sign up form that is connected to anyone of their social media accounts identifies the registrant with a social profile. They are more likely to enter their personal information onto an online registration form than offering it to a call centre.

By having that information available across all the platforms the organisation has more opportunities to capture the information making it more effective and usable when identifying niche audiences.

If an organisation can track how a customer is consuming information on what device and where, will make targeted marketing messages easier.

As long as all channels are communicating than a customer should only have to enter their data once.

Every social media channel has its own unique set of challenges but there are some best practices that should be observed:

  1. Be consistent, by this I mean any information, documentation and communication across all the multi-media channels should have the same imagery, look and feel so the customer is familiar with your brand or company.

  2. Creating a single document that has the same imagery, logos, branding like an online marketing piece, advert etc. make sure there is an individual strategy to deploy it across all channels. The message doesn’t have to be identical but it does need to relate to the other marketing messages on other channels.
  3. Provide a value-add on by making sure that at each touch point the customer can engage. Make an offer, provide useful information, offer a benefit.

  4. Security – consumers are well aware of issues of data security and misused information. They are also aware that to receive something they need to sign up or fill in a web form for accessibility. The customer wants to know how the information is collected and how it will be used so tell them. In return, the customer expects to receive value. They’ve parted with their personal details and expect something useful in return, in other words there has to be a benefit.
  5. Engagement on multi-media channel platforms requires commitment, time, money and resources. A clear defined strategy for each platform will help determine ROI and profitability.

  6. All stakeholders have to be involved in the overall strategy for future customer acquisition and retention with clearly defined marketing plans for each bit of communication across each platform.

Multi-media channel engagement is a long haul process, in much the same way as when you started promoting on social media platforms. A little bit like firing in the dark, until you can measure which platform works best for your audience.

It requires much needed thought and a set of measurable objectives – and an end plan, what is/are your main goal(s).

The most important aspect is to take into account the needs and expectations of your audience.

Setting key objectives will determine the success of your brand and organisation.