Direct Mail: An Old School Marketing Tactic Making a Comeback

Direct mail is affordable, puts your advertising in a potential client’s hand, and it is a campaign you can learn to put together yourself. It’s also considered an old school marketing tactic that, for a while, had seemed to be played out. Too much direct mail in too many mail boxes was making it easy for people to ignore their direct mail without looking at it.

Making Your Marketing Stand Out

Today, putting something tactile in a potential customer’s hand has more value than it did ten years ago. Customers spend more time on their phones. They are scrolling past digital advertising every day. While there is still value in digital marketing, of course, there is also value in diversifying by reaching your potential customers with targeted direct mailer campaigns.

One of the things making direct mail marketing cool again is how online tools have made it easier to create targeted campaigns.

A smartly targeted campaign will have the right message going to the right customers. For example, if a real estate agent wanted to target home sellers in a particular neighborhood, there are now online tools where you can target a specific zip code. You can then create a mailer with a message written for the customer you’re trying to reach. This will include smart ad copy about selling your home.

A direct, simple, and targeted message can be extremely effective.

Another area where your direct mail campaign can benefit is from selecting a high quality material for your mailer. A large glossy postcard with a simple design that catches the eye and paper that has some weight to it is most likely to stand out when someone is going through their mailbox. A professional design will also speak well of your business and make a great first impression.

Avoid This Mistake With Direct Mail

While direct mail can be a great way to reach your customer, it’s important to do it well to be effective. This is true of any type of marketing.

With direct mail, many marketers lose sight of their targeting. This leads them to send out a generic campaign to a large area. They believe they are being effective by getting their message to as many people as possible.

This is the kind of advertising you would see by putting up a billboard on a highway or a television commercial. There is value in this widespread advertising. However, what has made digital marketing so great for small businesses is that they can afford to advertise by running campaigns that are targeted toward their ideal customer. When they pay to get eyes on their message, they’re putting it in front of people more likely to be interested.

The same is now true of smartly run direct mail campaigns. Send the right message to the right people and you can see the results you’re after.

Apply this rule to selecting the right list and sending the right message to them. Write a smart headline and use branding that speaks to your ideal customer.

Surviving and Thriving in the Future

Our society was already going through significant changes, but the coronavirus pandemic has added a sense of urgency to those changes. Now that businesses are starting to open back up, it’s not safe to assume that things will return to the way they were just a few months ago. Instead, most businesses have changed how they operate, which means finding new ways to thrive.

Realize That You’re Competing With the World

Even before the global pandemic, the continued growth of the internet has forced people and businesses to compete on a global scale. This is becoming more prevalent as people begin returning to work and start consuming products again. Whether you’re a new entrepreneur, or the leader of an existing business, developing strong relationships with your customers is important. Encouraging customer loyalty is more important than ever, which is why you’ll see more businesses offering better customer service, information of value, and other perks for sticking with them.

Establish Your Brand

Creating a brand for your products is more important than ever because it will provide consumers with a reliable point of reference. If you offer one specific type of product, you should resist the urge to try to establish yourself as an expert in a broader field of interest. Instead, focus on your specialization, and present your brand as the most reliable source of information for that specialty. This will help you build consumer trust, so people will recognize your brand as the “go-to” for information and resources relevant to that product.

Multiply Your Growth

While entering the digital global marketplace means competing with more businesses that are targeting the same demographics, it also means you’ll have access to that same, broader customer base. Your marketing efforts should be designed to target that broader base, especially when you can offer your products to consumers in more geographical areas.

Understanding the needs of consumers will become more important than ever. As we develop a new global community, eCommerce becomes more vital, and your brand’s ability to meet consumer needs from around the world will determine how well your business thrives. If your brand can grow and learn how to adapt to the changes in a post-pandemic society, your business will have an edge over competitors that may not be as open to change.

Three Habits to Cultivate For Success

Successful people have taken different paths to get to where they are today. However, what this group of people shares is the habits they perform without fail every day. These habits come to successful people, like Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffett, and Dr. Jane Goodall, as second nature, an automatic reflex, or an itch that they just can’t ignore. Here are five habits to cultivate if you want to be successful:

 

Waking Up Early

 

There is a ton of scientific evidence backing up the claim that waking up early can lead to a more productive day, which in the long run can lead to a more successful life. Waking up early is a habit of many successful people, ranging from Navy SEALS to CEOs of well-known companies. Immediately after waking up, the mind is still in a sleep-induced state of inertia where the brain is foggy and slow. This state can last for up to four hours. Waking up early gives you more time to clear out the brain fog before you start working or studying.

 

Read a Book, or 50 Books

 

In an interview, Bill Gates says he reads up to 50 books a year. That’s almost 1 book per week. In a survey among the wealthy demographic conducted by Tom Corley, an accountant and financial planner, close to 90 percent of participants said that they allotted at least half an hour each day to read a book as part of their self-care routine. Most successful people don’t read for entertainment, either. They read self-help books, tutorials, historical accounts, and autobiographies of other successful entrepreneurs and industry leaders.

 

Surround Yourself With the Right People

 

The adage “You are the average of the five friends you keep” rings true for successful people. They are very careful of who they surround themselves with. If your friends are only interested in having fun, bar-hopping every weekend, or binge-watching the latest TV series, then you won’t be inspired or motivated to do anything else. Find like-minded individuals who will challenge the way you think of problems and nurture your ideas.

 

If you want to reap the benefits of these successful habits, you’ll need to be consistent and use them every day. Incorporate more healthy and productive habits into your lifestyle as you become more comfortable and consistent with the three listed above.

The Essentials of Innovation

Companies are overflowing in the world economy. Capitalism has made the process of starting a company very smooth; there is limited government interference. For a company to stand out, it has to provide solutions to current world issues and needs.

 

Innovation is an expensive and lengthy process. Large companies struggle to present innovative ideas because of their complicated structures. Decision making is time-consuming as a result of organizational red-tape.

 

Therefore, large companies should assess their capacity to undertake successful corporate growth-fueled innovations. Unfortunately, the field of Innovation has skyrocketed in recent years; a large organization needs to readjust cultural and structural factors to deliver powerful innovations. Some of the changes organizations should look into include;

 

  1. Aspire

 

Companies need to adopt a slogan that inspires creativity in their staff. Additionally, setting a financial target for innovative goals will spearhead growth. These quantitative targets should further spread across all departments. The goals must be high enough to motivate departmental managers to push for modification amongst their teams. Setting deadlines might catapult the process a little further as well.

 

  1. Choose

 

Large companies tend to suffer the most from failed innovation projects. The process of change primarily starts when a company decides it is willing to invest in an opportunity. Most organizations make the mistake of underfunding projects or spreading their income on many unyielding ventures. The best course of action is finding opportunities that are the most promising and financing them to success.

 

  1. Accelerate

 

Large companies tend to sabotage their innovative process. The ability of management to step aside and let reforms proceed will ensure fast product delivery. However, cross-departmental communication throughout the process is paramount. Marketing should be left to its own devices to collect data on customer preferences and adjust products accordingly. Innovations should satisfy new consumer tastes, a company that assumes user needs are contradicting the purpose of change.

 

  1. Scale

 

Companies ought to fully understand the size of their possible market. Global products will need more resources allocated to them at the initial stages. The safer option of adjusting the scale over time is risky; it may drive a company to bankruptcy. Innovation is a means to grow profits while managing risks; not a ride to financial crises.

 

In summary, large corporations often find it challenging to redefine themselves as innovators in society. However, those that set out to do so understand that it is a multi-departmental effort that will require redefining culture as well as structure.

Creating Healthy Boundaries While Working From Home

As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc around the world, businesses remain shut down and those that are open are encouraged to have their staff work from home. This new norm of remote workforces has created many benefits including lower carbon footprint, improved productivity and lower stress levels, and cost savings as companies forgo office leases. What is proving to be a challenge, however, is creating a healthy boundary between personal and professional life. Here are three tips that can help:

 

Create Walls

 

Setting physical boundaries may be enough to ward off any unwanted distractions, be it your spouse, pets, children, or outside noise. If you don’t have room to spare for your home office, you can simply buy a divider that can delineate your workspace. Dividers come in different sizes, colors, designs, and installation types. Some dividers require no installation and can stand on its own while others have to be mounted on the ceiling or side walls with rings or a rod.

 

Inform Everyone of Your Work Schedule

 

If you don’t have one yet, establish a work schedule that marks what times of the day you start and finish, what time your meetings are for that day, an itemized list of tasks you need to be done, and so on. Notify everyone in your home or post a copy of the schedule on the communal fridge. Update your work schedule as you get more information from your superiors.

 

Have a Separate Laptop For Work

 

On your work laptop, download and install site blockers to help you stay focused on your workload. Only install games and log in your social media accounts and personal email on your laptop. Having a separate laptop for your work helps you stay on track without interruption. Check with your company if they can lease you a work laptop. Most companies, especially those in tech, offer this work perk.

 

Working from home is only sustainable if you can separate your work and personal life. However, in an attempt to try and stop your personal life from seeping into your professional obligations, be sure not to let your work consume all of your waking hours. Strive to maintain an equilibrium between these two facets.

Pressing Unemployment Questions

Stay at home orders may be a necessity in the times of Covid-19, but there’s no doubt that they’ve done a number on the workforce. That said, a lot of Americans don’t exactly understand what unemployment insurance is. Many more may understand unemployment insurance but not recognize how to access those resources or even realize that they’re eligible. Further complicating matters are the new changes made to UI in the wake of Coronavirus.

 

The most prominent of these changes are new rules for providing unemployment to the self-employed. While Coronavirus has made this a necessity, the rise of the gig job economy certainly precipitated the problem. While the self-employed won’t receive the income-based unemployment checks, they may be eligible for about $600 a week.

 

The Department of Labor is always on the look-out for fraud, and it can be surprisingly easy to commit – even accidentally. For example, if your employer pays your uninsurance through a PPP loan the first time you’re laid off, you may actually be required to repay that money. Make sure that you understand the terms of any payments you receive, and get in touch with a local office if you have any questions.

 

In some instances, employers are bringing back their employees with reduced hours and pay, but some of those employees may still be eligible for unemployment benefits. That’s because unemployment insurance is designed to ensure that a living wage. As long as you report your wages, you can earn up to 20% of your weekly benefit amount.

 

If your employer received a PPP loan, they have up to eight weeks to spend it on items relating to their business. Some businesses have used this as a way to pay employees even if they can’t bring them back on the schedule. If employees don’t show up to work, businesses will suffer in that their PPP loan will not be fully forgiven. Understandably, those receiving more with unemployment due to the supplemental rate may not be as eager to return back to work. For that reason, employers should be careful about where they dispense that extra cash.

 

Finally, there’s a question of what to do with leftover vacation time. Unfortunately, Coronavirus doesn’t give you a free pass. If you are able to do your job, you’ll have to either go into work or use your vacation days. Of course, whether or not an environment is safe to work in will be predicated on a number of factors and can vary from state to state.

Five Ways to Start a Side Hustle With Little to No Money

If you’re a born entrepreneur, you’re all about side hustles and making businesses that generate passive income. Many aspiring entrepreneurs, however, are held back by limited finances. Luckily, you don’t need deep pockets to start a side hustle. Here are five ways you can do just that:

List Your Options

Nowadays, you don’t have to create something new and revolutionary to succeed as an entrepreneur. You can simply choose from existing businesses based on what fits your personality, expertise, and budget. Side hustles can range from part-time or independent contractor work i.e. dog walking and uber driving to buying and selling stuff online and running a dropshipping store. Narrow the list down based on what meets the aforementioned criteria.

Do The Ground Work Yourself

The do-it-yourself approach may take more time and frustration as you learn new skill sets, but it’s definitely an effective way to start a side hustle on a shoestring budget. In addition, it’s a great way to master the ins and outs of your business. If there is an internal issue later on, you can easily find the problem and fix it yourself.

Have a Business Plan

It’s common advice, almost to the point of overused, in many business-related articles. However, for someone with little to no startup capital, a business plan can give you access to third-party funding. You can approach banks and private lenders with a well-detailed business plan and get the loan you need to start.

Start a Crowdfunding Campaign

Platforms, like Kickstarter, have helped a lot of entrepreneurs bootstrap their ideas into full-fledged businesses as well as draw priceless attention to their relatively nascent brand. Start a crowdfunding campaign of your own. You’ll need a good sales pitch, marketing materials including video or at least images of the product/service you’re trying to sell, and a prototype.

Get Your Hands on Everything “Free”

Capitalize on anything that you can get for free – free marketing exposure, educational resources, zero-interest loans, business expos and conferences, customer leads, etcetera. Avoid paying for things that you can get for free.

Conclusion

There is a common misconception that businesses of any size and magnitude require high startup capital. Don’t let that get in the way of your entrepreneurial drive and spirit. Use the five tips in this article to build your money-making empire.

The Secrets to Making Good Habits Stick

Everyone wants to claim a few good life habits, not just for bragging rights, but simply because they make life less messy. However, without a secure plan, trading in poor habits for positive ones can be a drag. Here is how to effectively make the switch.

Don’t Rely On Willpower

The concept of owning the willpower to create the habits needed to breed a better life is overplayed and a bit weak. It may be easy to work out on bright days when spirits are high but not so much on the dreary ones filled with muscle aches and excuses. Willpower may get us through our tough spots, but the truth is, it is far too unreliable. And what is worse, some people naturally have more drive than others, no matter how hard the deprived may strive to tip the scale in their direction. For these key reasons, we have to debunk the idea that willpower is the magic pill, and just take advantage of it when it is available.

Create Rules

Whether we like them or not, rules carry unmistakable value, and they force us to stay in line for fear of harsh consequences. So, when searching for ways to make habits stick, try implementing certain rules as they set the premise as to how our days are managed. For example, to promote greater fitness, make it a challenge to engage in at least one form of physical activity at once, or to cultivate better relationships, make it a requirement to reach out to one person per day.

Do a Little Bit at a Time

Taking on too much at once is a great way to fail at the basics. Transformation takes time, and being too drastic initially will only lead to heightened frustrations. For longterm results, start small, and increase efforts over time, such as studying for 20 minutes per day until two-hour study periods become a breeze.

As with all other things, the formation of good habits will bring about its own set of pitfalls and obstacles. But no matter how rocky the road may get, with a mindset shift and a whole lot of consistency, anyone can adopt a new routine that will help them evolve to their greatest version.

Investing in Competitive Intelligence

Establishing a return on investment (ROI) from investing requires you to put your money into assets that grow in value.

Choosing the right asset to invest in can be a challenge. You can find a clear path toward a solid ROI by considering the competitive-intelligence (CI) industry. Look for trends that are already successful if you want to minimize your financial risks when you’re investing. The businesses of CI present a good group of assets to start an investment portfolio with.

What is Competitive Intelligence?

Competitive intelligence is the knowledge that one business gains about other businesses within its same industry.

An industry is a sector of businesses that sell the same products to a single market.

Collecting data about industry competitors is a proven way of remaining competitive. The scope of CI even includes data about your business—if you have one. From the rate that one company gains new customers at—to the influence of one brand’s SEO, gaining detailed information about a market competitor is simplified through the help of technology.

The prospects of wireless and mobile technologies give businesses a broader perspective over the markets they labor in. The devices, processes and softwares that achieve CI create a profitable industry.

Investors are looking at the financial impact that CI can have within their portfolios.

Why the Competitive-Intelligence Industry is Growing

The CI industry is growing because of mobile technology. The access to data that digital technology gives us increases the competitive standing of any business that has an internet connection. According to a study completed within Crayon’s 2020 State of Competitive Intelligence Report, %98 of 1,000-business participants that were surveyed by Crayon said that websites held the best competitive intelligence on a business.

Business owners believe that extracting data from web technology gives them a big competitive edge.

Investors are looking at the growth of the CI industry and are supplying its startups with funding. Around the globe, financial agencies are anticipating where CI grows and which of its innovations best benefit business owners.

There are no guarantees when investing, but the growth of CI is a fact that you can build an investment strategy on. Start by looking at businesses that scan market activity, consumer spending and individual-business marketing.

Groups like GrowthBar, Aqute Intelligence and ScienceSoft are leading CI agencies.

 

Tips For Overcoming Business Challenges

Any successful business owner will attest to the fact that challenges are inevitable. While some challenges pop up out of nowhere, others can be spotted coming and make it easier to plan for. From bad partnerships and stolen intellectual property to pandemics, businesses can take a turn for the worse in a pinch. The key to staying afloat is learning how to overcome challenges that present themselves.

Be Honest

In times of crisis, many people are told to fake surviving until they make it through. However, this could be one of the worst things a business can do. It is best to be honest and get things handled as soon as possible before they become unmanageable. No one likes to admit their business is having issues, but speaking up may just get a business owner the help they need to overcome a challenge.

Find Ways To Destress

When trying to get through a challenging time in business, the most important thing to do is stay calm and not over stress. Business owners need to find a way to keep a level head to make sound business decisions. For some people, taking a break and stepping away for a day or two might be enough time to clear their heads. For others, it may be best to exercise and take care of their physical and mental health.

Ask For Help

Many business owners take a lot of pride in what they do. It takes a lot of time, effort, money and hard work to open a business and keep it afloat. When times are tough and challenges present themselves, many owners may not like to ask for help. In almost all industries, business owners want to keep from giving away tricks, tips and secrets to the competition. However, when times are tough, asking for help from the community may be necessary.

When a business finds itself in a time of struggle, it is important to take advantage of any help being offered. Successful business owners will attest to having a secure network of other business leaders and owners to help them out when they need it most. In difficult times, many people come together for the sake of the community and help each other get through.