I can make a believer out of you … Some people need statistics to believe in something. Some require testimonials from people like them detailing the success of something. What do you need?

There has been resurgence in direct mail and it has created a higher demand. Everyone is online. This makes it difficult to really stand apart from you competitors on the Internet. Why do we believe that direct mail isn’t going away?

  1. Direct mail has the highest rate of success in new customer acquisition at 34 percent compared with other marketing channels. (Target Marketing)
  2. Forty percent of consumers say that they have tried a new business after receiving direct mail, and 70 percent have renewed relationships with clients that they had previously ceased. (Ballantine)
  3. Almost 75 percent of B2B marketers rate direct mail as very effective. (Earnest Agency)
  4. Four-fifths (79 percent) of consumers will act on direct mail immediately compared to only 45 percent who say they will deal with email straight away. (Direct Marketing Association)
  5. Half (50 percent) of U.S. consumers prefer direct mail to email. (Epsilon)
  • Golden Mailer, Direct Mail Stats
  • “I learned years ago that when it comes to marketing if you do nothing, you get nothing. It’s that simple. I have advertised with Golden Mailer for over 10 years. Unlike the results of an Internet search, I am not one of the dozens of similar businesses fighting for attention. My Golden Mailer ad will be one of its kind and never will there be more than a couple in my industry. Advertising is expensive but if one customer comes to my business through an ad and later refers two more the ad more than pays for itself. “ – Michael Primus, Attorney at Law

Call Tracking … The perfect marketing solution for SMBs

It is important to know what marketing and advertising tactics are working for your business. For most SMBs a simple call tracking number with the capability to record calls, track campaigns by select numbers, and provide an overall report of how many calls each campaign generated in comparison to other campaigns is everything they need.

Golden Mailer, Call Tracking Service

Attach a call tracking service to your campaign for FREE – Contact us today for more information about Golden Mailer’s service or referrals for a different call tracking platform that fits your business needs.

Golden Mailer’s Call Tracking Services…

You can see what campaigns are more effective in the summer vs. fall. You can listen to calls and gather insight to how each incoming call is being handled by sales, administration, or even a call fielding service. Generate reports to reflect only the data you want to see and avoid digging through daily stats that have no impact on your actual conversion rate.

You’re on the go, and your marketing should be, too.

That’s why our mobile app makes it easy to create, send, and track emails, everywhere you are.

Call Tracking, Golden Mailer

A call tracking services is the first step to motoring how well a campaign is doing and discovering how effective your staff is at fostering a simple inquiry up to the point of sale. What you will often discover is many leads are not tracked correctly or follow-up methods are not as strong as they should be.

But even with these often complicated software services, business owners still find that one of their major obstacles is determining what leads came from where?

Most SMBs that offer only a few primary products or services get overcharged for CRM and Business Solution software platforms that bill them for a long list of capabilities that they will never use.

Why do we recommend this method to most SMBs and local businesses? It’s incredibly affordable, you only pay for the information you want, and the reports give you a very clear overview of the information to best establish conversion rates and campaign success.

By Chelsea Irwin

Over the last year Golden Mailer has been blessed to partner with the HOPE program for local foster and homeless children in the East Bay

Golden Mailer had the unique experience this year to sponsor children from the local Mount Diablo Unified School District’s HOPE program. We have blogged in the past about the HOPE program, but here is a quick explanation of what they are all about: Last school year, the MDUSD HOPE program served 511 homeless children, grades K-12 and 151 foster youth. These are children living in shelters, cars, motels, and staying temporarily with friends in what they call “doubled up” and “tripled up” living arrangements. Most of us don’t see this or believe it is happening in places like Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek, Lafayette, or Clayton, but it is.

As a local and family owned business, the employees at Golden Mailer agreed that volunteering would be best served in the local community…

Children in Classroom, HOPE, Golden Mailer

There is nothing more important to the future of your community than providing inspiration and support to the young adults who will be running the local businesses, enforcing the law, operating on your loved ones and eventually raising the generation to follow. This is why we came together as a company to pull together resources and help provide holiday cheer to those that need it the most.

It doesn’t feel like there are many children living in homeless or poverty stricken situations in the East Bay, but there are. When we use the word “many” we simply mean that even one child is too many. My hat is off to everyone who did something this holiday season to help make a stranger’s holiday a little brighter. Dedication to Benevolence Programs is proven to give employees a more positive view of the company they work for and speak with a higher level of respect outside of work to friends, family and associates about management and company culture.

Working with the dedicated members of HOPE shows you the unfortunate truth… THIS NEVER ENDS.

These children need food year around, school supplies, clothing, and resources available to show them that they haven’t been left behind or forgotten. Simply because the holidays are over doesn’t mean you should forget about the less fortunate members of your local community. A few months ago we wrote about different ways you can volunteer or simply donate money to local organizations all year long. There are countless ways to get involved, read Golden Mailer’s 2015 Holiday Volunteering Blog for more information.

Why start company Benevolence Programs?

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in daily routines and we quickly forget about the children sleeping in cars or shelters in the middle of February. This was one of the many great experiences that the Golden Mailer team has started to make a tradition as a dedicated partner with the local HOPE program. We encourage you to start your own tradition and give what you can to your local community all year long.

“It Takes A Village”

Golden Mailer Shares Some Friday Thoughts… Pass Them Along to Brighten Someone’s Week.

Weekly Tips:

Golden Mailer, Quotes for Work, Tips, Funny Work Quotes
  1. If you can, PRIORITIZE work BY GREATEST ROI. That way you will always be working on the task with the biggest impact.
  2. GIVE YOUR COFFEE A KICK! Everyone is putting grass-fed butter in their coffee. Why? It has the right fats to combat cholesterol, fills you up, and gives long-lasting energy.
  3. SORE NECK? Stop looking down at your phone to text. According to a recent study, when your head is bent at a 60-degree angle, the forces endured by the neck surge to 60 pounds.
(Inspired by BusinessHack.com)
  1. Spend the last 10 minutes of your workday reviewing the tasks planned for tomorrow, instead of poorly trying to rush through one last task for today. – Productivity Hack
  2. Create a template for emails that you frequently send out to the same recipients; this keeps you consistent and organized. A template eliminates the chance of forgetting to include important information as well. The recipient will know exactly what to expect and where to look for the information they need. (i.e. Sending campaign details to a client week over week that must contain report run dates, impressions served, clicks served, budget spent, etc.) – Productivity Hack
(Inspired by ProductivityHack.com)

Quotes:

  1. “We are really competing against ourselves. Aside from shared experiences and support, we have no control over how other people perform. Success is meeting your goals, not beating someone else’s goals.” – Pete Cashmore, Entrepreneur, CEO and founder of Mashable
  2. “Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.” – Henry Ford, Founder of the Ford Motor Company and sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique.
  3. “Successful people do what the to rest us are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better” – Jim Roth, His rags to riches story played a major role in much of his work as an entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker.
  4. “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” – Michael Jordan
  5. “Be so good they can’t ignore you.” – Steve Martin
  6. “Long-term planning is often undervalued by our indefinite short-term world.” – Unknown
  7. “Never mind what others do, do better yourself. Beat your own records everyday and aim for a better tomorrow.” – Unknown
  8. “Be undeniably good. No marketing effort or social media buzzword can be a substitute for that.” – Anthony Volodkin, Entrepreneur

Giggles:

  1. “I always arrive late at the office, but I make up for it by leaving early.” – Charles Lamb
  2. “All I’ve ever wanted was a honest week’s pay for an honest day’s work.” – Steve Martin, Sgt. Bilko movie
  3. “Work is the greatest thing in the world, so we should always save some of it for tomorrow.” – Don Herold
  4. Peter Gibbons: Let me ask you something. When you come in on Monday and you’re not feeling real well, does anyone ever say to you, “Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays?” …Lawrence: “No. No, man. *Heck* no, man. I believe you’d get your *butt* kicked sayin’ something like that, man.” – Office Space the movie
It’s Friday… Do something AMAZING for yourself and someone you care about!

As a business owner you know who your biggest fans are… why not turn them into your customer champions too?

Customer champions can be your biggest fan via word of mouth driving in business, or a satisfied customer reviewing you on Yelp or Google Places. Finding the vocal clients that will champion your work and your company is important and something only you can do.

Golden Mailer, Customer Champion Infographic

Statistically, only 11% of sales reps ask for client testimonials or referrals, when 91% of clients say they would be willing to give referrals.

An article in Business.com by Yoav Vilner stated:

“You’ve definitely got what it takes to amaze your clients and turn them into your biggest fans. It’s just a matter of taking personal care in assessing each client differently and evaluating their wants and needs. Surpass their expectations by integrating some of these ideas into your business plan and you’ll be sure to see a growth in your fan club.”

By no means should your customer champions be a higher priority when it comes to the integrity of your work, time, or resources over other clients.

Every client should receive your very best work. You simply need to distinguish the difference between the ones that will champion for you and the ones that will forget your name the second you finish working with them. Some clients are easily impressed and more vocal than others and make great customers for life. Some clients like reviewing companies on the Internet, others don’t know where to start.

In the same article, Vilner states:

“If you’re willing to go above-and-beyond to satisfy and impress your clients, it will pay off. You’ll see a growth in repeat business, they’ll refer you to their friends and colleagues, and they will publicly proclaim your efforts, which will result in a boost to your reputation.”

From an operations standpoint this means you must keep on your team involved in the brand building process. To do this, management needs to make it a priority to build and utilize the relationships team members have with customers that might be overlooked.

Imagine if you capitalized on all those missed opportunities for customer champions that would be spreading your brand and referring your services as we speak.

Is Facebook the best fit for your business & how to promote your product through blogs & non-promotional posts?

While the “rules” for promotional B2B activity on Facebook change more frequently than the Yahoo! logo design, Google algorithms, iPhones, or American’s hip sizes around the holidays… It is important to keep up with these changes to protect your company’s social media efforts on Facebook from being penalized.

So, how can my business get penalized on Facebook? Facebook recently announced that the networking giant can penalize post boosts that are too “promotional” as of last week. It’s not always clear as to what is “too promotional” but the decision was based on a survey determining that most Facebook users prefer to see stories and friend updates in their newsfeed rather than what Facebook deems product pushing.

According to www.SocialMediopolis.com, Facebook promotional regulations can best be defined as any of the following:

  • – Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  • – Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  • – Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

An excellent article on Jon Loomer’s blog used a great example of what Facebook will consider too promotional:

Golden Mailer Blog
Photo Attribution: JonLoomer.com

After reading what they determine is “promotional” it’s clear that businesses with Facebook groups or pages should stick to boosting articles of interest that lead the reader back to your website or Facebook page. This is just another reason why frequent blogging and content creation is such an important aspect of your branding. A recent survey published by www.hubspot.com found that blogging is a vital part of lead generation.

How can blogging benefit sales leads and keep your company from being penalized on Facebook?

By pushing your blogs that are educational and timely to your readers (this does not include transparent product or service pitches in the form of a blog), you can reach your social following and also increase engagement. Below are some recent stats collected from www.hubspot.com.

  1. Companies that blog have 97% more inbound leads than companies that don’t
  2. 92% of companies who blogged multiple times a day acquired a customer through their blog
  3. 81% of marketers rated their blog as useful or better
  4. 57% of US online adults read blogs
  5. 97% more inbound links for companies that blog
  6. Two-thirds of blog readers say a brand mention or promotion within the context of the blog influences their purchasing decision.
  7. 80% of adults say bloggers “can be very or somewhat influential in shaping product or service purchasing decisions.”
  8. Companies with more than 200 blog articles have 5X the leads than those with 10 or fewer.
Golden Mailer Blog

Facebook also announced a few weeks ago that sweepstakes and contests would also penalize a page. These rules are much more complex and something businesses should be constantly aware of!

Is Facebook really important for businesses?

In short, yes. But that is something that every business must weigh against resources and rewards. Below are some facts recently printed in a report from www.SalesStaff.com that might help business owners determine if Facebook is really the best place for their financial and time resources…

Golden Mailer Blog, SalesStaff.com pic
Graphic Attribution: SalesStaff.com

Mark Zuckerberg, the social network’s founder and CEO, said earlier this month that while a typical Facebook user could potentially view 1,500 updates a day, he sees only about 100. That means businesses that want to appear in that feed need to produce “really good content that’s going to be compelling to your customers.”

Part three of this five part blog series explains the essential need for business owners to understand the increasing influence SEO has on how customers receive and perceive online reviews on sites like Yelp & Angie’s List.

Even if you’re not ready to be on the Internet, your customers aren’t always on your timetable. As you can see below, almost 100% of Internet users read reviews and they affect almost all of their decisions.

Golden Mailer, SEO and Online Review Blog

According to a Channel Advisor survey, ‘Through the Eyes of the Consumer’:

  1. 92% of US Internet users read online reviews
  2. 46% of consumers were influenced to purchase based on reviews
  3. 43% of consumers were deterred from purchasing based on reviews
  4. 3% of consumers reported their decision was unaffected by reviews

Understanding the impact SEO has on online reviews & ratings…

A huge part of properly managing SEO for your online pictures, profiles, blogs, and websites is linking them all to your company. Every directory submission, description, and summary you issue are vital keys to your company branding. Consumers are regularly browsing through sites like Google Places where they will find photos, links, and bios of your company… and your competitors. If you don’t properly leverage SEO for all the content and graphics that you post online, your company will get lost in cyber space while your local competition is showing up in every search and on every site.

…Especially the impact online reviews have on customers.

All these graphics and summaries get linked to various review sites. Local customers rely heavily on these sites to provide them with the best possible information before hiring a company. While you can ask your customers to go online and provide a review for your company, typically the only customers that have the motivation to take time out of their day and review your products or services are the ones that feel you went above and beyond, or the very opposite, the customers feeling that they got burned.

There are multiple ways to look at a negative review:

Although it can be an emotional hit, bad reviews should be handled with care; they should never be responded to rashly or emotionally. Chances are the bad review is about a particular experience, not you as a person.

Look at any negative reviews as opportunities to showcase your company’s excellent customer service, and dedication to quality. Negative reviews can be good PR if you handle them tactfully. These complaints can also serve as a guide for things your company can improve on, because hey, nobody’s perfect.

How to respond to a review?

When responding to a review the best thing to do is to engage the customer. It is important that your tone is not defensive or confrontational; rather it should be one of concern. Be nice, be courteous, and genuinely try to help them. Know that it is incredibly hard to win an argument with a berated customer. Do not try; it will most likely reflect poorly on you and your company. Take the higher ground. Try to understand what went wrong and make every effort you can to put the situation right.

You can read more from the full blog here: “How to Handle A Bad Review

Why are reviews SO important?

One of the first places potentials customers look when searching for local businesses are review sites. Not to mention sites like Yelp and Angie’s List are so well optimized that they rank incredibly high in search engine results. Every review is important. If you can tell a customer isn’t satisfied before the job is finished, take the extra time and money to fix it before they cost you dozens of potential customers with a negative review.

A recent blog on Bnetworking.info stated the following: “Reviews – First of all, do not attempt to make reviews. Internet users will immediately know that they are not true. Reviews are really important in local citations. They are very similar to site linking since they give search engines as well as citation sites the notion that your business is just as excellent as you state it is. You can even find citation sites that will not list you in generic searches if you do not have a favorable review. Thus, once you are done with your profile, spend time to build reviews.”

Local residents search for a business that is in their community, affordable, and trustworthy.

This is why online reviews are so important. You can’t be afraid of the criticisms people leave. You should face these reviews head-on. Never ask a customer to remove a review. And most importantly, you must understand that even if you’re not ready to be on the Internet, customers aren’t always on your timetable.

Don’t hide from bad reviews…

The worst thing is being afraid to deal with it. I’ve worked with some business owners and they didn’t even know that they had dozens of reviews on Yelp. This is customer engagement at it’s best. It’s raw and real. Embrace the good and the bad because that’s what makes you human and that’s how customers trust you.

About this series…

This five part blog series takes a deep look into highly competitive industry landscapes and tips to successfully compete as a locally owned business.

Part two of this five part blog series provides a deep look into the relationships businesses have with other businesses and how to trust business service money-back guarantees.

Money-Back Guarantees Blog, Golden Mailer Money-Back Guarantees Blog, Golden Mailer

As a small business owner, it is important to understand the level of trust you are investing into another business when working together, especially when it comes to money-back guarantees. When partnering with other businesses or vendors in regards to advertising, branding, product quality, etc., be sure to have a mutual understanding of what exactly you are being promised and vice versa.

As money-back guarantees often come with a lot of loopholes, reading the fine print is key, and customer satisfaction should always be the first priority when deciding whom to partner with.

Before You Trust a Money-back Guarantee

Prior to making your decision about working with another business for their product or service, be sure to check, double check, and triple check the both of you are on the same page. Here are some questions to consider asking regarding your money-back guarantee before making anything official.

  1. Can I get a copy of the terms in print?
  2. How long before I get my refund?
  3. Will all additional expenses be included in the money-back guarantee?
  4. What if I’m not satisfied?
  5. How do I go about requesting for a refund?

Be sure to get the name of the person you dealt with when making a deal involving a money-back guarantee. It’s O.K. to ask repeatedly for clarification. Consider your potential losses (time and money-wise) if you are unsatisfied. Will another business’ promise to you hurt your business if it backfires? Always be fully aware of the money-back guarantee before you make any decision final.

Where to Focus Your Guarantee Promises

As a small business owner, you will most likely experience having to make up a money-back guarantee policy of your own for a product or service. The most important guarantee you can offer in your policy is customer satisfaction. Whether you promise to increase online search rankings through SEO services or drive more customers to the business through appropriate marketing practices, you must follow through on your contract based on what the customer claims. Money-back guarantees should be focused on products or services that a business invests in to help with marketing, advertising, branding, design, packaging, delivery, or any service that promises to drive more business.

Below is a review posted on Yelp from a business owner unsatisfied with a logo design and storefront signage company. Read the review and take note of how upset the customer is; the customer paints a bad image of the company resulting in the customer losing a client and the client losing money.

“Company X advertised in writing and verbally a money-back guarantee if I wasn’t satisfied with the design and decided not to use it. The manager himself promised me a full and SPEEDY refund if I was unsatisfied but it’s been over four months and I still haven’t seen a single dime, now he won’t even call me back. Not only did they waste my time, take my money, and lie to me, but also they are STILL advertising a money-back guarantee policy. They can’t be trusted and don’t honor their promise to customer satisfaction. I would have been better off tossing my money in the trash, at least it would have saved me time.” *Business name will remain anonymous

Understanding the Fine Print

Money-back guarantees are often littered with loopholes to cheat customers out of money. Sometimes a company will refund the service charge, but not the initial set-up fee. Sometimes a company might refund the labor fee, but not the cost of materials. A company may sometimes even refund the materials, and not the cost of the labor. Loopholes in money-back guarantees can range from anything regarding how long you have to act before your “guarantee” period is over to how much of the money you will actually be getting back. Ultimately, it is your job as a small business owner to be aware of such loopholes and read the fine print when partnering with another business in order to avoid a loss for your business, or even your customers in the future.

About this series…

This five part blog series takes a deep look into highly competitive industry landscapes and tips to successfully compete as a locally owned business.

Part 1: The REAL Threats Local Businesses Will Face in 2015

Business owners in cities all over the Bay Area should be on the lookout for business license renewal notices.

According to Pleasant Hill’s OUTLOOK bi-monthly newsletter:

Business License Renewal, Golden Mailer

The notices for most cities will be mailed around mid December to the mailing addresses on file.

Address Change?

If your business mailing address has changed since last December, notify the city’s Business License Division as soon as possible to update your records and avoid any delay on receiving your renewal notice.

This will allow business owners the full grace period ending for most Easy Bay Area cities on January 31, 2015.

Closed or No Longer in business?

You should also notify the Business License Division if you are no longer in business, have sold, closed, or moved out of the city. Most cities require you to send a brief note explaining the situation; signed and dated, to the Business License Division of the city your business is located in.

No Business License?

If you are in business or own rental property in a city & are not yet licensed, call the city’s Business License Division as soon as possible to have the appropriate forms sent to you or answer any of your questions.