2019 USPS Rates

2018 USPS Rates


In this video, I talk a fair amount about the dramatic shift in USPS rates that happened in 2017.  To revisit the 2017 USPS rate increase video, click here.

2017 Postal Rates Vs. NSA


What’s REALLY Happening with Newspaper Inserts?


Connecting With SMBs



Combining Print and Digital

As we seek to increase our business with SMB’s (small to medium businesses), we seem to want the resulting revenue to be more digital than print. On one level, I get this. Things are obviously getting more digital every day. On the other hand, we do still have these print assets that can and do work very well for SMB’s. The goal of my ramblings today is to talk about how we can best utilize both print and digital to solve marketing problems for SMB’s.

The typical SMB owner is not a marketer by trade. In fact, few of them are really very savvy about marketing at all. The ones that are savvy are already deploying their advertising dollars in the manner I’m about to describe. The ones that aren’t savvy were in tough shape before technology revolutionized marketing. They are now mostly lost. If they were wasting half their ad dollars 10 years ago, they’re now probably pushing 80%. Proper use of digital can lower that number dramatically. Poor use increases it.

99% of these businesses are either brick and mortar retailers, or they are service providers. The brick and mortar crowd advertised specials to bring people into their store. The service folks tried to drive phone calls. Now both of them are faced with incorporating digital into the process. So they have a website built. Maybe a Facebook page. They invest in some SEO help, SEM, maybe some banners. They give away an IPad to get some likes on their Facebook page. They sign up for help with reputation management.

Too many service companies didn’t have an offline process for following up on phone calls. Few have any idea how to incorporate a website into a lead capture and conversion process. They wind up with an online brochure for a website, hoping to get phone calls.

The brick and mortar retailer hopes that people that find him online will come into the store and buy something.

The first thing the SMB needs from you is help developing a strategy to monetize digital.

Very few of them have any idea where to start. This starts with identifying ways digital can enhance their sales process or enable them to better serve their customers. The service provider needs their website to engage prospects. Provide their prospects with valuable information to help with their decision making process. Give the prospect a reason to connect with them by sharing their email address to get more information.

On the brick and mortar side digital can help people find them, know what they stock, their hours of operation, etc. They can also use digital to try to increase repeat purchases from past customers via email.

These things require time and skilled people on the newspapers team. If you’re used to charging people CPM’s or cost per inch, you may be asking yourself, “how do I make money by helping a client with conversions and to build their own email list?” (I have been asked this question dozens of times.)

The second thing the SMB needs from you is analytics to help refine their strategy and tactics and to evaluate the value of their various sources of traffic.

They can test the conversion rates of various Ad Words, headlines, calls-to-action, everything. They can also measure the value of the traffic from each source; cost per lead, cost per sale, etc. There’s no reason for the SMB to feel lost. Proper setup of digital allows you to know more about where you’re getting real value than ever before. This is the CORE reason direct marketers are so enamored with digital. Known ROI. Not cheap traffic.

The third thing the SMB needs is traffic.

Online and offline traffic. Only after there’s a strategy in place, and the analytics to evaluate the quality and quantity of the traffic, does the traffic itself have value. Until then, buying traffic is just an expense and a prayer. A relatively pointless prayer.

Once the first two components are in place, you can objectively incorporate print into the mix all day long. The typical SMB draws most of their business from within a few miles of their store. With a proper conversion strategy and the analytics in place to measure and track, I will put well executed print up against anything else realistically within the grasp of SMB’s.

Ranking for, or buying, a viable position for real keywords like pizza or plumbing is not likely to happen. The ‘big boys’ have essentially bought the entire first page of Google in many cases. They can pay a premium for several reasons, one of them being they have superior conversion strategies in place. Ranking for long tail phrases like ‘hand-tossed pizza in Glendale Arizona’ is fine. It won’t put enough butts in seats to drive the business. I’ll test that against a quarter page ROP or a glossy flyer delivered to every home within two miles of the store all day long.

Having ‘dedicated reps’ that do some semblance of the first two deliverables I mentioned above, and then they don’t feed print (or other offline media) into the funnel to objectively demonstrate its effectiveness just doesn’t make sense. The savviest digital marketers I know have started to send me postcards even though they have permission to email me. I get a couple of postcards a month from the guy who wrote ‘The Definitive Guide to Google AdWords.’ I pay him a few thousand dollars a year to hear everything he has to say. Most of it via a printed newsletter. You can take it to the bank that he’s tested the ROI of printing and mailing things and he’s still doing it.

If you’re not doing the first two things, and your digital efforts are based more around impressions and traffic (SEO, SEM, banners, retargeting, etc.) your time in this space is limited. Someone will come along and help the SMB build the platform I’ve described and you will be on the outside looking in, marginalized in a commodity business. This someone is not as likely to look favorably on print as you need to be. He’ll probably be a ‘dedicated digital agency’ because he doesn’t know the first thing about how to effectively use any other media. Don’t be that guy.

Dominate the SMB Market 1 – The Most Important Thing

Integrating Print, Social, Mobile, and Online

Click the button below to watch a video about integrating your print, social, mobile, and online presence.

Watch The Video Here