2-4-6-8 Who did you appreciate?

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If you’re reading this, you are alive, well, and likely had a customer or client pay you for your services at some point in time during 2018. Did you say “Thank You”? Did you let them know how much you appreciated their business and their loyalty?

According to the US Postal Service, a whopping 98% of people check their real mailbox on a daily basis.  Another recent study conducted by Epsilon shows that of that group, 77% immediately look through what they find in their postboxes. 

That means over three-quarters of your customers are likely to find your holiday card and open it immediately upon delivery.

Keeping it Real

The number one reason to use holiday cards to reach out to your customers is to establish your authenticity.  (Remember that New Year’s Day is one of many great holidays!)

With the growing prevalence of social media, now more than ever we are becoming synonymous with our brands. Customers want to deal with people and not faceless corporations.

With that in mind, it’s important to keep your hardcopy card in line with your branding.  Get Creative!  Whatever card you send becomes a part of the picture your client sees when they think of you. (Maybe skip the funny picture of a cat dressed in a red suit and called Santa Claws.)

More importantly, though, is that holiday cards represent an excellent opportunity to remind your customers that you see them as individuals and not as numbers on a spreadsheet.

Address your cards to each person by name, and avoid phrases such as valued customer.  With more and more business being conducted through screens, this represents an unmissable opportunity to connect tangibly with your client base in a memorable, meaningful way. 

In a recent InfoTrends report, 84% of people stated they were more likely to open mail addressed to them specifically.

In Sight

The largest strength of sending a card via the mail is that you keep your name and your business directly in your customers’ lines of sight.  A holiday card is tangible proof that you appreciate your customers and are thinking of them this season.  If the saying goes out of sight, out of mind, then the inverse must be true as well: in sight, in mind.  The more good feelings you can associate with you and your business, the better.

Value

Well, that’s all well and good, you might be saying now, but sending out paper mail costs more money than an e-mail blast (we recommend both). The truth is that yes, it does cost more.  However, it also helps grow a happier customer base who feel recognized and seen.  Even if it isn’t on a conscious level, customers will realize that you’ve put resources into showing your appreciation for their business, which will make them more likely to return to you in the coming year.

Looking to spice up your branding and reach out to existing or new customers this holiday season?  Contact Limelight Marketing Systems Today—we’ll make you look good and get your 2019 off on the best note possible.

Password Pick-Ups: Keeping Secure in the Digital World

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By Brittany McNicholas

Maybe it’s just us, but sometimes keeping up with managing passwords these days is a very real struggle. And that’s just in regards to personal accounts…the problem only gets worse when you’re a business owner. It’s hard enough keeping tabs on all those platforms and accounts—E-mail, Twitter, LinkedIn, payroll systems, and more!—let alone remembering how to access each of those. There’s also the question of keeping things safe and secure from hackers and internet never-do-wells. So how can we manage our passwords to keep our business accounts accessible to us, but keep out online hoodlums as well?

Keep it Cryptic

Why isn’t “beef stew” a good password? Because it isn’t stroganoff!

We’re often tempted to use something simple and memorable—say, our favorite dinner like beef stew, or the name of a beloved pet—in order to keep from forgetting our log-in information. However, this technique will leave you vulnerable to anyone looking to access your information. If it’s easy and straightforward to you, it will be to any would-be hackers as well. Even worse, if you use the same accessible password across all of your accounts, if someone gets into one platform they can access all of them. The more unguessable you can make your password, the better. A random assortment of numbers, letters, and symbols are the best option.

After you’ve changed all your passwords to a jumble of letters, numbers, and symbols, and made a new password for all of your accounts, what comes next? How do you keep track of everything?

Outsource it

The absolute last thing you want to do is keep a document or spreadsheet on your computer to keep track of all your passwords. This makes them vulnerable to any hackers. To avoid that problem, perhaps you’ve written them down on a sticky-note or in a notebook—you can’t hack paper, right? Maybe not, but they can still be found by prying eyes who may do some very real damage on your accounts. So how to keep track of all those passwords?

Easy—consider using a password management service. There are a variety of them, each offering different versions of a similar service. There are even many that are completely free for you to use, and the majority of them work across all devices from phones to laptops. These password management services will generate a single “master password” that you use to access your various accounts and store your originals—keeping everything locked down and secure.

Make it Personal

But maybe you’re wary about giving up control to a password management service. Or maybe you worry that the generated master password will be, in itself, too difficult for you to remember without writing down and making a record of it somewhere. But don’t worry—in the world of passwords, you can have your stroganoff and eat it, too. Follow these steps to build your own cryptic, personalized password system:

* What you use this website for: Begin with what is important to you on this specific platform. Is it to make a purchase? Is it to deal with medical issues? Whatever the purpose, choose one syllable from the word. Let’s say you choose BUY.

* Personal touch: Now is the time to bring in your personal details. Let’s say your childhood cat’s name was Maggie, and you met your significant other in 2008.

* Break it up: Split up the syllables. For instance, if a website uses no security requirements, you’ll be golden with Maggie2008. To meet security, try MagBUYgie2008. When you need to update, keep it consistent: MagBUY!gie2008, MagBUY!*gie2008, and so on.

It’s the wild, wild west on the frontier of password management. When it comes to keeping your accounts secure, it’s good to evaluate your current practices to look for places with room to improve. From using a password management site to developing your own code, there really is no wrong answer. Take steps today for a more secure tomorrow.

You’ve Got Mail (No, Really!): Greeting Cards as a Marketing Tool

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By Tricia Allenson

In this fast-paced, increasingly internet-based world, it can be easy to lose yourself in a marketing whirlwind of FaceBook pages, e-mail blasts, LinkedIn profiles, Twitter updates, and—wow! We’re exhausted even reading that list, and there are more platforms available to you than we have time to list out! While social media is one of the most cost-effective and wide-reaching methods of marketing your business, sometimes it’s good to take a step away from the screen and back into the tangible world. If you’re looking for a way to reach out to your client base in a way that’s more analog than digital, consider using a tried-and-true standby: the greeting card.

Making Things Personal

Most customers make their decisions based on emotion and then justify those decisions with logic. They want to be assured that they’re more than just a number in a list. Customer based want to know that you see them as a valued member of your corporate community. And, with the majority of communication happening through screens, those feelings of validation are becoming ever more rare. You can stand out from the crowd through the use of a personalized greeting card. As a result, customers are more likely to feel loyal to your brand. After all, by sending a greeting card, you are both saying and implying that keeping current customers is more important than chasing new business, inadvertently abandoning your current base. You can strengthen your relationship with your base. Besides, in this techy age, who doesn’t love to come home from work and find mail sent specifically for you to read? We know we do!

Top of the Heap

Sending out greeting cards may feel old-fashioned, but there’s a reason this particular marketing tool sticks around. First and foremost, you’re putting your company’s name and logo directly into customers’ homes. However, unlike companies who send out heaps of letters, brochures, and pamphlets, you are leading with a personal touch. A greeting card presents the perfect opportunity to follow up to past conversations as well as providing information about services that this specific customer made find useful. You are not sending junk mail to Dear Valued Customer, but reaching out to an individual and creating a positive association with your brand.

In Sight, In Mind

We often believe the opposite sentiment—out of sight, out of mind—so we can accept that this is most likely also true. People tend to keep greeting cards around longer than other mail. They let them out on tables, display them on mantels, magnet them onto the front of the fridge. This means that by sending a greeting card—versus an easily deleted e-mail, or a form letter, or a flier glanced at and tossed into the trash—you keep your name and brand around for longer.

We so often get caught up in chasing the next best thing, the fastest way to get something, establishing ourselves on the newest social media trend. But sometimes, the older or more traditional way of marketing is worth considering. By taking the time to make a personal connection, you can make your client base feel valued and seen—which means they’ll be more likely to stick around with you for a long, long time (and just maybe even refer new business to you).

Looking to breathe some new life into your marketing strategies? Contact Limelight Marketing Systems today to get started!