Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing February 2018 Newsletter.
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Customer Service Must-Do’s For 2018
By Shep Hyken,
A business must keep up with the times. If
they don’t, they will be disrupted and find themselves either playing
catch up or worse, shutting down altogether.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been reading about predictions and trends
for 2018. It got me thinking about the actions we must take to be
competitive. Regardless of your industry, everything has changed about the
way we do business. There are some businesses that claim they’ve done
things the same way for years, decades, even a century. They claim they do
business just as their fathers and grandfathers did. Nothing has changed.
Take a taxidermist, for example. Things have been the same in this
business for over 100 years, stuffing and mounting animals. The owner
claims nothing has changed… Except for today, he has a website, a Facebook
page, and a mobile phone. None of these were around when his
great-grandfather started the business. Much has changed.
A business must keep up with the times. If they don’t, they will be
disrupted and find themselves either playing catch up or worse, shutting
down altogether. With that in mind, I’d like to share five customer
service tips every business must do to stay competitive in 2018:
1. Embrace the changing expectations of
This one I’ve touted every year. The customer expects more than ever. They
no longer compare you to just your competitors. They compare you to any
company they like doing business with. So, be prepared to keep up.
2. Personalize the experience:
The concept of personalization has been around for a long time. Make
recommendations that are specific to each customer. Whether you invest in
sophisticated software that tracks and analyzes customer data, or you
simply remember them when they walk through your doors, recognize your
customers want and expect you to give them a personalized experience.
3. React quickly, especially on social media:
When a customer needs support or a question answered and they email it to
you, they don’t want to wait two days to get a response. They don’t want
to call and be put on hold for an hour. They want a resolution now. If you
don’t already offer good self-service solutions that will get customers
their answers immediately, at least be able to respond to them in a
reasonable amount of time, not hours or days.
4. Don’t let technology pass you by:
Invest in the right technology to drive a better customer experience. High
cost is no longer an excuse. Many software solutions have come so far down
in cost that even the smallest businesses can afford them. Stay up-to-date
with the solutions available to you that can help drive a better customer
5. Be more convenient than you’ve ever been
If you want to separate yourself from your competition, be more
convenient. How easy are you to do business with? It could be extended
business hours, more locations, or an easy-to-use website. The company
that makes it easier and more convenient for the customer wins.
There you have it, five ways to deliver a better-than-ever customer
service experience. Are there more ways? Sure, there are! I’ve written
books on many, many more ideas, tactics, and strategies. But, these are
what I’d call “keep-up-with-the-times” types of tips. So, go out there and
take care of the customer like you never have before. That’s what it will
take to make 2018 great for your business.
Are Important in Direct Mail
By Steve Johnson,
The best way to increase your direct mail response rates is to make sure
what you are mailing doesn’t look like junk or a mass mailing.
You’re reading this in February, but as I write this column
the Christmas season is in full swing. Packages are arriving in the mail
from grateful vendors to show their appreciation for our business this
past year. Candy, cookies and snacks dominate.
An oversized bright green foil padded envelope arrives from Sebold Capital
Wealth Management. I don’t know who they are, but I can guess. As a
business owner I receive a steady year-round stream of solicitations from
investment firms. The pitch pretty much follows the same formula: inviting
me to a no-obligation seminar where I’ll be fed a meal if I listen to
their experts tell me how to build incredible wealth from all the extra
money that they think I have lying around doing nothing.
I get so many of these solicitations that my office staff doesn’t usually
even pass them along to me when they come in the mail. Of course I delete
them unopened when they come via email.
This one was different. Everyone knew what was probably inside, but the
pretty packaging simply demanded that the envelope be opened. Even after
the contents were revealed just to be a letter, a brochure and an
invitation, no one could bear to throw it away. Instead of being placed in
my inbox it was hand-delivered to me at my desk by the woman who opens the
What differentiated this one bit of mail from the half dozen other (and
hundreds of email) financial planning solicitations received recently? The
envelope. By simply spending a few pennies on festive seasonal packaging
and an extra buck in postage this mailing stood out enough to make it past
the gatekeepers into the hands and in front of the eyes of the intended
The best way to overcome the “junk mail” moniker is to make sure what you
are mailing doesn’t look like junk. In this case, it looked like a holiday
package. Note that it didn’t pretend to be anything it wasn’t through the
use of deceptive labeling. It merely looked important.
Another route to take is to look official. My daughter recently received
an envelope from the Secretary of State, who in our home state handles
corporations, notary publics and driver’s licenses. Any correspondence is
assumed to be important and promptly opened.
In this case, though, it was an official birthday card ... with a weighty
“Congratulations on turning 21! As an adult, you have new opportunities
and new responsibilities. You are now faced with serious choices that
affect your life and the lives of others.
“Some of the most serious decisions you will make concern drinking and
driving - a deadly mix. Even though it is now legal for you to drink, it
is not legal for you to drink and drive.”
The letter is short and sweet, a gentle reminder targeted for a
demographic specifically in need of a public service reminder.
An email would never have made it through. Besides, this age group doesn’t
really use email. When the message is important, sometimes nothing but a
good old-fashioned letter will do.
Ideas To Boost Your Mid-Winter Retail Sales
Rieva Lesonsky, Smallbiztrends.com
The beginning of the year can be a
slow time for retailers. Here's what you can do to increase sales during a
January and February are typically slow sales months for most retail
entrepreneurs. The credit card bills have come in for the holiday shopping
sprees, consumers have made resolutions to save more money and blustery
weather keeps people inside. Once you’ve enjoyed the well-earned break
from November and December’s hectic shopping season, what can you do to
get more customers into your store?
Here are 11 ideas How to Increase Retail Sales this Winter:
1. Tap into information about your existing customers.
Use your customer loyalty software to tailor promotions to your best
customers. For example, if a particular shopper tends to respond to
discount offers, you can send them a discount; if another shopper loves
checking out the latest merchandise, email them about a new shipment
that’s arriving soon.
2. Reach out to new customers who purchased from you over the holidays.
Get first-time holiday shoppers to come back to your store once, and
you’re on the way to making them loyal customers. For those customers
whose contact information you obtained, reach out with a thank-you email
showing your appreciation for their purchases. Then entice them back in
with an offer for a product that complements what they bought over the
3. Try direct mail.
In addition to email marketing messages, a postcard or flyer mailing
campaign can get customers’ attention. After the flood of holiday greeting
cards, circulars and catalogs that many consumers get slows to its normal
trickle in January, a piece of physical mail will stand out at this time.
4. Tap into the “new year, new you” mentality.
You don’t have to sell workout clothing to benefit from customers’ New
Year’s resolutions. Just about any type of retailer can position products
to help customers keep their resolutions. According to Statista, “Eat
healthier,” “Get more exercise,” and “Save more money” are the three most
common resolutions for 2018. Can your products help shoppers stress less,
be more efficient, be healthier or get ahead at work? With almost
one-fourth of people resolved to “focus on self-care,” promoting the idea
of treating oneself can work, too.
5. Test out deal sites.
Many consumers tighten the purse strings in January, and look to deal
sites such as Groupon or Living Social so they can shop, but spend less
money. You can put a time limit on your deal that encourages shoppers to
come in during the slow season—for example, have it expire mid-March or
the beginning of April. When sales are slower in your store, you’ll have
more time to ensure that any shoppers who do come in get the best
treatment, making them more likely to return.
6. Get help from your suppliers.
See if any of the brands you carry have co-marketing campaigns going on.
Name brands sometimes offer retailers a marketing budget to promote their
brands in the store.
7. Promote your most profitable products.
Even if you make fewer sales during this time of year, selling
higher-profit items will help to make up for that fact. Put extra effort
into the items you carry that have a high profit margin; train salespeople
to suggest them.
8. Book business ahead of time.
Do you sell gift cards to your store? If so, offer a $25 gift card for
$20, a $50 gift card for $40, etc. Getting paid for the cards now can help
keep your cash flow strong during the slow months. Plus, when customers
come into purchase using those gift cards, they typically spend more than
the value of the card.
9. Celebrate a holiday.
New Year’s resolutions can only last so long, and around the end of
January, many consumers will be itching to get out and spend money again.
Encourage shoppers to come out to your store by celebrating a wacky
holiday. For example, how about National Spouses Day, National Love Your
Pet Day or Random Act of Kindness Day? Plan an in-store event around an
unusual holiday you find (or make up) and promote it via email, social
media and your website.
10. Host a charity drive.
Many of us vow to get organized, clean out our closets and pare down
excess “stuff” in January. Why not host a charity drive to take donations
of those discarded items? For example, a store that sells infants and
children’s products could accept donations of used toys, baby and
children’s clothing, and baby gear and give them to a facility for
homeless mothers and children. Give your customers discounts for bringing
11. Get your staff in gear.
Even if you don’t normally do so, this can be a good time of year to give
your salespeople some extra motivation with bonuses tied to sales. Instead
of making it a competition, however, build team spirit by giving the
entire team bonuses based on exceeding the goals that you set.
Win Brooklyn Nets Tickets!
Enjoy a great day of Basketball!
We are giving away two tickets to see the Brooklyn Nets.
All you have to do to win is be the first telephone caller (please don’t
hit reply or send an email). Voice mail messages count so it's fine to
leave a message. Call Michael Borkan at (631) 667-5500 x 11.
Monday February 26, 2018.
Nets vs. Chicago 7:30 PM.
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Five Customer Service Must-Do's For 2018
Looks Are Important in Direct Mail
11 Ideas to Boost Your Mid-Winter Retail Sales
Mike Borkan's Apps & Links - Apps & Web sites you probably
View Samples of Our Work
Direct Mail Humor!
Talon welcomes the following new clients this month to our growing roster
Mike's Favorite Apps & Links:
Some interesting things to check out...
Useloom.com - Loom is a free platform that allows you to make quick
videos using a lightning-fast video recorder capable of capturing your
screen, webcam, and microphone. These videos are currently being created
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... Get fast, accurate transcriptions - and then edit audio by editing
Edison.tech - Intelligently manage your calendar, contacts and
multiple email accounts.
Crunchet.com - Crunch all your personal and social media into one
post! Combine your photos and videos, Instagram photos, Facebook posts,
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Fin can call, email, text, schedule, research, book, and purchase for you.
Talk to Fin using voice transcription that actually works. Add Fin to
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Makemydrive.fun - Traveling from one city to another? Make the drive
fun and funky by stopping at some groovy places along the way!
Did you know Talon offers the following services?
Click on the links below to see samples.
Direct Mail Humor!
Click on image below to enlarge.
Do you need help marketing to your clients? Talon can
help! Call Michael Borkan at 631-667-5500 x 11 to learn how to
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