The Ultimate Marketing Battle: Online vs. Offline

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Marketing can be a funny thing. It’s one of those industries that has been around for centuries, yet the trends current at the time drive its entire purpose. Yes, a similar thing can be said for most industries and professions (e.g., retail, press, sales, etc.). However, marketers must keep abreast not only of changes in the current trends, but also recognize the best way to deliver messages to customers in the wake of these trends. Arguably, the single largest change to the way customers receive marketing messages was through the introduction of online marketing.  

So, how significant was this change, and is there a clear winner as to the best marketing method? Was traditional marketing overtaken by digital marketing when we put down the newspaper and picked up Instagram? In this article we discuss some of the major differences between offline and online marketing, and in the end, try to answer these often-rhetorical questions. 

What is “Offline” Marketing?

Offline, or traditional, marketing is a form of marketing that we have all been exposed to at one point or another. This conventional marketing method is generally meant to reach a semi-targeting audience using a variety of methods. Most of these methods can be broken down into just a few categories, including direct mail, broadcasting, print, and telephone. 

For the most part, these forms of offline marketing are prevalent in our everyday society. We still receive catalogues, see commercials on TV, pick up the Sunday paper, and unfortunately, still get telemarketers calling us throughout the day. Offline marketing has evolved substantially throughout the past decades, and continues to evolve in the way it delivers messages to customers (e.g., SMS instead of telemarketers, or using analytics when initiating direct mail campaigns). 

What is “Online” Marketing?

As with offline marketing, its online counterpart is also something that we have all been exposed to, and likely on a daily basis. Online, or digital, marketing is a strategy that utilizes the internet to deliver its message and solicit the attention of its target audience. Through the use of analytics, search engine optimization (SEO), etc. online marketing can deliver near-instantaneous messages to a more targeted audience. 

Online marketing operates by employing web content, email campaigns, video advertising, and even augmented or virtual reality to drive direct sales or generate sales leads. 

Positives & Negatives of Offline 

Offline marketing is an effective tool, and the means by which businesses utilize offline marketing is preferable to many of its customers. A business that uses high-quality offline marketing material often builds trust faster than its online counterpart. It often offers a tangible object that the customer can physically touch, or in some cases, interact with. 

Furthermore, offline marketing can create a long-lasting impression that cannot be ignored. According to marketing statistics, people remember traditional advertisements better than when they see them online, particularly in print form, such as flyers, brochures and posters.

However, offline marketing doesn’t offer the low cost, long lasting form or effectiveness that is there in online marketing. Although print marketing can be cheap, producing magazines, billboards, and TV advertisements are increasingly expensive. Moreover, it’s difficult to reach a large audience with offline marketing, and when using advertisement space, you can only utilize that space for a limited amount of time. The higher costs, lack of interaction, limited customization options, and poor campaign tracking are large downsides to traditional offline marketing. 

Digital Prominence 

Although online marketing is arguably more familiar to most people, there are still some downfalls to this method. Primarily, effective online marketing typically requires special expertise, it cannot reach customers that are offline, and it’s more difficult to build trust with your audience. 

It’s clear that most businesses are investing heavily in online marketing, however, this can lead to downsides. As everyone is focusing on online messages, they lack the personal touch of a postcard, and don’t offer the thoughtfulness that offline marketing can provide. Also, aside from those who simply do not use technology and therefore cannot be exposed to your digital marketing campaigns, users can also turn off their social media advertisements, or even pay for applications that do not contain ads. 

Nevertheless, we live in a digital world. That means that while online ads make lack a personal aspect, they still dominate our everyday lives. Successful marketing requires a business to connect to potential customers in the best possible way so that there is an actual return on the investment (ROI). The best way to do this is to get out there and gain exposure. The more customers are exposed to your brand, the more familiar they become, eventually leading to close relationships that are developed through trust. Online marketing is the most efficient way to do this. 

For marketers, there are even more benefits to online marketing, and these come in the form of measurability. Marketers can see real-time results of their online marketing campaigns, and measure their ROI. If they determine that they should be going in a different way, they can simply change their target online, then use analytics tools to trace and record whether their ROI is improving or if further changes need to be made. This can take months with offline marketing. 

Winner?

We’ll leave you with a few statistics to let you be the final judge:

  • More than 80% of customers research online before investing in a product/service
  • 72% of U.S. citizens use social media on a regular basis.
  • 94% of B2B marketers are actively using LinkedIn for marketing.
  • Mobile accounts for over 70% of digital marketing spending.
  • 90% B2B businesses report social media as being the most effective content marketing tactic.

5 Reasons Why Brochure Printing is an Essential Marketing Tool

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In today’s digital-driven marketing world, printed materials often sound like a superfluous burden on both companies and consumers. However, despite the increasing popularity of online marketing techniques, the brochure plays an important role in a company’s successful marketing structure. 

Brochures are one of the pillars of traditional printed marketing, and a well-designed brochure is one of the most cost-effective mediums to establish your brand, network your firm, and be show off some creativity that is often lost in digital marketing. Below are five reasons why brochures are an essential part of any effective marketing strategy. 

 

 

  • High Value 

 

At the outset, it’s important to recognize that a printed brochure offers the most bang for your buck when it comes to tangible marketing materials. Brochure printing is one of the oldest and established forms of marketing, and a large part of this is due to the simplicity of both construction and production. With the advent of digital printing, companies can quickly develop a simple brochure and have them printed with minimal cost and a quick turnaround time. 

For larger organizations that need to print them in mass, say for a large tradeshow or conference, brochure printing prices decrease if you buy in bulk. Moreover, because brochures have stood the test of time, changes are rarely required once they are printed. This means that you can print numerous copies to save money, and they will hold value for potential customers, loyal clients or business contacts down the road. 

 

 

  • Establish Authority 

 

We all know that digital marketing is on the rise and most organizations can easily and quickly produce ads online. The downside to these digital marketing forms is just that: new enterprises often start with digital and stay there. Companies that use printed sales literature such as a brochure sends the message to consumers that you operate an established business. It shows you are willing to invest in your companies marketing beyond digital, and you are willing to do the same with your clients.   

An important aspect of establishing your authority through brochures to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t skimp on design or printing. Because brochures have the ability to do so much to display your authority in a particular market, it’s crucial to show that you take every part of your enterprise seriously, including brochure printing. 

 

 

  • Brand Identity & Personalization 

 

Similar to establishing authority, printed brochures provide an opportunity to establish your brand identity and personalize your business. While many people view brochures as a lethargic or too-simplistic communication method, it’s likely the case that they are looking at lethargic or boring brochures. A creative and descriptive brochure allows you to showcase your brand to a large audience, and engrain your identity to consumers that are flooded with unimaginative brochures. 

Additionally, printed brochures provide a one-on-one communication with your client that just isn’t possible with digital marketing mediums. Make your brochure eye-catching and thought-provoking, while at the same time approachable. The written material adds a personal touch that we all miss from online marketing, whether we want to admit it or not.  

 

 

  • Networking 

 

Printed brochures are arguably one of the best ways to not only establish your authority, showcase your identity and connect with your audience, they’re also extremely important as a networking tool. Unlike documents, posters or banners, brochures can be printed in bulk and handed out at tradeshows, conferences or even your competitors’ establishments. 

Think of a printed brochure almost like a business card on steroids. A brochure provides information on your business and contact information for potential clients, but it also allows you to provide details on your services and show creativity in the process. They’re larger and stronger, but can still be thrown in a briefcase or backpack for networking events. 

 

 

  • Versatile & Tangible

 

Going back to a comparison with digital mediums, there is only one way to see an online ad – go online. Conversely, printed brochures are very versatile and can be distributed through multiple channels, including direct mail, newspapers, malls, exhibitions, etc. Even if your shop is entirely online, the versatility of a brochure lends itself to effective marketing. Throw one inside your next packaged order or send one to your direct mailing list. 

As we touched on above, brochures also offer the personal touch and convenience of tangibility. According to recent research, 98% of marketers believe that personalization helps advance customer relationships, and 76% of consumers say they trust tangible marketing over digital channels when making a purchase. Additionally, a tangible brochure means that consumers can reference your material at a later time, and the small size and portability mean they can be distributed anywhere. 

Although many companies have jumped on the digital marketing bandwagon and dropped traditional brochure printing altogether, these companies are missing significant opportunities. Leverage the value and versatility of brochure printing to establish authority in your market, develop your brand recognition, and connect with your audience.

Offset Printing: What is it and when do you need it?

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Offset printing is one of the first printing techniques that allowed printers to inexpensively produce images and text. Although the process has been refined over the decades, it still remains a viable option for many companies. In this article we discuss the history of offset printing, how it works, and when it may be the best option for your printing needs.  

 

An Overview of offset printing

The offset printing press was first created in the late 18th century, and used limestone plates to create images by taking advantage of the immiscibility of oil and water. Before this method was introduced, printing was very low-quality, took an extortionate amount of time, and was reserved for the affluent that could afford it. Surprisingly, while offset printing has evolved since then, the basic concepts have not changed. 

Traditional offset printing (and still used today) is actually quite simple. A printed text or image is produced using a combination of etched metal plates and wet ink. A specific plate is created for each color used, then the plate is used to transfer a specific image onto a rubber sheet. This rubber sheet is then rolled onto paper, vinyl or some similar surface, and voila, a printed product.

 

The Advantages 

High Quality Printing 

The most important advantage when it comes to offset printing is the quality. Unlike other presses, offset printing uses true color schemes such as Pantone colors to produced unparalleled color quality. The printer operator can control the amount of ink that is used for each print, meaning the end-product can provide enough contract within the images themselves. As a result, you get a sharp and crisp image from each print. 

 

Variety of Materials 

Another advantage of offset printing is that it allows for printing on a variety of surfaces. Because you’re not feeding a piece of paper through a roller as you do with a digital printer, for example, operators can print on virtually any surface that will allow it. You can print on metal, wood, fabric, vinyl, and various types of paper, cardstock and plastic. This ability allows for truly unique products. 

 

High Value for High Volume

As noted above, offset printing requires individual plates to be created for each color of a print job. Because offset presses require these specific plates made for each print job, it requires an expensive initial investment in order to require the high-quality product offset delivers. However, once plates are made offset presses can produce a high volume of prints with very little additional cost. The higher the volume required, the higher the value received from offset. 

 

The Drawbacks 

 

Not the Highest Quality 

Although offset printing offers a higher quality print than that of digital printing, it doesn’t provide the highest quality available. For example, photogravure printing that utilizes a photo-mechanical process with copper plates and light-sensitive gelatin tissue results in very detailed and crisp images. Also, rotogravure, which uses a rotary press, produce superior prints typically found in long runs of magazines or stamps. 

 

High Cost for Low Volume 

Due to the high setup costs associated with creating and producing plates, offset printing is not a good value for print jobs that require smaller volumes. In addition to the high cost, the plates can take a significant amount of time to develop and use, and for those that need quick turnaround times, digital printing offers a much better value. 

 

When to Use Offset 

So, what is the main takeaway from all of this? Determining the correct printing method for your project requires an examination of many specifics, including time, budget and the type of material you wish to have your final product printed on. If you’re printing books, newspapers or magazines, offset may be the best way to go. Or if you have a highly unique project requiring printing on special materials, consider offset as your best choice. 

However, if you require a quick print for a few brochures and you don’t need the highest quality, other methods such as digital printing may be better. 

All-in-all, when it comes to quality, high-volume printing, the advantages that come with offset printing outweigh the drawbacks. 

Offset vs. Digital Printing: Do You Know the Difference?

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You’re an organization that needs brochures and postcards, or you’re a firm that needs logos and marketing materials. When it comes to having prototypes created and the final product produced, printing is printing, right? Well, not exactly. Knowing the difference between offset and digital printing can save you time, money, and for the environmentally conscious, even reduce your carbon footprint.

Although there are myriad differences in printing techniques and options that professional printing companies should be aware of, companies that use printing (which is virtually all of them) should also be aware of their options in this area. This article discusses the major differences offset and digital printing, as well as advantages of each to help you make the right choice. 

 

Core Technology Used

The core difference between offset and digital printing lays in the technology used in each respective method: plates and drums. 

The core technology used in offset printing is called a “plate”. A plate is an etched metal surface, and one plate for each color being used needs to be created. Once the specific plate is created, it’s then used to transfer a specific image onto a rubber sheet. This rubber sheet is then rolled onto paper, vinyl or some similar surface. The term “offset” is used because the ink is not transferred to the surface directly. 

Once the initial plate is constructed and set up, the press must be run for a few minutes until the plates are properly inked and the press is running correctly. However, once this warmup is complete and the press running correctly, this method can be very efficient and provides accurate color reproduction with crisp, clean end-products.

In contrast, digital printing utilizes the more modern electrostatic roller – called a “drum”. Similar to offset printing, one drum is used per color printed, and the drum is used to apply toner (or liquid ink for larger digital printers) onto the paper using an electrostatic charge. The toner is then applied to a sheet and fused onto the paper to produce the end-product. This process allows for easy printing of small jobs, and unlike offset presses, require minimal setup. 

 

Time, Money and Size 

Aside from the core technology behind offset and digital printing, the main differences between the two methods center around the type of print job required. Because of the long setup time that comes with etching and changing plates, offset printing can take longer and cost more. However, for those needing large quantities or larger size prints, offset printing offers superior color representation and sharper prints. 

For example, printing Pantone colors on an offset printer is more precise because they actually use Pantone ink (as opposed to toner). And once the plate is developed for this color scheme, the press can run large quantities without sacrificing quality. Moreover, as offset presses typically run 29” and 40” sheets, larger organizations that can afford print jobs requiring color consistency on large materials, such as banners, will find offset printing worth the extra cost. 

On the other hand, although digital printing may not offer the precise color quality (and the difference in quality can often be undiscernible to the untrained eye), the significantly shorter setup time means a faster turnaround time, at a lower cost. This is especially helpful for those requiring several different printing jobs. Digital printers can also be quickly modified and tailored to fit specific requirements. This just isn’t possible with offset printing which would require multiple plates and time to properly set the ink plates. 

In the end, the difference between offset and digital printing comes down to the size of print job you require, the need for color precision, the desired turnaround time, and budget. At the core of these choices is the technology used in each method. If you need a set of 500 posters using Pantone color that will be the face of your organization at a large trade show, and its in your budget, offset plates are the way to go. However, if you need 100 brochures that still produce high-quality color with a short turnaround time, look to digital.

Importance of Using Direct Mail to Follow Up with Conference Leads

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Conferences and trade shows are an ideal place to market your product, generate leads, develop a business network and drive revenue growth. Being surrounded by industry professionals offers on opportune time to invest in your marketing tactics and showcase your business ventures. 

However, it’s equally important that the connections you make during these events are not lost, and to recognize that your work isn’t over once the event is over. 

Most businesses will send generic follow up emails after a conference, and while an email may suffice, the most successful enterprises go further. Following up with direct mail is an excellent way to go above and beyond the expected communication medium, and show that you care about fostering relationships and have more to offer. 

The importance of using direct mail to follow up with conference leads cannot be understated. Below are a few methods to ensure you make the most of your direct mail follow up’s. 

 

Build Right List and Set a Schedule 

Although it may be fairly obvious, the first step to any successful direct mail follow up campaign is to build an accurate and comprehensive list of recipients. The best way to do this is to anticipate who will be attending the conference and start there. Usually you can obtain a list of prospective attendees though the host. From there, consider who you may want to connect with and start building your mailing list. 

The next part requires some time management skills. According to a recent study, 57% of organizations say it takes about four days to follow up with leads after an event. If you have a dead start on your mailing list, you can beat over half of your competitors to the punch. 

After building on your initial list and including those that you recently connected with, set a schedule for constructing your message, developing your mailer, and sending it out. By having a pre-set schedule, you can cut down on your follow up time and set your business apart from others whose communication may come days later.  

 

Broad and Editable Communications

Similar to building the right list and setting a schedule, having a communication that is pre-developed can help ensure that your follow up is sent out quickly, without losing the personal touch. 

Consider these statistics: 

  • 98% of marketers believe that personalization helps advance customer relationships.
  • In 2019, 72% of consumers engaged only with marketing messages that provided a customized message that matched their specific interest. 
  • Direct mail pulls a higher response rate than any digital medium.

 

One of the main benefits of direct mail follow up’s is also one that most organizations miss: personalization. A generic follow up email will not garner much (if any) attention, and the probability of losing a valued connection or consumer will be lost. Direct mail provides an opportunity to create a message that is personalized and shows your interest in the recipient. 

In striking the delicate balance of creating a message that is both personal and not time consuming is tough, however. The best way to do this is to create a message that is broad enough to reach a large audience, but can be easily tailored to an individual before it’s sent out. Remind them of the conference name, your contact information, and add any details about what they need or were interested in. Once you add this personal touch, it can be sent out quickly without sacrificing personalization. 

 

Call to Action 

The most effective direct mail campaigns include a call to action on behalf of the recipient. A call that is straightforward, not too intrusive, and provides a simple way for them to interact with you is ideal. For example, a call to action asking that a consumer make an immediate purchase is likely too aggressive. However, proving a QR code with a discount or asking them to follow you on social media works well. 

Direct mail is one of the most effective methods for following up after a conference or trade show. It provides an opportunity for you to demonstrate the value of your business, but also offer a personal touch that allows you to connect with your audience. Avoid generic email follow up messages and don’t miss the advantages that direct mail offers. 

New Orleans and the World: A Tricentennial Anthology Book

We’re so proud to have worked on this project for Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. This beautiful book has been the hard work of the entire team at LEH and their partners. For you print nerds, here are the paper specifications:

End Sheets – 80# Starbrite Opaque Cover
Text – 100# Endurance Silk Text
Cover – 100# Endurance Gloss Text
Dust Jacket – 100# Endurance Gloss Text

Three Tips for Keeping an Active Blog

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In today’s digital age, a company’s blog could easily become one of its most successful marketing tools.  The next time you are out somewhere in public take a look around you.  How many people are passing time waiting in line, taking a walk, or simply sitting down with their noses and fingers buried in their cell phones or mobile devices?  These people could be consumers researching a product or service they are interested in buying.  Wouldn’t it be great if they were researching your product or service in their spare time?

What steps can you take to be sure your company’s blog stays active and helps you market your products or services?

  1. Schedule it:  Marketing your company’s products or services has the ability to make or break your business.  Blogging is a great way to get word of mouth about your products or services out there.  Make your blog a priority every single day.  Every aspect of your business can be an inspiration, from new products or services to money saving tips.  Keep your customers informed and intrigued.

  2. Maintain a Fresh Collection of Topic Ideas:  Here is where being in touch with your customer’s needs can put you light years ahead of your competition.  Your customer service representatives are your best to start.  Find out what questions and concerns are most popular with your customers.  Consider picking a few items and expand them on a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.  Monitoring similiar businesses is important too.  Considering reading other industry blogs or setting up Google Alerts to help you keep up with new industry trends.

  3. Consider Hiring a Writer:  Writing is not something that comes easy to everyone.  Yes, it is very important to be informative, but you also need to keep your audience’s attention.  If you find that you cannot keep people informed, yet entertained, perhaps it is time to consider hiring a professional writer.  An informative and professional looking website or blog can ensure repeat visitors, and perhaps even repeat customers.

2015 DMA study: Direct mail response rates leave digital in the dust

DMA Response Rate Report 2015 – original article: here

Direct mail is over seven times more effective than all digital channels combined, according to the Direct Marketing Association Response Rate Report 2015.

Median direct mail response rates to house-file lists were 3.7 percent, survey respondents reported. Email, social media, paid search, mobile and internet display together tallied only a 0.52 percent median response. Direct mail’s overall prospect-file response rates were 10 times that of email, which came in at just 0.1 percent.

“The report is clear,” said Partner & Chief Marketing Officer Jay Carroll, “in spite of all of the noise about direct mail being a non-relevant channel, it is unquestionably still a potent marketing tool.”

The return on investment in the direct mail channel was between 15 and 17 percent, on par with social media, and topping mobile, paid search and internet display. Email’s median ROI was between 21 and 23 percent.

Direct mail’s median cost per response of $19 was less than half of the cost per acquisition for internet display, which was between $41 and $50. DM’s CPR was competitive with CPA in social media and mobile ads ($16 to $18), while email was $11 to $15. The study did not track CPA for direct mail.

“One of the most interesting takeaways from the study,” said VP of Marketing & Sales Erik Koenig, “was the breakdown of CPR among different mail formats. A lot of marketers get hung up on cost per piece, prematurely ruling out more expensive concepts that turn out to be more viable than many think.”

Dimensional prospect mailings had median response rates of 2.8 percent, beating oversized envelopes (2 percent), letters (1 percent) and postcards (1 percent). CPR was $43 for dimensional mailings, but $105 for oversized, $58 for letters and $59 for postcards.

The study also found that 44 percent of respondents use three or more marketing channels. When that’s the case, those channels are most likely to be email, social media and direct mail.

Eighty-two percent of respondents said they expect their direct mail usage to grow or stay the same in the coming year. Half of respondents reported using direct mail in 2015, higher than social media (34 percent), paid search (30 percent), online display (29 percent), and mobile (5 percent). Email is used by 83 percent of respondents.

So if direct mail is so effective, why is usage down from 79 percent of respondents in 2012 to 50 percent in 2015? The challenge with direct mail, according to the study, is the cost, effort to deploy and the difficulty of tracking it.

“This is consistent with what we often see in the marketplace,” Carroll said. “Many companies have either given up on mail or not tested mail because of a lack of internal resources, a lack of budget or a lack of an effective DM testing method.  It’s in these circumstances where SeQuel can step in and resurrect or launch a successful campaign that will thrive for years.”

2015 DMA study: Direct mail response rates leave digital in the dust

2015 DMA study: Direct mail response rates leave digital in the dust

Facts About The Man Behind The Brand, James ‘Pel’ Hughes, on his 100th Birthday

The Man Behind The Brand

The Man Behind The Brand  – Pel Hughes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Born on May 2, 1915
  • He was an only child
  • Real name: James Wellington Hughes, Jr.
  • Grew up at 7933 Birch Street
  • Went to Mater Dolorosa for grammar school
  • Was nicknamed ‘Pel’ due to a grammar school friend that was not able to pronounce Wellington and said Pellington instead
  • Went to Jesuit High School (Go Blue Jays!)
  • Was a stud athlete and captain at Jesuit playing football, baseball and basketball
  • He was a catcher at Jesuit in 1933, his son was a catcher in 1963 and his grandson was a catcher in 1993.
  • They called basketball players “basketeers” back then
  • Pel was 6’2”
  • Graduated Jesuit High School in 1933
  • Pel attended Loyola from 1933-1937
  • Pel was in the Beggars Fraternity at Loyola
  • He ran track, and played football and basketball for the Wolf Pack
  • He played fullback and was a punter in football
  • He was the 1937 Best All Around Athlete at Loyola
  • He was married to Alice Catherine Laborde in 1938
  • They had 3 kids, Jimmy, Yvonne “Bebé,” and Vic
  • They had dogs named Oogie and Qwerty
  • He frequently doodled and even won a few Dixie Cartoon doodle contests
  • Pel was ineligible to go to war due to a leg injury
  • He worked for the IL Central Railroad
  • In 1945 he was signed to play with the New Orleans Pelicans AAA Baseball team and continued working for the railroad
  • Hit 1 homerun during his AAA run
  • He and his track coach at Loyola, Robert “Doc” Erskine, went to Chicago and ran in the same meet as 4 time Olympic Gold Medalist Jessie Owens
  • He would play home games with the Pelicans after working a full day at the railroad + he would take vacation days and play a few away games
  • In 1955, Pel and his wife purchased Earl J. Christenberry Letter Service, which Alice ran
  • They changed the name to Pel Hughes Letter Service, and later to Pel Hughes Electronic Service, before finally settling on Pel Hughes Printing.
  • His wife Alice passed away in 1973
  • He loved to eat at Pascal Manale’s
  • Pel remarried Lois Klein in 1980 – a friend from his earlier years
  • In 2003 he was inducted into the Loyola Hall of Fame
  • He’s in the CAA Hall of Fame
  • Favorite Food: Oysters on the half shell
  • He was a lover of golf and bowling
  • He was a member of the Metairie Country Club
  • He didn’t mind flying, it was the crashing part he didn’t like
  • He was an honorary member of the Over The Mountain Athletic Club (OTMAC)
  • He didn’t drink much, but later in life he liked vodka.
  • He was an original member of the Dawn Busters
  • All of his friends and family say he was an incredibly humble and unique man that loved his family to no end.
  • Pel passed away in 2004 at the age of 89

Improve A Customer’s Online Experience

To improve your customer’s experience online, consider these three tips.

Don’t make them have to hunt you down.

Online customers can easily get frustrated and give up and leave if they can’t swiftly find a way to contact you with questions about your products or services. Don’t make them scroll all the way to the bottom of your website to finally unearth a dusty contact link in grey, 3 pt. type. Don’t make them navigate away from your product page to the home page in order to find the contact link. Don’t force them to consult a site map to find a contact link either, unless you prefer to be completely unreachable.

Instead, at a minimum, have a clear, large contact us link that shows up on every page of your website, so customers can quickly get answers to impromptu questions.

Take a page from the old print catalogs.

Years ago when print catalogs were in style, customers were given multiple methods to place an order. Buyers could mail it in, phone it in, or fax it in. Do the same for your customers. People have varying favorite ways to place orders. Offer an 800 number as well as an online order form, and perhaps let them order via Live Chat. By doing this, you’ll appeal to a much broader range of customers.

Don’t make them wait.

Don’t make your site visitors wait for splash pages to finish, and don’t make them wait for pages to load. This is akin to making your customers wait outside the shop door while your employees finish their merchandising displays. By the time you open the front door, your customer could be long gone. Your website developer should be able to design a site for you that loads quickly, with web-optimized graphics that won’t hang up your customers’ ISPs. When in doubt, always choose faster download times over razzle dazzle.