Category Archives: Blog

PACKAGING MATTERS: Why Consumers Judge a Book by it’s Cover

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We’re taught as children to never judge a book by it’s cover. Still, studies show that when it comes to product packaging, we do just that.
When browsing in a store, the packaging is the first interaction a potential consumer has with a product. First impressions are extremely important, and consumers will often decide whether they are interested in a product or not within the first few seconds of looking at its packaging. Effective packaging can cause a consumer to be more interested in learning more about or even purchasing the product, while poor packaging can cause a potential customer to not give a product a second glance.
Many aspects of packaging work together to help reinforce a brand’s identity and evoke emotions in a buyer. Why do some people gravitate towards certain packaging, while others toward another? Smart companies know how to create a package designed to appeal to their target market. Color, typography, structure and shape, size and texture all come into play. 
COLOR
Various colors have been shown to evoke certain emotions. For example:
  • green – health, eco-friendly, natural
  • red- stimulating, may lead to increased appetite
  • black- high end, luxury
  • yellow- positivity, happiness
  • white- cleanliness, purity, calmness
  • blue – reliable, trustworthy
  • purple – imagination, feminine, youthfulness
  • orange – youth, adventure, fun, energetic
TYPOGRAPHY (FONT)
There’s a known science behind typography. Here are some of their typical connotations:
  • Scripty – elegance, femininity
  • Handwritten  – playful, casual
  • Serif Fonts – class, trust, maturity
  • Sans-Serif Fonts – modern, clean, simple
  • Headline/ Capital Letters– bold, truth, commanding
  • Decorative – unique, whimsical, youthful
SHAPE & STRUCTURE
While many focus on the color of the packaging, the shape of the packaging can often be just as important. The shape of packaging can have a strong influence, usually subconsciously, on the consumer viewing it. Here’s a couple of examples of shape connotation:
  • Thicker, angular shapes are perceived as more masculine.
  • Circular, curvy shapes have a more feminine appeal.
  • Texture is also used to create a desired emotional association/response.
When color, typography and shape all work together successfully, your product packaging will strongly reinforce your brand identity. Remember to keep it cohesive with the aesthetic of your other marketing and advertising. Furthermore, consider your competition. Stand out by using different colors, sizes and shapes. Forbes states that “standing out” should be a top priority in product packaging, and changing the shape of the packaging is one effective way to accomplish this.
Packaging also has an enormous effect on perceived value. Consumers instinctively believe a product to be higher quality, or visa versa, based on the container it comes in. This is not the place you want to cut corners. Great product packaging can make the difference between a purchase, and a pass up! Give it the thought and effort it deserves and you’ll surely see a considerate ROI.

 

Choosing a Compatible Vendor

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Vendor relationships are some of the most important you’ll have in business. Choosing a supplier can be an overwhelming process at times. Before you start your search, consider these important criteria.

First and Foremost, Know Your Needs
Before you begin the vendor selection process, you must understand your needs. Take the time to write down your needs in detail.

Common Understanding
Your vendor should take the time to get a true understanding of your business and it’s unique needs. This requires frequent visits and communication, especially at first. Make sure you choose a vendor who believes in the importance of this. 

Budget
Cost is obviously a significant factor when it comes to selecting a compatible supplier. Determine the maximum amount your comfortable spending on the project. In your discussions with potential vendors, be clear firm about your budget. The right vendor will be straightforward and upfront about if they can work within that budget.

Knowledge & Know-How
Select a supplier who has a proven record for success. You’ll be relying on them to provide you with the best service, advice and expertise. Your vendor should be confident in their skill level and industry knowledge, and exude professionalism.

Commitment
The length of time you’ll be working together is a huge factor in vendor selection. If the relationship will be a short one, simply due to the nature of the need, then the process will be much simpler. However, the goal of most vendor relationships is to be able to work together long-term. Switching suppliers is costly and time consuming. Take your time choosing a vendor you feel you can stick with through the years. Also, consider a vendor that can still meet your needs as your business grows.

Trust
This is critical in your relationship with vendors. Honesty, integrity and trust are the cornerstone of a successful, mutually beneficial relationship. Choose a vendor who is as open as possible and don’t be afraid to ask them a lot of questions. They should be prepared (and happy) to answer all of them.

One last note -you’ll want to choose a vendor with a similar mentality for business as yours. They should share a similar outlook on customer service, ethics and communication. Most importantly, take your time, do your research, and ask for referrals from colleagues you trust. 

Express Business Center is Hiring!

Job Description:

Part Time: Business Services Associate

Express Business Center located in Trexlertown, PA is a one stop business solutions provider related to Shipping, Copy, Notary and Business Services. We are an aggressive company with a highly unique understanding of how to take care of customers, and how to produce the highest quality work. Currently, we are seeking driven individuals to join our team. The right candidate will be a team player who can help us achieve excellence.

Duties and responsibilities include, but not limited to:

Operating cash register

Generating shipping labels

Packing items for shipment

Receive and manifest incoming packages for mailbox customers

Full knowledge in operations of copiers, fax machines, and all other printing equipment

General Requirements

Reliable and flexible person with long term commitment

Strong customer service and computer skills necessary

Must cross-sell and up-sell all products and services

Continued growth through self-induced training

Must complete all tasks assigned by the manger or supervisor

Always be proactive, not reactive

Store hours: Monday – Friday 8:30 am to 5:30pm, Saturday 9-3

Part time days and every other weekends

Compensation is based on proficiency and experience.

Compensation will be discussed during your interview.

If you are looking for and would thrive in a fast paced challenging work environment, then we invite you to consider being a part of our team.

Send your resume to andrea@ebclv.com

Easy Tips for Difficult Situations

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Every now and then, every business, large and small alike, will have to deal with unhappy customers. Even the best companies know there is truth to the old adage, ‘You can’t please everyone”. While you can strive for 100% customer satisfaction (and you should!) most likely you’ll come across difficult, unpleasant customer.

Every case is different, but there are a few key things to keep in mind. Your primary goal is to diffuse the tense situation and attempt to appease the customer, while sticking to your company’s policy as much as possible.

First things first-
1. Remain calm and never argue back with a customer.
Don’t take the situation personally, even though it may feel that way. Keep your voice low, and keep speech at a slow, even rate. This will help you remain control of how you are expressing yourself. Demonstrating control is key with dealing with a demanding, difficult person. Be strong but respectful in the manner in which you speak.

2. Genuinely & actively listen.
It’s natural to want to tune out a difficult customer. No one likes to be scolded, argued with or yelled at. It’s critical to remain professional and keep your composure, regardless of how unreasonable the customer is behaving. Hear them out fully before responding and resist interjecting and interrupting them.

3. Offer support & sympathy.
Odds are the customer has at least a somewhat valid reason for being upset. Don’t disregard the issue altogether because they aren’t presenting it in a reasonable manner. Start by offer a sincere apology that they are unsatisfied with the service or product. Express to them that it’s not your company’s standard.

4. Give them as many options as possible.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to find a compromise and satisfy the customer by offering a couple of different solutions. However, don’t make empty promises. If you can’t help the customer or solve their problem yourself, find someone who can.

5. Let them “win”.
When all else fails, it’s best to surrender. Sometimes, this is the only way to put an end to the confrontation. But, it’s still a calculated move on your part. What tends to happen is the customer will begin to relax and even take some blame for what went wrong. That’s a typical human reaction when we are allowed to “win”.

Bottom line, never treat any customer as expendable. Their satisfaction and repeat business is critical to the success of any business. Do all you can to make the best of an unpleasant situation. It’s what separates a good business, from a great business!

For Small Business Growth, Focus on Customer Experience

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Small businesses must focus on customer experience in order to grow and reach their greatest potential. There are many ways to improve the customer experience, whether you own a restaurant, boutique, print shop or any other type of business. How do you begin to refocus on the customer experience? Key areas include – employees, social media, feedback, and environment. Here’s a few simple, yet effective ideas to refresh your focus on customer experience.

EMPLOYEES Thoroughly trained employees are your number one asset in customer experience; they are your best investment. Making sure customers are satisfied should be their number 1 priority, and they must be trained to think this way. When hiring, make this clear, and be sure managers get this message as well.

ENVIRONMENT How do customers feel when they enter your establishment? A clean, organized environment is one where customers will feel comfortable. They appreciate the effort you put into making them feel that way and will show it through repeat business and referrals.

SOCIAL MEDIA Are you hearing your customers? Social media gives you an opportunity to personally connect with existing and future customers. You can reach current customers, their local friends, and your community simultaneously. An advantage of being a smaller company is personally connecting with customers and the community at an intimate level.

Ask for feedback, reviews, and opinions; always thank customers for a great review. If an unpleasant review comes in, address it. View it as an opportunity to make things right. Without social media, you may have never had that chance. Be sincere, polite, and genuine, people will recognize that.

Social media should be used to connect with customers, engage them, and get feedback. It’s also a fantastic way to get them excited about your business and products. There are many ways to use social media as a tool. Just be sure to remain consistent and present regularly.

FEEDBACK Social media is a great way to get customer feedback, but it’s not the only avenue available to you. Ask for reviews on your site and promote it in store as well. Offering incentives for reviews is always a good idea! There are many opportunities to learn what your customers want, and how they feel about your business. If you want to grow and improve, you need this valuable input!

Make the effort to build and nurture customer relationships. And remember, if you open lines of communication, don’t forget about them. Regularly post to social media platforms and monitor notifications and messages you receive through them. If you provide a phone number with a voicemail, monitor it. Overall, communication is key. Customers should be heard, appreciated and valued. Focus on making their experience with your business as positive as possible, each and every time!

 

Fighting Porch Pirates

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With Express Business Center’s Mailbox Services

According to a recent study, 31% of people surveyed have been the victim of porch pirates. ‘Porch pirate’ is the term given to thieves who are stealing delivered packages from doorsteps. It’s becoming more and more of an issue, unfortunately, with the rise of e-commerce. As e-commerce continues to grow, so will this issue.

With the busy lives we lead today, the convenience of shopping and ordering online is extremely appealing. We can order from home, at work, or even on the go with our smart phones and mobile devices.

Judging by the most recent holiday season, e-commerce shows no signs of slowing down. 5 years ago, UPS delivered about 500 million packages during the holidays. In 2017, they delivered upwards of 750 million. For porch pirates, that’s easy access to a gold mine. What could be easier than walking up to a doorstep and swiping a package?

Porch Pirates can strike anywhere, no matter if you live in a rural, suburban or urban area. Especially for those that do a lot of online shopping, this is a rising problem that can’t be ignored.

Packages are delivered while we are at work, at our children’s basketball games, out to dinner, etc. We have busy lives, and no one should have to sit at home waiting for their package to arrive for fear it will be stolen. For many, a security system with surveillance cameras is simply not in the budget. So, what can you do to protect your packages, and the hard earned money you spent purchasing them?

Luckily, Express Business Center’s Mailbox Services are the answer. This is the solution you’re searching for! Sign up for our Mailbox Services, and all of your mail and deliveries will be sent safely to your personal mailbox at Express Business Center. We accept all mail and packages delivered by UPS, USPS, FedEx, and DHL. Even certified letters will be signed on your behalf by one of our team members and securely held at Express Business Center until you are able to pick it up. You won’t have to worry about missing important letters anymore, or having your deliveries stolen off of your doorstep.

Contact us to find out how affordable our Mailbox Services are! You’ll love having the peace of mind that your deliveries are safe.

Call: (610) 366-1970 • Email: info@ebclv.com • Visit: 6900 Hamilton Blvd., Trexlertown, PA

Cultivating Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace

printing, Lehigh Valley, printer, business, marketing, direct mail

Cultivating diversity and inclusion in the workplace doesn’t have to be a challenge. It starts with a simple shift of perspective. Take on the mindset of inclusion, throwing out any preconceived notions and subconscious stereotypes based on any of the following:

• Race
• Ethnicity
• Gender
• Sexual orientation
• Religious affiliation
• Generation
• Disability
• Personality type
• Thinking style

To cultivate an environment of inclusion, start with the following: 
1. Make it a priority
Start by making diversity a priority. In job descriptions, use gender neutral language rather than choosing a specific gender. Be sure to include a commitment to gender neutrality prior to your mission statement, on your website, job postings, etc.

2. Achievement based job descriptions
Here’s an interesting statistic to consider:
“Studies have found, men apply for a job when they meet only 60 percent of the qualifications, but women will only apply when they meet 100 percent of them.” Focus on what candidates will be expected to achieve rather than a comprehensive list of skills.

3. Adopt “Blind Screenings”
Don’t read the name on the resume first. Instead, go through the resume and review it with no assumption of the applicant’s gender or ethnic background. Often times, those with ethnic names, as well as female names, face discrimination when applying for jobs. Reading the name last will remove some of the ‘unconscious bias’s you may possess – the bias you don’t even realize you have.

4. Shift focus from ‘Culture Fit’ when hiring
Stop hiring candidates based on how well they integrate into your company culture. If you want a diverse workforce, you have to hire various types of people with different cultures, thoughts, and ideas.

5. Offer flexible work hours
Flexibility affords all employees healthier lives where they can succeed and grow in their careers.

6. Ask for your employees’ feedback & then LISTEN
Always promote free speaking. Encourage your employees to express if they feel discriminated against in any way. They should feel comfortable approaching you regarding these matters without fear of repercussions.

7. Train your managers
Key areas your managers should be trained in are cultural competence, generation diversity, and unconscious bias. It’s always a good idea to bring in diverse speakers for team seminars.

Building a workplace that celebrates diversity and inclusion is not only right, it’s good for business. Inclusion breeds innovation. Everyone must work together to identify bias, judgment, and discrimination. You’ve already taken the first step by reading this and showing that diversity and inclusion matter to you. Try implementing some of the strategies in your workplace today.

Statistic Source: Forbes

Cross Media Marketing: A Beginner’s Guide for Small Business

printing, Lehigh Valley, printer, business, marketing, direct mail

Cross Media Marketing is a cohesive strategy where your business is advertised through multiple marketing channels. The mix of channels will depend on your business and what goals the marketing effort is striving toward. All cross-media marketing strategies will include forms of print and digital components. Through utilization of such strategies, you will be able to take advantage of each platform’s strengths while mitigating their weaknesses.

There are many avenues to consider when choosing which marketing channels to utilize. Here’s a brief, comprehensive guide to a few of the most popular:

1. Social Media
Social Media allows connection to existing and potential costumers simultaneously. Having a strong social media presence across platforms including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitter will help improve search engine visibility and rankings. This is also an opportunity to showcase your company’s personality, values, and benefits to your audience. Videos and other interactive media typically increase engagement.

With an extremely saturated market, it’s imperative for your business to have access to audiences as large as possible, however, keep in mind your target market. Facebook users vary in ages significantly. If your target audience is younger, you may want to consider media like Snapchat, which typically has a younger demographic. If your target consumer is a professional, or if your company is B2B, consider LinkedIn.

2. Mobile & Email
Mobile Marketing may be the fastest growing marketing medium. Reaching users on their mobile device is an integral piece of your comprehensive marketing strategy.

Within email marketing, make sure the campaigns are mobile friendly and don’t lose readability; ensure mobile effectiveness. Studies have shown most people open email on their smartphones rather than desktop computers.

3. Print
Digital marketing has one significant drawback, we are constantly bombarded with online advertising. The result conditions individuals to filter out digital noise, where they ignore the majority of advertising. This is one reason print remains strong as a relevant, effective and necessary marketing channel. There are vast options with print marketing, from direct mail campaigns, signage, and promotional items. When combined with digital efforts, thoughtful print campaigns can produce amazing results.

QR Codes in print is a great way to tie your print and digital campaign together.
EBC Printing offers QR code generation and development. Interactive advertising leads to better engagement from your audience. There are many creative ways to utilize QR codes. Contact us to learn more!

The benefits of an effective cross-media campaign are exponential. A great benefit of cross-media marketing is being able to utilize strengths of each marketing channel. Through cross-media campaigns, accessibility to existing customers and new prospects, as well as enhanced customer service become seamless. Take the opportunity to improve customer communication and engagement with your brand. This will ultimately help boost brand loyalty and recognition.

Another benefit is better data. Through cross-media campaigns, you will be able to more easily analyze statistics and make choices for both your business and audience. Remember to keep messaging across mediums consistent. Your audience from channel to channel may vary, so tailor content to the best fit.

Trade Show Success

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Exhibiting at a trade show is an excellent way to advertise directly to your target market and spread awareness of your brand. It’s an opportunity to showcase your unique strengths and demonstrate the benefits of your products and services. Do it right, and you’ll make connections that lead to sales and long-term client relationships. Whether it’s your first or your hundredth, there’s always room for improving trade show presence and success. Here are a few tips for setting yourself up for a successful trade show.

Prepare Your Staff:  Begin with the basics—professional attire, welcoming attitudes, and a smile. Carefully choose your most outgoing staff to successfully spread your influence outside of the workplace. Ensure that your staff understands their role and what your expectations of them are.

Have Specific Goals in Mind: Derive your main goal for attending the trade show before getting resources together, and plan accordingly. Do you want to generate leads, sell products, or perhaps add contacts to your mailing list? Each will require a different set-up and planning; setting a goal and working around the idea will allow for a more concise and polished presence. Trade shows are an investment for your business, so make sure you are aware of what your ROI must be.

Plan and Research: Thoughtfully choose which trade shows to attend; aim for those that will provide the best opportunity for promotion. Carefully consider the atmosphere both in terms of the crowd attending and other companies that will be present. It may be in your best interest to avoid trade shows where you will be competing against companies with similar services. It’s also a great idea to get to know the space beforehand. Take advantage of early sign-up opportunities for your chance at prime locations. You will most likely be able to pick the ideal space with higher traffic, and there are often savings when you sign up early.

Engage and Excite:  Take advantage of social media. Post beforehand, during, and even after events to engage with your base and further promote yourself. Include any hash-tags created and promoted by the trade show to further expand the audience you’re speaking to, and be sure to tag the organization funding the event in your posts. Promotion of this level will extend the audience you’re speaking to beyond that of current followers. These simple steps get your brand recognition with a larger audience, and free publicity is always good.

Make Your Display Engaging with Prizes or Contests:  Make your trade show display entertaining and engaging. The more appeal you can convey with graphics from a distance, the larger the potential crowd you can draw in. Aim to engage booth visitors; don’t simply hand out information pamphlets, engage your audience. This is the time to show off your company and set yourself above the competition. Advise staff to be friendly and outgoing with booth visitors without being too pushy or forceful.

For example, your booth can provide:
Free promo items
Raffles for prizes

Useful Promo Items: There are endless options of promotional merchandise to provide at your booth. Provide items that visitors will find useful both during and outside of the event. Putting forethought into these items will help to further expand your brand even outside of the vent and social media. Be thoughtful about choosing your promotional merchandise, brand recognition goes a long way through useful promo items. Think beyond pens and magnets, It doesn’t have to break the bank to be great, either. Try one of these:

• USBs
• lip balm
• drawstring ‘cinch’ bags
• coffee mugs
• water bottles
• notepads

Check out ebcpromo.com to see the huge variety of promotional merchandise we have to offer!

Have a Stand-Out Display: Keep colors and logos consistent with branding, be creative and think outside the box, while still maintaining a clear message. Use bullet points when you can, and keep it brief as possible. Remove technical jargon, and create a compelling display. Images should be bold but not too over the top or cluttered. Make sure to include your website address visible as well as social media pages.

How EBC Printing can help set you up for Trade Show Success: EBC Printing has everything you need to create eye-catching, branded displays, including-

• Table covers
• Retractable banners
• Tabletop displays
• Banners and flags
• Tents and event products
• Signage
• Floor displays
• Branded tailgate products

We have total trade show packages available! The package includes:

• 6′ wide backdrop
• 6′ table throw
• Economy retractable banner stand
Only $995 when you purchase all 3!

Proper & Prompt Follow up: Follow up on any leads you’ve generated without delay, a few days is a good rule of thumb. Hand-written notes are a nice, personal way to follow up on leads. Thank visitors for their time and invite them to stop by your store or set up a meeting. Don’t miss this opportunity for new business! Making the connection was half the battle, now you just need to see it through. 

EBC’s Top 7 Customer Service Tips

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Indeed, great customer service is both a science and an art. Businesses that effectively understand it as a science and an aft form will be find the most success in retaining customers. Some clients will be easier to communicate, understand and appease than others. For more complicated customers, you’ll need think outside the box to find creative solutions to their problems. There are a few key rules to live by when dealing with customers of all kinds.

Our Top 7 Customer Service Tips!

Tip 1: Know your customers names
It’s important that customers feel valued and appreciated. Addressing your customer by name is the first step in doing this. It’s often the simplest thing that hold the most weight!

Tip 2:  Always personalize the experience.   
Know your customers greatest challenges. What current business struggles does the customer have? How can your services help them with the problem?

Tip 3: Monitor all your communication channels. 
There’s nothing worse than losing business due to a lack of response. If there channel is available, make sure you are monitoring it. This includes social media, emails, website quotes, voicemails, etc.

Tip 4: Always respond to customer inquiries in a timely fashion. 
This goes hand in hand with the last rule. Customers should feel like a priority. Furthermore, one a time is promised or a deadline is agreed upon, follow through. Keep your timeline organized and notify customers immediately any possible delays.

Tip 5: “Mirror” your customer’s language.
Take inventory of certain words and phrases customers tend to use. Using language familiar to the customer makes them feel more comfortable. Beware of industry jargon or technical language; if customer’s don’t understand what you’re saying, it will only create more communication barriers.

Tip 6: Always perform a needs analysis on customers.
Here’s a common situation: A customer goes to a business for a service. They explain what they want. The business delivers. The client is unhappy with the result. Many times, listening to a customer is not enough. You have to ask the right questions in order to get the right answers, to ensure you’ll be able to produce what the customer truly wants. Often, clients don’t know how to properly convey what it is that they want. They are relying on you to tell them. After all, you are the expert! Trust yourself to know what will work best for the client, while taking into account their opinion and ideas. It’s when you can combine these two thing harmoniously that the outcome is best. It’s also the best way to build customer loyalty and guarantee repeat business. When a customer feels understood, they will come back.

Tip 7: Know which of your services are most valued! 
Do you know which of your services are of most value to your clientele? Performing an internal analysis of this is extremely beneficial to you. On the other hand, not knowing can be detrimental to your business. You’ll learn how to best allocate your resources to best serve the customer.