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Make A Good Name For Yourself

Published on 08/28/12 12:40PM


I recently heard an ad on the radio for a company that was promising to improve your online reputation if you’ve been damaged by “misleading or negative bloggers.” This ad really infuriated me because, quite frankly, a business’s online reputation wouldn’t be “damaged” if there was absolutely no truth to the reviews. That’s not to say that people don’t have bad experiences; no matter how good you are, it’s impossible to make everyone happy. How you deal with those unhappy reviewers can make the difference between a great online reputation and a bad one. No need to hire a company to falsely load up review sites with fake reviews or to flag negative reviews as “spam” when they’re not; all it takes is the willingness to make it right and make your reviewers happy.

Social media has made it extremely easy for people to post their reviews, thoughts and photos with the world. Between Facebook, Yelp, Google and the numerous travel sites, a guest can post their review from their phone, tablet, or computer at their convenience. Many feel that they shouldn’t waste their time at a hotel, restaurant or store if other reviewers overwhelmingly have said “don’t go.” As a business owner or manager, you should take the time to read all of the reviews of your business on a semi-weekly basis and reply to them.
Good review? That’s an easy reply: “Shawn, we really appreciate you coming in! Glad to hear you had a great experience and we hope to see you again soon.” Or if they pointed out something they loved and you can use it as an upsell, go for it: “Shawn, thanks for coming to stay with us! Glad you loved those towels; they’re available for purchase on our website www.acmehotel.com”

Now for those that leave negative reviews, you must be willing to not only read their criticism without taking it personally, but also to immediately rectify the situation. When someone leaves a negative review, they’re not doing it to personally attack you. They had a bad experience; it was clearly not rectified while they were there, so they feel the need to vent.
Read their comments very carefully and then respond in detail. Address them by name (or username) and tell them who you are, apologize and end with a positive. As an example: “Steve, my name is Dave and I am the owner of Acme Hotel. I’m so sorry to hear you had a bad experience and I’d like to make it right” Follow this by going through, in detail, their complaint and how you’re going to make it better for the future. If they complained that the room wasn’t clean, explain that you’re going to work with the housekeeping department to institute new protocols and in the future, guests are always encouraged to contact the front desk if they’d like a new room. If the complaint is about a price change in a restaurant, explain your reasoning for the pricing increase. Perhaps it’s weather related or you wanted a better quality meat for the guests.

Also, be sure to give them contact information for you so that they can call or email you to discuss this further. When you speak, offer them something to make it right; a free night stay, dinner for two, a bottle of wine, etc and ask them that if this experience is better than their last, they leave a new review.

It takes work, but these are the people putting the money in your pockets so listening to their cheers and jeers can help you and your employees become better at what you do. Don’t take it personally, but make it a personal mission to make your customers happy.


Outrageous Marketing

Published on 07/19/12 10:56AM


"Why fit in when you were born to stand out?"
- Dr. Seuss

At it's core, the purpose of marketing is to get the word out about yourself or your business. It's easy to do it like everyone else does, but where is the fun in that? We challenge ourselves and our clients to market differently in order to stand out and be successful.

Yesterday, Erica and I hit the road to get some face-time with a few prospective clients. Knowing it was going to be a hot day and might be hard to get in the door, we put that rule to the test.

We brought watermelons to each prospect...yes, watermelons. For a very small investment, we started the day by purchasing a trunk load of them. With the melons, collateral and a targeted list of prospects in hand, we hit the road. We put a yellow sticker on each watermelon explaining that we know it's important to stand out, hence the watermelon...afterall, they'll never forget the company who brought this gift.

Many strange looks were received at each stop, but it was overwhelmingly clear to us that it worked as it opened door after door for us. We weren't your average salesperson stopping by with a just a brochure and a pitch, we had a gift to give them and every receptionist was sure that they'd want this yummy treat so we easily bypassed the "gatekeepers." The intention was simply to give them the gift and say hello; anything else was icing on the cake. This wasn't a hard sell, it was merely making contact and breaking the ice.

Deviate from the pack, be a little left-of-center, or just go do something crazy. If you're willing, outrageous marketing could be the difference between a good year and an amazing year.

- Donna


Training to End Stroke

Published on 04/19/12 03:15PM


First of all, a BIG thank you to everyone who participated in our first Train to End Stroke Auction and Wine Tasting. We raised an unprecedented amount of money, over $30,000! It exceeded everyone's expectations. We could not have done it without our auction and financial donors, attendees, bidders, auctioneer John Terrio and of course, the Curley Direct staff who volunteered their time. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Want some even better news? Thanks to your support, you helped Jaclyn win the Tedy's Team award for most money raised! Check out the great photo of Jaclyn accepting the award from Tedy Bruschi here. It was a very exciting moment and you should be proud to have been a part of it as well.

We're already being asked if this will be an annual event ... drum roll please ... YES! We are planning to hold the second annual auction next year. Details will be made available as soon as we finalize them, so stay tuned!

Your contributions went to the American Stroke Association which oversee's Tedy's Team who Jaclyn runs for. She just completed her fifth Boston Marathon and this year, ran in honor of not only her mother, Elaine, but also in honor of John and Elaine's 35th wedding anniversary which was on Monday as well. Wonder what keeps her running? Here's an except from a letter she recently wrote:

In 2007, I saw their wedding vows in action. That year, as my mother underwent major heart surgery, suffered multiple strokes, and a seizure, my father was the rock that held us all together. He kept us positive and assured my mom, brothers and I that we’d all get through this. As the months passed and my mother’s condition slowly improved, we watched as her attitude and sense of humor did as well – a result that I can only attribute to my dad’s “glass is always half-full, can do” attitude.

In the years that followed my mother’s strokes, I have made it my mission to run the Boston marathon in her honor for Tedy’s Team and to raise stroke awareness and fund ongoing research so that other families won’t have to watch a loved one suffer a stroke as we did.

For the last five years, I have trained for the marathon on perfect sunny days, through snow storms and the blistering cold. I have had days where I felt I could run forever and then others where I needed to slow down to overcome knee, foot, or calf injuries. I have even spent time in the emergency room of Mass General Hospital after my successful attempt to break 4 hours in last year’s marathon. Why you might ask? Because when you commit to another person or cause, you stick with it, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health.

Here is a great photo of Jaclyn, John and Elaine after the marathon. Jaclyn has motivated John, III to start running as well and in June, they will travel to Kona, HI to run the Train to End Stroke Half Marathon. We all wish we could go to cheer them on from the sidelines, but alas, we will be here cheering from the Cape!

Feel free to leave your congratulatory messages for Jaclyn or words of encouragement for their upcoming marathon on this post. We'll also post a bunch of photo's on Facebook, so check them out there too!

On behalf of John, III, Jaclyn, the entire Curley Family and the Curley Direct team, thank you for your support.


The Super Bowl Experience

Published on 02/13/12 09:57AM by John Curley, III


Our mission was to redeem ourselves from Super Bowl 42 and bring Patriot passion to Indianapolis. As we all know now, we only accomplished half of our mission. Five of my friends and I ventured to Chicago for the weekend and then drove to Indianapolis on Sunday for the big game. The atmosphere was electric. The City of Indianapolis was buzzing with Patriots and Giants fans and everything was setting up to be a fantastic day.

As we walked through the quaint city of Indianapolis, two things jumped right out at me. First was the J.W. Marriott (see picture); the hotel was decorated with the NFL logo and an enormous image of the super bowl trophy. Second was the Bud light Hotel (see picture). Clearly this isn’t something you see every day and of course that’s because it wasn’t a permanent fixture, they converted a Hampton Inn for the weekend. It was a genius marketing move – change the name to something that screams “football party” and turn an average hotel into a cash cow charging well over $1,000 a night. As you can see by the picture the hotel was completely full with a line to get in to see more.

Now I could spend the next six paragraphs talking about the game but because I have not fully recovered from the loss, I think it’s best that I avoid the subject. The only good news that came out of this is that my wife Lauren is happy because there will be no Sports Center for a few months in the Curley household.

I truly believe everything happens for a reason and if it wasn’t for the Patriots loss we never would have come across Lebanon, Indiana. Our post-game vision was to have a victory cigar in monument circle (see picture) before heading to the Patriot after-party. Obviously our plans were thwarted and we all ended up going to bed early to get an early start back to Chicago in the morning.

As we left the hotel, we all were all starving so we figured we’d find a local diner. The GPS directed us to Brenda’s Cubbard in Lebanon, IN. Let me set the scene for you: to get to the actual restaurant you walk through an old fashioned drug store (which in a small town also doubles as a gift shop) across the creaky floor boards you arrive into “Brenda’s Cubbard.” We felt as if we were on a movie that was set in the 1950s. The patrons were all regulars and it was a very warm atmosphere. As we were talking with the waitress she quickly realized that we “weren’t from around there” and we told her that we had traveled from Massachusetts. It became such a big deal that Brenda herself came to the table to talk to us. She wanted to know how we are enjoying the meal, how we heard about them and she also took the time to tell us how appreciative she was that we went out of our way to come to her restaurant. She took such a liking to us that she told us to save room for dessert because she had a pie in the oven. It was refreshing to see someone taking the time to do the little things and it was clear to us why Brenda’s Cubbard had been voted the best restaurant in Boone County, Indiana.

We all get so busy in our day-to-day lives and often overlook the little things in our personal relationships or business dealings. The biggest thing I took out from going to the Super Bowl is that the little things DO matter. Whether it’s the name on the hotel, the trained employees for an event or the owner going above and beyond to make customers feel welcome, everything you do leaves an impression. With social media and smart phones connecting people all over the world we need to find a happy medium. Personal interaction and developing relationships is what makes business run and I want to thank Brenda for reminding me of that.


Don’t Go Postal; Upcoming Changes Are Good for Business

Published on 12/14/11 03:09PM


Despite what you may have heard, the USPS changes that are forthcoming will be a good thing. We realize that there is a lot of speculation, questions and misinformation crowding the already overcrowded news cycle, so on Tuesday, December 13th our team sat down with Jane Larson from the USPS to have a candid conversation regarding all of the changes to make sure that we can provide you with the most accurate information. Our goal is to help clear up many of the misconceptions and questions that you may have.

Here are the highlights. If you’d like more details and our thoughts on the changes, we’ve included them below.

Highlights

  • The USPS needs to save $20B by 2015
  • One of the proposals is to cut Saturday delivery, but there are repercussions
  • Change doesn’t come easily. There are costs associated with office closures and laws that govern what the post office can and cannot do without congressional approval.
  • Offices that are on the closure list are not necessarily closing, they are being reviewed. No closures will happen until May 15, 2012.
  • There are many benefits to the closures including increased efficiencies, savings on fuel, rent, utilities, etc. Additionally, fewer facilities streamline the mail process.
  • First Class postage is increasing on January 22, 2012 from $0.44 to $0.45. Delivery times now change from 1-3 days to 2-3 days.
  • For direct mail customers, there will be a slight postage increase for both Presort First Class and Presort Standard mail on January 22, 2012. In addition, Presort First Class will now allow up to 2oz at the same rate (vs. 1oz now).

Details

The Changes Need to Happen:
The USPS needs to save twenty billion dollars by 2015. They are currently in a large financial hole because of pre-retirement funding and a large majority of retail post offices being unable to sustain themselves financially. They are the only government organization that has the pre-retirement funding requirements and of the 35,000 retail offices nationwide, only 15,000 make enough revenue to support themselves. The USPS is the only government organization that is not tax subsidized.

Cutting Delivery Days:
Cutting a delivery day will save a substantial amount of money but there are repercussions. The selected day to cut is Saturday because it is not a business day, but this frustrates many consumers who enjoy receiving mail and packages on Saturday. Additionally, this will result in lost revenue for the USPS because companies who send packages through the USPS to avoid the Saturday delivery fee charged by FedEx and UPS will undoubtedly begin sending through one of those sources in order to ensure that customers receive packages in a timely fashion.

Instituting Change:
All changes made by the USPS are subject to approval by Congress. There are bylaws that were written long ago that have not been amended and as such, the proposed changes must go through the same outdated procedures. Additionally, there are financial repercussions involved in closing an office even if that particular post office wasn’t financially sound. If the building is owned, there are costs associated with selling it and the carrying costs while it’s up for sale. For rental buildings, there are often rental termination costs.

Closing Offices and Processing Facilities:
This is an area of constant misunderstanding. The offices that are on the closure list are not definitely closing. They are simply studying these offices to determine which retail offices and processing facilities they should close. As many people know, there are often multiple retail post offices in a town and more often than not, they are very close to each other. Additionally, many of the processing facilities are operating in old buildings and are no longer efficient. The closings have been delayed until May 15, 2012 per the request of multiple Senators and to allow ample time for public hearings.

The Benefit of the Closings:
There will be substantial savings. The most obvious are the savings from eliminating many offices: rent/mortgages, utilities, snow removal, landscaping, etc. Next are transportation costs. Trucks are sent from one processing facility to another moving mail around as it needs to in order to reach its final destination. Additionally, trucks are sent to every post office twice a day; first in the morning to deliver the incoming mail, second in the evening to pick up the outgoing mail. There is a lot of gas and unnecessary vehicles being used daily going to 487 processing facilities and 35,000 retail offices multiple times a day. Additionally, the staff cuts will also result in additional revenue. Obviously this is the most unpopular portion of the cuts, but the cut employees are all being given a chance to interview for positions within the USPS.
o By removing offices and thereby eliminating many stops for the trucks, the USPS’s transportation system will be efficient and mail will make less stops along the way, thereby getting there quicker in some cases than it does now.

How the Changes Affect the Public:
There are a few, but when push comes to shove, they are minimal. If you are used to going to a particular retail post office location, there is a chance it will be closing mid-2012. If it does, have no fear…there is another one close-by! As far as delivery times are concerned, the current delivery time for First Class mail (what you pay $0.44 for) is 1-3 days. In theory, it’s actually crazy to think that you receive overnight delivery for that price, but it’s not guaranteed overnight so that’s the difference between First Class and Express Mail. The changes will affect the current delivery time by 1 day so the new First Class delivery standard will be 2-3 days.

Direct Mail:
Direct Mail is a large source of revenue for the USPS and while there will be minor rate increases for both Presort Standard and Presort First Class mail, the changes will benefit Direct Mail customers. Standard mail grew by 3% in 2010 and the goal of the USPS is to allow that to continue to increase easily. By consolidating processing facilities, there will be more employees on throughout the day to sort mail and get it distributed in a timely fashion. Additionally, Presort First Class customers will now be allowed up to 2oz for the same rate (versus the current standard which only allows up to 1oz before a rate increase). The delivery time standards will not be changing for bulk mail with the exception of periodicals.

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Final Thoughts...
At the end of the day, what’s important to emphasize is that the guidelines by which the USPS currently operates were written long before the days of any instant forms of communication and even before automobiles were popular. While it may be nice for some to have 2 or 3 post offices in their town 1 mile apart, it isn’t necessary anymore. By cutting the fat and allowing processing facilities and retail locations to work more efficiently, the long-term benefit really will be to their customers. According to the recently released Epsilon Targeting 2011 Channel Preference Study, 60% of US consumers enjoy checking the mailbox for postal mail and 50% feel that postal mail receives more attention than email. We all need the USPS but everyone can plainly see that the old rules just aren’t cutting it anymore. It’s time to change the rules and enjoy the rewards that will come as the USPS gains its profitability again. Want to share your thoughts on all of this? Feel free to comment here, or share with us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.


Market Yourself

Published on 11/09/11 03:27PM


Why is it that my great ideas for blog posts always come at the most inopportune times...usually when I'm driving home from work or just about to fall asleep? Sure there are things I could do - use voice notes on my phone or get up and write stuff down, but I always convince myself that it's a good enough idea so I'm bound to remember it. But alas, here I am, not remembering my idea yet again. So, with that, I figured I'd talk a little bit about ideas and how to harnass them to market your business (especially if you're not a marketer yourself!) ... Here's hoping I don't forget how to write by the end of this post :)

Marketers are always credited as being "the idea guys" as if there is some magic power bestowed on the marketing profession. In fact, we are just creative people who have learned how to put together our ideas into neat little packages called marketing campaigns.  Now this isn't a knock at all on what we do, I love my job and I love that I can use my creativity to increase business for clients.  There is one thing that I often hear that drives me crazy; clients often say, "I just don't have any ideas." Now, we all know that's not true. You are smart enough to either run a business or manage it in some capacity so surely you have ideas on what your customers want, who they are and how you might be able to drive them into your business to spend money. Those are the first steps to creating a marketing campaign.  You know those 6 basic questions that people often ask? Well they help here too...take a look:

Who?  Who are you targeting? Your customers or prospects? Like minds tend to attract, so look at your current client base and then ask your marketing company to find other people like them.

What? What are you selling?

Where? Where are you located? Seems silly right? Well, it's not. Often times people forget to put their address or contact information into marketing pieces. If you're able, utilize a QR code to provide directions on a smart phone.

When? It's called a "call to action" for a reason. We live in a culture that loves boundaries (whether we realize it or not).  We need to know what we are supposed to do and by when.  For example, "Save 30% on a new couch" is a great offer, but if there is no expiration date, I may as well just throw it in a basket and look at it next time I get to it.  If my 30% offer has an expiration date of next week, you better believe I'm going to get right out to your store.

Why? Why should customers come to you over a competitor? Why are your offerings better?

How? How do they redeem their offer? Online? In Person? Can they call? Tell them what to do.

I'm not saying that you need to be able to create your marketing campaigns. What i'm saying is that you should be actively involved in your marketing; it makes you a better business person and allows your marketing team/agency to do better work for you. When you understand what you want, the ideas can come easier and you'll find that you are more willing to try new things since you now have knowlege to bestow onto the "idea guys." 

Take these questions and my ramblings and think a bit about your own marketing. Knowing the answers to these questions will empower you to work with your marketing team/agency to create the marketing campaign of your dreams (and one that delivers high ROI too!)


The End of Saturday Delivery

Published on 10/12/11 10:49AM


It is looking more and more likely that in 2012 the United States Postal Service (USPS) will be eliminating mail delivery on Saturday. This move is thought to impact businesses on a nationwide scale on the B2C level. The question is, does reaching consumers through any print medium during the week versus strictly on the weekend increase business?

In the past, companies depended on weekend newspaper circulars to announce sales, provide coupons or release information on new products. With the newspaper industry on the decline and those circulars dwindling thanks to the Internet, the marketing strategies are changing. You can now log onto a company’s website and digitally flip the pages of that weeks circular. You can even choose items and make a digital shopping list for the grocery store.

The fact is, with the increased use of technology and the current state of the economy, impulse purchases are on the decline. Just because someone wants a new television, doesn’t mean they are going to run out to their local big box store to buy it that day. Instead, people are doing their research and have no problem waiting a few days for it to arrive on their doorstep from an online company to save money.

The best way to get information from a business to a consumer is to hit them right in their homes. The two mediums that always make it into homes are TV and the mail. While TV ads are often too expensive for small businesses, direct mail has proven to be the cost effective way to reach the kitchen table. A large postcard can provide information on a sale, coupons, or announce the latest product release while still being compact enough to be hung on the refrigerator.

In the coming year, the USPS will be perfecting a system they currently have in place called Intelligent Mail Barcodes. These are special barcodes that contain extra information which are scanned by the Post Offices as they move through the facilities. The scans send information back to the end user with information on delivery of the mail piece. The major shipping companies have perfected this process, but we’ll need to wait a year or two for the USPS to catch up. Once they do, however, the option of following up instantly via e-mail upon delivery will undoubtedly ease any qualms about losing a delivery day.

Technology will ease this transition but it is important to not rely on it to reach consumers. E-mails and websites are helping companies grow their businesses but they only work in conjunction with mailing and advertising. The best thing that companies can do now, in preparation for the end of Saturday delivery, is to plan ahead with their marketing plan and to become extremely organized with sale dates, product launches and special offers.

Eliminating Saturday delivery won’t hurt business, it’s simply going to change the way companies market their business. Long-term, that could translate into a more efficient and economical marketing plan.


Combining the Powerful Effect of Gift Cards with Direct Mail

Published on 09/29/11 01:26PM

By: John Curley

Believe it or not, holiday gift season is upon us again. Gift cards are becoming the most popular holiday gift because you no longer have to go to the physical store to purchase them and it is easy for the recipient carry them with them at all times in their wallet. The internet coupled with kiosks at grocery stores and pharmacies are allowing people anywhere in the country to purchase gift cards to stores that not only aren’t in their backyard, but might not even be in their state.

How can you combine your marketing dollars with the power of gift cards? It’s simple. With pop-out postcards, you can send a plastic postcard that contains a gift card in the top right corner for the recipient to pop-out. This card could hold value, or could be a mock-up of what your actual card looks like with an offer or incentive to purchase cards.

If you decide to have the card hold an actual value, such as “$20 off your next purchase” be sure that you utilize technology to personalize that card with the person’s name or a unique code because by providing value, you are intending for them to use it and you want to be able to utilize the data to your advantage. If it’s not personalized, you lose the chance to use the information to your benefit because without asking them to provide their information, you wouldn’t have any idea if it is the recipient, a friend or family member.

The data that comes back to you from the pop-out cards is the most crucial and beneficial part. Because you typically won’t be reloading the cards that the recipient’s bring in, you can retain them and use their name, a unique identifying number or a barcode on the card to find a correlation between their information and their purchase(s). For example, if you order a prospect list to test with various ages and home values and once the data is merged, you find that the majority of people who are coming in to your business from the list are ages 35-45 and people with a home value of 350,000-400,000 are spending an average of $60 each time, while those with a value of 450,000-475,000 are spending an average of $100, you can tailor your future offers based on the age and average spending of each group.

No matter how you choose to use them, plastic pop-out cards are a great addition to your marketing plan. They have longevity, stand out in the mail and provide valuable tools for both you and the recipient.

If you are interested in learning more, please visit the Curley Cards page by clicking here:

Curley Cards


My Experiences at Curley Direct This Summer

Published on 08/26/11 11:27AM

 

About a week before my summer internship at Curley Direct, I asked my Dad to take me shopping. This internship was my first real experience in an office setting, and quite frankly my wardrobe was looking pretty weak. There was absolutely no way I was going to establish myself as “that guy,” the one who wears the same outfit to work each day, and causes co-workers to question whether his pants actually made it through a wash cycle since their last use. Excited to start work my first day, I walked into Curley Direct sporting a shirt and tie, ready to take on the new challenge of an internship with a marketing firm. Almost immediately, I was told by the owner, John, “we appreciate you getting dressed up, but it won’t be necessary during your time at Curley Direct.” So before I even managed to remove all of the annoying pins that manufacturers insert into new dress shirts, I was told I didn’t need them for the summer. Slight frustration aside, not a single person heard a complaint from me for “having” to wear polos and boat shoes all summer.

Prior to my start at Curley Direct, I was asked to set goals for my duration with the company. These goals included:

• Gain confidence in a business setting

• Learn new skills that are practical to my aspiring career

• Strengthen my network

• Expose myself to uncomfortable situations

• Approach every task with enthusiasm and best effort

• Have a positive and professional attitude

• Have fun

Looking back on what I set for myself, I am happy to realize that my goals were accomplished. My internship with Curley Direct was nothing like prototypical internships I had heard about from friends in the past. Despite having to work in the warehouse from time to time, as well as occasionally filing, I am happy to say I was never once asked to retrieve coffee (Curley has a Keurig brewer) for anyone in the office. The truth is, I was given a great deal of responsibility working with Donna, Curley’s Director of Marketing. One of the benefits of working for a smaller company compared to a large corporation is that I was given a great opportunity for hands on learning. Because of this, I played a significant role in numerous large projects. Whether it was a business pitch to a large client, event planning for a seminar like “Marketing 2.0: Digital Trends and Technologies,” or anything in between, I was always excited for the opportunity. 

This summer went by incredibly fast for me. It seems like only a short time ago I was just walking into Curley Direct for the first time as the sharpest dressed person in the office. I am thankful to everyone at Curley for being so welcoming right from the beginning, but especially Donna and John Sr. for giving me the opportunity to intern at Curley and gain this invaluable experience. I am confident that I will look back at my time here at Curley Direct someday as the kick-start to my business career. I am excited to go back to Umass Amherst for my final year in college much more prepared for my future business career, not just because of my depth of experiences but my new (lightly worn) wardrobe as well.


Social Media is a Privilege, Not a Right

Published on 08/16/11 02:06PM

 

In light of recent social media related events, successes and complete failures, I have been thinking a lot about a phrase often uttered often at my parents’ house as a teenager, "it's a privilege, not a right." I used to hate that phrase, usually because the word "it's" was replaced with "driving is" as I was handing my keys over...but that's a story for another day :) When you hand the keys to your social media vehicles over to employees, reminding them that this responsibility is a privilege, not their right might help you avoid some embarrassing situations and instead help you shine in the social spotlight.

We now live in a culture that is dominated by a constant stream of information. In Social Media, that stream can be filtered by choosing to like/follow/+1 your news sources of choice, whether they are credible news outlets, bloggers, official band reps or just random folks that are of interest to you. What can't be filtered out is what's already posted; once that send button is pushed, it's in internetspace and there is no going back, no matter how quickly it's deleted.

Recently, I’ve seen a few great examples of social media responsibility as well as some utter disasters which is proving even further that while employee's have the right to free speech, they don't have the right to completely destroy your or someone else's reputation because they feel that a social media outlet is their personal venting session to the world. Those who are being responsible, however, are doing great things with their posts and words which is exciting and inspiring to see.

Responsible: @SugarlandMusic, twitter-home to the country band "Sugarland" was about to go on stage last Saturday at the Indiana State Fair when the stage collapsed killing 5 and injuring over 40. They could have said nothing or they could have blamed the fair who constructed the stage but instead they tweeted: "We are all right. We are praying for our fans, and the people of Indianapolis. We hope you'll join us. They need your strength." From there, they inspired people all across the twitterverse to alert their fans and friends to what was going on to do whatever they could do to support the people of Indiana.

Irresponsible: @EmmasPizza, twitter-home to Cambridge, Massachusetts based Emma's Pizza, has recently made some headlines for a tweet regarding a customer who expected free substitutions on their sandwich. The tweet went on to state that the sandwich was "nasty" and then further dug the hole deeper by calling the customer a "dumbass." This is where freedom of speech crosses a line because it causes the business to receive incredibly terrible PR. Now there is a responsibility component to this. The owner did apologize for "his" actions claiming that he was the tweet-offender. Most (myself included) don't believe that the owner who crafted a fairly eloquent apology could have been the one to post the original tweet but he took ownership of it anyway. I would have liked to see him explain what the store was doing about it (firing the actual offender, offering free substitutions for a week, etc) but this leads us to our next irresponsibility...

Irresponsible (with a responsible ending): @Chrysler, home to the car manufacturer's twitter account (controlled by a media firm) has probably received the most notoriety this year for a serious social media fail. A rep for their former firm tweeted on Chrysler's corporate account (instead of his personal): "I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f***ing drive." The f-bomb was uncensored and while it was quickly deleted, it was already seen by many which led to the demise of the young man's career with the media company. At first, they tried to sweep it under the rug by saying that their account had been compromised but later everyone involved took steps to rectify the situation by removing the employee from his job, apologizing via the Chrysler blog and then switching media companies. The most embarrassing part of the whole scandal for Twitter was their new (at the time) campaign touting their love for the motor city. What makes this incident stand out from Emma's Pizza is that they let their followers know what steps were being taken to make it better.

At the end of the day, we are all human. Human's do great things and inspire others, but we also make mistakes. What matters is how you handle the situation if you encounter an employee (or your own) blunder. I suggest either having a social media responsibility contract with them that outlines acceptable words, phrases and the like as well as the consequences for doing or saying anything that you deem irresponsible or detrimental to the company. You also have a responsibility to constantly monitor the posts and keep the lines of communication open with the poster(s) of what you think of their posts. If they aren't listening or following the rules, remember that it's their privilege to post on your social media outlets, not their right.


Is Facebook Stalking Me

Published on 08/15/11 01:16PM

 

Recently, my college roommate convinced me to sign up for a race at the end of the upcoming school year called “Tough Mudder.” The self-proclaimed “toughest event on the planet”, was a race originally designed by British Special Forces to test all-around toughness, strength, and stamina. While I would consider myself an above average athlete, I am by no means at the physical level of a professional athlete, Marine, or a marathon runner but Facebook now seems to think so. Ever since I signed up for the Tough Mudder event, every time I sign on to Facebook I see advertisements for Spartan Races, Civilian Military Combines and other extreme events. In fact, these are basically the only advertisements I ever see. Even though it is flattering that Facebook thinks so highly of me and treats me as if I was a world-class athlete, it makes me wonder about the effectiveness of personalized ads on social media networks. 

The reality of personalized marketing is that companies have access to a great deal of your personal information. Once companies gain access to this valuable information, they are then capable of segmenting consumers and tailoring advertisements to your likes and needs. Generally you see these personalized ads on the right hand side of your Facebook page after logging in. You have the choice to “like’ them, click on one, remove it (aka replace it), or just ignore it altogether. When companies set up an ad campaign, one in which they pay per click or ad impressions, they have the luxury of being incredibly specific. Advertisers can then narrow down the demographic they are targeting by almost anything they want: age, gender, personal preferences, location, or even their sexual orientation. This can obviously be very helpful to marketers, but can also be off-putting to consumers. There is a large majority of the population that doesn’t appreciate ads pushed in their faces, especially when they are invasive and leave the consumer without self-choice. 

Once I noticed the Spartan race advertisements Facebook was presenting to me, I began to take note of other ads. After doing extensive research on Google (not Facebook ) recently on potential spring break locations, sure enough, I began seeing ads for college spring break tourist sites. Curious, I decided to “like” something random so I chose a dog page. Almost immediately I had two ads appear for discounts on pet food.  I am not currently in the market for dog food, and certainly wouldn’t buy any online, but I now have a constant barrage of Kibbles N Bits advertisements every time I log into my account.   Many people consider these ads intrusive and creepy, while some might think they are quite helpful. Regardless, marketers must be careful with the way they design and display their ads. What an advertiser considers engaging could just as easily be interpreted as crossing the line by consumers who don’t appreciate companies gaining access to personal information they are not intentionally giving out.

From my recent experience as an intern at Curley Direct, one thing I have learned is how powerful of a tool personalization can be. Whether it is through direct mail or Facebook ads, personalization greatly increases response rates, or in this case, click-through rates. For this reason I am appreciative of the capabilities Facebook presents marketers with its advertising, despite the fact that personally I might consider it a bit intrusive.  Although I am nervous about the Tough Mudder race next spring, I am at ease knowing I have almost an entire year to prepare myself, and that if I am looking for inspiration or some coaching, I don’t have to look any further than my Facebook page.


Are Books Doomed?

Published on 07/01/11 12:54PM


When was the last time you used something like a map, landline phone, movie rental store, phone book, or dictionary? These are all just a few small parts of everyday life that have become close to obsolete because of technology. Personally, as a 21 year old college student, I live and die by my GPS system, never answer the home phone (why would someone call me at home?), find my movies via Netflix and On Demand, and use the internet to look up words through sites like dictionary.com or Google. In fact, I will probably utilize thesaurus.com to make myself sound perspicacious (just did it) throughout the course of this blog post.

Although these modern technologies may be fads and will eventually be replaced by newer models and technologies, books have been around for centuries. Is it possible that one day printed books, which have been around for thousands of years, will one day join VHS players on the list of forgotten technologies? Although I don’t think so, it certainly might be possible. Until the fairly recent invention of eReaders like Amazon’s “Kindle” and Barnes and Noble’s “Nook”, the standard paper book faced zero competition. Amazon just recently announced that it is selling more electronic books than traditional ones. In May, for every 100 paperback books Amazon sold, it sold 105 copies in its Kindle format (Kafka). Despite how close these numbers are, the differential will undoubtedly grow with the expanding popularity of eReaders and as they become more affordable. 

As a summer intern at Curley Direct, I am surrounded by a large printing operation every day that I come into the office. Although Curley Direct isn’t involved in the printing of books, I can’t help but wonder what will happen to large-scale book printing companies as eBooks become increasingly popular and more widely accepted. Companies that use traditional techniques like offset printing, which has been used for over 100 years, face serious threats from the growing popularity of eReaders. Printing styles like offset are in danger because there are high costs involved in setting up the printing press and producing the plates necessary to create the finished product. Because of this, it is not profitable to print on a small scale. As the demand for printed books continues to decrease, the profits of companies that rely on this method of printing will as well. Despite this, not all methods of printing appear to be doomed. 

It is possible that companies that utilize digital printing or print on demand could benefit from new technologies such as eReaders. That is, at least for the time being. Unlike printing methods like offset printing which require large scale print runs, digital printing allows you to print several books at a time if need be. Using digital printing technology allows you to print and finalize a book within several minutes. Not only is digital printing easy, it is also green; you can print what you need, when you need it instead of storing excess copies. On top of all of these benefits, digital printing creates extremely high quality products. As demand for traditional books continue to decrease, it is likely publishers will steer towards doing business with digital printing companies instead. 

Electronic books and readers are showing no sign of stopping; Amazon is predicting even greater eBook sales in the near future. Although there are people who have made personal oaths to never read a book electronically and enjoy the “turn-the-page feel” to reading a traditional book, it is likely the hefty majority is of the older generation. Younger people are already extremely reliant on electronics and technology designed to make our lives easier, I’m sure most would prefer to own a single tablet with hundreds of books that are easily accessible, compared to having to own a giant book collection. There are already schools throughout the country that are implementing the technologies of eReaders. As electronic books become more and more part of everyday life, regular books may slowly be left behind. It’s possible that one day it will be as strange seeing someone read a paperback book in public as it is to see a stranger listening to his CD collection on their Discman today.

Sources Cited

Kafka, Peter. Amazon Reaches The E-Book Tipping Point: Kindle Sales Blow By Print. (2011). All Things D. (http://allthingsd.com/20110519/amazon-reaches-the-e-book-tipping-point-kindle-sales-blow-by-print/)


Welcome Gail Haygood!

Published on 05/09/11 04:37PM

It is with great excitement that we introduce our newest team member, Gail Haygood! Gail started with us on Tuesday, May 3rd as our bookkeeper and we are very happy to welcome her aboard. She joins us with years of experience, enthusiasm and talent that we know our clients and vendors alike will appreciate.

To read more about Gail, please head over to her bio at www.curleydirect.com/gail_haygood. She can be reached by email (available through her bio) or by phone at extension 12. Currently, Gail is working from 9am-1pm.

Please join us in welcoming her!


Are We There Yet? [And Other Childhood Favorite Questions...]

Published on 04/29/11 10:49AM


Growing up, we all knew the one question that annoyed our parents more than any other on trips; are we there yet? In retrospect, the answer most often heard, "we'll get there when we get there" was equally as annoying. As human beings we have an innate need to receive definitive answers to questions which, in theory, should have simple answers.

Clients have the same question but the issue is that there isn't a clear definition for them of where "there" is. It's not a place, it's a financial destination that for 99% of businesses has no specific end point because who wants to ever stop earning money? The goal is to earn the most money possible while continuing to grow and thrive, not simply survive.

In this case, the question shouldn't be asked or answered. "Are we there yet?" should be replaced with "I am going to get [there] by..." and then marketing service providers (MSP) should assist clients in defining not only where "there" really is (and make it tangible) but also to define the action items needed to reach whatever goals are setforth.

The question that begs to be asked by the previous statement is "Why?" I think toddlers are particularly fond of this one but this is a question that should be asked often by clients AND marketing service providers alike. Every marketing move made should have a definitive reason behind it that is tied to the action items and goals discussed previously.  For example, "I am going to get to my financial goal of $100,000 a month by sending out 15,000 additional postcards a month." In this case, the goal is financial and the action item is adding additional marketing. But, why is this the chosen action item? Those three simple letters should spark a serious conversation about how and why the client's marketing strategy is the way it is. Are they using any tools to measure ROI? Where did this magical 15,000 number come from? How many of their products do they need to sell to exceed their goal?

Am I in trouble? My co-workers 3 year old asks this quite frequently when she is told "no" to just about anything. When a client says they want to send our their magical number of 15,000 postcards, a MSP needs to be willing to say no if it is in their best interest. Conversely, as a client, the willingness to tell the MSP no to ideas that they do not feel are in their best interest should be allowed and encouraged as well. The word of marketing is ever evolving and every idea is subjective...some work, some don't. While you can't be afraid to try new things, it is important to stick to the action items put in place to achieve and exceed goals.

In closing, are we there yet? No, we'll never be there because it doesn't exist. Why? Because everyone has their own goals that pertain to their specific business. Am I in trouble? Me personally? No, of course not, unless of course you didn't learn anything from this post in which case I might be. :) ... But I digress ... You, whether you are a MSP or a business owner are not in trouble, but it's time to take a good hard look at your policies, procedures and methods to be sure that they are effective. Remember, it's about thriving, not simply surviving.


Do You Know Your Customers?

Published on 04/14/11 10:24AM

 

Sounds like a strange question, right?  You’d be inclined to say, “of course I know my customers.”  The fact is that most people do not know their customer’s well at all.  For your marketing, “knowing your customer” means tracking their purchase history in detail, knowing their birthday, gender and likes or dislikes.  While this sounds like a lot of information to keep, it’s vital to your long-term marketing plan.  Read on to find out how you can use the information you have or gain the information you don’t and how it will increase your ROI almost instantly.

If you are one of the few companies that have a database full of information on your customers, you can send relevant targeted mailings to your customers that not only fit their interests, but increase your ROI.  If you don’t, you do not need to feel as though you cannot target your customer’s with personalized mailings right away…you can.  With a data overlay, your database can be analyzed using over 650 criteria and a virtual spider web will be cast over your list with as much information within the criteria as possible, thereby instantly providing you with a data file full of information for you to use immediately.  You can learn about your customer’s spending habits, their group affiliations, specific interest groups, and more.  In fact, most of this information is more than you would ever get simply by watching their spending with your company.

Having a great database is the first step, but the most amazing part of it is what you can do with the data.  Utilizing the information, you can do one versioned mailing where you change the text and photo’s based on their interests and your event.  You can also use their name throughout the mailing for an added personal touch.  For example, using one postcard template, you can have nearly unlimited versions by changing the background colors based on the customers gender, the photo’s and text fields based on their interests as they relate to your business, and place their name throughout the card to remind them that you know who they are.  Statistically, personalized mailings will provide you with double the response rate over a static, un-personalized mailing. 

In the end, any type of marketing that you do needs to constantly be relevant and it’s hard enough with the changes that happen in business and life daily, but if you have a good data file, you can have versioned mailings that will be relevant for years to come.  You automatically increase your ROI by saving on design costs and by bringing more customers in thanks to the relevance of the message to them.


Why Your Company Needs an Email List

Published on 03/22/11 04:05PM

 

In today's world of websites, apps, Twitter and Facebook, you might think email has become outdated. However, it still remains one of the best ways to communicate with customers and leads alike.

Part of the reason is its ubiquity -- almost everyone on the Internet has at least one email address, and most check it regularly. Emails are much less likely to be lost in the mix than blog posts, tweets or Facebook updates.

An email list is an asset -- it provides value in the form of sales, customer service, research and PR.

If you have a blog, users can subscribe via an RSS feed, but email lists have several advantages:

  1. A lot of people won't know what RSS means, and it requires them to have a feed reader setup and a way to subscribe to the feed. You can safely assume that almost anyone on your site has email.
  2. Even if someone does subscribe to your feed, there's so much information overload on the Internet right now that a new post is likely to be missed.

Also, providing an email is a great initial step if someone isn't ready to make a purchase. Unless your product is very inexpensive, most customers won't be ready to make a purchase the first time they visit your site. So capturing their email address is a great first step. It requires some trust from the user, but not as much as them spending money. In addition, it gives you a way to keep communicating with them, hopefully leading to a sale in the future.

How can you build up an email list if you don't have one? One of the best ways is to simply convert some of your existing traffic. As I mentioned above, you can ask visitors for their email address on your sales pages. If you have a blog, consider adding a sign up form on each post.

From there you can set up an autoresponder sequence (a set of emails that regularly goes out to new members) or just broadcast new messages when you have something to talk about. A sequence of emails lets you cover a lot of ground that builds up trust. You can discuss your product or service's benefits, as well as pre-empting common fears or hesitations customers may have. You have a way to turn leads into customers while keeping 100% control.

Regardless of your business, an email list is a great step both to converting customers and keeping in touch with existing customers.  If you'd like to sign up to begin sending e-mails to your customers, simply go to http://www.curleydirect.com/e-mail-marketing.

~ Costa Walcott, Co-Director of Web Services


Learn from Disney

Published on 02/23/11 02:46PM

After seeing a documentary recently on Walt Disney (the man, not the company), it got me thinking about how their business development and marketing strategies can help company's of all types and sizes. There are hundreds of them, and I'm sure I will miss tons, but here are a few that come to mind.  If you have some of your own, feel free to comment on this post or submit through e-mail or social channels.

  • Keep Your Employees Happy

    Walt Disney Land came to be because Walt Disney felt that his employees should have a place to go with their families to unwind across from the studio. (His idea became too big for the lot, so it had to be moved, but it's the idea that counts) 

    While you mostlikely cannot open up your own amusement park, what you can learn from this is that it's important to keep your employees happy. The happier your employees are, the harder they will work for you. 
     
  • Brand Recognition is Key

    Walt Disney started with sketch drawings that later turned into animated shorts, full length movies and are now cartoons. His original idea has transcended time and generations - his Mickey Mouse character is one of the most globally recognizable figures. His original idea still promotes the Disney brand as a whole without words in print, online, through dolls, on TV and in character form. While Disney has other icons too (Cinderella's castle, the Disney logo, etc), but nothing will ever be as recognizable as Mickey Mouse himself.

    Whatever represents your business, be it a logo, an icon or a mouse, utilize it in different forms of media and make sure that it is consistant. This is who you are as a business. It's what makes you unique. All of your marketing should have a similar look and feel - colors, fonts, writing style, etc. 
     
  • Evoke Emotion

    The current Walt Disney World commercials evoke a certain emotion with viewers. They are home video's of parents telling their young children that they are going to Disney World in creative ways. Clearly every child in the commercials gets incredibly excited and their idea is to make you say "I want my child to have that reaction." Undoubtably more and more familes have already started doing this and one quick search on YouTube proves it.

    The fact is, you don't own the "happiest place on earth" so you certainly may not have children screaming to come visit your business, but you need to get people excited about your business, no matter what it is. Usually the best way to do this is through a great offer or call to action. A large percentage off a service or a freebie usually gets people excited about a business and yours should be no exception. 
     
  • Customer Service is King

    Disney employees, or "Cast Members" as they are referred to, are some of the happiest people on earth (or at least that's how they act while at work). Interacting with any of them - whether its on the phone, at a park, in a hotel or at a Disney store is almost always a pleasure. They take the mantra "the customer is always right" to the extreme, but it pays off - people come back because of them.

    Whoever is the first point of contact for your business should be friendly, easy going and a problem solver - 110% of the time. Everyone has bad days, but if you want customers coming back again and again, you need someone who can make them want to come back because of the service they receive. You can have the best product in the world but if people aren't treated well, they will go elsewhere... especially in a poor economy.

GoDaddy.com's Excellent Use of Cross Media Marketing

Published on 02/04/11 03:18PM

With Superbowl Sunday almost upon us, everyone is wondering what commercial will dominate this year.

Amongst the previews was GoDaddy.com's commercial which always features a cliffhanger ending due to it's 'not suited for prime time' content. The commercial tells you to go to GoDaddy.com to see the ending of the risqué commercial.

It made me realize what a stunning example of cross-media GoDaddy.com is employing. Their product, domain names, is not something you would need everyday. It may not have always been a household name, but amongst their seemingly target market of male's, they are probably now very well known. Next time they need a domain name or something related, where are they going to go? GoDaddy.com of course.


The World of Business as seen by Nate Crary

Published on 01/25/11 09:30AM

Nate Crary was an intern with Curley Direct from September 2010 through January 2011.

I’m Nathan Crary, a senior at Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School in Yarmouth, Massachusetts. I became an intern at Curley Direct through the Work Based Learning program at my school. When seeking placement for my internship, I knew that I wanted to go to a business to see the various jobs you can have within the business world and Curley Direct ended up being the perfect place for me because it is small enough to allow me to see all the jobs, but it is large enough to give an accurate representation of what things are like in the business world.

I am planning on pursuing a career in the business field and being able to get experience in the field has been invaluable. During my semester as an intern at Curley Direct, I have sat in on meetings, seen the different stages of a project from the initial concept through the finished product, filed countless folders and for CorenPS (Curley Direct’s other company), I aided in a new product launch and filled orders as needed. Of the many things I did as an intern, I enjoyed helping with some of the many projects that were completed when I was there. For example, doing photo research for a regional hotel brand mailing, or typing up content for a newsletter for a restaurant chain. If I had to find a negative, I would say it is filing. I really *love* filing, it is boring and repetitive, but someone has to do it and in the end, I didn’t mind.

The best part of my internship was that each day brought something new. One day I would be helping with research, the next day I’d be filing, and another day I could be working in the warehouse. I loved this because it allowed me to get a feel for all aspects of the business. Being able to learn some of the basics in a business will give me an advantage when I go to Tufts University in the fall. I have gotten to see how this business works and how some software programs help strengthen or assist businesses on a day-to-day basis. This experience alone will give me a leg up on the competition I will have to face in college.

I came into my work based learning class knowing a little about business, but I am leaving with many new skills that I will be able to benefit from for the rest of my life. The time I have spent at Curley Direct has greatly broadened my knowledge about the many facets of the business world. I have had a lot of fun throughout my internship and while I am sad to have to leave, the fun and experiences I have had will stay with me for the rest of my life. I am thankful to the people that helped me during my time here. Having to go to class at the end of each day instead of going to Curley Direct is going to be a drag compared to my time as an intern.


Biggest Sale ... of the Season

Published on 11/05/10 10:25AM

As we begin to get into the thick of the holiday shopping season, the commercials are starting to run about as often as political ads were just days ago and it got me thinking about how the verbiage used so easily lures people in and how you can use it to your advantage.

All of the retailers do this - every ad they run for a sale, they announce that's it's the BIGGEST SALE and then with loud happy music behind them, they add that it's "of the season" so basically, it's like saying that today is the greatest day of your life.  Tomorrow could be, but how would you know if it hasn't happened yet.  The thing is, people hear what they want to hear and marketing exec's at retailers count on that.  There will be another sale, in fact, there will be many more and they will all carry the same message with similar discounts, ads and followers.

So what can you take from the recent barrage of biggest sale ad's?  It's simple... Tell people what they want to hear, tell them and then tell them again.  Remind people why they should shop with you, use your service or donate to your organization at least 3 times throughout your marketing and keep it simple.  The reason they call it "The biggest sale ... of the season" instead of talking specifically about the so called reason for the sale is becuase everyone identifies with it.  There is no way for anyone to be offended by it, not understand its meaning or not hear exactly what they were supposed to.

It's never easy, but we are always here to help you with creating a simple yet effective marketing campaign.  Enjoy the sale's ... I mean, the season :)

- Donna

 


Patriots Ticket Raffle to Benefit Community Visions!

Published on 09/30/10 01:06PM

You have a chance to win tickets to PATS V. JETS for MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL on December 6, 2010 at 8:30PM.  If you win the two (2) tickets, you will also be sitting in the EXECUTIVE SUITE'S complete with food and beverage service!

Who is Community Visions?  Community Visions, Inc is a 501(c)3 established by an active group of Yarmouth Recreation Commissioners in 2004. The purpose of the corporation, as established, is to develop, improve and expand recreational opportunities, facilities and programs of the residents of the Town of Yarmouth Massachusetts; to acquire by purchase, lease, or otherwise any and all real and personal property necessary and incidental to the fulfillment of the foregoing purposes; to raise money and accept gifts of money or property and to do any and all other acts permitted under the law. The corporation is required to conduct business in a charitable manner and to conduct its affairs in a manner beneficial to the public interest, including the erection and maintenance of public buildings, lessening the burdens of government, and combating juvenile delinquency.

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?! If you are interested in purchasing, the tickets are $20/each and can be purchased with a check or cash.  Please contact John, III by e-mail JohnC@CurleyDirect.com, call 508.398.4580 x17 or come by the office to pickup your tickets.   Ends 11/14/2010.

 

 


Maintain and Build Your Database: The secrets to keeping your customers and preserving a good customer list

Published on 09/23/10 05:02PM

At Curley Direct, we hear the same question day in and day out, how do I maintain or build my list? It’s fairly simple, actually. Read on to find out some of the secrets to success.

Secret: Retention and Profiling

Retention is the key to a successful business. It is twice as hard to get a new customer in the door once than it is to get a previous customer back in for a repeat visit. In order to get them coming back, you need to keep them engaged. The more you know about them, the more efficiently you can market to them. For example, if you are a shoe store, it is inefficient to send a postcard or e-mail blast advertising a women’s shoe sale to men. By knowing the gender of your recipients you can target the message directly to them.

The more marketing material a person receives that they perceive as having little to no value to them, the more they de-value your business and the less frequently they do business with you. It is mostly done subconsciously and it makes sense; if you owned a high-end restaurant and a vendor who sells you your expensive table and flatware started sending you advertisements for plastic-ware and vinyl table cloths, you would remember them for the perceived value of the plastic and vinyl supplies and not the gorgeous plates and silverware they sold you three months ago.

The easiest time to collect information from a customer is at point of sale, but customers do not like to be berated with questions when trying to pay for their purchase. Instead, train your staff to input information based on buying preferences (brands purchased, food chosen, questions asked of the staff, etc) to build your customer’s profile. With variable data technology, Curley Direct can change out images or text in print and online based on the information you already have in your database. We also offer the ability to gain invaluable information by mailing a postcard or letter with a PURL (personalized URL) where you can ask them questions regarding their buying habits, preferences, birthday’s, etc.

Secret: Diligent Record Keeping

In order to be able to retain your customer’s business, you need to know who they are first. If you do not use a newer POS system that allows data input, take written notes and input them into an excel spreadsheet daily. Additionally, Quickbooks allows for record keeping. The most important places to start are: First Name, Last Name, Mailing Address, City, State, Zip, Phone Number and E-mail address. By having 3 methods of contact, you allow for a more versatile marketing plan. Not everyone is willing to give you all 3, so you need to have the ability to market to all customer’s in their preferred communication vehicle.

Secret: Software Tips and Tricks

Curley Direct recommends using software that easily exports to Microsoft Excel (available for PC and Mac) in a “.xls” format. We do accept a limited number of other format’s (Text - “.txt” and Comma Separated - “.csv”) but they are not recommended.

The biggest problem we hear with Excel is that for zip codes beginning with a 0, excel automatically drops them. This is something we are accustomed to and can take care of easily, but if you would like to do it yourself, you can do so in just a few easy steps.

To retain the 0 at the beginning of zip codes, click the letter along the top of the spreadsheet in the column containing the zip codes to highlight the entire column. Next, right click with your mouse and choose the option “Format Cells…” from the drop down. The Format Cells box will appear. Under the “Number” tab, click “Special.” Choose “Zip Code” and press “OK.” … save the file and you’re done!

When exporting a database, it is very important to keep all fields separate to avoid processing time and costs.

Secret: It’s Hard Work!

Keeping your list clean and up-to-date is hard work so be sure to assign a very detail oriented person to the task and watch it yourself as well – it’s like cleaning your house, the longer you let it go, the worse it gets! If you do hit a snag in the road, Curley Direct offers services to clean, scrub for duplicates, update those who have moved or are deceased, profile and organize your lists.

 

Hurricane and Labor Day Closure Information

Published on 09/02/10 01:17PM

Due to the hurricane, Curley Direct will be closing at noon on Friday, September 3rd. We will also be closed on Monday, September 6 in observance of Labor Day, reopening at 8:30am on Tuesday, September 7th.

We apologize if this causes our clients any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding.

 

Final Days to Register for Premier Cape!

Published on 08/27/10 09:21AM

Tuesday, August 31st is the last day to register to participate in Curley Direct's Premier Cape program for vacation homeowner's. This unique programs allows advertisers to work cooperatively to target 30,000 of the Cape's top vacation homeowners. The homeowners will receive a plastic postcard with a credit card like discount card built in to the postcard. They will pop out the card, activate it online where they can view your offer, then bring it in to prove their participation and receive their offer from you. You will also be featured in 3 e-mail blasts that will go out over the course of the next year reminding patrons to use their card.

This program was written about by the foremost authority on digital printing, PODi.  You can find their case study by going to Curley Direct's research page.

Interested? E-mail Johnc@CurleyDirect.com or call 508.398.4580 x17 today!

 

 

 

Welcome to the all new CurleyDirect.com!

Published on 08/12/10 09:34AM

After months of planning and help from a great web design team, we are so excited that you are viewing our brand new site. We hope our site provides you with an understanding of all of the great services that we offer, educational materials and most importantly, a great user experience. We have made it easier than ever to contact our team, learn about how all of our services can benefit you and your company, submit quote requests, and much, much more. In addition, we answered the requests to “meet” our team – check out the “People” section where you can view photo’s and read biographies of our management team! Please take a minute to have a look around. We look forward to making continual improvements to the site including adding educational materials and research as we are able to make it available. Please feel free to comment on this post to submit your comments on the new site!

~ Curley Direct

 

 

 

Curley Direct Event Tuesday March 16th!

Published on 03/13/10 01:02PM by John Curley, III

This Tuesday, March 16th from 9-11am, Curley Direct, in partnership with Coastal Community Capital and the Yarmouth Chamber of Commerce will be presenting a workshop on direct marketing. This workshop, which will be presented by the Curley Direct team, will focus on all of the facets of a successful direct marketing campaign. During the workshop, you will be taken through a complete campaign from start to finish, including a marketing plan, list choice, graphic design, dynamic personalization, digital printing and direct mail. Learn how to put your hard earned money to work for you. Members of the Curley Direct team will each be presenting segments of the workshop and will be on hand to answer your questions.

Free continental breakfast will be served to all attendants. Seating is filling up quickly so please register today, or Monday by noon, by visiting www.CoastalCommunityCapital.org or by calling Marcia at Coastal Community Capital, 508-362-3367.


Curley Direct Outing to Providence

Published on 01/18/10 02:49PM

Last week, the Curley Direct team enjoyed a night out on the town in Providence.  We started at Ardeo at Waterplace Park on Union Street and then walked down the tunnel to the ice skating rink in Waterplace Park.  We all had a great time and highly recommend it to anyone who wants a great night out during the week or weekend!

Pictures are posted on our Facebook Page for all to see! Unfortunately our staff photographer was enjoying the evening and missed a lot of shots, but you'll get to see a bit of it :)


Erica is back!

Published on 11/12/09 09:16AM We are excited to report that Erica has returned from maternity leave and will be full-time again on Monday. Please help us in welcoming her back! :)

Baby news!

Published on 10/12/09 09:46AM Congratulations to Erica who delivered a beautiful baby boy on Friday, October 9th at 8:08PM. His name is Mason Timothy and he came out weighing just shy of 10lbs and was 21 inches long. Both mom and baby are doing great and Erica's daugher, Makayla, is loving her new brother! :)

Friday Trivia - August 28

Published on 08/28/09 10:24AM

Answer the following trivia question by e-mailing it to Donna (click here: dkaplan@curleydirect.com). If you're right, you'll be entered to win 10% off your next print job!

Question: Senator Ted Kennedy was the Great Grandson of Irish Immigrants (on both sides). Name the province in Ireland that was common to his Great Grandfather and Great Grandmother.

To be entered to win, you must send your answer for this trivia question to Donna (click here: dkaplan@curleydirect.com). The people who correctly answer the question will be entered into a drawing to win. The winner will be chosen at random and notified by e-mail next week.