Content Marketing

Words on paper related to content and engagement, under a cup of coffee and pen on a desk.

Making Content Marketing Work for You

One of the fastest-growing types of marketing is content marketing. Why? Because it works. Content marketing positions you as a thought leader, establishes credibility, and is often the gateway to your customers discovering your business. One study found, for example, that year-over-year growth in unique website traffic is 7.8x higher for content marketing leaders than for followers (19.7% vs. 2.5%, Aberdeen). If your content is being provided in print, content marketing often drives them to check you out online in the first place.



Silos Are for Farmers, Not Marketers

Got a silo problem? If you’re like most companies doing targeted and personalized marketing, you do. You may have plenty of customer data, but it might be in different places (silos), and these places often aren’t talking to each other. As a result, your marketing is less effective than it could be.


Here are some risks to having siloed data:


Unhappy customers. Whenever mail gets lost because you have the wrong address, whenever a mail piece arrives with a bad name, or you offer to sell a long-term customer a product they already own, you risk alienating that customer.


High costs. The average price of every piece of returned mail is $3 (Source: Pitney Bowes). This is not just the postage and printing. It’s the cost of the piece coming back to you, figuring out what went wrong, and taking the time to fix it.


Lost sales. How many marketing opportunities are lost because the data on customers’ preferences and behavior is siloed in different departments? That translates into lost revenue.


Let’s look at five steps for getting rid of those silos. 


1. Connect inbound mail to outbound mail. Build-in tracking mechanisms that allow you to connect the incoming to outgoing mail. This can be as simple as adding a barcode unique to each participant. When the response envelope comes in, the barcode is scanned. This connects the incoming mail to the outbound file, linking the customer information together.


2. Centralize data capture. Centralize mail processing in one location. Capture mail coming in from marketing, sales, customer service, web forms, and anywhere else in your company.


3. Extract what you need. Your mail contains lots of essential details that can be useful to your print and digital marketing. Extract all of the insights you can, including names, addresses, channel preferences, transaction history, and customer surveys. Input it into a centralized database that can be accessed throughout the organization.


4. Look and learn. Assign someone with a marketing and data background to analyze your database to understand what it tells you. Contained in there are critical nuggets about customer behavior, channel preferences, and more. Need help? Just ask!


5. Put it to use. With a closed-loop on your mail communications and a centralized, up-to-date database accessible by all departments, you have a powerful marketing tool at your disposal. Take what you can learn and use it to improve your targeted and personalized direct mail marketing or other customer communications.

Lessons Learned from Real-Life Split Testing

If you want to know what’s working, test it. Is this recipe better than that one? Is this pair of shoes more comfortable than those? Marketing is no different. By taking a portion of your list and testing one element at a time, you can find out what works best. Even if you’ve done testing in the past, things change. It’s essential to keep testing to make sure you know what is working now.


Unbounce, a service that allows marketers to build, publish, and test landing pages, has described the impact of testing on three different companies and the lessons learned from each. Let’s take a brief look at each one.


Test #1: Great ads can get better. SafeSoft Solutions had a slick, professional ad that was doing well. The headline promoted productivity and efficiency. It used attention-grabbing, easy-to-read bullet points to outline the benefits of its services. But the ad did not contain pricing information. SafeSoft decided to test the addition of a green starburst with its pricing inside. The result? A 100% increase in conversions.


Test #2: Not all trial offers are created equal. For some companies, a seven-day offer might be perfect. For others, customers might need a more extended test-out period. When HubSpot split tested its trial offer, it found that prospects required more time to make a decision. By testing a 30-day trial over a seven-day trial, it was found that it could boost conversions by 110%.


Test #3: Location matters. Does the placement of the CTA make a difference? Inbound Strategy wanted to find out. It tweaked its site’s landing page, added more information, and played with the location of the CTA. The results? When the CTA was moved from the right-hand side of the page to the left, there was a 217% increase in conversions compared to the control.


These examples have lessons for us, as well. Whether you are working with print, email, landing pages, or any other channel, you’re missing opportunities if you’re not doing split testing regularly. What insights and higher conversion rates might you be missing?

Circular Design

Circular Design Makes Sense: Create an Impact with Earth Friendly and Budget Conscious Design

Circular Design Makes Sense


Make an Impact with Earth Friendly Design And Save Money Too!


If you are concerned about protecting the environment, you’ll love circular design. “Circular design” is based on the larger concept of the circular economy, which tackles global challenges like climate change, waste, and pollution by transitioning from a linear economy (make, use, dispose/waste) to a circular one (recycle, reuse, repurpose). This allows businesses and consumers to make the most of our natural resources and tackle these challenges together.


Love the idea? We do, too! Here are five elements to circular design as they relate to marketing and packaging materials:




Are your paper, paperboard, or signage substrates ethically sourced? If you are using paper-based substrates, where does the fiber come from? How was it harvested? If the substrates are made from petroleum, are there other, more earth-friendly alternatives? For example, did you know there are paper-based options even for outdoor signage that will still meet criteria for durability and weather-resistance?




What type of press is being used to print your jobs? Digital presses eliminate on press chemistry and reduce environmental impact, but there are sustainable solutions for offset, as well. Is your print provider using smart impositions and batching to minimize paper waste? Can you use soft (or online) proofing to eliminate the environmental impact of printing and physically delivering a hard-copy proof?




How are the products being transported? If you are printing packaging, for example, you might want to consider using substrates that are lighter in weight to reduce the amount of fuel used to transport the products. Or “rightsize” your packaging to minimize the use of unnecessary material.




How will the materials be used? The circular design takes into consideration things like bulk packaging over single-use packaging to minimize the amount of product that needs to be recycled or that goes into a landfill.




What will happen to the products once they have been used? Choosing recyclable substrates is one thing, but encouraging and making it easy for consumers to recycle them is another. While many types of plastic signage, such as Coroplast, for example, are recyclable, many people will simply put them in the trash anyway. Consider using paper-based options or adding a recycling logo to make people more likely to recycle them. Some companies encourage their customers not to recycle their packaging and materials, but to compost them.


By taking into consideration these five principles, you can go a long way toward designing marketing and packaging projects that are friendly
to the earth—and because they involve reducing waste, they can often save you money, too.

Signature Aspen - Trust

5 Tips Using Print & Digital Communications to Build Trust

Never has trust between customers and brands been more critical. As e-commerce continues to grow, both for health and convenience, a gap is growing between brands and their customers. Trust bridges the gap. Here are five ways you can use your print and digital communications to increase the level of trust you have with your customers.

  1. Be transparent

Be honest about your intentions with the communication—don’t bait and switch. Buyers are very smart. They know when you’re real with them.

  1. Show you care

The more you show that you can relate to your customers’ concerns, the more trust you gain. That’s why empathy has become such a massive trend in marketing. Look at the success of home meal kits. Of course, advertisers promote the great taste of their food, but they also focus on helping families reclaim time out of their over-scheduled days and use meal preparation as a way to spend quality time together.

  1. Deliver on your promises

Things like money-back guarantees, free trials, and “no questions asked” returns, are one way to assure buyers that your promise matches what you deliver.

  1. Emphasize reliability

Promote the results of customer service surveys showing high satisfaction rates. For example, “95% of our customers would recommend us to a friend.”Also, include customer testimonials and online reviews as part of your print and digital layouts. If other people had a good experience, this increases buyers’ confidence that they can trust you, too.

  1. Segment based on values rather than demographics

Buyers in the same demographic categories often have similar priorities and needs, but when your goal is building trust, marketing to a prospect’s values can be more effective. Another example, if you are selling children’s toys, target your message based on the shared value set of being active, involved parents rather than simply being parents of school-age children.

Especially in times of uncertainty, use your communications to convey consistency, transparency, and empathy. It’s a different approach than the traditional direct sell, but it’s highly effective. Especially during times right now.

Source: Drawn from survey results of “Global Marketing Trends” (Deloitte, 2021)

Signature Aspen - Virtual Event

3 CRUCIAL Steps in Supporting Your VIRTUAL EVENT

Supporting Your Virtual Events

As if virtual meetings and remote offices weren’t changing enough, businesses are now adapting to virtual events! What does marketing a virtual event look like? Does the fact that your event is virtual, change how you promote it? Should all of your marketing be digital to match? The answer is NO! When it comes to marketing and promotion, most of the physical elements, including direct mail, signage, and promotional items remain the same. Heres why:  

  1. You are still promoting an event 

Whether the event is in person or virtual, raising awareness, presenting the event’s value, and collecting sign-ups requires a multichannel approach. You still need a combination of direct mail, email, and social media, to raise awareness and get people to register. 

If you held the event last year, you can generate excitement by adding highlight videos to your event page. Also, you could have people access highlights directly from their brochures or direct mailers via QR Codes or augmented reality. Send them to speaker bios! Give them a sneak peek at what’s to come.

Once people sign up, stay PROACTIVE. Follow up with direct mail and email “save the date” reminders, as well as branded promotional items from you and any sponsors or advertisers. 

  1. You need supporting materials

Even when your audience is watching from an auditorium or a home office, you must brand your event. For example, the area behind your presenters should be branded to your company, sponsors, advertisers with curtains, signage, or other graphics. Use branded backgrounds or screensavers to stay in front of attendees on their laptops and mobile devices, as well. 

Virtual events don’t have to mean boring and constant. Keep attendees engaged with pop-up polls and questionnaires. Use breakout rooms to facilitate in-depth and small-group discussions. Use interactive tools so participants can ask questions, request product information or samples, and engage with you! 

  1. Follow-ups are critical

Throughout the event, use interactive tools to engage your audience.For example, gather data, respond to requests for presentation kits, packaged items, and marketing collateral. Post-event reminders like branded pens, desk calendars, and t-shirts remind attendees of your event and keep your company top of mind. 

Virtual or In-Person, your event should be marketed effectively using a multichannel approach. Maintain branding before, during, and after the event. Have a digital and physical follow-up plan to provide deliverables and keep your participants engaged long after the event is over.


Branded Products

Why Branded Products Should Be on Your Marketing List

Branded Products


Every year, the Advertising Specialties Institute comes out with its Ad Impressions Study. As always, the results are informative and often eyebrow-raising. From how many impressions a branded product receives to which products are kept the longest, the study is always a must read. What are some of the highlights from the most recent edition?


Logoed Masks


Masks are more than a way to stay healthy. In fact, they are a great marketing opportunity.

  • 39% of consumers currently own a logoed mask.
  • 51% of consumers would have a more favorable opinion of an advertiser that gave them a promotional mask. This rises to 56% of women.
  • 61% of women and 53% of men would be more likely to do business with an advertiser that gave them a promotional mask.


Made in the USA


Made in the USA is always a strong statement. Promotional items are no exception.


  • 57% of consumers have a more favorable opinion of an advertiser if the promotional product is USA-made.
  • Women are the most favorable to advertisers offering USA-made branded products— 61% compared to 55% for men.
  • Which other demographics are the most favorable to advertisers offering USA-made promotional products? Baby Boomers (70%) and those living in the South and the West (59% and 58%, respectively).


Branded Pen


One of the most popular branded products is the promotional pen. Eighty-nine percent of consumers currently own one. Branded pens are most effective when they are high quality and something people want to keep. Furthermore, here are more reasons for marketers to use them:


  • Branded pens generate 3,000 impressions throughout their lifetimes.
  • They are kept an average of nine months.
  • At $1 each, branded pens have a cost per impression (CPI) of 1/10th of a cent.


Promotional Bags


Think pens get a lot of impressions? Look at promotional bags!

  • Branded bags generate 3,300 impressions throughout their lifetimes.
  • They are kept an average of 11 months.
  • At $5 each, branded bags have a CPI of less than 2/10th of a cent.


Promotional Calendar


Some promotional products you can produce in-house. Branded calendars are one of the most effective.

  • Branded calendars generate 850 impressions throughout their lifetimes.
  • 52% of consumers keep their calendars one year or more.
  • At $3 each, branded calendars have a CPI of only 3/10th of a cent.


Want to learn about the value of more promotional products? Contact us!


5 Tips to Market Like a Leader, During Times of Uncertainty

Marketing is KEY


In today’s “new normal” created by the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be challenging to know how to strike the right balance when it comes to marketing. Many brands are keeping a low profile, waiting for a surge in consumer confidence before restarting their direct mail and email campaigns. However, it should be the opposite! You should instead Market like a leader!


The answer to this is a resounding NO! Your customers want to hear from you, and they need to hear from you. When everything around them is changing, they need to know that you are still there and that they can trust you. 81% of consumers say that their trust that a brand will do what’s right is a deciding factor in their buying decisions (Edelman, 2020).


5 Tips to market like a leader


In today’s uncertain world, marketing is more important than ever, even if it looks a little different than it used to. When crafting your next campaign, here are FIVE TIPS for setting the right tone. 


  1. Lead the way. During difficult times, people flock to leaders who exude confidence. Brands can inspire, motivate, and make people feel that everything is going to be okay. Continue to reach out using the theme, “We’re here to help.” 
  2. Do good. Consumers like to align with brands that are involved in socially responsible initiatives. Promote outreach programs to your local communities or your giving to national initiatives. For example, a SheerID study found that, during the pandemic, 68% of respondents want brands to donate to programs that provide direct support for medical workers.
  3. Offer to help. For many, this is a time of struggle. Offer deferred payments, ideas for lowering expenses, and so on. Even if your customers don’t need the help themselves, this kind of care and consideration builds brand equity that pays off in the long run. 
  4. Be an expert. This is a great time to share expertise that is meaningful to your customers. Think “Top 5 Ways to Save on Lawn Care” or “3 Plumbing Fixes You Can Do Yourself.” 
  5. Make life easier. The average consumer is juggling a lot of uncertainty. Will the kids be going back to school? What if I lose my job? Position the benefits of your products in terms of how they can help your customers weather this storm. “Let us help you save 10% on your home electric bill,” or, “We’re offering FREE delivery of pool chemicals all summer long. Stay safe and stay home!” 


Brands like Signature Aspen can play a positive role in helping their customers through tough times. We have many things that help protect you from COVID-19 and more! During these times is where our Expert Team gets to work and gets what you want efficiently and in timely manner!


Being willing to change up your messaging tells your customers that you are paying attention… and that you care. At Signature Aspen we always will care and pay attention to the needs of our customers.


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Content Marketing

Top 5 Content Marketing Best Practices

Content Marketing Best Practices

You’ve heard people talk about the value of content marketing. It’s one of the most important ways that people find you. If you are delivering content via digital channels, prospects can immediately click through to learn more. If your content is being provided in print (offset & digital), this is often what drives them to check you out online in the first place.

Content marketing is not just for increasing visibility. It’s for establishing trust and credibility with your target audience, too. If buyers trust your content, they will trust your products.

5 Best Practices for content marketing

How do you get it right? Here are five best practices from the CMO Council, an online resource for chief marketing officers:

  1. Partner with credible + trusted sources. Unless you are an ad agency, writing direct mail, email, and other content likely isn’t your specialty. Stick to what you do best—your products and services—and work with specialists to create the content that will put you in the best light.
  2. Present authoritative, newsworthy, and enriched content. When it comes to creating thought leadership, “any old” content won’t do. It has to be accurate, relevant, and current.
  3. Produce compelling strategic insights. Don’t rehash information your audience can get elsewhere. Create fresh content that reflects your expertise.
  4. Add customer-contributed views + validation. Social proof is key to credibility. Add customer reviews, testimonials, and UGC (user generated-content) whenever possible.
  5. Engage qualified, verified, and predisposed audiences. The key to conversion is targeting the right content to the audience most likely to be in a buying mood. If you are selling home furnishings, for example, not everyone will need a new living room or dining set. Find the right targets—say, new movers or recently marrieds—and then put the right information in front of them. Your conversion rate will go way up.
  6. Be sure to tailor your content to the right channel, as well. The type of content you use in a direct mail piece will be different from the content you use in an email. Know your channels and how best to use them.

Are you using content to draw potential buyers into your sales funnel and convert them to happy customers? If not, how can we help you get started?

Contenting is an incredibly important weapon here at Signature ASPEN. We make sure to set our goals and speak to our targeted audience and engage with them for the best service! For more information, please visit our website


Be sure to Contact Us!