RIP Print Marketing? Not so Fast.

The need to be automated and high tech has shifted focus away from print marketing. The consensus is that people think printed marketing collateral is outdated, expensive, and just not cool.

We used to think that too, but according to the Direct Marketing Association’s 2105 Response Rate report, we were wrong.


Direct mail has a higher open rate than email.

Direct mail achieves a 3.7% open rate, while email only has a 0.1% open rate. The packaging you select for your direct mail can increase the open rate even more. Oversized envelopes have the best response rate at 5.0%. Catalogs have an open rate of 3.9% and letter-sized envelopes have an open rate of 3.5%.

Less Competition with Direct Mail

Direct mail marketing campaigns are down from 79% of businesses in 2012 to 50% in 2015. As businesses grow their online marketing efforts, they are dropping their direct mail efforts. This means there is more competition online and less competition in the real world. Now you have an opportunity to capture your prospects’ attention in their home or business.

print marketing

3 Tips for Designing a Postcard


Postcards are a smart little piece of print marketing collateral that work well as mailers, meeting leave behinds, and event handouts. In the Zanifesto office, we always have a big stack on hand.

To see the best result from your investment, we recommend following these three rules:

print marketing rules

You don’t need to customize your marketing collateral for each recipient, but you should customize it for each type of recipient.

For example, Zanifesto prints postcards that briefly describe our product. We have one version targeted toward entrepreneurs that we leave at local incubators. We have another version that targets freelancers and Work at Home Moms (WAHMs) that we leave at their regular hangouts.

Each group has a different need that requires a different message. Start ups want Zanifesto for creating marketing collateral, whereas freelancers want Zanifesto as a tool to make their own products to sell on Etsy and similar sites.

print marketing design tips

One of the challenges, and we say benefits, of print marketing is the limited real estate. You have one postcard or flyer to convince someone to purchase your product or service. No mumbling or meandering with your message. You have to get right to the point.

print marketing tips

Pay the extra dollar for nicer paper. Users can tell when you printed your postcards at home with Avery paper. We see the frayed edges from where you tore along the perforated lines. When you’re in a time crunch, we understand. You gotta do what you gotta do.

But if you have the time, have your collateral professionally printed (we use VistaPrint and Moo) and pay for some nice thick card stock. You’ll appear more professional and trustworthy, both of which are good for your brand and your growth.

Do you have any other tips to share?

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How to Use Client Testimonials in Your Marketing Campaigns

Client testimonials, sometimes called “social proof,” are incredibly valuable to a business. Not only do they provide you with client feedback on ways to improve your product, they help persuade potential clients to give you a try. In fact, 78% of Americans said that customer reviews have influenced their decision to purchase a product.

marketing client testimonials

The reason for this is biology. According to a study published in Scientific American, survival of the human species depended in part in our belief of anecdotal stories, even over conflicting scientific evidence.

“The reason for this cognitive disconnect is that we have evolved brains that pay attention to anecdotes because false positives (believing there is a connection between A and B when there is not) are usually harmless, whereas false negatives (believing there is no connection between A and B when there is) may take you out of the gene pool.”

For example, you know that a magic diet pill will not cause you to lose 50 pounds in a few weeks. However, when a woman in a swimsuit comes on the screen and tells you she lost 50 pounds in eight weeks, you can’t help wanting to try it.

While the testimonial example above seems a bit deceitful, the use of honest client testimonials to promote legitimate products is an effective way to communicate your value proposition to potential clients.

Tip: More Descriptive, Less Generic

Potential buyers don’t want to know that the product is easy or awesome. They are considering your product because they have a problem to solve. They need to know your product is the right solution.

For example, when potential buyers evaluate Zanifesto, they typically want a graphics builder that is easier to learn than Adobe Illustrator.

client testimonial best practices

A client quote about the intuitiveness of the user interface is more likely to resonate than a general comments about the product’s overall awesomeness.

Quandary: Edit or not?

What if the quotes you receive would be more effective with just a few tweaks? Some believe any editing client testimonials makes them less authentic. However, if your edits are in the spirit of their original statement, and the client approves the refined statement, it is arguably just as authentic.

client testimonial best practices 2

Sometimes, a few small changes will transform a dull sentence into a powerful message.

Strategy: When and Where?

Client testimonials fit anywhere in your marketing collateral. You can use them on websites, brochures, white papers, and as stand alone marketing collateral. Remember, your value proposition is always more believable when users say it.

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Execution: Flashy or Formal?

Though client testimonials are plain text, use visual designs to draw the viewer’s attention. Highlight key words by bolding the text or using an alternate color.

Here is an example of client feedback we have received. Yes, we say all these things on our homepage, but these words carry much more weight when coming from our users.

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Interested in using client testimonials in your marketing campaigns? Make your own marketing collateral with Zanifesto.

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Infographics at the White House

The US just completed negotiations with Iran – Let the politicking begin!

While both sides have taken up the usual dramatic speeches and doomsday rhetoric, the White House has decided to educate the public through the use of infographics because, as we all know, infographics convey the meaning of a message better than words.


Check out the rest of their infographics here.

Tutorial: Custom PMPro Emails

We use the WordPress plugin Paid Membership Pro (PMPro) to manage our membership levels. It is a popular plugin that has many great features, its welcome email not being one of them. (uggo!)

pmpro emails

So we were pretty excited when they recently released a new email template add on. Our new welcome email is quite an improvement and it was so easy to create. Jen, the non-developer of the team, created the new welcome email using custom HTML all by herself.

If she can do it, so can you!  All the steps are below.

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We started with this article by Nicole Merlin. It contains the HTML for a nice, simple template that needed very few changes.

html email template

Then we pasted the HTML into this real-time editor in order to see what the output would look like. We added our own images, updated the text, and inserted a few links.

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When the email design and content was complete, we copy and pasted the HTML into the PMPro Email Template add on.

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And that’s it. Really!

5 Ways to Accomplish More by Doing Less

Have you ever had a busy day where you didn’t actually get anything done?

Here are a few tips on how to increase your productivity by doing less through out the day.

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Digging in the Data

Tech start ups have to make product decisions all the time. Tweak this and change that until you hit the sweet spot with your target market. But then the market changes so you have to modify your product. And repeat until infinity.

Making the right decisions to maintain your success is challenging. At Zanifesto, we make decisions by relying on data rather than going with your gut. Yet,data can only take you so far.

Let’s take a recent example.

Zanifesto is subscription-based because we assumed that users would want to make infographics throughout the year as part of their ongoing content marketing campaigns.

As we built our tool, we inserted methods to track data. Last week, we finally created a way to collect the data and review it in an excel format. We took a look at frequency and here were the results:

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67% of users only created one infographic. Why? To find the answer, we need to get out of the data and in front of users. 

Some say this is the tough part, but we love to talk to users. We have already received some valuable feedback we plan to incorporate into our product, but we’d like to hear from your too.

What comments and suggestions do you have about our product? What could we offer to make you want to create more infographics?

 key statistics infographic

Visual Value Proposition

Users love our latest template: a visual value proposition.

A visual value proposition allows you to succinctly convey the purpose of your company and the value you provide to clients.

This is a more effective way to share your vision with prospects, employees, and investors. Our template forces you to scrap your long, wordy documents and get right to the point!

Post it on your website, print it out and hang it in your office, or include it in an email marketing campaign. The possibilities are endless.

Get creating.

 Visual Value Proposition

What to Do When No One is Reading Your Posts

Do you ever feel like you are talking on your blog, but no one is listening?

It happens to many budding entrepreneurs. You suddenly think of a great post topic, write it up, and publish it. Then, it just sits there with minimal views and no comments until you think of another post topic.

“It’s a waste of time to haphazardly throw some content up on a blog and cross your fingers,” says freelance business author KeriLynn Engel. Engel has provided top notch content marketing services to a variety of companies, including WP Superstars, Twtrland, and Who is Hosting This.

With a little thought and planning, you can offer content that attracts an audience, resonates with readers, and converts potential customers.

What is your goal?

Take a step back from the keyboard and identify why you write and publish content. The answer is probably to grow your business.

What is your objective?

Next, identify specific objectives, or milestones, to pursue.  For example, an objective may be to increase sales of your new product in a particular market segment or to grow your list of email subscribers.

What is your strategy?

With your objective in mind, craft a strategy that thoughtfully includes and schedules the topics needed to achieve it.

For example, if you want to increase sales of your bowties in the young bachelor market segment, your strategy will need to include perfecting the messaging for this market segment and identifying the best locations or channels to distribute your content.

How will you measure success?

There are many ways to execute your strategy, and it is important to spend time on things that accomplish your objective. To determine whether your strategy is a success, you need a goal.

According to Engel, “My #1 tip for small business owners who are trying to execute a content marketing strategy would be to set measurable goals and track your progress. Set S.M.A.R.T. goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-specific) and track and review your progress so you know how to best use your time and resources.”

For example, your goal could be to increase sales by 10% within one month of the launch of your content marketing strategy.  Let’s say you try two types of messaging in your content marketing, technical and emotional, and you publish them on various websites.

Your technical content focuses on the quality of the material used for your bowties, while your emotional content focuses on the ability to express oneself through fashion.

Using analytics tools like Google Analytics (this is free, by the way), you learn that young men who read the technical articles are more likely to order a bowtie than those who read the emotional articles. You can then conclude that you need to write more technical articles and fewer emotional articles.


Continue to learn what works best and do more of it.

By refining your strategy and tactics in this way, you are more likely to accomplish your objective and achieve your goal.

Good luck!


3 Types of Customer Complaints That Can Grow Your Business

It is hard not to feel a twinge of resentment when you receive that first customer complaint. You devoted time, money, and other resources into building your baby and here comes this person pointing out its flaws. Yet, this is no time to dwell on your emotions. You’ve been presented with a valuable opportunity, and with the right response, you can turn this complaint into profit.

If you start with the belief that a complaint is feedback from someone in your target market, recognizing the complaint’s value becomes easy. Companies pay lots of money to gather market feedback and here you have it fall right in your lap.

It is easy to dismiss the complaint as wrong or irrelevant, but instead ask yourself how you can use it to improve your business. From there, validate your answer with others in the market and, if applicable, implement it.

For example, the complaint could indicate that:

You aren’t solving a pressing market problem.

Customers only see value in a solution that solves a problem they experience. If your target market isn’t experiencing the problem you are solving, the problem isn’t that big of a deal, or you aren’t solving it very well, go back to the drawing board. Change or improve your solution to better solve a pressing market problem and you’ll be more likely to see customers pay for your product or service.

Your messaging is off.

Maybe you are solving a pressing market problem, but the complainer doesn’t correctly understand your business or recognize your solution’s value. Instead of firing off a snarky response, take an introspective stance and identify ways to reduce confusion. Try highlighting your value proposition, clarifying your marketing message, or updating your website. If this person is confused, it is likely others are as well.

You are missing crucial functionality from your MVP (minimum viable product).

– You haven’t properly prioritized your roadmap.

The improvement is already on your roadmap, but this feedback suggests it is more important than you thought. If the market values this improvement above other roadmap items, raise the priority and implement it sooner. If you have specific questions or uncertainties, use the complainer as one of your resources. After all, they expressed a willingness to provide feedback.

– You need to add this to your roadmap.

The complaint brought to light something you hadn’t considered, but should implement. If the market agrees this would add value, add it to your roadmap.

These are just a few examples of finding value in a customer’s complaint. Obviously, you should not make business decisions based solely on one customer’s opinion, but you can use it as a starting point to investigate possible improvements.

How have you turned a complaint into an opportunity?

marketing feedback infographic