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Aug 17 2017

4 Things I’ve learned about small business blogging

I frequently participate in forums on Alignable, asking and answering marketing questions. I occasionally bring bits of the forum here to the blog. Today, I’ll be expanding on an answer I gave to a print company about setting up a business blog. 

How can i start a daily blog related to my business and products? should i just do it on Facebook and use my business page as the “blog” or should i create an actual new site for the blog, then share that link on my Facebook/LinkedIn business page?

Like many others, I would recommend integrating the blog with your actual website. If you don’t have a website, or you are looking to revamp, WordPress and Wix are easy to use, very affordable (sometimes free) and have blog integrations. Our current blog and website are set up on WordPress and I love it. It’s very versatile and if you have a bit of time to learn, or a bit of money to hire a professional, you can do some really stuff.

And yes, you definitely need to be sharing your blog posts on social media. You can set it up so that when you publish a post it automatically goes to social channels, but I also recommend manually posting to increase visibility and engagement.

I blog for a print company and have a few additional insights to share.

1) It takes quite a while to see ROI on a blog. I was blogging regularly for about 3 years before I started to see it make any difference.

2) Most likely you will burn out trying to do a daily blog, especially if you have a lot of other responsibilities in the company. I recommend starting with once a week, or once every other week.

3) Pinterest has been the most effective social media platform for promoting our blog. I always put a picture with every post and then put that picture on Pinterest and often get at least 1-2 clicks to our website.

4) In addition to blogging educational articles, I blog about new products with pictures included. I use a lot of key words in these articles and this has really increased our visibility. Many people who call us from the website do so because they saw one of the product articles. 

Aug 07 2017

Back to School, Back to Marketing

The summer is already coming to an end. Time to pack up the beach gear, get out the school supplies, and get back on a regular marketing schedule. These back to school postcards are a great way to connect with your geographic farm or social list. Your clients are getting back into a routine, time to get back on their radar!

Download Back To School Order Form. Fill it out and email it to info@onestepservices.com

 

Aug 01 2017

2017 Football Schedules for Direct Mail

The preseason starts August 12th! Football schedules are sticky pieces, meaning recipients are likely to keep them around for awhile and get repeat exposure to your name! Plus, they are relevant to a wide variety of audiences. Order today.

Download  Football Schedule order form

Jul 20 2017

Using Direct Mail to promote your daycare center

I frequently participate in forums on Alignable, asking and answering marketing questions. I occasionally bring bits of the forum here to the blog. Today, I’ll be expanding on an answer I gave to a childcare center who needed ideas on how to promote a new location opening.

How do you alert others of a new location opening? We are opening a new location of our childcare center – Spectrum Station Barry Road. We are enrolling and hiring new staff. What is the best way you would suggest communicating this with the local community?

Alright readers, 10 points if you can guess what marketing tactic I suggest first. I’ll wait here.

Did you guess direct mail? Of course you did! We are all about direct mail here at One Step Services. But seriously though, direct mail marketing is PERFECT for this sort of thing. A 3 month, 6 month or even year long campaign to residents directly surrounding the new daycare center would be very effective. There are two ways to go about doing this, and you’d have to run the numbers to see what would be most cost effective. The first way is to use the US Postal Services EDDM program. With this program, you don’t address to specific people. You simply pick a carrier route (or multiple routes) in the area you want to target. The pieces are addressed with “postal customer” and every single house on the route gets a piece. The rates for EDDM are lower than first class or standard mail. If most residences in the routes you choose have children, then this is probably the best way to go. However, if there aren’t a lot of residences with kids, the second option may be better.

The second option is to purchase a targeted list. You can set geographic parameters, and also choose to only get addresses of residences with children. The list will have specific names and addresses. With this list, you know that each piece is going to a home with kids. Plus, you can use variable data to personalize the pieces which will give you a better return on investment. You’ll also receive standard mail discounts, which is cheaper than first class, not as cheap as EDDM. But if you are mailing to fewer houses, it might save you money overall.

In addition to direct mail, I highly recommend getting current staff, students and families on board with promoting the new site. I send my kids to daycare and would gladly share about my experience to friends and family on social media. I’d also write a review on Yelp or any other site. But, I’d have to be asked. This is key. Those parents and staff are busy, so you have to ask and then ask again. Send an email, post on the social media channels they follow, put a note in the kids cubbies or folders. And if you really want to amp up the referral game, offer a tuition or registration discount for families that get other families to sign up.

 

Jul 13 2017

Successes and failures of our first Twitter contest

I just ran @OneStepServices first Twitter contest and thought I’d share my thoughts and findings while they are fresh in my mind.

The Contest

The contest was super simple. Every time someone retweeted us, they’d be entered to win a $10 Starbucks gift card. I planned ahead and made sure I could just email the gift card, since I didn’t want to deal with actually purchasing and mailing one. The contest lasted one hour, from 12-1pm. I used #RTtoWin

During that hour, I was on Twitter the entire time. I was retweeting others, posting lots of original tweets, liking tweets. No real strategy here, just spent an hour being engaged in the community.

The Results

I only had 1 person retweet within the allotted hour. I did, however, get 15 new followers. This took our overall following up to 500 which was exciting for me. Many of those followers were other marketing companies, which is good for networking, not so good for making money. But two were potential clients. I made sure to follow those two back and add them to lists to make it easier to stay engaged with them.

Our impressions also increased significantly. The day before, our tweets were getting about 465 impressions. During the contest, they were getting 1,359 impressions. That’s an almost 300% increase. Not too shabby.

The Conclusion

I think simply engaging in the community for an hour straight was more effective than the contest itself. While I don’t think it would be worth it to do this every day, I definitely see value in doing it once or twice a week.

I’ve gotten pretty good at using effective hashtags that get the attention of our target audience. I will continue to use those AND increase the use of photos. Readers, I didn’t use a single photo until 45 minutes into the contest. HUGE FAIL! I should have been tweeting photos from the beginning.

What I’ll do better next time

I think I need to give the contest a little more time. Perhaps a 12-5pm time frame. If that doesn’t work, I’ll try the morning. But I definitely don’t think an hour was enough. I also think I need to promote the contest ahead of time and create a unique hashtag to pique the interest of our followers.

I’m about to read an article from my favorite social media marketing gurus, Social Media Examiner, about how to effectively run a Twitter contest. I’m sure they will give me some more ideas of ways to improve next time. I plan on holding another contest next week so stay tuned!

Jul 10 2017

Direct Mail postcards for expired listings

Are you a real estate agent going after expired listings? Check our latest batch of content ready postcards, with postcards aimed specifically at owners of expired listings. Let them know that you have the tools and expertise needed to get that home sold.

Download Expired Listings Postcard Order Form

Not going after expireds? Not a problem. We also have a new traditional listings lead generation postcard. This “Choose Your Selling Adventure” postcard shows people that regardless of their situation, they need to give you a call!

Download  Choose Your Selling Adventure Postcard Order Form

 

Jul 06 2017

July 2017 newsletter freebie: marketing calendar

Below is a suggested schedule that includes mailing, walk and drop, social media, emailing and miscellaneous activities. When you know you need to market but you aren’t sure what to do, pull out this guide.

Marketing Schedule for Real Estate Agents

 

Jun 30 2017

Summer direct mail postcards for real estate agents

Summer is in full swing! And we know the beach is calling your name and you’re finding it hard to choose work over Pina Coladas, but it’s so important to keep marketing and prospecting even during the slower summer months. Our content ready postcards make it so easy. Just pick one, give us your info, and we’ll plug it in and mail it on your behalf. So go ahead, download an order form and submit it, then take a well deserved lounge by the pool.

Download the Pool Tips + Whats Your Next Move OSS Order Form

postcard marketing direct mail postcards

 

Download the Summer Bucket Order Form

 

Download the 4 Reasons and Navigate Order Form

Download the Summer BBQ Order Form

 

Download the HighDemand+SecureHome_OSS-OrderForm

direct mail summer postcards

 

Jun 28 2017

4 direct mail contests for real estate agents, small business and nonprofits

Contests are a great way to engage your audience. Whether you are trying make connections with current clientele, or you are trying to build a list of potentials, a contest is a fun way to get people to notice your brand and take action. Of course, there are hundreds of different types of contests. Below I’ve detailed the four most popular contests you can easily run through direct mail.

Coloring Contest
Audience: Typically families. Usually kids will want to do the coloring but you need the parents to give permission and fill out the entry form.
Execution: You mail a coloring page with an attached submission form that asks for basic contact information. Participants can make the form back or drop it off at a predetermined location. You pick the winner on a designated date. Typically, there are a few different winners, one for each age group. You can mail the prize or drop it off. Do not make the recipients claim the prize. The idea is to make entering and redeeming as easy as possible.
Your Benefit: You can collect contact information for leads and follow up with emails and/or phone calls.

Drawing/Raffle
Audience: Anyone
Execution: This is a very popular one with our real estate clients. They mail out a flyer that details the prize, which is large and relevant to motivate participation. $500 gift cards to theme parks, grocery stores, and home improvement stores are common. The flyer also has a tear off portion that asks for contact information and also asks for a bit more information about the participant (are they interested in selling, do they want a free market update, etc). Participants can mail the tear off portion back, or drop it off at a local office
Your Benefit: You get more information about people on your mailing list, which you can use for follow up emails and phone calls.

Scratchers
Audience: Anyone
Execution: My son subscribes to a children’s magazine. On one edition, he received a postcard with three spaces to scratch off. He did so, and won a small prize which he claimed by mailing the postcard back to the magazine company. This contest works well if you have a lot of small prizes to give away. If you have many winners, you’ll get lots of great response but you have to be sure you’ve got enough prizes and an inexpensive way to get them to the participants.
Your Benefit: You can take the opportunity to gather more information, or keep it simple and just engage your audience in a positive way that builds brand trust and recognition.

Mystery Envelope
Audience: People that live near your brick and mortar business.
Execution: I’ve seen this one done at restaurants a lot, but it could work for any brick and mortar business. Send participants a scratcher or sealed envelope. Assure them that there is a prize voucher inside but that they have to open or scratch it off in the store in order to redeem. Make sure the prize is something they can use while in the store that day, like a discount or free product.
Your Benefit: Brings people into your store and motivates them to purchase that day. You don’t have to pay for return postage.

One Step can help facilitate any of these contests for you by designing, printing and mailing the entry forms. Just give us a call at 949-587-5301 or email info@onestepservices.com to get started.

Jun 22 2017

Stay top of mind with these summer real estate postcards

Download the Pool Tips + Whats Your Next Move OSS Order Form

Share important pool safety tips in with this postcard, which also has a strong call to action on the back. Postcards like this are important for building trust and staying top of mind with owners who aren’t ready to sell right now.

direct mail postcards

You don’t want people calling any real estate agent, you want them calling you! This lead generation postcard tells homeowners why you are the most qualified agent to sell their home.

postcard marketing

Good Cause Marketing