7 Ways Free Survey Tools Help Grow Your Business


Data, data everywhere. But how much of it do you use, really? If you’re like most small business marketers, the answer is probably “not much”–quickly followed by “because I’m way too busy.”

One reliable data source any overworked marketer can easily master is online customer surveys. Choices are plentiful these days and many are free.

Why Surveys?

Surveys should be a staple of every integrated marketing tool box. Not only because they’re free or cheap but because of the intelligence they allow marketers to gather. For example, using an online survey tool, even the smallest small business can:

  1. Conduct pre-launch market research
  2. Collect customer opinions and insight about products and services
  3. Ask which features people like, dislike or want
  4. Poll users about the quality, effectiveness and makeup of website or blog content
  5. Build or update customer preference and profiles
  6. Create quizzes or polls to entice and engage your audience
  7. Uncover potentially profitable patterns and trends

Familiar Players
Though there are hundreds of online survey platforms, a few seem to appear perennially in popular listings, such as PC Magazine’s “Best Online Survey Tools of 2016. Examples of those with a generous free plan and low-cost versions include:

  • SurveyMonkey–big and trusted, with great templates and pre-written questions
  • Polldaddy–unlimited polls and easy WordPress integration
  • SoGoSurvey– touts a feature set that’s uniquely effective at polling Millennials
  • SurveyGizmo–claims to put the fun into surveys with vivid design and a whimsical robot avatar

A Few Best Practices
Keep surveys short enough to be completed in a few minutes and send at optimal times; for some reason, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday outside work hours are the best; and last but not least please, please, please, optimize for mobile.

7 Free Tools To Help Amp Up Your Facebook Presence


Integrated marketers already know that Facebook is an invaluable tool for driving engagement and delivering measureable marketing results: recently up to 52% of all consumer purchases, both online and offline, were influenced by Facebook. Your presence there matters, and so does getting it right.

Consider this post your Facebook power marketer’s all-you-can eat buffet: a free smorgasbord of tools and apps that take you from soup to nuts, so you can create, manage and analyze customer-converting pages and promotions.

Shortstack: A plug-and-play app that lets you create new pages and campaigns, all without knowing a word of code. Shortstack also assists you lead-gen, with a feature that lets you import “likes” and contest entries. It works with Twitter and Instagram, too

Fotor: A free photo-editing tool that also lets you design and make collages. Save time by using their batch-edit feature to resize, color-correct, and fine-tune multiple photos at the same time.

Drumup: Engaging content keeps you clients coming back and interacting with your page, and Drumup helps identify relevant content from other sources, rank those posts, and then queue them up for sharing. Drumup can enhance your overall productivity by slashing social-media management time by up to 90%.

LikeAlyzer: This fun-to-say site makes analytics simple and actionable. Type in your page name to get an in-depth analysis and simple recommendations to boost your page performance.

Canva: You’ve heard about Canva before, but it’s worth mentioning again, as the app comes up repeatedly in social media gurus’ top lists. Loved both for its simplicity and its ability to create beautiful designs and templates, Canva is available for both desktop and mobile.

Facebook Power Editor: This free marketing tool is indeed powerful, letting you manage and edit pages, ad sets, and ads. Signing up also makes you an elite guinea pig: occasionally, Facebook beta-tests new products and tools through Power Editor.

Headline Analyzer: Simply type your headline into the site’s window, and receive instant feedback, previews of what the headline would look like in posts and subject lines, and resources to help you write effective headlines. (Too bad they don’t make this tool for other media, but here’s some help for integrated marketers.)

Judy Brumley Wins PIP Sales Award


 Judy Brumley Wins PIP Sales Award
Platinum Level Award for Sales Excellence

 Long Beach, California, March 14, 2017 — Judy Brumley, a salesperson at PIP in Greensboro, North Carolina has been recognized as a 2016 Platinum Level Top Performer. The Top Performer award is presented annually to recognize top achievers in the PIP franchise network. This year, Brumley was one of only thirty-two salespeople who received Platinum Level status from more than three hundred salespeople worldwide.

The Platinum Level awards are presented at the annual Sales Forum event, sponsored by Franchise Services, Inc., parent company of PIP. This year’s sales training event was held March 9-11 at the Hyatt Regency in Newport Beach, California. The three-day event encompasses general sessions with keynote speakers, breakout sessions, a vendor show and an awards dinner.

About PIP

PIP of the Triad, owned by Jimmy and Judy Brumley, has been an award-winning industry leader offering marketing and business communication solutions since 1983. In 2012, PIP in Burlington made history within the PIP franchise network by becoming the only PIP ever to receive a second Franchisee of the Year award. In May of 2013, the Brumleys purchased PIP Printing and Marketing Services in Greensboro.

Pip Triad is a Top Ten annual sales producer in the United States. Their production plant in Burlington with over 37,000 square feet of sales, production and fulfillment space is the largest franchise facility in the PIP Network. Their Greensboro location is located at 1840 Pembroke Road Suite 1 and will continue to offer business growth solutions to clients in the Piedmont Triad business community.

Jason Crutchfield
PIP Marketing, Signs and Print
825 South Main Street,
Burlington, NC 27215
Tel: 336-222-0717
E-mail: jcrutchfield@piptriad.com
Website: http://www.piptriad.com

Brandon Williams Wins PIP Sales Award


Brandon Williams Wins PIP Sales Award
2016 National Outside Sales Rep Rookie Of The Year

Burlington, NC March 15, 2017 – Brandon Williams, a sales person with Pip Triad/Triad Signs has been recognized as the 2016 National Outside Sales Rep. rookie of the year.   This honor is awarded to the individual with the highest sales volume among all first-year reps. in the United States.

“Brandon has been exemplary in helping our customers with all of their signage, print and marketing needs,” said Jason Crutchfield, sales manager. “Brandon is a true professional with incredible signage knowledge and we are thrilled to have him on our sales team.”

About PIP
Pip Triad/Triad Signs is a nationally recognized print, signs, and marketing services provider that specialize in the creation and execution of growth-oriented solutions for all businesses.    With locations in Greensboro and Burlington, Pip Triad offers robust signage solutions, digital and offset printing, integrated marketing campaigns, mailing and fulfillment services, promotional products, graphic design and website, including online storefronts.

Jason Crutchfield
PIP Marketing, Signs and Print
825 South Main Street,
Burlington, NC 27215
Tel: 336-222-0717
E-mail: jcrutchfield@piptriad.com
Website: http://www.piptriad.com

Does Your Website Stand Out…or Just Fit In?


It’s 2017 and the minimum standard for website design is “good.” As an integrated marketer, you know that your website is much more than a place for people to check out your products or services; your site contributes to your branding, builds a connection with visitors and, ideally, encourages conversions. So, what can you do to ensure a better-than-good website experience?

Using this checklist from Website Magazine is a great first step:

  1. Look at what others are doing. Consider the user experience: is the site well-structured, organized and easy to navigate? Examine other sites, both in and outside of your industry, for elements you can replicate. Consider aggregators for inspiration.
  2. Nail down the basics. Master the fundamentals of building a solid site with domain and hosting. Also, ensure that you create great content that propels a reader through your site.
  3. Polish your messaging. All of the elements that make up your site, including text and images, should communicate clear and useful information about your business. Establish a good content flow to guide visitors through the site and encourage conversions.
  4. Make it yours. Now that you’ve done much of the initial legwork, set your site apart: experiment with unique layout, strong images, and resonant content. This article gives some ideas for elements that encourage readers to take a good look around.
  5. Profile your audience. You can’t be everything to everyone. Look at your customer personas: how can you create the best experience for your audience? Consider how to appeal to what your ideal buyer needs, wants and craves, and target them with audience-relevant content.
  6. Understand success is more than design or words. No matter how well put together your site, you must generate traffic to and through your site. Encourage conversions and lead-generation with these tips, and remember these guidelines for encouraging visitors to poke around your site.
  7. Rinse and Repeat. Your work doesn’t end once your site is live—or once you’ve launched a digital campaign to drive traffic. Your website will benefit from constant refinement of content and messaging in response to metrics, traffic, conversion and audience response.

To add an eighth point: don’t be ordinary. Be better than good; be extraordinary, be relevant, stay current and fresh, and be responsive to your audience. As we move into 2017, integrated marketers that take these lessons to heart will find that number eight falls into place on its own.

Consumer Trend Watch: 3 Popular Promotional Products for 2017


Citing the perennial popularity of promotional products to integrated marketers, event planning guru Anna Marie Rembold took to her blog to predict promotional product trends in 2017 that will help SMBs build brand awareness, impress prospective clients or wow current customers.

Trend #1: Technology Dominates the Field

For both their utility and their place in the zeitgeist, there is a marked trend toward wearables, smartphone accessories, power banks, custom USBs, and similar items. Reports have shown that 83% of millennials own a smartphone and 77% of consumers keep promo items for their usefulness. These factors contribute to the uptick in the popularity of items like branded charging cables, earbuds, VR headsets, smart watches, and a plethora of Bluetooth devices (speakers, chargers, trackers).

Trend #2: Eco is In

Environmentally responsible products are popular with consumers interested in sustainability, and for the halo effect they confer to the giver. ASI finds that 42% of consumers have a favorable opinion of advertisers distributing these goods; this is particularly true of millennials, who believe in businesses “doing the right thing.” Items may be sustainably manufactured, recycled or produced using biodegradable materials.

Trend #3: High Value

Consumers are impressed by higher-quality promotional items reflecting both the financial investment made in the piece, and the value placed on the customer or prospect who receives it. PPAI finds that consumers are more “favorably disposed” towards businesses that are willing to spend more. Upscale items ($25+) may include high-quality shirts and jackets, gift cards, fitness trackers, drones, luggage (carry-on bags, backpacks), premium notebooks, etc.

If you are looking to expand your business reach, look no further than the classic integrated marketer tactic: timely promotional items that meet the demands of today’s discerning consumer. Consider the above three trends to get the most bang for your promotional buck!

The Challenges And Rewards Of Virtual Reality For Small Business


Once the domain of sci-fi and big-budget Hollywood movies, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have not only become “real” reality, but are as cheap and accessible enough as any other hot toy or gadget. And while, at the moment, VR headsets like Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR may not be quite as omnipresent as iPhones and Xboxes, they’re getting there: Experts predict that by 2020, VR will be a $30 billion business.

For integrated marketers, the shift promises to be a game-changer

As the media landscape becomes more fragmented, and traditional channels like broadcast become increasingly expensive and more narrow, audience, integrated marketers need unique, creative ways to capture their audiences’ attention. Right now, nothing else comes close to virtual reality.

One of the medium’s biggest challenges is also where its greatest rewards are found: how to move beyond an experience that’s merely “wow, this is pretty cool” to “this really made me feel something.” The results can be huge: according to a recent study, neuroscientists reported that a VR experience drove 27% more emotional attachment to a brand, compared to traditional methods. When you look at this this Dutch campaign for McDonald’s Happy Meals, it’s easy to see why.

It’s All About Catering To Your Customers

This isn’t just about creating programming, like a TV show, it’s about being able to put someone into another person’s set of shoes or perspective –such as Red Bull does here to dizzying but dramatic effect.

At the very least, VR could give your customers a different way to interact with your business, which can benefit organizations—like this casino of the not-so-distant future.

While large-scale VR experiences like these may not be in the doable-right-now realm for integrated marketers, VR lends itself to being an attention-getting lure at events; it’s becoming increasingly common in recruiting videos; it can lend richness to people-focused functions like education, support, and training; and augmented reality can effectively bring a catalog to three-dimensional life.