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You’ve probably made some New Year’s resolutions for yourself – exercise more, eat right, spend more time with family. But have you thought about your resolutions for your small business? How about resolving to be more strategic about your marketing?
If you’re ready to get serious about your small-business marketing, here are four important steps you should take:
Look at what’s worked in the past.
If you’ve been doing a good job of tracking your marketing efforts, it should be easy to go back and see what worked. Did you get a boost in sales after you sent out those postcard mailings? Did that trade show result in enough qualified leads to justify the cost of attendance? Make a list of all of your marketing efforts from 2011 – from sponsorships to newspaper ads – and rank how effective each one was. If you think there are changes you could make to make the activity more effective in the future, make a note of it.
Put together a plan for the future.
Now that you know what worked last year, put together a plan for 2012. Break it down by month or week, whichever helps you best stay on track. List what products and services you want to push; who the target market is for that product or service; and how you’ll reach them. Remember, repetition can be good when it comes to marketing (it creates brand recognition for the consumer), so don’t be afraid to copy last year’s efforts.
Examine the look and feel of marketing materials.
Once you’ve decided what tactics you’ll use, review the materials you use for each tactic. Look at your business cards, email marketing pieces and direct-mail pieces. Are they modern and professional-looking? Do they look cohesive? Do they truly reflect the image you want your business to reflect? If not (or if you’re not good at judging things like that), it might be time to enlist a professional graphic designer, like the ones at your local PostNet, to clean everything up.
Follow your plan.
When you’ve put together your marketing plan and budget, stick to it! Don’t be swayed by convincing sales pitches or great “bargains” on advertising. While it’s still OK to try new things, make sure you thoroughly vet them first and make room for them in your budget.
Here’s to a 2012 full of successful marketing efforts!
Mike Ferretti, owner of NC124 and NC133 in Charlotte, NC, shared some tips with his local news on how to avoid shipping headaches at the holidays. To learn how to package your gifts right, watch the video at www.wbtv.com/category/195957/video-landing-page?clipId=6537513&topVideoCatNo=undefined&autoStart=true.
December at PostNet is all about shipping holiday gifts. In fact, our locations usually get about double the foot traffic they see during a typical month. If you’re new to shipping at PostNet, welcome! We hope you’ll check out some of these answers to our most common shipping questions.
Why doesn’t my tracking number work on your site?
If your package was shipped via UPS, FedEx, DHL or Purolator (Canada only), please contact your PostNet immediately. Occasionally, packages are reprocessed because a tracking number fails to transmit. If that happens, the tracking number on your receipt may not match the final tracking number on record.
If your package was shipped via the U.S. Postal Service, the number printed on your receipt only confirms that your shipment was delivered into the postal service’s hands – you cannot use it on our site to track a package while in transit. The USPS only provides tracking numbers for certain products, like Registered Mail and Delivery Confirmation. For help determining your package's status, please contact your PostNet. If you need accurate tracking on a package, we highly recommend shipping with one of the private carriers.
I paid for overnight, 2-Day or 3-Day shipping. It’s Monday, and my package still isn’t there – what gives?
Since the U.S. Postal Service counts Saturday in its delivery schedule, many customers assume that UPS, FedEx and DHL do as well. While Saturday delivery is available for a surcharge, the private carriers follow a business-day schedule. That means that if you ship a package for 2-Day delivery on a Friday, it will not arrive until Tuesday. Major holidays also extend their delivery window. If you’re unsure why your package has been delayed, please contact your PostNet. If you believe your package has been lost, please view the topic below for more information.
My package was damaged or lost. What do I do?
If the recipient calls to tell you that a package you shipped via UPS, FedEx, DHL or Purolator (Canada only) arrived damaged, please tell them to retain the item[s] and all original packaging materials. If they inform you that the package did not arrive, but your tracking number indicates that the package was delivered, please collect as much information as possible about their schedule and where the package could potentially have been left.
Next, contact the PostNet location where you shipped the package within 10 days of delivery. Because your PostNet is the shipper of record for your package, they will need to initiate the claims process with the shipping carrier. This process can take up to six weeks, and, depending on the reported damage and value of the item[s], the carrier may conduct an investigation. Keep in mind that UPS, FedEx and DHL include $100 of insurance on all shipments, and all claims are based on replacement value rather than original cost. Declared value coverage in amounts greater than $100 is available for purchase.
If your package was shipped via the U.S. Postal Service, the specific service may or may not have included Declared Value coverage. For more information, please contact the PostNet location where you shipped the package.
Why was my claim denied?
The two most common reasons that carriers deny claims are “acts of God,” like weather disasters, and improper packaging. With weather disasters, the carriers sometimes deny claims when their drivers were not able to safely deliver the packages on time given road and weather conditions.
Claims denied for improper packaging usually occur because customers have packed their own shipments, and have used insufficient packing materials or compromised boxes. It’s important to use new boxes that are designed for shipping (moving boxes have a lower strength rating) and the right kind of packaging material for the item you are sending. If you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, the staff at your PostNet will be happy to do it for you. They are experts in packaging standards, and will ensure everything meets the carrier’s requirements.
If you have any other specific questions or feedback about our shipping services, please don’t hesitate to drop us an email at info(at)postnet(dot)com.
The stress of finding the perfect holiday gifts for all your loved ones doesn’t have to be compounded by long lines at the post office or even worse, a lost package. To help avoid unnecessary shipping nightmares, the shipping experts at PostNet offer the following tips:
We also recommend keeping the follwing deadlines in mind to make sure Christmas gifts get to their destinations on time: