Early in 2016, it was announced that American Name Services would be giving a “bonus” to each member of the ANS team for meeting our 2015 sales goal. The bonus was to be used to fund an ANS trip for each employee and a guest. Over the next several months, we will give a brief summary of where our employees have ventured.
Jen is the VP of Production here at American Name Services. For her ANS trip, she took her three boys to California for one last trip altogether before her twins graduated from high school and left home. She summarizes her ANS trip below.
We spent the first three days jumping from one amusement park to another. We started with Six Flags over Magic Mountain and decided we were only going to ride all the big roller coasters. There were so many that we didn’t make it through all of them.
The next day, we went to Knott’s Berry Farm where we rode more big roller coasters. On the third day, we went to Universal Studios where we enjoyed a low key day and fewer roller coasters. I think our head was spinning after the first two days. It was fun to see Harry Potter World and ride the Jurassic Park and Mummy rides.
On the last day, we went to both the Warner Brothers Studio and Sony Pictures Studio and had tours. The Warner Brother Studio Tour was the best. They drove us around showing us a lot of different movie and TV sets, including the Batman costumes and many of the Batmobile vehicles, which my boys are obsessed with. We finished the trip off with an LA Dodgers game.
It was great to visit all these parks and spend time with my boys. Thank you for the fun trip, ANS!
See more ANS trip summaries, here.
Boost attendance at your next seminar with our file, Zurixx Live Events
In March, I exhibited at Leads Con Las Vegas with ANS. While there, I attended a breakout session on content marketing by Arnie Keunn, founder of Vertical Measures. He brought up some great points that I’d like to share.
“Content marketing” is a term many marketers loosely use. To ensure we are on the same page, Arnie defines it as “the art of providing relevant, useful content to your customers without selling or interrupting them.” Producing worthwhile content can be difficult and there tends to be a point where enthusiasm dies in the middle of a company’s content marketing journey. This normally is the product of not seeing the results hoped for. Arnie shared several reasons why content marketing may not be working and how to overcome those roadblocks, but I would like to highlight just a few.
The Team Isn’t Committed to Content Marketing
“Content marketing isn’t a campaign, tactic, or strategy. Content marketing is a culture.”
In order to make a content marketing culture work, the entire company needs to be on board. Educating the team on what content marketing is and why it works is vital to success. Make it easy for the team to assist in the company marketing efforts by sending an email letting them know a new social post just went out and invite them to like or share the post.
You’re Afraid to Publish the Right Content
When researching a new product or service, most potential buyers look for the following:
- Potential issues
- Comparison to a similar product
Address these topics on a company blog, website, and social media pages. Potential buyers are searching for these answers, so outline them clearly yourself! Creating content that answers buyer questions will increase company credibility and can increase searching rankings because the topic and keywords are in line with common searches.
Ask your customer service or sales team, “What questions do you get asked every day?” Take these questions to a keyword planner to find out what people are searching, related to those topics. Create your content around what your prospective customers are searching for! Data driven marketing is the best strategy, so use the data that is available!
Nurturing Leads is an Afterthought
For greater success, clearly document marketing strategies and plan follow up in the beginning! Quality content marketing will drive leads, so it’s best to know what to do with them from the beginning. Ideally, marketing and sales teams are working together in this process to ensure all bases are covered.
Content marketing is successful with clear understanding, thoughtful planning, and data driven topics. I can’t stress enough the importance of catering to the needs of the customer! What strategies have you used for content marketing? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.
Looking for more help with your content marketing? ANS can do that! Send me an email and we’ll set up a time to discuss how to transform your marketing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lindsey Lefevor, Social Media Manager at American Name Services
Recently I finished reading The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. A couple of the main points I took from the reading were, “…happiness is the precursor to success, not merely the result” and “… success orbits around happiness, not the other way around.” Although individually we may define success in different terms, it is likely that we all search for and desire success and happiness in some form. Achor outlines a great number of tools and principles we may use to attain more happiness, but I want to focus on one of the best, gratitude.
“Countless … studies have shown that consistently grateful people are more energetic, emotionally intelligent, forgiving, and less likely to be depressed, anxious, or lonely.”
How do we begin to practice gratitude in our everyday lives, especially if the practice seems foreign, awkward, fake or difficult? Achor suggests starting with a daily list of “three good things”. Take a few minutes each day to either write down or vocalize three good things about your day.
Why does this help? Achor explains:
“When you write down a list of “three good things” that happened that day, your brain will be forced to scan the last 24 hours for potential positives—things that brought small or large laughs, feelings of accomplishment at work, a strengthened connection with family, a glimmer of hope for the future. In just five minutes a day, this trains the brain to become more skilled at noticing and focusing on possibilities for personal and professional growth, and seizing opportunities to act on them. At the same time, because we can only focus on so much at once, our brains push out those small annoyances and frustrations that used to loom large into the background, even out of our visual field entirely.”
When I began making the “good things list” part of my day, I noted that a lot of my “good things” revolved around food. I like to eat! Some days “good things” came to mind with ease and some days it was all about food or beautiful weather or a warm shower and a cozy bed. Once, on a particularly stress-filled day, I couldn’t help but be grateful for a beautiful sunset as I drove home from the office.
Making Gratitude Part of Everyday Life
I began to practice my list-making with my husband and children – sometimes in the evening during our meal, or while bustling around the kitchen preparing to start our day. Occasionally, I vocalized “good things” one-on-one with my children while driving them to activities or with my husband over our weekly lunch date. At first I found it necessary to force myself into talking about good things from my day, but as time went on, it came more naturally to me.
Do I always have extremely positive days as a result? No, I’m still an average human with highs and lows, stresses and accomplishments, frustrations and rewards. Some days are better than others, to be certain. But through this practice of gratitude-pattern building, I have found that in every situation and in every day moments, there is always something good to be found. Even if it happens to be the giant burger I ate for lunch!
I invite you to begin the practice of listing at least 3 good things from each day. Create a habit by completing this practice while doing another daily task. List your positives while showering, during your commute, while eating dinner, before opening your email at the office, or as you prepare breakfast. Choose a time of day that works for you and either write down or verbally vocalize specific items, people, and moments that you appreciated in the last 24 hours.
I’d love to hear how you’ve implemented this practice and your thoughts on its effectiveness in your life. What changes have you noticed in your attitude? Have you noticed changes in those around you? Have you shared this practice with others and encouraged them to begin?
Written by Wendy Harwood, head of Marketing at American Name Services
In the world of marketing there’s a constant debate over whether or not direct mail is a worthy investment. ANS has been part of the direct mail business for over 20 years and has seen the industry through highs and lows. As a company, we’ve become more innovative and have expanded our marketing tool belt, but direct mail is still the most popular and responsive service. In fact, direct mail has helped one of our current clients go from $0 annual revenue to over $130 million in just three years. Direct mail is very effective when done correctly, which is why we recommend it so highly. Target Marketing’s Carolyn Goodman also recommends direct mail marketing to her clients. In her article, “Direct Mail: Is It Old Fashioned If It Still Works?” she shares key reasons why direct mail is worthy of your attention.
Did you know that it’s common for direct mail campaigns to receive a 1 percent response rate when executed well? “If you executed a direct mail campaign to 10,000 targets, and achieved a 1 percent response rate, you’d gain 100 customers.” With high customer values, that’s a great ROI. Keep in mind, a high response rate also requires quality data, a compelling call to action with an attractive offer, and an eye-catching mail piece.
Digital marketing is cost-effective and it’s easy to reach millions of people with less effort, that’s why everyone else is doing it. The market is highly competitive and over-crowded. While ANS also offer digital marketing services, we typically recommend running a postal campaign in tandem with digital campaigns. Multiple points of contact through different mediums can be much more effective than simply adding to the digital overload. With good brand recognition, the mail piece and digital ad work together to increase response.
If you’re interested in more information on how a direct mail campaign can boost your marketing efforts, send an email to email@example.com, and your new direct marketing partner at American Name Services will be in touch.
Article review by Lindsey Lefevor, Social Media Manager at American Name Services
Early in 2016 it was announced that American Name Services would be giving a “bonus” to each member of the ANS team for meeting our 2015 sales goal. The bonus was to be used to fund an ANS trip for each employee and a guest. Over the next several months, we will give a brief summary of where our employees have ventured.
Collette is the head of Accounting at American Name Services. She used her ANS trip bonus to go on a humanitarian trip in the Dominican Republic with her husband, Shane. She summarizes her trip below.
Shane and I were invited to travel to Puerto Plata in the DR with our son Colton and his business partner Josh and their families. Early on they had decided they wanted to do a humanitarian project and take used baseball equipment with them. What started out as 10 people going on a trip ended up with 27 people going. Each person checked an extra bag filled with baseball equipment, shirts, hats, mitts, balls and bats as well as clothing, 100 “Girls Days” hygiene kits, candy and several thousand dollars used to buy food packs. Josh’s son Hayden used this opportunity to complete his Eagle Scout project and collected a lot of items and money from businesses and friends. Lehi City recreation donated all of their old equipment that no longer met the requirements. A Stake President (from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) in Puerto Plata was contacted and arrangements were made with him to invite 50 families in his area to meet us at a church where these items, as well as a large bag of food for each family, would be given out. The people were so sweet and loving and very appreciative of the gifts given them. One women told us (through an interpreter) that if we came to her house right now we would not find one grain of rice. Now she had food to feed her family for a week! It truly was a very humbling experience. Many hugs were given. I so wished I knew Spanish to be able to converse with them instead of just nodding my head and smiling.
The second part of our project happened within a village. Last fall this area in the DR was hit badly with heavy rains and many homes were washed away, as well as lives lost. We met a woman who founded, Starfish Foundation. The foundation helps build homes for people in this area. Their focus had been rebuilding several homes that had washed away in the rains. Also, in this area baseball is huge. Every boy dreams of becoming the next player to make it to the big leagues. In this village area there is a makeshift baseball field in what is basically a dump. When we arrived there we went directly to the field. There were around 20 boys, junior high to high school age practicing ball. They had 2 baseball mitts and a couple of bats and a few balls for the whole team. Most boys were playing barefoot. The boys typically use a hat to catch a ball when playing in the outfield. We had enough jersey’s and hats for two teams as well as a complete set of catchers’ gear, about 20 bats, mitts and balls. We handed them out, divided into two teams and played several innings of ball with them. These boys were great ball players. Everyone could hit way into the outfield and they were also great fielders. I saw such huge smiles on their faces as they each received their own equipment. When we arrived there was a group of younger kids playing also. They had no bats or balls and they were using a 2×2 board as a bat and rocks as balls. Because we had all sizes of equipment they also received some equipment. We passed out candy to the little ones who were thrilled with the treat. The little kids were very loving. They wanted to be held and played with. They immediately bonded with the kids in our group. It didn’t matter that there was a language barrier, they played together and had a great time. My granddaughters had a hard time parting with a couple of the girls who immediately attached themselves to my granddaughters. After the ball game we were able to tour their village and see the new homes that were being built. A couple invited us into their home. I think three of these home would fit in my family room. They typically housed 5-10 people. They were very sparse in furniture and few had an inside toilet. Sheets hung for doors and mattresses lay on the floor with nothing on them. Many were lucky to have electricity. We each contributed $50 and again provided a bag of food for 50 families. It was heartbreaking to have to turn people away when we ran out of food. I know it was such a small amount and helped so few people but I would like to think that it made a difference even if just for that day.
Besides doing the service projects, I was able to spend an amazing birthday being pampered and spoiled. We even did a river jump where we climbed up a mountain and jumped or slid down 12 falls. The falls were anywhere from 5 feet to 30 feet high and depending on the water depth, you jumped or slid. The rest of the time was spent at an amazing resort, relaxing, enjoying the sun, playing in the ocean, enjoying time with some family and friends, and of course eating way too much food.
Thank you ANS for providing me with the opportunity to go on this trip and also to everyone who donated to our project. The group is already talking about next year……