Category Archives: Blog With BEB

ONLY PAPER CAN QUALIFY AS MARKETING MAIL?

The USPS wants to restrict Standard Mail (now known as Marketing Mail) content to paper based only.  All other items would become parcels.  They list three reasons for the proposed change:

  1. Service Level Retention
  2. Move fulfillment of merchandise out of the Marketing Mail Environment
  3. Reduce automation operational inefficiencies

Nonprofits would be severely impacted by the content restriction and The Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers were quick to respond to the notice.  They countered by stating the proposal is a classification change and the USPS cannot legally make such changes without the authorization of the Governors and the approval of the Commission.

It would seem that the USPS must now decide to either reconsider the proposal or prepare for a legal battle.

 

USPS TASK FORCE UPDATE

Back in April, President Trump launched a USPS task force through an executive order and gave the group four months to report recommendations to reform the USPS.
The task force delivered its recommendations to the White House in August, but findings won’t be made public until November.
Trump directed the task force to make their recommendations actionable, either through legislation or regulation.
Over the summer, the team met with a variety of stakeholders including industry groups and employee representatives.
The industry expects that the report will make some mention of the administrations reorganization plan, which includes a proposal to privatize the USPS once it becomes profitable. An idea that has been met with tremendous opposition from the industry.
If the task force takes the legislation route, bills in the House and Senate could help to eliminate the USPS mandate to pre-fund future retiree’s health care benefits. Though the USPS has defaulted on these lump sum payments over the last few years, it continues to show as a deficit to their bottom line. By shifting retirees to Medicare as the primary provider and amortizing the remaining liabilities over the next 40-years, the USPS would reduce the liability to the Federal Employees Retirement System, provide a permanent boost to USPS pricing, and gain freedom to seek new revenue streams.
The task force was asked to submit recommendations that don’t shift cost to taxpayers and to consider the views of the USPS workforce, its customers and competitors. They were also to evaluate declining mail volume, growth of package delivery, and the general state of their business model.
In other news, the Senate approved two Board nominees and has received nominations for two more.
The board has been without a quorum for four years. Only the postmaster general and her deputy serve on a temporary emergency committee today. If the two newest nominees are confirmed, the board would have the six members it needs to cast votes and make decisions which could finally get things moving in Washington. Let’s just hope it moves in the right direction. We’ll keep you informed as things unfold.

The Bureau – October 2018 Letter From Ron

As we enter the fourth quarter of 2018, I pause to reflect on the impact that Hurricane Harvey had on Houston and our business over the past year. The damage to homes and families from the August 2017 storm were reported around the world. However, the lasting impact on our economy has received less coverage. All things considered, the Houston economy is recovering well.
During the fourth quarter of last year, the region added over 35,000 jobs in the construction, retail, and restaurant sectors making it the city’s best fourth quarter on record.
The Houston economy in 2018 continues to show promise. Some key economic indicators worth noting are:

  • The Houston Airport System (HAS) handled 55.6 million passengers in the 12 months ending in July. That’s up 1.2% from the previous 12 months
  • Strengthened by a strong post-Harvey stimulus, higher oil prices and a robust national economy, the Houston BCI (Business Cycle Index) rose 8.9% during the three months ending in June 2018

For us, the year has been relatively fluid. Hand fulfillment projects are growing in numbers and our in-house envelope printing has increased by 35% over the past year. Perfect for small runs and fast turn-times, our Xante, (pronounced zawn-tay), envelope press outputs beautiful and personalized envelopes at an extremely competitive price. It’s a great addition to our print department.
Lastly, our digital marketing division is expanding. We’re on a search for an intern to help with our social media, graphics, and website projects.
Marketing is vital to growing your business and inside this edition of The Bureau, we introduce you to the nine (9) new Facebook Company Page templates released on August 22nd and outline the differences between each to help ensure you are using the template that will best showcase your business.
We also share postal updates on the USPS Task Force Report and the USPS request to restrict Marketing Mail content to paper-based matter only.
The holiday season is fast approaching and that means it’s time to start your direct mail marketing projects now. Check out the article, geared specifically for nonprofits, to help convert a traditional direct mail project into a multi-channel campaign and reap greater results.
As always, we sincerely thank you for your business and partnership. On behalf of all of us at Business Extension Bureau, we hope that you and yours have a safe and happy Halloween. And good news, we have already started working on our 2019 Texas Calendar!

Sincerely,

Ron Royall, President and CEO

The Bureau Heading Your Way

We are about to go to press with our Fall version of The Bureau.  We are presenting it in a different than normal format (a 16 page booklet inserted into an envelope) just to change things up and give it a fresh look.  We hope you like it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The upcoming edition includes the following stories:

We hope you enjoy this edition of The Bureau, and hope you have a happy and safe Halloween.  If you haven’t received a printed version, and want to; just click here and we’ll add you to our mailing list and get one right out to you.

As always, thank you for your business and partnership.

2019 Guest Lectures Announced

Our 2019 Marketing for Local Business Classes are now open for enrollment.  We are so excited with the line up of guest professors for next year!  We hope you will join us for these lively, informative and highly educational series.  Some of our guest lecturers include:

  • John Horrell, President and CEO of Sitebox Group
    • Organic Search Engine Optimization-Feb 28, 2019
    • Understanding Google Analytics       Aug 28, 2019

Allie Danziger, Founder of Integrate, a local PR and Digital Marketing firm has partnered with us again in 2019.  Experts from Integrate will be conducting the two email marketing classes.  Allie always provides amazing and diverse guest speakers.

Of course, our Joy Zehrbach will be hosting the series and conducting a few classes as well.

Get details, schedules and register by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The New Facebook Co Page Templates

As of August 22nd, there are 10 Facebook Company Page templates to choose from:

  1. Standard
  2. Movies
  3. Nonprofit
  4. Restaurants & Cafes
  5. Video
  6. Shopping
  7. Services
  8. Politician
  9. Business
  10. Venue

Each template has unique tabs and buttons to give your business maximum exposure.  Take a look at the details and determine if you’re using the template that best features your business today.

Below is a chart outlining each:

ABOUT: An overview of the page

COMMUNITY: Shows friends’ and public posts of your page

EVENTS: Lists your upcoming events

GROUPS: Lists the groups that have linked to your page

HOME: The main landing area for your page

INFO AND ADS: Shows ads all advertisers are currently running

JOBS: Lists job openings

NOTES: Gives a space to highlight notes on the page

OFFERS: Lists current offers

PHOTOS: Photos uploaded to your page

REVIEWS: Reviews of your page and allows people to write reviews

SERVICES: Gives space to highlight the services that you offer

SHOP: Shows products you want to feature

VIDEOS: Videos uploaded to your page

 

Introducing Beacon Technology

Beacon Technology is the next big thing for local Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The Big technology companies including Google and Facebook have already implemented beacon technology and are actively seeking early adoption of beacons on the store-level.

The definition of a beacon is a physical light or other visible object serving as a signal or guide. Beacon Technology operates the same. Beacons are physical devices that operate based on proximity. All beacons use a low-energy Bluetooth signal to operate and are a cloud platform device. Some frequently used names are Proximity Beacon (PB) and Bluetooth Low Energy Beacon (LE).

Beacons are used to encourage customer engagement, send quick knowledge, and drive sales. Beacons can send push notifications to people within a certain distance of the device. Brick and mortar stores can send specials or savings to in-store customers to encourage purchases or give them helpful business information that solidifies trust. Public locations like bus stops can provide information that is publicly accessible and will help people get information instantly, such as what time the next bus is stopping there. They can also encourage user-generated content. Users are encouraged to add images of your business and leave an online review of your business.

Beacons are a new way to ensure customers are getting accurate, up to date information when they want it. It is also a way to reach people when they are most engaged, or conversely if they are in your business but may still be price comparing on their phone. Beacons can be an excellent way to seal the deal or promote a “why you should buy” message.

Google beacons allow businesses to promote a URL, which allows customer interaction with Google’s Physical Web product. Physical Web is a platform that finally acknowledges consumer behavior in real-life. Physical Web allows you to interact with what’s around you – interact with inanimate objects or choose web pages related to your surroundings.

A Bluetooth signal will initiate information transfer when a customer is within a certain radius of a beacon. One important thing to note is that beacons are ONE-WAY information transmitters, therefore they are not be collecting data or violating any privacy laws. Instead of taking information from your phone or you personally, beacons are only submitting information to the user. The Facebook beacon will display information when a user is using the Facebook app within the beacon range. Facebook will show Place Tips, a welcome note, and photo. The Facebook beacon will also encourage users to like the business page and check-in to the business. Being a social app in nature, it will also display recommendation information from a user’s Facebook friends.

For now, the Facebook beacon is free. There are several companies that offer beacons for a price such as the Google-compatible beacons average $25 per device.

Both Google and Facebook beacons will come already activated right out of the box. You simply have to place them in a fixed location, preferably a doorway. Some beacons also work by USB power instead of an internal battery – these must be plugged into a computer at all times.

Beacons may begin to collect more accurate data on key business factors like the busiest time of day and the average foot traffic of each location. While these are relatively simple devices, they may be able to track the aggregate number of impressions served over a certain timeline and report back on them. While those statements are just a theory, one thing is for certain: beacons will be an effective way to engage with the formerly disengaged customer who is more focused on their phone than the world around them.

From an advertiser perspective, beacons may help assist with the Store Visits objective. The current challenges with Store Visit measurement is primarily geographical; currently only large, freestanding stores like Whole Foods and Target have effective store visit capability and measurement. Anonymous solutions like beacons may bridge the gap for the large percentage of business that is currently unable to measure in-store success and cross-attribution from their digital campaigns.

For more information go to https://www.clickherepublishing.com/local-seo-beacons/

Facebook Recommendation Changes

Facebook has introduced a new template for business manager pages effective August 22nd 2018.

The new template will allow people to easily connect with your business. You can choose your business’ new template based on your business goals and priorities. For example, if your business is a restaurant there are templates available that prioritizes restaurant goals. If you choose a template for businesses, sales goals are prioritized. Template options consist of services, venues, movies, nonprofit, politicians, and the list goes on. Each template is prioritized to show what your viewers and/or customers find most important.

The new template allows you to customize how your page layout appears to users. You can easily rearrange sidebar tabs prioritizing what you think is most important to users and your business, hopefully improving conversion rate.

Another new twist is that Ratings are now Recommendations. While it is still under the “Review” section, you can no longer rate a business on 1-5 star scale. When customers want to write a review, they can choose to recommend or not recommend your page.

Recommendations are powerful endorsements. 2 in 3 Facebook users visit the page of a local business at least once a week. 1 in 3 people on Facebook use the platform to look for recommendations and reviews. When customers publicly recommend you in a group or to their friends, it appears on your page for all to see. Therefore, recommendations are essential to your business in order to drive more sales and to, obtain a positive reputation.

Any Facebook user can easily report content that you believe is unfair, fraud, spam or paid for. This feature will benefit your business by keeping your businesses reputation true.

Customers can now easily share important details through tags and photos. In order to leave a recommendation, locate the recommendations on the left side of a page. Click YES to recommend or NO to not recommend. Write your custom recommendation or you can choose from auto tags (friendly staff, slow service, etc.)

Facebook is testing a new rating and recommendation system. Facebook currently uses a scale of 1-5 stars as an overall rating for your business. A new system is currently being tested to replace the 5-star scale with a rating scale from 1-10. Sentiments within reviews as well as recommendations and response times to private messages will be considered when calculating the overall rating of a business.

We’ll keep you posted as things continue to change within the FB platform.