Tag Archives: Business Extension Bureau

Lifting the Mask. It is Time to Engage Again

As our personal and business lives slowly begin to ease up on the unprecedented restrictions we have been living with for over a year now, it is time to “lift the mask” and engage again.  Your existing customers need to hear from you, and it is time to start the search for new clients too.

We are all in uncharted territory, trying to find footing on something that, at least resembles, solid ground. The best way to do that is to reach out and reconnect with your clients.

Marketing your business is essential, and it is not expensive. There are so many channels in which to converse with existing and potential clients today, make sure your business is using them and reaping the rewards.

We are BEB (Business Extension Bureau). Take a tour of website and see the many marketing services we offer. We hope that you will consider using us to “lift the mask and engage” through marketing in the coming year.

 

 

 

A Letter from the President May 2021

It has been over one-year since we last connected, and what a year it was. As a business owner, that time was filled with stressful learning curves that required us to make (previously unthinkable) changes to our daily operations.
Social distancing, placing sanitizing stations throughout our facility, and wearing face masks to work are things that I never thought would be necessary. Everyday life, for all of us, had changed.
We had to figure out ways to keep our staff safe and protected while fighting to stay open for business and manage capacity…all at the same time. We remained open throughout the pandemic, and we have been fortunate to retain 100% of our staff.
Our employees have been amazing. We have always been a tight-knit group that come together during difficult times. Their willingness to “jump in” whenever or wherever needed are core reasons that we are extremely nimble and flexible for our clients. Truly, I am inspired and grateful for the bravery our staff has shown over the past year, and their commitment to our organization, clients, and each other.
The current economic climate makes it difficult to project and prepare for the future. Mail delivery has been significantly impacted for a multitude of reasons. Be sure to check out the postal articles within this issue that detail the short and long-term challenges facing the USPS today.
Even with all of the challenges, direct mail has gained some momentum during the pandemic as the number of people working and staying at home has substantially increased. Marketing through the mail is a perfect way to reach out and touch people safely. Mail is tangible, interactive, and a perfect complement to your digital advertising.
As restrictions continue to ease, now, more than ever before, your business should be focused on marketing, regaining and retaining connections, and actively searching for new customers.
With that in mind, we made some improvements throughout the past year too. We installed a new digital press and purchased new  bindery equipment.  We also upgraded software, computers, and security measures allowing us to expand our capabilities to serve our clients better.
It is during tough times, such as these, that we reflect on how grateful we are to you, our clients, partners, and staff. Without you, we would not be here. We hope that you and your loved ones stay healthy and safe and hope that your businesses thrive as we weather through this    unprecedented storm.
As always, I thank you for your business and partnership.
Ron Royall
President

USPS Delivery Standard Changes? What EXACTLY is Dejoy Proposing?

USPMG, Louis DeJoy, outlined his vision and 10-year plan for the USPS in March. He calls it, “Delivering for America.” His plan has caused a lot of controversy surrounding delayed delivery standards. What exactly did he propose? Read on.

The Postal Service sets standards for mail delivery so that customers and mailers can expect consistent and predictable delivery. However, the USPS has not met current targets for First-Class Mail service standards (3-5 days) in the past eight years. DeJoy says that the current standards don’t reflect the declining letter volumes and require the USPS to use complex and expensive transportation networks. He claims that today’s delivery standards are unsuitable for setting realistic expectations for timely and reliable mail delivery.

It was pointed out that the cost to maintain the current,  and unattained service standards, will continue to increase if mail volume continues to decrease as projected. The need to ensure reliable service, while improving operational efficiency and precision, requires that old standards get updated.

His plan is to modify existing service standards for First-Class Mail Letters and Flats from a 3-day service standard within the continental United States to a 1-5 day service standard.

The proposal would enable 43% of that portion of First-Class Mail which is currently transported via air to shift to getting transported via ground. It would also require adjustments to the service standards for full network Periodicals which travel with First-Class Mail.

The Postal Service will seek public comment through the formal rulemaking process and will request an advisory opinion from the PRC concerning this proposed change before it is implemented.

Below is a summary of the impacts of the new service standards:

  • Service standards for Commercial First-Class Mail entered at a local facility will not change.
  • First-Class Mail traveling within a local area (up to a three-hour drive time) will not experience a service standard change and would still be delivered within two days
  • 61% of current First-Class Mail volume and 93% of current Periodicals volume will stay at its current standard.
  • 81% of current First-Class 2-day volume will retain its two-day standard.
  • Overall, 70% of First-Class Mail volume would receive a standard of one to three days.
  • Current First-Class 3-day volume will be subject to a 3, 4, or 5 day service standard, depending on the distance between origin processing facility and destination processing facility.
  • Of the current First-Class 3 day volume:
    • 47% will remain three-day
    • 37%will move to 4 day
    • 17% percent will move to 5-day.

In addition,  DeJoy proposes to adjust the service standards for First-Class Packages to enable a greater percentage of that volume to be moved by surface transportation. The Postal Service will also request an advisory opinion from the PRC concerning this proposed change before
it is implemented.

Parcel Market Grows Bigger and Faster

The package market has experienced unprecedented growth and is projected to continue for years to come. It is estimated that the U.S. parcel market to grow 6% to 11% annually from 2020 to 2025. Consumers demand shorter shipping windows as online sales are surging. It was reported that during 2020, shipping customers selected 1-2 day delivery service 72% of the time. Some estimates show that number could go as high as 90% by 2025. Another notable trend is that online shoppers want to buy local.

Voice Search Defined

So, what exactly IS Voice Search? Voice search (also known as voice-enabled) is a voice activated Internet search. The search method is same as the performing a normal search on your computer or mobile device. Voice search is often interactive and allows a system to ask for clarification. The search can be done on any device with a voice input dialog system.

Language is the most essential factor for a system to understand and provide the most accurate results. This covers multiple languages, dialects, and even accents. Systems can recognize speech in hundreds of languages, as users want a voice assistant that both understands them and speaks to them understandably.

Mechanisms use Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) for input. They can also include Text-To-Speech (TTS) for output. Users might sometimes be required to activate the virtual assistant before performing the search. The search system will detect the language spoken by the user, then detect the keywords and context of the sentence. Next, the device will return results depending on its output. A device with a screen might display the results, while a device without a screen will speak them back to the searcher.

Voice search is currently not a part of Google’s algorithm; however, it is still dictating current search results. Voice search queries often yield different results than if the user had typed in a text-based search. For SEO, it’s a good idea for businesses to be on their toes with voice search components for their consumers who are adapting and switching over to that medium.

Voice search content must be specifically optimized for voice. It needs to be more direct and conversational so that it will accurately sync with search queries. This will help boost traffic by staying relevant and more visible to consumers.

Below are some mind-blowing statistics as it pertains to voice search. It is the wave of the future and marketers need to construct their digital marketing plans with a focus on how Voice Search can benefit their business.

  • Grocery shopping accounts for more than 20% of voice-based orders
  • Voice-based shopping is expected to jump to $40 billion in 2022
  • By 2024, the global voice-based smart speaker market is estimated to be worth $30 billion
  • 60% of smartphone users have tried voice search at least once in the past 12 months
  • 55% of teenagers are using voice search daily
  • Top 3 common keywords in voice search phrases are “how”, what” and “best”.

2021 USPS Proposed Rate Changes

On October 9th the USPS filed a request with the PRC (Postal Regulatory Commission) to revise pricing for market-dominant products.

The amount of the proposed increase by class reflects the USPS authority, under the CPI-based cap, plus any unused rate authority left over from previous price changes, that can be carried over. The USPS did not use all of its available rate authority, meaning that some of it will remain “banked” after this case and can be used in the future.

Below is an overview the upcoming rate case:

Click here to see a 2021/2020 Rate Comparison Chart.

 

SHOPS by Instagram

As businesses continue to face the challenges of selling online as they shift their business models during the COVID-19 crisis, Instagram has created Shops. Shops is a new shopping experience through an immersive, full screen storefront that enables businesses to drive product discovery in a native shopping experience.

People can visit a shop from a business’ Instagram profile or through Feed and Stories. Once they’re at the shop, people can browse products, explore collections, and purchase products — seamlessly through an in-app browser and without leaving the app from shops with checkout. 
Checkout allows customers to buy items directly from a shop on Facebook or Instagram.

With shops, people have a place to experience the joy of shopping versus the chore of buying. Collections in shops let businesses customize the shopping experience, and curate products into themes that tell their story.

Creating a shop is free and simple. For more information about shops visit Facebook for Business. To learn more about enabling shopping on your Instagram business account, visit the setup guide.

FB Says NO to Certain Political Ads

Facebook announced that it is taking preventive steps to “protect the integrity of the upcoming US 2020 elections.”

Ads related to the US 2020 census participation and voting around the November 3, 2020 election are now subject to additional prohibitions. Ads targeting the US with the following content are not allowed:

  • Ads that portray voting or census participation as useless/meaningless and/or advise users not to vote or participate in a census.
  • Ads that delegitimize any lawful method or process of voting or voting tabulation (including in-person voting on paper or on machines, absentee voting, vote by mail, and lawful collection of ballots) as illegal, inherently fraudulent or corrupt, or will result in a fraudulent or corrupt election administration or outcome.
  • Ads that delegitimize an election and/or result as fraudulent or corrupt because the result can’t be determined on the final day of voting and/or before ballots received after the final day of voting are lawfully counted.
  • Ads that claim voter fraud (such as voter impersonation, duplicate voting, or non-eligible individuals voting) is widespread and/or alters the outcome of elections and/or results in a fraudulent or corrupt election.
  • Ads that claim the election date or the mechanism for electing the President can be changed in ways not permitted by the Constitution or federal law.
  • Ads with premature claims of election victory.
  • Ads that are inconsistent with health authorities on voting safely.

To better facilitate public scrutiny for ads about social issues, elections or politics in the final week of the campaign, we’re introducing a restriction period for ads about social issues, elections or politics in the US. Advertisers will not be able to create and run new ads about social issues, elections or politics in the United States between October 27, 2020 through November 3, 2020. Changes to budget, bids, and targeting will be allowed during this period. However, any edits related to creative, placement and optimization will not be allowed. We recommend you to routinely check their FB Help Center page for updates and the latest information.

Ads about social issues, elections or politics in the United States must be created and start delivering before October 27. If you’re planning to run existing ads about social issues, elections or politics during this restriction period, you’ll be able to:

  • Pause existing ads
  • Unpause paused ads as long as they delivered an impression before October 27 and are stored in the Ad Library
  • Edit the schedule (e.g. new end date)
  • Edit the bid amount
  • Edit the budget
  • Edit the targeting, e.g. geographic or demographic changes, change the interests, upload a new custom audience and create a lookalike
  • Note: Editing the targeting will send the ad back through ad review. Advertisers may wait up to 72 hours for political/issue ads to be reviewed.

If you’re planning to run existing ads about social issues, elections or politics during this period, you will not be able to:

  • Edit or upload new video assets
  • Edit or upload new image assets
  • Edit or provide a new landing page
  • Edit or provide a new caption (body text)
  • Boost an organic post
  • Change the objective for the ad
  • Change the Page that the ad is running from
  • Run the ad from a new ad account
  • Change the conversion tracking (pixel, pixel event)
  • Change the optimization
  • Change the bid type
  • Remove the “Paid for by” disclaimer
  • Edit the placement
  • Duplicate these ads

If you’re planning to run ads about social issues, elections or politics for the first time:

  • You’ll need to get authorized to run ads.
  • Your ads must have an impression by October 27. FB recommends advertisers to prepare accordingly as ID verification reviews typically take 48 hours, disclaimer reviews take 24 hours and ad reviews take 72 hours.
  • Run messages that will stay relevant through Election Day. For instance, it’s best to reference voting on “Election Day” or “November 3” versus “tomorrow” or “today”.
  • They also recommend that you get started with the ad authorization and ad setup process as soon as possible. While we’ll adhere to standard turnaround times as closely as possible, we urge you to get authorized and set up ads early to avoid potential delays.

For more information and best practices, refer to the FB best practices one-sheeter.