Thursday, May 26, 2016

Survey: Direct Mail on the Rise for Customer Acquisition & Retention

Every year, Target Marketing conducts its Media Usage Survey. In this survey, the magazine asks how readers are allocating their budgets, which channels are increasing and decreasing, and which channels its readers prefer for a variety of marketing activities.
While digital, social, and mobile media continue their astronomic growth trajectory, this year’s survey finds that direct mail is holding its own, and strongly. In particular, direct mail is growing for customer acquisition and retention.
·       In 2015, 54% of Target Marketing respondents were using direct mail for their customer acquisition efforts. In 2016, this rose to 58%.
·       In 2015, 51% of Target Marketing respondents were using direct mail for their customer retention efforts. That has risen to 55% today. 
Why is direct mail growing for acquisition and retention, even in the face of consumers’ love affair with digital and mobile media?
1. Email addresses go out of date very quickly, and mobile phone numbers are not always easy to get. Once you have a physical address, however, you can maintain contact with that customer for a long time. Even if people move and don’t provide a new address, you can get address updates from the U.S. Post Office through the National Change of Address (NCOA) service.
2. Even when someone has opted out of phone, email, and mobile contact, you can still reach them by postal mail. Direct mail is powerful and proven effective for re-engaging customers who have dropped off your email list.
3. In a world of electronic media, the physical mailbox is a powerful open door. When a well-designed mail piece shows up in a customer’s or prospect’s mailbox, it doesn’t get lost the way emails in the saturated and highly filtered inbox do.  It gets noticed right away—and nearly always read.
Want help using direct mail to break through the clutter and get attention? Give us a call!


Friday, April 22, 2016

7 Ways to Maximize Impact on a Small Budget

1. Concentrate on a niche market. Target your message to a smaller market versus a diverse group of prospects. Maximize your marketing spend by mailing highly relevant, targeted offers rather than general solicitations.
2. Plan your printing. Involve us in the design of your printed pieces from the beginning. We can often recommend paper, ink, trim sizes, and layouts that will save you money.
3. Maximize your postal spend. New postage rates have recently gone into effect that address size, shape and weight. Using these new parameters, we can advise you on creating mailings that will minimize your postage expense while maximizing your ROI.
4. Consider postcards. Some studies estimate postcard readership at close to 100%, especially if your design is eye-catching and your message is brief. Ask us for assistance in creating a low-cost postcard that meets postal service specifications for reduced postage.
5. Be the expert. When prospective clients are in need of your product or service, you will have instant credibility if they have seen your name in print. Create a newsletter or blog, write articles for magazines, newspapers and journals, or even consider producing your own branded magazine.
6. Network. Join a speakers bureau and attend trade shows and conferences. Utilize online networking resources, such as LinkedIn. Pass out and mail business cards and brochures to boost awareness among your potential clients.
7. Partner with non-competing businesses. Identify companies that offer complementary goods and services, and create cooperative marketing collateral using a pool of shared dollars.

There are many cost-effective ways to let future customers know about your company’s products and services. Be resourceful and you will reap the rewards on your balance sheet.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Get Your Timing Right!

Here are the similarities between Company A and Company B:
·       Both sell snow-clearing services to businesses, schools, and other professional organizations.
·       Both use free ice melt as an incentive to grab attention and encourage responses to their marketing messages.
·       Both mailed short-run targeted postcards to facilities directors and operations managers in their local areas.
·       Both used a clean list, with updated names and addresses.
Here is where the campaigns differed:
Company A sent its direct mailer in November. This mailer landed on recipients’ desks in the start of the snowy season. Company B sent its mailer in July. This mailer dropped in the heat of the summer months before most people even think about the first snowflake beginning to fly.
Which company got the timing right? Company B—the one that sent its mailer in the summer. Among facilities and operations managers, decisions regarding snow clearing are made in July and August, well in advance of the cold weather.
To the average person, a direct mailer sporting ice-covered trees and automobiles encapsulated in snow drifts might seem out of place and totally ill-timed in the heat of the summer. But to the target audience, the message was loud and clear: this company knows my business.
How well do you know your target audience?


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Why Drip Marketing?

Want more sales? Use the power of print to fuel your drip marketing efforts.  

Drip marketing is the use of a consistent, predictable set of marketing touches (postcards, email, newsletters) to nurture a relationship with a client or prospect over time. Drip marketing is different from follow-ups or multi-touch marketing in that the latter have narrow time frames.

·        Follow-ups are one-off. You call someone back. You mail them a packet of product information upon request.
·        Multi-touch marketing is designed to use multiple contacts — postcards, email, mobile—but still garner a sale within a relatively short period of time.
·        Drip marketing has a longer-term framework in mind. It is about education, trust building, and lead nurturing over months or even years. It’s great for complex sales and higher value products.
According to The Database Diva, 65% of the people in your sales funnel are tire kickers. They are unqualified prospects not in a position to do business with your company. Thirteen percent are ready to buy. Twenty-two percent will buy eventually but need more time. That’s where drip marketing comes in. That last group may take a while, but when they are ready to make the purchase, you want them to buy from you.

Take a cue from real estate. Agents send four-color postcards with tips and tricks for lawns and gardens, home winterization, and other topics throughout the year. The agent’s headshot and contact information are readily visible, presenting him or her as a problem-solver interested in helping homeowners whether they are looking to sell their homes or not. When a homeowner does decide to sell, whom will they think of first? That is the power of drip marketing.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Super Shoes Rocks Personalized Content

Recently, we heard about a major retailer who rocked its print personalization, and we wanted to share its success with you. We hope you find it inspirational as you plan your print marketing for the upcoming year.
Super Shoes sells more than 200 shoe and apparel brands in 40+ stores in eight states. To increase the effectiveness of its direct mailings, Super Shoes decided to get personal.
Super Shoes started with channel preference. While many of its competitors were turning to digital marketing, the retailer knew that its customers still preferred to receive direct mail promotions like postcards and catalogs.
"We have an email database, but our customers tend to respond more to print," says Matthew Willard, marketing director at Super Shoes, as quoted in 1to1 Media.
Super Shoes layered in attitudinal behavioral attributes (which can be purchased much the same way as demographic data) and past purchase histories. This allowed it to target its mailings based on demographic and psychological profiles. Customized content included images, copy, messaging and offers.
Super Shoes had tested different mail formats (postcard, oversized postcard, newspaper insert, catalog) and found that an oversized postcard was the most effective for its customer base.
It sent eight different versions of its mailer and tested against the generic version. The results? The generic offering had a 2.5% conversion rate. The personalized mailing had a 6.7% conversion rate. 

Want to personalize your next direct mailing and see how your conversion rates soar? Give us a call.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Can Postal Automation Save You Money?

You’ve heard the advertisements. “When we save money, YOU save money!” When the retailer gets a deal, they pass the savings along to you. The United States Post Office is no different. There are certain mailing sizes and formats that process through the USPS equipment more efficiently, so when you save them money, they save you money. That’s what automation discounts are all about.
Even if you don’t have the volumes to qualify for automation discounts, staying within these guidelines will ensure that you get the most out of your mailings. By following the guidelines, you can prevent your mail pieces from being delayed or undeliverable.
Here are the categories to keep in mind:
Format Size: To qualify for automation discounts, First Class postcards, letters, and flats must be within a certain size range. For example, to qualify for discounts, postcards must be ½” x 5” to 4 ¼” x 6” and range from .007” to .016” in thickness.
Addressing: For the mail to process most efficiently, the address block must be placed in the right location. For letters, it must be ½” from the left and right edges. For non-barcoded mail, it must be 2 ¾” from the bottom edge. For barcoded mail, it must be up to 4” from the bottom edge.
Font size: For maximum readability, the USPS prefers that the address be printed in font that is a minimum of 10 points. If it’s a san-serif font, all the better. If you are using window envelopes, make sure that the entire address is visible. If the city-state falls below the window, the mail piece may disappear too — as undeliverable.
Background contrast: While bright envelope colors can grab attention and increase open rates, you need to be sure that the contrast between the envelope and the printing is sufficient to be read by the postal machinery. If the address is not readable, you will lose your automation discount and, potentially, the mailing could be rejected. You can’t get a response from a mail piece that is never delivered.
No 3D objects, please: Anything that renders the mailing less than completely flat will eliminate your postal discount. This means no clasps, buttons, or other 3D closures. Sure, those things may look cool, but they will not run through the automated equipment.

Looking for more ideas to maximize your postal discounts? Give us a call.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Reply Card: Art or Afterthought?

The sales letter, lift letter, and brochure tucked inside your direct mail package all share one purpose – to compel the reader to complete and return the reply card. While most cards may never be returned, every card that is returned represents an interested prospect. The value far outweighs the cost of printing and insertion. When you look at it this way, you begin to view this thin, rectangular piece not as an afterthought, but as an integral component of your direct mail strategy.
Creating an effective reply card is an art. Within the defined space of a few inches, you must capture interest and summarize your selling proposition while leaving room for the respondent’s contact information, your return address, and postage. Graphics should be subtle to avoid confusing or distracting the reader. Coated cardstock won’t work because the respondent needs to write on the piece.
Well-conceived reply cards have several things in common:
·      They get straight to the point about what is being offered and what the reader needs to do.
·      Checkboxes are included with a positive call to action and often an incentive as well: “YES! I accept your free trial offer!”
·      Additional avenues for responding are featured prominently, such as a toll-free telephone number, QR Code, and links to social media.
·      An expiration date is included to create a sense of urgency.
Studies have shown that response rates can be greatly increased when response devices are personalized. In this age of identity theft, however, you must be sensitive to the amount of information that is traveling through the mail on a postcard. If your business requires personal data like date of birth or a credit card number, be sure to include a reply envelope. Whatever approach you take, make sure your piece meets U.S. Postal Service standards for cost-effective processing. 
A reply card is arguably the most important piece inside your direct mail package. Rethink the role this seemingly simple piece plays in your overall direct mail plan.