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.


Friday, November 20, 2015

Personalized Print: Are You Focused on the Right Things?


1. Quality of the database.

Often, marketers get so caught up in volume that they overlook the importance of accuracy. If you have a choice between spending your budget on getting more data and spending it on getting good data, go for quality every time. 

2.  Forget cute. Go for relevant. 

Think “customer motivation.” Many marketers get caught up in creating ads that are cute and memorable, but this doesn’t work with relevance-based targeting. You have about three seconds to catch the recipient’s attention. If the customer has to think too hard or if there is not a clear call to action, your piece will fall short.

3. Include a call to action.

Don’t assume the recipient knows what you want them to do. Make sure the text clearly states the end goal: visit the store, buy a product, attend a seminar.

One mortgage company learned this lesson the hard way. It created a witty postcard whose front showed a pizza slice stuffed with dollar bills. The headline read, “It’s Not Delivery. It’s [Name of Mortgage Company].”  Confusing, right? It showed in the response rate — .5%. On the next go-round, the marketer added the wording, “We deliver the best mortgage in town.” The response rates tripled.


Remember, when crafting 1:1 print marketing, it’s not about how good you are. It’s about how good the message is. Need help? Give us a call. That’s why we’re here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

In B2B Marketing, Experience Matters

When it comes to developing marketing content for the B2B market, targeting by experience level matters. 
This is the conclusion of a survey of 700 global business executives by The Economist Group, which found that B2B prospects from Generation Next (up to 10 years business experience) have very different preferences and motivators than Business Veterans (more than 10 years business experience). In fact, when it comes to marketing content and channel preferences, there can be up to 35 percentage points difference.
Among the differences between the two?

Generation Next
Business Veterans
Are turned off by content with feels like a sales pitch
46%
69%
Prefer content in the form of articles
69%
91%
Find research reports helpful
30%
65%
Find white papers helpful
12%
37%
Favor video content
21%
12%
Prefer other multimedia such as infographics
12%
24%
Spend at least four hours per week perusing business content
31%
57%
Source: The Economist Group
In other differences, 41% of business veterans think company reputation holds more weight than colleague recommendations (10%). Meanwhile, only 28% of Generation Nexters think company reputation holds more weight than colleague recommendations (27%).
People are people, whether they are in a business context or a home and family context.  When crafting your next B2B campaign, remember that targeting your content by experience demographic matters as much as market vertical, job position, or other traditional demographics.

Need help? Give us a call.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

How Do You Spell Success? C-O-N-V-E-R-S-I-O-N

When you think about evaluating the success of a marketing campaign, what comes to mind? For many marketers, it’s response rates. However, that just because someone “responds” by contacting you doesn’t mean that the campaign was profitable. The true measure of success is whether they actually buy something. That’s why one of your most important measures should be conversion rate.

Let’s say you’re a gourmet store in the heart of a college community. You just launched a line of breakfast items that includes pastries, breads, and gourmet omelets. You develop a campaign of 10,000 direct mailers that invite students to request an email- or text-back coupon for 25% off one of the new items. As an incentive, you offer a chance to win concert tickets to see the band Little Mix, which soon will be performing in the area.

Initially, you’re thrilled by the response rate. A whopping 32% of students requested the coupon. Then the excitement fades. Although more than one-third of students responded, only 3% actually visited the store and redeemed the coupon. When you work out your ROI, you didn’t even break even.
Let’s say you had targeted the local community instead. 

Let’s say the response rate is lower—8%—but it’s an affluent community with a high percentage of recipients working in and around the university. Of those who do respond, 32% redeem the coupon and try the new breakfast. From this pool, the number of conversions is 150% higher than the college student pool. Your cost to produce the campaign is the same, but your ROI is vastly different.

This simple example illustrates the power of the conversion rate. Initially, who wouldn’t prefer 32% response rate over 8%? But the conversion on the back end ends up being the deciding factor in the profitability of the campaign.

So don’t think response rate — think conversion!


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Personalized Marketing: It’s Mainstream

From personalized coupons arriving in the mailbox to “just for you” recommendations in the inbox, personalized marketing is everywhere.
In fact, in a study of more than 1,000 enterprises, InfoTrends found that not only is personalization occurring more frequently, but when marketers do send out personalized marketing pieces, those pieces have a higher level of complexity. There are more variable pictures and images. More variable blocks of text. More dynamic compositions of the sections of the marketing pieces.

When asked, “What percentage of your customer communications/marketing campaigns fit into the following categories?” InfoTrends found that 62% of campaigns are either fully personalized or segmented:

Audience-Targeting Approaches
Personalized (one to one)
29%
Segmented (one to few)
33%
Mass marketing (one to many)
38%

Source: Understanding Vertical Markets: Enterprises Communication Requirements (InfoTrends)

Think about that for a moment. Nearly two-thirds of campaigns are targeted, if not fully personalized. What does that mean for you? It means that if you are sending static mail pieces, you’re competing with marketers who are speaking (potentially to the same customers and prospects) on a personalized level.

If your competitors are personalizing and you are not, who do you think is going to get the most mind share? Even if your competitors aren’t personalizing today, they might be tomorrow. You want to get there and establish a relationship with those customers or prospects before they do.

Need help planning your next personalized campaign? Give us a call!