Direct Mail and Marketing Tips

 

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envelopes

Postcards in envelopes for marketing near holidays and special occasions

They are affordable, efficient, easy/quick to launch, versatile, and offer excellent branding opportunities. What are they? You guessed right — postcards in envelopes.

Contrary to popular misconceptions, direct mail postcards are not a thing of the past. Instead, they are fast gaining traction and causing so much buzz in modern-day marketing campaigns. And they have proven to be profitable for marketing tools.

If you are just learning about postcards in envelopes and the myriad of potentials for target marketing, you don’t need to beat yourself over it because we have got you covered.

We will discuss postcard marketing and share tips on how to make your postcard marketing campaign a success. This brings us to the million-dollar question;

Why use postcards in marketing?

Unless you are new to marketing, you will know that marketing with postcards is arguably one of the most popular and successful ways of building a profitable business. It’s even applauded for its ability to send targeted organic traffic to websites.

Adopting postcards allows you to leverage both print and digital marketing strategies. It provides businesses with many opportunities, convenience, and flexibility in connecting with their target audience.

But that’s not all.

It may interest you to know that direct mail postcards rank very high among other marketing channels and are applauded for their high household response rate.

Compared to the 0.6% for emails and paid ads, postcards in envelopes boast of a stunning 5.1% response rate. With social media coming in at 0.4%. Did you know that for every 167 dollars invested in direct mail marketing, 2000 dollars’ worth of goods is sold?

In addition to these figures, 57% of people say postcards marketing makes them feel valued, and it creates an authentic bond between them and the seller/product. Another 60% + of people say direct mail postcards mostly influence them to visit a website, and most of them are first-time shoppers.

With all of these figures rolled out in front of you, you will agree that direct mail marketing is powerful and efficient for your marketing campaign. Now imagine how much they will make when you deploy postcards in envelopes near holidays and special occasions. The result is best left to your imagination.

At this point, you are probably itching to know how to get started with direct mail marketing. Not to worry, we will share our guide to postcard marketing with you. But, before then, let’s quickly touch on the top benefits of using postcards in envelopes for your marketing campaigns.

What at the benefits of using postcards for marketing?

  • Postcards are affordable

If you are looking for an affordable and effective means of marketing your products or services, you should consider postcards. They offer high-quality marketing without putting a hole in your pocket.

In the business of targeted ads, postcards are regarded as the most cost-effective option. In addition to the low cost of printing them, postage is also inexpensive. As such making, promotional postcards an ideal option for virtually all businesses, regardless of their size or niche where they operate.

  • Postcards are versatile

Speaking of versatility, there is a lot you can do with postcards in envelopes. For example, they can influence sales at discounted prices, launch new products, and attract new customers.

In addition to attracting qualified leads to your products or services and announcing special offers, direct mails can also be used to motivate existing customers to reach for their wallets and announce and invite people to seminars, trade shows, and other similar events.

And yes, postcards in envelopes can also serve as coupons. Postcards fit in almost any marketing idea you have. If you can think of it, postcards will bring your marketing goal to fruition.

  • Postcards are impactful

What other way to get your message across to your customers in the most catchy and precise words than postcards in envelopes?

Unlike other marketing campaigns that use multi-page content (like a brochure) to get the message across, postcards are single-piece card stock or pasteboard. Postcards don’t beat around the bush, and you have so many options to explore, including the color, font size, and riveting designs.

Other benefits of postcards include but not limited to:

  • They are tangible
  • They are ideal for target marketing

Last but not least, promotional postcards bring stealth to the game of marketing. With postcards in envelopes in your arsenal, your competitors won’t know about your promotional offers and ideas until the results start to materialize.

Which is the opposite case scenario with marketing via billboards, newspapers, and other mass marketing approaches. That way, only your target audience gets to see your marketing messages. Think stealth, efficiency, and personalized marketing campaigns.

Guide to postcard marketing

While postcard marketing campaigns are easy and quick to launch, it’s always best to get started on the right foot — put your best foot forward. Speaking of putting your best foot forward, here is our guide to help you get started on your postcard marketing.

  • Plan your postcard marketing campaign
  • Don’t hold back on your copywriting prowess (while crafting your offer and call to action).
  • Make use of catchy designs — the use of white vs. Black and White and imagery.

If you check all the boxes in this guide, the result will be a compelling direct mail postcard marketing campaign.

Plan your postcard marketing campaign

Planning your postcard marketing campaign entails defining your goals, identifying your target audience, creating a compelling offer, and determining the recipients’ actions.

Having defined your postcard marketing goal (which we discussed earlier), your focus should shift to identifying your audience. Suppose you are reaching out to new customers; some demographic data you should gather include age, gender, location, occupation, buying habits, hobbies, and annual revenue among several other factors.

Creating a compelling offer

For you to be able to create a compelling offer, ask yourself what your customers need—put yourself in their shoes. You can start by asking yourself these questions.

  • What do your target customers?
  • What problems do your customers have (their pain point)
  • How do you intend to solve their problem and make their lives better — What is your proposition?

Having answered these important questions, you need to find a way to motivate customers to respond quickly. You can tinker along offering discounts, freebies or put out a buy-one-get-one-free deal. The idea is to get your customers to respond quickly. Think outside the box and be creative.

What actions should customers take?

Some ideas of customers’ actions include calling a number, visiting a physical store/location, visiting your website, or subscribing to your social media page.

Mind you, customers’ response is dependent on the nature of your business and the offer you made. So while you are at it, it’s always best to prepare for their response.

You can consider having staff on standby to attend to customers if you expect them to visit a physical location. On the other hand, if the customers are expected to visit your website, you should put up a responsive and informative landing page and catalog to look through.

Don’t hold back on your copywriting prowess

Earlier, we mentioned the need not to compromise copywriting in your marketing campaign. Recall that your postcard is intended to be compelling and motivate the recipients to take the desired action.

Most of the time, your promotional postcard’s effectiveness depends on the contents and how the message is presented. For example, it would be best to have a catchy headline that is themed to create excitement, address your customer’s pain points, make a special offer, or announce benefits.

Always make use of call to action

Call-to-actions are an important aspect of your postcard marketing campaign — They have to be compelling and powerful. Call-to-actions can be used to reiterate the benefits of your selling proposition, direct customers on what to do next, and maybe remind them of a deadline.

You can spruce things up with other offers like customer satisfaction and money-back guarantees and offer coupons/coupon codes to make your postcards stand out.

Postcard design

Before rounding off on postcards marketing, let’s take a second to answer one popular FAQ about postcards marketing. The chances are that you have asked the same question before now, or you have it in mind right now.

Colored postcards vs. Black-and -white postcards

On this particular subject about postcard design, colored postcards are catchy and vibrant. And of course, they have a higher tendency to rake in more profits than their Black-and-white counterparts.

While colored postcards are virtually everybody’s favorite, simply printing them doesn’t guarantee high ROI. You still need to follow the basic rules of making your direct mail marketing successful.

The idea of printing a colored postcard is to make your cards more appealing and give your presentation more power. That way, you are making your message more likely to be read and acted upon by the recipients.

Some creative ideas include using color to outline images, shapes, texts, and graphics. You can also draw the reader’s attention to your selling proposition and use contrasting colors (not the regular White-and-Black) to make your postcards particularly catchy.

We are Rounding off

If you are not considering postcards in your direct mail marketing plan, you should because they are affordable and offer higher ROI than other direct mail marketing strategies. Not to mention their personal feel, which makes them ideal for target marketing.

So, plan, identify your audience, create a personalized postcard with a clear call-to-action, and you are set to get your postcards in envelopes direct mail marketing campaign off the ground.

postcards

Postcards in Envelopes: A Super Cost-effective Alternative to Greeting Cards

If you’ve ever thought postcards are a thing of the past and direct mail is no longer relevant, sorry to burst your bubble — you thought wrong. According to recent statistics by marketing charts, direct mail has a 29% return on investment, which is one percent shy of the ROI on social media marketing campaigns.

In addition to the impressive ROI on direct mails, there are a thousand and one reasons why direct mails are effective marketing tools.

Let’s take a look at some of them.

Why is direct marketing effective?

As we mentioned earlier, there is a long list of reasons why direct mail is still very effective in today’s business landscape. While sending series of emails and social media ads are proven means of promoting your brand, investing in direct mail is the icing on the cake.

Direct marketing helps you reach out to a particular market segment — your target audience. As such, direct mails allow you to execute personalized strategies on your marketing campaigns.

That way, you get to channel your resources (time and money) on engaging directly with your target market or audience.

Those (speaking of your audience) that will be fascinated about what you are selling (either products or services) and have high chances of converting into successful sales or retention.

Direct marketing leverage market segmentation and targeting

Before you delve into any business, your first thought should be identifying your potential clients by conducting market research. You will also care to know the market segmentation such as geographical, demographics, and customer behavior.

All of these findings will help you narrow your search to leads with a high conversation rate. As such, boosting your chances of successful sales.

Direct marketing leverage personalization

One of the major reasons why direct marketing is still effective is that it utilizes a personalized communication mode to connect with customers.

If you integrate direct mail into your communication channel, you will engage both existing and prospective customers on a personal level. Thereby creating a custom experience and memorable experience for the customer.

For instance, your direct mail could be postcards in envelopes. When the customer receives your postcard, you can only imagine how delighted he/she will feel.

It will be imprinted in the customer’s mind that you went all the way to create something unique and special for them. Now, that’s how warm your way into a prospect’s heart and keep customers happy.

Direct mail is cost-effective

It’s almost impossible to discuss the effectiveness of direct mail without mentioning its cost-effectiveness. Because direct mail marketing allows you to identify and connect with your target audience, you won’t have to cast a net over the entire sea of customers.

With direct mail such as sending postcards, you can conveniently engage your target audience without spending fortunes on trying to reach the entire market — including those without the slightest interest in your brand.

Think about it, channeling your efforts into engaging only your intended market segment or target audience will save you a lot of money instead of adopting the “everyone and anyone” approach.

Also, because you are investing in your target audience, rest assured you will recoup your investments in the long run after winning their trust and confidence. Your team will also be able to set realistic goals for their marketing campaigns because with direct mail, you measure and track your spending and make adjustments to your plans if need be.

Direct marketing allows you to upsell and re-engage customers

Direct marketing allows you to upsell and re-engage customers with personalized marketing approaches such as sending postcards.

As you can imagine, more personalization leads to equal more sales. You can also seize the avenue to tell customers who haven’t patronized you in a while how much you missed them and would love to rekindle the relationship with juicy offers.

Direct marketing makes it incredibly easy to test and analyze results

Because direct marketing uses a call to action and a means by which customers can respond — say phone numbers or an email address, you can evaluate what communication method yielded more results and adopt it for future campaigns.

Are you thinking of postcard marketing?

At this point, you should already have an idea of how you can leverage postcards in your direct marketing strategy. Postcards are arguably the most cost-effective and accessible form of direct mail available.

According to United States postal services, their simplicity makes them an excellent option for making announcements and getting customers to complete a desired action like visiting your store or website.

Postcards are versatile and inexpensive

Postcards are versatile and inexpensive and are an excellent marketing tool you should have in your arsenal. Compared to greeting cards and other traditional direct mail package, postcards are quick and easy to manage.

You can think of a postcard as a “mini-billboard” or a space you can hold. It can be a handwritten message to your customer or a photograph of a product you recently launched.

Your postcard can also serve as a reminder for an upcoming event, a mini newsletter, or a discount coupon. The major advantage of utilizing postcards for direct mail is that they don’t have to be opened to be read, unlike letters and greeting cards.

If you are creative with your postcards’ design and presentation, you will be amazed at the impact they will have on your business.

What postcard sizes are available?

Postcards come in two popular sizes — one-quarter of an 8.5 by 11 paper measuring 4.25 x 5.5 inches (small) and one-half of an 8.5 x 11 paper measuring 5.5 x 8.5 inches (standard).

Interestingly these two sizes can fit on a standard-sized paper. Of course, there are other sizes of postcards like the 6.125 x 11.5 inches (Jumbo) and 9 x 12 inches ( extra-large).

While you are at it, have it in mind the small-sized postcards (4.25 x 6 inches) are compact and easy to design. It also falls within the U.S postal services (USPS) size for postcards which is between 3.5 x 5 inches and 4.25 x 6 inches.

According to USPS, anything larger than that is considered a letter. If your postcard size falls between the USPS size range, you can send it at first-class mail, where it will get delivery priority.

We are rounding off

Top reasons why you should consider postcard marketing includes less competition because fewer companies think in this direction, it has a higher response rate, it gives room for creativity. It leaves a lasting impression on your customers.

If you need help leveraging postcard direct mail strategy in your business, you are always welcome to contact us. We can help you automate your direct mail marketing and help you yield the most ROI on direct mail.

trends

Staying on Top of Direct Marketing Trends

The global business landscape is expanding by the second and businesses are in stiff competition to reach prospective customers. To successfully attract leads and get them to patronize you calls for clever means of communication and marketing.

Over the years, marketing has undergone a tremendous revolution, and digital marketing trend is causing so much buzz.

While some people will argue that online or digital marketing is effective, it also has its limitations. Topmost on the list is that it takes away the personal feel of direct mail formats like postcards.

Way back in the day, popular marketing methods included the publisher’s clearinghouse, lift letters and the historical Johnson box.

As you can imagine, all of those direct marketing methods are obsolete and have no place in today’s fast-paced business landscape. Before discussing modern trends in direct mail marketing, let’s take a second or two to discuss the Johnson box and lift letter. Shall we?

What is the Johnson box?

Named after its inventor Frank Johnson, the Johnson box is placed at the top of direct mail letters. The Johnson box contains a catchy message that tells the reader the gist of the message — it is intended to grab the readers’ attention and hopefully get them to read to the end of the letter.

While Johnson’s box may seem like an effective marketing tool, it has tendencies of hard selling. Some customers and prospects may consider the Johnson box inappropriate for formal content like the sales copy.

Today the Johnson box no longer serves the purpose for which it is intended. It’s now been used in emails to highlight catchy information and give the reader a preview of the contents.

Other applications of the Johnson box are at the middle of web pages, where it’s often used to highlight important messages and testimonials.

Because most businesses are focused on maximizing their returns on investment (ROI), there is less spending and testing of single-letter elements like the Johnson box. As such, making it an unpopular direct marketing tool.

The lift letter

The lift letter used in direct mail marketing is more like a short note delivered alongside a direct mail package to get buyers to respond to your offer.

Interestingly it was found that a well-crafted lift letter can boost the response rate to an offer by up to 25%. The lift letter has been used to pitch promo headlines and other related products customers might be interested in.

Other times, lift letters are used as a stamp of endorsement or approval from regulatory bodies or celebrities with the intention of bonding with the customers and getting them to take your offer.

While adding lift notes or lift letters to your package may seem like an excellent way of catching your customer’s attention, some sellers tend to go overboard with it. What was supposed to lift the customer’s response suddenly turns boring and intrusive.

Postcards: the new trend in direct mail marketing

Yeah, you read that correctly. Postcards! You have probably been thinking that with so many high-tech marketing tools out there, why should anybody think about using postcards?

It works.

Postcards are economical, flexible, and very effective. They are arguably one of the best tools for targeted marketing campaigns. Postcard formats of direct mail can be used to create brand awareness, make announcements, follow up on customers, and can also be used as reminders to clients. They are affordable, and you can send one from anywhere in the world.

Why are postcards taking the lead in modern direct mail marketing?

Compared to direct mail letters, postcards have higher chances of been read. According to the U.S postal services, postcards are six times more likely to be read than mail letters. With the figures put at 94% against 14%.

In addition to their high readership, postcards make it possible to communicate with your customers in a friendly and social tone.

Then, it’s easy to track your marketing performance and ROI on every mail via customer responses.

In conclusion

Postcards may not be entirely new in marketing your brand, and most people will look away at the mention of this direct mail marketing format.

With adequate planning and strategy built around postcards direct mail, businesses can expand their market reach and increase their customer base while also boosting profit margins.

Thankfully you don’t have to manage your direct mail marketing strategy by yourself. We are available around the clock to offer our expertise and help you achieve your goal.

sensitive

Being Sensitive and Still Building Business in a Pandemic

The pandemic has thrown a big wrench in the working of virtually all businesses. While many businesses are operating at a limited capacity, working remotely, or planning their exit, you don’t have to go in the same direction.

Despite the setbacks imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, there is an opportunity to grow your business while still being sensitive to happenings around you.

To keep your business running and not lose either your customers and employees because of the pandemic, there are strategies you can adopt to keep your business afloat.

Let’s take a look at some of them. Shall we?

Leverage the internet in your marketing campaigns

While blogs, newsletters, and social media are free or low-cost avenues you can explore to build an online presence, it is always best to have a plan before investing your time and resources into taking your business online.

Interact with your customers on a personal level

It’s no longer news that businesses have turned to social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to stay in touch with their customers and work remotely.

It’s not enough to open a social media account and post repeatedly. You need to identify your target audience and come up with creative means of engaging them online.

To connect with your customers on a personal level and imprint your name in their hearts, you should aim to provide customized customer services. Always check on your customers and provide solutions to their needs.

We will discuss how you can retain customers during the pandemic later on.

Fine-tune your virtual selling skills — first impressions still matter

Even though most businesses have taken to the virtual space and you are now pitching your brand over the internet, have it in mind that first impression still matters.

Always check to ensure that your audio and video are clear and easy to understand. Then your background should be spot on.

Be proactive and provide upfront value

Be proactive and give customers upfront value for your customers. You can provide prospects with resources and tools that will help them relate with your brand even if they don’t convert right away.

Because most businesses are operating remotely and the usual in-person shopping experience is no longer there, customers now take more time to make decisions —   thereby lengthening the sales cycle.

You need to maintain close contact with your customers and make sure they don’t look elsewhere.

Organize virtual events to educate and engage your audience

Earlier, we mentioned creating value for both existing and prospective customers. One way of creating value for your business during the pandemic is by hosting virtual events.

Not just any virtual event — thoughtfully planned virtual events that cater to the needs of your customers. And because virtual events are becoming an everyday thing, you need to find means of making yours stand out.

Make your virtual events interactive

Aim to make your virtual events interactive. If your budget can accommodate it, make provision for incentives and bring in an expert speaker to encourage people to join your virtual events.

At the end of your virtual events, utilize call-to-actions (CTAs) that will drive your customers to connect and continue to do business with you.

Last but not least, make the right connections to help keep your business afloat during the pandemic and ensure sincere and transparent communication with your employees and customers.

How you can retain customers during the pandemic

As we mentioned earlier, customer retention is an essential aspect of building a successful business during a pandemic. With the social distancing protocol still very much in place, businesses are experiencing less foot traffic. As you can imagine, you need customers to remain in business.

So, the million-dollar question is;

How do you retain customers during the pandemic?

First, you have to communicate with your customers and not leave them in the dark about what you are doing. Keep them abreast of all your business activities— if you are closing early, changing work hours, and what efforts you are doing to make your workplace safe. You can reach out to your customers via social media channels or through emails.

Have you considered direct mails?

Direct mail is an excellent way of engaging with your customers offline. You can send postcards or any other printed mailers. Thankfully, direct mails are flexible and cost-effective.

Because of their flexibility and simplicity, businesses can use them to connect with their customers, follow up on leads, and market their brand. Unlike other digital messages that could get lost in a pile of messages, direct mails always make it to the mailbox, and they always get read.

And because they have a personal feel to them, direct mails have a better response rate. They are memorable, and there is less competition.

Do you need expert help with your direct mail?

If you are not sure how to handle your direct mail, especially in making the right connections with your customers during the pandemic, you can always reach out to us. We can help you plan a successful direct mail campaign and ensure that you get the desired results.

engagement

Top Tips and Ideas on How to Improve Customer Engagement

It’s almost impossible to discuss how businesses can connect with their customers without mentioning customer engagement. To keep your business up and running and profitable, you need to build a community of loyal customers — those that will stick with your brand through thick and thin.

Defining customer engagement

You can think of customer engagement as maintaining a healthy or close relationship with your customers.

Customer engagement can be measured through regular interactions with customers via emails, reaction on social media channels, testimonials and customer feedback, click-through-rate, and re-purchasing.

Think about it. What better way for customers to show loyalty than re-purchasing?

All forms of customer engagement are intended to increase brand awareness and exposure, build customers’ trust and confidence in your brand and assess your level of customer satisfaction — with a view of enhancing customer experience.

Building a customer engagement strategy?

While reaching out and connecting with new customers is an essential aspect of doing business, another aspect of business that is equally important is holding on to the ones you already have. Think customer retention.

As we mentioned earlier, customer engagement hinges on building a relationship or connecting with people who patronize your business. It comprises every means of communication between you and your customers that you can think of — phone calls, social media conversations, emails. You name them.

Having mentioned that, you need a strategy to determine effectively communicate with both existing and prospective customers. The idea is to keep them happy and satisfied at all times.

What is a customer engagement strategy?

With all we have shared so far, you should already have an idea of what a customer engagement strategy is.

Any ideas? If you say, it is a plan that is developed to increase customer satisfaction. You are right.

But that’s is not all.

Customer engagement strategy also involves building a profitable relationship and having positive communication with customers — either online or offline. An effective strategy demonstrates proactive methods of customer engagement.

It should cover how your customer service team interacts with customers when customers get in touch with you and how your company can actively engage your customer base.

We are moving on.

Why do you need a customer engagement strategy?

It was forecasted that customer experience would be the leading reason why customers will patronize businesses by the end of 2020. And that forecast is already coming to fruition.

Still on customer satisfaction, if you can deliver a spectacular customer experience and get your customers to feel good about your business, the chances are that price will no longer be an issue.

A happy customer will spread the word

The extent you will go to ensure that your customers get maximum satisfaction can also lead them to recommend you to other people — their friends and family. And that is organic campaigns that will impact your business significantly.

Think of what referrals by a satisfied customer will do for your brand. The result is priceless.

Considering how customer engagement can impact your business, you may want to have a rethink and start paying more attention to your customer engagement strategy.

How do you track customer engagement?

If you already have a strategy going on for your business, you should track the performance of your customer engagement strategy. The easiest way of telling whether your strategy is yielding results is by checking the metrics.

1. Social media interactions

One of the quickest means of telling if your customer engagement strategy is working is a spike in your social media interactions. You may begin to notice more likes and comments on your social media channels and pages.

2. Positive reviews

Suppose customers are impressed by your customer services (which is key to customer engagement). In that case, they will shower you with praises and won’t hesitate to drop a fantastic review of Google, Yelp, Facebook, and other popular platforms where people go to check reviews.

3. Increasing number of happy customers

Another quick means of assessing your customer engagement is an increase in the number of happy customers.

You can measure this via surveys. Your survey question should revolve around satisfaction levels and if they will recommend you. While you are at it, remember to keep an eye on the response rate from your survey. Higher response rates equal high engagement and vice versa.

Customer engagement strategies you should consider

You can never run out of ideas for engaging your customers. All you need to do is be creative and think outside the box.

One popular trend in customer engagement is the “tag a friend” campaign you see on social media these days. You may have participated in one of those without noticing.

How to do it.

It is pretty simple. If you deal on products, you can take a picture of the product and post it on your social media channels.

Then ask your followers to tag their friends to win the prize. Remember to communicate the start and finish date of the campaign and how the winner will be selected.

You could end the challenge when you hit a certain number of followers, and the winner will be the person with the most number of tags.

Post shout outs across your social media channels

You will be amazed at how much engagement you will get from taking a screenshot of a review or referral message and posting it on social media.

Tag the writer and thank them for the kind word and cleverly encourage others to do the same. Now, that is customer engagement at its best.

Can I use direct mail postcards?

We did say think outside the box. So, Yep! You can use direct mail postcards for customer engagement. Sending postcards to your customers is another excellent customer engagement strategy you should add to your strategy.

Postcards show that you have your customers at heart, and you value their relationship with your brand or company. You can send a postcard mailer, say once every month.

Other great customer engagement ideas for your business include starting a fan club, rewarding engagements by sending gifts to active customers or long-term, saying thank you to those who referred you and checking up on customers you haven’t heard from in a while.

We are rounding off!

There you have it. Great ideas for customer engagement and how to get your customers to keep your business on top of mind. Regarding direct mail for keeping in touch with your customers, we have all the resources and expertise to help you run a successful customer engagement campaign. Do get in touch with us soon.

connect

6 Things Business Owners Should do in 2021

Reassure and Reconnect

It is still very much a time of great uncertainty for many. It can be hard for people, customers, and business owners to look past the short-term challenges that they might be facing right now (especially off the back of a difficult 2020). That’s why one of the best things you can do right now is to reassure your customers you are still there for them, even if that looks a little differently from how it did a year ago. Reconnection is the best way to do this, keep the lines of communication open as best as you can. Direct mail is the best way to do this; send something real, honest, and tangible. 

Forecast for Uncertainty 

If last year taught us anything it was that when it comes to strategizing and forecasting hurdles, we should always expect the unexpected. 2021 has the potential to throw anything at us; as does every year after that. We should have this at the forefront of our minds now. When carrying out forecasts and predictions be sure to build in a fail-proof back-up plan with multiple possible directions for success. 

Consider Changing Track

Sadly, things might have changed in terms of what is feasible for your business right now. It’s easy to focus all our energy on getting ‘back on track’ to where we were before a crisis or challenge occurred. Sometimes though, this is counter-intuitive and it serves us better to start from scratch. Assess where you are now and what is doable right now with the resources and challenges you currently face. It’s okay and even advisable to change track. 

Forge Your Unique Path

It’s comforting to look at what other similar businesses are doing right now. It can offer reassurance, spark inspiration or even give you a much-needed wake-up call. The negative side of this is that it’s hard to assess your unique standing and create a competitive advantage that works to your own internal strengths within your organization. Sometimes the best thing to do is block everything out and focus on your unique business offerings. Try not to second-guess yourself if something feels right. 

Look for Opportunities

It is always best to invest at the bottom of the business cycle, just before the economy starts to expand. We often don’t know where we are in the business cycle until it is too late – economic growth is a trailing indicator. We do know that we experienced a downturn in 2020. That could open up opportunities because some competitors are weak, new partners are hungry for business, and this can give way to bargains. We want to accumulate cash, to the extent that we can, and be on the look-out for amazing opportunities.

Add Value 

Everything you do and everything you offer to your customer should add real value to their lives. If you have a service or product which isn’t filling this criterion, it’s time to address that. This probably sounds like the simplest of things. You’re possibly reading this and thinking, ‘well of course my service is of value’. But what we mean by ‘real value’ is:

  • Is the price fair and beneficial?
  • Is customer service the best possible experience it could be?
  • Are you selling more than just a ‘service’ or ‘product’ what are you doing for the customer in terms of enhancing their life? Is this clear in your messaging?

Your potential customer needs to recognize that what you do adds value, not just you. 

We hope that 2021 will see things improve for you if you were impacted by the pandemic and continue to be. We are here to help you get back on your feet in any way we can. 

holidays

Stay ‘Top of Mind’ During the Holidays

The holidays can be a tricky time for businesses to navigate. It’s easy to come off as too aggressive and promotional – no one really wants that around the holidays. Especially not previous customers you already have a relationship with. The same is true if you’re in an industry that doesn’t really work for the holidays. 

The question is, how can you make the holidays work for you?

Think of your customers as you would a friend. The holidays can be stressful, it’s also been a very stressful year for everyone, much more than usual. A good approach would be to offer a supportive helping hand through your words, offers, and your actions. The holidays are supposed to be a season for giving.

The long-term goal is to build a strong connection with your brand. We can do that by putting our customers’ needs first and being sensitive to all the season represents. We can send good wishes and bright feelings their way, just as we might do for our own family.

It’s these types of seemingly small and unimportant actions that are crucial to building and maintaining a solid relationship with past and future customers. Remember, our clients are one of our most valuable assets – even if they are not buying today.

Let’s take this example, a business that sells barbecues and outdoor furniture for outdoor living might feel as though they have no business reaching out during the Winter holidays. No one wants to buy a barbecue to use in the snow, right? This frame of mind couldn’t be further from the truth. Those summer months come around quicker than you know, and by then, if you’ve worked on maintaining brand awareness the rest of the year, you will be the first one that customer thinks of when they need a shiny new barbecue for a hot summer’s day. This tried and true method has been proven over and over again.

Selling is based on authentic relationships built over time. It takes time, investment, and regular communication to build a strong brand (customer bond).

A Cost-Effective Solution

You might be thinking… that’s all very well but what do I NEED to do as a business. Here are some simple actionable steps you can take right now.

It doesn’t have to be expensive, just the gesture is often enough. 

Try sending a holiday postcard, but not just any postcard, drop the postcard in an envelope to create a festive greeting card. This technique is a fraction of the cost of a traditional card and the goodwill is every bit as powerful.

With Zairmail this type of campaign is super-fast and easy to launch.

Greetings cards are a staple of the holiday season, but they are also an expensive option. Postcards in envelopes act in a similar way but at a fraction of the price. You can send a postcard for as little as $0.99 including postage and mailing costs! All our postcards are barcoded and pre-sorted which means we can meet super-fast delivery targets.

We have ready-to-go designs for the holidays or you can add a fully customizable design of your own; add a company photo, personal design, logo, or signature. Zairmail can even supply a mailing list if you want to send a Season greeting to a list of potential clients. 

Our cards are UV coated to add a polished professional look and you even have the choice to include a premium in the envelope or a coupon/offer on the back.

Step 1 is to sign up for a free Zairmail account or call us on 1.888.898.0066 and let us know you would like to send  Postcards with envelopes. We will support you from start to end and have your message in the mail within 24 hours if required. 

holiday-premiums

Sending Premiums Over the Holidays

When you send a piece of mail to a customer or potential customer with a free item, you are harnessing the power of premiums. The holidays are a time of spreading joy, love laughter and, of course, a time of giving! What better time is there to use premiums to build on that relationship and increase customer engagement?

Freebies act as a fantastic response device for several reasons:

They create excitement that passes over to your brand itself and any surrounding offers you’re trying to promote. If you think about it, how much more exciting is it to receive something free in the mail Vs seeing a digital advert on your phone? 

They build trust because they offer the receiver something tangible and hopefully useful or interesting as well. If you have instant trust, you will naturally have a higher response rate.

They increase open rates because ‘lumpy mail’ is not something you come across every day. Lumpy mail will spike curiosity. 

They can create direct action. An alternative to the lump mail approach is to make the customer call in or carry out some other simple connection/communication to claim the freebie. 

Best Types of Premiums for the Holidays

Once you’ve decided to send a free item with your mail, the most challenging task is choosing what to send out. The best place to start is by selecting the type of mail. Here at Zairmail, we are BIG FANS of postcards with envelopes during the holidays. 

Postcards with envelopes are more affordable than traditional greetings cards, but they will do the same thing in terms of delivering a heartfelt or empowering message this year. You will probably be surprised to learn you can send a postcard with an envelope for as little as $0.99 including postage and mailing! As well as this, you can send them quickly thanks to Zairmail…. and we mean QUICK!

With this type of campaign here are some premiums for you to consider:

Insert a generic gift card, e.g Starbucks 

Send a personalized voucher for your own store/website

Send free samples in the form of sachets if you sell something edible or health/beauty related. If you don’t fit this category, consider partnering with a brand that does offer small samples. E.g ‘a hot drink sachet on us’

A fridge magnet (Hopefully the customer will use the free magnet to put your postcard on the fridge… that’s always the goal with a good postcard mailing)

Free stamps for your customers to use on their own greetings card for family and friends

The idea is to simply offer something of value to show your customers you value them. It’s a simple concept but highly effective. 

As always, we are on hand to assist you with any mailing campaign you desire. Give us a call on 1.888.898.0066 and ask us how we can assist you with sending premiums with enveloped postcards. We are here to help. 

powerful-tool

The Most Powerful Targeted Advertising Tool Available

The Internet continues to increase competition by erasing regional borders and reducing cycle time for compelling new offerings. Companies must work harder than ever, to break through the clutter, and make their message heard.

The good news is that there are some tools that remain as effective as ever. Direct mail is still the most powerful targeted advertising tool available, returning $12, on average,  for every dollar invested. Direct mail can reach every household and business in America. Plus, well defined demographics assure that advertisers can reach exactly the right household or business.

The daily mail moment is well ingrained into American culture.

Traditional direct mail has not been without limitations. Standing in line at the post office just does not work in today’s fast paced business world. Lead times for production and mailing could take a week or more. Mail delivery times were difficult to predict. The software tools required to improved delivery time and reduces costs were complicated, expensive, and only available to the largest mailers.

Zairmail has eliminated these barriers and brought direct mail into the digital age.

Zairmail clients simply upload a list, upload a document, and approve an instant online proof. Zairmail automates processing, printing, addressing, pre-sorting, and mailing. Zairmail customers are in the mail, the next day (same day mailing available), at a fraction of the cost. Direct mail campaigns are all tracked electronically to provide delivery confirmation – no more delays or guesswork.

This enhanced level of service is based on an advanced web-to-print system, fine-tuned over the past decade, working in partnership with Cendix. This same system can be used to deliver turn-key fulfillment platforms for mortgage marketing, franchises, and distributed sales teams. This type of solution is available at no cost to frequent mailers.

Direct mail meets the digital age. 

Learn more at www.zairmail.com or call 888.898.0066.

envelope

The NOT so Secret Recipe for Direct Mail Success

Direct mail is one of the most effective forms of promotion available. Direct mail returns, on average, $12 for every $1 spent by advertisers. When done right, the response rates and returns, are far greater than other digital channels and targeting is much more accurate.

There are still some simple tips that can help us increase response rates and return on investment (ROI) even further. Here are five that you can use to improve your results.

Use the right class of postage.

The two primary types of postage used for direct mail at First Class postage and Standard A. Standard A used be called bulk mail; the USPS is now re-naming it Marketing Mail. First Class postage is the fastest – it can usually reach any household or business in America in ~3 days. There is also a return service, so if the postcard or letter is not deliverable, the USPS returns it so the original list can be updated. On the other hand, it is much more typical to see delivery times of 7 – 10 days with Standard A postage. If the mail piece can’t be delivered with Standard A, the USPS will recycle it (e.g. no return service).

The trade-off in service level does come with a price. The retail price for First Class postage is $.55/piece and there are size/weight restrictions. The price of Standard A varies based on mailing (carrier route) density; however, a savings of ~$.10/piece over First Class rates is typical. The response rates for Standard A can also be slightly lower if recipients view the use of discount postage negatively (e.g. appears to be unwanted junk mail). Over a long period of time, with regular mailings, the postage savings can add up. In many cases, the difference in response rates between First Class and Standard A when using an indicia (see below), are negligible.

One simple trick, when mailing on a regular basis, is to start out sending both First Class mail and Standard A for the first couple of weeks. Then in week three, just cut over to Standard A postage. The First Class mail will help generate near-term responses, while the Standard A fills the funnel for future responses. Once there is a steady stream of responses from the Standard A mail, it will not matter if it takes 7 – 10 days, it is just topping off the funnel, and the postage savings should start to accumulate.

Try to mail at least 500 pieces when possible. 

70% of the cost in direct mail can be traced to postage. There are two ways to save money on postage for short-run mailings. The first comes from using an indicia rather than a stamp. A postal indicia is the box (message) printed where you would usually place the stamp on a personal letter. An indicia allows the USPS to charge the mailer or direct mail service provider electronically. The indicia is printed directly on the envelope and avoids the labor (cost) associated with placing a stamp on each envelope. A mailing must have 200 pieces or more to use an indicia.

The other way to reduce the cost of postage is by pre-sorting the mail. Pre-sort is a work share program offered by the USPS to mailers who pre-process the mail to assure accuracy and efficiency. The mailer (service provider) must process the list to assure accuracy. Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) software is used to standardize addresses and assure they are deliverable. The list is also processed using the National Change of Address (NCOA) database. An Intelligent Mail barcode is assigned to each piece to speed automated processing and allow for tracking. The mail is then sorted and bundled depending on its 5-digit or 3-digit zip code, each tray is inserted into a sleeve, and then the tray is strapped and tagged based on USPS rules. Pre-sort requires 200 pieces for Standard A (bulk mail) or 500 pieces for First Class postage.

Start small, find a winning formula, then step on the gas.

It can be frustrating to send out a mail piece you know is a winner, and then there is nothing but the sound of crickets – the phone just doesn’t ring. It is even more frustrating (and expensive) if this first campaign is 10,000 pieces or more. 

Creating a winning mail piece usually requires testing and tuning. The best way to do this is by sending out smaller batches, experimenting with the variables (e.g. list, creative, call to action, mail format, …), and finding a piece that produces reliable results. With that formula in hand, you can start increasing campaign size, being careful not to overwhelm your capacity to service responses. In other words, if you have a call center with 4 agents, you probably don’t want/need 200 calls at once. In an ideal world, demand would be regulated so that each response can be serviced at the moment it arrives.

It is usually best to start testing with small campaigns of 500 pieces (or more) to take advantage of discount postage rates. Several different concepts (A/B testing) can be mailed at once to speed the testing cycle. The results of each campaign need to be tracked. This can be done by using a response code, tracking the names from the lists used, or using a different toll free number for each campaign. The results should be analyzed to identify those that pull the best, and then the winning concepts should be used as the foundation for the next batch. 

Once you have a reliable formula, you can start to systematically increase volume. Still, testing should never really stop, we should always be on the lookout for techniques that will do even more.

Avoid features that don’t produce a return.

Creativity is often essential to break through the clutter. However, the goal in direct response marketing is to maximize return on investment (ROI). ROI is calculated as (sales produced – costs incurred) / costs incurred. Anything that increases expenses without growing sales reduces ROI.

One example of this is full bleed artwork. Digital printers require a small white (clear) space around the edge of a print piece. This allows the press to grab the material for printing without damaging the print. In order to produce full-bleed materials, the mail piece has to be printed a larger size and then trimmed to fit. This increases the number of production steps and the cost of the piece. Creatives or artists often insist on full-bleed artwork to preserve the integrity of “the design”. Based on the experience of our clients over two decades, we have seen no measurable increase in response rates from full bleed art.

There are other tradeoffs that should be considered as well. Should you use color or black and white printing? Color costs more, and there are studies that say the use of color increases response rates, but how much of an increase will you get with your target audience? Does it really pencil out?

Note: Personalization has been shown to increase response rates. Personalization does not cost extra with Zairmail (www.zairmail.com). Personalize away and enjoy higher response rates for no additional cost.

How about the trade-off between First Class postage and Standard A? There are studies that say First Class postage produces slightly higher response rates. Is this true for your audience?

How do we know? Well, …

When in doubt test. 

See our earlier tip (above). Don’t leave it chance, when in doubt test it. 

When you think you have it all figure out, then test some more.

Continue to look for ways to improve response rates.

Continuous improvement is your friend.

 

 

About the Author

Wilson Zehr is a Direct Mail Industry Expert, Direct Marketing Specialist, and CEO of Cendix (www.cendix.com), the leading provider of Web-to-print solutions that increase sales both online and offline. He is also the founder of Zairmail (www.zairmail.com), the company responsible for many "industry firsts" in direct mail.

 

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