Direct Mail Journal

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Person Holding his freedom

Going My Way?

There is an article in the Zairmail archives that explores the limits of what can be shipped through the mail. It is a truly entertaining piece that never seems to go out of style. We also stumbled into this list of 21 Things You’d Be Surprised You Can Actually Mail. The list includes a wide array of unexpected items, including a lime, an inflated beach ball, and a rose in a bottle, among others.

This made us wonder, is it possible to ship other things, like a human for example, through the mail. We might be able to include food and water right in the package to sustain the occupant – even when service slows down over the holidays. Other types of human needs might still remain a problem. Still, that didn’t stop us from looking.

The Smithsonian published a piece that highlights the launch of parcel post, for packages of less than 15 pounds, in 1913. The service started on January 1, in part to take advantage of the rapidly growing demand for mail order services to rural communities. Almost immediately people began shipping their children to relatives. An 11 pound parcel costs just 15 cents at that time – insurance, if any, was extra. Postmaster General, Albert Burleson, quickly put an end to that practice by June.

It turns out that this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many curious (and humorous) stories about people being sent though the mail. Over the next few months, we will share several of these stories in this column.

The Shipping Journey of Henry “Box” Brown

Henry Box Brown was a slave who successfully sent himself to freedom in 1849. Brown hid in a wooden crate and arranged to be sent to slavery abolitionists in Philadelphia. Brown was a slave in a tobacco factory when he devised the perfect plan of escape to the freedom. However, brown was forced to leave behind his enslaved family.

Cohorts

James C. A. Smith, a free black man, along with Samuel Smith (aka Samuel the Shoemaker), aided Brown in his ingenious plan. Brown escaped in a wooden box just 3’ (w) x 3’ (l) x 2’ (h)wide, which was labeled “dry goods” on the side. Brown took a small amount of water and several biscuits with him. The wooden box had a single hole for air. The shipping box was nailed shut and then wrapped with straps.

Henry "Box" Brown Being rescued from his box.

The Escape

Brown’s trip to freedom lasted 27 hours during which, the box that held Brown was transported by wagon, railroad, steamboat, and ferry. Despite instructions on the box that said, “handle with care” and “this side up”, Brown was bounced around and placed upside down multiple times. Brown continued to stay still and went undetected.

After Browns impressive escape, he earned the moniker Henry “Box” Brown and spent years on the abolitionist speaker circuit, first in the northeast US, and then in England.

We have offer many other interesting posts this blog here are some:

  1. Conjure Some Postcard Magic With These Tips!
  2. Howl For Your USPS Postage Treats Now!

Zairmail (www.zairmail.com) is the fastest and easiest way to send (real) postal mail. Give us a call anytime at 888.898.0066, we would be happy to help with your direct mail needs.

Conjure Some Postcard Magic!

Conjure Some Postcard Magic!

Are your direct mail campaigns meeting your sales objectives? Give yourself a powerful treat this season and boost your ROI. These three simple techniques can help improve the effectiveness of your campaigns. Put them in your sack and take home the potential for supernatural returns.

In that spirit, Zairmail once again shares the 70/20/10 rule. The success of any direct mail campaign is based on the list (70%), the offer (20%), and anything left, the creative (10%). This can be a little counter-intuitive. There are many direct mail advertisers, and agencies, who focus on creative first – of course, that’s the fun part. Still, we all know from experience, if we put the right offer in the hands of the right prospect, good things tend to happen.

1. How is your list?

The list is often the most overlooked piece of a mailing campaign. Yet, it is the single most important ingredient for success, and often the easiest to adjust. With the rising cost of postage, the last thing we want to do is send a letter or postcard to anyone who will not be motivated to action, now or sometime in the future. Remember, it is a-okay to use direct mail to establish a brand and solidify a rapport, even if prospects will not purchase today.

Is The List Defined?

Just ask yourself, who is your ideal client? How do you define them? We often define consumers in terms of demographic characteristics such as geography, gender, income, family characteristics, … If our customers are businesses, then we can look at factors such as geographic region, size (e.g., sales, employees, offices, …), industry, growth rate, … The more specific that we can be when it comes to defining our ideal customer, the better opportunity we have to find the right list and create winning offers.

Do you have a house (customer) list? This can often be a good place to start. The people who have purchased your product(s) or service(s) in the past, can provide a snapshot of what our best future prospects look like. We need to nurture those relationships and then continue to grow our base of potential clients. If we don’t have a house list, or the list we have is a little starved in terms of reach, then we can always purchase additional contacts. One of the key advantages to direct mail is that demographics for lists are extremely well developed. We can pull lists based on any/all of the criteria outlined above – and a lot more!

List Health?

How healthy is your list? Harvard University tells us that over the past five years, each year more than 13% of the US population has moved. Over a three-year period of time that means 40% or more of your addresses could be bad. If you are using Zairmail for your mailing, then we automatically run each list (over 500 records) through the National Change of Address (NCOA) database and Coded Accuracy Support System (CASS) to assure that we are using the most current address and it’s deliverable.

Still, since postage represents ~70% of the cost of any direct mail campaign, we don’t want to burn postage on any mail that can’t be delivered. We need to keep all our lists updated and accurate. It can often be less expensive to replace an old list, rather than spending money on postage, just to see piles of undeliverable mail return.

Spend a little time reviewing the Zairmail Mailing List Boot Camp for more tips on how to find the perfect mailing list.

If you need more help, Zairmail provides electronic access and real-time counts for consumer lists from Acxiom, and business lists from Dunn & Bradstreet, as well as thousands of other specialty lists.

We can definitely help you rattle some chains and scare up the right list.

2. How compelling is your offer?

If we are sending mail to an existing or prospective customer, then we want them to do something, right? What do you want your customer to do? Do you want the recipient to send you a check? Do you want them to pick up the phone and call? Do you want them to visit your website? Do you want them to keep you in the mind for some future need? Do you want them to tell their family and friends about you? These are all legitimate goals for a direct mail campaign…of course, there are many more outcomes we could consider.

What will motivate the recipient to take that action?

Do we want to offer a one-time discount to get them used to purchasing from us and experiencing the benefits first-hand? Do we offer a free no-cost “analysis” so we can show the customer what to purchase and how they will benefit from our offerings? Do we offer a referral program, so that those who know us best, will send us qualified prospects that they know well?

There are also different styles of offers. One technique in sales is to start with a small “ask” to win the customer’s trust with minimum perceived risk. Another technique is to start with a big “ask”, and then rachet back, to let the customer discover their own comfort zone. Of course, we can mix and match these types of techniques to align with our products, services, and audience.

Refinement.

Once we have a potential formula in mind, then we need to put that message into bold and action oriented words. We need to state (a) what action we want them to take, and (b) what benefits they will receive in return. To the extent the benefits (far) outweigh the actions/cost, the results should be significant.

It is not unusual to have a few different ideas. One of the other benefits of direct mail is that you can test. Break your list into pieces, try different offers with each list, and then continue to refine the one that pulls best. Once we get a piece that performs well, then we can really step on the gas. However, this really should be a process of continuous improvement – we can always get better.

We need to make sure that any offer is time limited. Offers that don’t expire usually just gather cobwebs on the counter. We know, as a general rule in sales, that the further we get from the initial point of engagement with the client, the less likely they are to take action. We need to make sure that we provide a deadline to serve as a motivating force and remain top of mind.

3. Let’s get creative.

Creative might represent only 10% in our formula for success, but it can still be critical for success.

Consider a direct mail postcard. The first thing that must happen before your client can take action is they must get your message. Postcards have the benefit of being a small billboard in the mail. We still need to claw through the clutter and come out on top. This quite often entails a show stopping image and a compelling teaser (text).

There are many creative appeals that can be used: shock, emotional, humor, artistic, … We have covered many different ideas/approaches over time in this blog. The list is quite literally endless. We just need to make sure the appeal, image, and the copy text, all play well together and communicate a singular message and call to action. We also need to avoid clutter. Often, in this environment, less is more. People are busy, they have limited time to spend; be simple, be direct, make your offer pop.

We have offered many other tips on this blog here are some other interesting posts:

  1. Top tips on how to conduct an effective direct mail marketing campaign
  2. Stay ‘Top of Mind’ During the Holidays
  3. Howl For Your USPS Postage Treats Now!
  4. Going My Way?

By all means, be creative, super creative even; but don’t let your message get lost in the art or elegance. We have seen simple black and white postcards with a clear and powerful message that summon up astonishing results.

Now, how is that for a sweet treat?

Happy Halloween!

Howl For Your USPS Postage Treats Now!

Howl For Your USPS Postage Treats Now!

As reported in the last issue of the Direct Mail Journal, The USPS increased the cost of postage in August based on approval from the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). Postage increases are usually announced in November and take effect in January. This is the second price increase this year.

One source of positive news is that the First Class rate for postcard postage has been extended to jumbo postcard sizes. This is great news for all organizations that use postcards for marketing, notifications, or seasonal greetings.

Domestic Mail Postage  

Here is a little context for those who may not be as familiar with the structure of postal rates. There are many different postal rates and a dizzying array of rules. The Domestic Mail Manual (DMM), the USPS bible for all things postage, contains hundreds of pages, each with detailed specifications on mail formats, processes, and charges. This is an extremely technical topic area that overwhelms even postal employees. Thankfully, all but the largest mailers, can focus on just a few key elements of the DMM.

There are two basic classes of postage: First Class and Standard A – the USPS is in the process of re-branding the latter to Marketing Mail. There are also special services such as certified mail, and different classes of service for parcels, but we will focus on letter (and postcard) prices in this article.

Mail Classes

First Class postage is what most people think of when the discussion shifts to postage. If you visit a post office to send a card or letter, the Forever Stamp that you receive at the retail counter, represents First Class postage. This covers the cost of sending a mail piece of up to 1 ounce anywhere in the United States. There are additional charges for additional weight up to the maximum of 3.5 ounces. Just for reference, a 1 ounce letter is ~4 sheets of paper in a standard #10 envelope.

Standard A (Marketing Mail) is what most consumers used to refer to as bulk mail or even junk mail in some circles. Standard A is used by mass mailers to send marketing materials, in volume, at significantly reduced rates. Postage often represents over 70% of the cost of sending mail, so mass mailers are hyper-sensitive to the cost of postage. A change of $.01/piece in postage, when sending millions of pieces, can be significant.

Direct Mail Features and Discounts

The core features of the different service levels are easy to outline. We usually expect First Class mail to take ~3 days for delivery anywhere in the US – often faster for local mail. The USPS also provides a return service, so if the piece cannot be delivered, it is returned to the sender. On the other hand, with Standard A, delivery can times typically run 7 – 10 days, and there is no return service. If the USPS cannot deliver it, they will automatically recycle the mail piece for the sender.

There is one other source of savings that commercial mailers, and Zairmail customers, can access called pre-sort discounts. Pre-sort is a form of postal discount based on the concept of work-sharing. The commercial mailer (or service provider) processes the mail in advance, corrects the list for recipients who have moved or addresses that are undeliverable, assures that all mail pieces are machinable and have a bar code, and then places the mail in trays in carrier route delivery sequence.

The higher the delivery density in specific carrier routes, the greater the level of discount. This saves the USPS time and money, and these savings are shared with the mailer based on pre-determined pre-sort rates. Because the mail is pre-processed, and bar codes are added, delivery times tend to improve. The mail can also be tracked based on USPS barcode scans.

Pre-sort discounts are only available for jobs that are greater than 500 pieces for First Class Mail or 200 pieces for Standard A. Zairmail automatically pre-sorts all mail that qualifies and passes along the savings to our customers.

Direct Mail Postcards

The one other happy wrinkle in postal pricing is that the USPS offers a discount First Class Postage rate for standard postcards (4” x 6” or 4.25” x 5.5”). This represents a great value for those who use postcards. The discount postage is very close to what clients would pay for Standard A, but they get First Class postage performance. To illustrate, the current price (after increase) of a First Class stamp is $.58, the cost of a First Class postcard is only $.40 (retail). In the past, if the size of the postcard increased beyond the standard postcard size, then the postage would go up to standard First Class postage rates.

Jumbo postcards are very popular with many Zairmail clients. The larger message area (6” x 9” or 5.5” x 8.5”) provides additional freedom to deliver a compelling offer and include vibrant graphics that really pop in the mail. One common benefit provided by a postcard is that we don’t have to worry about it getting opened – each postcard is like a mini-billboard in the mail. Still, we still need to make sure that it stands out and gets seen – bonus points if it earns spot on the recipient’s fridge!

That is where the larger size comes into play.

Zairmail clients can now order both standard postcards or jumbo postcards and the pricing reflects the discount postcard rates (with pre-sort greater than 500 pieces).

Here is a comparison of the new pricing based on these changes.

If you are using small postcards today, and you have toyed with the idea of using the larger format of jumbo postcards to increase your impact; this is the perfect time to give it a try – there is very little difference in price. If you are already using jumbo postcards to spread your word, then enjoy an early holiday treat from Zairmail and the USPS.

Let’s save some money (and grow your business) for the holidays and beyond!

We have offer many other interesting posts this blog here are some:

  1. Conjure Some Postcard Magic With These Tips!
  2. Going My Way?

Zairmail (www.zairmail.com) is the fastest and easiest way to send (real) postal mail. Give us a call anytime at 888.898.0066, we would be happy to help with your direct mail needs.

USPS Price Increase

USPS Price Increase

The USPS increased the cost of postage today (August 29, 2021) based on approval from the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). Postage increases are usually announced in November and take effect in January. This is the second price increase this year. There is usually only one increase per year that is designed not to exceed the rate of inflation.

This is the latest action taken by the USPS executing against the 10-year plan called Delivering for America. The USPS has announced that these changes are essential for building a sustainable service in the years to come. This plan has been widely reported in the media, as leading to slower delivery times, higher prices, and in some cases, more limited hours of retail service at post offices. The timing of these changes, just prior to the recent presidential election, which was more dependent on mail-in ballets due to COVID restrictions, has drawn the ire of some lawmakers as well.

Separately, the USPS announced last week (August 26, 2021), that service delivery performance for the fourth quarter was the best in over five years. Here are the highlights on that announcement:

● First-Class Mail: Delivered 88.8 percent of First-Class Mail on time against the USPS service performance standard, an improvement of 1.3 percentage points from the third quarter.

● Marketing Mail: Delivered 92.7 percent of Marketing Mail on time against the USPS service performance standard, an improvement of 1.7 percentage points from the third quarter. This metric reached 93.9% for the week of August 14 – 20.

● Periodicals: Delivered 82.1 percent of Periodicals on time against the USPS service standard, an improvement of 2.9 percentage points from the third quarter.

Here is a summary of the most recent changes in postal rates. A complete list of the postage increases can be found at USPS August price increase.

  • Full Rate First Class Forever stamps increase $.03 from $.55 to $.58 each
  • Presorted First Class Commercial Letters increase $.03 – $.035 each
  • First Class Postcards (now up to 6×9) increase about $.04 each
  • EDDM Flats increase about $.01 each
  • Standard Rate Marketing Mail Commercial Letters increase $.015 – $.026 each

The good news for clients of Zairmail is that postage rates and prices will not change until Labor Day (September 6, 2021). The price of a 6 x 9 postcard will reflect the lower postcard rate. If you have a campaign planned, submit it this week, and lock in lower pricing, before postage increases.

Zairmail is the fastest, easiest, and most cost effective way to send (postal) direct mail.

We would appreciate the opportunity to assist with your direct marketing needs.

Zairmail (www.zairmail.com) is the fastest and easiest way to send (real) postal mail. Give us a call anytime at 888.898.0066, we would be happy to help with your direct mail needs.

Direct Mail Creative and Design Approaches for 2022

Direct Mail Creative and Design Approaches for 2022

2020 was a good reminder that strategists should never be too rigid in the planning or execution of mail campaigns, always leaving some room for experimentation. In this conversation from C&E’s recent Creative Summit Conference, hear from direct mail strategists Alicia Sisneros of Sisneros Strategies, Aaron Evans of WRS, Erica Prosser of BerlinRosen, and Chris D’Aniello of Axiom Strategies.

Labor Day 2021

Celebrate Labor Day

The backbone of our nation is based on business leaders, entrepreneurs, and exceptional workers. Thank you from Zairmail for making us GREAT!

Zairmail (www.zairmail.com) is the fastest and easiest way to send (real) postal mail. Give us a call anytime at 888.898.0066, we would be happy to help with your direct mail needs.

Post-pandemic direct mail marketing for businesses

Post-pandemic direct mail marketing for businesses

Coming out of the pandemic, business owners and entrepreneurs across all facets of the human experience must put on their thinking caps and come up with some clever ideas on how to keep their businesses afloat while also building momentum to propel them to success in the months ahead.

Considering the impact that COVID-19 has had on businesses’ finance, marketers must be mindful of the cost of marketing and business promotion. At this time, the primary goal of any marketing strategy is to reconnect with customers, reassure them that you are committed to their success, and bring them back to jump-start business after so many months of lockdown.

One marketing strategy that businesses should consider is direct mail marketing. The benefits of using direct mail marketing are endless and you are sure to yield positive results without breaking the bank.

To give you a sneak-peek of what direct mail marketing can do for your business, it has the potential of increasing ROI up to 20% with a response rate that is estimated to be 30X higher than some other digital marketing channels such as email campaigns.

But that’s not all.

Having mentioned email campaigns, it may interest you to know that direct mail enjoys up to 90% open rate compared to email. In addition to such a jaw-dropping open rate, recent statistics by Fundera found that at least 62% of people who respond to direct mail end up making a purchase. As such, a higher response rate from direct mail can lead directly to higher conversation rates.

At this point, how about we step on the brakes to ensure that we are all on the same page? Suppose you are the new kid on the “marketing block” and are not sure what direct mail marketing is, or nature of the benefits it can offer your business. We will shine a little more light on that and offer some tips on how to leverage direct mail.

What is direct mail marketing?

Just as the name implies, this type of marketing strategy involves engaging potential customers (prospects) and existing customers offline by sending targeted mail (e.g., postcards, letters, snap-packs…). While some may argue that this form of marketing is archaic/outdated, it has proven itself to be powerful in today’s marketing landscape.

Interestingly, virtually every class of marketer, including demand generation teams, growth teams, inbound and outbound sales teams, promotional marketing teams, and many others, can leverage direct mail to connect with existing clients, qualified leads, and new prospects.

Yes, we are in the digital age, and more businesses are going online and learning how to include digital marketing tools in the “mix”. Digital marketing tools can definitely offer some unique benefits to business. However, the deafening “noise” and wealth of distractions in the digital environment, makes is harder and harder to break-through the clutter and get noticed. If your message cannot break through, then it cannot effectively connect with customers and prospects.

Because of the massive wave of information in the digital marketing space, marketers are seeking alternative means of connecting with their target audience; in part, by sending messages where they have greater chance of being seen — the tried and true (physical) mailbox. 

Does direct mail marketing work?

A straightforward answer is yes, but that simple response is not nearly rich enough. Here are just a few of the reasons a direct marketing strategy can give your business the boost it requires to push through the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Direct mail is universal

Direct mail can reach every household and business in America. Unlike email, you won’t have to guess which address/(e)mailbox to target.

  • Direct mail is targeted

Only pay to reach the customers or prospects that are the most likely to do business with your company. The demographics for direct mail lists are very well developed. If you want to reach dentists, in New Jersey, with a family of three, and an income of more than $300,000, that type of list is available. Just let your targeting creativity run wild…

  • Direct mail is trusted

Consumers and businesses diligently open their mail on a daily basis. The “mail moment” is an important ritual that is built into the American psyche.

  • Direct mail has a better response rate

Because of the human touch and the tactile engagement that direct mail offers, it can offer a higher response rate compared to digital tools (such as email) and can ratchet up ROI by at least 20%.

How to run an effective direct mail marketing strategy

To run an effective direct mail marketing campaign, marketers must pay attention to some important factors.

Start by clearly defining your audience. We know that if we send the right offer, to the right audience, then good things happen. It all starts with understanding the target audience for your product or service and the benefits that will appeal to them most.

Have a clear and powerful offer and call to action (CTA). The customer needs to effortlessly understand exactly what benefit(s) you are offering and how to take advantage of them. Don’t just offer them a way to respond, ask them to respond (now!).

Test your strategy. Don’t start by sending out 50,000 pieces and risk completely whiffing. Send out much smaller batches (postal discounts start at 500 pieces), with different approaches (e.g., art, copy, offers…) and see what resonates with each target audience. Once you have a winning formula, then you can step on the gas.

Embrace continuous improvement. Once you have a formula that works, don’t stop there – keep tuning. Products change, audiences change, needs change; so embrace change and continue to look for ways to refine and improve your campaigns.

Peter Drucker, one of the masters of modern business thinking, once said, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”  Determine which metrics are critical for predicting the success of your programs and then collect and analyze them continuously. Critical metrics like this, are often referred to as key performance indicators (KPI’s).

You may want to track elements such as return on investment (factoring in lifetime customer value), brand awareness, repeat purchases, customer referrals, or others. One simple trick to measuring different campaigns is using different toll free numbers, or landing pages, for different campaigns, and then tracking the response for each.

Looking to put together a winning direct mail strategy? We are here to help. Zairmail can help you design campaigns that help you build relationships and sales.

Zairmail (www.zairmail.com) is the fastest and easiest way to send (real) postal mail. Give us a call anytime at 888.898.0066, we would be happy to help with your direct mail needs.

effective marketing campaign

Top tips on how to conduct an effective direct mail marketing campaign

Yes, direct mail has been around for a while, and it is also regarded as one of the oldest forms of modern advertising. However, its relevance in present-day marketing and advertising cannot be overemphasized — thanks to its dynamic and flexible nature.

If you are uncertain about direct mail marketing, or you have not yet wrapped your mind around how it works, don’t worry, because we’ve got you covered. To set the stage and give you an idea of how much impact direct mail marketing can make on the earnings of businesses; 2021 direct mail marketing statistics show that at least 82% of purchases are influenced by relevant direct mail. This explains why direct-to-customer brands regard direct mail as the offline marketing channel that provides the most profitable cost per acquisition (CAC).

More statistics on direct mail marketing

Statistics from the Data & Marketing Association show that at least 50% of direct mail recipients find direct mail postcards useful. Building on that, Fundera reports show that 70% of customers opt for direct mail because it’s more personal compared to its online counterparts.

Here are a few more tips on how to conduct a direct mail advertising campaign.

Step 1: Determine your target audience

Yes, it always starts with knowing your audience. It would almost never make sense to send stacks of letters or postcards, or any other form of direct mail, without taking the time to identify your target market. Thankfully, direct mail advertising makes it incredibly easy to target a specific target market or audience. All you have to do is identify the demographics (e.g., age, income, gender, location…) that are best suited for the benefits offered by the product or service you are selling.

As you can imagine, if you invest enough time to identify your ideal client and create a custom tailored targeted direct mail marketing campaign, the chances are that you will record much better results, and you will be smiling all the way to the bank.

Step 2: what is the source of your direct mail list

Having identified your target audience, you can shift your focus to identifying your mail list. There are two ways to go about this — you can either use a “house list” or you can purchase an external list. You can opt for the former if you have a good list that has produced reliable results over time. This could be a good approach if you are asking customers for an annual donation from year-to-year. This could also work well if you have a list of “warm” leads from older campaigns.

If you are new in business, or you are trying to test a new target market, then you can buy/rent a mailing list from a third party supplier, like a list vendor or consultant. These lists come in many flavors. Consult this Zairmail library article for more details on finding the perfect list for your campaign.

Step 3: Generate an effective copy

As the famous saying goes, content is king, and at the center of every successful marketing campaign is effective copy. Be creative in your writing style to help gain and hold the attention of your audience. The primary goal is to grab the recipient’s attention, immediately, and avoid being shoved aside. Do not beat around the bush or get too clever. Be direct. Get to the point. People are busy and they have a short attention span, if you don’t get their attention fast, the opportunity may be lost forever. Clearly highlight the key benefits your product or service offers, and then urge the customer to respond to the offer (ask for the sale). In some cases, we can compel an immediate response if we include a deadline or another impending event in our copy.

Step 4: Get your design right

You know, as they say in the culinary industry, people eat with their eyes first. We need to be able to break through the clutter. The mail piece has to “pop”. We can do that by using different colors, fonts, and forms. We can offer up an image that is outrageous or unconventional. We can be cute and cuddly in our approach. We can use humor if we are careful – humor can be a double edged sword. Whatever approach we take, it needs to get/hold attention, and it needs to fit with the overall theme of the campaign, the product/service we are offering, and our brand.

Step 5: packaging and sending process

Once we have all the elements identified, we have to assure that we can execute and get it right. Once we print & mail, it is very difficult to “take it back”.  Print production should take place in a scalable commercial facility that can rapidly and reliably produce a quality product. The service should be able to produce both short-runs (small jobs) and large jobs just as easily. The service should be able to provide pre-sort services to maximize postage discounts – the bulk of the cost in direct mail is postage.

This used to be a time-consuming, expensive, and error-prone process, that required weeks to complete. Thanks to automated online tools such as Zairmail (www.zairmail.com), direct mail campaigns can now be launched in minutes, right from your own PC, and be in the mail the next day. Zairmail even provides tools to track delivery and take some of the guesswork out of mail delivery.

Quality, cost, price, reliability, and customer service are all critical for this type of manufacturing process. Zairmail invented the concept of hybrid (digital to physical) over 20 years ago (1999). The company has continued to invest in automation, and to further refine the process, since that time.

Take the guesswork out of your direct mail campaigns. Zairmail is the fastest, easiest, and most cost-effective way to send direct mail.

Got a campaign or question? WZairmail (www.zairmail.com) is the fastest and easiest way to send (real) postal mail. Give us a call anytime at 888.898.0066, we would be happy to help with your direct mail needs.

direct mail postcards

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.

Zairmail (www.zairmail.com) is the fastest and easiest way to send (real) postal mail. Give us a call anytime at 888.898.0066, we would be happy to help with your direct mail needs.

Cost-effective Marketing

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 mail, there are a thousand and one reasons why direct mail is an effective marketing tool.

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.

Zairmail (www.zairmail.com) is the fastest and easiest way to send (real) postal mail. Give us a call anytime at 888.898.0066, we would be happy to help with your direct mail needs.

 

 

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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