Direct Mail Journal

Direct Mail and Marketing Tips

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Stop These 4 Bad Business Habits in 2020

Bad business habits lead to bad outcomes. These four bad habits could seriously be impacting your growth, so we’ve taken the time to highlight each one. 

Failing to Strategize

We often write about forecasting and business planning on our blog. In the past, we have shared a 3 part series on strategic planning and we really can’t emphasize enough just how important this is. If you’ve never done any form of strategic planning now is the time to change that! Failure to strategize is the equivalent of ‘winging it’ in business. Sometimes if luck is on your side things work out temporarily. For a sustainable business strategy and planning is key. 

The first step is analyzing the previous business year’s performance and asking why things played out the way they did. The second step is doing the math! Looking at your sales and breaking this down into months or weeks. The final part is understanding patterns in your finances. You can read all about each step in our guides as linked above. 

No Contingency Plan

2020 is proving to be one of the most challenging years yet, not just for businesses but for all of us around the world. Although this is a very extreme example, unforeseen circumstances must be extenuated as must realistically possible for business survival. In order to do this we need to forecast all eventualities. This is where strategy comes in to play again. In order to survive a rocky patch of business we need multiple contingency plans in place. 

It’s a bit like doomsday prepping but for business! If you were to lose your main supplier what plans do you have in place? If the cost of manufacturing increased substantially what would you do? There are so many possible variations and outcomes that could apply to your organization you can’t create too many contingency plans. The more you have, the more layers of protection you have. 

Not Delegating

When we’re busy running our companies it’s easy to get caught up in all the day-to-day menial tasks that don’t contribute to growth. As the owner or director of a business we must focus on opportunities for growth, growing business and building sustainability. Often this can be changed by simply delegating tasks to employees or outsourcing elements that eat into your precious time. Opportunities for growth are missed when we are consumed by daily tasks. If you’re too busy working in the business you can’t work on the business.

A Narrow Marketing Reach

If you don’t take a multi-channel approach to marketing you could be missing out on thousands or even millions of new customers. 

A multi-channel marketing approach is usually always best. Firstly, you can cast a wider net initially if you use multiple methods to reach customers (email, search, postal mail etc.). Reaching customers where they prefer to receive information and where they respond best. Secondly, you can create a funnel to build on initial brand awareness and take a customer through the buying journey. For example, you might use a piece of direct postal mail to pull in the recipient. This could take them to your website, but you might later hit them with a remarketing advert on social media or a follow-up email marketing campaign. The type of funnel best for your business will depend on the product/service. A considered purchase, for example, might involve more channels and a longer process than a low-ticket sale.

Zairmail ( 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.


How to Build a Business With Direct Mail in 2020

There are some modern marketers who have never considered postal direct mail.  This is often because digital marketing is seen as less expensive and more immediate.

Direct mail, email, search engine marketing, print ads, and even water closet media, are all forms of advertising.  They are tools that we can use to interrupt, inform, persuade, and call to action. We need to understand the capabilities and limitations for each of our tools to select the best one for the job.

Digital marketing can be a very effective tool for maintaining a rapport once you have a relationship with a current or potential customer. It can also be extremely effective if a prospective customer is actively searching for the product or service you sell. 

However, if you need to find a new customer, especially if they are not actively searching for your product/service (they may not even know it exists), then direct mail has several distinct advantages.

Direct mail is active communication. The customer does not have to look for it, it is delivered to them.  

The delivery (open) rates are close to 100% – especially for postcards. Compare that with delivery rates for email which can be less than 30%.  A client can’t open or act on a message they don’t even receive.

Direct mail can reach every household and business in America. The US Postal Service is changed with making sure your mail is delivered.  

The average American has 2.5 email addresses. This can include a work address and a personal address.  Consumers quite often have multiple personal email addresses. They may get one from their Internet provider, one from their smartphone provider, and email accounts are still free from Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, and many others.  How will you know which address to use?

Demographics are very well defined for direct mail prospects. Reaching the right person, with exactly the right message, is the key to producing results.

If we want to find the mailing address for renters in Union County, Oregon, with an income of more than $24,000/year, with at least two children in the home, that list is available. We might even be able to tell what type of car they own or how they voted in the last election.  Of course, we have all seen, there is lots of data online. There has been no shortage of high profile data breaches over the last several years. However, it is still a challenge to link this data to a specific electronic delivery address.

Sharpening your tools.  Direct mail is not all created equal.  

The mail format you choose should depend on your goals.  A postcard can powerfully deliver an immediate message.  It is like a mini-billboard in the mail. Postcards are designed to stand out, grab attention with an eye-catching visual, and secure a spot on the fridge!  Direct mail is kept for an average of 17 days, so staking out a spot on the most popular appliance in the house is a solid accomplishment.

A snap-pack, also known as a pressure-sealed mailer, is an impossible to resist format when used to reach consumers.  This package requires the recipient to peel off the edges in order to open it, just like they might open a paycheck or PIN number. Snap-packs stand out in the mail because they are not as common, and they are (mentally) linked to a specific type of mail that people may have received in the past.  The sender can put private information for the recipient on the inside and add teaser copy on the outside.

A standard letter, or course, is another good format to consider.  A letter allows the sender to include more detailed information and it all remains private. The envelope used can be a double windows, single window, or closed face (no window). A letter in a double window envelope looks just like a bill, so most recipients will open it, just to make sure. This gives the sender the open they need to tell their story (in detail, if required).

Use a Reliable Partner

Zairmail has been helping organizations just like yours, deliver winning direct mail campaigns, for over two decades. Zairmail has a complete automated platform that allows customers to upload their document, upload their list, and approve a proof in real-time. That is all there is to it, Zairmail takes it from there.  The mail is printed, inserted, addressed, mailed, and tracked.

Zairmail can also help with marketing advice, campaign design, or direct mail lists.  Zairmail provides free postcard templates, access to thousands of specialized mailing lists, and specialized online software to automate your sales team.

The process is faster, easier, less expensive – and stress free

Zairmail ( 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.


Break Through The January Business Blues

We discovered some reassuring news…the January blues are a real thing! If you’re in a January slump, you’re quite possibly not imagining it! The blues don’t just hit us as employees heading back to work, they can also strike business owners too! SO if you’re reading this feeling a bit lost, unsure of where to focus your attention this January, we have some tip.

Make a Plan

Use these last few days of January to sit down and make a plan of action for 2020. It doesn’t need to be anything extensive, it just needs to give you that guidance and direction. Having this can really push you off to a good start. Last year we shared a four-part series of articles on strategic planning. If you feel it’s time you created a real strategy these articles are worth a read. Start with the first in the series, Strategic Planning For Business Owners.

Try Something New

Make 2020 the year you try something new for the business. Once again, this doesn’t need to be anything drastic, we’re not suggesting you start offering new products or change your branding (unless this is needed). Could you tweak promotional messaging or try a new marketing channel? 

One overlooked area of marketing in our now very digital world is still direct mail. If you’ve previously ruled out this channel, or just never considered it, we hope to convince you otherwise!

  • On average direct mail is kept for 17 days
  • 60% of people say that mail keeps products/services at the top of their mind
  • 70% of Americans say mail is more personal than the internet

Also, contrary to popular belief, direct mail can happen FAST if you need it to. It’s all about selecting the right company to partner with. That’s where we step it. We can get your mail out the same or following business day. You can submit orders 24/7 and we will work round the clock to meet your order. It doesn’t matter what size your order is, we take orders of all sizes. Many of the features we offer would cost a premium elsewhere, but we don’t charge extra for excellent service. It’s just who we are! 


The holidays are a time of connection, so when January hits it’s easy to feel disconnected and forget that just a few weeks ago everything was in full swing. For a seasonal business this is especially true. If things tend to quiet down at the start of the new year, use this time at month end to reconnect with customers. Remind them what is on the way, get them excited about future offers or just stay relevant. Brand awareness is more important than ever before because the competition is so high.

Another major reason for the January blues is post-December exhaustion. Yes, that’s right, businesses can also become exhausted and it usually shows! This brings us back to tip number 2, trying something new to break the rut. Alternatively, it might actually be time to strip back to basics and focus on a few golden projects rather than trying to master every funnel and meet every demand. Quality of quantity. 

Zairmail ( 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.

A New Year Assessing What Did & Didn’t Work

A New Year Assessing What Did & Didn’t Work

Now as 2020 is officially underway it’s the optimal time to look back over the past year and assess what did and didn’t work. This is a crucial part of business growth; giving you the ability to successfully move forward. However, you should take this a step further and investigate why something worked so well, or why something failed. To succeed you must be adaptive and reactive and to be those things you must understand the bigger picture. 

Starting Point

You don’t have to be a professional strategist to carry out an assessment of your business. The best place to start is by writing down your overall thoughts on the previous year. You can do this casually as if someone has asked you, ‘how was business last year?’ You just need to get a good feel for where your business is at and whether it met your expectations for 2019. Once you’ve done this you should start by listing your top projects/clients/sales/campaigns of the year. Depending on the nature of your organization and the frequency of projects, this could be your top three campaigns, or your top 20.

Don’t Shy Away from the Numbers

Looking at the finances can sometimes feel like a mission, but as business owners, it’s a crucial part of planning.  Once again, start with the basics, were you up, down or flat for the year? What does your average order size look like?  What products are selling and which products are not?

After you’ve got this basic level of understanding, look to the specifics. Are there any trends?  Specific types of customers? Specific times of year that are better than others? Throughout this process, you must always ask ‘why’. We have to keep asking why, until we are sure we understand all the numbers. The “why” is often much more telling than the “what”…

Core Competencies

The next step is to list your core competencies, any type of skill or resource that gives you a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Take this further still and list only those areas that allow for a SUSTAINABLE strategic advantage. Can your current core competencies stand the test of time? If not can you evolve and develop them as your business grows. Should this be part of your 2020 plan?

Primary Offerings

What do you have in the pipeline so far in terms of primary offerings? A timeline can be a useful way to map out any campaigns or focuses throughout the year. If you find this too overwhelming or you’re a smaller business you might prefer to break this down into quarters and focus just on the next 3 months only. The main things you need to know are how you intend to split and use a budget, plus the timing of each element. 

Of course, you must then plan for how you intend to get attention to your primary offerings. Don’t be fooled by thinking just because you have the best offer customers will flock to you organically. A great marketing campaign can pull customers to competitor offers if it makes things more convenient or delivers a harder-hitting message. Don’t simply hope that customers will find you by ‘word of mouth’. Help them to discover your brand.

Sales will always improve with regular customer contact. It helps to ensure you stay the brand in mind when customers are ready to purchase. This is why there is a lot of power in building brand awareness, weeks, months or even years before an intended purchase. People might not always respond to every offer you send right there and then. You often reap the rewards longterm from brand awareness campaigns.

Zairmail ( 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 – Postcard Tips for the Holidays

The holidays are getting closer and closer, which means if you’re seasonal business who does a lot of trade over this period, now is the time to get your promotions in front of the right people. 

Are you considering direct mail marketing in the form of Holiday Postcards? This is a great choice for a number of reasons:

  • Postcards GRAB attention
  • Households are checking the mail regularly for greetings cards
  • Lots of people like to get in the Holiday spirit and go that extra mile
  • Postcards are simple to send out promotional offers
  • Postcards are more memorable

So, that being said we want to make sure you get the most out of your Holiday postcards before they hit the mailbox. 

Stay on the Consumer Side

Unless you know the prospect EXTREMELY well do not go down the religious marketing path. Stay on the consumer side by using phrases like ‘happy holidays or season’s greetings. Not everyone celebrates Christmas in its religious context, so avoid overly religious images too. 

Don’t Simply Be Another Greetings Card

Choose a design that will stand out against other greetings cards. It works in your favor sometimes when your promotion lands at a time like this; although the families and households you post mail to will receive a lot of mail over the holidays, it’s the type of mail they want to receive. Most people enjoy receiving a card from a loved one and don’t want to miss them in the mail. This means your postcard will more than likely get the initial attention it deserves BUT, it does mean it can’t just look like every other greetings card, or it won’t get that spot on the fridge. 

Send it Early

If you can avoid doing so, don’t leave holiday promotions until December. Get them in early because many prospects will start their Christmas shopping and preparation much earlier. Another point to note is that mail shows down around the Holidays because of the increased volume. If however you’re reading this article and it’s 2 weeks before the big day, it’s better late than never! Equally, there are lots of people who are not as organized and probably need a reminder on promotions and offers at the last minute. Ideally though, early is better. 

Keep it Clear

The holiday’s come not long after Black Friday. Another potential big day for business. If your business is participating in Black Friday or Cyber Monday and this promotion is completely separate, this needs to be clear. It’s wise to send completely different postcards if codes and offers will be running at different times. Again, this is another one to mail out early and it often triggers the start of holiday shopping and plans. 

As always, we are here to support you every step of the way with your direct mail. Give us a call and we can assist you with your holiday promotions. Including prospect lists, design, and consultation on promotions and offers.

Zairmail ( 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.

The Direct Marketing Recipe for Success

The recipe for good direct marketing campaigns is simple. Direct mail pieces need a hook, memorable and convincing content, and a way to respond. The hook is usually some form of irresistible offer. The same recipe applies to any direct response marketing tool (i.e., email marketing, social media marketing, direct mail…). Each element will present itself slightly differently, but the winning formula is usually similar. For example, an email campaign relies on the subject line to act as the hook and grab attention. A piece of direct mail, like a postcard, can use a striking photo or color splash to stand out from the crowd.

Here we have some rules and tips that will help you achieve the perfect direct marketing recipe for success, without over or under-cooking!

Be Memorable

You can have a smart design, clever wording and it can fit 100% with your branding. Is this enough? NO. If it’s not memorable you might as well not send it out. Direct marketing has got to be memorable, it’s the most important rule. Not everyone takes action immediately after seeing a promotion. For direct mail, this is even truer. With a postcard campaign, your goal is to get that spot on the fridge! How you achieve this comes in a number of different ways. It could be such a striking photograph that it’s just begging a place up there. It could be that the offer is SO good not to miss the recipient doesn’t want to forget to take action. 

Don’t be afraid to step outside the box, evoke emotion; humor or empathy. When a recipient has an emotional response to something (particularly something visual) it instantly becomes more memorable. The same is true for social media marketing. Content that gets re-shared and eventually goes viral is content that creates an emotional response of some nature. 

Understanding Your Audience

In order to achieve all three elements of the direct marketing recipe, knowing your audience is key. Without truly understanding who your audience is, you can’t create an offer (hook) that actually resonates with that group of people. The design you use and the messaging/information provided in the promotion needs to be relevant to that target market or it will fall on deaf ears. For direct mail marketing success usually comes 70% from having the right list of contacts, 20% success from the offer itself and 10% on the design. So you can see how much weight the target audience carries in this case. 

Even the way in which you choose to collect responses will be impacted by your audience. Busy young millennials will appreciate easy ways to respond online, but if you’re targeting senior citizens they will probably prefer a contact number to call. 

So how can you better understand your audience? Start by looking at your current customer base and try to learn as much about them as you can. Speak with the people in your company who deal directly with them? Collect customer feedback and profiles whenever you can. It’s not just a case of knowing demographics; you also need to understand their interests and buying behaviors. Analyze your competitors and the customers they seem to attract. What type of people follows them on social media? Who is talking about them online? Don’t forget, you’re selling to real people. In actual fact, you’re selling solutions not products or services. If you can put a better focus on the problem you solve for that customer, you instantly build better connections. 

For all your direct marketing needs please get in touch with us here at Zairmail. We have so much to offer above and beyond just your standard service. We are here to assist and guide you through the process, even if that means helping with some of the areas above. We provide free consulting sessions that could help give you direction, and enable you to get your message in front of the right people.

Zairmail ( 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.

Time to Nail Conversion Tracking

Every business knows what counts as a conversion. It’s the goal that’s trying to be achieved after all. A conversion could be the final, the closure of a sale, the purchase of a product.

In specific campaigns, a business might class a ‘conversion’ as a lead. A second campaign or process then might try to convert that lead again, into the final sale. Knowing what conversion (result) is needed from each marketing campaign that runs is all good and well. If however, those conversions are not tracked accurately and clearly, how can decisions be made on re-investment?

It’s a simple concept, yet it’s amazing just how many businesses spend thousands on marketing without clear tracking. To us, that’s like running in the dark hoping to find the right door. 

The specific types of tracking used will depend on each individual campaign. An offline campaign will need different tracking measures to an online one. A multi-channel approach will need an attribution model that gives the clearest picture of ROI. 

What Should You Be Tracking?

Phone calls

When a new inquiry is received via a phone call, the source of that interaction should be noted and documented. This could be done as part of a customer service script to ask where the caller located the contact number. Did they call because they received a postcard in the mail? Did they Google search, find the business website and call from the number off there?

Alternatively, varying phone numbers can be assigned to different marketing methods. This way each phone number variation can be tracked.

Sign-up Forms

For online sign-up forms on a website, an analytics platform like Google analytics can be set-up for goal conversion tracking to monitor those sign-ups. For online advertisements that are designed to send traffic to those forms, extra tracking can usually be implemented at the ad level.

E-commerce Sales

Exactly the same approach should be taken as for a sign-up form. You should also consider assigning an attribution model that works for you. For example, in Google Analytics, you can assign a ‘last click’ model or a ‘first click’ model (there are further options). This means you either want to assign the last place a customer came from before the purchase as the source, or the first. If you have a multi-channel approach this is really important to get right.

For example, someone initially saw your Facebook advertisement and then proceeded to search your company a few days later. finding your google ad, where do you attribute the sale? Which one would you attribute the sale to? These are things that make conversion tracking less straight-forward, but without it set-up you would have no idea where your sales or leads were coming from. 

Offline marketing which sends people online can also be tracked successfully. A popular way of doing this is with offline coupon codes or special landing pages for offline campaigns. 

Zairmail ( 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.


Can We Still Make Millennials Listen?

There seems to be this misconception that Millennials don’t respond to direct mail because they are the ‘device’ generation. Millennials are often perceived as being constantly glued to their mobile phones, so how could they possibly engage with direct mail or care enough to open it in the first place? If you’re of this mindset then the truth might come as quite a surprise! 

Millennials have now taken over baby boomers in numbers and actually, they currently account for 25% of the U.S population. Although there are some different interpretations of what a Millenial is, generally they are considered to be anyone born between the years of 1982 and 2000. Given the current average age of Millenials and where we presently sit in 2019, they carry a lot of weight in the buying space. According to Accenture, they will spend $1.4 trillion by 2020. This makes them very valuable to businesses, and as a result, SO much marketing is targeted at them. But is it too much? 

Certainly online, regular device users become ‘numb’ to a large proportion of ads and offers. That’s simply due to the extreme frequency of them. After all, no one logs on to Instagram to see ads. No one wants to see promotions every time they read a blog post. It’s not WHY they choose to spend time online. This isn’t to say digital advertising isn’t effective, because of course, it is. It’s about how these messages are delivered.

In a world where you’ve grown up with digital solutions and devices around you, something happens. You don’t actually become a slave to online advertisements and promotions. In fact, quite the opposite. Millenial’s tend to prefer unique custom experiences from brands. They choose personalization and proper connections over meaningless tannoy-like announcements. 

Too many brands ‘shout’ out about what makes them great, without demonstrating it. 

Millennials are also renowned for taking multi-channel approaches to complete a purchase or interaction with a brand. They need to have options and they need to feel valued to take action. 

USPS states that 77% of Millennials pay attention to direct mail. Given that they favor multi-channel approaches to their destination, here’s something that works well: Start the funnel with a piece of direct mail. Something that grabs attention with limited words/space – i.e a postcard. Let the follow-up action happen online, use this piece of mail to direct them to take a digital action that’s valuable to you. The best type of follow-up action should be one that’s highly interactive for that individual. Consider AI or video. 

Remember that one type of communication does not fit all! Communication preferences are largely determined by age and life experiences. For many groups, one type of communication, one pathway or channel is very limiting in the world. It’s up to you guide the receiver to action, but the way you do that should be audience-specific. Age isn’t the only consideration; the type of target market will also determine the best approach. A ‘millennial’ still covers a wide range of individuals; students, parents, professionals etc,.)

Zairmail ( 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.


What is the Best Day to Send Mail?

With marketing communications comes the need to deliver the message at the optimal time. Even the ultimate messaging/offer and swanky design can benefit from being delivered at the best time for that audience. 

In the online world, it’s easy to monitor ‘optimal time’ down to the exact minute. You can schedule your email marketing and social media content to reach people at the perfect time. 

However, one of the limitations of digital is that it’s mostly passive. This means that you don’t reach out and grab customers, you have to wait from them to come to you.  You can control when you send an email, you can control when you post on social media, but you cannot control when people read it.

On the other hand, direct mail is active communication. We drop it in the mail and it seeks out our prospect. If it’s a postcard you will get an immediate impression. Letters, of course, require an open, just like an email. Since it’s tactile, it’s a different kind of impression, and not prone to the “delete, delete, delete…” mentality that comes when sorting through email.


It’s a fact that direct mail does tend to work better on certain days compared to others, but it does vary slightly from the audience and the type of content you’re mailing out. Most mail is received on a Monday following the weekend, but this doesn’t make Monday the best time to send your campaign. In fact, quite the opposite. Why send mail on a day when it’s more likely to get drowned out alongside other mail? Generally, it’s also a very busy day for working families. Mail tends to get ignored more on Monday’s.

According to the Data & Marketing Association, Tuesday-Thursday is the optimal time to mail your campaigns. It’s thought that people are more engaged with the content because they are into the flow of the working week. 

At Zairmail, we provide FREE tracking with every direct mail campaign.  That means you can see when your order is processed, printed, mailed, and delivered by the USPS.  This can be really helpful if you are trying to schedule a series of follow-up phone calls.

Send vs Receive

A simple mistake to make is mailing out your campaign on THE optimal receive day, instead of in-advance to allow time for the mail to be posted. So, if you want to the mail to be received on a Wednesday, consider a Monday send date (again, dependent on delivery times). 

A good technique is to start with first-class mailing which usually takes 3 days anywhere in the continental US. If your mail can’t be delivered USPS will return it to you, which can help you clean-up your database. From here and once you have things rolling if you’re concerned about costs you can switch to Standard A mailing. This takes 7-10 days for delivery but it is more affordable. 

Don’t forget to consider limited time offers with expiration dates and how this might fit into your send/receive dates. If your offer is time-sensitive it might not work alongside the ideal receive date and instead might have to go a day either side. Only you can make this call. You must always plan your campaigns around the offer/promotion you’re communicating. An impending date is used to force immediate action if the date has passed it will have no effect!

Delivery Dates Are Not Everything 

Arguably, the day you send your mail might not one of the top things to consider when you’re starting a campaign. Don’t throw the basics out the window; design, messaging, content type, the audience (postal list), etc. These elements are the defining features of a successful campaign. Personalization can go a long way to stand-out and turn a simple piece of mail into an actionable piece, leading to more than a 50% increase in response rates. Above all else, this is the most important thing; creating a direct mail campaign that drives responses. Color can also increase response rates, so splash on the bold color choices unless it’s not appropriate to do so.

On average mail is kept in the household for 17 days. This is another great reason not to worry too much about the day your mail is received. To take the example of a postcard, you want that postcard to take a prime place on the fridge. Here it will stay for a considerable amount of time until it’s actioned, a daily reminder to take action.

Zairmail ( 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.


4 Ways to Differentiate Your Business

Differentiating Your Business and establishing a strong brand is crucial for success. If you can’t differentiate your business from other similar businesses and brands, ultimately you will lose ground on the competition. For local businesses, competition can be very fierce within a small sandbox, so highlighting your unique qualities is the only way to thrive. 

Do you know what makes you different, unique, and more desirable than the alternatives? Every business, whether it is a carpet cleaning company, or a high flying tech startup, has certain traits that make it special.  We need to understand how to put your unique offerings and character front and center.

Do you want to discover yours or just confirm what you already know?

It’s time to answer some questions about your business. 

Every business (literally) has something that makes them special or they wouldn’t be around.  We just need to know what it is. Is that the process we are going to help them work through?]

This process usually starts with identifying competitors (alternate solutions) and understanding what they think their unique benefits/offerings are as well.

When we are doing positioning (you know, the technical term from school, we also need to make sure that it is defensible.  So, for example, if we are going to say we are the cheapest, then there better be a structural reason why we are cheaper, which prevents others from just dropping their prices and blowing us away.

Ask Your Customers

What is the number one thing your customers/clients praise you for?

It could be the quality of the products you sell, it could be the speed of service or the quality of customer support they receive. You might think your leading quality is service, but actually, the number one thing customers praise you for is the product itself. This might not even be a simple question to answer, especially if you’re a start-up. Collecting official customer feedback can help you with this kind of thing. 

If you’re thinking, ‘how can I collect customer feedback’ a good way is to incentivize customers; offer them a discount on their next order, or enter them into a giveaway. Alternatively, simply start asking them if they will leave a review or answer some questions after purchase or interaction. If you don’t ask you often won’t get! However, keep in mind that the number of people asking for feedback these days is VERY high, so most people just don’t respond. You need to find ways to encourage people that are different, novel, or unique.


If you focus on a niche vs the mass market for your industry you can become a specialist in that area and differentiate yourself this way. You might argue this has pros and cons, but if you choose the right niche it could be the driving force for your business. 

We just need to make sure (a) the niche is big enough to support us, and (b) it is sustainable.  With that said, there is a lot out there on “the long tail”. In other words, if we can pull together enough smaller (lightly contested) niches, then we can create an overall market model that is both powerful and cost-effective.

For example, if someone is looking for high-end luxury real estate, they are far more likely to go to a real estate agent who is a high-end specialist. In this case, the specialist could lose out on other areas of the market, but should attract more of the business for the luxury market. If that laser focus results in a higher close rate and greater sales overall, then that can be a powerful formula for success.  By the way, this formula can work in other ways too. You could also choose to specialize on finding homes for young families on a budget. The margin on each sale may not be as high, but if there are more opportunities, and you can close more sales, this might be every bit just as lucrative.

You can segment on the region, transaction size, community, ethnicity, income, or a thousand other variables.  You can even combine them in unique ways. You just need to be the best at what you do and be able to back it up.

Bring Your Values into It

It’s 2019 and people love brands with real values that align with their own. It’s a very successful way to stand-out and it can attract like-minded individuals. If you are a business owner with a passion for zero waste, you can introduce this into your operations, and then let people know you are passionate about this. It could be that there are others who share this passion and want to support you.  If you’re keen to help disadvantaged children in poor areas of the globe, consider donating a percentage of your profits to this cause. You can build an entire business around your mission and you will soon learn that customers like brands who care about something other than just profits. 


Take an existing type of business and make it better by innovating a process or product. There are so many businesses that exist because of this. You don’t need to come up with a completely new idea that’s never been done before to be successful. You can simply take something that already works well and you can make it better and unique. 

There is new to the world, new to the industry, or new to the firm.

You can take something that exists and make it better.  You can adopt something from another firm or industry. Some people work on process innovations to reduce costs.  But, it is totally legit to use innovation to create differentiation and competitive advantage – as long as it is defensible…

The reality is, businesses just fade away if they don’t solve problems in a unique way. Even the simplest of businesses exist to solve some kind of problem, be that small or substantial. If you can solve that problem better than someone else, more efficiently or with a better customer experience you will stand the test of time. 

Zairmail ( 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 (, the leading provider of Web-to-print solutions that increase sales both online and offline. He is also the founder of Zairmail (, the company responsible for many "industry firsts" in direct mail.


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