Archive for category Connecting
“Behind the Badge”
The Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum has opened a new exhibit “Behind the Badge” showcasing the fascinating history of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
The Postal Inspection Service is one of the nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agencies, dating back to 1776. Then USPS Postmaster General Benjamin wanted to measure the efficiency and security of mail routes. Today there is a network of U.S. postal inspectors whose job it is to keep the mail safe and help protect consumers and prevent crime.
The exhibit is interactive and has many interesting artifacts on display and videos where inspectors, forensic analysts and postal police officers share stories of their lives “behind the badge”. At the close of the exhibit is a video commemorating fallen heroes who gave their lives in the line of duty.
Below is a link to a series of videos designed to keep postal customers informed about scams and how to protect yourself. Make sure to watch the first video “We are the U.S. Postal Inspection Service”!
Perils of Printers without Mail House Experience
If your printed piece is going out in the mail, how important is it to choose a printer with in-house mail capabilities?
Last week we had a meeting with a local printer who found this out the hard way. Due to their lack of experience in mailing, they were subject to some hefty USPS fines.
Certainly an avoidable situation, but how do you make a print/mail vendor selection? Contact them directly and by all means request a tour of the facility. Here are some helpful questions to ask.
Ask for credentials.
- Are they a USPS sanctioned mail co-mingler?
- Do they provide NCOA, LACSlink or Fast Forward services?
- Do they provide CASS certification?
- Do they have an onsite USPS verifier?
- Do they have an onsite MERLIN?
- Does the USPS pick up from their dock, or do they deliver to BMEU?
- Do key employees hold any industry certifications? How often are they updated?
What services do they provide within their own production facility?
- Color, highlight color, and black and white printing?
- MICR capable?
- Inkjet addressing for postcards or envelopes?
- Intelligent mail inserters?
- Match mailings?
- HIPAA compliant?
How secure is their facility?
- What is their business continuity plan?
- What is their disaster recovery plan?
- Secure building access?
- 24/7 video monitoring of facility and production floor?
- If mail is delivered to them, is it left unattended on the dock?
- Are employees background checked?
An ounce of prevention is worth thousands in USPS fines!
Nine Things You Should Know About The Postal Service
“You probably know your mail carrier and the clerks at your neighborhood Post Office, but how well do you know the Postal Service itself? Here are nine facts that might surprise you.”
Above is a quote from this great USPS blog we discovered. It can’t be said any better, “how well do you know the postal service itself?” Please take a minute to check out this wonderful blog: http://uspsblog.com/nine-things-you-should-know-about-the-postal-service/ and learn nine facts that might surprise you about the postal service.
We would love to hear your feedback and see if you knew any of the facts or if you were truly surprised. Comment below!
Get Started with Every Door Direct Mail
How much do you know about the USPS program Every Door Direct Mail?
Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) gives you the ability to target a local neighborhood or to reach customers/prospects nationwide. The Simplified Mailing Process helps you identify which USPS mail routes to include in your targeted mailing area. There is a super cool, intuitive EDDM application available online to get you started.
You can access the online tool and get more information here: https://www.usps.com/business/every-door-direct-mail.htm
Who can benefit from EDDM?
- Auto dealerships
- Arts organizations
- Business services
- Dry cleaners
The list could go on and on. If you want to reach a local, or even national, audience EDDM provides an easy, cost effective marketing channel. Remember that $31,000.00 postage savings for my local customer?
Some things to keep in mind when planning your mailing:
- Mailpieces must meet Standard flats specifications
- Minimum length 11 ½” OR
- Minimum height 6 1/8”
- Weight equal to or less than 3.3 ounces
- Must contain at least 200 pieces (with a maximum per day of 5,000 pieces for the EDDM Retail option, but unlimited for the EDDM BMEU option)
The USPS is hosting a series of FREE business seminars designed to help you gain a greater understanding of this new service and how it can support your marketing plan.
I suggest reaching out to your local Postal Customer Council to find where and when the next seminar will take place in your area. You can search for your local PCC chapter here: https://www.usps.com/business/local-pcc.htm
The Postal Customer Council is a terrific resource and I hope if you’re mailing, you are taking advantage of all the experience and expertise they can offer.
How do you see yourself using this new Postal Service program Every Door Direct Mail? We would love to hear your ideas and success stories!
Often I am asked by novice direct mailers what elements to include on their mail piece. They are simply looking to design the best mailer possible to yield a high ROI.
- Make sure your list, mail piece and message are all targeted to the correct audience. What is your goal – lead generation, customer retention, a new product roll out?
- A clear, provocative call to action and a nice incentive.
- A compelling message – don’t forget, most people want to know “What’s in it for Me?”
- A First Class mail permit. Don’t skimp on standard mail postage. 10% of your mailing list may never receive the mail piece and you’d be surprised how many people simply disregard any piece of mail with a standard permit.
- Add a PURL, or Personalized URL. This will tie your printed piece with an online experience. Make sure the PURL ties in with your theme.
- As long as we’re adding hot new technology with that PURL, let’s add a QR, or Quick Response, code. You’ve probably been seeing a lot of QR codes on all kinds or marketing – from billboards to pizza boxes. We’ll talk more about QR codes and using them effectively in an upcoming blog.
- Use a fresh, unexpected image and a memorable tag line. You only have seconds to grab the reader’s attention.
- You’ve probably heard it said a million times, and it’s true, your response rate is only as good as your list. We will delve into list effectiveness in future blogs.
- Include a follow up on the call to action. Perhaps include an expiration date. This also makes room for a second communication (perhaps an email?).
- Since we repeated the call to action, repeat the PURL as well. Remind them how to respond to that call to action!
Tell us, what are your thoughts on creating the ideal direct mail piece? We’d love to hear your suggestions!
Are Email Campaigns Part Of Your Marketing Strategy?
Lately we’ve focused quite a bit on direct mail and specifically on Every Door Direct Mail. Let’s not forget that there are many marketing channels available to you and, often, a mix of these channels is the best plan for getting your message across.
Email marketing does not have to be intimidating. It is a simple, effective means of communication when you keep these tips in mind.
Grab the Readers Attention
- Create a compelling subject line
- Make sure you don’t look like spam
- Identify yourself
- State the intent of the email clearly
- Provide an opt out
- Personalize whenever possible; include the persons name, a reference to a previous purchase, etc
- Make the message relevant. Tie the subject line neatly to the body of the email.
- Keep the tone of your message conversational
- Be brief! No one wants to read a long, drawn out email. Studies show that on average, people spend about 15 – 20 seconds with each email message.
Before You Hit “Send”
- Test the email through several different email clients, both in text and HTML. You’d be surprised how different one email may appear through different devices.
- Make sure your email list is appropriate. Whenever possible get permission to email a person or place of business.
- Check again that your current marketing message is relevant to those on your list
- Keep your list clean. Remove any hard bounces from previous campaigns and always remove anyone who has opted out
Test, Track and Measure
- Track your click through rate, conversion rate and delivery rate. You want to make sure people are receiving your email, opening your email and clicking through
- Try variations of your message – change the subject line, offer or call to action – and see if your results vary
- Subscribe to feedback loops and pay attention to the data they provide
- Try launching your email campaign on different days or at differing times of the day and measure your responses
Properly executed, email marketing provides you yet another avenue for reaching and speaking to your customers and prospects. Why not make an email campaign part of your marketing strategy?