Archive for category Marketing
Have You Toured Your Vendors Facility?
Yesterday I took a group of people on a tour of our facility. It’s certainly not the first time I’ve lead a tour here, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. And every time I have a person or group of people come through, they’ve told me they have come away with beneficial knowledge and new ideas.
Whenever I visit a vendor, and I hope whenever a client or prospect visits us, these are a few of the things that I would expect of the experience.
- Is your sales rep present? Better yet, is he or she leading the tour?
- Meet your Customer Service Representative. In most cases, it will be the CSR that handles your day-to-day business and not the sales rep.
- If your sales rep (and perhaps your CSR as well) is leading the tour, what is the sense of relationship you feel between sales and the production team? Do they seem friendly and collaborative towards each other?
- Get an introduction to the department managers or team leaders in each step of production. Personally, I like my clients to have a face to associate with each department (in our case, data processing, quality control, laser imaging, lettershop, presort and transportation).
- Whenever possible, manage an introduction to someone “at the top”. I like to make sure my tour attendees get to meet the president of our company.
- Look at equipment in each and every department. Is it well maintained? Is it apparent that the company keeps up-to-date in new technology and machinery?
- Observe the plant condition. Is it clean and well organized? Does work seem to flow through the plant in a common sense manner?
- Ask if any of your work would be outsourced to a subcontractor or whether your vendor has all the equipment, personnel and capacity to complete your jobs in house.
- And last but most importantly – listen, ask questions and learn something new. I have yet to lead a customer through our facility and not hear them talk about something vital they’ve learned or new ideas they plan to take back to their own companies.
When was the last time you toured the facilities of your vendor or vendors? What did you take away from the experience? Did you leave the plant feeling positive in your decision to use this particular company?
Lesson: Ask for a tour, build lasting relationships with the folks producing your jobs, get fresh ideas and have fun!
This video takes you on a little journey around Strahm Automation and Mailing!
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.
Here Are My Top 10 Recommendations
(In no particular order)
- 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!
How To Get More Out of Your Marketing Program Using VDP
Variable Data Printing (or VDP) has changed the way marketers plan their programs and design their mailpieces. No longer are they creating for a mass market, but instead using carefully mined data to make highly personalized messages.
Data can be gathered from customer calls, interviews, emails and phone calls to create targeted messages relevant to each customer/prospect. Data can be organic from your company or purchased from a 3rd party vendor. Put thought into what data you are gathering; while you don’t want to be intrusive you do want to get as deep as possible.
Pay particular attention to aligning the message of your mailpiece with the artwork. Tie the right art and copy to speak directly to the recipient.
A good example would be a program for a car dealership. Say Mr. Brown bought a mini van 5 years ago. You know (and have within your data) that Mr. Brown has 4 small children. You wouldn’t want to send him a message about buying a 2-seater sports car, would you?
Conversely, Mr. Jones bought a sporty little car from you a couple of years ago. Unless you know from your data that Mr. Jones’ situation has changed, does he have interest in a mini van?
Because this type of marketing is more relevant to the customer/prospect, you should expect to see a greater response rate from your mailing. Consider multi-channel marketing as well. Send a postcard, followed up with an email. Within the email, create a customized landing page with the same or similar message and artwork.
So get to work on that data and start building a truly great, targeted mailing!
Using Effective Marketing to Increase Customer Touch Points
On average, it now takes nine touch points of communication to build a sales relationship. Most sales people give up after three.
The best way to lose a customer is to lose touch with him or her. Some data indicates that 60% of customer loss is due to lack of communication.
Every prospect and customer should hear from your company at least every 90 days. Savvy marketers reduce this cycle to every 30 days.
Sales force effectiveness increases by as much as 40% when supported by an effective marketing campaign.
Direct mail as part of an ongoing campaign can reinforce your brand again and again. Mail is effective for creating and building brand awareness.
Use strong, targeted messages when “talking” to your customers. How will your product or service help them? Customers are looking for one of two things – reducing or eliminating their pain or increasing their pleasure. It’s a simple as that.
- Direct mail – especially personalized, interactive pieces
- Email or PURL campaigns
- Open Houses
- Phone Calls! When was the last time you just said hello?
So how are you going to step out and communicate with your customers and prospects?
Picture Permit Promotion
August 1 – September 30, 2013
Add value to your mailpiece in a creative way using the new Picture Permit Imprint Indicia. Incorporate a company logo, brand image or trademark to the area where a stamp, meter imprint of permit imprint would appear.
Boosting your brand recognition, logos, products and promotions could improve the overall effectiveness of your mailing.
Picture Permit mail is available for presorted First Class mail and Standard letters. Full Service Intelligent Mail barcode is a requirement.
There is an extra fee per piece – for First Class letters and cards the additional fee is $0.01, for Standard letters the fee is $0.02 per piece.
The USPS will begin a promotion of Picture Permit mail beginning August 1, 2013 and running through September 30, 2013. Registration for the promotion begins June 1.
This promotion will eliminate the per piece fees for both First Class and Standard letters and cards. There is a 4 step application process which must be approved by the USPS Program Office prior to promotion registration.
Picture Permit Requirements:
- Logos, brand images or trademarks
- Color images only
- Mailpiece must include Intelligent Mail barcode
- Application, design approval and sampling prior to mailing
- Boost mailpiece visibility, value and potential open rate
- Increase brand awareness
- Promote company products and services
How would you use Picture Permit Imprint Indicia to benefit your company? We would love to hear your ideas and successes!
Tips for Using PURLs
If you’ve ever considered using a Personalized URL as part of your mail campaign, here are some helpful tips we’ve compiled.
Starting at square one -
- Start with a new domain name. You can use Go Daddy’s bulk registration tool to see which ones are available to you. Get creative and tie your domain name into your campaign vision.
- When crafting your pURL message, don’t offer too many choices to the respondent. Give them one offer or one premium, not 10 different offers. When a respondent has to stop and think over an offer, they are more likely to click away and never respond.
- Keep the landing page clean, simple and relevant. Don’t crowd your message or add distractions. White space is your friend here, just as in a direct mail piece.
- Get them to the submit button as quickly and painlessly as possible. Only ask questions that are absolutely necessary; oftentimes you can get some of this information after they respond.
- If they are able, ask your pURL vendor to customize the thank you page and email follow up as well. Personalization goes a long way in increasing response and customer loyalty.
A pURL offers valuable information. You can track who visited their landing page and responded, who visited but didn’t choose to respond, and who didn’t visit at all. Each type offers unique insight to the effectiveness of your marketing, allowing you to tweak future communications to prospects and clients.
How do you see yourself using pURLs to enhance customer communications? We’d love to hear your feedback.
What is your marketing strategy?
In this day of increasing social media, email marketing and a strong online presence, have you pushed more traditional marketing – such as direct mail – to the wayside?
Perhaps you should reconsider. Direct mail continues to be a bargain and should have a place in any small business marketing plan.
While email marketing is a great way to keep in touch with customers and prospects, there is a downside. According to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), only about 19% of targeted customers open them and this includes opt-in house lists.
The CMO Council reports that 35% of marketers are using direct mail to encourage sales, while 29% use it to drive traffic online. 14% of marketers use direct mail to support offers or other content.
Here are some tips for creating a successful direct mail campaign:
- Segment lists and create targeted messages. Try breaking down your list by current customers, inactive customers and prospects. Tailor a message specific to each group. You could also mail to vertical markets such as local businesses with over 250 employees, household demographics such as head of household over 35 years old. The possibilities are endless. Any reputable list vendor should be able to help you define and refine your lists.
- Use direct mail strategically. Focus on very specific messages to targeted markets or mailing lists and mail less often. Receiving a postcard or flyer from you once every three months may be more efficient than a flyer every week. After a period, the recipient may just toss it away if they see it too often.
- Use compelling content. Your message should be succinct and have a clear call to action. Whenever possible, your message should be specific to that individual or target market.
- Consider giveaways. Pens, Post-It Notes, magnets, personalized note pads are just a few inexpensive items you could include. A three dimensional mailpiece sticks out and who doesn’t love a freebie?
- Use other forms of marketing along with direct mail. Don’t give up on email marketing, blogging, LinkedIn or Facebook. They are all great companions to direct mail, helping you to define your product or service and how it will be of benefit to your audience. They all should have a place in your marketing plan.
- Measure response rates. Keep track of what messages, lists, or methods generated the best responses for you. Refine future efforts based on past performance.
Response rates for direct mail have remained steady for the past four years. Especially for small businesses trying to connect with a local market, postcards, flyers and newsletters can be quite effective.