Archive for category Marketing
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.
Tips for Making Direct Mail Eco-Friendly!
Eco-friendly direct mail – kind of sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Believe it or not there are more and more ways to make your mail greener than ever before. Direct-mail only accounts for 2.4% of landfill waste but many opportunities exist to lessen its environmental impact even more. Here are some green ideas for direct mailers:
• Regularly update and maintain your mailing list to eliminate duplications and waste
- Practice list hygiene regularly – clean your mailing lists to remove those who are deceased or others who are unlikely to respond
• Use research to effectively target your customers. For example, people who live in apartment buildings probably don’t need lawn services
• Proofread copy using Adobe PDF rather than hard copy
• Allow customers to opt out of your mailings to ensure you’re not sending them unwanted mail
• Use recycled materials for the mailings you create
- Due to the increase in awareness of global resources, there are now many earth-friendly options when choosing paper and printer inks. Using paper and inks that are made of alternative materials helps reduce the amount of dangerous and wasteful substances used
• Print on both sides of the paper to save resources and reduce mailing costs
• Encourage your customers to recycle the mailing once they’ve read it. Adding a recycle symbol to your mail is free and is a good way to remind recipients that the mail piece is recyclable
New products exist as well for mailers including ecoEnvelopes. ecoEnvelopes is one of the many companies out there that are making direct marketers greener and more profitable than ever before. The Eden Prairie, MN based company creates a recyclable envelope that has a two-way indicia, which eliminate the need for a separate return envelope. ecoEnvelopes not only save money by eliminating one envelope, but they cut down on needed storage space and insertion costs. Interested in seeing how they work? Watch the short video below to see how:
Using Color to Influence Consumer Behavior
Have you ever looked at something red and felt a pang of hunger? How about something blue and felt calmed? For most, the effects colors have on our mood and feelings aren’t that obvious. It’s true though that the ties between emotion and color are deeply rooted in psychology and play a huge role in today’s marketing methods to influence consumer behavior.
Many of the most recognizable brands in the world rely on color as a key factor for brand recognition. Coca Cola has remained true to red while Pepsi is synonymous with blue. Victoria’s Secret reminds many of pink. The Starbucks logo is tied to green. In marketing, color increases brand recognition by up to 80 percent. Often times color is the first thing you see when looking at something – it gives a strong first impression that doesn’t leave the mind long after you stop looking at an image. Visually appealing images feed into strengthening a company’s look and brand and in turn influence consumer behaviour towards their brand. It has been found that ads in color are read up to 42% more often than the very same ads in black and white. Trying to strengthen your branding or come up with something entirely new? Here’s a quick guide to the 10 most common colors used in marketing and their associated feelings and keywords. In Western culture the following colors are associated with the following qualities or emotions:
Red – power, attention grabbing, bold, love, life (blood)
Blue – trustworthy, tranquil, honor, productivity
Pink – fun, frilly, typically speaks to female demographic, tenderness
Yellow – commands attention, liveliness, energy
Green – warm and inviting, denotes nature, environment, goodwill, wealth (money)
Purple – royalty, elegance, prestige, wealth
Gold – elegant and prestigious, rich
Orange – energy, fun, cool, cutting edge
Brown – Earthy, comforting, relaxation
Black – most versatile color, can convey modern or traditional feel, ads drama, power and authority, evil, gloom
USPS Promotions – Direct Mail Mobile
Program Period: March 1 – April 30, 2013
Registration Period: January 15 – April 30, 2013
Discount Amount: 2% of eligible postage
Eligible Mail Classes: Standard Mail letters and flats, Nonprofit Standard Mail letters and flats, First Class Mail presort and automation letters, cards and flats.
Registration Requirements: Must register on the Business Customer Gateway via the Incentive Program service and agree to promotion terms. Must specify which permits and/or CRIDs will be participating in the program. It is recommended that mailers register several days in advance of the qualifying mailing. As part of terms of agreement, mailer will complete a survey about their participation in the promotion.
The promotion expands on previous initiatives and continues the Postal Service’s strategy encouraging mailers to tie direct mail with mobile technology. Business mailers are being offered two ways to participate and increase value in their mail.
Mailers will use a mobile barcode or other technology to drive the recipient to a digital coupon or lead them to a site that initiates a one-touch phone call on the mobile device.
Growth in digital coupons is expected to continue as internet and smart phone usage expand. Consumers are more comfortable with technology than ever.
This promotion will encourage mailers to integrate hard-copy coupons in the mail with mobile devices, without facilitating a digital relationship between businesses and consumers as an alternative to mail.
Components of Mobile Coupon
- The physical mailpiece must be a coupon
- The coupon is a voucher or code entitling the holder to a discount off the price of a particular product or service
- Discount is offered only to mailpiece recipients and is not a discount or sale price on a product/service available to all consumers
- Coupon mailpiece must contain one of the following print-mobile technologies
- 2D barcode, RFID chip, NFC Smart Tag on the mailpiece that can be scanned or read by a mobile device linking to a mobile coupon that can then be stored on the mobile device
- A short number to be used to initiate text message communication. The text message triggers an SMS/EMS or MMS message with a one-time coupon or coupon code. Texts that allow a consumer to sign up for ongoing coupon delivery via text are not eligible.
- Coupon Redemption
- Coupon mailpiece must be redeemable at retail locations by both methods described below.
- The mailpiece coupon can be presented at a retail location to receive discount
- The print-mobile technology allows the customer to store the coupon on a mobile device which can be presented at the retail location for discount
- Mailers who sell exclusively online or do not have a retail location where physical coupons can be redeemed must meet the following requirements
- Mailpiece must contain a code that can be used to receive the discount online or through a call center
- Coupon discount is offered only to mailpiece recipients
- Mailpiece must contain a mobile-print technology such as mobile barcode, RFID chip or smart tag.
- The whole of the shopping experience and path to purchase must be mobile optimized
- Coupon mailpiece must be redeemable at retail locations by both methods described below.
The USPS FAQ can be found here: https://ribbs.usps.gov/mobilebarcode/documents/tech_guides/upcoming/MobileCouponandClicktoCallFAQs.pdf
We encourage you to be creative and have fun with this promotion! If there are any questions we can answer or you need additional information, please call one of our Customer Service Representatives at (816) 756-2733.
Think of all the ways you can be reached today: email, direct mail, telephone, text messaging, mobile applications and social media. Studies and surveys tell us that marketing messages are well received via mail. In fact, in a study by ExactTarget, direct mail was chosen as the most acceptable means of communication in four of 11 categories. Mail was tied with email in two categories and a close second behind email in another four categories.
Why is mail so popular?
- People like to touch and feel. Mail cuts through the digital clutter and provides a physical reminder of a call to action, offer, or special message to the consumer.
- Mail plays well with other channels. Take advantage of all the methods of communication to your customer. Back up an email or social media offer with a printed mailpiece.
- People enjoy the element of surprise when they go to the mailbox. The majority of households pick up their mail every day. Sorting, reviewing, and reading the mail is a routine for most people and studies show they look forward to it.
- With mail volume declining, there is less competition in your customer’s mailbox. As more and more communications are being delivered through email, text messaging and social media, your message stands out from the crowd by coming into the home in a different channel. Your customer or prospect is literally carrying your message through their front door.
For two weeks pay close attention to the mail you receive daily and how you handle that mail. Is your mailbox full every day? Of the mail you receive, what really stands out to you?
How many offers are you receiving? Will you respond to any offers? Has the mailer provided you multiple means of responding? Which method of response will you use?
We would like to hear your results! What caught your interest and why? How will you translate what you’ve experienced into your own marketing efforts?
Bang for Your Buck with Direct Mail Coupons
It’s no secret that consumers are looking for more and more bargains as the recession forces a tightening on pocketbooks. While consumers hunt harder and longer for the deepest discounts they have inadvertently led to a revived interest in direct mail and print coupons. Those companies who are quick to land their coupons in the hands of savvy consumers are cashing in on the bargain hunters and are drawing more business and sales. I know we’ve all received a coupon in the mail, looked it over, and stuck it on the fridge to use later. Having a physical reminder of the money you could save on a product or service you already use or are interested in is a strong driver for new or existing customers. Once a month I get a Bed, Bath, and Beyond postcard coupon in the mail similar to the one seen here.
Seeing these coupons in the mail serves a constant reminder – “don’t forget about our store!” and “shopping with us will save you money!”. How can anyone say no to a discount, especially when it’s for something you already planned on purchasing or are interested in purchasing? Direct mail coupons are worth the small initial investment for businesses and can turn a big profit – now and in the future.
Online discount sites such as Groupon and Living Social are new to the discount coupon scene and while they can result in leads and traffic they often don’t help a business retain customers. Short-term deals on discount websites are the wrong strategy for local businesses looking for a long-term boost in sales. Online discount users are always looking for the next great save – one week it may be your business and the next it may be a competitor nearby for the same price. Online coupons also fail to reach all of their potential customers in a specific area.
USPS programs like Every Door Direct Mail are specifically designed to help small business like hair salons, restaurants, and other specialty service providers to make it even easier to get your coupons into the hands of consumers in your area. EDDM allows small businesses the ability to target a specific area as small or as large as you like and mail to all of the addresses in that area for one low rate – postage included! The ability to zero in on a specific area with direct mail provides businesses with the opportunity to win over long-term, loyal customers with discounts and promotions. Creating loyal customers near you will help bring a continuous return from your marketing budget no matter the size. Think about what will drive your business, define your target range, design a postcard or other mail piece, and get your coupons to do the rest of the work for you.
Interested in mailing out coupons to consumers near you? Contact a sales representative at Strahm and we can help you create and produce your own direct mail coupon campaign today!
USPS Network Rationalization Phases
The Postal Service is moving ahead with the rationalization of its network. The implementation will be executed by modifying service standards in two phases. The first phase will begin July 1, 2012, and the second phase will start on February 1, 2014. Should changes in circumstances warrant, this phased approach will allow the Postal Service to reconsider implementation of the second phase.
When planning your mailing program, how often do you ask “How long will it take my mailpiece to hit the recipient’s mailbox?”
You must make a choice whether to mail First Class or Standard. Of course, there are rules and limitations to what material can be mailed for either class so that will be a factor in driving your decision.
First Class Mail – any mailable matter can be sent as First Class Mail. Below are types of mail that must be sent as First Class mail.
- All matter wholly or partly in writing or typewriting
- All actual and personal correspondence
- All bills and statements of account
- All matter sealed or otherwise closed against inspection
Standard Mail – includes the subclasses of regular Standard Mail, Nonprofit Standard Mail, Carrier Route Standard Mail and Nonprofit Carrier Route Standard Mail.
- Direct Mail
Let’s say your mail piece is informational in nature and contains no confidential data. You could either mail it First Class or Standard Mail. Let’s go further and say that there is dated information (perhaps an invitation to an event or notice of road construction). Now your mail class decision lies in deliverability.
Taking advantage of the lower postage rates for Standard Mail is a great idea if you plan well enough in advance to account for the slower delivery service standard.
The USPS RIBBS website (Rapid Information Bulletin Board – always good information here, folks!) just published Service Standards Maps for all classes of mail at all points of entry.
These are the new Service Standards effective July 1, 2012 (the beginning of Phase 1 of the USPS network rationalization).
It’s easy to use – simply choose your class of mail and your SCF area (first three digits of your ZIP code) and away you go.
Below are examples generated for my SCF area of 641
Plan ahead, review your Service Standards and save a few dollars of your marketing budget!
The USPS asked in a sustainability campaign, “How Green is Your Mail?”
Mailers have opportunities to decrease their environmental impact and any organization can implement these strategies. Oce Business Services shares these tips:
- Manage Ink: When designing your mailpiece, choose fewer colors and less ink coverage/usage. This reduces chemicals used during the printing process.
- Think TransPromo: Create a document that combines transactional printing (think statement or invoice) with a marketing piece – all in one document and one envelope.
- Paper Usage: Use a smaller font and/or decrease the margins in order to keep to a single page document. Can’t do it? Default to printing both sides (duplex). Going duplex can save you up to 50% on paper costs while serving the environment as well.
- Sourcing Paper: Choose paper stocks that come from managed forests. The Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI) certification supports responsible forestry; forests are audited for best practices and must meet strict guidelines. As well, this sends a clear message to your customers that you care about forests.
- Utilize Print on Demand: This concept has been around for years and centers on printing only what you need/when you need it. This eliminates waste caused by document obsolescence. As well, you could select a printer at or near your point of consumption, reducing or eliminating transportation costs.
- Mailing Lists: Updating your mailing list may be a challenge, but the cost savings and environmental impact is significant. It is estimated that 15% – 20% of individuals and businesses move each year. Reduce waste and eliminate the printing and postage costs of mail that is non-deliverable.
Has your organization implemented green initiatives in their mailing practices? What outcomes did you experience? We’d love to hear your stories!