Posts Tagged direct mail

New Printer Alert!

Océ ColorStream 3500 Inkjet Printer

Interested in our high quality color digital print work? The video below highlights a variety of what we can offer along with introducing the newest member of the Strahm Automation family: Océ ColorStream 3500 Inkjet Printer. Give us a call today for more information: 913-756-2733

 

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USPS | Paper | Direct Mail – All Working Together!

Selecting The Right Paper When Designing Direct Mail!

When designing your fabulous direct mail piece, have you ever just fallen head-over-heels in love with a particular paper only to find out that it doesn’t meet certain USPS requirements? Or, worse, that you will have to pay increased postage just to mail it?

Selecting the right paper can make all the difference in how your mail piece is perceived and how well it travels through the mailstream.

There are a plethora of papers out there to choose from. Work with your designer, printer and mail house to choose a stock to make the best impression with your mail. Each of these people should provide insight into why a paper works or doesn’t work and how to effectively produce your job.

You should be aware of light reflectivity – there needs to be enough of a difference between the ink and the paper for USPS MLOCR equipment to read the address and barcode. This means no dark stock. And stock with fibers throughout, including some recycled papers, can cause problems with reading address as well.

A big decision will be whether to use coated or uncoated paper. 

For images with lots of detail, a coated paper offers a sharp, clean look. Coated paper also makes color “pop”. Think about the end use of your printed piece.  If it needs to be addressed after printing, make sure that the coating will not interfere with high-speed inkjet printers used by your mail house. 

Uncoated papers have become increasingly popular. They can “feel” formal, or very contemporary. If you are hand signing a card, for example, you want to use an uncoated paper. Uncoated paper also scores and folds a little better than coated papers and some digital presses “prefer” uncoated stock.

A visit to the local paper supplier is always fun; you’ll be bowled over by the shear number of papers available. But make sure to get input from your printer and mail house before you get too attached to a stock that won’t convey your message well or, worse, won’t look great in your recipient’s mail box!

For further details visit USPS® paper regulations for direct mail.

What are your favorite papers and how do you think they enhance your mail piece or company image? Or just share your war stories on paper choices gone awry. We’d love to hear them.

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Get Started and Save with Every Door Direct Mail

Get Started with Every Door Direct Mail

How much do you know about the USPS program Every Door Direct Mail?

eddmJust this week I was able to provide a customer with a $31,000.00 savings in postage. Wow! What a way to control your marketing budget, right?

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?

  • Retailers
  • Auto dealerships
  • Arts organizations
  • Restaurants
  • Business services
  • Attorneys
  • Doctors
  • Dry cleaners
  • Contractors
  • Realtors

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!

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Increase ROI with Direct Mail Design | Top 10 Recommendations

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)

  1. 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?
  2. A clear, provocative call to action and a nice incentive.
  3. A compelling message – don’t forget, most people want to know “What’s in it for Me?”
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Use a fresh, unexpected image and a memorable tag line. You only have seconds to grab the reader’s attention.
  8. 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.
  9. 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?).
  10. 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!

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Data Tips | Don’t Let All The Talk of Big Data Scare You Off!

Don’t Let All The Talk of Big Data Scare You Off!

Here are a few tips to get you started.

  1. Decide on a strategy: How can you improve your current strategy with data? Think about what data you want to collect and how it will be used in future marketing efforts. How will this affect the marketing channels you choose – direct mail, email, social media?BigData
  2. What do your customers want?  Identifying what matters to your customers allows you to improve your communications with them. This also helps you craft and target personalized messages to customers through any of the marketing channels you may choose.
  3. Don’t ask for too much:  Give some thought to what data you really need right now. Do you need to improve your email address list? Find out what services/products are most important to customers? Determine how satisfied they are with your business? Keep it short and simple for them to respond. You can always dig deeper for more information down the road.
  4. Give multiple methods of responding:  If you are using direct mail to contact customers/prospects, include a website where they can submit information, take a survey, etc. Consider response cards, pURL’s and QR codes. Make sure all pieces are mobile compatible. Test, test, test to make sure all of your communication platforms work seamlessly.
  5. Don’t get overwhelmed or discouraged: Data is a big area and can be a lot to wrap your head around. Start small. And don’t expect overnight success. Build on what you have and tweak your communications as you add more data.

More questions about how data can help you grow your business and deepen relationships with customers? Call one of our qualified Customer Service Representatives today to discuss your needs. | (816) 756-2733

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Direct Mail Leaves a Deeper Impression than Digital Media

Revealing Study Shows that Direct Mail Leaves a Deeper Impression than Digital Media

directmailVSdigitalmediaDoes it seem to you that digital is taking over everything? Technology may make it seem like traditional methods of marketing, advertising and communications is going extinct.

But is it?

A study conducted in October 2012 by Millward Brown, stated that physical media like direct mail left a “deeper footprint” in the brain, as opposed to digital media through some sort of technology. The study makes a strong argument that our brains respond differently to digital vs. physical media. Direct mail and other physical media continue to be powerful tools in marketing and communications.

The study was titled Using Neuroscience to Understand the Role of Direct Mail. 

Presenting physical material resulted in greater emotional processing, more “real” to the subject, which is important for memory and brand associations. This tangible experience is more readily internalized, which means the ads should have a more personal effect thereby positively influencing motivation.

Does this mean you should abandon digital media such as email marketing, Facebook and Twitter? Not at all. A well planned program of both digital and physical communications will increase your chances for success.

How are you combining digital and more traditional physical marketing? Where and how have you experienced the most success?

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Increase ROI with Direct Mail Design

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.directmail

Here Are My Top 10 Recommendations

(In no particular order)

  1. 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?
  2. A clear, provocative call to action and a nice incentive.
  3. A compelling message – don’t forget, most people want to know “What’s in it for Me?”
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Use a fresh, unexpected image and a memorable tag line. You only have seconds to grab the reader’s attention.
  8. 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.
  9. 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?).
  10. 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!

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Get More Out of Your Marketing Program with VDP

How To Get More Out of Your Marketing Program Using VDP

DirectMailvdpimageandtextVariable 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!

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pURL and Landing Page Tips in Your Direct Mail Campaign

pURL and Landing Page Tips in Your Direct Mail Campaign

You’ve decided to launch a direct mail campaign and use a personalized URL (pURL) as part of the campaign. Here are some tips on making the experience as enticing and simple as possible for potential responders.DirectMailpURL

1. Make Sure the Landing Page Ties to the Marketing Message. The landing page should have the same look and feel, and even the same message, as the direct mail piece.  Keep the experience seamless to the customer. For the respondent, seeing the same message helps confirm they are in the right place. The message on the landing page should be as customized and personalized as possible.

2. Think Mobile. These days you can hardly swing a cat without hitting someone using either their smartphone or tablet. You must plan for this – no excuses! If it isn’t simple for the user to not only get to but use your landing page, they will just click away from it. This can be a significant portion of your response rate. Treat it as such.

3. Pre-fill Forms. If you are asking the respondent to fill out a form – such as subscribing to your newsletter – pre-populate that form as much as you can. The less work for the respondent, the better.

4. Don’t Ask for too Much. Don’t place huge information requirements on the respondent. Sure, you want data on your customers/prospects, but the more information they have to fill out, the lower the response rate. Very few respondents are going to wade through a 6 page, 30 question survey. Get only what you need for this particular campaign. You can always ask more questions as the relationship develops.

5. Employ Best Practices. Just as in any direct mail piece, your success lies in your message, call to action, offer and list.  Your direct mail piece will drive the respondent to your landing page where they will complete some action (place an order, take a survey, download a white paper).  Search out best practices; Hubspot offers some excellent tips for creating landing pages.

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Using Effective Marketing to Increase Customer Touch Points

Using Effective Marketing to Increase Customer Touch Points

effectivemarketingHow often do you “reach out and touch” your customers?

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.

Use a variety of methods for communicatingtouchpoints

  • Direct mail – especially personalized, interactive pieces
  • Email or PURL campaigns
  • Open Houses
  • Phone Calls!  When was the last time you just said hello?
  • Surveys

So how are you going to step out and communicate with your customers and prospects?

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