Posts Tagged Tips

Personalized URL Tips!

Tips for Using PURLs

If you’ve ever considered using Personalized URL as part of your mail campaign, here are some helpful tips we’ve compiled.

Starting at square one –

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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USPS | Holiday Mailing Tips

Holiday Mailing Tips

Follow these helpful tips for successful holiday mailing.

Here, from the U.S. Postal Service, are suggested tips for preparing and mailing cards, letters and packages this holiday season. 

Mailing Greeting Cards

Customers who receive door delivery are welcome to give their holiday and other mail they are sending to their letter carrier, rather than placing it in a collection box or making a special trip to the post office. Customers who receive curbside delivery may leave their mail in their receptacle for pickup.842811-01-main-600x600

Preparing Packages

  • PRINT addresses clearly.
  • Include all address elements (apartment numbers, suite numbers, directional information for streets, etc.).
  • Include both “to” and “from” information on packages – and only on one side; no extra writing.
  • Never guess a ZIP Code — NO ZIP is better than WRONG ZIP! Check USPS.com for a convenient ZIP code look up tool.

Packaging Tips

  • Select a box that is strong enough to protect the contents. Leave space for cushioning inside the carton.
  • Package contents with shredded or rolled newspaper, bubble wrap, or Styrofoam peanuts. Plain air-popped popcorn is also good for cushioning; it’s inexpensive and environmentally friendly. Pack tightly to avoid shifting.
  • Always use tape that is designed for shipping, such as pressure-sensitive tape, nylon-reinforced tape, paper tape, or glass-reinforced pressure-sensitive tape.
  • Do not use wrapping paper, string, masking tape, or cellophane tape.
  • Put the delivery and return addresses on only one side of the package.
  • Recommendation: Place an index card inside the package that contains the sender’s address and the recipient’s address along with a list of the contents. This will help us re-pack boxes that were improperly wrapped and came apart during transporting and processing and help ensure that the package is either sent to its destination or back to the sender.
  • Take packages that weigh at least 1 pound into the post office for mailing. Do not put boxes into your neighborhood mailbox or expect for your mail carrier to pick them up for you.
  • Obtain Express Mail and Priority Mail boxes, envelopes, and tubes for free from your post office.

Prior to Mailing

  • Stuff glass and fragile hollow items, like vases, with newspaper or packing material to avoid damage due to shock. When mailing framed photographs, take the glass out of the frame and wrap it separately.
  • Remove batteries from toys. Wrap and place them next to the toys in the mailing box.

Special Tips

  • Access the Postal Service’s web site, usps.com, for postage calculations, the latest addressing information, and unique gifts. Avoid waiting in line for your Holiday stamps by using Stamps by Phone (1-800-STAMP24), Stamps by Mail, or stamps from postal self-service vending machines, neighborhood retail outlets and ATMs.
  • Sign up for text and email alerts to track your package. Just go to My USPS.com

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10 Tips | Email Marketing

10 Email Marketing Tipsemail-marketingTips

      1. Provide Multiple Channels of Communication

Make sure you are reaching your audience wherever they are. Place a sign up form or guest book at a convenient location within your business. Add a button to your website and Facebook page to join your mailing list.  You could even use a QR code which allows a customer to join a list by scanning the code – add this to a business card, flyer or point-of-sale sign. Your customers are connected through multiple social media channels, make it easy for them to connect with you.

      2. Take the Pressure Off

Don’t require customers to give you too much information. Especially if they are joining using a mobile device, ask them for only the information you truly need. If you need a geographic location, perhaps ask only for a zip code instead of a street address or phone number. While an email address is really all you need, additional information will aid you in more targeted marketing. Just don’t expect a consumer to give you their life story in data; be respectful of their time and effort in connecting with you.

      3. Subject Lines of Email Messages: Be Clear and to the Point

The very best subject lines-the ones that get opened the most every time-are the ones that tell exactly what’s in the email. A good subject line should be as brief as possible (maybe 50 characters, including spaces), accurately reflect what is inside and motivate the recipient to open the message. If this were in your email box, would you be likely to open it?

     4. Keep Your Writing Simple

While good writing does matter, email does allow you to speak in a more casual voice – just like any other social media. Your customers are people too, write like a human and drop all the sales jargon and techno babble. You can be funny and loose and still get your message across.

    5. Give a Clear Call-To-Action

The body of the email should include a clear call to action.  Make sure your message contains relevant content and has a compelling reason to act.  Include links and make sure they are tracked so that you can continue to market to people who have shown interest in the past.

    6. Be Mobile Aware

No that some of your customers will access your email via a mobile device. Make sure you know how your email is delivered and displayed on various different mobile devices. Targeting by location is a great tool for mobile marketing.

     7. Send the Right Message to the Right Person

Make sure your list is kept up to date and clean. It is irritating to receive a message with someone else’s name, location or buying history. Customers only interested in one product or part of your business may not be interested in hearing every message you send. Maintaining separate lists by customer interest or preference helps you tailor email messages and campaigns.

    8. Use Surveys to Gather Data Quickly

If you need more customer data to properly segment lists, use a survey as a quick way to get people’s opinions or interests. For customers, it’s visual, it’s interesting, and it takes just a second to answer. Once you’ve got a good pool of responses, you can create new lists based on your results.

    9. Test: Don’t Spray and Pray

Spray and pray emails will never perform as well as tailored emails to particular customer segments.” Segmentation allows you to create targeted email campaigns based on behavioral information or other contact data you know about each recipient. Surveys also help to determine the right tactic for each customer group. This can be done through A/B testing, which tracks the performance of two or more entirely different versions of an email message. Try a soft-sell message to your active subscribers and offer a significant discount to those that are less active or haven’t clicked lately.

   10. Enrich the Contact Data

As you gain more data – and more insight – about your customers, update to manage customer segmentation. Utilize purchase history, click through rates, and additional data gathered through previous marketing campaigns.  Test new messages, new formats and even new segmentations as you improve on your data list.

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How To Improve Your Email Deliverability

Improve Your Email Deliverability With These Few Tips

Every month you strive to come up with relevant and timely information to include in your email newsletter or basic marketing campaign. Make sure more of your messages are reaching contacts by following these simple steps.emailinbox

  1. Understand Email Filters: Try not to use language that might look like spam content. This would include your subject line as well as body copy.
    • Spam like words include free, guarantee, credit card, sex, etc.
    • Do not use all capital letters
    • Do not use a lot of punctuation – avoid !!!, $$$ and other symbols
    • Include your complete physical address as required by law
    • Always tie your subject line to your email content. If it’s a newsletter, say so in the subject line.
  2. Encourage readers or customers to put your address in their address book, trusted sender list or approved sender list. Make it easy for them to do this by keeping your “From Address” short, easy to remember and easy to type.
  3. Review your bounce reports carefully.
    • Consider removing any addresses that appear on your bounce report repeatedly. There may be a problem with the address. If they are a known customer, pick up the phone and confirm their address for your records.
    • Check for typos in email addresses
    • Bounces marked as Undeliverable can often times be an email server temporarily unavailable, overloaded or not located. Unless this occurs multiple times, you may not want to delete this address from your list.
    • Full mailboxes mean that your email will not be delivered until the recipient makes room for them by cleaning out their mailbox. Sometimes your email won’t be delivered at all after a certain number of attempts.
  4. Because the unsubscribe feature has been used by spammers to verify addresses, be alert to requests to unsubscribe and respond quickly to permanently remove those email addresses from your list.

Use these tips next time you’re ready to send out that newsletter or other email communication and you will be on your way to a clean, productive email list!

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Five Things You Need to Know About Your Mail

Five Things You Need to Know About Your Mail!

Author: Sandy Wallace

mailedThe U.S. Postal Service is the only delivery service that reaches every address in the United States. The Postal Service delivers to nearly 153 million homes, businesses and PO box addresses. These tips from a postal worker who cares will help you properly address your mail, ship packages, track your mail, send mail out of the country and forward your mail when you move.

 

What’s in an Address? 
I see many cards, letters and packages every day that don’t get where they are going because of a bad address. My company processes and delivers about 523 million pieces of mail each day, according to USPS.com. Most of the mail is processed by machine, not by hand. If the machine can’t read the address or it’s not a valid address, your mail won’t make it where it’s going. A return address helps mail without a valid address be returned to sender. The address of the person sending the mail should always be written in the top left hand corner of the letter or package. The address of the person receiving the mail goes in the center of your letter or package. Be sure to write the name, street address or box number, city, state and zip code in that order for both addresses.

Box It Up and Pack It Well
When you’re mailing something thicker than 1/2 inch, don’t try to stuff it into a flat envelope. I know it’s cheaper to send an envelope than a package, but merchandise put into envelopes is often damaged by the machine process. Using a padded envelope or box instead of an envelope means your package will arrive in one piece, instead of coming to me in lots of little pieces. Be sure to add bubble wrap, shredded paper, styrofoam peanuts or other packaging material to protect the contents from damage. Use tape, not string, to close your box.

If It’s Important, Track it
I know everyone wants to save money, but anything important should be sent with tracking. Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail and Standard Mail parcels all come with free tracking. Letters and large envelopes can be tracked using Certified Mail. Consider purchasing insurance for anything of value. Be sure to hold onto the receipt until the item is delivered. We can only track your mail with the article number.

Shipping Across the Ocean: It’s Not the Same
It costs the same to mail to someone deployed in the military as mailing to someone in the U.S., but it’s a little more expensive to send to a non-military person living in a foreign country. Packages going overseas or to military APO, FPO or DPO addresses require a customs form. On the customs form, you need to fill out a detailed list of the contents, including weight and value of each item. If you don’t plan ahead, you might have to open your box at my counter to fill out the customs form. Check USPS.com for nonmailable items and country-specific listings of items which are forbidden to be mailed to your destination.

Tell Us When You Move
Tell us where you’re going before you move and we’ll forward your important mail to your new home. Mail forwarding is provided for free for 12 months for First Class Mail, Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express. If you move without filling out a change of address form, your mail will be returned to sender. Most standard mail, including catalogs and advertising mail, can’t be forwarded or returned to sender, unless the mailer requests and pays for the service.

We Care
Most postal workers are like me. We want to help you send and receive mail without delays. Spend a little extra time preparing your cards, letters and packages and your mail will arrive at its destination, making all of us happy. Learn more about our pricing and products at USPS.com.

Original Article

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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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Tips to Manage Postage Rate Increase

Tips to Manage Postage Rate Increase

Now that the Postal Service has raised rates again (this is the largest rate hike in the past 11 years), it seems like a good time to review steps you can take to help manage your postage costs.

  1. Take advantage of a local mailhouse or presort vendor.  Presorting your mail lets you take advantage of reduced postage rates. There are many ways you can work with a vendor; they can manage your data, print your mailpiece and mail it for you or perhaps all you need is a daily pick up of your already prepared mail. Either way, savings are there for you. uspostagerateincrease
  2. Keep a clean, healthy database.  Make sure all of your addresses are complete, correct and updated.  When you receive Undeliverable As Addressed mail back from USPS make sure you update your data accordingly. No sense in mailing people who have moved or are deceased.
  3. Dedupe your data.  If your data includes multiple contacts with similar sounding titles within a company, can you mail to just one of those people? Are you seeing duplicates such as John Sample and John Q Sample at the same address? Check for duplicates both by name and address.
  4. Personalize and target your mailing.  Studies have shown that the more personalized and targeted your offer is, the greater response you will receive. Build and manage data such as last purchase, date of last service or purchase, geographic area or household income. The list of ways to segment and create relevant messages/offers is endless. 
  5. Use multichannel marketing.  Follow up your mailed promotion with email. Try to keep the same look and feel of your mailpiece. Include a link to your website, other marketing page or survey if appropriate. You can use a QR code or pURL on your mailpiece to drive recipients to your website.

Postage rate increases are uncomfortable for mailers. The USPS points out that the increases over the past few years have kept pace with inflation. The change is intended to generate $2 billion in annual revenue for the Postal Service.

As a reminder, below are the new full pay, retail rates.

  • 1 ounce First Class letter – $0.49
  • Each additional ounce $0.21
  • Postcards $0.34
  • 1 ounce letters to all International destinations $1.15

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10 Email Marketing Tips

10 Email Marketing Tipsemail-marketingTips

      1.      Provide Multiple Channels of Communication

Make sure you are reaching your audience wherever they are.  Place a sign up form or guest book at a convenient location within your business.  Add a button to your website and Facebook page to join your mailing list.  You could even use a QR code which allows a customer to join a list by scanning the code – add this to a business card, flyer or point-of-sale sign.  Your customers are connected through multiple social media channels, make it easy for them to connect with you.

      2.      Take the Pressure Off

Don’t require customers to give you too much information.  Especially if they are joining using a mobile device, ask them for only the information you truly need.  If you need a geographic location, perhaps ask only for a zip code instead of a street address or phone number.  While an email address is really all you need, additional information will aid you in more targeted marketing.  Just don’t expect a consumer to give you their life story in data; be respectful of their time and effort in connecting with you.

      3.       Subject Lines of Email Messages: Be Clear and to the Point

The very best subject lines-the ones that get opened the most every time-are the ones that tell exactly what’s in the email. A good subject line should be as brief as possible (maybe 50 characters, including spaces), accurately reflect what is inside and motivate the recipient to open the message. If this were in your email box, would you be likely to open it?

     4.        Keep Your Writing Simple

While good writing does matter, email does allow you to speak in a more casual voice – just like any other social media.  Your customers are people too, write like a human and drop all the sales jargon and techno babble. You can be funny and loose and still get your message across.

    5.         Give a Clear Call-To-Action

The body of the email should include a clear call to action.  Make sure your message contains relevant content and has a compelling reason to act.  Include links and make sure they are tracked so that you can continue to market to people who have shown interest in the past.

    6.         Be Mobile Aware

No that some of your customers will access your email via a mobile device.  Make sure you know how your email is delivered and displayed on various different mobile devices.  Targeting by location is a great tool for mobile marketing.

     7.         Send the Right Message to the Right Person

Make sure your list is kept up to date and clean.  It is irritating to receive a message with someone else’s name, location or buying history.  Customers only interested in one product or part of your business may not be interested in hearing every message you send.  Maintaining separate lists by customer interest or preference helps you tailor email messages and campaigns.

    8.         Use Surveys to Gather Data Quickly

If you need more customer data to properly segment lists, use a survey as a quick way to get people’s opinions or interests. For customers, it’s visual, it’s interesting, and it takes just a second to answer.  Once you’ve got a good pool of responses, you can create new lists based on your results.

    9.         Test: Don’t Spray and Pray

Spray and pray emails will never perform as well as tailored emails to particular customer segments.” Segmentation allows you to create targeted email campaigns based on behavioral information or other contact data you know about each recipient. Surveys also help to determine the right tactic for each customer group. This can be done through A/B testing, which tracks the performance of two or more entirely different versions of an email message. Try a soft-sell message to your active subscribers and offer a significant discount to those that are less active or haven’t clicked lately.

   10.         Enrich the Contact Data

As you gain more data – and more insight – about your customers, update to manage customer segmentation.  Utilize purchase history, click through rates, and additional data gathered through previous marketing campaigns.  Test new messages, new formats and even new segmentations as you improve on your data list.

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USPS | Holiday Mailing Tips

Holiday Mailing Tips

Follow these helpful tips for successful holiday mailing.

Here, from the U.S. Postal Service, are suggested tips for preparing and mailing cards, letters and packages this holiday season.

Mailing Greeting Cards Customers who receive door delivery are welcome to give their holiday and other mail they are sending to their letter carrier, rather than placing it in a collection box or making a special trip to the post office. Customers who receive curbside delivery may leave their mail in their receptacle for pickup.

Preparing Packages

  • PRINT addresses clearly.
  • Include all address elements (apartment numbers, suite numbers, directional information for streets, etc.).
  • Include both “to” and “from” information on packages – and only on one side; no extra writing.
  • Never guess a ZIP Code — NO ZIP is better than WRONG ZIP!  Check USPS.com for a convenient ZIP code look up tool.

Packaging Tips

  • Select a box that is strong enough to protect the contents. Leave space for cushioning inside the carton.
  • Package contents with shredded or rolled newspaper, bubble wrap, or Styrofoam peanuts. Plain air-popped popcorn is also good for cushioning; it’s inexpensive and environmentally friendly. Pack tightly to avoid shifting.
  • Always use tape that is designed for shipping, such as pressure-sensitive tape, nylon-reinforced tape, paper tape, or glass-reinforced pressure-sensitive tape.
  • Do not use wrapping paper, string, masking tape, or cellophane tape.
  • Put the delivery and return addresses on only one side of the package.
  • Recommendation: Place an index card inside the package that contains the sender’s address and the recipient’s address along with a list of the contents. This will help us re-pack boxes that were improperly wrapped and came apart during transporting and processing and help ensure that the package is either sent to its destination or back to the sender.
  • Take packages that weigh at least 1 pound into the post office for mailing. Do not put boxes into your neighborhood mailbox or expect for your mail carrier to pick them up for you.
  • Obtain Express Mail and Priority Mail boxes, envelopes, and tubes for free from your post office.

Prior to Mailing

  • Stuff glass and fragile hollow items, like vases, with newspaper or packing material to avoid damage due to shock. When mailing framed photographs, take the glass out of the frame and wrap it separately.
  • Remove batteries from toys. Wrap and place them next to the toys in the mailing box.

Special Tips

  • Access the Postal Service’s web site, www.usps.com, for postage calculations, the latest addressing information, and unique gifts. Avoid waiting in line for your Holiday stamps by using Stamps by Phone (1-800-STAMP24), Stamps by Mail, or stamps from postal self-service vending machines, neighborhood retail outlets and ATMs.

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