Experimenting to make the most of print marketing

Very few things in life are ever perfect the first time around, and this is even more so the case when it comes to marketing – there are always little tweaks that can be made to generate more exposure and close sales. As Bigger Pockets recently suggested, small business owners should always be looking to improve on their direct mail marketing initiatives.

The best way to this is through split testing, which in the case of direct mail means splitting a list into two and then sending different components to each list. For example, if an entrepreneur wanted to experiment with different calls to action, he or she could send one postcard to the first group and another to the second group. Whichever gets more responses should be the one the company uses.

“In the end, it really doesn’t matter how you track your results, but never again, should you send out a letter without tracking the response. If you start to do this today, in just a few months you should be able to determine the best letter in your ‘arsenal’ and increase the number of deals you do very quickly,” the website explains.

There is no limit to what a company tests – different ad copy, images and print materials are all good places to start. Once the company finds a strategy that makes a return on investment, then they should switch to that format.

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Originally posted by Mark Haslan on overnightprints.com

Can Your Data Pass a White Glove Test

Can Your Data Pass a White Glove Test

Clean, accurate and pristine data is the core of any business to business marketing campaign. It doesn’t matter how articulate, clever and persuasive your marketing campaign is if, when your prospect opens their mail, they are staring at the wrong name. If Bill Taylor’s name has somehow become Sybill Tal drop the blame directly in the lap of your database because the information provided was inaccurate.

You can spend hours writing a clever message; work through 3, 5, 10 versions of art to spark curiosity, but if your data is dirty then you are wasting your time.  If Jason Smith somehow gets Jane Simpsons name on his mail he will greet your mailer with irritation not intrigue.

Frankly, too many businesses don’t pay enough attention to the data they are using to mail. In house lists with warm leads, existing clients and lapsed ones are updated randomly, usually when the complaints are coming in left and right from mildly grumpy customers and potential prospects that are no longer prospects.

If you want to win business and keep your current customers happy you need to clean your data. Before you begin any marketing campaigns – online and off-line. It’s not that hard but it can be time-consuming, especially if you are embarking on an intensive database maintenance as opposed to a basic process. While it can require time and personnel to clean data pays for itself in new sales.

  • Good data means accurate personalization, and a great first impression for your company.
  • Bad data will alienate your customers. You won’t sell a thing if Jack Smith gets Jill Simmons mailer.
  • You can segment your mailing list to send specialized messages to certain sections of your data list based on buying habbits, income, loyalty, or any other reason.

When your marketing decisions are based on up-to-date data you have a much stronger advertising campaing and you will get a better response on your mailing. If you are using outdate inaccurate data put your message in a bottle and see what happens.


Five Ways to Create a More Engaging Direct Mail Campaign

If there is one traditional marketing tactic that gets close to as much flack as advertising, it has to be direct mail. You’ve probably heard it all before. “Direct mail is like throwing spaghetti against the wall and seeing what sticks.” “Direct mail is a close cousin of cold calling.” “Direct mail is so…indirect.”

Like King Kong, I think direct mail as a marketing tactic is just misunderstood. There are just as many ways now as there were 50 years ago to use direct mail effectively and in an engaging style. Probably more. Like with everything, we just need to think in some different ways. Here are some ideas about how to make direct mail a more effective, more engaging marketing tool for your business.

1. Apply email logic: You probably have heard by now that before blasting out an email, you want to make sure you get people to opt-in to your communications. Otherwise you can be labeled as spam. With direct mail, there is a similar reaction – it’s called, “This piece is going right into my trash can.” Before sending out a mass direct mailing, qualify your audience. There are lots of ways to do this, including:

  • Renting names from a list house where geography, type of industry, and other factors can be filtered.
  • Rent a list from a trade publication that is audited – that way you know the list is qualified.
  • Rent a list from a trade show/event. This list of people is clearly engaged in the industry.
  • Send an email to your database saying, “Hey, can I send you…xyz.” Use email to opt in your audience.

2. Keep that consistent message: Is this starting to sound like a broken record yet? If so, good. This is so important. If you are tweeting to people and then you decide to send that same audience a direct mail piece, how can you let them know that you’re the same company? That you value their relationships just as you indicate online?

3. Make it useful: Just like with email, people are getting bombarded every day by come-ons, little gadgets, catalogs – all kinds of stuff. You know. You get all of that stuff, too. What sticks out in your pile of paper? The thing that can help you solve a problem. I always think of that scene from Chicken Run. “I’m tired of making miniscule profits!” And then, there on the desk, appears a flier that asks, “Tired of making miniscule profits?”

4. Let your audience interact: The people you are sending mail to are hopefully overlapping with the people who are liking your Facebook page and following your tweets. They’ve established that they have insights about your company, your products, and/or your services. Why muzzle them with your direct mail piece? Ask them to respond by posting a video to your Facebook page, or include a survey that could be returned as entry into a contest. Include a link or QR code that takes the recipient to a relevant video. Converse.

5. Think outside the box: This is so important, just as it is with your website, with your advertising, and with all of your marketing. Postcards can serve a purpose, but there is so much more that can be done now with direct mail campaigns. From DVD mailers to things I’ve never seen and can barely imagine, this marketing channel is ready and waiting for a slam dunk, thoughtful, engaging campaign. Are you ready to send one out there?

Traditional media is not dead. Far from it. It can offer a depth to online marketing that you may be missing at your own peril. And traditional media does not negate the need for Social Media, video, and mobile interaction. In order to grow your business, you need to be able to do it all. And you need to be able to do it all in a way that engages with your customers and prospects.

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Originaly posted on business2community.com

Your Crash Course in Postcard Mail Marketing

Are you clueless about direct mail marketing and postcard printing? If you are, then you have come to the right place. In this crash course for postcard printing and direct mailing campaigns.

Are you clueless about direct mail marketing and postcard printing? If you are, then you have come to the right place. In this crash course for postcard printing and direct mailing campaigns, I will give you the three crucial steps that you need to know to do a campaign correctly. So without further ado, let us start with the first step in postcard printing and that is the composing of the message.

1. Developing a good message concept – Postcard marketing will succeed or fail depending on its message concept. So your first step is to decide on the “angle” or approach of your message so that it effectively delivers the marketing message. For postcards, there are a few simple message concepts or approaches you can go for. Below are some that you can use.

– The reference approach – This approach basically has the postcard content sounding like a reference or textbook. It basically gives factual and detailed information that your market may want to know about. This draws in people who are curious or hungry for knowledge.

– The need and want approach – This approach basically appeals to the needs and wants of people. You basically show your readers what they want to see so that they can crave for it or start wanting them again. This approach requires impressive images so that the postcard marketing can be impressive.

– The fear approach – This approach plays on certain fears of people. For example, if you are using color postcards to market a weight loss item, then you can use content that makes people aware of the dangers of getting fat. This kind of fear technique for marketing can really work, since there are a lot of things people may want to avoid.

– The bandwagon approach – Finally, we have the bandwagon approach. This basically involves telling people that the rest of the world is already buying and using your products or services. Since everybody else seems to be doing it, then people will think they can do it as well through your postcard marketing.

2. Proper postcard printing – With your message and design ready, the next step is postcard printing. In this regard, your task is pretty simple. You just need to hire a good and affordable postcard printing company to produce your postcards. Just choose the appropriate paper materials and printing options for your postcard and they should turn out well.

3. Proper distribution techniques – Finally, with your postcards printed, the final step is to distribute your postcards for direct mailing. In this regard, I recommend that you use a private mailing service to distribute your marketing postcards. These services are usually more reliable as well as quick in their distribution.

Have them send your color postcards repeatedly at least 3 times to reinforce your marketing message. Pace these distribution times by around two to four week intervals so that people won’t think your are just sending junk mail. These should be your standard distribution practices until you are confident enough to be more creative.

Great! That is your crash course for direct mail marketing using postcard printing. Hopefully, this should help you get started with your direct mail marketing campaign. Good Luck!

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Originally posted on marketpressrelease.com

USPS to Promote Direct Mail in Advertising Campaign

The US Postal Service will launch a major advertising campaign in September seeking to promote use of the mail as a marketing tool by American businesses.

Postmaster General Pat Donahoe announced to the National Postal Forum this morning in San Diego that the campaign will target the sizable 75% chunk of US businesses that currently do not use the mail for advertising purposes.

The push to get advertisers on board comes as part of a USPS priority to boost the business-to-consumer channel to help counter a general decline in mail volumes.

The business-to-consumer channel is currently responsible for around 70% of its revenues and 80% of mail volume, but with three quarters of businesses not using the mail for advertising, Donahoe said there was a “major opportunity” for the Postal Service.

The campaign will include television spots and direct mail, building on the lessons learned from the USPS package delivery advertising campaign, “If it fits it ships”, which has so far seen 25m extra flat-rate boxes mailed in the US so far this year alone, a 35% increase year-on-year.

“We are ready to apply the lessons from our package marketing and develop a major advertising campaign to support mail,” he said.

Donahoe said the Postal Service hadn’t focused on promoting mail through significant advertising in 10 years. The new campaign would be “a little unusual, but it could be very powerful”, he added.

Industry input

The Postal Service looks likely to use its existing advertising agency Campbell-Ewald on the campaign, and Donahoe said that as well as involving mailers in the campaign, the USPS would seek to share insights from the campaign with customers, and feed their thoughts into September’s message.

“This won’t be just a Postal Service campaign,” he said.  “If our industry aligns around the same marketing insights about mail, the potential exists to multiply that advertising effect,” he said.

Donahoe told Post&Parcel this morning that his team would look to discuss the campaign’s initial research with members of its industry advisory group MTAC – the Mailers’ Technical Advisory Committee – as well as with key members of the advertising industry.

“We’re trying to get some advertising people together, to run some ideas by them,” he said. ”A lot of decisions are taken by large advertisers as to what their clients will use – and if they are not thinking about the mail, there’s not a lot we can do.”

Rough cuts of television spots that could feed into a possible campaign have featured representatives of the public speaking about their relationships with the mail and why they could not do with out it.

The Postmaster General is keen to promote the “tremendous value of the mail” to American businesses, particularly competing against the digital and television advertising.

“We’re saying to them: you can go on a website, and you’ve got to compete with millions of other website, and get people to go visit that website,” he said. “With the mail you’re just competing with whatever else is in the person’s mailbox that morning.”

Among the 75% of businesses that do not currently use the mail for their advertising, Donahoe told reporters this morning that the pharmaceutical industry could be a key target for this kind of campaign. The Postal Service researched America’s top advertisers ahead of a market trial to offer major advertisers a “money-back guarantee” this summer to promote the use of direct mail, and the research revealed that major pharmaceuticals are doing “zero” advertising through the mail.

“It’s shocking how little they use the mail,” Donahoe said. “For pharmaceuticals it’s zero through the mail, and yet they’re all running these television ads that make you afraid to buy anything they’re selling.”

The concept of working closely with its customers on the advertising campaign fits with a theme at this year’s National Postal Forum of “seamlessly aligning with your business”. Around 4,000 delegates – mailing companies, equipment and suppliers as well as Postal Service staff – are expected at this year’s event, which runs until Wednesday.

Source: James Cartledge, Post&Parcel

original posted on Post & Parcel

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