Can direct mail be green? It can be and the best place to start is by greening your mailing list.

Every year, U.S. businesses send billions of pieces of mail that are undeliverable as addressed (UAA). We help our customers maintain a cleaner list by using ZIP Code correction, address standardization, change-of-address services (NCOA) and duplication removal. Here are some steps you can take to fine-tune your lists:

  • Merge/purge mailing lists often to remove duplicate names/addresses.
  • Use clean lists (address standardization and NCOA) to prevent mailing to ”bad” addresses (UAA).
  • Provide frequent, clear opportunities for customers to opt-in and opt-out of your mailings.
  • Allow customers to specify their preferred method of contact.
  • Target mail efficiently using segmentation and modeling to select recipients.
  • Personalize your message to increase relevance and reduce waste.

This is only the first step in greening your direct mail – but it is a very important one. Following the first few steps will save you money (less printing and postage) and the last two can reduce waste (once your mail arrives at its destination it won’t be considered “junk”).

So get started with greening your list – and if you need assistance with preventing UAA mail, give us a call!

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Originally posted on EcoPrintMail.wordpress.com

You might think that direct mail marketing is an old approach to marketing. Back in the day, you would buy a list of names and street addresses based on ZIP Code and you would mail out thousands of cards to those recipients. Back in those days if you got a two percent response rate you were lucky. Are you still using direct mail the old way? Is using direct mail cost effective? Are you looking for a better way of connecting with potential customers?

The secret to success with direct mail is starting with a good mailing list. What exactly is a good mailing list? How do you get one? What are your options?

Today there are so many options. You can dial in your mailing list to target specific potential customers. If you know the demographic and the psychographic of your customer, you can order a mailing list of very specific people to whom you should send your marketing materials. Your psychographic is most likely “homeowners.” The demographic says they have incomes above $50,000 and they’re more than likely 25 years old or older.

Did you know the big companies that keep mailing lists also maintain about 100 or more points of additional demographic information? If you knew that the majority of your customers drove BMW or Mercedes Benz cars, or if you knew the majority of your customers were married and had children, you could filter your mailing list with that information. If you knew that 80 percent of your customers came from high tech industries, you could filter your mailing list with that information. On the other hand, if you knew that 70 percent of your customers that bought a geothermal unit from you also replaced a propane furnace, you get a more useful mailing list if you selected people that have houses heated with propane furnaces.

Data Brokers  can help you access such detailed lists. If you don’t want to get too in-depth with your data sets you select your mailing list data  from points such as:

• Adult Age (2-year Increments)
• Estimated Income – Narrow Ranges
• Gender
• Marital Status
• Presence of Children
• Homeowner/Renter
• Dwelling Unit Size
• Length of Residence
• Home Market Value
• Mail Order Buyer
• Credit Card Users
• InfoBased Networth Indicator
• Mail Order Donor
• Mail Responders
• Children Age Ranges
• Head of Household Education
• Software Buyer
• Real Property Real Estate Buyer

You can purchase a mailing list for a one-time use or you can purchase the list to use multiple times during the year. If you plan to do multiple mailings, and I would counsel you to do so, it pays to purchase the use of your list for the year. If you are the do-it-yourself type, this could be a good fit for you.

However, while the mailing list is very important, having an eye-catching marketing piece is also critical. In addition to including your branding and messaging, a good direct mail piece will also include some type of hook, a free gift or cash back offer. A cash offer is preferable to a discount because it’s easier for the customer to relate to a cash offer.

You need a strong call-to-action. Have you ever received an advertisement that was nice but it didn’t tell you what to do? It may have said things about the company and it may have even had a phone number or website listed but just stopped short of telling you what to do next. That’s where the call-to-action comes in, it tells the reader to do something next. As an example there is the old tired and worn out phrase, “Don’t delay call us today!” You could say something like, “To receive $50 off you next service call, call us today to register your discount.” The point is you need a strong call-to-action or you are just wasting your money.

Never miss an opportunity to test your message. If you’re mailing 30,000 postcards, divide them into three groups and create three different but similar cards in order to determine which one produces the best results. As you tally the results, keep notes on what worked and what didn’t. If one produces a great response, send it out to the remaining 20,000 addresses to get even better response from your mailing. Testing makes direct mail marketers very successful.

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Originally posted on ContractingBusiness.com

Even with the rise of social media marketing, more conventional techniques like direct mail are unlikely to go away, but B2B data and business mailing lists could be vital to campaign success.

Speaking to Marketing Week, Annabel Venner, marketing director at niche business insurer Hiscox, described the varied mix of media the firm uses in its promotional activity.

When asked whether modern elements such as social marketing would ever replace traditional techniques like direct mail, Ms Venner argued that a variety of media was necessary.

“I cannot see direct mail going away, but you need to make sure that you are targeting the right people. This means data is massively important,” she told the journal.

Firms marketing their products and services to other companies may therefore be encouraged to use business mailing lists to ensure they are reaching the right prospects.

Earlier this week, Phil Kingsland, site director at knowthenet.org.uk, suggested that smaller firms do not need to become entirely digital to benefit from the internet.

He said that on and offline operations can coexist and support one another, perhaps through a mix of B2B email marketing and direct mail strategies.

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Originally posted on ThomasLocal.com

New technology provides increased productivity.

Tri-Win has always focused on giving customers top quality products, superior customer service, and lower prices. Since 2003 the Kodak Digimaster has been the monochromatic digital printing solution for the Dallas, TX based direct mail house and digital printer. When it came time for Tri-Win to increase their printing capabilities it made sense to purchase another quality Kodak product.

The Kodak Digimaster has a number of advantages over some of the other monochromatic digital cut-sheet presses. Their ability to use a larger variation of paper weight lets Tri-Win’s customers make printing decisions based on branding and quality instead of print restrictions. Superior image and half tone quality creates an easier to read statement for the mail recipients. In Tri-Win’s personal experience the Kodak Digimaster requires fewer repairs than some other cut sheet monochromatic presses. “The Digimaster is the best cut-sheet press available,” Russell Honeycutt, Director of Data and Print.

 

Currently Tri-Win prints and mails approximately 5 million statements each month for 10 different clients. Beginning in June, Tri-Win’s fifth Digimaster will be installed to support their growing business. Once that new press is installed Tri-Win will have five different models of Digimasters; a Digimaster 9150, E125, E150, EX138, and EX150

 

Investing in the future.

Tri-Win is always looking for opportunities to add value to their direct mail and digital printing services; monochromatic cut-sheet printing, single-pass inserting, QR Code generation, variable data printing, and data list maintenance, are just a few of the unique innovative services that Tri-Win provides to their growing clients.

Investing in smart technology provides opportunities for growth, no matter what state the economy is in, but being able to invest without borrowing money sets Tri-Win apart from most print and mail companies. Every piece of equipment that Tri-Win uses is owned outright. Every process in place is evaluated for efficiency. Tri-Win constantly looks for ways to do things faster, better, or cheaper without sacrificing the quality of the product, and the benefits of the new processes get passed on to their customers.

Superior customer service is the standard.

The constant search to enhance the quality of Tri-Win’s processes is just one way they separate themselves from the competition through service. Tri-Win has some of the latest technology in the direct mail industry, but they built their customer base by focusing on customer service. “It’s important to us to make the direct mail process as easy as it can be. We want you to know that you can give us your project and we will take care of the details. We can purchase your data list, design your mailer, print the pieces, and get everything in the mail. We can take care of all the details of your direct mail campaign so you can take care of the details of running your business”, Scott Swanner, Operations Manager.

Tri-Win’s dedication to efficiency and superior customer service allowed them to grow every year for 15 years. Now they boast nearly 500 clients and send out an average of 500,000 pieces of mail every day.  You don’t pay for unnecessary labor; you don’t pay for interest payments. When you work with Tri-Win you pay for the most efficient mail shop process available. With the addition of a new Kodak Digimaster their print shop is ready for new business.

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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

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.

 

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

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

Local small businesses looking to bolster their marketing campaigns should consider leveraging the power of direct mail in combination with quick response codes. Integrating this type of business marketing campaign can benefit a company by allowing it to ramp up its reviews, which can be especially important to the success of smaller firms.

According to Business 2 Community, 70 percent of consumers consult reviews or ratings prior to making a purchase. This makes it essential that a firm boosts conversation regarding its services and products on review-heavy websites such as Yelp, Facebook and Twitter.

“The benefit is a potential move up in search engine results and the ability to influence the decision-making process of people that are actively searching online for specific products and services,” Cynthia Fedor wrote for the source.

Small businesses should consider soliciting reviews from local consumers, then integrating those reviews into direct mail campaigns via a QR code that links directly to a video of the endorsement, the source recommended. To further encourage interactions, business owners may also include an incentive.

A direct mail tactic that would benefit those small businesses operating with a strict budget are postcard campaigns, which are notoriously inexpensive yet far-reaching.

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originaly posted by Jaime O’Hara on amsterdamprinting.com

One of the primary arguments against direct mail is the cost to get the campaign going. There are printing costs, postage costs etc, but looking at your direct mail budget as an expense is slightly flawed. View a direct mail budget as an investment not an expense since you should get your budget back in new sales. Measure the success of a direct mail campaign by measuring your return on investment (ROI). Does it really matter if you spend $10,000 on this month’s mailer if it brings you $25,000 in new business? It does if you don’t have $10,000 to spend.

There are a number of ways you can get that initial investment down so you can increase your ROI and make direct mail more affordable.

What can you do with your data list to prevent wasting money?

1. Don’t mail to people who don’t need your product – The single most effective way to keep costs down in a direct mail campaign is to reduce the number of people on your data list. Don’t mail to a general list. Every contact you mail to who don’t/can’t/won’t use what you are offering is a waste of money so you need to target your mailings. When you talk to a list broker make sure you are targeting demographics that are likely to care about your advertising. Don’t market a Mac Power Book to Bill Gates or pool cleaning services to someone who doesn’t have a pool.

2. 81¼A Goose Chase Circle Nowhere USA – It doesn’t matter if you buy, rent, or collect a list from customers you waste money with every direct mail piece sent to people who are no longer there. Delivery Point Validation (DPV) should be part of every data list process before your first stamp gets licked. Not that I suggest licking stamps. We have machines for that these days.

3. Jack moved last year –Before you apply your postage you need cross reference your list against the National Change of Address (NCOA). There is no reason to send Jack Hill’s mail to Jill Crown. You are just going to give Jill a headache and waste some money that could have been used to get Jack to buy the in-home water purification system.

Printing costs are second only to Postage costs so what can be done to keep those under control?

1. 11×17 Yeah, that will get their attention! – Paper is the number one cost of printing. The more pieces you get out of one sheet of paper the cheaper your mailer. It sounds simple but make sure you and your graphic designer know how your project is getting printed. Will it printed on a sheet fed printer or a roll printer? What the starting size of the paper? What is the usable print area? This simple series of questions should be asked before ink meets paper to keep cost down and efficiency up.

2. Gold leaf is pretty… – Paper quality directly affects the way your potential customer will persevere your product and company so you don’t want to use newsprint, but there is no reason to use the most expensive stock on the market. Ask about your paper options. Most printers have an in-house paper stock that they buy in great quantities so they get a very low price on it. Plus it’s probably very well suited for direct mail, and the finishing processes that add a professional touch.

3. What do you mean 4 color process , my mailer only has green on it? – Full color printing, aka 4-color process printing uses four colors of ink (Cyan Magenta Yellow Black) to recreate the spectrum of color we see. It’s needed if you want to print photos or more than 3 different colors on you mailer, but could you get your message across only using one, or two colors? Design your mailer using 1 or 2 spot colors an you could save money depending on how the piece is printed.

The big expense of a direct mail campaign is postage, but all postage is not the same.

1. First class or standard – The most obvious option you have is the class at which you want your mail to travel. First Class mail is the more expensive of the two, and it usually gets delivered in 1-2 days. It’s more likely to get opened since postal employees are instructed to make every effort to deliver fist class mail even if there is a missing component in the address. Standard Mail is less expensive, and delivery times vary between 2 -9 days. This is fine for anything that is not time sensitive but don’t use it if you want your mailer to get to an address on a certain day. Another concern is that the USPS doesn’t guarantee the delivery of standard mail. If the mail is undeliverable it’s likely that it will just get thrown away without notification.

2. It’s shaped like a teddy bear -The size and shape of your mailer affects the cost. There is nothing more frustrating that realizing you could have saved $0.13 per mailer if you would have reduced the size of piece by 1/8th of an inch. I know $0.13 doesn’t sound like much, but if you are mailing 2,500 pieces a week that adds up very very fast. Asking if you could get lower postage rates by making a small change to the size or shape of a mailer is always a good idea.

3. All postage is NOT the same, wait I said that already – A good mail house knows techniques that will reduce the cost you have to pay for postage. The USPS will discount postage costs if part of the work of delivering the mail is done before it gets into their hands. Ask about Co-palletization and Commingling to get volume discounts. Ask if you can get automated pricing. Ask about ways to save money. Postage costs are too complicated to explain in a blog post, but if you have questions leave me a comment and I will answer.

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