Going Postal: News You Need

Find Where Data Is Hiding

Think you don’t have enough data to drive personalized print marketing programs? To boost your targeting and personalization efforts, maybe you need to invest in data gathering or renting a third-party list. Or maybe — just maybe — you have more data than you think.

Let’s look at some of the many types of data that can get overlooked.

  • Transactional data. This includes both brick-and-mortar and from the online store.
  • Submissions through web contact forms.
  • Customer care (found in your CRM system)
  • Business reply cards. Too often, your BRCs are left at the fulfillment house and the valuable information that can be obtained from them is left unused.
  • SMS/cell phone marketing contacts. If you have a standalone system, get that information out of your text marketing solution and back into your CRM.
  • Responses to e-mail campaigns. Like text messaging, these data need to get back into your marketing database so what you learn through email contacts can be integrated into your direct mail and other channels, too.
  • Trade shows/events. Get those “card swipe” responses back into your system after post-show follow-up!
  • Customer and prospect surveys.

Aggregating the data from these disparate sources will give you a more well-rounded picture of your customers and target audience. This data can be cleaned up, de-duped, and filled in if necessary so that you can use it to create more relevant communications and drive sales.

If you need to help locating or integrating data from all of these disparate sources, give us a call. We can help!

 

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Tuesday, April 5th, 2016 Going Postal: News You Need No Comments

Get Your Timing Right!

How critical is the timing for direct mail campaigns? Hitting the right window can make the difference between recipients saying, “That’s me!” and the piece being rejected out of hand. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in this tale of two campaigns.

Here are the similarities between Company A and Company B:

  • Both sell snow-clearing services to businesses, schools, and other professional organizations.
  • Both use free ice melt as an incentive to grab attention and encourage responses to their marketing messages.
  • Both mailed short-run targeted postcards to facilities directors and operations managers in their local areas.
  • Both used a clean list, with updated names and addresses.

Here is where the campaigns differed:

Company A sent its direct mailer in November. This mailer landed on recipients’ desks in the start of the snowy season. Company B sent its mailer in July. This mailer dropped in the heat of the summer months before most people even think about the first snowflake beginning to fly.

Which company got the timing right? Company B—the one that sent its mailer in the summer. Among facilities and operations managers, decisions regarding snow clearing are made in July and August, well in advance of the cold weather.

To the average person, a direct mailer sporting ice-covered trees and automobiles encapsulated in snow drifts might seem out of place and totally ill-timed in the heat of the summer. But to the target audience, the message was loud and clear: this company knows my business.

How well do you know your target audience?

 

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Monday, March 21st, 2016 Going Postal: News You Need No Comments

Freshen Up! Give Your Mailing List a Makeover!

When was the last time you updated your customer or marketing database? One month? One year? Five years? Never?

Your marketing database is the list of contacts and everything you know about your current and prospective customers that enables you to create targeted and personalized marketing pieces. It might include name and address, email address, birthdate, age, gender, and a variety of other demographic or even psychographic information. It is your lifeblood.

Although you may run your list through NCOA or CASS on a regular basis, when was the last time you really gave this database a second look? Added a new variable field? Broadened into a new vertical market or geographic territory? There are three ways to freshen up your data.

Purchase a new list. Freshen your database by infusing it with new names. That starts with profiling your existing data so you know who your best customers are. Then you can purchase a list of new names that look just like them.

Add to an existing list. Are you looking to beef up your list with email addresses, mobile phone numbers, or demographics? Working with a third-party data provider, we can append this list with just the variables you want. Most data houses do what is called a “triple check,” which verifies the data in three different places before you buy it. This allows you to be certain of its accuracy.

Conduct your own surveys. You can do your own data gathering through customer and prospects surveys using feedback forms, personalized URLs, QR Codes to online forms, or other techniques. Because these contacts have already communicated with you, they are prequalified as being interested in a relationship with your company.

Interested in what a new list, data append, or customer survey can do for you? Just ask!

 

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Thursday, March 17th, 2016 Going Postal: News You Need No Comments

Why Drip Marketing?

Want more sales? Use the power of print to fuel your drip marketing efforts.

Drip marketing is the use of a consistent, predictable set of marketing touches (postcards, email, newsletters) to nurture a relationship with a client or prospect over time. Drip marketing is different from follow-ups or multi-touch marketing in that the latter have narrow time frames.

  • Follow-ups are one-off. You call someone back. You mail them a packet of product information upon request.
  • Multi-touch marketing is designed to use multiple contacts — postcards, email, mobile—but still garner a sale within a relatively short period of time.
  • Drip marketing has a longer-term framework in mind. It is about education, trust building, and lead nurturing over months or even years. It’s great for complex sales and higher value products.

According to The Database Diva, 65% of the people in your sales funnel are tire kickers. They are unqualified prospects not in a position to do business with your company. Thirteen percent are ready to buy. Twenty-two percent will buy eventually but need more time. That’s where drip marketing comes in. That last group may take a while, but when they are ready to make the purchase, you want them to buy from you.

Take a cue from real estate. Agents send four-color postcards with tips and tricks for lawns and gardens, home winterization, and other topics throughout the year. The agent’s headshot and contact information are readily visible, presenting him or her as a problem-solver interested in helping homeowners whether they are looking to sell their homes or not. When a homeowner does decide to sell, whom will they think of first? That is the power of drip marketing.

Do you have products with long sales cycles that could benefit from drip marketing? Give us a call!

 

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Thursday, March 10th, 2016 Going Postal: News You Need No Comments

Personalized Marketing: It’s Mainstream

From personalized coupons at the checkout counter to “just for you” recommendations at Amazon.com, personalized marketing is everywhere.

While some marketers are still deciding whether to take the plunge into this “new” form of marketing in print, fully personalized documents have been around for a long time. Back in 2010 (“Capturing the Cross-Media Direct Marketing Opportunity”), InfoTrends found that the overwhelming majority of marketers were already using segmented (40%) or fully personalized (21%) communications. Only 40% of campaigns fit into the category of “one to many.” This means that if you are sending static mail pieces, you’re competing with marketers who are not only speaking to their customers and prospects on a personalized level, but they are seasoned at doing so. If your competitors are personalizing and you are not, you are at a competitive disadvantage.

Need to get started? Even with a simple basic customer list, here are steps you can take:

  1. Personalize by name.

Use the recipient’s name creatively. Integrate it into the design in an interesting, eye-catching way.

  1. Target by a single, simple variable.

Will it help to target the mailing by gender? How about by ZIP code? Would it help to add a map? (This works great for new businesses or new branches or locations.) These are data you already have. Use them!

  1. Beef up your marketing database.

Purchase simple variables like home ownership or household income for the names you already have. Adding to your database is not expensive, and it can boost your marketing effectiveness exponentially.

Need help? Talk to us about how you can put data to use to create a more personal relationship with your customers.

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Wednesday, February 24th, 2016 Going Postal: News You Need No Comments

Super Shoes Rocks Personalized Content

Recently, we heard about a major retailer who rocked its print personalization, and we wanted to share its success with you. We hope you find it inspirational as you plan your print marketing for the upcoming year.

Super Shoes sells more than 200 shoe and apparel brands in 40+ stores in eight states. To increase the effectiveness of its direct mailings, Super Shoes decided to get personal.

Super Shoes started with channel preference. While many of its competitors were turning to digital marketing, the retailer knew that its customers still preferred to receive direct mail promotions like postcards and catalogs.

“We have an email database, but our customers tend to respond more to print,” says Matthew Willard, marketing director at Super Shoes, as quoted in 1to1 Media.

Super Shoes layered in attitudinal behavioral attributes (which can be purchased much the same way as demographic data) and past purchase histories. This allowed it to target its mailings based on demographic and psychological profiles. Customized content included images, copy, messaging and offers.

Super Shoes had tested different mail formats (postcard, oversized postcard, newspaper insert, catalog) and found that an oversized postcard was the most effective for its customer base.

It sent eight different versions of its mailer and tested against the generic version. The results? The generic offering had a 2.5% conversion rate. The personalized mailing had a 6.7% conversion rate.

Want to personalize your next direct mailing and see how your conversion rates soar? Give us a call.

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Wednesday, February 10th, 2016 Going Postal: News You Need No Comments

3 Reasons to Care About Customer Loyalty

When it comes to boosting revenues, many companies focus on acquiring new customers. In fact, according to Econsultancy’s “Cross-Channel Marketing Report 2014,” 44% of marketers are placing a greater focus on customer acquisition than customer retention. Only 18% are focusing more on customer retention. However, focusing on acquisition to the exclusion of customer retention may not be the best strategy. Here’s why:

  1. The 80-20 rule applies in marketing, too. Research shows that 80% of a company’s revenues come from 20% of its customers. These 20% love your brand and find value in a relationship with your company. Identifying and courting those customers can be enormously profitable.
  2. The chances of making a sale to a new customer ranges from 5–20%, according to Marketing Metrics. By contrast, the likelihood of selling to an existing customer jumps to 60–70%. Your existing customers can be your most lucrative. You want to keep them.
  3. According to Peppers & Rogers, it can cost up to seven times more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one. For this reason, it can take up to one full year before a new customer becomes profitable. Once you’ve acquired those new customers, you need to keep them.

On board with customer retention? Let us help you identify your most profitable customers and craft a great customer retention campaign!

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Wednesday, January 20th, 2016 Going Postal: News You Need No Comments

Can Postal Automation Save You Money?

You’ve heard the advertisements. “When we save money, YOU save money!” When the retailer gets a deal, they pass the savings along to you. The United States Post Office is no different. There are certain mailing sizes and formats that process through the USPS equipment more efficiently, so when you save them money, they save you money. That’s what automation discounts are all about.

Even if you don’t have the volumes to qualify for automation discounts, staying within these guidelines will ensure that you get the most out of your mailings. By following the guidelines, you can prevent your mail pieces from being delayed or undeliverable.

Here are the categories to keep in mind:

Format Size: To qualify for automation discounts, First Class postcards, letters, and flats must be within a certain size range. For example, to qualify for discounts, postcards must be ½” x 5” to 4 ¼” x 6” and range from .007” to .016” in thickness.

Addressing: For the mail to process most efficiently, the address block must be placed in the right location. For letters, it must be ½” from the left and right edges. For non-barcoded mail, it must be 2 ¾” from the bottom edge. For barcoded mail, it must be up to 4” from the bottom edge.

Font size: For maximum readability, the USPS prefers that the address be printed in font that is a minimum of 10 points. If it’s a san-serif font, all the better. If you are using window envelopes, make sure that the entire address is visible. If the city-state falls below the window, the mail piece may disappear too — as undeliverable.

Background contrast: While bright envelope colors can grab attention and increase open rates, you need to be sure that the contrast between the envelope and the printing is sufficient to be read by the postal machinery. If the address is not readable, you will lose your automation discount and, potentially, the mailing could be rejected. You can’t get a response from a mail piece that is never delivered.

No 3D objects, please: Anything that renders the mailing less than completely flat will eliminate your postal discount. This means no clasps, buttons, or other 3D closures. Sure, those things may look cool, but they will not run through the automated equipment.

Looking for more ideas to maximize your postal discounts? Give us a call.

 

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Sunday, January 10th, 2016 Going Postal: News You Need No Comments

Get Ready for the New USPS Promotions in 2016

Get ready for great USPS promotions in 2016! Just like in 2015, the USPS will offer a 2% discount on qualifying promotions that use interactive technologies that make your mail pieces more effective and cost-efficient, too.

The new promotional categories for 2016 are as follows:

Emerging and Advanced Technology/Video in Print Promotion (March – August 2016): As in 2015, the promotion encourages mailers to incorporate mobile and other print technologies into their mail pieces. In 2016, this includes Near Field Communications (NFC) and Video in Print, as well. The 2016 promotion also adds an A/B Testing option. To receive the 2% discount, mailers must use A/B testing protocols and provide results to the Postal Service, which will share data with other marketers. Shared data will not identify participating mailers.

Tactile, Sensory, and Interactive Mail Piece Engagement Promotion (March – August 2016): This promotion is new to the USPS and will offer a 2% discount to mailers who incorporate advanced print innovations in paper and substrates, finishing techniques, and inks.

Earned Value Reply Mail Promotion: This is an extension of the 2015 promotion that encourages mailers to keep Business Reply Mail (BRM) and Courtesy Reply Mail (CRM) envelopes and cards in their outgoing mail pieces. Qualifying mailers will receive a two-cent postage credit for each BRM and CRM piece returned during the promotion period. Mailers who participated in the 2015 Earned Value Reply Mail Promotion and either meet or increase their volume of qualifying BRM/CRM pieces will receive an additional one-cent (three cents total) for each returned BRM and CRM piece.

Mobile Shopping Promotion (July – December 2016): As in 2015, this promotion will encourage mailers to integrate mobile technology into their direct mail. The 2016 promotion will include a new social media component under which consumers will be able to connect with “Buy Now” features available on most major social media platforms.

Personalized Color Transpromo Promotion (July – December 2016): This is a continuation of the 2015 promotion that encourages mails of bills and statements that use color messaging to either address the recipient by name or use information relevant and specific to the recipient. The promotion applies only to bills and statements.

There has never been a better time to use postal mail. Give us a call — let’s get mailing!

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Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015 Going Postal: News You Need No Comments

Is Print Personalization a Gimmick?

Print personalization — you hear about it everywhere. Use printed pieces to talk directly to recipients based on name, gender, past purchase history, or other information to achieve higher response rates and better return on investment (ROI). Is this really a smart marketing approach? Or is it just a gimmick to get you to buy more print?

Consider the way you are being marketed to. When you shop online, cookies follow your every move so that when you return to the page, the view is customized to your preferences. At the grocery store, your receipt is printed with coupons based on the items you just purchased. When you receive mail from your financial services provider, it contains information only on those funds in which you have invested.

Personalization has become so ingrained in our consumer experience that it’s just become our default expectation. If you aren’t incorporating 1:1 print into your print marketing, you are out of step with the overall trend in marketing.

What about cost? Today, every marketing cost is increasingly scrutinized. Although marketers tend to think of 1:1 printing as a high-cost luxury, when handled properly, the opposite is true.

  • 1:1 printing optimizes your marketing investment by not mailing irrelevant information to the wrong people. It makes every record count.
  • 1:1 printing provides provable ROI so you can compare its value against other marketing methods and justify your spending based on real numbers.
  • By generating higher response rates and per-order values from targeted customer segments, you can spend less and bring in more revenues.
  • More relevant communications (including newsletters, bills and other correspondence) help companies improve customer retention and reduce turnover. This has a direct impact on the bottom line.

From this perspective, 1:1 printing seems less like a luxury and more like a business necessity.

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Friday, December 11th, 2015 Going Postal: News You Need No Comments

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