Going Postal: News You Need

Personalized Print: Are You Focused on the Right Things?

For customers first getting involved in 1:1 print marketing, the question that inevitably arises is, “How can I maximize my investment?” This question often creates great angst about how much data they have and whether or not that data is sufficient to personalize the document for maximum return. But how much data you have is not the only important factor. The following factors are also critical in getting the results you want.

1.Quality of the database.

Often, marketers get so caught up in volume that they overlook the importance of accuracy. If you have a choice between spending your budget on getting more data and spending it on getting good data, go for quality every time.

2. Forget cute. Go for relevant.

Think “customer motivation.” Many marketers get caught up in creating ads that are cute and memorable, but this doesn’t work with relevance-based targeting. You have about three seconds to catch the recipient’s attention. If the customer has to think too hard or if there is not a clear call to action, your piece will fall short.

3. Include a call to action.

Don’t assume the recipient knows what you want them to do. Make sure the text clearly states the end goal: visit the store, buy a product, attend a seminar.

One mortgage company learned this lesson the hard way. It created a witty postcard whose front showed a pizza slice stuffed with dollar bills. The headline read, “It’s Not Delivery. It’s [Name of Mortgage Company].” Confusing, right? It showed in the response rate — .5%. On the next go-round, the marketer added the wording, “We deliver the best mortgage in town.” The response rates tripled.

Remember, when crafting 1:1 print marketing, it’s not about how good you are. It’s about how good the message is. Need help? Give us a call. That’s why we’re here.

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Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015 Going Postal: News You Need No Comments

Avoid the Pitfalls of Lifetime Customer Value

Over the last several years, much has been written about the benefits of measuring lifetime customer value (LCV). The theory is that if you can determine the revenue potential of all of your customers, you can direct your marketing resources to the accounts that have the highest potential yield and thereby maximize the ROI of your marketing dollars.

Understanding LCV can yield some great benefits. However, there are limitations to this practice that, if not avoided, can produce negative results.

Perhaps the biggest danger is over-investing in programs and initiatives that seek to capture profits only or primarily from the most active, highest spending customers. This ignores opportunities from customers with growth potential and from prospects and former customers who represent attractive profits if they can be cultivated into active customers.

It is said that companies will lose 50% of their customers in any given five-year span. Consequently, the need to focus your marketing efforts on new customer acquisition cannot be ignored. While using an LCV model will lead to an increase in profits from high-value customers, over-reliance on LCV can lead to a steady decrease in your pool of customers and overall profit if not balanced with customer acquisition.

It’s important to communicate with a wide variety of customers through all the various stages of the prospect/customer lifecycle. Having a range of marketing materials targeting different segments can significantly increase the ROI of your marketing efforts. With today’s database and print technologies, it’s never been easier.

Need ideas for creating the right target segments? Give us a call!

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Friday, November 20th, 2015 Going Postal: News You Need No Comments

The Reply Card: Art or Afterthought?

The sales letter, lift letter, and brochure tucked inside your direct mail package all share one purpose – to compel the reader to complete and return the reply card. While most cards may never be returned, every card that is returned represents an interested prospect. The value far outweighs the cost of printing and insertion. When you look at it this way, you begin to view this thin, rectangular piece not as an afterthought, but as an integral component of your direct mail strategy.

Creating an effective reply card is an art. Within the defined space of a few inches, you must capture interest and summarize your selling proposition while leaving room for the respondent’s contact information, your return address, and postage. Graphics should be subtle to avoid confusing or distracting the reader. Coated cardstock won’t work because the respondent needs to write on the piece.

Well-conceived reply cards have several things in common:

  • They get straight to the point about what is being offered and what the reader needs to do.
  • Checkboxes are included with a positive call to action and often an incentive as well: “YES! I accept your free trial offer!”
  • Additional avenues for responding are featured prominently, such as a toll-free telephone number, QR Code, and links to social media.
  • An expiration date is included to create a sense of urgency.

Studies have shown that response rates can be greatly increased when response devices are personalized. In this age of identity theft, however, you must be sensitive to the amount of information that is traveling through the mail on a postcard. If your business requires personal data like date of birth or a credit card number, be sure to include a reply envelope. Whatever approach you take, make sure your piece meets U.S. Postal Service standards for cost-effective processing.

A reply card is arguably the most important piece inside your direct mail package. Rethink the role this seemingly simple piece plays in your overall direct mail plan.

 

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Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015 Going Postal: News You Need No Comments

In B2B Marketing, Experience Matters

When it comes to developing marketing content for the B2B market, targeting by experience level matters.

This is the conclusion of a survey of 700 global business executives by The Economist Group, which found that B2B prospects from Generation Next (up to 10 years business experience) have very different preferences and motivators than Business Veterans (more than 10 years business experience). In fact, when it comes to marketing content and channel preferences, there can be up to 35 percentage points difference.

Among the differences between the two?

  Generation Next Business Veterans
Are turned off by content with feels like a sales pitch 46% 69%
Prefer content in the form of articles 69% 91%
Find research reports helpful 30% 65%
Find white papers helpful 12% 37%
Favor video content 21% 12%
Prefer other multimedia such as infographics 12% 24%
Spend at least four hours per week perusing business content 31% 57%

Source: The Economist Group

In other differences, 41% of business veterans think company reputation holds more weight than colleague recommendations (10%). Meanwhile, only 28% of Generation Nexters think company reputation holds more weight than colleague recommendations (27%).

People are people, whether they are in a business context or a home and family context. When crafting your next B2B campaign, remember that targeting your content by experience demographic matters as much as market vertical, job position, or other traditional demographics.

Need help? Give us a call.

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Tuesday, October 20th, 2015 Going Postal: News You Need No Comments

Personalized Marketing: It’s Mainstream

From personalized coupons arriving in the mailbox to “just for you” recommendations in the inbox, personalized marketing is everywhere.

In fact, in a study of more than 1,000 enterprises, InfoTrends found that not only is personalization occurring more frequently, but when marketers do send out personalized marketing pieces, those pieces have a higher level of complexity. There are more variable pictures and images. More variable blocks of text. More dynamic compositions of the sections of the marketing pieces.

When asked, “What percentage of your customer communications/marketing campaigns fit into the following categories?” InfoTrends found that 62% of campaigns are either fully personalized or segmented:

Audience-Targeting Approaches

Personalized (one to one) 29%
Segmented (one to few) 33%
Mass marketing (one to many) 38%

Source: Understanding Vertical Markets: Enterprises Communication Requirements (InfoTrends)

Think about that for a moment. Nearly two-thirds of campaigns are targeted, if not fully personalized. What does that mean for you? It means that if you are sending static mail pieces, you’re competing with marketers who are speaking (potentially to the same customers and prospects) on a personalized level.

If your competitors are personalizing and you are not, who do you think is going to get the most mind share? Even if your competitors aren’t personalizing today, they might be tomorrow. You want to get there and establish a relationship with those customers or prospects before they do.

Need help planning your next personalized campaign? Give us a call!

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Sunday, October 4th, 2015 Going Postal: News You Need No Comments

How Do You Spell Success? C-O-N-V-E-R-S-I-O-N

When you think about evaluating the success of a marketing campaign, what comes to mind? For many marketers, it’s response rates. However, that just because someone “responds” by contacting you doesn’t mean that the campaign was profitable. The true measure of success is whether they actually buy something. That’s why one of your most important measures should be conversion rate.

Let’s say you’re a gourmet store in the heart of a college community. You just launched a line of breakfast items that includes pastries, breads, and gourmet omelets. You develop a campaign of 10,000 direct mailers that invite students to request an email- or text-back coupon for 25% off one of the new items. As an incentive, you offer a chance to win concert tickets to see the band Little Mix, which soon will be performing in the area.

Initially, you’re thrilled by the response rate. A whopping 32% of students requested the coupon. Then the excitement fades. Although more than one-third of students responded, only 3% actually visited the store and redeemed the coupon. When you work out your ROI, you didn’t even break even.

Let’s say you had targeted the local community instead. Let’s say the response rate is lower—8%—but it’s an affluent community with a high percentage of recipients working in and around the university. Of those who do respond, 32% redeem the coupon and try the new breakfast. From this pool, the number of conversions is 150% higher than the college student pool. Your cost to produce the campaign is the same, but your ROI is vastly different.

This simple example illustrates the power of the conversion rate. Initially, who wouldn’t prefer 32% response rate over 8%? But the conversion on the back end ends up being the deciding factor in the profitability of the campaign.

So don’t think response rate — think conversion!

 

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Sunday, September 27th, 2015 Going Postal: News You Need No Comments

Personalization Is Easier Than You Think

Whether it’s in print, email, or online, customers expect a personalized marketing experience. According to InfoTrends, 60% of Boomers and beyond (ages 55+) want a personalized experience. Among Millennials (ages 13-34) and Gen-Xers (ages 35-54), this rises to 67%.

But while “personalization” can carry the connotation of complex and expensive, it doesn’t have to be. Even with a basic customer list, a few simple steps can help you deliver a more relevant, targeted experience.

  1. Use their name creatively.

Don’t just use the customer’s name in the opening text. Use it creatively in images or sprinkle it in unexpected places throughout the document. Add the couple’s name to the place card on the table. Emblazon it across the mailbox in front of an image of a home for sale. Integrate it into the design in unexpected, eye-catching ways.

  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.) This is data you already have. Use it!

  1. Append the database.

Still think you don’t have any variables you can use? Do what’s called a database “append” in which you purchase simple variables like home ownership or household income for the names you already have. Appends are not expensive and can boost your marketing effectiveness exponentially.

Talk to us about how you can put your existing data to use to create a more personal relationship with your customers. You probably already have more information than you think!

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Thursday, September 17th, 2015 Going Postal: News You Need No Comments

More Reasons to Love Color

We all know the value of color images in your marketing mix, but what about the messaging? Study after study shows that when messages are in color, they have a powerful impact on your bottom line. Among the benefits:

  • Helping readers find information more easily (great for insurance policies, contracts, and other lengthy documents)
  • Reducing errors (highlight instructions or account information so people get it right the first time)
  • Slashing payment time (highlight the amount owed and the due date and watch your invoices get paid faster)
  • Increasing the ability of readers to understand and retain information (great for sales presentations)
  • Increased recall of the marketing message (great for everything)

Next time you want to draw your readers’ attention to a specific area of text, consider using color. Make phone numbers or payment information stand out. Highlight discounts in brightly colored starbursts. Use arrows or colored bullets to focus attention on key points in brochures.

Take the example of the State of California Franchise Tax Board (FTB). The FTB used to send out plain tax notices, but the documents were confusing and the FTB consistently experienced slow payments and high volumes to its call centers. So it added highlight color and personalized messaging. Key information was displayed in blue, guiding taxpayers through the document and providing specific instructions. The result? Faster payments and fewer mistakes. This translated into millions in additional interest income and, at an average cost of $15 per call to the call center, significant savings from reduced call volume.

Color matters—not just in your graphics, but in your messaging. Let us help you use color to make you money and save you money, too!

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Tuesday, September 8th, 2015 Going Postal: News You Need No Comments

Better Copy Gets Better Results

When writing marketing copy for your direct mail, email, and other marketing communications, do you focus on features and benefits? If so, you might want to think again. Increasingly, marketers are using emotional and psychological triggers instead.

One of the gurus of marketing copywriting is Denny Hatch. In his e-book “Secrets of Emotional, Hot-Button Copywriting,” he looks at seven triggers that tip readers over the edge and get them to act. These are fear, greed, guilt, anger, exclusivity, salvation, and flattery.

Let’s look at five of them more closely.

  • Fear is often used to sell insurance products. “What happens if there is a disaster? Will your family be protected?”
  • Anger is a powerful tool in fundraising. “How can millions of children go hungry in right here in America? Isn’t anyone doing anything about it?”
  • Guilt is a powerful motivator for selling to busy moms. “Don’t have time to cook dinner for your family? Our frozen dinners taste so much like homemade your kids will never know!”
  • Exclusivity is staple in selling to affluent consumers. “Become a Platinum member and enjoy exclusive benefits, including our prestigious ‘After Hours’ party on the aquarium grounds!”
  • Flattery appeals to those feeling they are missing out on the good life. “Treat yourself! Don’t you deserve the best?”

These seven emotional hot buttons appeal to a wide variety of consumers and can motivate even the most reticent to pull the trigger. Sprinkle them throughout your marketing copy and watch the results pour in.

 

 

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Tuesday, August 18th, 2015 Going Postal: News You Need No Comments

Promote Your Brand by Promoting Your Customers

Everyone wants to be appreciated, especially customers. Why not try using simple print and email techniques to recognize your customers publicly? By doing so, you can reinforce their loyalty, promote your brand, and encourage them spread your message virally.

There are lots of ways to recognize your customers. You can print a large-format display for your customer entrance area. You can profile them in your print and email newsletters. You can mention them in your social media marketing. While you are talking about what makes your customers great, you can weave in your corporate and product story, too.

Recognize customers for things like . . .

  • Business successes (case studies)
  • Industry awards and accolades
  • Most creative use of your product
  • Longevity as a customer
  • Customer anniversaries

Consider creating a video to include in your email newsletter. It doesn’t need to be a professional production. A simple customer testimonial or product demonstration recorded on a smartphone works fine.

Don’t shy away from being edgy and humorous. Create a contest for the funniest ways to use your product. Some manufacturers of adventure gear, such as performance socks, are known for encouraging customers to share pictures of the craziest and most extreme places they’ve worn their socks. Encourage customers to send in pictures or videos that you can use to promote them, and by extension, your company. When you promote your customers, they will share out their notoriety with their friends, family, and colleagues, spreading your brand at the same time.

Need ideas for saying “thank you” and promoting your customers? Give us a call.

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Monday, August 10th, 2015 Going Postal: News You Need No Comments

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