Mailing

Good QR Code, Bad QR Code

QR Codes have been called the marketing tool that marketers love to hate. Why? Because so many seem to provide absolutely no value.

Perhaps you scan a QR Code and it doesn’t go anywhere at all. Perhaps you get an error or the page to which the code points doesn’t exist. Perhaps you see a QR Code on a product you are interested in, so you scan the code and end up at a manufacturer’s non-mobile website where you get lost in a maze of links so dense that you forget why you went there in the first place.

Does this mean that QR Codes are a waste of time? No. It means not enough thought was put into creating them.

When you are thinking about creating a QR Code, the first thing you should do is ask yourself, “What purpose do I want this code to serve? What do I want the person scanning it to get out of it?” If you don’t have a good answer, wait until you do.

A great example of QR Code use is Best Buy. When you enter a Best Buy store, all of the products have QR Codes. When scanned, the codes take you to products specs, customer reviews, and other information not available on the shelf talkers or product packaging that will help them make a purchase decision. The QR Code puts the information in the customer’s hands at the very time that they need it — as they are making the decision. That’s a QR Code used well.

Contrast that with a QR Code placed on a lawnmower that takes you to the manufacturer’s corporate site. Or a QR Code on a “house for sale” sign that takes you to the realtor’s entire inventory. Those are QR Codes used poorly. It’s not the QR Code that’s the problem. It’s the lack of thought behind it.

When creating QR Codes, think about the end use!

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Effective Communication Breeds Customer Loyalty

If your company has high levels of customer satisfaction, they are likely to remain loyal, right? Wrong.

In a recent customer satisfaction study of 10 major industries, an average of 72% of respondents indicated that they were highly satisfied with the products or services received. Yet 88% of the customers surveyed said that they were willing to switch providers for any reason!

Many of your competitors likely offer a quality product and service with prices and delivery standards that are similar to yours. In this fiercely competitive environment, how can you continuously attract and win new customers while fostering loyalty among your current ones?

All things being equal, your customers will naturally go where they consistently feel well treated and appreciated.

You care about your clients, but what matters to them is how you show it. Demonstrating their value to you requires more than quality service and good prices. It requires strategic planning. It requires ongoing attentiveness and creativity in the quality of your communication.

Direct mail is often viewed as a way of winning new customers, but its effectiveness as a customer loyalty tool should not be overlooked. It is powerful, relevant, and has a tangible cost. Sending direct mail (especially personalized mail) says to your customers, “You are worth the effort.”

Consider settting up a series of “nurturing” mailers throughout the year. Make it a continuous client contact program that will demonstrate at regular, pre-planned intervals that you are sincerely are grateful for their business and care about their relationship with you.

Use the data you’ve collected to communicate, cross-sell, educate, survey and grow your relationship with these customers. Offer useful tips, and send newsletters, press releases, case studies, company brochures and timely incentives that remind clients of your commitment to service, value, quality, innovation, and loyalty.

Direct mail isn’t just for customer acquisition marketing anymore. It is a critical part of effective customer retention efforts too.

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Friday, January 10th, 2014 Going Postal: News You Need No Comments

The Zip Code Turns 50!

It took an ad campaign to sell Americans on its value

From Time.com – By Josh Sanburn @joshsanburnJuly 01, 20130

1963 was a momentous year in America: President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington and, somewhat less heralded by all but the most fervent postal historians, the ZIP code was introduced.

Since its founding in 1775, the post office relied on hand sorting based on local addresses to get mail where it was supposed to go. A piece of mail often went through 10 postal workers before making it to its recipient. But by the 1940s, the then-named Post Office Department realized its sorting system was not keeping pace with the growing population of the country it served.

In 1943, as a way to streamline mail sorting for the biggest American cities, the post office began placing one and two digit numbers between the city and the state to help clerks wade through the increasing volume of mail, which was then around 20 million pieces per year.

By the early 1960s, the post-war population boom and continued western growth led to even greater use of the postal service. Mail volume doubled between 1943 and 1962, putting further pressure on the post office to sort mail efficiently. On July 1, 1963, on the recommendation of an internal advisory board, the post office introduced the Zone Improvement Plan Code, which divided the entire country into coded delivery areas. The first two or three numbers told carriers to which states mail was being sent. More populous regions like New York were given five digit numbers starting with 10-14, for example, whereas less populous areas like Montana received five-digit numbers. These new ZIP codes helped the post office better pinpoint where mail was headed while allowing it to expand machine-based sorting systems that could quickly read digits. But many Americans were reluctant to adopt the new system.

“People were concerned they were being turned into numbers,” says Jennifer Lynch, a U.S. Postal Service historian. “They thought it was depersonalizing them.”

To get people on board, the post office began an extensive marketing campaign centered around Mr. ZIP, a friendly looking cartoon mail carrier. A folk group called The Swingin’ Six sang about ZIP Code usage in a lengthy public service announcement video. “Put ZIP in your mail” ran in magazines across the country, including TIME, while a series of short TV ads showed postal workers drowning in a sea of letters and used slogans like “Only you can put ZIP in your postal system.”

Evidently the ads were persuasive. In 1966, three years after ZIP Codes were introduced, 50% of Americans said they used ZIP Codes. By 1969, 83% said they did, according to a 1969 study conducted by Roper Research Associates.

In 1983, the post office expanded the ZIP Code to nine digits to identify which side of the street the mail was being delivered to, as well as particular office buildings. Today, ZIP codes are translated into “automation-readable barcodes” that are placed on pieces of mail when sorted and contain 31 digits of information that tell the post office everything from whether it was presorted, if the mail is first-class or a periodical, and even which business sent it. It also allows the U.S.P.S. to track virtually every letter and package around the country.

The post office estimates that increased efficiencies for both large mailers and the postal service itself add almost $10 billion of value to the U.S. economy a year.

Today, 50 years after the ZIP code debuted, the postal service’s Office of the Inspector General is recommending that they be linked to digital geographic information systems based on latitude and longitude to further increase delivery accuracy. This time, however, Mr. ZIP will stay in retirement.

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Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013 Going Postal: News You Need No Comments

Making Drip Marketing Work for You

One of the topics we are hearing a lot about these days is drip marketing. Drip marketing is the practice of conveying your message by sending gentle marketing touches over time rather than trying to hit your customers or prospects with a single offer all at once. Especially when paired with cross-media marketing, the results can knock it out of the park.
Here’s how it works.

One marketer wanted to increase sales to affluent customers, so working closely with its print production and marketing partners, it devised a three-step, cross-channel marketing campaign that would build name recognition, develop trust, and bring in sales.

In its first phase, the company sent an eye-catching, high-gloss trifold mailer that would grab attention inside the mailbox. Once recipients opened the mailer, they were greeted with name personalization, highly relevant text, and a personalized URL that allowed them to enter an email address and download a free, high-value white paper, as well as fill out an optional survey giving the marketer more insight into their individual needs.

The second mailing went only to people who did not respond to the first. This phase capitalized upon the name recognition built by the initial contact, but the styling of the mailer was tweaked to differentiate the two. Like the first mailing, the piece included a personalized URL that allowed recipients to download a white paper and fill out an optional survey.

After the second mailing, the marketer was swamped with responses — so much so that the third mailing was delayed for several weeks so that the response team could keep up.

In the third phase, the names of those who responded to the first two mailings were removed from the list. For this mailer, the marketer used an invitation-style A7 envelope with full-color brochure insert, personalized note, and personalized URL. To sweeten the pot, respondents were offered the chance to win a sporting package or high-end coffee brewing system.

The results? The company exceeded its sales goals by 400% and achieved more than 1400% ROI!
What made this program such a success? This marketer understood that, especially when mailing to a new list and prospect base, sometimes it takes more than one contact to build name recognition and trust. Each piece builds upon the next, and in the end, you gain results not possible with a single marketing touch.
Want to tap into the power of drip marketing to reach new customers and cross-sell to existing ones? Give us call, 215.464.0111 OR EMAIL LFormica@fmidm.com.

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Keeping Great Customers On Board

You’ve sent out a terrific marketing campaign. You’ve received a superb response. You’ve converted prospects to buyers. Now what?
“What do you mean?” you ask.
After all, you got the sale. Customers love you. As long as you continue to provide good products, reasonable prices, and great customer service, they’ll stay your customers as long as you don’t mess things up.
That might sound reasonable, but in today’s competitive world, it doesn’t work that way. You’ve worked hard to get that customer, but just like any relationship, you have to put in effort to make it last.
Think about your car. You can’t just fill it with gas once a week and expect to keep it for 100,000 miles. You need to change the oil. Do routine maintenance. Otherwise, you’ll seize the engine or have to dump in thousands of dollars to fix problems that could have been prevented. Likewise, customers need attention and care if you want to keep them over the long haul. We might call this “customer after-care.”
This is one of the areas where 1:1 print communications can make a huge difference. There are some simple ways to keep customers happy, keep them engaged, and retain them over the long term.
Here are some ideas.
• Customer newsletters. Tell customer stories. Talk about new products. Provide insight they wouldn’t otherwise have access to. Speak to them by name and customize the content to be more relevant to their individual needs.
• Customer satisfaction surveys. Ask them how you are doing. It’s a great way to let people know you value their business. Use personalized URLs to make this easy and append the data back into your marketing database automatically.
• Personalized notes and cards. Do you know your customers’ birthdays? How about the date they first became customers? Send them personalized notes and cards as a way to let them know you care.
• Tips & tricks postcards. Once in a while, offer some free advice. If you’re a landscaping company, you might suggest the easiest care perennials for the upcoming season. If you’re a real estate office, you might suggest the best neutral colors for resale.
• Coupons & freebies. Send a coupon for a discount or a freebie “just because.” It continually re-engages your customers and helps them see the value in their relationship with you.
Client retention is critical to your bottom-line success. Be a company that does this well, and you’ll reap the benefits of great brand recognition and long-term customer relationships.

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Wednesday, January 9th, 2013 Going Postal: News You Need No Comments

Save 2% on postage March thru April with QR codes

What’s Your Print-to-Mobile Strategy?
In today’s world of print marketing, multi-channel communications are a critical component of success. Taking your marketing message across multiple channels helps you cut through the marketing clutter in your customers’ lives and reinforce your message over time. If you aren’t already, it’s time to pay attention to mobile.

That’s why the post office is offering a 2% discount on direct mail pieces that use a QR code that drives readers to a click to call mobile page or a mobile coupon. The sales runs March 1 thru April 30.

Let’s look at some recent data that shows just how important mobile has become in the lives of even print-loving consumers.
• Smartphones are in the hands of 53% of U.S. mobile phone owners. (Pew Internet & American Life Project November 2012)
• One-third of adults are now mobile-only. They have no landline in their homes at all. (National Health CDC/NCHS National Health Survey 2011)
• Nearly two-thirds (61%) of consumers access the Internet via smartphone. (Accenture 2012)
• 51.1% of mobile users check their email using only a mobile device, 45.3% say they conduct mobile-only Internet searches, and 42.3% connect with friends on Facebook without ever using a PC or laptop. (Prosper Mobile Insights 2012)
• Four out of five smartphone owners use their phones to shop. (comScore MobiLens 2012)

If you are not integrating mobile into your overall print marketing strategy, it’s time to start!

Today’s consumers live on their mobile phones. It’s important to add mobile calls to action to your printed pieces, and QR Codes are the easiest way to do that. For more details on the upcoming postal sales, visit https://ribbs.usps.gov/index.cfm?page=mobilebarcode.

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Friday, January 4th, 2013 Going Postal: News You Need No Comments

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