direct_mail_strategies

Increasing the Longevity of Your Small Business with Direct Mail Services

If you are a small business owner, you know that it is do-or-die to reach your customers with resonating dialogue. The main reason why small businesses fail to accomplish this is due to a poor marketing strategy. Even though we live in a highly digital age, direct mail allows businesses to bypass spam folders and get a piece of copy in the consumer’s hands.

The Effectiveness of Direct Mail

According to a Compu-Mail article called “25 Direct Marketing Statistics Prove Direct Mail Works,” 56% of customers find print marketing to be the most trustworthy type of marketing. This is due to the fact that direct mail offers small businesses the ability to get more personal with their message. This makes the customer feel less like a name on a list and more like a valued individual whose needs want to be met by your brand. Moreover, many recognize that it takes more effort to personalize a physical piece of copy rather than an email. With 70% of Americans saying mail is more personal than the internet, it may be time to consider using direct mail to reach your customers in a more meaningful way.

What Kinds of Copy Should You Send?

There are many things you can send to customers to ensure that your business stays top of mind. You can send postcards, coupons, brochures, catalogs, and other sorts of promotional materials. When trying to draft a design of your copy, you should be mindful of three things: eye-catching visuals, a strong message, and a clear action. All of these aspects need to then be tied together in a way that is personal for the customer. Without that key aspect, your copy will not have the glue to stay together when it gets into someone hands, and will most likely fall on deaf ears.

Who Should You Target?

The old method of mailing to as many people as you possibly can in the hope someone finds interest in your brand is just not feasible. This is especially wasteful for marketing budgets. The best way is to build customer profiles by figuring out who would be your ideal customer. From there you need to learn as much as you can about this customer like their age, demographic, and shopping habits. Of course, this will require more work if you are trying to target a whole new group of people that have not heard of your brand. You should also be targeting your current customers, for it is much easier to maintain current customers that have than it is to get new ones.

Start Your First Direct Mail Campaign

Direct mail is still an effective method for reaching your customer base. With highly personalized messaging complimented by stunning visuals, you can improve customer engagement and response with your marketing campaign. Take advantage of the direct mail’s versatility by sending different kinds of copy. Start physically connecting with your ideal customer with One Stop Mail, and begin breaking down the digital barrier that separates your brand from reaching eager ears.

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Two Easy Ways for NonProfits to Save Money with A Direct Mail Campaign

Although smaller nonprofit organizations have to initiate campaigns with smaller budgets, there are still many strategies that can be used to ensure optimal success. We will be discussing two strategies to help make a smaller budget achieve more. These strategies include unbranding and print planning, which will allow you to get the most bang for your buck with your next direct mail marketing campaign.

Stripping Away the Branding Fluff

Sprinkling company plugs throughout your marketing materials has become second nature. However, this can be detrimental to the campaign’s success because people are hyper-aware when they encounter a marketing message. In “Pull the Plug The Value of Unbranded Content,” they say that if the target consumer does read on, they do so with a filter. They know that whatever they read next is subjective and is meant to be persuasive. This can affect your results, and lead to a campaign with undesirable data, diminishing your ROI.

To keep this from happening with your target audience, you can strip away all marketing identification. According to Joe Boland’s article “20 Big Ideas for Small Nonprofits,” the Southern Environmental Law Center tried sending their materials in a blank envelope with just the recipient’s information. This proved to be an effective strategy and allowed them to keep their costs down.  

Print Everything All At Once  

Many companies overlook the benefits of printing as many things as they can at the same time. For example, in a Melissa Data article entitled “7 Tips for Saving Money on Your Next Direct Mail Campaign,” they suggested that if you are running printing multiple versions of a four-color brochure, you can save costs by using the same press sheet. Just make sure to be as detailed as possible when you send out your project for a quote. This will allow your printer to plan accordingly, which will help cut down on the number of plate changes and make-readies.

Now, to put your potential savings into perspective, let’s take a look at some numbers. In Joe Boland’s article, he  cited a real life example that details how much money a client ended up saving. The client had two acquisition mailings of 25,000 pieces. If they had printed them separately, they would have cost $7,198 each in comparison to $6,146 if they were printed together. That was an 8.7 percent decrease in cost per donor, from $81 to $74.

Repeat the Success Stories

Keep in mind that these two ideas are meant to reduce your direct mail costs. However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore the results. Always make sure to check your data against the costs of a campaign so you can better optimize your next initiative to reach your desired goals within your budget. If you are unsure how to approach your next direct mail campaign, consider working with One Stop Mail so you can write a new success story and overcome your financial limitations.  

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Data and Direct Mail: The Marketing Dynamic Duo

Direct mail remains as one of the most rewarding marketing assets available for anyone’s multichannel strategy. Marketers today now have better data to inform them on their target audience, allowing them to make their direct mail copy more impactful and well timed. This is why I am calling these two the dynamic duo, for they will be able to help you win the marketing battle with your direct mail campaign.

With Data Comes Deeper Personalization

 

Data tells us all the things we want to know about our target audience: their preferences, what they are most interested in, and where they are located. Rather than blasting out general direct mail pieces, you can now incorporate this data so that you can achieve deeper personalization and connect with people more meaningfully than ever before.  In fact, according to a JWT report, almost eight out of ten Millennials—the biggest segment of B-to-B buyers

—said print makes them feel more connected than digital.” Moreover, according to an Epsilon study, more than half of the US consumers prefer direct mail over email. It seems we have achieved a role reversal. Before, most mailboxes were cluttered, making it more difficult to stand out with direct mail. Now, as mail volume has declined and email has gone up, it has made it easier for someone to engage with a direct mail piece since it removes the delete button out of the equation.

 

Direct Mail Is More Likely to Get A Response

 

With consumer interest still high with direct mail, you can expect greater engagement with your materials as well as an increase in consumer response. Email is much easier to ignore than a piece of direct mail. Most of us would expect that people would just shred their unwanted mail or open it while standing over their kitchen trash bin. However, 70% to 80% of consumers actually open most of their mail,m including the stuff they would label as “junk.” according to a 2014 poll by the DMA. But the big kicker is how direct mail is able to transcend demographics, especially with younger people who you would assume respond significantly more to digital marketing campaigns over direct mail. On the contrary,  another study found that 92% of young shoppers prefer direct mail for making purchasing decisions. By informing your copy with data, you can give these shoppers the information they want to better influence their next purchase.

 

If you haven’t heard it enough before then here it is again—print is not dead. Though we are in an ever growing digital age, this has only allowed us to make our direct mail campaigns more effective. Take advantage of the data your team gathers, and use it to help you make more impactful print advertising materials for your next multi channel marketing campaign—  sharpening the spear tip for your direct mail.

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Direct Mail: A Dominating Force for Political Campaigns

 

 

Digital marketing is currently the hot ticket right now. Politicians on both sides have found their own creative ways of incorporating social media into their campaigns. However, direct mail still continues to be the main cornerstone of political campaigns. This is because direct mail is effective at micro-targeting voters and getting information in their hands.

Targeting By Age Groups

 

Although most social advertising can target by age groups, it doesn’t account for the 45 % of seniors that do not have internet service The only way to reach these voters is through direct mail. According to the DMA Statistical Fact Book for 2015, 42% of direct mail recipients either read or scan direct mail pieces. It also states that 14% of people 45-54 respond to direct mail, while everyone above the age of 54 sits at an average of 13.2%.

The older generations are not the only ones who have a high average of responding to direct mail. The Fact Book also found that people between the ages of 18-24 are more likely to respond to a direct mail piece with a rise from 4.1% in 2012 to 12.4% in 2013. But there is one statistic that affects every age group, and that is how much mail people are receiving. The average household receives 19.1 mail pieces each week. That is down from 24.7 in 2008. That means your pieces have a better chance of being noticed as people sift through the mail.

 

Getting it Into The Voter’s Hands

 

With non-physical methods of advertising, there is a digital barrier that the campaign message has to overcome. With direct mail, you can put the message you want right in the person’s hands. Television advertising has become more expensive, and more difficult at getting the message across to the campaign target voter base. Much of this stems from the rise in DVRs and internet video streams, which allow voters to fast forward through advertising, or not be served as often.

Politico shared a case study that shows how critical a direct mail is to a political campaign. According to their article, Walter Lukens, founder of The Lukens Co., whose clients include Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Tennessee GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander, used direct mail to compete against McConnell’s competition, Matt Bevin. The piece Politico used depicts Bevin on the front as a snake oil salesman which reads: “Genuine Bevin Brand Snake Oil: Behold the magical potion being spoon-fed to Kentucky Conservatives far and wide.” When you turn the piece over, the reader will see a picture of a bottle with “half-truths, resume inflation, and delusions of grandeur” listed as the ingredients. McConnell was successful at beating Bevin, winning by 25 points.

Any successful political campaign will incorporate direct mail. Relying only on digital assets will cause you to leave out crucial voter age groups, miss opportunities to get in front of your overall voter base, and force a campaign to fight with one arm tied behind its back. Even with the rise of digital marketing, it is clear that direct mail is not going anywhere anytime soon.   

 

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Building a Successful Direct Mail Campaign

Crafting a Successful Direct Mail Campaign

 

With a well-rounded understanding of the difference between branding and marketing, irresistible offers, and direct mail campaign tracking methods, any business can craft a successful marketing campaign. We will create a sample marketing campaign to show the benefits and ease of creation for even small business owners.

 

Branding or Marketing

 

Quality-Auto Used Cars is gearing up for an end of summer marketing campaign. They are purchasing many used vehicles and know they need to sell 200 vehicles during their upcoming weekend event. Jeff, the marketing specialist for the dealership, determines they need a marketing campaign due to their expectations of trackable results, not simply brand recognition for the dealership. With the understanding that getting people onto the car lot will require incentives, the dealership staff begins to brainstorm ideas.

 

Crafting an Irresistible Offer

 

A successful marketing campaign will have a strong core offering that attracts the ideal customer. The dealership staff discuss core offerings for some time and ultimately decide every attendee will receive a hot dog and soda during the “End of Summer Blowout BBQ”. All test drivers who purchase a vehicle will receive a $100 gas card, and 3 lucky winners will receive a BBQ smoker.

 

Implementing a Tracking Method

 

Quality-Auto Used Cars decides they will design the direct mail campaign postcard as cut-out tickets which can be used as food vouchers, and raffle prize entry tickets. This allows the dealership to track the turnout based on the amount of direct mail marketing postcards. The dealership will ask customers where they heard of the event during the sale process to ensure all vehicle sales resulting from the direct mail campaign are given due credit.

 

Contacting a Direct Mail Marketing Company

 

Jeff, the dealerships marketing specialist contacts Tony from One Stop Mail to get help with the direct mail marketing campaign. Tony suggests using One Stop Mail’s graphic design services to create a captivating illustration for the direct mail postcards. Once Jeff approves the final design, One Stop Mail uses Every Door Direct Mail, a USPS service, to deliver the postcard to all homes within a 5-mile radius of the dealership. One Stop Mail handles the difficult work and ensures the postcards are printed, sorted, and delivered at the local post office to be mailed by USPS.

 

Analyzing the Campaign

 

Now that the team at Quality-Auto Used cars completes their weekend long sale event, they can analyze the campaign see the benefit of direct mail marketing. Iterations are important in all forms of marketing. As a result, the dealership staff determines they want to run a second mail marketing campaign using variable data printing, to ensure all prospects who did not purchase a car, will receive a voucher for a free oil change and tire rotation with purchase of a vehicle. This remarketing allows the dealership to capture a greater percentage of consumers who showed an initial interest in a vehicle and attended the sale event, With variable data printing, the dealership was able to customize each letter sent, using the name of each person who test-drove a vehicle to add a personalized touch and increase the response rate.

 

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Direct Mail Tracking Methods

Often we judge an advertising campaign’s success by the amount of conversions, new customer acquisitions, or revenue. Without a definitive incentive or variety of tracking methods, it can be nearly impossible to tally the actual success of a campaign. Try to think of the last time a customer came into your business and without being asked gleefully said, “Hi! I just wanted to let you know I found you on Google or I came in because of ‘X’ marketing you did.” More than likely the experience is extremely rare if it has occurred. When tracking methods are implemented properly, the guesswork is eliminated and campaigns become more transparent through analytics.

Tracking Methods

The best use tracking methods will allow a company to understand the progress and success of an advertising campaign without reliance on the customer to take additional action.

Tracking Number

A tracking phone number can help understand conversion from cold prospect to a warm lead. With a dedicated tracking number, you can isolate the number of phone calls from one specific campaign. For example, Nick’s Pizza may use the tracking phone number (949) 555-5555 for his Direct Mail Marketing campaign only. The phone number (949) 777-7777 is used on a landing page tied to a Google AdWords campaign. Both phone numbers get forwarded to (949) 123-4567, the main line for Nick’s Pizza. Nick can use the dashboard provided by his tracking service, Call Rail, to see how many calls are coming into each line. Nick is able to identify that in a 30 day period his pizza shop derived 327 orders as a result of sending out 2,000 Direct Mail Postcards.

Coupon

Cut out coupons are a great way to manually track offer redemptions. Tom’s Automotive is offering $10 off an oil change and $20 off a synthetic oil change to new customers. In addition, there are many great offers like a coupon for a completely free electronic diagnostic, a $60 value. In order to redeem the offers, the customer must cut out and present the coupon at Tom’s Automotive. At the end of the promotion, Tom is able to tally how many redemptions were made in addition to the total revenue spent by those customers and average customer spend. Tom is able to determine that offering a significant discount on an oil change allowed him to bring in 41 new customers and those customers spent $193 on average.

Reference Code

Companies trying to generate leads with Direct Mail Postcards or Mailer Letters can find great success and lead handling efficiency when using reference codes. Student Solutions, a student loan debt relief agency, has purchased a database of 100,000 individuals who have graduated college and are delinquent on their student loans. Their IT team has uploaded all prospect information into their CRM and attached a unique reference code to each prospect. Student Solutions utilizes Variable Data Printing to print letters that have the first and last name of each recipient alongside their unique reference code. Having a personally addressed letter created a higher conversion rate. The reference codes provide the Student Solutions employees a simple and nonintrusive method to bring up the prospects information when they call in for assistance. New sales can be filtered by all reference codes with the prefix PJ36. The company determines that mailing out 100,000 postcards created 3,000 new customers and generated $700,000 in gross profit.

This article is part 3 of a 4 part series covering:

Branding or Marketing?
What Makes an Offer Irresistible?
Direct Mail Tracking Methods
Crafting a Successful Direct Mail Campaign

OSM_What_Is_A_Good_Offer

What Makes an Offer Irresistible?

A successful marketing campaign will be meticulously crafted from beginning through end to maximize conversions. The core foundation of creating a successful campaign begins with establishing an irresistible offer. Whether a lead magnet, tripwire or standard promotion is used, incentive’s will determine whether a prospect turns into a client. Understanding that not all promotions are created equal is paramount in crafting the perfect offer for your business.

Lead Magnet

The quid-pro-quo of marketing, a lead magnet requires the business provides a freebie in exchange for an opt-in or participation from the prospective customer. A few examples of irresistible lead magnets can include free product, a significant discount, product trial or giveaway.

Examples include:

  • Tony’s Pizza gives a voucher for an absolutely free personal pizza to new residents in the city.
  • AAA+ Automotive provides absolutely free basic diagnostic via an OBD Scanner to get people in his shop.
  • Grandview Timeshares provides a $100 restaurant gift card in exchange for participating in a presentation.
  • Sarah’s Insurance gives all prospects a $10.00 gas card for getting an insurance quote through her agency.

 

Tripwire

Creating a low barrier entry point for prospective clients is a great way to let consumers test a company’s products or services without having to commit to a large purchase. A tripwire aims to capture a greater amount of new customers by casting a wider net and luring them in with a low-cost offering. An example of this might be an HVAC business offering a cleaning and inspection for $49.00. This provides a service which may not be incredibly lucrative but allows the company to do business with the homeowner. As additional services are needed it becomes easier to sell the client higher priced items or services based on the established business relationship.

Examples of great tripwires include:

  • Perfect Auto & Mechanic is offering a $30.00 oil change and multi-point inspection where they hope to identify additional repair needs.
  • A’s Pizza & Brewery sells $2.00 slices during lunchtime to help increase familiarity with their dinner menu and ideally bring the whole family.
  • West Park Valley Dealership is offering a $300.00 ‘Sell Your Car’ detailing package which gets your vehicle to a pristine state. Their emphasis is to get people to test drive and buy vehicles since they know the detailing customers are looking to sell their vehicle.

 

Standard Promotion

A promotion can simply be a discounted percentage or variable offer and still produce a high conversion rate. Although standard promotions are most commonly seen in marketing, they are often poorly implemented. One of the most important aspects of a standard promotion is to include an urgency factor such as a time constraint for redemption.

Examples of standard promotions include:

  • Jeff’s Dog Grooming offers 15% off a bath and haircut service.
  • Golden Hair Salon is marketing a promotion that gives $10.00 off a cut and color.
  • Ray’s Tires is giving a 4th tire free when you purchase 3 at full price.

 

Not All Offers Are Created Equally

Keep in mind consumers are advertised constantly and in every aspect of life. Via cell phone apps, Facebook, Instagram, billboards, radio, TV, you name it. An offer has to really sizzle to make a consumer decide to purchase or opt-in. A great incentive will be the differentiating factor between you and your competition. If you own a lawn care business, you know that 95% of your customers will need to use you more than once, so it makes logical sense to offer a steeper initial discount in an effort to persuade the prospect to choose you over the competition. Here are offer incentives ranked from most to least effective.

 

Best

FREE – Everyone loves free. When Iron Strength Karate is gearing up for summer and back to school promotions they offer a completely free karate uniform. Dave, the owner, understands the initial investment eliminates the entry barrier for most families and is able to maintain most students as customers for years. Due to the

 

Good

Dollar Amount Off – Getting a set amount off a product or service is great. Consumers don’t have to guess or do the math to understand the savings and benefit. Customers will be more inclined to frequent your business versus competition and have increased loyalty if they feel you provide a good value.

 

Mediocre

Percent Off – We’ve all see discounts ranging from 5-75%+ off. Although consumers do redeem these offers, they’re often difficult to understand. Unless a buyer thoroughly knows your pricing beforehand, it’s tough to get an idea of true savings and often requires a calculation. This method makes it difficult for a consumer to understand the value. Additionally, many buyers feel that percentage discounts are played out and often feel prices are artificially inflated to give a false sense of savings.

 

Customer Value

Ultimately what you’re willing to spend or give in exchange to acquire a new customer will depend on what you are willing to invest to earn the client over your competition. It makes far more sense to invest in a new client upfront rather than having to win them over from the competition. The cost of a new customer with incentives factored in can actually have a higher customer value over customers acquired without incentives. Consumers see marketing promotions as a positive benefit and are much more likely to become loyal, repeat customers.

 

This article is part 1 of a 4 part series covering:

Branding or Marketing?

What Makes an Offer Irresistible?

Direct Mail Tracking Methods

Crafting a Successful Direct Mail Campaign

Branding_Marketing_One_Stop_Mail

Branding or Marketing?

Branding or Marketing?

 

Anytime you’re creating a new marketing campaign you find yourself asking a sleuth of questions. Will the objective of your campaign be to increase brand’s reach, acquire new customers, monetize your existing customer base or if you’re like most– are you unsure of what to expect? Understanding the difference and setting the correct expectations will infinitely improve mediocre advertising tactics and allow you to make the most of any campaign.

 

What’s the Objective?

 

If your marketing department functions like most, you’ve got an annual budget and department expectations that were established by upper management during the latter end of the previous year. We’re past the halfway mark and now the pressure is on, we need results. One of the most frequent questions we get is, what’s the difference between branding and marketing?

 

Brand Awareness – Think billboards. You’re driving on the freeway and see a catchy ad with cows telling you to eat more chicken. Some drivers familiar with the brand will get a laugh out of the billboard while others unfamiliar with the brand may connect the logo with a restaurant they see occasionally. The goal of this marketing method is to increase awareness and be visible to as many people as possible. Strictly defined sales goals are not to be expected of this method and more often than not, you won’t see strict tracking methods implemented with brand awareness campaigns.

 

Marketing – If the name doesn’t say it loud enough, direct action result based campaigns strive to provide a trackable increase in conversions. Whether the conversion metric is more newsletter signups or an X increase in new customers that translates into a Y increase in revenue, your campaign has set expectations and goals. Examples of these campaigns include coupons, limited time offers and opt-in campaigns.

 

Branding 

 

Increasing brand awareness may nearly impossible to correlate with monetization. For branding, reaching new, existing and potential customers is the objective. An example of an awareness through conversion cycle for a brand awareness campaign can look start with a direct mail postcard or billboard ad designed to peak your interest.

 

Fictitious pizza chain Chewy’s Pizza has been experiencing a slump in sales for nearly a decade. A focus group has revealed the brand’s image is struggling due to its low-quality pizza’s and sub-par taste. The pizza chain has decided to revamp its entire operation and will now use high-quality ingredients and focus on an artisan pizza rather than provide a bottom dollar product. The general perception of the brand needs to improve. Chewy’s Pizza runs radio ads, tv commercials and send postcard mailers to all homes within a 4-mile radius of a franchise in each market.

 

The advertisements emphasize a brand revitalization and commitment to top quality ingredients and taste. The messaging directs people to pizzamatters.com, a website the Chewy’s Pizza created to build value and modify existing perception of the brand. The company is monitoring campaign impact by keeping a close tab on the amount of unique and return visitors to the website. A conversion will be counted anytime an individual watches a video about the company’s new image or signs up for the mailing list.

 

Marketing

 

For many SMB’s it is crucial to understand if a marketing effort is profitable, has the potential to become profitable or perhaps it’s a complete wash. Direct action result based campaigns strive to provide a short customer monetization cycle with a trackable value tied to each conversion. The ideal way to track campaign effectiveness is to use a variety of calls-to-action and tracking methods that will simplify the how the results can be segmented.

 

Fictitious company Lazer manufactures computers and computer peripherals. The company has 50,000 addresses of previous customers but is having a difficult time engaging its fan base through emails and social media. Robert, Lazers sales director, has been tasked with spearheading a sale in an effort move stagnant inventory and make room for upcoming new products. The company decides to mail a scratch to win postcard to all previous customers. The direct mail marketing postcard offers vary with incentives ranging from 5%-50% discounts and a select few postcards have online-store gift cards or free item redemption codes.

 

The offer codes needed to redeem the incentives will allow Lazer to track how many customers redeemed offers, the campaign participants’ average spend if individuals purchased additional products and additional data to determine lifetime customer value and the potential for future monetization. Data shows Lazer that the campaign was able to provide a significant increase in revenue and was able to re-engage previous customers who had not made purchases in a long period of time.

 

Which Do I Use?

 

Although branding and marketing can function in tandem, it is important to understand the difference in order to craft a successful advertising campaign. If your goal is to spread the word far and wide, branding could be the best solution to your advertising woes. Marketing campaigns have the benefit of being incentive based and allow time constraints to increase urgency. Next week we will discuss the difference between good offer and a fantastic one.

 

 

This article is part 1 of a 4 part series covering:

Branding or Marketing?

What Makes an Offer Irresistible?

Direct Mail Tracking Methods

Crafting a Successful Direct Mail Campaign

Variable Data Printing Brings The Best Of Both Worlds To Direct Mail Marketing

Even though your direct mail marketing campaign may be offline, you can still benefit from the personalization of online marketing! After all, online shoppers and those who see most of their ads online are starting to become a bit spoiled. Nearly all the ads they see are custom-tailored for them, either in terms of the […]