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direct-mail-company

What to Look For in a Direct Mail Company: A Checklist

Top 3 Things Everyone Should Look For In A Direct Mail Company

 

Sifting through all of the direct mail marketing companies out there can be time-consuming. How do you determine if one is better than the other? Keeping these three key criterion top of mind will make sure that you can pick the best company that will meet your direct mail marketing needs.

 

They Have A Track Record of Success

 

This is a key indicator if a company is even worth pursuing. More often than not, you can usually see what sort of clients they have worked with in past on their website. Even if you do see them on their website, one of your first questions should be: what sort of clients have you worked with in the past and what results did you generate for them? This is the first hurdle that they must jump over successfully to garner your attention.

 

They are Reasonably Priced

 

Only you know what sort of budget you have to work with. That is why price should be one of the key things you ask up front. That way you aren’t surprised later down the road when you think you have found your ideal direct mail company.

 

You should also consider what you will be getting for your money. One of the things that One Stop Mail offers their customers is variable data printing, which is a cost-effective way to cater each direct mail piece to a specific individual. In this day and age, personalization is the name of the game. At the end of the day, you want to make sure your buck is going towards real results.

 

They Understand Your Needs

 

One of the simplest yet important things a direct mail company should do for you is to not only grasp your unique circumstance but also back up that understanding with a solution. The article entitled “What to Look for When Choosing a Direct Marketing Company,” sums this up perfectly with this quote: “They need to be willing to work with you to develop strategies, test them out, and make changes as needed in order to optimize them so that they can gain bigger, better sales for your business.” Your own situation will require “unique strategies,” so make sure that you are not only explaining everything clearly but they are taking in what you are saying.

 

Choose Wisely and Expect Fine Tuning

 

If you think you have found the best company for the job, don’t expect magic overnight. Direct mail marketing, and really, marketing in general, requires a bit of trial and error. Many people get uncomfortable with this because they don’t want their money to be wasted. But the fact of the matter is your money is not being wasted. It is being used to find the most successful areas to target so that you don’t get lukewarm results. The only way to do this is to test and analyze the data. If you have done your direct mail company research well enough, you should not have anything to worry about.

 

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Specialty Envelopes: Beyond Your Average #10

 

If you have ever had to send correspondence to someone or mail billing, then you are familiar with the #10 size envelope. To many, when someone says envelope, that is the first image that comes to mind. However, envelopes come in many different shapes and sizes. Each one has a specific purpose, allowing its shape and size to suggest its purpose. In this article, we will cover different envelope styles and how they can be put to use.

 

Outside of the #10 Envelope

So we already know everything about #10 envelopes, which is the most common used size of commercial envelopes. Businesses typically use these envelopes, and they range in size from #5, smallest, to #14, the largest. They are open sided, and may or may not contain a window on the front.

Then there is the A-Style. The “A” stands for “announcement.” They can come in two forms: either with a deep pointed flap or a shorter flat flap.They are usually used for special announcements, whether that be business related or more personal. They can also be used for photographs, small booklets, and greeting cards.

Another familiar envelope style is the catalog. It is the standard mailing envelope for important documents such as reports, folders, and contracts. If you are like me, when I hear Manila envelope, these are the kind of envelopes I think of. They are typically open on the short side of the envelope and may have a flexible piece of metal to hold the flap in place or a mount to tie it shut.

Similar to catalog but different in its own respects, the booklet style. These kinds of envelopes are typically used for magazines, catalogs, booklets, media kits, and other multi-page documents. They are open ended on the long side of the envelope and have some sort of sealant to close the flap.  

The final two envelope styles we will cover are remittance and donation. Remittance envelopes have large flats and are used to hold private information like credit card numbers or other private documents. Donation envelopes also referred to as offering, pew, or tithe envelopes, are a cheap way to collect donations. These are most prominently used by religious organizations and nonprofits and cannot be mailed.   

 

Direct Mail and Other Use Cases  

 

Marketers should carefully consider the envelope that will contain their marketing materials. After pouring over every detail of that document, you should not put it in something that is not equal in quality. As you can see, there are a lot of different options. Whether you want to attract attention by using a different style than the standard commercial envelope, or you want to spruce up a commercial envelope to stand out, One Stop Mail can put to use its own in-house envelope printer to fit your marketing needs.

The use of envelopes doesn’t stop there. Perhaps you are in real estate and need to send an important property notice that is time sensitive, or perhaps you own an auto care shop and want to make car drop offs more convenient for your customers. Envelopes have many other use cases outside of mail. With the ability to fully customize them to your needs, consider them as a solution to improve customer service, or increase the efficiency of how you handle day-to-day business.

 

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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

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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

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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 […]

More Possibilities In Digital Printing, Part 2

Welcome back!  This is Part 2 in our ongoing series exploring many of the lesser-used options in print-based marketing.  (You can find Part 1 here.)

Digital printing has revolutionized print marketing in many ways, as well as re-energizing some older forms of advertisements which had previously been seen as passe‘ thanks to the outdated technologies behind them.  However, with today’s digital print options, there’s a new world of options for reaching out through printed mediums.

So, we have some more ideas you might be able to employ to kickstart your local marketing campaigns.

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Top Graphic Design Trends of 2015

Is your graphic design style with the times?

Trends in advertising and design are changing even more quickly than ever before, “thanks” to the digital revolution and the rapid spread of new design paradigms across the world.  Everyone is fighting to stand out on store shelves and in mailboxes, which means there’s a near-constant evolution of design ideas.

If you’re still using marketing materials from a couple years ago, you will almost certainly see a major boost in interest if you update them to more modern styles.  And if your competition hasn’t updated theirs, your materials will definitely stand out among all the rest.

So, we wanted to highlight some of the major design trends that became prominent in 2015.  These are the directions you should be looking with your art design in the months to come.

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