Archive for the ‘Direct Mail’ Category

Trade Show Marketing Tips

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

Trade shows can be one of the most effective and efficient lead generation tools for businesses, but they can be costly too. From design and print of the display and marketing items, the investment can be thousands. And if it’s out of town, even more. Now’s the time to start planning on how to maximize your investment.

Trade show

Get the most out of trade show marketing

Take advantage of the entire experience of the trade show attendee to build awareness, and fill your pipeline. Here are a few tips:

Before the show

  • Months before, strategize on the entire process from the attendee’s perspective. Put yourselves in their shoes and consider what they’re doing, thinking, wishing for and experiencing days before the show, during the show, and perhaps most importantly, after the show. Call a prospect or client and ask for their feedback to get really great data points.
  • How will you grow your list, and generate leads and sales by exhibiting at this trade show? Research sponsorship opportunities to the show in exchange for a list of attendees.
  • If you’re sponsoring, be prepared to receive the list only weeks – sometimes only days – before the show. Ask about timing, and plan to send a postcard or email to generate pre-show sales and excitement.  Add an offer to make reaching out or visiting your booth compelling.
  • Know what your post-show follow up will be so execution can be seamless and timely.
  • During the show

  • Capture interested prospects info. If you have multiple products/services, have them specify what they may be interested in.
  • Have plenty of options for takeaways based on the level of interest and/or quality of lead.
  • If you have a list of attendee’s, consider same day promotions using a text messaging service to draw more folks to your booth.
  • After the show

  • Follow up within 5 days. Remember, good leads can go cold fast. Make sure your follow up includes a few touch points to remind those who may have been swamped with to-do’s when they returned.
  • If sponsoring, ask for a complete attendee list, and plan one more touch point for those you have not gotten response from.
  • Build your list so you can continue to communicate with prospects in the future.
  • Track the results.  Is it worth it to invest in the show again?
  • Maximize your trade show ROI with a well thought out plan to attract, capture and follow up.

    Donuts and Paper Stocks – A Tasty Guide

    Tuesday, April 12th, 2016
    Paper and donuts image

    Click to download some tasty tidbits for printing success

    Why paper and donuts? Paper – just like donuts – comes in a wide variety of sizes, styles & coatings. Understanding the terminology of paper and how different types perform on press, leads to a deeply satisfying end result. Just like eating a donut!

     

    Grab your favorite sweet treat, and download our tasty and concise guide to learning about paper, and let’s get started!

    Write Like a Marketer

    Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

    Just about anyone can write. But writing – and writing for marketing – are two very different things. If you’re looking to sharpen your writing skills to attract and retain customers or clients, read on!

    Typewriter

    Anyone can write, right?


    Top 10 Writing Tips for Marketing

    1. Ditch the formality. Write like you speak so your market can relate to you. Enough said.

    2. BUT, pay attention to grammar and spelling. PLS don’t write like YR 12 year old niece TXTS.  Always run spell check, and have a colleague check for grammar, proper context and meaning.

    3. Avoid the “Paradigm Shift”. All it takes is one reference to buzz words like “Bleeding edge technology” or “value-driven mandates”, and people tune out. Use language anyone can understand. If your mom doesn’t know what your organization’s paradigm shift is, don’t use it.

    4. Know your target market and write to them. Give them what they need to know when they need it. For example, you’re creating an ad campaign that introduces your company to your target audience. Highlight the main value your clients or customers gain from your products or services. At this point in the buying cycle, they need to know what’s in it for them. Your company history doesn’t matter to them just yet.

    5. Know how long your content should be. As a rule of thumb, blog posts should be 1,500 words if search ranking and social sharing is a goal.  If not, shorter is fine – especially if you don’t have enough powerful content.  Email subject lines should be 50 characters or LESS.  A line of text should be no longer than 12 words. A paragraph should be no more than 4 lines. A Facebook post should be 100-140 characters (not words). Tweets (if you’re looking for re-tweets) should be 120-130 characters.

    6. Tell your story. Share your passion – it’s what sets you apart. You may provide accounting services, but so does every CPA. Tell WHY you love maximizing your clients’ income. It will energize you, and your audience will feel it.

    7. Brevity trumps long-winded. Take out any filler and fluff. Every word needs to add meaning for your reader. Attention spans are getting shorter. The number of smart phones used to consume content is increasing. Keep that in mind.

    8. For headlines, create curiosity and use lively words. But remember to Keep it Super Short (KISS).

    9. For blog posts, consistency is key. Don’t post twice a month then abandon your blog for 3 months, only to pick up again 4 months later. Respect your readers time and be concise in your thought. Use bullet points or lists to organize information. Same applies for email marketing.

    10. Have one clear and compelling call to action. Everyone is distracted and busy. Your content needs to generate an activity. A generic call to action like “Contact us” will not inspire action. “Click today to receive a free sample” is so much better. Get clear on what you want your market to do. Including a deadline helps!

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    Built-In Marketing Ideas for 2016

    Thursday, January 28th, 2016







    Have Fun today!

    It's Fun at Work Day today!

    Happy “Fun at Work Day”!

     

    Did you know that today – January 28th – is National Fun at Work Day? If that sounds like another bogus reason to make the day special, consider this… according to Dave Hemseth and Leslie Yerkes, the authors of 301 Ways to Have Fun at Work state “Organizations that integrate fun into work have lower levels of absenteeism, greater job satisfaction, increased productivity, and less downtime.”

    Not only is Having Fun at Work important to organizations’ success, noting the day is a great (and fun) way to stay top of mind. Showcase your culture on social channels; tell your clients a funny joke; send a goofy promo item to prospects – the possibilities are endless.

    Every business needs to create and execute a marketing strategy throughout the year, so why not work with built-in dates and awareness issues? 2016 is filled with unique and noteworthy reasons to reach out to your market to build awareness and celebrate. Download our guide with a full year of dates, tips and marketing topics broken down by month.

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    Every Personalized Marketing Campaign MUST BEGIN with Accurate Data

    Thursday, April 16th, 2015







    Personalized marketing is proving to be really effective. In fact, In a study of 650 multi-channel marketing campaigns, personalized campaigns consistently and overwhelmingly beat out static campaigns in generating a high response rate from recipients. (Source: MindFire).

    Data is at the heart of all personalized marketing – whether print or online. While personalized marketing is proving to be incredibly effective, it can also be quite a risky move for marketers.  All it takes is one column in your Excel sheet to get bumped up or down, and you’re sending out a potential disaster for your brand and offer.
    Great Personalized Marketing Begins with ACCURATE DataLet me give you an example… the other day, I received a beautiful, glossy full color mail piece that personalized a romantic gift – created just for me and my true love. The direct mail piece features a personalized, heart shaped, Swarovski crystal-studded necklace with “Liz” engraved on one side of the heart with my birthstone, and “Alec” on the other, with his.  It’s a spectacular example of how data and creative can integrate seamlessly into a one-of-a kind printed piece. Unfortunately, this piece got my attention all the wrong reasons… Alec is my son, not my husband. WHOOPS!

    They key to success is to begin with data sourced responsibly. Even if you’re using in house data, following a solid set of quality control processes can help you steer clear of potential disasters.

    So, how can you reap the amazing benefits of personalized marketing while avoiding the blunders of bad data?

    Sarah Bender, of New Loyalty USA, Inc., a direct mail and fulfillment company, shares a few ways that data mistakes can happen, and offers a few tips on how to prevent it.”These types of mistakes usually happen for two reasons: 1. Excel spreadsheets are often sorted, and the person doing it accidentally highlights the spreadsheet incorrectly and the columns get out of sync – thus the variable data becomes “off”.  2. The merged and printed pieces are not being quality checked thoroughly for accuracy.

    A good rule of thumb is to SAVE the original data file. Only sort from a copy of the original. When the data is merged and printed with the variables applied, do a random quality check of at least 20-30 pieces against the original unsorted list.  Have your IT department check the Q/C samples as well, have them verify that the variable data fields match back to the original list provided.  This is critical since they could have imported the data into Excel and inadvertently merged it incorrectly – providing your digital print and/or press operators with incorrect variable data in the first place.”

    If you’d like more tips on how to keep your list in top shape, read tips on building and maintaining a high quality list.

    Let us know if you’ve found this information helpful.

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    Why Direct Mail Fails, and How to Fix It!

    Wednesday, June 25th, 2014







    Direct Mail is still one of the most highly effective marketing channels available to businesses, but it’s also one of the most misunderstood.  It’s complex and costly, and as a result, businesses tend to shy away from it either because of a bad past experience, or the fear of the unknown.  Direct mail can work for almost any business, and it doesn’t have to fail!  The key to success is in understanding this powerful channel’s strengths and weaknesses, so you can determine if and how it fits into your strategic marketing plan.  Some common direct mail fails we see often are:

    • Using a Bad List - Using an old list with obsolete contacts, or too general a list of names not targeted to your market is simply
      Why Direct Mail Fails, and How to Fix It

      Why Direct Mail Fails, and How to Fix It

      a waste of money.  Statistics show that personalized mail nets a higher ROI, but if you’ve ever received a piece with your name mis-spelled, or with someone else’s name, you know it’s actually worse than non-personalized mail.  In the world of direct mail marketing, a good, high quality list is – and always will be – King.  We feel it’s so critical to direct mail success, we created a separate post with tips on building and maintaining a high quality list.

    • Being Ordinary - Look through the mail you get now.  How much truly catches your interest. There’s so much you can do with size, folds, finishes, color and texture, that there’s really no reason to be boring. You’re brand is not ordinary or boring, so why on earth reflect that?
    • Not Knowing USPS Regulations and Options – There’s a lot of details involved in creating and sending a unique and successful direct mail campaign, which is why I think so much of what we all see in our mailboxes is boring. Consult an expert on how to make your mail stand out and get noticed while remaining deliverable for your budget. There are also a few unique products that the USPS offers, including the Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) service that can dramatically save businesses money.  Again, work with an expert that can provide guidance and help you plan.
    • No Clear & Measurable Call to Action – so many times, we receive direct mail pieces that simply ask the recipient to “contact us” or “give us a call”. People are so busy and distracted these days, you need to give them a super clear and strong call to action that includes a deadline, or they’ll set it aside and forget about it.  Consider this: about 40 years ago, the average person was exposed to 500 messages per day.  Today, it’s close to 5,000, so being clear and succinct is crucial now more than ever.  Add an offer code or train your staff to ask the question “How did you hear about us/this offer” when they call, and keep a record of the response you get.
    • No Clear Definition of Success – Knowing specifically what success looks like is critical to determining how to make adjustments going forward. Define success in specifics like: “We’d like to receive 50 calls for more information on our new service line in the next 2 months”.  Keep in mind, that on average, the response rate to direct mail is anywhere between 1- 4%. You want to make sure your definition of success is attainable, so work with a direct mail professional if you need help defining success for you.
    • One & Done - Only sending a mailing one time is such a common error we see.  Direct mail can be extremely effective, but you need to commit to more than one mailing.  Be consistent and constant and your market will realize you’re here to help them, and provide value to their lives or business. Use feedback you gather from your mailings throughout the campaign and tweak as needed.

    RAD Graphics is a tactical marketing firm that helps businesses grow by creating, producing and delivering award-winning pieces and campaigns through a variety of marketing channels, including direct mail. For a free consultation, please call 216-371-3003.

     

    Want Direct Mail to Work? Fix Your List!

    Friday, April 25th, 2014







    In the world of direct mail marketing, messaging, graphics and tactile elements are important… we think of them as the Queen of the campaign. But a good, high quality list is – and always will be – King.

    Your list rules when it comes to direct mail

    A good list is critical for direct mail success

    Why is the mailing list so important?

    Your campaign may include the most compelling offer, or incorporate unbelievably cool creative, but if it goes to the wrong group of people, or it’s deemed undeliverable by the USPS, it’s a total waste of valuable marketing resources.

    Do your direct mail marketing efforts a service and treat your list like royalty. It will return the favor by increasing your organization’s direct marketing efforts effectiveness for years to come. Here are a few tips:

    • Check for incorrect information. Mis-spelled names and incorrect personal titles (Mr. vs. Mrs.) are a common issue with lists. Have you ever received a nice personalized direct mail piece that “talked” to you on a first name basis and made you feel special?  Personalized mail is proven to be more effective than non-personalized, but if you’ve got a mis-spelled name or incorrect personal title, it’s worse than receiving non-personalized mail… hands down!
    • Keep your database information consistent. Always, ALWAYS put the information in the proper columns of your spreadsheet. “First name” in the first name column, “Last name” in the last name column, etc. ALWAYS (sorry, but this bears repeating!) Mail merges and personalization of content will only work if this is correct. Placing your data consistently in the correct columns is also a simple way to identify and remove duplicate names on your list, or to see what information you might be missing. If you are gathering more data about your customers like birthdays, preferences, buying habits, etc., just create additional columns. Whether you use it or not it will give you the ability to harness this info and provide truly customized marketing campaigns both in print and email. 
    • Check for moves. Businesses, families, and plenty of individuals move all the time. Running your list against the USPS National Move database to ensure higher mailing deliverability. It won’t eliminate all undeliverable mail, but odds are good if 5% get rejected after a good cleaning, you would have likely seen 10% rejection without it. Work with a direct mail professional to get this service done.
    • Purchase lists wisely. If you don’t have a list or want to grow your existing list quickly, purchasing names is the way to go.  But here’s where quality is critical, so work with a professional marketing service provider like RAD Graphics to ensure you’re getting good high quality information. Demographics can be provided to generate a list, or predictive modeling can be used on an existing list to find prospects just like the qualified names that already exist on your list. Have names but no emails? Phone numbers and emails can be added to any existing list for integrated marketing efforts.

    RAD Graphics is a tactical marketing firm that helps businesses grow by creating, producing and delivering award-winning pieces and campaigns through a variety of marketing channels, including direct mail. For a free consultation, please call 216-371-3003.

    What’s Not to Love About Every Door Direct Mail?

    Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

    Direct mail is still the perfect complement to ALL other media channels, making it a great vehicle multi-channel marketing. It is measurable – giving marketers data to gauge its success, and information to improve future projects, and consumers still like to receive it. Think of it as a respectfully intrusive medium! Direct mail tends to linger around longer than other mediums, giving your brand more exposure. It’s also comprehensive. 90% of America goes to their mailbox daily. The US Postal Service (USPS) has 100% coverage of every business and residence in the country.

    And now, marketers and business owners have an even better, much more cost-effective way to deliver their marketing message in Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) program from the USPS.

    What is EDDM?

    You may have seen the catchy commercials about the US Postal Service’s program for EDDM. It was created to give business owners and marketers a more cost-effective way to reach their audience using direct mail. If your target audience or customer base is within close proximity to your location, EDDM could be a great solution for you!

    Why we love EDDM

    Cost savings on Postage: A typical direct mail campaign for a letter size (6” x 11” max dimension) mailed presort standard would cost an average of 23.5 cents per piece. EDDM postage per piece is 14.5 cents… that can make a significant dent in your marketing expenditures! On oversized pieces, EDDM ships as a flat so it can be up to 12” x 15” inches in size while still only a 14.5 cent postage cost per piece. Traditional presort standard costs of a flat is approximately 35 cents per piece. That’s a 20 cent per piece savings!

    Cost Savings on Production: No need to purchase a list: no need to inkjet address; no need to purchase a permit; no need to wafer seal. These are all hard costs that can be avoided with EDDM.

    Speed of Delivery: Once delivered to the local branches, EDDM mailings are delivered in 1-2 days. Traditional presort standard mailings can take between 3-9 working days and with all the financial challenges at the USPS, my gut tells me it will be closer to the latter half. So, EDDM is cheaper than presort standard yet as fast as 1st class!

    More Real Estate: Why send a postcard when you can send a multipage newsletter? You’ve got more real estate to work with because according to the post office, all EDDM can mail as a flat (up to 12” x 15” in size). Think of the story you can tell with a 22” x 8.5” printed piece that folded to 11” x 8.5”, or an 18” x 24” poster that folds to a 9” x 12” mailer? Now that’s an impressive piece to receive in the mail… and guaranteed to get attention! Will print costs increase? Absolutely, but postage savings and open rate will more than make up for it.

    Brand Integrity: If you’ve got a solid, respected and trusted brand, then you need to make sure everything you do reflects that… right down to the delivery method of your message. There’s something to be said for mail being delivered by a trusted carrier and delivered to a real mailbox. Personally, I view fliers and postcards wedged between my door and curled into the railings of my porch much differently than those delivered to my mailbox, and believe me, your audience does too.

    Who is ideal for EDDM?

    Retailers having a grand opening or sale who want more foot traffic in their store.
    Restaurants who serve the immediate community who want to fill more seats, or sell more pizza’s.
    Service businesses like dentists or florists needing to drum up more clients.
    Community-based non-profits who need to build awareness within their community or promote an event or fundraiser.

    Keep in mind, EDDM is not the vehicle for personalized marketing, or for a targeting mailing to specific demographics. The USPS is able to offer this deeply discounted EDDM service because some of the burden of prepping the mailing is shifted to the client.

    If you’re just starting out, make sure you work with a marketing company that has an official Customer Registration Identification Number (CRID) from the USPS, and has experience with EDDM mailings. They will be able to help you understand the process better, explain the cost savings you can realize, and get you on your way to real marketing success!

    Contact us for more information on how EDDM can help you reach your target audience!