Direct Mail Is Alive and Well, Thank You

direct mail is alive and well - thank you very much

Marketing fads come and go. Marketers today have a bewildering array of choices never seen before. Consequently, busy business owners don’t always know who to listen to in order to find what is working most effectively right now. Everyone can claim their systems and tools are the secret to a never-ending stream of prospects and customers.

Is Direct Mail Worth Exploring For Your Business?
Have you noticed that many of the Internet companies (like Google, among others) have been increasingly turning to direct mail to advertise their services? The reason is that old school direct mail worked long before the Internet and has been working for smart marketing in businesses all along. It just happened not to be the flavor of the day, thereby not getting much attention.

Now that the furor and publicity surrounding the “free” aspect of social media marketing has settled into the reality that free doesn’t necessarily equal real customers, smart marketers are looking for real campaigns that result in real customers.

Living Together in Harmony
Leveraging one proven marketing channel is great, but taking advantage of two or more is better. As effective as one channel may be, you limit the potential impact when using a single platform. With an integrated marketing strategy, you position yourself to maximize the real potential of your campaign.

The truth is that direct mail can still deliver real results when done correctly. In fact, direct mail works even better when coupled with email marketing and Internet marketing. When coupled with other channels, direct mail has the capacity to be even more targeted, personalized, and effective than when any of these channels are implemented alone.

To make this work and deliver results, it’s very important that the messaging and branding be consistent across all the channels you use. The logo, tag line, messaging, design, and colors used in one campaign should be reinforced across all media to generate stronger results and a more powerful impression. Consistency allows each campaign to feed off the other and deliver a bigger bang for the investment.

This is how big brands are able to leverage the power of multimedia messaging. Today, with the availability of affordable, short-run digital printing, you don’t need a large budget. It’s realistic and available for businesses of all sizes.

An example of a campaign that works extremely well is a new customer campaign. Nothing shows appreciation like a nicely designed, professional-looking direct mail piece delivered to your new customer soon after they become a client. People know that an email costs nothing to send but that a direct mail piece has a real cost.

Now you can follow that up with some informative emails to educate your new customer about how you can help them solve their problems. In the emails and direct mail pieces, ask your new customer to also connect with your brand on social media. Now you can further develop a bond with your new customer by sharing your values and core messages across all media.

Marketing success is about momentum. An integrated, multidimensional campaign, implemented consistently throughout the year, keeps the marketing ball rolling forward. This allows your business to be fresh on prospects’ minds when they’re ready to buy. The more consistent your brand, marketing message, and integrated approach, the better your results will be.

Your customers consume information in different ways. You can’t guess or assume one is better than another. Showing up in the physical mailbox, in their email inbox, and on the web assures that your brand is leaving no stone unturned. Having an integrated marketing strategy assures your business will be seen and heard. If just showing up is half the battle, then implementing this multidimensional approach is your call to action to make yourself ready for new customers on the business battlefield.

Boost Your Marketing With Postcards


You probably get at least a few postcards in your mail every day. Have you noticed that you always look at the front and usually flip them over, too? Postcards are incredibly hard to resist because there’s something compelling about that small, stiff card stock.

Postcards are experiencing a revival as business owners and marketers are rediscovering the powerful impact postcards can deliver. What’s so great about postcards? Postcards have several advantages over many other marketing channels.

  • Postcards are less expensive to print.
  • They don’t require envelopes or other inserts.
  • Postcards provide an instant visual connection with the recipient.
  • The limited space for copy and graphics forces you to get to the point quickly.
  • Recipients don’t set them aside to read later, leading to instant reaction.
  • Postage is often lower than with other forms of direct mail.
  • Postcards are great for personalization (with variable data printing – VDP).
  • Postcards work very well in driving website traffic-  Check out our NeighborMailTM program!
  • Postcards are fantastic to use in a series sent over time to educate, engage, and drive sales.
  • Graphics and copy are easier to create.
  • Postcards work well for both short-run and larger-volume orders.
  • Postcards make great appointment reminders, thank you notes, and follow-up cards.

Think of postcards as mobile mini billboards. They get your message across and can travel at very economical rates.

Of course, postcards do have some limitations. They’re obviously not great for any type of promotion or campaign that needs lots of space for copy due to the size limitation. It’s also not easy to generate direct sales with a postcard campaign. However, postcards are fantastic for creating awareness and generating sales leads. In fact, it’s hard to beat postcards for economical lead generation campaigns.

Postcard Creativity
Postcards can be created in traditional sizes, as well larger sheet sizes. They can be die-cut with custom-size shapes in order to stand out and create attention. Postcards can be made from very thick card stocks, laminated, and even made from plastic stock. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

Using Postcards
Direct mail is only one way to use this powerful marketing tool. You can also include postcards as part of a media or brand identity kit; as a promotional handout at trade shows and networking events; and as part of a sales letter insert.  You can mail an oversize postcard using our NeighborMailTM program for less that the cost of a first class stamp, including printing and postage.

Marketing Takeaway
The humble postcard is a powerful counter-measure to digital marketing. As more people are turned off by spam emails and other digital waste, they’re paying more attention to postcards. Postcards have a higher read-rate than many other marketing mediums because they are easier to digest quickly.

Postcards have a place in your marketing campaigns. If you use eye-catching, powerful design in addition to strong, to-the-point copy, combined with a call to action, there’s a great chance your target audience will respond the way you’d like when you use postcard marketing.

Email versus Direct Mail Marketing: Which Works Better?

Email or Direct Mail?

Email or Direct Mail?

As more businesses and marketers have turned to email marketing, it is fair to wonder if direct mail marketing still works as effectively as it once did.

Email marketing is a good way to stay in touch with customers and prospects. Just like social media marketing, it has its place in the marketing mix. However, a downside to the massive increase in marketing emails is that only an estimated 19% are even being opened (according to the Direct Marketing Association).

Direct mail marketing still works, and it works very well. However, marketers cannot just create any type of campaign and expect it to be successful. Here are some tips and suggestions from the pros:

  • Keep specialized lists, and target each with the right message. That means no mass-mailing everyone the same message and offers. This requires a bit more preparation but will generate the best responses because you are offering the right message to the right audience.
  • Instead of mass quantity, think quality first. Fewer, better-targeted and better-crafted mailing pieces are more effective than regular, lesser-quality pieces. Print & Copy Factory offers Variable Data Printing, which is very smart and effective way to target your key prospects.
  • Think lumpy mailings. People still enjoy receiving freebies, so include a logo pen, pencil, tiny Frisbee, mini-DVD, or mini-CD card with your contact info on it. Although these types of mailings can be more pricey, the retention and response rates can pay a handsome ROI on the investment. Check out our promotional products website, with over 800,000 items you can imprint your logo on!! www.YourMarketingResourceCenter.com
  • Be creative. People still enjoy programs that offer discounts or a gift with repeat purchases. Set up a loyalty rewards program that ties a buyer’s repeat purchases with discounts and rewards. Then announce it with a direct mail campaign.

Head to the link below to learn more information from the Small Business Administration (SBA), or sign up for a free direct mail class that we offer every month… Then start setting up your next direct mail print campaign with Print & Copy Factory today!

3 “Old School” Marketing Tactics that Still Matter

Lessons From the Greatest Direct Mailer of All Time

lessons on direct mail

lessons on direct mail

Direct mail has been a proven money maker for many years and continues to prove its worth to this day. In this age of all things digital, it’s ironic to note that many who have tired of wasting valuable time and resources with unproven tactics are once again turning to direct mail.

If you’re one of the wise ones who have penciled this powerful strategy onto your marketing calendar this year, it would be smart to learn from one of the best direct mail sales letters ever written.

In 1974, Martin Conroy wrote a simple, two-page sales letter which was continuously mailed out with very minor changes between 1975 and 2003. Not only did it have amazing longevity, but it was responsible for raking in over a billion dollars in new sales.

This letter was a simple story. The best salesmen, teachers, CEOs, and communicators know that stories told well sell! Whether you’re selling something or trying to get others to take action, simple but powerful stories can do much of the heavy lifting for you.

There are many reasons this piece proved to be so successful. The classic formula of attention, interest, desire, and action are beautifully articulated in the piece. Here are a few other lessons to learn:

    1. It pulls you in with a story and emotional hook which makes you want to read more.
    2. It’s simple and clear, so you can follow to the end without getting lost.
    3. Emotions and hot buttons are weaved throughout the copy so your interest remains high.
    4. The benefits are crystal clear.
    5. There’s a clear call to action.
    6. It offers a risk-reversal and guarantee for those on the fence.
    7. It makes a promise and restates that promise at the end.
    8. It provides three options: Good, Better, and Best.

These simple 781 words proved to be a key circulation builder for subscriptions to the Wall Street Journal for over 30 years. There are seminars and courses which have been taught using this letter as a prime example. Studying the letter and learning the techniques and power can make your next direct mailer a big success as well.

Here’s a link to the letter’s text, along with some information about its amazing success.

What Gets Envelopes Opened

I ran across a great article that was re-printed in “Print in the Mix” by Rochester Institute of Technology /Print Council**, and felt it was important enough to keep referencing, so I thought I would share it.
Pitney Bowes commissioned a study to identify factors that could influence when and whether recipients would open their mail and read it. The survey of 1,500 U.S. adults examined preferences, attitudes, and behaviors about mail as received at home. For the study, participants were presented with graphic depictions of envelopes to determine which features would make them most likely to open them. They examined an average of 16 screens, each containing four randomized envelopes, to test for variables including the presence of text, graphics, and color on envelope fronts and backs.

Key findings:

  • What’s printed on the front of the envelope strongly influences when and whether it gets opened.
  • Recipients are 69% more likely to open a mail piece with color text and graphics on the front, before opening pieces with no headline or graphic.
  • Given a choice of color graphics or black-and-white text, mail recipients are 2.5 times more likely to open envelopes with color graphics first.
  • What’s printed on the back of the envelope is less influential.
  • Six out of 10 (57%) hardly ever notice what is printed on the back of an envelope when sorting through or opening their mail.
  • However, as with the front of the envelope, the study indicates the presence of color text and graphics on the envelope’s back is significantly more likely to influence the decision to open, rather than black-and-white only.
  • Mail recipients favor print mail to email for bills, invoices and financial statements, as well as most catalogs and promotions.
  • Two-thirds (66%) of recipients prefer to receive catalogs by physical mail.
  • Six out of 10 (61%) favor receiving bills and invoices by physical mail.

Nearly the same numbers of mail recipients (59%) prefer to receive financial or bank statements by physical mail, as opposed to email.
About: The February 23-March 3, 2010 online survey of 1,503 opt-in research panelists (age 18+) was conducted by Leflein Associates, on behalf of Pitney Bowes. The sample margin of error of = +/-2%.
Source: Pitney Bowes, Color Makes a Noticeable Difference, 2010.

**About The Print Council
The Print Council is a business development alliance formed by leaders in the graphic arts industry whose goal is to influence and promote the greater use of print media. Through education, awareness, market development, advocacy, and research, The Print Council serves the industry to develop, maintain, and increase the market for printed goods. In addition, the Council works closely with industry associations, ongoing initiatives, and relevant user groups that share common goals.
For more information, please contact Executive Director Ben Cooper at bycooper@wms-jen.com or info@theprintcouncil.org.
Visit The Print Council at theprintcouncil.org

Tips to Wow Prospects at Trade Shows

Trade shows are a proven way to showcase your company’s products and services, but it can be challenging to stand apart in what can seem like a never-ending sea of booths. Here are a few tips to ensure your company gets noticed before, during, and after the event:

    • Send teaser pre-show mailers that encourage prospects to visit your booth. Include a raffle ticket for a giveaway, promote a prize drawing, or encourage recipients to stop by your booth for a free giveaway item.
    • Consider a theme for your booth, such as a Hawaiian theme, coffee shop theme, or sports-related theme. If you don’t want to go the theme route, simply wear attire that is appropriate for the products you’re selling. For example, if you sell ski equipment, you could dress in ski apparel and offer visitors hot cocoa and free demos.
    • Inviting banners and posters that can display your booth/business. We have seen booths in the past where no-one knows what the business is!! This is the whole reason why you are there! Banners can be used over and over again, so the cost/expense is well worth it.
    • Attract visitors with a delicious treat they can’t resist, such as homemade cookies, cupcakes, ice cream bars, cinnamon rolls, or even full-size candy bars wrapped with your marketing message.
    • In addition to having a widescreen display that offers engaging, informative content, videos, and product highlights, remember that print materials (including business cards, brochures, and flyers) are a must for ensuring visitors will remember you after they walk away.
    • Use a spotlight to draw attention to a new item or promote a “show special” or “best seller” item. Consider offering a significant discount for placing an order during or within a few days of the event, and have promotional flyers ready to pass out detailing any exclusive offers you provide.
    • Be on the ball when mailing follow-up information. If you’re on the road, email someone at the office daily with requests to send info packets immediately.
    • Consider sending a lumpy mailer shortly after the event that includes a thank you card or flyer featuring a photo of you and/or your booth (to spark memory), a small promotional item, and a sample or trial offer of your product. You may also wish to promote an extension to any exclusive offers you marketed at the event.

Let us know if we can help you create stunning marketing materials that will not only spread the word but also help turn prospects into customers!  Check out our tradeshow packages!

Start Spreading the Word About Your Full Product Line

If your marketing focuses too sharply on just a few key products or services, your customers may be unaware of your additional offerings…and you may be missing out on a great deal of potential revenue. Here are a few ways to spread the word about your full product or service line:

    • Create a monthly or quarterly product spotlight postcard campaign that highlights various products or services, including a tearaway coupon as an incentive to try.
    • Distribute product and service overview flyers or brochures with every purchase, either by inserting them into the purchase bag or stapling them to the receipt.
    • Include a Q&A section on your website that provides additional details about your various products and services.
    • Give new customers a three-ring binder welcome packet, and periodically send them new product pages or updates that are three-hole drilled to update their binder.
    • Publish a blog and offer regular tips and articles that help customers get the most out of your products.
    • Offer a product catalog with in-depth product features and highlights.
    • Highlight a different product or service in your email tagline every month, with a reminder to check your website for more details.
    • Cross-sell or up-sell your products to increase revenue by bundling items together, suggesting complementary items, or including customer testimonials that recommend some of your lesser-known products along with your more common offerings.

Help Sales Soar with Flyers

Flyers are a very flexible, cost-effective, and efficient way to spread the word about your company, promote or introduce your products, announce special price promotions and events, or simply educate your audience. Here are a few ways to increase sales by maximizing the use of marketing flyers:

    • Add a flyer to every mailing that leaves your office. Include them with bills, statements, information requests, and marketing campaigns.
    • Fold your flyer, affix a label or seal, and send it as a self-mailer to your marketing database. (We can also do the mailing for you!)  AND take advantage of the new postal service called Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) the postage is around .145 cents each, give us a call and we can tell you more  about it. For non-profits, the price can be as low as .07 cents each!!
    • Hand flyers out at trade shows, promotional events, and other industry-related affairs, not only at your booth, but also while walking around and visiting.
    • Post a flyer on community bulletin boards, such as those found at laundromats, gyms, apartment complexes, senior centers, public libraries, local schools or college campuses, grocery stores, and the like.
    • Check with local newspapers or magazines to learn their policy and costs for including flyers as a marketing insert.
    • Ask other local businesses such as cafes, auto body shops, salons, clinics, and bookstores if you can leave some flyers in their waiting/reading area.
    • Consider hiring high school students to pass them out door to door or to local businesses.

If you’d like help creating eye-catching flyers that get noticed and produce results, drop us a line.


Is Direct Mail Really Dead?

You may have heard the hype that direct mail has died and gone to junk mail heaven. Don’t believe it. That talk comes from people who have never learned how to use direct mail correctly and effectively or who have a vested interest in spreading false and misleading information.

Why use direct mail? Because it works.

    • It works in getting clients.
    • It works to get your foot in the door.
    • It works for lead generation.
    • It works for growing traffic at brick-and-mortar (and even online) businesses.
    • It works at differentiating your company from those who rely strictly on online communication.

Direct mail marketing is extremely reliable and extremely precise. It can be inexpensive and personalized. In fact, direct mail arrives more personally than any other medium and can deliver a message with 100% exposure.

In addition to all of this, direct mail…

    • Requires virtually no tech skills
    • Can be leveraged using shared advertising space
    • Is what nearly all recipients prefer for unsolicited advertisement
    • Can bring in business without someone actively searching for it
    • Can be scaled infinitely
    • Has worked for over a century without fail
    • Has always been the king of all advertising
    • Can take almost any business to any level of success desired
    • Can be felt and not just seen
    • Has an infinite shelf life

To be clear, “junk mail” is NOT what we are referring to as effective direct mail. Some companies with large marketing budgets can afford this type of “spray and pray” mailing.

Effective direct mail marketing takes some thought, planning, and strategy. It needs to be memorable, and it needs to stand out. Businesses of all size that are utilizing this powerful tool are still reaping the rewards.

No, direct mail isn’t dead. It’s alive and kicking. If you haven’t tried it in a while, try it again. You won’t be disappointed by the results.

Marketing Takes a Holiday

fun promotions for the winter

If you’re planning a winter getaway or are already thinking about a summer retreat (and really, who among us isn’t thinking about summer already?), here are a few ideas to help you take your marketing with you on the road….

  • Hold a sale. We’ve all seen ads with the idea of “the boss is away, so we’re having a sale” or something to that effect. Have fun with it, and make it memorable.
  • Send postcards. Bring the names and addresses of your top customers with you, and send them postcards from on the road. Or send postcards back to the office, and have your employees post them in a common area where everyone (customers included) can see them.
  • Blog about it. Along those same lines, post regular updates to the company (and/or your personal) blog, with lots of photos and details about the things you’re doing on your trip.
  • Encourage involvement. Ask your customers to send you updates when they go on vacation, then post them to a display at work or as guest posts on your blog.
  • Have some fun. Bring along an item related to your company, such as a shopping bag or mug with your logo on it, or a fun object like a garden gnome or stuffed animal wearing a company shirt. Then take pictures of the object sitting in front of popular tourist attractions.
  • Make a promotion/game out of it by encouraging your customers to do the same thing on their trips or by having people guess where these photos of your “mascot” were taken. If you have your customers take their own photos, supply them with the “mascot” to take with them on their trip, and offer an incentive for participating (such as $x off their next purchase for each photo they provide).

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