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Direct Mail vs. Hurricane Season: PrimeNet has the advantage.

Julie blog direct mail vs. hurricane seasonBy Julie Fleming, Information Technology

 

PrimeNet Direct Marketing Solutions definitely has a huge advantage when it comes to Hurricane Season in Florida, and here’s why:

direct mail vs. hurricane seasonDirect Mail vs. Florida’s Hurricane Season:
PrimeNet, 10 : Weather, 0. Hurricane Season is arriving once again on the East Coast. Running from June 1st to November 30th each year, hurricanes and tropical storms can wreak havoc once they make landfall, damaging homes and businesses, uprooting trees, tossing around structures and spawning powerful tornadoes which can destroy any (unprepared) thing in their path. They can cause widespread power outages, internet outages, and utility outages forcing businesses to close up shop for awhile, and the list goes on. Hurricanes are absolutely not our friend when it comes to our coexistence. But the good news is:

We take our direct mail business very seriously at PrimeNet, and are highly prepared for whatever nature decides to toss our way.

Our facility in Florida was built to tall-order specifications and is Category 3 protected, with our data center inside the facility reinforced to Category 5 protection. Our Data Center is housed in an enclosed structure within the Florida facility, and has a hefty power supply backed up by well-maintained onsite generators. Our data centers in both Largo, Florida and Shakopee, Minnesota, which back up each other, are constructed of poured concrete reinforced by rebar, filled with a special waterproof material and are finished with an additional layer of water resistant material for ultimate weather protection. Watch a short video on our Data Centers here.

We know your direct mail message is important, and with our secure data centers and facilities we at PrimeNet Direct Marketing Solutions have ensured that we won’t let

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PrimeNet Achieves G7 Status for Seventh Consecutive Year!

g7 master colorspace for commercial printing compliance logoPrimeNet Direct Marketing is proud to announce for our 7th consecutive year we have met the requirements for Idealliance® G7 Master Printer qualification. We continue to print to G7 qualification in our offset printing department & digital printing department; plus our Epson Proofer once again has passed the G7 Grayscale, G7 Targeted and G7 Colorspace qualification and we are proud to be listed as a Certified G7 Color Contract Proof provider. Additionally, our Konica Minolta C1085 press has newly achieved the most stringent level of G7 Master Qualification with colorspace compliance.

Though we have achieved this qualification for 7 consecutive years now, by no means is this just a re-qualification. Each year the criteria become more and more strict, thus fewer and fewer printers are investing the time, knowledge and expense to pass this.

“Each year that I’ve been a part of this process, I’ve been hit with something new and more challenging to get to that PASS bar. I just wanted to let everyone know it’s not a “yea yea yea, same ol’ same ol’, G7″ – PrimeNet works incredibly hard to achieve this qualification. Some may not recognize this because they only see what WE do and don’t have the opportunity to experience other environments that don’t strive for as high a standard. Top credentials ARE our standard, and that says a lot.”
Says Traci Blair, Print Manager at PrimeNet.

With our color digital department having G7 compliant output devices are positioned very well to match color across every output print area.

G7 Master Certified PrinterThe Idealliance G7 Master program is the world’s leader for printing facility validation programs.
G7 Master Qualification is granted to a physical facility for use of the G7 Proof-to-Print Process which utilizes the most modern technology, techniques, & press controls to produce a close visual match from proof to print. This qualification is valid for only one calendar year and must be renewed annually. The three levels of compliance for G7 Master Qualification are:

G7 Grayscale  •  G7 Targeted  •  G7 Colorspace

The three levels demonstrate G7 Master capabilities by specified print condition and offer different levels of distinction for G7 Master Printers. Print service providers of all types know that a measurable, predictable, and uniform color management process provides significant business advantages.

For commercial printers to be successful, orders must be turned around quickly, they must be consistent and they must be predictable. G7 is the only methodology and print validation program in the world that crosses all print media.

G7 Compliance Commercial Printing Certification


 


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soft touch direct mail blog img

Bold Message, Soft Touch


What is Soft Touch Coating?

Soft Touch coating provides an attractive and practical option which results in a luxurious presentation that remains cost-effective in production. Texturing gives dimension to an otherwise flat printing surface, and Soft Touch’s unique ‘velvety’ or ‘suede-like’ texture creates an appealing look and feel to any mailing. Its elegant presentation gets noticed in the mailbox immediately – making it ideal for direct mail campaigns.

This is a type of paper coating which creates a unique texture to the paper stock when applied. The paper becomes “soft” to the touch and increases tactile appeal while creating a softer look and feel on printed materials than traditional aqueous or UV coating. Soft Touch coating also creates a barrier which inhibits fingerprinting, and protects the sheet from scuff marks during finishing operations such as binding, folding and cutting.

Soft Touch dries fast, is non-yellowing, and is eco-friendly. “Sophisticated” and “Luxury” are words often used in describing the effect Soft Touch coating produces on printed materials. This tactile sensation has been proven effective in engaging with your prospect or customer.

Why use Soft Touch on my direct mail?

Our sense of touch is the catalyst to our uniquely human emotional world and the way we connect with others. Experiments have shown how touch affects consumer behavior, even subconsciously. Research has found that tactile advertising improves brand perceptions and increases consumer purchase consideration.

• Creates a tactile response with the recipient.

• Looks and feels like luxurious velvet or suede.

• Increases willingness to try, purchase and recommend the brands to others.

Customers are bombarded with visual messages all the time, but touch can create a pause from these and give us time to reconnect with reality. Touch shapes our understanding and emotional response to communications. Planning for tactility in advertising can take advantage of this most powerful of our senses.

Direct Mail Postcard Coatings Aqueous Soft Touch UV

Contact PrimeNet for more information at 1-800-826-2869.

Request Direct Mail Samples Button

 


 


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Don't Lose Your Message in a Pretty Design

Don’t Lose Your Message in a “Pretty” Design

While you certainly want to grab people’s attention with your direct mail, it is important to keep your focus on the information you are trying to convey rather than just the design. It doesn’t matter how pretty your design is if it’s not clearly getting your message across to the people viewing it. Here are some tips to make sure you don’t lose your message in a “pretty” design.

Make sure it’s legible.

This is the number one tip for any piece of marketing! As discussed in a previous blog post, your piece needs to be easy to read. Confusing headlines, too much text, and bad grammar or punctuation can easily land your design in the trash. People don’t want to expend any amount of effort to understand what is going on in an advertisement. Another very important factor is word legibility. Make sure that the text you use is a readable size, color, and font.

Focus on hierarchy.

What is the most important part of this piece? Are you trying to get people to purchase a specific product? Are you trying to get them to call a phone number in general? Figure out what the most important bits of your direct mail piece are, and make sure they stand out the most. The most important details should stand out against the rest. You can draw focus to a specific area by using a different color or size of text. You also need to think about the direction in which people generally read. If your direct mail piece is a letter, you don’t want your most important information to be in the last paragraph. In fact, should you be using a letter at all?

Choose the right format.

Would your message be better conveyed via a postcard, letter, or self-mailer? Format is important because it dictates the amount of copy and images you can fit onto your piece. If your goal is to provide plenty of detail about your products or services, a larger piece like a self-mailer might be the best choice. On the other hand, if you just want to announce a sale or provide a few coupons, a postcard is probably your best bet. PrimeNet has several customizable options for you to choose from depending on what your needs are.

Organize your information effectively.

You want your direct mail piece to flow and be easy to understand. It should make sense. All of your coupons should be in one spot, and contact info in another spot. Generally, each type of information should have it’s own section of the mail piece. If a customer wants to contact your business, they should be able to easily find your contact information without searching too hard.

Use effective and quality imagery.

The design elements that you choose to use should be of high quality and purpose. Don’t just put a picture on the piece for no reason. Any images you decide to add should be related to your business in some way. Additionally, you want to make sure that your images are of good quality. This includes things like: high resolution, good lighting, and being in focus. It’s also generally a good idea to choose photographs with a background that isn’t busy. If you choose to put text on top of an image, you want to place the text in a way in which it can still be easily read. This is most well done on top of a solid background.

Design with purpose.

Finally, make sure that your design elements serve a purpose. If you use decorative swooshes or bursts of color, use them to draw the eye to an important piece of information. Every single item on your direct mail piece should have a reason for being there. Without having purpose, these design elements can end up just making the piece too busy and far too difficult to easily understand your message.


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Car Dealership Marketing Agency Direct Mail

Why It’s Wise For Automotive Dealers To Use A Marketing Agency

Are you an Automotive Marketing Agency? We’d love to work with you. Contact us here.


New or used car dealerships who work with a trusted automotive marketing agency typically see better ROI than those who don’t, but that may or not be the case for your dealership, depending on several factors. We’ve done some research to hopefully give you a better understanding of how working with an automotive ad agency may benefit your bottom line.

Every dealership needs marketing to attract customers.

Besides their need for marketing, small used car lots and big multi-location dealerships’ plans will be quite different. Advertising a 4-location dealership group in a major city will be very different from a single-location store in a smaller town, but even two dealerships that are similar may have different marketing needs.

Marketing an automotive dealership requires a very different set of techniques than selling cars to someone who is already at the store. So, while a few dealerships have been successful with doing their own marketing, most will find they need the experience and resources that an advertising agency is able to offer. Advertising a dealership requires expertise in media buying and producing ads for direct mail, television, online, social media, search, and other avenues necessary to attract today’s consumers. Dealers’ time is usually best focused on selling cars at the dealership rather than learning to do all their own marketing.

Deciding to use an ad agency is the first step. Next, you will need to find an agency that is a good fit for your dealership. Automotive marketing is different from other industries and what dealerships need varies from lot to lot, so agency research and ‘interviewing’ is important.

There is much to consider when choosing an auto advertising agency. Do you need one in the first place? Do you need a separate firm for your print and online marketing? To help navigate these and other questions about finding the right automotive marketing agency partner, consider the following:

Does an agency relationship fit the scope of your dealership?

Fact: Sports teams perform best with a coach. The same is true with dealership teams. Many dealerships have groups within their teams who could potentially perform very well with their own advertising strategies, but to what end? In-house may be the best option for a small-scale mom-&-pop dealership who serves their section of the community and has no plans to expand, but what about if your needs exceed that model?

On a short-term timeline, DIY can be a cost and time saver, but how about long-term? Does the dealer have the time, experience and resources for planning and buying media – or online marketing staff versed in optimizing keywords, scheduling email blasts, managing paid search ads, and updating web specials? How about a team of professionals designing ads and direct mail campaigns, or writing and producing TV segments– and a team to track ROI and web conversions? Do you as a dealership have the allocated resources and budget to manage all of the above in-house OR would you rather sell more cars to make more profits?

Agency Access to Dealer Marketing Tools and Networks

Most automotive ad agencies have their own access to extensive networks of media providers including broadcast networks, automotive listing companies and more. Agencies also have access to lists and data sets in the automotive industry, as well as tools that focus on display advertising, social media, SEO, email marketing, rewards programs, equity mining, and OTT (over-the-top) advertising through media streaming devices. A good agency will spend a significant amount of time and resources to make sure that their team remains on top of the latest auto industry trends.

What portfolio should you look for in an automotive advertising agency?

A critical requirement of an automotive advertising agency is the ability to see beyond what the competition is doing. A great agency will develop unique and innovative solutions to create more traffic and generate more sales for your dealership or dealer group. So much dealership advertising is “copy-cat” and unimaginative – which can cause car sales to stagnate for dealerships. When researching agencies, be sure to look for an agency that stands apart from the usual, and is equipped to lead your dealership to a distinctive competitive advantage apart from the typical “low prices” message. Don’t be afraid to ask for a few samples and recent ROI report snapshots.

How is advertising an auto dealership different from advertising other businesses?

Car dealers, especially dealer groups often have hundreds of different types of vendors all trying to get a portion of a dealership’s budget, and often have multiple decision makers to coordinate strategies. The auto industry is unique in that it requires a balance of short-term sales metrics, extended marketing goals, solid communication, and consistent execution to increase a dealer’s success. The ad agency should fully understand the automotive industry and know all aspects of a dealership’s operations – they need to be versed to work with a dealership beyond basic advertising and marketing goals.

The best automotive marketing agencies are results-driven.

For independent dealerships, key performance indicators include the number of leads generated, brand reach in the marketing list area, and amount of online engagement with potential customers looking to purchase within a specific amount of time. Good automotive marketing agencies will spend the time necessary to review the results of each campaign and make recommendations on how to improve outcomes for the next marketing campaign.

What should dealerships expect the ad agency to provide?

Ad agencies should have a clear and concise way to prove ROI. From ROI reports, dealers should be able to look at increases in:

1.) Overall traffic vs. unique visitor count on their website

2.) SRP (Search Results Page) and VDP (Vehicle Detail Page) views and

3.) Time spent on site, # page views, # map & directions views, and phone calls

What metrics the agency provides the dealership is actually less important than the metrics the dealership provides the agency. A good agency should ask clients to send feedback on a regular (at least weekly) basis, containing the following:

  • Opportunity Count – total number of web leads, separated by type and source, inventory inquiries, online credit apps, in-bound phone calls, walk-ins
  • Number of showroom visits
  • Number of total write-ups
  • Number of credit applications
  • Qty of new vehicles sold, used vehicles sold
  • Sales divided by total opportunities
  • Sales divided by total visits
  • Sales divided by credit apps
  • Average front-end gross, average back-end gross, total gross per vehicle
  • New inventory
  • Used inventory
  • Used inventory ACV (actual cash value)
  • Average age of used inventory
  • Total sales gross
  • Fixed gross
  • Dealer-tracked marketing cost per vehicle sold
  • Dealer-tracked return on investment
  • Marketing spend separated by media (if using multiple vendors)

 

Stability, Market Research, and Experience

Back to the subject of DIY advertising; car dealerships are known for high turnover rates, and when working with an in-house team, the creative department may begin to become stagnant and often feel as if they have already tried everything. Successful campaigns consider lessons learned in previous campaigns, and with or without a formal non-disclosure or non-compete agreement, there is a risk of employees leaving a dealership, and taking their knowledge of those lessons learned with them, potentially leaving the dealership at a disadvantage for future marketing campaigns.

Working with an agency will help your dealership maintain forward momentum. Since your marketing agency isn’t involved in the day to day running of your business, this acts as a benefit to your dealership. Agencies are experts in their industries and can provide dealerships with an outside perspective on what is working and what needs improvement. Automotive marketing agencies share  “best practices” through other dealerships similar to yours.


There are many benefits to working with an agency. Agencies are a valuable resource for marketing your dealership and providing reliability that can be critical in helping you set clear and relevant marketing objectives which align with the goals you’ve set for your dealership.


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Keeping Momentum 2019 Blog Image

Keeping Momentum: Advertising AFTER Holiday Hype

So, you’ve had great success with your Fall Savings, Thanksgiving Deals, Black Friday Blowouts, Holiday Specials, and End-of-Year Extravaganzas, but now it’s January and the “Holiday Hype” has come to an end. You may be wondering–what now? Although the 4th quarter can account for more than half of a business’s profits for the year, it is important to keep that momentum continuing into the new year. Continue reading to discover 5 useful tips to allow your business to have a successful January leading into a wonderful 2019!

Appeal to the “New Year, New Start” Mentality

The new year is traditionally the time for making a new start, breaking bad habits and forming good ones. Using those themes in your marketing strategies for January can be pertinent to keeping up your current momentum. Don’t limit yourself to self-improvement for people; this can also apply to businesses. For example, if you sell office supplies, advertise those supplies as a way a business can organize for a successful upcoming year. The new-start idea is also applicable to renovating a home, learning a new skill, or starting a hobby.

Discount Old Inventory

Shoppers have come to expect just one thing from retailers after the holidays: clearance. So think about additional ways to promote post-holiday buying.

By offering up-sells, you can prompt more shoppers to reach thresholds on purchase amounts. You could also offer volume pricing or bulk buying discounts. This works well on smaller items that can be used as supply stock-ups or as simple gifts throughout the next year. And what about shipping? Flat-rate or free shipping still wins in ecommerce.

If you run a loyalty or rewards program you can offer incentives for January purchases to both new and existing customers. Double points are attractive, as are additional points for performing certain tasks. You might also want to discount gift cards or certificates to help build revenue more quickly.

Give Your Business a “Fresh Start”

Use the new year as an excuse to give yourself a fresh start as well. The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to revamp your data lists. Make sure that your lists are up-to-date to ensure that you aren’t wasting effort (and money) reaching out to customers who have changed addresses, lifestyles, or are no longer in need of your services.

You can also take this opportunity to take a look back at all of the data you’ve been collecting and see what worked (and what didn’t.) If you’ve noticed that a certain coupon seems to bring in more new customers, keep using that! If another direct mail piece hasn’t seemed to have much of an impact, regroup and try again.

Try Something New

So you’ve looked at your past year and discovered what kind of ads have worked, and what haven’t. Now is the perfect time to replace old, outdated ads with something new! PrimeNet is always coming up with new, innovative direct mail pieces that are sure to stand out against the crowd. Perhaps if you tend to stick with mailing out self-mailers, you can switch to postcards. Or try a new technique altogether–die cuts can be a creative way to capture attention.

Take Advantage of Upcoming Events

Although the holidays may be over, don’t forget that there are always upcoming events that you can cash in on. In January, you can focus on winter sales, or fresh start savings. February brings the Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, and Presidents Day and after that you can start promoting “Spring into Savings” events. Anything can be marketed as a way to get customers interested in your products or services.

 

Overall, the point is to just keep going! Once you quit building momentum, it’s hard to start again. If you use these tips throughout the year, your profits will continue to snowball– and the next thing you know, holiday season 2019 will be here!


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Image of Man Holding Postcard

Six Things That Should NOT be on Your Direct Mail Postcard

Postcards can be one of the most profitable (and cost-effective) types of direct mail that you can use. However, in order for your postcards to be the most effective, you need to only have the most important information and leave off anything superfluous. It’s definitely important to give the customer enough information about your business that they want to work with you, but remember less is more. Bombarding the customer with clutter or too much text is overwhelming and will give them reason to put your postcard straight in the garbage.

Here are 6 things you should NOT include on your direct mail postcard:

1. Confusing Headlines

A catchy headline is certainly important, however, they also need to be fairly obvious. Jokes and cleverness can be great for attracting attention but you need to make sure they aren’t going to go over people’s heads. No one is going to put in ANY extra amount of effort trying to figure out what your message is, not even an ounce of energy, so your message needs to be clear.

2. Too Much Text

Speaking of having a clear message, the easiest way to lose your message is to bury it in too much text. Once again, your customers aren’t going to put in ANY amount of effort to see what you’re selling. No one wants to read paragraphs of text on an advertisement. Try to stick with short, easily digestible copy. You don’t need to list every service you provide, or every detail of your business’ history–just the important parts.

3. Bad Images

Photos can be very useful in capturing someone’s attention. However, that attention can be bad if you are using low-quality (pixelated, blurry) images. These will come across as unprofessional, and that is the last thing you want your company to be seen as. Also, make sure that your photographs make sense. If you are advertising a special for the fall season, you shouldn’t still be using last season’s beach photographs.

4. Unnecessary Images (or Graphics)

Sure, using flashy graphics can be a great tool for capturing attention, but make sure it’s not at the expense of getting your message across. Function is more important than form. It is definitely important to have a good design and layout, but this layout should help make your message clear, not deter from it.

5. Too Many Offers

Having a coupon or promotion is one of the best ways to promote your business. However, you want to stick to one or two GREAT offers, not 4 or 5 just okay ones. Having too many offers can be overwhelming, and distracting. A customer doesn’t want to sift through too much information to see which offer may be the best deal for them.

It is also important to note that sometimes the best solution is to mail out different versions of the same postcard with varying offers on them. This can help for multiple reasons; you can test to see which offers garner more attention. You can also differentiate between new customers and returning customers. You may insult a current customer by sending them a “first time shopper” coupon.

6. Bad Grammar and Punctuation

It should go without saying, but please make sure that you are using correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation. There are other common mistakes that appear in the advertising world that shouldn’t be common practice. For example, using “unnecessary” quotation marks. Make sure that you know what quotation marks should be used for. There are other ways to emphasize a word. For example: you can italicize, underline, or change the color, size, or weight of just that word. Also Try To Avoid Using Random Capitalization and excessive punctuation!!! This style of writing comes across as unprofessional.

 

In short, you want your message to be as clear as possible while also being as easy as possible for the customer to read. Keep this basic motto in mind and you’ll have no problem remembering what should NOT be on your direct mail postcard. For a reminder of what SHOULD be on your postcard, check out our other blog post, “Five Tips for Creating a Stand-Out Direct Mail Piece.


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make money with direct mail postcards

Turning Your Direct Mail Postcard Into Revenue

Your daily mail will almost always contain at least one postcard – for the simple fact that postcards are great performers for marketers. Direct mail is easy to track, so marketers can know what types of pieces are performing the best for certain campaigns. Well-designed postcards are a smart and economical choice for your next direct mail offer because of their high impact, lower cost, affordable postage and outstanding ROI.

Exploring the Impact of Postcards

With a constant influx of media messages of all types, we have to find creative ways to produce the ones that will really stand out. Consumers switch tv channels, close browser tabs, switch radio stations, and use ad-blockers to snuff out mundane advertising.  In today’s age, we have shorter attention spans than ever before – we skim through news stories and web content, often reading only the first paragraph of an article post before moving on to the next.  Print advertising has a high-impact, tactile, even interactive presence, and that is where direct mail fits. Direct mail almost “demands” that the recipient make a conscious choice to read it. Well-designed postcards are able to capture attention quickly. They don’t hinge on the decision whether or not to open something like an envelope or self-mailer, so the offer and the message are immediately visible with a postcard. Census has shown that 50.9%¹ of postcards received are read by at least one member of the household. That number is higher than other direct mail formats studied for comparison.

Why do postcards usually cost less?

Direct mail postcard printing typically costs less to produce than other direct mail formats. A creative designer is able to produce a postcard design in much less time than it would take to construct the components of an envelope mailing package (often consisting of the outer envelope, a letter, a buckslip or brochure and sometimes even a reply envelope). Fewer components to design and print equates to savings on the cost of paper and ink, production setup time and time on press. With a postcard, the only bindery finishing step is trimming the cards to final size, which is often done in-house. Postcard personalization is usually performed on high speed inkjet addressing systems, the least expensive method of addressing for postal acceptance. Postcards also save on postage because they can be sized as large as 6-1/8 x 11-1/2 and still qualify for letter postage rates.

Postcard Performance vs. Other Pieces

While direct mail postcard response rates might not be as high as uniquely shaped dimensional mail or oversized envelope mailers, the average response rate of 5%, house mailing lists and 3.6%, prospect lists, offset by the lower cost of production still equates to postcards scoring the lowest cost per response in comparison to other direct mail formats. Postcards provide a cost per response of approximately $17 for house mailing lists and $30 for prospect lists².

Even with all the available outlets, direct mail still remains the leader in multi-channel marketing efforts. Print does cost more than email and web based advertising, but higher response rates justify the expense in comparison to other marketing channels. Postcards are top performers because they boast a high impact, placing messages and offers in front of the recipient without requiring a decision to open an envelope or not. Postcards cost less to produce, which makes them attractive for marketers with limited budgets for direct mail printing. Favorable response rates plus low cost make postcards difficult to top for new customer acquisition and consumer retention.

1. DMA Statistical Fact Book, 2016
2. DMA Response Rate Report, 2016

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