Back to School Marketing – Implementing the Most Effective Strategies

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Back to School Marketing Techniques, direct mail printing

Back to School Marketing – Implementing the Most Effective Strategies

Summer is coming to an end, and parents everywhere are rejoicing. It’s finally that time of year again – Back to School season! While parents may be happy to send their children back to school, what does this mean for businesses? Well, many will say that back to school season is the official kick off of the fourth quarter (Q4,) which is the most profitable quarter of the year for most businesses. This means you should definitely be putting in efforts towards back to school marketing this year.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF,)  $80.7 billion is projected to be spent during back-to-school season for K-12 and college students during 2019. Parents of K-12 students will spend an average of $697 in 2019, which is up from the average of $685 spent in 2018. Additionally, families with college students are expected to spend an average of $977 which is up from last year’s $942. Some of the most popular areas in which this money will be spent are: clothes, electronics, and shoes. If you don’t have a campaign aimed at back to school shopping, you will be missing out on some serious possible profits.

How can I market for back to school?

So – you want to get in on the action, but your business doesn’t seem relevant? You don’t have to be selling clothes, electronics, or shoes to be able to have a back to school sale. Come up with a creative way to tie your business into the season that makes sense. For example, if you have a lawn care business you can mention that Jimmy will be busy with football and won’t have time to mow the lawn anymore. Or if it is a restaurant, focus on how going out to dinner can be so much easier than cooking at home now that you are back to juggling a busy school schedule. Hair salons and makeup stores can focus on wanting to look good for the beginning of a new school year. Back to school marketing isn’t just for K-12 students, either. Once you think of college aged students, even more ideas can come into play. From dorm decor to a new car, the possibilities are endless. No matter what business you have, there is always a way you can tie it in to back to school savings.

Who am I REALLY targeting for back to school marketing?

Keep in mind that parents aren’t the only ones you are advertising to. Especially during back to school season, many times parents are simply buying what their kids are telling them to. Make your advertising relevant to current trends. What is popular with kids these days? It may be wise to even ask children for ideas. Their opinion is important when they are your key demographic.

Another thing to keep in mind is HOW you market your business. Nearly everyone of school age (and their parents) has social media today. Once again, it may be wise to ask some kids what social media platforms they are most often frequenting and focus your social media efforts there. Just because you use Facebook doesn’t mean teenagers in middle school do.

How can I compete during the back to school sale season?

While the opinion of kids matters, don’t discount mom and dad. While Susie may be surfing Snapchat, her parents are most likely to be checking the mail for sales. Direct mail campaigns are vital for any successful back to school marketing strategy. It’s important to note that you won’t be the only business trying to grab the attention of consumers at this time. Therefore, it’s important to stand out from the crowd. PrimeNet has a variety of unique mailers that are sure to get you noticed.

Make your sale valuable to the consumer. Try adding a school supply giveaway or a gift card to a place where the customer can shop for school supplies as part of your deal. Think of ways you can make your sale unique so that customers feel drawn to you versus your competitors.

Follow this advice, and you are sure to have an A+ back to school marketing campaign!

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back to school mailers, printed materials

Direct Mail Marketing Ideas for Educational Institutions

Direct mail marketing has increasingly taken a backseat role to digital marketing in the past decade. Much of the focus these days is on optimizing an institution’s digital presence and improving its online metrics in order to rank higher on search engines. However, direct mail marketing campaigns can still be useful in the information age. In fact, the education sector is one of the main areas that could benefit greatly with direct mail marketing campaigns. Here are several ways institutions from different educational levels can use direct mail marketing.

K-12 Education

K-12 educational institutions can greatly benefit from direct mail marketing. The parents of children and teens are often busy, and it’ll take more than a flashy online ad to capture their attention. Although highly hyped, digital ads actually generate a very low response rate. According to Invesp, the average click rate for a display ad campaigns is only 0.1 percent. This means that only one out of a thousand ads in a display campaign online is clicked. Direct mail marketing can be a much more effective strategy. K-12 direct mail ads can range widely from a postcard-style printed coupon to a multi-page pamphlet. There are many creative ideas, such as bi-fold cards, cutouts, patterns, and textures, suitable for direct mail marketing, depending on your needs and budget. Institutions at the K-12 level can probably levy the largest range of creativity on their ads.

Private Schools

Private schools often need to invest more in advertising to attract incoming students and to promote fundraising campaigns. Direct mail marketing can help, and it has proven to be a successful strategy for private schools. When it comes to local or regional organizations, direct mail sent to the targeted demographics is more effective when generating response rates. You’ll want to make sure you do some research on who you want to have enrolled in your school so you can tailor marketing to their parents. For private institutions, direct mail can be used to generate interest for open houses, discounted enrollment and registration fees, after-school activities, clubs and athletics options, fundraiser sales, and many other special events.

Higher Education

Direct mail marketing can also be used for higher education like colleges and universities, both physical and online. Higher education can use direct mail marketing to advertise one portion of the school at a time. For example, the school can advertise campus tours, can create question-and-answer sessions with a counselor, and can remind on-leave students to return to school. You can also use direct mail to provide information on your most popular or trending degrees. For example, medical assistants are currently in high demand, so that would be a good one to put on your flyer or postcard if you offer that degree.


Direct mail marketing provides an important way for fundraiser organizers to communicate with their alumni base and current contributors. Most students who finished their educations have fond memories of their campuses and are willing to contribute with donations. Make sure your marketing showcases the strength of the school and the progress that has been made over the years. In addition, make sure that you highlight the current on-going events that their donations are going toward.

Because of the increased cost of direct mail marketing, educational institutions need to truly understand their demographics and target audiences. Perhaps due to this narrower range of targets, direct mail marketing can produce a better response result compared to digital marketing. Receiving a personalized card in the mail with special local offers can generate a lot more active engagement. Parents want what is best for their children, college applicants want to know all their college options, and alumni want to gain a sense of nostalgia of their student days. Direct mail marketing is still highly effective and can produce results.

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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.

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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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Here’s What to Advertise in Your Direct Mail Marketing Campaign for Your Hotel

In today’s hospitality industry, competition for guests is at an all-time high. Guests have quite a bit of information at their fingertips, so it becomes a case of not only getting them the information but also making sure that information includes the right message. Here are some tips to consider when sending direct mailings to potential guests at your hotel.

Promote Local Activities

Visitors are rarely coming to your hotel solely for the purpose of sleeping at the hotel. Instead, they are visiting a location. As a result, they will likely want to know about the activities and things that they can find in the area. If guests realize what is located near your hotel, they will likely more strongly consider a stay. Attractions can include restaurants, museums, or other entertainment options. You will want to be able to convince your guests that your hotel is centrally located.

Show Off Trendy Technology

These days, being able to show guests that your hotel is wired and cutting-edge is one of the best ways to win over potential visitors. People want to stay at hotels that they perceive to be trendy. Hotels that feature smart appliances usually win up-for-grabs business in today’s environment. This includes smart televisions and smart appliances. Advanced technology is a surefire way to impress customers and to win business in an era when technology rules the day. In addition, you will want to advertise what industry trends your hotel follows. Customers want to know that your hotel is modern and that it keeps abreast of the times.

Maintain a Cohesive Brand

Hotel marketers should find a brand and stick with it. Hotels should not try to be all things to all guests. Instead, hotels need to find their niche in the marketplace and continuously pursue it. All advertising should be consistent with the overall theme. If your marketing material is controlled and ordered, your hotel can maintain a unified marketing theme. Once you have chosen your marketing brand, it is vital to stick with it and not divert from it. It is only by pursuing a well-integrated marketing plan that your hotel can make a name for itself with guests.

It is possible to break through to visitors of your hotel with direct advertising, even in today’s environment. If you are engaging in a direct mail campaign, you should make sure that you highlight both the location and trendiness of your hotel and that you stick with the same marketing theme.

Check out our portfolio to see how PrimeNet can boost your hotels direct marketing efforts!


direct mail FL, direct mail MN, direct mail WI, direct mail ATL, Direct Mail Blog Contributors


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