Direct Mail Strategies: What NOT to Do

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what not to do for direct mail

Direct Mail Strategies: What NOT to Do

The world of direct mail can sometimes be tricky to navigate. While trying to remember all of the goals you have in mind, and everything you need to do to accomplish them, it can be hard to keep in mind what NOT to do. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of 10 things NOT to do when using direct mail.

1. Don’t make your message hard to read.

Of course you want to have an eye-catching design to capture the interest of potential customers, but if they can’t read the information it becomes pointless. Many people make the mistake of choosing a “fun”, whimsical font. While this may be okay for one or two words, you certainly don’t want to use it for the entire text. It is important to choose a font that is easily legible. While we are on the subject of legibility, please proofread! A glaring typo or weird formatting issue will not only make your message harder to understand, but it will also look like you don’t know what you’re doing or simply don’t care. If you can’t make sure your own advertisement is 100% flawless, why would someone trust you to do something for them? You also don’t want to include too much copy. No one wants to read a wall of text on their mail. Try to keep it simple, using only the necessary information. If a potential customer has to spend an ounce of energy trying to decipher what the message is, they are just going to lose interest and throw it away. Let your overall design and imagery do the attention-grabbing.

2. Don’t lie.

You should never lie or “stretch the truth” in your direct mail. You want to make sure you can actually fulfill the promises you have offered. You may still make the sale on a technicality, but you won’t keep them as a repeat customer that way. Overselling yourself is also a great way to ruin your reputation in the long run. Another important thing to note is to verify that your disclaimers are correct and include as many details as possible. You don’t want to end up losing hundreds of thousands of dollars because you forgot to type the correct amount of asterisks.

3. Don’t use out-dated data.

Old data is no longer good data. People move, businesses transform, and circumstances change. You can either clean up the list you already have or purchase a new list, but either way you need to make sure the information you have is correct and up-to-date. Sending mail to people who no longer live at that address, or a business that no longer exists, is simply a waste of money. If your data is more than 3 years old without ever being refreshed, don’t use it. Advertising a product directed towards the mother of a newborn isn’t going to be effective if it’s now being sent to the mother of a 5 year old.

4. Don’t forget to include a Call-to-Action.

You are sending out direct mail because you want the people receiving it to do something. Be sure to let them know what exactly it is you’d like them to do. Be clear and concise, make it clear what they should do, how they should do it,  and when they should do it. For example, “Sign up for this free trial by calling within the next 5 days!” By the time a prospective client is finished reading your piece, they should have a clear idea of what exactly to do. They should also have a sense of urgency to do so. Be sure to have a deadline for them to get whatever you are offering, so they feel they have to “act now” before they lose their opportunity.

5. Don’t focus on just the features.

You may be excited to share all of the features of your newest product or service, but honestly no one cares. What they do care about is how these features can benefit them. Instead of listing all of the services that are included in your monthly lawn care treatment, list why someone would benefit from having this service. For example, “Let us rake, mow, and weed your yard so you can enjoy your weekends with your family!”

6. Don’t ignore the benefits of tracking.

So you send out a few direct mail pieces and business is booming, great! But what piece of the puzzle was most instrumental at bringing in business? Was it one specific design that was more eye-catching, or was it that the list was better targeted for your desired audience? To be able to know the answers to these questions, you’ll want to employ some sort of tracking. An easy way to do this is by using a specific, different coupon code for each new direct mail piece. This way you can track which coupon codes brought in more business, and further analyze the data about what was different with this direct mail piece. If you notice that one of your coupon codes didn’t seem to bring in as much business, analyze the data. Did you try a different data list to send this piece to? Did you try a different discount? Was this design different than your standard? Figure out what works and what doesn’t work this way. Tracking your customers is also a way to keep up with new customers. Once you know who’s attention you’ve grabbed–you can keep it!

7. Don’t be impersonal.

Everyone likes feeling like they are special. Avoid using general statements, and try to make your piece appeal directly to your audience. A great way to do this is by using variable data within your piece. Using variable data, you can put in the customer’s name and other information you may know about them that way it feels like you designed this piece just for them! Being more personal and friendly establishes a relationship with the customer that makes them feel like you care about them, and will make them more likely to want to work with you.

8. Don’t forget to include a compelling offer.

You have to convince people why they should be interested in what you are selling, and why they should be interested now. The best way to do this is to give them some incentive with a special deal, coupon, discount, or bonus–with an expiration date of course. It’s great to give them the information about your product or service, but that is only half the battle. Giving them a reason to purchase your product/service by making them feel like they’ll be missing out on a great opportunity if they don’t, tends to be a great strategy.

9. Don’t focus solely on the design.

Of course you want to make your piece eye-catching to grab the attention of potential customers, but you have to make sure you’re getting your message to the correct people to begin with. The tried-and-true method of marketing known as the 40/40/20 rule says that 40% of your success will come from how effective your mailing list is, 40% will be decided by how compelling your offer is, and only 20% of your success will be determined from everything else–including your design, body copy, imagery, and delivery method. While having an amazing design is important, it doesn’t matter how eye-catching it is if it’s not getting to the people who would be interested in your product.

10. Don’t keep doing the same old thing.

Our last tip is to experiment! Change your offer, change your design, change your mailing list, and refer back to tip #6 to track which of these changes seems to work best for you. It is important to remember that you’re going to have to keep changing also. Just because your direct mail piece was a hit the first time you sent it out doesn’t mean it will have the same results the tenth time around. Times change, people change, competition changes. Try new formats, offer new specials, even something as simple as a headline change can attract a different customer. Do everything you can to keep changing and you will continue to grow as a business.

 

 


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Chef Kitchen Restaurant Direct Mail

Key Marketing Factors to Consider Before Opening a New Restaurant

The restaurant industry in America is massive. According to statistics, 60 percent of Americans go out to a restaurant at least once or twice a week. This has led to an increase in profits and competition in this business sector. Because restaurants rise and fall all the time, you’ll need to be smart with the restaurant concept and business plan you bring to the table. To help you get started, here’s a look at some essential factors to consider before you open a restaurant.

Location

Location is the most fundamental aspect when it comes to setting up a new restaurant. In this case, visibility is key. The restaurant must be clearly visible and conveniently accessible to everyone.

To that end, it’s important to research your key demographics and assess the competition. As you develop your menu, you’ll want to find out what your direct competitors are offering and ensure that you’re providing something different or better.

Additionally, having a spacious and unique parking lot can eliminate a substantial amount of competition. In truth, customers are likely to drive off toward another restaurant if they spend too much time looking for a parking space. When you’re in the restaurant business, you’re dealing with hungry people, so easy access is key to success. In addition to available space, you should also work to maintain the look and function of the parking lot. These steps will invite customers to your restaurant and ensure guest safety. 

Trademark

This is often overlooked in the early stages of starting a restaurant, but it’s an important part of marketing your business and staying competitive.  When you don’t know how to apply for a trademark, the application process may feel overwhelming. In this case, seek outside expertise before filing your application. Come up with a unique and enticing trademark that represents your restaurant’s brand. Ultimately, a business trademark will protect you from dealing with messy legal issues in the future. 

Menu

There are many tricks to creating a professional, unique, and profitable restaurant menu. The menu should be uniquely designed, yet professional. Most importantly, it should incorporate various menu items that you know locals will like. While you can always introduce new and exciting dishes, it’s still important to give patrons a taste of the familiar.  

Marketing

Marketing is the backbone of every business. If you are observant enough, you’ll see that popular restaurants are successful because of their marketing strategies. Yes, people appreciate their food, but targeted marketing is what brought customers to their tables.  You have to come up with brilliant ways to make your business known to people. Invest heavily and consult with marketing companies if you’re not familiar with digital and traditional marketing strategies.

Digital marketing is the backbone of most marketing efforts, but that doesn’t mean you should invest in other methods. Direct-mail marketing can be particularly effective for new restaurants, especially when you send out information to people within your area of influence. Combine this with your grand opening, and you’ll see some great sales numbers.

Licensing and Permits

Before you open a restaurant, you have to apply for the necessary licenses and legal permits. Moreover, you have to pass several inspections before you are free to operate. To legally operate, all restaurant operators need to obtain an operating license and pass several health inspections. If your restaurant is part of a franchise, Franchise Gator explains it’s very important that you pay attention to the FDD to understand fully what’s required and expected of your business as a franchise.

The Best Customer Service

To begin with, you should hire employees who are presentable, calm, and engaging. You engage customers when your servers have active listening skills while on the job. Take time to be selective during the hiring process and choose outstanding employees who can serve your customers in the best way possible.

There’s a lot that goes into starting a new restaurant. Don’t let your marketing overwhelm you. Reach out to us today for more information on our direct marketing solutions.


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attorney marketing blog image

Practical Marketing Advice for Lawyers Trying to Build a Practice

Image courtesy of Bradley Corbett DUI Defense Attorney

Over time, marketing for legal firms is getting increasingly more competitive. You need to fine-tune your marketing strategies to maximize your bottom line this year and into the future. The more clients you have, the higher your earnings are and the more well known you become in your community.

 

Attorneys need to take advantage of diverse marketing opportunities these days to get the best response from the community. The following are six things you should be doing to build your practice as quickly and as efficiently as possible:

Use free resources that are available to you

There are free resources available – especially online – that are great for your online presence. The most obvious and most prolific is social media. Which social media channels you choose to use will depend on your clientele and the types of services you offer, but in general you should be maintaining accounts on 1-2 different platforms and posting regularly.

Get referrals from satisfied clients

Every time you work with a client who is particularly satisfied with your service, you should take advantage of it by requesting referrals or letting that client know that you are available if friends or family are going through the same issue.

 

When it comes to relationships with clients, it’s best to work at building long-term relationships so that they come back to you again in the future. Make sure your clients know all the areas that you practice in so that they can come back to you for other legal needs in the future.

Be present in your community

Simply getting out there and meeting people in your community can be great for acquiring new customers. Going to community events will allow you to network and socialize. Make sure you bring your business card with you when you go out.

Don’t overlook traditional marketing techniques

While the Internet is important these days when it comes to marketing, don’t overlook traditional marketing like running print advertisements and engaging in direct mail marketing. A lot of people are still not using the Internet, and you can reach these clients through traditional marketing channels while your competition is overly focused on the Web.

Be present online and optimize your presence

Hopefully, you already have a website, and you’re already present online. However, this isn’t enough. You should engage in search engine optimization and also experiment with PPC advertising to optimize your Web presence and get as much as possible out of having a website. Link your website to all of your social media pages and any other mention of your firm online.

Pay attention to your online reviews

Online reviews are important for any business. However, they can be especially important for law firms. Do everything you can to avoid negative reviews and respond to them when you get them – to work with a dissatisfied customer and address the cause of their dissatisfaction.

 

Because marketing for legal firms is getting so competitive, you’ll need to keep on top of your marketing strategies to maximize your business. The more clients you have, the higher your earnings – the more well known you’ll become in your community, and the first attorney people think to call.


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Transform Your Marketing Blog Post Image

5 Strategies That Will Transform Your Marketing

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Featured Image Courtesy of Advisor Business Benefits.

Business owners can take their marketing campaigns into a deeper dimension of excellence and expedience. Below you’ll find just five of many strategies that you can deploy to make your marketing efforts more effective:

1. Target Market Research.

The first stage of any effective marketing campaign is target market research. The research process is an important and ultimately imperative component of the advertising process because it ensures that you have a firm grasp on who your audience is and what their needs are. The research work can tell you things like whether they prefer traditional or online shopping, their income level, and other key forms of data which can and should directly impact the way you market products to them.

2. Social Media Optimization (SMO).

One of the best ways to transform your marketing process is through the implementation of SMO strategies. These strategies are empowering because they will help you communicate with your target audience in a casual, organic manner. Some of the social media channels that you may want to begin communicating with your audience through include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. This kind of communication is important because casual modes of communicating can accelerate the relationship-building process. When customers feel connected to your brand, they are more likely to return to your business, recommend your products and services to a friend, and leave a positive business review. Ultimately, these online interactions will extend your audience and draw more customers to your business. 

3. Content Marketing.

Another technique that you can deploy to transform your company’s advertising efficacy is content marketing. The quality of your content plays a key role in determining things like how much site traffic you attain, customer retention, your dimension of online authority, and conversion rates. As such, you want to take strides to ensure that every piece of content you produce is exceptional.

4. Print Marketing.

While online marketing is an incredibly effective way to make your business known in the digital world, traditional forms of advertising can still yield incredible results. Explore print marketing. It is a traditional and successful marketing modality. There are multiple types of printed material you can utilize to ensure that your brand is capable of catching and keeping the audience’s attention. Some of them include:

  • Advertising Campaigns
  • Brand Development/Rebranding
  • Interactive Presentations and Media via QR Codes
  • Matching Print Materials to Web Design and Development
  • Logos and Corporate Identity Promotional Materials
  • Graphic Design
  • Full Service Offset Printing

Make sure when you are doing print marketing, that you are keeping things organized. Try to stay away from the clutter so you can pay attention to what is being delivered to your target audience.

5. Direct Mail.

Direct mail marketing is another advertising technique you can implement to push your business forward. This strategy works for many reasons, one of which is that it can be highly personal. For example, a handwritten letter or card can show a prospect that you don’t view them as a number and have taken time to address them individually. Also note that the direct mail process can be incredibly creative or strategic. You can include all types of promotional items and gifts in the mail, provide offers for them to sign up for newsletters, etc.

Conclusion

Corporate leaders and entrepreneurs who are determined to make their marketing process more effective than ever should know that they can. Five strategies you can use to get things going and growing are outlined above. Begin using these advertising strategies immediately so your organization can start attaining exceptional results!


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marketing your dental practice

Direct Mail Tips For Dentists & Oral Surgeons

Direct mail campaigns are still proven to work in the world of digital marketing. Sending direct mail is the way that dentists connect with old patients and find new ones. Like every marketing technique, there are ways to succeed and ways to fail and lose a lot of money. Dentists should review these tips to succeed with this campaign.

Customize the Mailings

Customize the materials that you mail. Along with the addresses, include the names of each mail recipient. Consider adding the dates of their last appointments and encourage them to schedule new ones. When companies show customers that they care, customers return the favor for the most part.

Focus on Specific Procedures

As you customize mailings, include information about specific dental procedures. Due to medical confidentiality laws, you cannot openly reveal information about your patient’s dental history. Instead, review the demographics of the patients who get specific procedures. Talk about the role that technology plays in the procedures and recovery of patients. Maybe say something like this: “Advanced technology means better treatment planning, better results and a faster recovery.” (Nevada Oral & Facial Surgery)

Create mailings that are targeted to people in those groups. If procedures for braces are done mostly for teenage patients, target teens and their parents. Target dentures or dental implant procedures for older patients.

Target the Audience

You cannot send direct mailings to “just anyone” who has an address. You could send tens of thousands of mailings and receive a 10% response rate. Target only the people who you can reasonably expect to contact you back for an appointment. Start by going through the list of existing patients and seeing which ones need checkups. Then, consider developing an online plan to find new leads.

Evaluate the Results

Evaluate the progress that you are making with a direct mail campaign. You don’t need complicated software to track the number of materials that you send and the rates of responses. If you don’t follow the campaign’s progress, you waste vast amounts of money and paper. In contrast, save on these investments by knowing the results of your efforts.

Select the Imagery

Increase the visual appeal of your mail pieces with stock photography and graphic designs. Design postcards to resemble large business cards with matte or laminated finishes. Some businesses create and mail pamphlets that briefly explain the company along with a few products and services. Creating these images and printing them on a card does not require significant technical skill – Any office worker with some creative talent can design and print direct mail pieces in bulk, BUT if you’re looking for a true professional look that is much more cost-efficient, top quality stock, inks that won’t bleed or crack and consistent cutting, you’ll most definitely want to use a commercial printer.

In Conclusion

Direct mail is becoming less popular compared to online marketing, which can be a significant advantage. (here’s why) That makes it more important for dentists to use this method correctly. In the end, they have access to another effective means of gaining more customers.

 


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Print Marketing to the Gen Z Crowd

Print Marketing GenZ Crowd

Marketing to the Gen Z audience – Protip: Go Retro, Use Print.

To reach Gen Z, marketers must realize that everything that was once considered “old” is now new. Within the next couple of years generation Z will account for 40% of consumers which is approximately $4 billion in discretionary spending.1 And guess what — Market research surveys suggest that they prefer print marketing as most effective, and 98% of them prefer buying products in stores ‘sometimes’ or ‘most of the time’.1 What’s most import to note though; their values matter as much to them as price. Even though this generation grew up during the Great Recession, research has found that they’re willing to spend money on products from companies with similar values to their own. Advertisers who are consistent in providing value and relevancy in their advertising, and corporate actions such as fundraisers and causes, will earn and keep Gen Z’s respect.

Marketers can determine identities, purpose and values from Gen Z’s interests, activities and habits. And if they fail to get authenticity correct, Gen Z’ers will dismiss their messages. The right tone, language and relevancy are very important.

Print Marketing, An Uninterrupted Customer Experience

Gen Z expects service within seconds because they not only live online, but have a screen in front of them almost 24/7. Constant use of this technology plays a large part in why Gen Z values print channel experiences. It’s ‘different’ but relevant, and a break from the usual. Print advertising can be viewed without the kinds of interruptions that plague digital customer experiences, and that adds value.

The Millennial crowd is not much different. Despite being familiar with digital, almost half of Millennial market survey respondents, ages eighteen to thirty-four, reported having something professionally printed, such as stationery, contact cards or other items at least once a month.2

blog image gen z values print marketing

Price, The Number One Factor to the Majority of Gen Z Consumers

We stated earlier that values and ethics matter a lot to this generation, but they still won’t buy if the price isn’t right. The Great Recession and the recovery period impacted them greatly — to the point that approximately 60% have a savings account as a safety net.1 This shows that they’re not even buying from the competition. They’re just not buying at all if they won’t get exactly what they want.

Gen Z’ers witnessed the net worth of their parents plummet by greater than 40%. Gen Z has become accustomed to living in survival mode — to the point where they will price-check and verify online reviews on their phones while they are shopping in brick and mortar stores. They demand quality goods — affordable products, but not cheap products. Effective marketing will incorporate both quality and price into the message.

Omnichannel In-Store Experiences, a Must

While the in-store experience could be seen as Gen Z’s version of ‘unplugged from technology’, they’re still using their phones in stores. Nearly half of Gen Z consumers are on smartphones in the store, price-checking and contacting friends, family or online reviews for advice.

Market Research from Gen Z’ers, statistics:

Tangible and Digital work together for the Gen Z crowd. They’ve seen brands that started online with e-commerce only, then moved to brick and mortar stores, like Bonobos and Birchbox for example. And while 60% of Gen Z consumers prefer to go into a store versus shopping online, 75% of them will often additionally check a store’s app while they’re shopping there3. Developing your print marketing to match your apps and in-store experiences will capture this audience, PLUS adding new features like AR (Augmented Reality) to your app can go a long way to build rapport with your consumers.

 


1 MNI Targeted Media Inc. white paper “Generation Z: Unique and Powerful”
2 FedEx Office survey April 26, 2018, citation
3  Statistics from: GenZGuru.com


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Mailbox Direct Mail Postal

List Tips and Best Practices for Direct Mail

If you’re thinking of using a purchased list to send email as your ONLY marketing strategy – think twice. One of the best ways to make a purchased or rented list effective is to use direct mail to drive leads to a landing page, where potential customers can fill out a form to be entered into the company’s database. Once the form has been filled, your lead is now an ‘opt-in’ and can successfully be included in email marketing campaigns with little risk of spam or blacklisting. By using this strategy, marketers can get the most out of purchased or rented lists. However, as with any campaign that involves a targeted list, much will depend on the quality of the list.

Research has concluded that approximately 60% of your direct mail campaign is based on the quality of your list. If the quality isn’t up to par, then you are just wasting your time and money. To help you with the list building process, we have gathered some list tips and best practices for direct mail.

Be Very Specific – List Targeting 101

An excellent guideline for list building is the more targeted, the better. Whether you choose to buy or rent a list, it should be as targeted as possible. Step one is to sort through the basic demographics of your target audience like age, gender, income, family status, etc. Once you have a demographic laid out, check with the list company to see what other specific targeting options are available. Some list companies will be able to provide micro-selects which may come in useful for you. Micro-selects are top level models of consumer behavioral tendencies. An example of a micro-select would be “propensity to shop for a new car”. While this behavioral model is not 100% accurate, micro-selects are a very valuable indicator of consumer intent.

List Brokers Will Save You Time and Energy

The most convenient way to find your targeted mailing list for your business is to make use of the services of a broker. Brokers are direct marketing professionals who will be able to provide you with list recommendations – a.k.a. “list reco”. Brokers do the research according to your specifications and come back with a selection of direct mail lists in your target area. Unless you have experience in purchasing or renting lists, it will be a daunting experience for you, no doubt. A list broker is highly experienced in this area and will often help you negotiate lower list rental rates.

Be Sure to Have a Data Guarantee

Before paying to purchase or rent a list you should make sure the company is willing to give you a guarantee over delivery rates. List companies offer guarantees that include refunds for returns over a certain percentage or additional ‘free’ records for higher than normal returns. As a best practice, you should also tell the list company that you plan to mail First-Class, whether you actually will or not – with First-Class, the postal service is required to send returns. Stating that you intend to mail First-Class will prompt the list company to provide you with the actual expected return rate.

Start Small – But Not TOO Small

What IS small? When it comes to direct mail offers, small is bigger than one may think. The idea that you will send out 200 mailers, one time, and get a good return is pretty far fetched. To test out your messaging on a smaller scale, it’s recommended that you send out at least 2,000-2,500 mailers to a targeted audience with a couple of different offers, and then lock down on the most successful campaigns. Starting small can help you pinpoint the list types that are the most suitable targets for your business, and then you can expand your campaigns accordingly. But remember – you must keep a good campaign rotation going to keep your business expanding. Direct marketing is an ongoing effort.

Be Sure the 40/40/20 Rule Gets this Essential Upgrade

Traditional guidelines for direct mailers have always been to follow the 40/40/20 rule which states that 40% of direct mail success is based on quality of the list, 40% on the actual offer, and 20% based on the creative design. While each element in the traditional 40/40/20 rule is still relevant, direct mailers should be adding one crucial step to meet the needs of today’s consumer:

Direct mailers should look to drive their prospects back to a relevant landing page where they can complete a form if they wish to purchase or receive more information. Why? Consumers these days are getting more and more self-directed and are likely to research their options online before making a purchase. A good practice to keep in mind in this case – is to send prospects to a personalized URL or PURL so you can track the targets on your list who have visited your site.

stamps direct mail

Combine Direct Mail with Email for a Consistent Message

Consider delivering your offers by combining email and direct mail to reinforce your message and increase the probability your offer(s) will bring in business. When using varied channels, each communication should build on the previous contact. Direct mail should emphasize a key message and call to action while keeping visual consistency across all media and adhering to the same graphic standards to reflect the same voice so each piece reinforces and extends your brand promise. Direct mail offers can be used to start a conversation with people whose emails you do not yet have, or who have not responded to your emails.

Use Buzz Words

“Buzz Words” like ‘Introducing’, ‘Announcing’, ‘NEW’, ‘NOW!’ and ‘FREE!’ have been proven through research to attract above average response. Words like ‘easy’, ‘quick’ and ‘improved’ have been shown to increase product sales, so we say: Definitely use them!

When people are uncertain about what action to take, they tend to do what others tell them to do. Using techniques like posting customer testimonials or stating the number of satisfied customers a brand has – will increase your mail piece’s response.

email-iconDirect Mail for Large Scale Corporations

On large scale direct mail campaigns, such as franchise mailings, direct mail with email and other digital campaigns, should allow a marketer or salesperson login to a web based solution, make a few selections, upload creative assets and hit ‘send’. This automation comes in handy for corporate businesses with several branches or franchise businesses, and this is something that can be set up by your direct mail partner when necessary.

Be Sure to Use Mail Tracking

Direct mail tracking should be available 24/7 so you can see deliver-ability and activity rates down to a specific piece of mail. Always look for solutions with direct mail tracking and use them with your campaigns to continually ensure you are sending the most effective offers.

 



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