Direct Mail Marketing vs. Junk Mail

Many people fear that their direct mail marketing campaign will be viewed as junk mail. Most junk mail is not personally addressed to the resident at a home. Direct Mail Marketing requires a more personalized strategy in order to grab the attention of the recipient. Strategic Marketing and Mailing offers tools and tips to help people create effective mail marketing campaigns. Here is some information on the difference between junk mail and direct mail marketing.

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What is Junk Mail?

You usually know it right away when you see it. You may receive promotional material addressed to Resident. Or catalogs featuring products you would never buy in a million years. Some of it gets sent to you from big companies or retailers you may have heard of. Some of it comes from local businesses plastering your area with their marketing materials. Regardless of how junk mail gets to your mailbox or who sent it, you are not interested so it ends up in the garbage bin.

  • Junk mail is not targeted. It is sent to large lists of people or addresses. Its objective is to wind up in the mailboxes of as many people as possible without regard to demographics, needs or shopping habits.
  • Junk mail is not personal. It may come addressed to “Our Neighbor” or “Current Resident.” If you bother to read it at all, you will notice that it is filled with sweeping generalities designed to apply or appeal to as many people as possible.

Big companies with immediate brand recognition and millions to spend on marketing may be able to get away with mailing as many pieces as they can to as many people as they can. They are hoping that some small percentage of recipients responds. You, however, probably don’t have the budget to try to market your product or service to everyone via direct mailings. Besides, this is not the best use of your funds. Junk mail is no way for you the small business owner to build credibility and bring in more business.

Direct Mail Marketing vs Junk Mail

Direct mail advertising is much different. When done properly, direct mail marketing works very well for small business. Junk mail does not.

  • Direct mail is personal and specific. It speaks directly to the prospect by name. It addresses a problem that the recipient has, fills a need, or fulfills a wish. It compels them to act.
  • Effective direct mail advertising is primarily focused on the prospect, not on you or your business.
  • Direct mail advertising is targeted. The recipients have been identified and chosen for a specific reason. Direct mail is not sent to every address within a range of zip codes.

The difference between junk mail and direct mail should be clear in your mind before you start your first direct mail campaign. Before you stuff that first envelope or drop your postcard in a mailbox, ask yourself whether you’re sending junk mail or not.


To read the full article click here: Direct Mail vs. Junk Mail

 

7 Direct Mail Service Tips

At Strategic Marketing and Mailing we are available to help you with every aspect of your direct mail marketing campaign. It is important to understand what works best for your direct mail marketing campaign and with our expertise and advice we can help create a great campaign that works for your company. Here is a great article we found that offers some great tips on how to create a successful direct mail marketing campaign.

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How to Find New Customers through Direct Mail Marketing

1. Save the postcards for vacation. The classic letter in an envelope has a much better chance of generating a significant response, in my experience. To most consumers, serious mail comes in a letter, which is private. The act of opening an envelope and unfolding the letter is engaging.

A few years ago my company created a two-page letter for a firm that was selling a $2,000 annual subscription service to advertisers and ad agencies. Our client had done fairly well with a post-card campaign. It was generating paid orders at a rate of about 0.75%. We thought we could do better. We created a letter to the ad agencies that said, “If you can send me an e-mail with the 4 letter code above, I’ll send you a secret that will help you land new business you didn’t even know was loose.” Each recipient had a private code, available only in the letter. Paid response increased to 11%.

2. Impose a deadline. Give recipients a valuable freebie that they can’t get any other way than by responding now. It should fit what you are selling. For instance, if you were a tax preparer trying to attract new clients for next year, you might send a mailing in January of 2008 offering the first 100 new customers a free leather binder to store their 2007 taxes – and tell them that the offer would expire on March 15. Potential customers who can’t procrastinate will act immediately.

3. Emphasize your product’s benefits, not just its features. Say you are selling a teapot with a spill-proof spout. Rather than simply mention the spout’s spill-proof shape, focus on the problems it will prevent: burned hands, ruined suits, etc.

How do find out what your prospects will value most about your product? Ask them. For instance, if you were selling the spill-proof teapot, you might want to chat with tea buyers at your local supermarket to find out what teapots they use and how these pots could be improved.

4. Outdo the competition. If you are a dry cleaner, and ABC Cleaners down the street is offering 20% off to new customers, give your regular customers 25% off as an incentive to stay loyal.

5. Use real people. I have found that when we include photos of actual customers or employees, rather than models, in our mailings, the response rates go up. Your direct marketing agency or art director can help you arrange an inexpensive photo shoot and get the permission you need to incorporate the pictures into your ad.

6. Rent the right list. List brokers will offer to sell you all kinds of lists. Ask for those with recent high responses to offers and products similar to yours. I suggest using a list broker who’s a member of the Direct Marketing Association (www.the-dma.org), a reputable trade group.

7. Get personal. If it looks like your letter and envelope might have been in the hands of a real human being at some point, customers will be more likely to open it. Sign your letter in blue ink. Use the same ink to highlight a paragraph or to add a margin note. (The art director on your campaign can help you add your black ink “handwriting” on the layout and change it to blue.) Try a real stamp (or stamps) on the envelope. The more unusual the stamps, the better.

To read the full article click here: How to Find New Customers through Direct Mail Marketing

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4 Ingredients of Mail That Sells

At Strategic Marketing and Mailing, we are experienced in all things related to direct mail marketing services. Our business not only involves marketing and mailing, but we love to help other people build brands through direct mail and marketing services by providing tips of the trade. To create a successful direct mail marketing campaign you need to grab the attention of your audience. If you are familiar with the group you are targeting then this will not be a hard thing to do with a little creativity. Here are some great tips on how to send mail that sells.

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1. Attention

If you know what your customers want, it’s not hard to get their attention. Just think about the biggest benefit your product or service can provide and dramatize it.

A gardener or landscaper, for instance, can get attention by mailing a bag of seeds. A fabric store can cut up scrap remnants and send them to potential customers as samples. Set your imagination free. Imagine a company that converts paper files to digital-they could send file folders overflowing with papers.

Words, too, can be powerful attention-grabbers. There’s nothing wrong with a big, bold headline that says something as simple as “January Sale.” Or as provocative as “Save Your Back.” Both sell snowblowers, but from different points of view.

Just be careful not to get too clever. A professional writer may know how to begin with “Think small.” Your beginning, however, will be much more successful if you get right to the point: “How much time do you lose to computer crashes every week?”

2. Interest

Now that you’ve got a customer’s attention, don’t disappoint. Hold their interest with important, relevant details about what you’re selling.

If you’ve used the “January Sale” or “Save Your Back” headline, show a picture of the snow blower. Or at least write a very clear, bold statement that you are talking about a snow blower.

Short, simple sentences keep a reader’s interest best. As does believable, everyday language. Readers, for instance, tend to tune out clichés like “We are committed to providing the ultimate in quality and service.” Instead try saying, “We have hundreds of satisfied customers. If you’re not happy with our service, we’ll give you your money back.” It proves quality and service.

3. Desire

This is where you really excite the customer for what you’re selling. It’s giving your customer an opportunity to imagine what it’s like to own and use your product.

You can build desire with a beautiful picture of a new ski jacket. You can use a detailed description of how the microfibers adjust to your body temperature, keeping you warm on the lift and cool on the slopes. Or you could use both.

The key to building desire is to focus on benefits, not features. A feature tells you what the product has, like a “hyper-fast Internet connection.” Benefits, on the other hand, tell you how that feature improves your life. A hyper-fast Internet connection lets you “listen to music on the Internet without jarring pauses, and lets you get more work done in less time.”

4. Action

Now that you’ve got people’s attention, interest and desire, don’t forget to ask for the order. It’s not enough to say, “Buy now.” Give a compelling reason to visit your store or call your company immediately.

For instance, “We only have 25 of these amazing ski jackets in stock. First come, first served” compels action. So does “This offer expires November 23.” Professional mailers have noticed that they get more responses when they put an expiration date on the offer.

You can even apply this urgency to a service business: “If you would like us to prepare your tax return, please call our office for an appointment before February 15.”

Just be clear. And be direct.

To read the full article click here: 4 Ingredients of Mail That Sells

Direct Mail Back to Basics: 7 Tips to Boost Response in Today’s Crazy Economy

At Strategic Marketing and Mailing, we are experienced in all things related to direct mail marketing services. Our business not only involves marketing and mailing, but we love to help other people build brands through direct mail and marketing services by providing tips of the trade. Today Strategic Marketing and Mailing is offering seven direct mail marketing tips to boost response in the new economy.

Direct Mail Back to Basics: 7 Tips to Boost Response in Today’s Crazy Economy

1. Sell Things People Want 
In general, direct marketing is not about creating markets but locating existing markets. It’s a business-to-buyer avenue of selling that is streamlined, efficient and profitable—but only when a market wants what you are offering.

For example, a few decades ago only hard-core geeks would buy a computer by mail. Computers were neither understood nor wanted by the general public. Now, such purchases are common because a wide market exists.

2. Sell Solutions to Problems, Not Products 
No one cares about your widgets. What they care about are their own needs and wants. Bob doesn’t want a drill, he wants a hole. Mary doesn’t want a dress, she wants to look thin at the party this Friday. Alice doesn’t want an investment newsletter, she wants to find a great investment that will let her retire at 45. Ted doesn’t want a recipe book, he wants new ways to impress his friends at dinner parties and generate the compliments he thrives on.

3. Appeal to Emotion First, Reason Second 
Most direct marketers are number-crunching, logical people. It’s easy for us to fall into a cold, left brain, bullet-pointed, 714-reasons-why type of sales pitch. However, people make decisions in the right brain based on emotion. Then they justify that decision with logic. To set up a sale, appeal to emotion first. Then, to close and confirm the sale, use logic.

4. Use Proven Techniques 
While there is no set of universal techniques for all circumstances, there are a few that are nearly universal. According to Bob Stone , the guru of gurus in direct marketing:

  • A yes/no offer usually out-pulls offers without a no option.
  • A negative-option offer usually out-pulls a positive option offer.
  • An offer with a time limit usually out-pulls an offer with no time limit.
  • An offer with a free gift usually out-pulls discount offers, especially when the gift closely matches your prospect’s self-interest.
  • Sweepstakes usually increase order volume, especially for impulse items (though sweepstakes customers will not be loyal).
  • Benefits out-pull features.
  • The more involved you can get people, and the more they read, the greater your chance for success.
  • Envelope packages usually outpull self-mailers.

5. Value Content Over Form

One of the primary reasons advertising fails is that ad creators often get caught up in a creative vision without having anything to say.

One agency has repeatedly sent me mockups of mailers and brochures with tiny blank spaces it wants me to fill in with copy. When I ask about the purpose of the piece or point out that the design should be based on what needs to be communicated, I am gently told to just write something the right length and everything will work out fine.

This is nonsense. Don’t start with a “look,” start with content. Allow your design to develop naturally from your copy.

6. Make Sure You’re Doing Direct Marketing 
Every direct marketing message includes three basic elements:

  1. an offer;
  2. enough information for immediate acceptance of the offer; and
  3. a mechanism for responding to the offer.

Without each of these, you are not doing direct marketing but merely using a medium associated with direct marketing.

7. Consider Two-step Sales 
There are two basic ways to make a sale in direct marketing:

  1. the single shot, where you get an immediate order; or
  2. the two-step, where you generate inquiries and attempt to convert those inquiries into sales.

If your product is expensive, complex, new, hard-to-understand, or requires a major commitment of some kind, two-step sales may net you more profit in the long run than single shots.

To read the full article click here: Direct Mail Back to Basics: 7 Tips to Boost Response in Today’s Crazy Economy

14 Responsive Direct Mail Marketing Tips

At Strategic Marketing and Mailing, we are experienced in all things related to direct mail marketing services. Our business not only involves marketing and mailing, but we love to help other people build brands through direct mail and marketing services by providing tips of the trade. Today Strategic Marketing and Mailing is offering some 14 responsive direct mail marketing tips.

1. Mail Often: Mail regularly and mail often, but make your mailings relevant and interesting. The more often you mail to your mailing list, the more you’re at the front of those customer’s minds when it comes time to buy.

2. Use Testimonials: Ask your customers to write a review of your business or product, then send a copy to your mailing list with an invitation to visit you … and throw in a coupon with an expiration date as an extra incentive!

3. Use a Loyalty Program: Reward your customers for continuing to do business with you. Setup triggers that alert you when customers have reached a certain purchase level (or track and collect 5 to 10 “punch cards”) and mail them out a note recognizing the accomplishment along with a coupon or discount as a special thank you.

4. Create a Referral Program: Ask your best customers to provide you with names and addresses of friends and colleagues whom they think would benefit from your products and services. Send these referrals a promotional offer and reward the original customer with a gift as well. Don’t forget to use an incentive to get your customers to join the program.

5. Hold a Seminar or have a Guest Speaker: Conduct a training seminar or organize a speaking event that ties into your product offerings and invite your mailing list. You’ll be educating your customers and your guest speaker gets exposure while you get increased traffic to your business.

6. Send a Monthly Newsletter: Feature new products, timely tips, employee of the month, ideas for products, upcoming events and seasonal sales. It’s great for getting new customers interested in your business while also keeping existing customers informed and involved.

7. Mail a Coupon Calendar: Send your customers a monthly calendar where certain days are coupons. You’ll be amazed at how many sales a single calendar mailing can produce. To cut down on printing and mailing costs, you can include this calendar as a page in your Monthly Newsletter.

8. Celebrate Special Occasions: Make sure you note special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries of customers and their significant others, then use that information to show your appreciation of them. About two weeks before a special occasion, mail out a couple of coupons … one for something FREE and one with a special discount.

9. Conduct a Monthly Contest: Mail your customers a contest slip they can fill out and submit for a monthly drawing. This brings people into your store and helps expand your mailing list for future promotions. This too can be part of your Monthly Newsletter.

10. Throw a Private Sale: Mail your loyal customers an invitation to a private sale and give them an extra discount, or a chance to buy at sale prices the day before a public sale. Customers appreciate you acknowledging their loyalty.

11. Have a Block Party: Get other businesses in your area to join forces for a block party. Bring in rides, games, clowns, or other attractions. Make a big sidewalk sale part of the event. Advertise, Advertise, Advertise! Before the big event, mail coupons and special discounts to your list and ask your partners to do the same.

12. Give back to the Community: Send out a letter to all your customers announcing that a certain percentage of sales during a specific period will be donated to a local charity and ask them to be partners in that endeavor.

13. Mail Customers convenient Reminders: “You’re due for an oil change”, “Time for Fido’s grooming again”, “Wow, Anthony’s turning 10! Time for some bigger shoes!”. Customers respond well to reminders like this and appreciate you taking the time and effort … even though it’s an ad, it’s still a nice  reminder for a product or service they know they need.

14. One final tip, if you offer a nice benefit for replying, then arrange for postage paid return … response rates can hit 8% or more!

To read the full article click here: 14 Responsive Direct Mail Marketing Tips

10 Direct Mail Marketing Tips

At Strategic Marketing and Mailing, we are experienced in all things related to direct mail marketing services. Our business not only involves marketing and mailing, but we love to help other people build brands through direct mail and marketing services by providing tips of the trade. Today Strategic Marketing and Mailing is offering some information about direct mail marketing. Building an audience, target the right audience and creating quality mailing material is key to direct mail marketing.

10 Direct Mail Marketing Tips

1. Get a list

Part of the 40/40/20 rule of direct marketing is knowing who your audience is and being able to target that audience with your direct mailers. This will save you a lot of money and increase your return on investment. Building your own list can be tedious and unscientific at best; and it’s easy to get scammed by online companies selling dirty lists full of false leads that cost you a lot of money. The best thing you can do is purchase a targeted consumer or business mailing list from a reputable company such as PsPrint, which will walk you through narrowing your niche so you get the best leads possible.

2. Add value

Another tried-and-true tenant of the 40/40/20 rule of direct marketing is the value-added promotion. You’re wasting your money if your direct-mail marketing promotions don’t include sales, rebates or bonuses. The key is to give your audience a reason to purchase now, so make your offer truly unique and big enough to provide great value to your customers without breaking your budget. Make the offer time-limited to maximize your return on investment and have prospects redeem a coupon or offer code so you can measure your campaign’s success.

3. Look great on paper

Having a great design that stands out and also works to reinforce your message is essential to direct-mail marketing success. Make sure you follow basic design rules, but don’t be afraid to get creative. If you don’t have the software or inclination to create stunning professional designs, hire a graphic designer. The credibility that a professional design lends to your direct-mail marketing materials is well-worth the investment.

4. Use a great printer

Find a printer with a reputation for quality and customer service, and order a sample kit. Most companies such as PsPrint will send you samples free of charge so you can see the quality of their finished materials firsthand. Pricing should not necessarily be the determining factor. In the printing world, you often get what you pay for and your company will not benefit from sending out direct-mail marketing materials with streaks or poor color quality.

5. Let your printer do the mailing

Most reputable printing companies have a mail house, or partner with mail houses, to deliver your direct-mail marketing materials. This can save time and money, because your mailing list can be addressed as the materials are printed. You won’t have the extra costs associated with shipping your materials from one place to another before actually mailing them to your prospects. What’s more, good printing companies are knowledgeable in printing regulations and postage pricing, so they can get you the best deal possible on bulk mailings.

6. Write effective copy

Great promotional copy identifies with the target audience through features and benefits. For instance, it’s not enough to simply say that a pair of sunglasses has 100 percent UV protection (the feature). You have to tell your audience that this will save their eyes from the sun’s harmful rays (the benefit). Many features have multiple benefits, and a good copywriter will pick them out. You must also motivate prospects through a call to action, which directly relates to your great offer. If you’re having trouble writing your own copy, your return on investment could be boosted by hiring a professional.

7. Choose the right medium

Will your audience respond better to a postcardbrochuregreeting card or sales letter? What emotions does the subject matter invoke? Choosing the right medium for your message’s delivery is as important as the message itself; and pulling it off in a professional and creative manner is even more essential. Consider using professional-grade paper and die cuts to shape your materials to help them stand out from the crowd, and perhaps a touch of gloss to earn instant credibility and long-term brand recognition.

8. Be the customer

Take a step back from your direct-mail marketing efforts and approach them as your prospects. How would you react to your materials? Is the offer strong enough? Does the brochure/postcard/flyer look credible? Do you just have to possess what they’re selling? Now, run it by friends, family members, co-workers and even passers-by to get their honest reactions. If you can’t convince them, you need to tweak your campaign.

9. Test the market

Many companies have wasted a lot of hard-earned marketing dollars, because they didn’t test the market. Before you launch a full-blown direct-mail campaign, you should always test against a smaller market to determine your rate of return. If you can’t make sales off a small portion of your target audience, you’re not likely to realize much more success with a larger demographic. Many companies even weigh different campaigns against one another, but if you don’t have the budget for that just remember to start small and make tweaks as necessary.

10. Follow up

This is another oft-ignored policy that can yield huge dividends. Following up with your prospects can snag a large number of sales in a short amount of time. The more personal you can make it, the better. Try following up a postcard with a brochure or sales letter personalized to the recipient (your printer can do this for you). A phone call could also be warranted, as long as it’s appropriate. Try collecting phone numbers and permission to call with more information as part of your call to action and offer to get the highest-quality leads for your follow-up.

To read the full article click here: 10 Direct Mail Marketing Tips