Talon Mailing & Marketing

561 Acorn Street
Deer Park, NY 11729

(631) 667-5500


Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing February 2013 Newsletter.

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Five Design Tips For Direct Mail Marketing

By: Megan Webb-Morgan

Direct mail marketing is a great way for your business to reach new customers, target a specific demographic for leads, and test new advertising campaigns.

Unlike most types of online marketing, the efficacy of your direct mail campaign is easy to quantify with mailing and response data.

You can test and re-test new ad designs regularly within your direct marketing campaign. If you start out with a good design, you’ll get faster results and a greater ROI right off the bat. Follow these five design tips to improve your mailing’s chances of success.

1. Write Great Copy

The point of your direct mail campaign is to persuade your audience to buy your product or services. You may offer a coupon or special deal with your mailing, but in the end, your argument is what will convince the reader to contact your business for its products and services.

  • Your copy should provide a clear, easy to read argument for why your audience should take a specific action. It should be informative, but also easy to skim – utilize paragraph breaks strategically to create a clear scan path for the reader.

2. Improve Your Tag Lines

Brainstorming tag lines to catch your customers’ attention is a difficult process that can be made infinitely easier by writing your copy first. Once you have outlined your argument to the customer, it’s easy to pull out for emphasis key words and phrases that contribute to and complement your argument.
  • Don’t sacrifice copy quality for the sake of catchy or large tag lines. Your tag lines will catch your customers’ interest, but it’s your copy that will convince them to take the next step.

3. Use the Right Font

The font face you use in your mailings is extremely important. Since the selling point of your mailing is the copy, it needs to be readable in order to be effective. Exotic fonts, although effective from a design perspective, can hurt your bottom line if your audience can’t quickly glance down and understand it.
  • You have a little more leeway with headings to be creative, but for the body of your mailing, you should emphasize readability.
  • Use a simpler sans-serif font for maximum readability.

4. Be Careful With Colors

You may think that using lots of flashy colors in your mailing will grab your customers’ attention – but so does every other direct mail marketer who is targeting your customer. If your mailing looks like typical “junk mail,” it’s going to get thrown out without ever being read.
  • Use “selling colors” that are proven to work in marketing – red, yellow, and orange – rather than “trendy” colors.
  • Make sure that your background and text colors are high-contrast without clashing painfully.

5. Design with Postage in Mind

Besides your text, font face, and colors, there is one final element to your direct mail design: the size and shape of the mailing itself. Before committing to your package format, ensure that it is USPS compliant.
  • Compare the cost of producing and mailing various formats. Non-standard formats typically cost more, and a difference of ¼ or even 1/8 of an inch can be costly.
  • It may be easier to choose your format first, and then design your mailing to fit the format.

According to the Direct Marketing Association, US marketers send more than 90 billion direct mail items per year. In order for your mailing to stand out against the rest, it needs to have good design. To increase your initial ROI, make sure your mailing has good copy, is easy to read, and is in a standard format that’s cheap to produce and mail.

Direct Mail's Resurgence and New Role in Integrated Marketing

By Brian Wagner, Epsilon

Have you noticed anything different about the contents of your postal mailbox lately?

By looking in your mailbox, you might have noticed an increase in the numbers and variety of offers. Direct mail is very much alive today and continues to be the workhorse for many brand marketing efforts. It has been, and continues to be, at the very heart and soul of direct response marketing.

No matter the communication channel, the function and objective of direct response remains the same after all these years—a means of commerce allowing businesses and nonprofits to showcase their products, services and needs directly to customers around the globe.

What has changed is the communication and response channels marketers use to make their offers and maintain contact with prospects and loyal customers. Direct response channels continue to evolve, whether they are outbound channels carrying a brand message or response devices for placing one's order. Direct response has grown to include envelopes and self mailers, postage-paid mail, toll-free numbers, faxing, direct response radio and TV infomercials, as well as a host of new emerging digital technologies, including email, banner ads, search, digital targeting, webcasts and videos, PURLs, and QR and other 2D codes, with many more yet to come.

Survivors of Marketing's 'Perfect Storm

Unlike in other economic downturns, the most recent had become a marketer's "perfect storm." Starting in 2007, as the US entered its own economic turmoil, marketers were faced with paper cost increases, fuel surcharges and multiple postage rate hikes. Many marketers had become more cost conscious, and, as a result, many made drastic cuts and budget reallocations to new lower cost digital channels. This resulted in significant decreases in direct mail spending, as evidenced by lower mail volumes from 2007-2009.

The emergence of digital technological advances, as detailed above, has provided marketers with lower cost options to reengage their target audiences.  As engaging and dynamic an experience as these new channels are, they are not the be-all and end-all for acquiring and retaining customers. They really are a wonderful, new set of tools in the marketer's tool box, whose value needs to be understood through testing and learning and retesting.

However, the extreme pendulum shift from offline to online channels since 2007, and for some even earlier, may have been too severe. Today we read many industry articles, blogs and discussion group postings that speak of the value of a strategic mix—or rather an integration of direct response channels—as the best way to attract and retain customers.

There was a time when marketers had to compete for their targets' attention, designing amongst the clutter to stand out in an overcrowded postal mailbox. History seems to be repeating itself, but this time in our electronic inboxes.  Recipients have the power to use the delete key, and within seconds can clear out an overloaded inbox, or worst yet, just leave your message unread.

The greatest lessons marketers obtain come from testing offers, copy, lists, prices and frequency, as well as asking their customers their communication preferences through short surveys.

Epsilon Targeting completed channel preference studies in February 2008, February 2010 and recently in August 2011. The findings reported in The Formula For Success: Preference and Trust show that through economic turmoil, technological advances and channel proliferation, direct mail continues to deliver as consumers' preferred means of receiving marketing messages. The 2011 research shows that despite direct mail's reputation for being "old school" or expensive, it is the top choice of U.S. and Canadian consumers for receipt of brand communications in almost every category, including household products and services, insurance and financial, such as credit cards offers. One of the most interesting findings was the preference for direct mail, especially financial related offers, by the 18-34 year old demographic.

The Epsilon study suggests that brands should use a variety of media to build relationships, starting with trusted channels such as direct mail. The best approach is to engage the prospect or customer, asking through a quick survey poll for their channel preference(s); listening will only increase your share of wallet over the lifetime of that customer.

Direct mail, not surprisingly, has been staging a resurgence since 2010. Thomas J. Foti , the editor of Deliver Magazine , said in the February 2012 issue, "Last year saw the continuation of some monumental shifts in direct mail." A USPS Household Data Study, 'Mail Use & Attitudes in FY 2010 ' (pdf), reported that 12 percent of 2010's $171 billion spent on advertising was allocated to direct mail, and total advertising mail volume in 2010 was 83.5 billion pieces. The USPS reported that marketers mailed out 84 billion pieces in 2011, and project standard class mail to increase by 14 percent in 2016.

Furthermore, direct mail gets opened—your offers are seen, engaged with, tested and purchased. A 2010 USPS Household Diary Study (pdf) found that in 2010, more than 48 percent of all standard mail addressed to specific household members was read immediately, as opposed to only 39.6 percent of standard mail addressed to "occupant/resident."

Direct marketers are now at the best time and place in the history of our profession. With all the emerging tools at our disposal, marketers can craft effective, engaging and powerful direct mail packages that bridge the offline world to the online and enhance the user experience. PURLS and QR Codes can be added to envelopes, brochures and reply forms, to very effectively link to product videos or webcasts, or to download special white papers, coupons or other product related information. Bridging the offline and online worlds can drive new engagements across audience demographics.

Give your target audience the opportunity to embrace these new technologies within the time-tested direct mail package, and learn from their engagement and sales metrics.

Do your own market research survey and collect the mail that arrives at your home and office each day.  Categorize them as nonprofit, subscription, financial (mortgage refinance, credit card), auto insurance and periodicals, and perhaps sub-categorize by package type (envelope vs. self-mailer), and see for yourself. The greatest value of this resurgence is that you once again are able to engage and interact with interesting, valuable offers on your own time and in the privacy of your home.

Brian Wagner is a Senior Director Agency Account at Epsilon and is one of Epsilon’s Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in Direct response marketing> Brian has a vast amount of experience within pharmaceutical and other key business verticals (including publishing, health insurance and fundraising) and can be reached at 212-457-7144 or by email at bwagner@epsilon.com.

Post Office Announces Two New Promotions to Lower Postage Costs

The DIRECT MAIL MOBILE COUPON and CLICK-to-CALL promotions will run from March 1 to April 30.

Registration for both the Direct Mail Mobile Coupon/Click to Call and Earned Value Reply Mail promotions opened, January 15, 2013.   Companies that wish to participate – including those that participated in previous USPS Promotions and Incentives programs – need to register for each promotion on the Incentive Programs Service within the Business Customer Gateway.   

The Direct Mail Mobile Coupon/Click-to-Call promotion will run from March 1 to April 30. This promotion is designed to encourage customers to integrate hard-copy coupons in the mail with mobile platforms for redemption, and increase consumer awareness and usage of mail with mobile barcodes that provide click-to-call functionality.   

The Earned Value Reply Mail promotion will run from April 1 to June 30.  This promotion will be offered to mailers who use First-Class Mail Business Reply Mail (BRM) and Courtesy Reply Mail (CRM) enclosures.  To participate, mailers must register on the Business Customer Gateway with their permits, Mailer IDs (MIDs), and the Permit Imprint account to which future earned credits will be applied. Award amounts or credit will be applied to mailers’ Permit Imprint accounts.  Mailers may apply the earned credit to future mailings of First-Class Mail Presort and automation letters and Standard Mail letters.

Registration for promotions and incentives can be made through our web portal for USPS® business services: http://gateway.usps.com.

A recorded educational webinar about promotion registration and a demo of the Business Customer Gateway is available: https://ribbs.usps.gov/mobilebarcode/general.htm

More information on both promotions is available on RIBBS at https://ribbs.usps.gov/index.cfm?page=mobilebarcode

Win Brooklyn Nets Tickets!  

Enjoy a great day of Basketball!

We are giving away two tickets to see the Brooklyn Nets. 

All you have to do to win is be the first telephone caller (please don’t hit reply or send an email). Voice mail messages count so it's fine to leave a message.  Call Michael Borkan at (631) 667-5500 x 11.  These tickets are great seats! 

  • Wednesday February 13, 2013.  Nets vs. Denver 7:30 PM.

Do you know of anyone else who would be interested in receiving our newsletter?  Please let us know by email:  mb@talon-mailing.com

To learn more about our company, please visit our Web site: www.talon.com or contact Michael Borkan at (631) 667-5500 x 11.

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In this Issue:

Five Design Tips For Direct Mail Marketing

Direct Mail's Resurgence and New Role in Integrated Marketing

Post Office Announces Two New Promotions to Lower Postage Costs

Ticket Giveaway!

New Clients

Mike Borkan's Links - Web sites you probably haven't seen

View Samples of Our Work

Newsletter Archives

Direct Mail Humor!

New Clients:

Talon welcomes the following new clients this month to our growing roster of customers:
  • Island Pro Digital

  • Visual Citi

  • 8 New Lists from Statlistics

Mike's Favorite Links:

Some interesting links...

quixey.com - The Search Engine for Apps. Simply describe what you want to do and they will find the apps that do that.

catchafire.org - Matches professionally-skilled volunteers with nonprofits and social enterprises. We structure our volunteer opportunities to be short-term and discrete.

nextdraft.com - A quick, entertaining look at the day's top ten most fascinating stories.

powtoon.com - A free animated presentation tool that supercharges your presentations and videos! Save massive amounts of time and money by creating Powtoons that bring the WOW!-factor to product demos, business presentations, social media clips, and much more.

factsie.com - A fun and addicting site, it's packed with interesting and unusual historical and scientific facts.

8tracks.com - Listen to the best internet radio, crafted by people who know and love music. Or legally share your own online mix, a streaming play list with 8 or more tracks.

quantcast.com - Free direct audience measurement for all website owners including traffic, demographics, business, lifestyle, interests and more.

phrase.it - Add cartoon style speech bubbles to photos within seconds.

Work Samples:

Did you know Talon offers the following services? 

Click on the links below to see samples.

Direct Mail Humor!

Click on image below to enlarge.

Do you need help marketing to your clients?   Talon can help!  Call Michael Borkan at 631-667-5500 x 11 to learn how to increase revenue.

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