Talon Mailing & Marketing

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Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing March 2011 Newsletter.

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Internet "Do Not Track" Bill Introduced in Congress

by Alison Diana, InformationWeek

An Internet version of the popular "Do Not Call" telephone legislation took a step toward reality recently, when a California Democrat introduced legislation in Congress designed to let consumers block unwanted tracking of their information online.

Written by Rep. Jackie Speier, the "Do Not Track Me Online" bill authorizes the Federal Trade Commission to enact and enforce regulations that give consumers the right to bar organizations from tracking their activities as they use the Internet. Under the "Do Not Call" legislation, most advertisers were prevented from calling people who proactively signed up on a list of consumers who requested not to receive telemarketers' phone calls. Speier introduced a companion bill, the Financial Information Privacy Act, to allow consumers to control the sharing of their financial information.

"These two bills send a clear message -- privacy over profit," Speier said, in a statement. "Consumers have a right to determine what if any, of their information is shared with big corporations and the federal government must have the authority and tools to enforce reasonable protections."

Consumer Watchdog, a non-profit and non-partisan advocacy group, praised the proposed law.

"Consumers should have the right to choose if their private information -- from shoe size, to health concerns, to religious beliefs -- is collected, analyzed, and profiled by companies tracking activities online. 'Do Not Track' is the simple way for consumers to say 'no thanks' to being monitored while they surf the Web," said Carmen Balber, Washington director for Consumer Watchdog, in a statement.

Many Americans have concerns about online privacy, according to a Consumer Watchdog study, conducted in summer 2010 of 1,000 likely general election voters. At that time, Google made international headlines, as governments in countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany, as well as in a number of states such as Connecticut, scrutinized the company's collection of personal information using its Street View cars.

While Google received an overall 74% favorable rating, nearly two-thirds of those polled (65%) say the so-called Wi-Spy scandal is one of the things that "worries them most" or a "great deal," with another 20% saying it "raises some concern" when considering Internet issues, found the study.

In October 2010, Facebook and MySpace came under fire when the Wall Street Journal discovered many of the social media sites' gaming partners were sharing user information with advertisers. Last Thursday, Google published in Europe a filing for a social networking facial-recognition patent, InformationWeek reported Monday.

"Right now much of the online advertising market is based on unauthorized spying on consumers," said John Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog's Inside Google Project, in a statement. "A 'Do Not Track' mechanism would give consumers better control of their information and help restore their confidence in the Internet. That's a win-win for consumers and business. What kind of lasting business can be built on snooping on your customers?"

In the Consumer Watchdog poll, 90% of respondents support the concept of creating more laws to protect the privacy of personal information. Of those, 67% said it is "very important" to do so, the study said. Of those surveyed, 86% favored a "make me anonymous" button and 84% liked a rule that prevented online companies from tracking personal data or Web searches without users' explicit, written approval, the study found.

Nine Easy Steps to Direct Mail Success

Many businesses use direct mail as a method of acquiring new customers. Your mailing piece must be well written to achieve the type of response that will make the effort worthwhile, especially financially, since postage and printing costs make it an expensive method of advertising.

But it works! Well-written direct mail can bring in hundreds or thousands of new customers. Your writing efforts are not merely a cost in constructing a direct mail letter; in fact, you can help a company earn substantially more as a result of a successful direct mail campaign.

Effective direct mail creates an image in a client's mind. That vision is primarily one in which the person's life will be enhanced by the purchase of the product or service being advertised. This is your goal: to help the potential customer see how much better things will be because of what you are advertising in the letter.

Here are 9 ways to make a direct mail letter effective.

1. The opening of the letter should be treated with the same reverence as a headline.  You have to grab the reader's attention quickly and make him or her want to keep on reading. It may be the outside of the direct mail envelope that starts the process. If it's good enough, the person tears open the envelope and begins reading. Then the headline and first paragraph of the letter must create the same effect to keep the person reading.

2. There must be reasons to keep reading, usually in the form of some benefits.  Because the person opened the envelope, there is a free offer. Then, when reading the first paragraph, more benefits jump out: the value of the service or product, perhaps. Put in a good benefit with each paragraph and keep the paragraphs short!

3. Do not offer benefits that are not believable.  Do not make promises you cannot keep. The idea is not to make people skeptical, but to make them see the tangible benefits that you offer are valid. To this end, be specific. General terms usually provoke disbelief, while actual specifics are shown to have more honest-sounding appeal.

4. Understand the product or service yourself.  Would you buy it? If so, why? If you understand why you would buy it, you can set about convincing people using those same thoughts.

5. Use third party affirmations, if available.  If it is only your copy, it will not leave as good an impression as the insertion of a few outside quotes from others, testifying to the effectiveness of the product or service.

6. Simplicity sells! Short sentences. Short paragraphs.  Easy words. You are not out to win the Pulitzer Prize. You only want individuals to respond to your letter. They will if they understand the benefits of doing so. Keep it simple!

7. Be explicit with your instructions.  The letter must not only detail the great benefits, but also tell the person exactly what he or she must do to obtain them. Be specific and make it easy to respond; including a postage-paid card or a toll-free number is usually a great method.

8. Freebies earn responses.  Giving something away usually helps the response dramatically.

9. Convince the reader that the product or service being advertised is backed up by a strong company that guarantees the results and benefits detailed in the letter.  Readers must be convinced of the authenticity and the ability to back up the strong comments within the letter.

By following these nine simple steps, you can create a profitable direct mail campaign.

Looks Like You Don't Have Mail!

by Sharon Gaudin, Computerworld

Feel like you're e-mailing less than you were, say, even just a year ago? If so, you certainly aren't alone.

According to a comScore report on digital trends in 2010, the use of Web-based e-mail has begun to drop. The culprit? That's easy. People are increasingly shifting to instant messaging, posts on social networks and texting on their mobile phones.

"As communication platforms and devices continue to proliferate, the usage of Web-based e-mail has begun to decline," noted comScore analysts in the report. "Total Web-based e-mail usage declined 8% in the past year, with the most precipitous decline occurring among 12-17-year olds."

That, according to comScore, doesn't bode well for the future of this communication tool. Webmail usage among teenagers actually dropped 59% in the past year.

Teens aren't alone. There was an 18% decline in usage among 25-to-34-year-olds and an 18% drop among those between 35 and 44 years old, reported comScore. Those who are 45 to 54 years old also saw a 12% drop.

Who's using Web e-mail more than they were a year ago? Older users. According to comScore, usage among 55-to-64-year-olds was up 22% in the past year. And those over the age of 65 saw a 28% increase. Since older people are increasingly getting online, they're apparently trying out e-mail as a new (to them) form of communication.

ComScore monitored two million users worldwide for the past year to accumulate data for its report.

This isn't the first report that e-mail, once the golden child of online communication, has lost some luster.

Last August, a Nielsen Co. survey reported that, in terms of online popularity, e-mail was taking a back seat to both social networking and online gaming.

According to the Nielsen survey, Americans last summer were spending nearly a quarter of their online time posting on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, making that the most popular online activity among Americans.

Online gaming was the second most popular online activity, accounting for 10% of online use. E-mail came in third, with 8.3%.

That's a drop from June 2009, when e-mail was the second-most popular online activity, accounting for 11.5% of Internet usage.

  Ticket Giveaway!   

Talon has great seats for you to win.

We are giving away a pair of tickets to see the New York Islanders!  To win, be the first telephone caller (please donít hit reply or email). Voicemail messages count so it's fine to leave a message.   Call Michael Borkan at 631-667-5500 x 11. 

  • Tuesday, March 8th, 7:00 PM.  Islanders vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

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:

Internet "'Do Not Track" Bill Introduced In Congress

Nine Easy Steps to Direct Mail Success

Looks Like You Don't Have Mail!

Islanders 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:
  • Vend 3

  • The Energy Report

  • 5 New Lists from Statlistics

Mike's Favorite Links:

Some interesting links...

businessinsider.com - Tremendously informative business news site.

Govexec.com - News on our government. This site is especially helpful if you do or want to do business with the government.

OldFunGames.com - Free classic games played on your Web browser.

Listverse.com - A site dedicated to top 10 lists of trivia from a variety of categories - the most popular of which are top ten lists of bizarre and truly interesting things.

Art Project - Powered by Google, you can explore museums from around the world, discover and view hundreds of works of art at incredible zoom levels, and even create and share your own collection of masterpieces.

Sensr.net - Grab a netcam, aim it at something interesting, and sensr.net will alert you via email or text if anything happens.

Work Samples:

Did you know Talon offers the following services? 

Click on the links below to see samples.

Newsletter Archives:

Click here if you wish to see past newsletters. 

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