Talon Mailing & Marketing

561 Acorn Street
Deer Park, NY 11729

(631)-667-5500

www.talon.com

Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing May 2009  Newsletter:

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Using Direct Mail to Promote Consulting Services and Professional Practices.

By Robert W. Bly.

For dentists, consultants, attorneys, accountants, advertising agencies, public relation firms, and other organizations and individuals offering professional services, direct mail can be an effective means of generating a controlled quantity of highly qualified leads quickly and at low cost.

However, the majority of professional practices are unsuccessful with direct mail - largely because they do not understand how it works or how to use it. Following are some suggestions on how to successfully use direct mail to generate new business for consulting or professional services:

1. DEVELOP A PRIMARY OFFER.

The main reason direct mail for consulting services fails is the lack of a specific offer.

Lamely ending a letter with “Looking forward to working with you” or “I will call in a week or two” is certain to depress response to almost zero. If you tell people you will call them, they then have no incentive to call you first.

Far better is to identify the next step in the sales process and then tell the reader to take it.

Most consultants want the mailing to result in an initial meeting with the prospective client. Therefore, the letter might offer a “free, no-obligation initial consultation.”

Being more specific about the nature of this exploratory session and attaching a benefit to it will increase response. For example: “We will analyze your current insurance coverage at no cost and make suggestions that will reduce your annual premiums by 10 percent - or more.” Or: “Free exam.”

2. DEVELOP A SECONDARY OFFER.

The primary offer will attract those prospects who are most eager to do business today or in the near future.

However, this represents only a small fraction of the potential market. Therefore, a secondary offer is needed to attract those prospects who are not ready to meet right now but may have a need in three or six or 12 months.

This secondary offer is usually a free booklet, special report, brochure, fact sheet or other printed information the reader can send for by calling or mailing back a postpaid business reply card. I usually stress the primary offer in the body copy of my letter and the secondary offer in the P.S. For example: “P.S. To receive a free report explaining our four-step Market Planning Process, complete and mail the reply card today.”

Typically, from 50 percent to 90 percent of those who respond request the free information (secondary offer) rather than a face-to-face meeting (primary offer). Calling those who request the free booklet only and “selling” them on the benefits of a free consultation will reveal that 10 percent to 25 percent of the booklet requesters have genuine interest and can be talked into a meeting.

3. ENCOURAGE BOTH PHONE AND MAIL RESPONSE.

Always include a business reply card in mailings; its absence can depress response to almost zero. Some consultants feel that using a business reply card in a personalized mailing aimed at executive prospects is somehow unprofessional. This is nonsense.

Stress that the reader can respond either by mailing the reply card or calling. To encourage telephone response, mention the phone number in the letter copy, even if it appears on the letterhead. Omitting either one of these two basic response options (mail or telephone), will depress response.

4. ESTABLISH CREDIBILITY.

Prospects want to deal with consultants who are experts in their field. Here are some techniques that can build this sense of credibility into the direct mail package:

* Enclose an article you have written that deals with the topic of the consulting service being sold. This will help convince the prospect of your expertise.

* Enclose a recent article written about you. This establishes that you are a recognized authority.

* Mention some of your clients - especially well-known names in the prospect’s industry. If this would cause the prospect to worry about confidentiality, mention that you have obtained permission to list the names.

* Enclose copies of letters of referral written For you by your clients. Testimonials are extremely effective; they make prospects feel comfortable and confident in your ability to serve them successfully.

* Create a separate brochure that answers any questions the prospect might have about your service and lists your credentials. This kind of “full disclosure” alleviates anxiety and creates the impression that you are reliable and professional in your dealings.

* Include your photo on the brochure, unless you think your appearance is a negative (e.g., you are extremely young-looking or odd in grooming or dress). A photo gives prospects the feeling that they know you before they even meet or talk with you.

5. USE OTHER PROMOTION TECHNIQUES TO BUILD YOUR REPUTATION.

Direct mail is effective for generating immediate leads, but it is not the primary tool for enhancing credibility.

To build a professional reputation, you must engage in an ongoing program of self-marketing that includes such activities as: writing articles, writing books, newsletter publishing, speaking engagements, teaching, seminars, networking, and being active in industry organizations and local business clubs.

Performing these activities will lead to a higher response to direct mail because the recipient will have already heard of you when he receives your letter. Without these ancillary marketing activities, your name will be unknown, and response rates will be significantly lower.

About the author:

Robert W. Bly is a freelance copywriter and the author of more than 60 books including The Copywriter’s Handbook (Henry Holt & Co.). His e-mail address is rwbly@bly.com and his Web site address is
www.bly.com.


The Nation Gets Serious About Coupons.

By Ylan Q. Mui, The Washington Post.

A team of very nonscientific researchers has finally discovered one thing that can distract the nation from Britney Spears: coupons.

According to Google, searches for coupons have outstripped those for the pop train wreck since 2008.

In addition, Coupons.com reported that Washington area residents printed $2.85 million worth of coupons last month. The top items were ready-to-eat cereal, baby products and baking ingredients.

"A lot of my readers are now out of work," said Ashley Nuzzo, who runs the blog Frugal Coupon Living. "A lot of my readers are trying to make it from day to day."

She started "couponing" a year ago when she decided to stay at home with her new baby and the family had to live off her husband's salary. The blog began as a resource for her friends and family, who demanded to know how she found her phenomenal deals: Nuzzo estimates that she saves about $1,000 a month on groceries and toiletries.

Traffic to her site exploded as the economy tanked. Then Dr. Phil asked her on his show in February, and she's been swamped ever since. Here are some of her secrets:


-- Don't spend it right away. Wait for a sale and then double down by using your coupon, as well. For example, Nuzzo found a $4 coupon recently for a razor that normally costs $9.99. She waited -- and when the razor went on sale for $4.99, she got it for 99 cents.


-- Stay organized. Ashley enters all of her receipts into Excel and tracks her monthly expenditures, as well as her savings. She and her husband stay away from credit and debit cards. Ashley said cash keeps her accountable and is harder to hand over to a salesperson.


-- Set a bar. As a rule of thumb, Ashley refuses to buy anything unless it is discounted by at least 70 percent or costs less than $1.


Post Office Announces "Summer Sale".

This is unprecedented:  The Postoffice has never in their long  history held a sale but now they are seeking to have one this summer.

The USPS has announced details of its “Summer Sale” for standard mailers, and the response has been positive from the direct mail industry.

At first, marketers were worried they would not have enough time to take advantage of the sale. But having had some time to explore options, most are upbeat, says Hamilton Davison, executive director of the American Catalog Mailers Association, writes Multichannel News.

Some were initially concerned, but they have had a chance to speak with suppliers and have found that availability of supplies may not be as great an issue as originally feared, he says. He also pointed out that some catalogers, even if they can’t obtain additional merchandise to cover expanded house mailings, could use the summer sale opportunity to do deeper prospecting.

According to the tentative plans - which still need to be approved by the Board of Governors and the Postal Regulatory Commission - the sale will run from July 1, 2009, through Sept. 30, 2009, and will be available to those who mailed more than 1 million Standard letters and/or flats from Oct. 1 2007 through March 31, 2008. They will receive a rebate of 30% on any mail that is past what they mailed during the prior period.

Shortly, the USPS will submit its plans to the Board of Governors. The Postal Regulatory Commission is likely to make a decision by mid-June.


Win Yankee and Ducks Tickets!
 

Talon has great seats for you to win.

We are giving away two tickets to see the New York Yankees and the Long Island Ducks!  To win, be the first telephone caller (please don’t hit reply or email). Voice Mail messages count so it's fine to leave a voice mail.   Call Michael Borkan at 631-667-5500 x 11.  One set per winner.  All games will have fantastic seat locations. 

  • Sunday May 17th, Yankees vs. The Twins 1:05 PM.
  • Tuesday May 19th Long Island Ducks vs. The Newark Bears 6:35 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:

Using Direct Mail to Promote Consulting Services & Professional Practices.

The Nation Gets Serious About Coupons.

The Post Office Announces "Summer Sale".

Yankee & Mets Ticket Giveaway!

New Clients

Mike Borkan's Links - Websites you probably haven't seen.

View Samples of our work.

Newsletter Archives


New Clients:



Talon welcomes the following new clients this month to our growing roster of customers:

  • Hawii IPTV

  • Gammon Technical Products

  • KZS Advertising


Mike's Favorite Links:

Some interesting links...

Pcdecrapifier.com - Removes unwanted preinstalled software from Windows XP and Vista machines.

World War II Database - Articles and photos on the people, events, ships, aircraft, and books from World War II.  An excellent site.

ghin.com - Find someone's golf handicap and recent playing history.

livenewscameras.com - This is the site all you news-junkies have been waiting for. 

when.com - when to go; what to do.

old time radio - Classic broadcasts of vintage comedy, variety, detective, and adventure series from radio's bygone days.

radiolovers.com - Listen to hundreds of old time radio shows online for free: Superman, Groucho Marx, The Avenger, Gunsmoke, Sherlock Homes, and many others.


Work Samples:

Did you know Talon offers the following services? 

Click on the links below to see samples.


Newsletters Archives:

Click here if you wish to see old newsletters. 


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Samples


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