Talon Mailing & Marketing

561 Acorn Street
Deer Park, NY 11729

(631) 667-5500

www.talon.com

Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing July 2012 Newsletter.

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Do Small Businesses Need the U.S. Postal Service Anymore?

By Barry Moltz, Small Business Speaker, Consultant, and Author.

Many small-business owners still use the Post Office as a critical part of their marketing and communication strategy. Here are the top 10 reasons they want the USPS to survive.

As it says on the James Farley Post Office in New York City, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

Weather may not stop the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), but shrinking revenue might slow it down. With the increasing utilization of electronic communication and competition from private companies, the USPS is losing about $35 million a day. Recently, it lost $3.3 billion in the first fiscal quarter of 2012.

As its financial health continues to falter, the future of the Post Office looks very uncertain. Will it be the target of the next federal bailout? Will it be drastically scaled back or just shut down? Many small-business owners still use the Post Office as a critical part of their marketing and communication strategy. Here are the top 10 reasons they want the USPS to survive.

1. It's economical. The top reason small-business owners love the USPS is that it saves them money shipping their products. Favorite features include the flat rate shipping boxes and no added charge to send items to rural areas. Brenda at Naughty and Nice Lingerie states that since her products are relatively lightweight, none of the other shipping companies can beat the USPS shipping costs.

2. It works. With so much e-mail clogging up inboxes, many small businesses have gone back to direct mail model as a more successful way to reach customers and prospects. According to Keri Smyth of CarrotNewYork, “The postal service has been an integral part of how we reach teachers through an opt in postcard.”

3. It's classy. An e-mail thank you is nice, but many small-business owners rely on handwritten mailed notes to their customers. Christian T. Russell sees this as an important part of his “high-touch marketing.” He says that he has "found that very strategic, small scale use of handwritten notes can offer a tremendous return on investment."

4. Paper still matters. For small businesses, this is still a world filled with paper. As Shilonda Downing, founder of Virtual Work Team, says, “While my business is virtual, clients who aren't in my locale need to mail documents they want processed for bookkeeping and other things.”

5. Media mail. Although it takes longer than regular parcel shipments, the USPS gives special low rates to books and other types of media. Jamie at Sisters Grimm Bookstore says she would drastically have to increase her shipping prices if she was forced to use another method.

6. It offers business addresses. The P.O. box is critical for many people with home-based businesses. For example, it lets Paula Pant, owner of Cleopatra Properties, receive mail without disclosing her home address. Ironically, it also provides the required physical address needed by law on any e-mail mass-marketing communication.

7. It's relatively safe. The Web is still riddled with security risks. As one commercial for USPS states, letters have the added security of never getting a virus.

8. No one else can transfer the dearly departed. USPS is the only way to send cremated remains. Aura Neisius, at the Santa Rosa Mortuary, says without the Post Office, their business would be literally "dying."

9. It's how they get paid. Most of the accounts receivable small businesses collect are still “checks in the mail.” Even some electronic payments made by customers actually become mailed checks from the customer's bank.

10. It builds community. There is still a great historical attachment to the post office especially in small towns since no other organization ships to every single address in the country. It has always been a local gathering place for residents. Small-business owners also point out the helpful knowledge of the postal workers. For Joan McCoy, of Little One Books, it’s about tradition. “My grandmother always had a treat for the postman who delivered mail to her door every day. My mother still waits patiently for mail delivery so she can spend time going through the things people sent her.”

In its current form however, the U.S. Postal Service is not sustainable. As a quasi-government agency, it has to begin acting like a business. It's time to think about raising parcel shipping rates, terminating Saturday deliveries and spinning-off unprofitable post offices into franchises. This gets complicated since the USPS was authorized by the Constitution and it literally takes an act of Congress to make major changes, but with so many small businesses depending on it, the United States Postal Service is worth the effort.


Sometimes, It’s Good to Unplug…

By Ken Taub

There are Surely Benefits in Social Media Marketing, But There are Limits Too.

Recently, I completed a new website for a long-established auto glass company. The improvement over their prior site was dramatic, and the client was thrilled with the design, content and functionality of the site.

But as soon as the website was nearing completion, the client wanted a geography-based landing page for upping their Google Ad Word response, and as soon as that was completed, he inquired about creating a mobile website. I gave him the pros and cons, and then we also discussed the benefits of a micro site.

You get the picture: the marketing inclination was for all things online, mobile and social, which made sense in many ways for this business. But what was left out of the equation was targeted print advertising, localized promotions, custom-printed giveaways, and almost anything tangible. It was all digital.

So despite the client’s overall delight, and wanting to do more online, I felt it imperative to say: Hey, stop for a minute. You operated in five neighborhoods for years. You have to keep reaching out to these longtime neighbors and connect 1-to-1; promote your new corporate identity in affordable town papers and inform them, directly, what’s new with your company; have your neighbors display your logo on a baseball cap or a tote bag; and send them some eye-catching specials via direct mail.

It might sound laughable to say, but in the contemporary stampede for all things Social, I have to remind clients now and again: Print still works!

I like Facebook (most of the time), there’s a reason it now does a billion dollars in advertising each quarter. Search engine page ranking surely matters, and Google Ad Words makes a difference in upping site visits. But along with the benefits of online targeted ads and promos, there is the now also an extraordinary level of overlap and complexity in social media marketing.

Now, along with Search Engine Optimization, there are social promotion platforms, community platforms, social intelligence and social graphing software (so companies might predict, with increasingly complex algorithms, what you are interested in by what sites you visit and what you buy online – and next, that many of your online friends may be interested in the same things). Of course, companies pay for all these things – from Social Brand Engagement to Social Scoring – in the belief that ever more individually targeted online marketing and “engagement” is not only the latest but the best method to get consumers to take a look-see, and maybe even spend.

But while online and social media are essential in many ways, they are not the holy grail of marketing.

There is no holy grail of marketing. Survey after survey for decade after decade (yes, even now) has shown that for most advertising – in whatever form – it takes an average 5 to 10 contacts before a prospect pulls out his or her wallet to make the purchase. And guess what? All those contacts cannot be online. So if social media is not IT for every company and in every instance, then what is?

The same thing that has worked for the last 50+ years: a balanced, intelligently weighted promotional mix that consists of print advertising, social media, electronic media (be it TV, mobile phone apps, or product placement in a movie), 1-on-1 engagement (in personalized direct mail or in person), and something tangible (whether a coupon, a tote bag, a T-shirt, a poster, or a prize).

Think of your advertising not just as an attention-getting exercise of getting hits and online fans, but as an investment. And most of us know that the best way to invest… is to diversify.

Ken Taub is a copywriter, creative director and cross-platform marketing expert who specializes in B2B, consumer, medical, tech, health & fitness, and professional services advertising. Please see his site at www.kentaub.com and feel free to reach out.


Direct Marketing Really Works!

Direct mail marketing helps train the consumer to think of your brand when they are ready to buy.

When I heard the title of the book Waiting For Your Cat to Bark? by Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg, it reminded me why direct mail marketing is an effective workhorse in the marketing tool belt. It has interesting merit because it is based on the fact consumers are no longer responding to marketing messages the way Pavlov’s dog did to the ringing of the bell.

Whether the sound of the proverbial bell has become annoying to the consumer or they are just ignoring the marketing noise, consumers are requiring more and more personal touches and direct mail can do just that.

One of the many reasons direct mail works is it creates a direct “dialogue” with the consumer and through consistent mailings, the offer or brand messaging breaks through the marketing clutter.

As mentioned in the book, Mark Huffman, Advertising Production “Dean of How” at Proctor & Gamble put it this way.

“The mass marketing model is quickly breaking down. It was developed in a time when there were only three major TV networks and far fewer magazines – no Internet, no cell phone, no video games. National advertisers could decide when and how they engaged viewers by choosing in which TV programs and magazines they placed their ads.”

With the addition of iPads, Smartphones, and e-book readers, such as Kindle, consumers are receiving marketing messages from everywhere. Expecting the consumer to react to a marketing message with immediate response is like waiting for you’re your cat to bark. Your cat will never be a dog. Your dog can easily be trained to play fetch. Your cat may after a much longer training session be taught how to play fetch, but will only play fetch for as long as he/she wants to play fetch.

Consumers are no different. They make their purchase selections based on a whole new set of information gathering than they did in previous years and marketing messages need to adapt. It boils down to being in the mind of the consumer when they are ready, willing, and able to buy.

Direct mail when used properly, can deliver the right messages in the right time to the right people. Direct mail marketing accomplishes that through the targeted lead list, the right offer, at the right time when the consumer is looking for your services.

Much like a cat will allow you to pay attention to them when they want you to, consumers will respond to your marketing messages when they want to. Fine tuning your lead list and using direct mail marketing can insure that your message is in front of them, when they are ready to “play”.


Win Yankee Tickets!  

Enjoy a great day at Yankee Stadium!

We are giving away two tickets to see the New York Yankees. 

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 and close to the field! 

  • Tuesday July 31st, 2012.  Yankees vs. Orioles 7:05 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:

Do Small Businesses Need the U.S. Postal Service Anymore?

Sometimes, It's Good to Unplug

Direct Marketing Really Works!

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:
  • Sperry Federal Credit Union

  • W&A Publishing

  • 2 New Lists from Statlistics


Mike's Favorite Links:

Some interesting links...

sharethrough.tv - Discover the best online brand videos and the agencies that created them.

noexcuselist.com - The best place on the web to learn anything, free.

hundredzeros.com - A collection of best selling eBooks that are currently free on Amazon. You can download and read any of these books on your computer, mobile phone, tablet, Kindle or inside your favorite web browser. The list is updated every hour.

motionmathgames.com - A great and fun site to help children cultivate an intuitive mastery of math.

rawstory.com - A progressive news site that focuses on stories often ignored in the mainstream media.

fanfiction.net - the world's largest fanfiction archive and forum where fanfic writers and readers around the globe gather to share their passion.


Work Samples:

Did you know Talon offers the following services? 

Click on the links below to see samples.


Direct Mail Humor!

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


Newsletter Archives:

Click here if you wish to see past newsletters.  


Click on These Links to Learn More About Talon:

The Tour


Samples


Our Services


List Rentals


Postage Rates


Testimonials


Archived Newsletters


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Oasis


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