Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing November 2003 Newsletter:

 

To view this newsletter using your internet browser click here:

 


 

5 Stupid Ways to Screw Up Your Mail.

By Dean Rieck

 

A famous chess player once told me how he wins so many games. I had expected some arcane theory or secret formula. However, what he said was this: “I try to avoid making mistakes.”

 

I’ve never forgotten that bit of wisdom. And I’ve turned it into a personal mantra that has served me well, especially in direct mail: “Avoid mistakes before seeking brilliance.”

 

What sort of mistakes? After working with nearly 200 clients in every imaginable industry, I’ve seen lots of smart people doing lots of stupid things. But there are a few things I see again and again, each guaranteed to screw up your direct mail big time:

 

           

ü   Stupid Thing #1—Hire a “general” agency to create your direct mail. 

 

One of the world’s largest chemical companies sent me a self-mailer to review. I could tell at a glance that a mass market agency had created it. The copy was cutesy, full of pun-heavy, meaningless headlines. The design was garish, with wild colors and hard-to-read type styles. The offer was hidden. The response elements were buried. The central message was disjointed and unclear. 

 

My review consisted of two words: “It stinks.”

 

I have nothing against agencies that specialize in mass market or brand advertising, but most of them simply can’t do effective direct response advertising. So keep a safe distance between your direct mail and any agency without a direct marketing track record—say 500 miles or so.

 

 

ü   Stupid Thing #2—Plaster a clever teaser on every envelope you mail.

 

A teaser is a technique, not a requirement. But some people seem to experience physical pain at the idea of mailing a plain envelope. A financial services firm asked me to write a lead generation package. I delivered it, and my contact called to say some of my copy had been lost.

 

Me: Lost?

Client: Yes, there is no teaser copy for the envelope.

Me: I didn’t write any.

Client: Well the envelope can’t go out like that. What would the board of directors say?

Me: Are you mailing it to the board of directors?

Client: No, but they want a professional-looking package.

Me: Really? They should want a package that gets the best response possible. And in this case, I think that means using a plain envelope.

Client: Okay, well, our designer can come up with some teaser copy I guess.

The decision about whether to use a teaser depends on what you’re selling and your relationship with your prospects. And it depends on whether you want your ad to look like an ad. Sometimes it should. Often it shouldn’t.

 

 

ü   Stupid Thing #3—Spend two weeks on the flyer and two hours on the letter.

 

The old saying is still true: “The letter sells. The brochure tells.” So if you spend all your time on the tell, you just aren’t going to sell.

 

A newsletter publisher sent me a sample of a direct mail package that wasn’t working. The problem? The letter was a four-paragraph snoozer—little more than “Enclosed you will find, yadda, yadda, yadda.” The company president said his secretary wrote it.

 

Look, if it’s in an envelope, it needs a letter. And if you enclose a letter, it should sell. That’s where you make the personal connection. That’s where you make your pitch. That’s where you close the deal. A package can work without a brochure, but it will seldom work without a good letter.

 

 

ü   Stupid Thing #4—Buy first-class postage and third-class creative.

 

One New York publisher had a trade magazine they wanted to sell. Could I help them? Sure. So I gave them a quote for a package, but they said it was too much. To save money, they did it on the cheap with some local people.

 

I talked to them again some months later and guess what? The package bombed. Their “economy” mailing wasn’t very economical after all. They admitted this and said that’s why they were calling. Could I help them? Sure. So I gave them another quote. Again it was too much. They said they were on a tight budget because the first mailing didn’t do well!!!

 

Just shoot me.  Do you want the cheapest brain surgeon? Do you shop for economy parachutes? Do you pinch pennies on rattlesnake venom antidote? You get what you pay for.

 

           

ü   Stupid Thing #5—Guess, guess, guess instead of test, test, test.

 

Despite the image our industry has for being a bunch of bean counters, a frighteningly large percentage of businesses don’t test. Or don’t test properly.

 

One guy wanted me to help him sell a software product. He was using a self-mailer, but I thought he needed an envelope package. He said he had tested envelope packages and firmly stated that they didn’t work. But after asking a few questions, I discovered that he had done just one mailing….with a new offer…to an untried list…during a bad time of the year…without mailing it against his control.

 

Stand me up and shoot me again.   I don’t care how smart you are or how well you know your market or product. Until you run a properly designed test, you don’t know jack. And even then, you should test again just to be sure.

 

Avoiding stupid mistakes won’t guarantee success. But like the chess player, you will reduce your losses and thereby increase your wins.

 

Dean Rieck is an internationally respected direct response consultant, copywriter, designer, and president of Direct Creative. E-mail him at DeanRieck@DirectCreative.com or visit www.DirectCreative.com.

 


 

"Do Not Call" List Now In Operation. 

 

The national do-not-call list is now in operation, raising the hopes of millions of Americans who want to be rid of those annoying telemarketing calls.

 

The national do-not-call list is now in operation, raising the hopes of millions of Americans who want to be rid of pesky and annoying telemarketing calls.

 

But those who signed up may be disappointed when some calls continue.  That's because there are loopholes in the regulations that can allow some companies and organizations to continue to call. Meanwhile, the telemarketing industry - which temporarily blocked the "Do Not Call" implementation last month - is still in court challenging the regulations. 

 

More than 50 million Americans have signed up for the do-not-call registry maintained by the Federal Trade Commission.  The FTC predicts that more than 60 million residential phone numbers will be on the list before year's end. Consumers can add their numbers online at www.donotcall.gov or by calling 888-382-1222.

 

Companies selling goods and services by phone must delete registered numbers from their call lists or face fines of up to $11,000 per violation.

 

Still, many telemarketers will be able to continue calling because of exemptions in the rules. Charities and other nonprofit groups, such as college alumni associations and public radio stations, are exempt, as are pollsters and political campaigners.

 

In addition, a company may call consumers if they have bought, leased or rented from the firm in the previous 18 months or if they have inquired about or applied for something during the past three months.

 

Americans who continue to receive unwanted sales calls can file complaints with the Federal Trade Commission, said FTC spokeswoman Cathy MacFarlane.

 

The Talon newsletter will be sure to keep you posted as situations develop.

 


 

The most expensive homes in America by Zip Code.

 

Think the price of houses has become costly in your neighborhood?  Check out the rankings below of the most expensive homes in America.

 

Introduced by the U.S. Postal Service in 1963, zip codes were designed to make mail delivery faster and more effective. Zip  codes, an acronym for zoning improvement plans, quickly developed a different sociological meaning:  because zip codes often separated one neighborhood from another, they became indicators of wealth and status.

 

There are tens of thousands of ZIP codes across the country. Some have become fashionable and desirable, while others are on the perimeters of prestige -- or even further down the property pecking order.

 

Living within a desirable ZIP has its advantages, but it also has some drawbacks; property taxes can be higher, and residents usually become targets for every cold-caller and mass-mailer in the country.

 

Fame May Not Equal Fortune

 

When Forbes Magazine set out to determine the 10 most expensive ZIP codes in the country, they were surprised to learn that many of the most famous and most fashionable ZIPs didn't make the ranking.  To compile the list, Forbes used median home prices for 2002, the last full year for which numbers exist.  Forbes also interviewed dozens of local real estate agents, boards of Realtors and multiple-listing service providers, as well as third-party data providers (DataQuick Information Systems of La Jolla, Calif.).

 

What ZIPs failed to make the ranking? Beverly Hills, 90210, for example. Thanks to the popular TV show of the same name, this is may be the most famous ZIP code in the country, with a median home price of $1.042 million in 2002, but not pricey enough to break into the top 15.

 

The reason that Beverly Hills doesn't rank higher is that even though it may contain some of the world's most expensive properties, many homes there are also more modestly priced. Several of the ZIP codes on the list are smaller communities, where the real estate is limited and the zoning laws are predisposed to favor the affluent.

 

A Few Homes Can Influence The Rankings:

 

If there are relatively few property sales in the most exclusive communities and they have a high price tag this will keep the median home price in these ZIP codes especially high.

 

This partially explains why the most expensive ZIP code on our list includes Jupiter Island, Fla., where the median home price came in at $5.6 million. Jupiter Island (33455), which is a winter escape for some of the United State's oldest and richest families, isn't the only island: the ZIP which includes the five-mile-long enclave of Sea Island, Ga. (31561), also meets the requirement for the most expensive ZIP codes, thanks in part to its natural beauty, Addison Mizner-designed buildings and famous golf links.

 

Centre Island, N.Y. (11771), where Billy Joel reportedly bought a $22 million mansion last year, isn't the only ZIP code in New York state to make the list; Old Brookville (11545), also on Long Island, ties with Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. (92067), with a median home price of $1.7 million.

 

Although the list is dominated by California ZIP codes, the Gold Coast of Chicago (60611), where the median home price is $1.39 million, was a close runner-up, as was Purchase, N.Y. (10577), where the median home price came in at $1.348 million. Other New York runners-up include Rye (10580) in Westchester County and Sagaponack (11962) in the Hamptons, both of which ranked in the top 50; their median home prices were below $1 million, at $950,000 and $915,000, respectively.

 

It may be a consolation to 90210 residents that their ZIP code isn't the only famous one to be excluded: The 2002 median home price on Manhattan's Upper East Side (10021) was $727,500, and in Medina, Wash. (98039), it was $860,000, so neither of those reputably wealthy communities made it to the top.

 

Here is the list compiled by Forbes Magazine. 

 

The most expensive ZIP Codes:


ZIP

Community

Median price 2002

33455

Jupiter Island

$5,600,000

81611

Aspen

$2,600,000

31561

Sea Island

$2,232,000

33480

Palm Beach

$2,200,000

11771

Centre Island

$2,000,000

81435

Mountain Village

$1,925,000

94010

Hillsborough

$1,850,000

92067

Rancho Santa Fe

$1,700,000

11545

Upper/Old Brookville

$1,700,000

94957

Ross

$1,620,750

60611

Near North Side, Chicago

$1,390,000

10577

Purchase

$1,348,000

92662

Balboa Island

$1,325,000

94027

Atherton

$1,293,000

94528

Diablo

$1,267,500

94028

Portola Valley

$1,250,000

90402

Santa Monica

$1,250,000

02114

Beacon Hill

$1,135,000

93108

Montecito

$1,122,500

94024

Los Altos

$1,100,000

95030

Los Gatos

$1,084,500

96714

Hanalei

$1,067,500

77019

River Oaks

$1,065,000

90210

Beverly Hills

$1,042,500

94920

Belvedere Tiburon

$1,010,000

94022

Los Altos

$1,000,000

95070

Saratoga

$995,000

94507

Alamo

$961,250

33921

Boca Grande

$960,000

10580

Rye

$950,000

11962

Sagaponack

$915,000

92657

Newport Coast

$914,750

60043

Kenilworth

$912,500

94946

Nicasio

$885,000

94010

Burlingame

$880,000

90272

Pacific Palisades

$870,000

98039

Medina

$860,000

92661

Newport Beach

$845,000

90266

Manhattan Beach

$844,000

90274

Palos Verdes Peninsula

$837,500

93953

Pebble Beach

$823,000

92625

Corona Del Mar

$820,000

94123

San Francisco

$818,500

11959

Quogue

$815,000

10506

Bedford

$806,250

93921

Carmel

$794,000

90077

Bel Air

$790,000

94904

Greenbrae

$780,000

94301

Palo Alto

$780,000

91108

San Marino

$780,000

10504

Armonk

$776,500

10576

Pound Ridge

$775,000

92651

Laguna Beach

$765,000

94563

Orinda

$757,000

10528

Harrison

$756,500

94705

Berkeley

$755,000

90265

Malibu

$755,000

92118

Coronado

$750,000

94062

Redwood City

$750,000

94402

San Mateo

$749,000

60022

Glencoe

$748,000

11976

Water Mill

$748,000

10538

Larchmont

$747,500

92660

Newport Beach

$740,000

94506

Danville

$737,000

94114

San Francisco

$735,000

10021

New York

$727,500

11724

Cold Spring Harbor

$725,000

94939

Larkspur

$725,000

94118

San Francisco

$723,001

10583

Scarsdale

$717,500

92861

Villa Park

$717,500

94941

Mill Valley

$717,000

29482

Sullivans Island

$712,550

90211

Beverly Hills

$700,000

90049

Brentwood

$700,000

95120

San Jose

$700,000

93923

Carmel

$695,000

95014

Cupertino

$685,000

08738

Mantoloking

$683,250

94127

San Francisco

$682,000

90212

Beverly Hills

$680,000

92037

La Jolla

$680,000

95032

Los Gatos

$680,000

94306

Palo Alto

$679,000

92014

Del Mar

$678,750

94549

Lafayette

$675,500

10708

Bronxville

$675,000

33149

Key Biscayne

$674,750

93924

Carmel Valley

$665,000

92091

Rancho Santa Fe

$665,000

60093

Winnetka

$665,000

94970

Stinson Beach

$663,750

94030

Millbrae

$661,250

91011

La Canada Flintridge

$659,000

94025

Menlo Park

$654,000

33924

Captiva

$650,000

94707

Berkeley

$647,000

10514

Chappaqua

$647,000

94002

Belmont

$646,000

95618

El Macero

$645,000

94133

San Francisco

$645,000

91302

Calabasas

$642,000

94070

San Carlos

$641,000

10968

Piermont

$640,000

90275

Rancho Palos Verdes

$639,000

93109

Santa Barbara

$637,000

60045

Lake Forest

$636,250

94121

San Francisco

$635,500

95046

San Martin

$630,000

93066

Somis

$630,000

11978

Westhampton Beach

$630,000

21036

Dayton

$628,970

94087

Sunnyvale

$628,500

94556

Moraga

$628,000

94925

Corte Madera

$625,000

91436

Encino

$625,000

94115

San Francisco

$623,000

94018

El Granada

$615,000

10023

New York

$612,500

94611

Oakland

$609,000

94526

Danville

$606,500

22066

Great Falls

$605,000

94708

Berkeley

$600,000

10022

New York

$600,000

94618

Oakland

$600,000

94574

Saint Helena

$600,000

94960

San Anselmo

$600,000

21153

Stevenson

$600,000

94040

Mountain View

$598,250

10803

Pelham

$598,000

94065

Redwood City

$598,000

93908

Salinas

$598,000

20854

Potomac

$597,750

11930

Amagansett

$595,000

10510

Briarcliff Manor

$586,000

92130

San Diego

$585,000

95135

San Jose

$585,000

19085

Villanova

$584,900

94117

San Francisco

$584,500

94019

Half Moon Bay

$582,000

90254

Hermosa Beach

$580,000

94901

San Rafael

$579,000

94122

San Francisco

$575,000

94131

San Francisco

$575,000

60029

Golf

$572,500

90048

Los Angeles

$570,000

95033

Los Gatos

$570,000

94041

Mountain View

$570,000

94539

Fremont

$565,000

85253

Paradise Valley

$565,000

94061

Redwood City

$565,000

95129

San Jose

$565,000

21794

West Friendship

$564,690

94937

Inverness

$561,936

94116

San Francisco

$561,500

90036

Los Angeles

$561,000

93441

Los Olivos

$560,000

10028

New York

$560,000

94923

Bodega Bay

$559,000

89011

Henderson

$555,000

96821

Honolulu

$555,000

94566

Pleasanton

$555,000

94107

San Francisco

$555,000

93111

Santa Barbara

$555,000

95442

Glen Ellen

$554,500

10533

Irvington

$552,500

98040

Mercer Island

$552,500

90068

Los Angeles

$550,000

90027

Los Angeles

$549,500

94037

Montara

$549,000

22039

Fairfax Station

$548,500

92106

San Diego

$548,500

11932

Bridgehampton

$547,500

94038

Moss Beach

$547,500

92663

Newport Beach

$545,000

94903

San Rafael

$542,500

21405

Annapolis

$540,000

95066

Scotts Valley

$540,000

92075

Solana Beach

$540,000

20818

Cabin John

$536,000

94924

Bolinas

$535,000

10024

New York

$535,000

10570

Pleasantville

$535,000

94583

San Ramon

$535,000

94965

Sausalito

$535,000

10706

Hastings On Hudson

$533,000

33156

Miami

$532,500

11975

Wainscott

$532,500

94949

Novato

$532,000

95073

Soquel

$532,000

10804

New Rochelle

$530,000

94109

San Francisco

$530,000

94132

San Francisco

$530,000

95125

San Jose

$530,000

90290

Topanga

$530,000

22101

Mc Lean

$529,900

11977

Westhampton

$528,250

94403

San Mateo

$528,000

20816

Bethesda

$527,500

10536

Katonah

$527,500

10605

White Plains

$526,500

94404

San Mateo

$525,000

92127

San Diego

$523,500

94110

San Francisco

$523,500

20815

Chevy Chase

$522,500

93110

Santa Barbara

$522,500

95497

The Sea Ranch

$519,000

90056

Los Angeles

$518,500

92679

Trabuco Canyon

$517,000

96822

Honolulu

$516,550

90291

Venice

$515,500

94552

Castro Valley

$515,000

10709

Eastchester

$515,000

95746

Granite Bay

$515,000

93950

Pacific Grove

$515,000

93460

Santa Ynez

$515,000

94598

Walnut Creek

$515,000

95003

Aptos

$514,000

10560

North Salem

$512,500

11739

Great River

$510,000

98112

Seattle

$509,000

19035

Gladwyne

$507,875

92007

Cardiff By The Sea

$505,000

94951

Penngrove

$505,000

90740

Seal Beach

$505,000

60521

Hinsdale

$501,250

60091

Wilmette

$501,000

 

Sources: DataQuick Information Systems of La Jolla, Calif.; Palm Beach Association of Realtors; the Northwest Multiple Listing Service; the Long Island Board of Realtors; Multiple Listing Service of Long Island; the Chicago Association of Realtors/the Multiple Listing Service of Northern Illinois; the San Diego Association of Realtors; the Corcoran Group; the Houston Association of Realtors; Newport County Association of Realtors; Aspen Board of Realtors; Bill Fandel of Telluride Properties, the Telluride Association of Realtors; the California Association of Realtors; Jupiter - Tequesta - Hobe Sound Association of Realtors; Realtors Association of Maui; Greenwich Association of Realtors; Miller Samuel Douglas Elliman Manhattan Market Report; Sea Island Company; LINK, Listing Information Network

 


 

New Clients:

 

Talon would like to welcome the following new clients this month to our growing roster of clients:

 

            Mailing Clients

·       Gemglow

·       PQC Jewelry

·       Benchmark Business Data

·       Commercial Security

·       Affordable Designs

·       SSP International

 

New Mailing Lists Housed at Talon (we house over 600 mailing lists)

·       Health Info Strategies

·       Contractor Marketing

 


 

Mike's Favorite Links:

 

Here are some links you probably are not aware of:

 

 


 

Work Samples:

 

Did you know Talon offers the following services?  Click on the links below to see samples.

 

·        Color Laser Personalization

·        Bulk Email Blasts

·        HP High Quality Inkjet (near laser quality)

·        Data Entry (from 100 to 100,000 names and addresses)

·        Polybag and shrinkwrap services

·        Merge/Purge services with comprehensive reports that can instantly be retrieved from the internet

 


 

Newsletter Archives:

 

Click here if you wish to see old newsletters.  

 

 


 

Do you know of anyone else who would be interested in receiving our newsletter?  Please let us know

 by email:   mb@talon.com

 

To learn more about our company, please visit our web site: www.talon.com or contact Michael Borkan at (631) 667-5500 x 303.