Talon Mailing & Marketing

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Deer Park, NY 11729

(631) 667-5500


Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing November 2010 Newsletter.

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Five Insider Tips to Effective Direct Mail Campaigns

by Lynne Saarte

Designed with sharp attention to detail and realistic strategy, direct mail such as postcards, flyers, and sales letters is now a good way to achieve high return of investment.

It is not surprising that many business owners have regarded direct mail as the "Shrek" of print marketing. Why would it not be? It is loud, misleading, and messy, often sent to unknown recipients around the globe.

Fortunately, direct mail marketing is now improved and created more cost effectively,  causing many business owners to find the rewards this technique has to offer. Designed with sharp attention to detail and realistic strategy, direct mail such as postcards, flyers, and sales letters is now a good way to achieve high return of investment. If you are considering embarking on a direct mail campaign today, here are smart tactics for you to consider:

1. Know what works and what does not.

People receive lots of letters in their mailbox each day. The next time you get your mail, observe which mail catches your attention first and what repels you. Are there a lot of advertising mails in your box? Chances are most of the mail you received is junk mail. It is best to study this type of mail to recognize what should be avoided when creating your direct mail materials.

2. Educate through your materials.

Keep in mind that your target customers do not know anything about your products. So, make sure to educate them with your materials. To do this, your headline should be good and catchy to grab attention easily. You can include provoking images and text in your materials, but make sure to create copy that is direct and to the point. Use words that are easy to understand to clearly and accurately communicate your message.

3. Be careful with color choices.

A colored material would always catch attention first than black and white. But this does not mean that you should use any color your desire. The wrong choice of color would channel the wrong impression to your readers. If you want simplicity and freshness, you can always go with ward colors. But if you want to go loud, choose bright colors. The best way to decide on which color to choose is to think about your product and your business. What image would you like people to see in you? Once you have answered that question, then it will be easier for you to decide. Make sure to check with your printer to see if your color choice is available and is affordable.

4. Decide on what material to use.

There are basically a lot of materials you can choose from in direct mail marketing: postcard printing, sales letters, brochures, and flyers. Each medium can be created in varying prices. If you want the cheapest way, then go for post cards because they cut down cost by eliminating the need for envelopes. Whichever medium you use, make sure to use high quality paper to effectively and clearly deliver your message. Keep in mind that inexpensive paper delivers a different image compared to high quality paper, so be careful with the paper you use.

5. Make it personal.

Nothing can be more convincing than a personalized message written specially for the recipient of your direct mail. Keep in mind that people look for a sense of familiarity in businesses they want to transact with. So, if you want them to check out your mail first, then emphasize their importance to your business by creating a personalized message.

About the Author:
Lynne Saarte is a writer who hails from Texas. She has been in the Internet business for some years now, specializing in Internet marketing and other online business strategies.

Mail Groups Feel Vindicated by PRC Rate Decision

by Larry Riggs, Direct Magazine

Mailer groups were pleased and felt vindicated with the Postal Regulatory Commission’s decision to reject the U.S. Postal Service’s exigent rate hike request. That would have raised rates an average of 5.6%.

Recently, the PRC denied this request, stating that the postal service failed to justify why these increases should exceed the rate of inflation specified in the Consumer Price Index. The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 called for annual postal rate hikes mandated annual postage rate hikes based on this index.

The only time the USPS could ask for higher rates were under what are termed “exigent” circumstances. The Commission felt the postal service’s request did not live up to that definition.

“The commission finds that the postal service has shown the recent recession to be an exigent circumstance but it has failed both to quantify the impact of the recession on its finances and to show how its rate request relates to the resulting loss of mail volume,” said PRC chairman Ruth Goldway, in a statement. “The law requires the postal service to demonstrate that any exigent rate adjustments are due to the identified exceptional circumstances. This prevents a bona fide extraordinary or exceptional circumstance from being used as a general rate increase mechanism that would circumvent the price cap system.”

“We’re delighted the PRC has come to the decision it has,” said Hamilton Davison, president of the American Catalog Mailers Association. “Our concern was that an increase to our mailing rates would have been counterproductive at a time when many cataloger cash flow and balance sheets are weakened from the long recession and he rate hikes that took effect in 2007.” http://directmag.com/news/calalog-041307/index.html

“The PRC has helped countless businesses stay competitive and saved tens of thousands of jobs,” said Tony Conway, executive director of the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers. “The commissioners recognized that imposing an additional tax on postal service customers is not the way to address its financial troubles. Our members look forward to working with the postal service on the long-term restructuring needed to restore the postal service to competitiveness.”

“The requested rate hike would have increased postal rates by nearly 10 times the rate of inflation, requiring customers to pay an additional $3 billion annually for postage, despite the current rate of inflation remaining close to zero,” said Lawrence M. Kimmel, CEO of the Direct Marketing Association. “The PRC decision requires the postal service to continue following the current law which limits any postage increase to the rate of inflation.”

Last summer, a number of industry groups got together to form the Affordable Mail Alliance to fight the USPS’s rate hike request, questioning its legality under the PAEA and its timing, given current economic conditions. http://directmag.com/postal/0706-postal-uspstofile/

After having the rate hike denied, The USPS said it needs “to take a closer look” at the Commission’s decision before it decides on its next move.

For the quarter ended June 30, the USPS reported a net a net loss of $3.5 billion, compared with a net loss of $2.4 billion the prior year.

But the USPS is still obligated to pay $5.5 billion to pre-fund retiree health benefits every year which was also mandated in the PAEA.

Interestingly, the PRC, which originally scheduled its decision for early October, moved it up to Sept. 30, the end of the USPS’s fiscal year.

The Commission’s decision does call into question the USPS’s ability to meet this obligation.

Can the USPS remain solvent and operational under these circumstances?

“You know what? That’s not our problem--that’s Congress’s problem,” said Gene Del Polito, president of the Association for Postal Commerce. “They created the pre-funding, and they don’t seem to be sympathetic to anything else. Let them figure it out and they’ll probably figure it out after the election is over in the lame duck session. Nothing is going to happen before then.”

Story Update:

Last week The U.S. Postal Service announced they will appeal the Postal Regulatory Commission's exigency-rate ruling.

Five Tips for Complying with the Can-Spam Act

By Andy Shore, Direct Magazine

When it comes to email marketing, the Can-Spam Act is the law of the land. Do not mess with that sheriff, or you are sure to be slapped with a hefty fine or even prison.

Given how complex marketing has become, it’s easy to make the sort of careless mistake that can lead to big problems. With that in mind, here are five easy tips to ensure that you honor the Can-Spam regulations. Otherwise, you could end up in the spammer slammer.

1) Handle those unsubscribes immediately. Many email service providers will do this automatically. By law, an unsubscribe request must be handled within 10 days. That is far too long. Some companies hide under this rule to get in one last e-mail. Do not be that company. Doing so will only damage the reputation of your brand. Someone who is unsubscribing may still want to be a customer, but he could quickly change his mind about that if you do not honor his unsubscribe request immediately.

2) Go opt-in, not opt-out. In other words, don't use prechecked boxes to get subscribers on your list. That barely counts as permission. The best subscribers are the ones who ask to hear from you. They sign up because they want information from you, and perhaps even look forward to it. A double opt-in process is even better. Again, this can become an issue of brand reputation.

3) Don't abuse your email permission. In other words, don't add people to the lists of your other, unrequested newsletters just because they signed up for one. This goes along with what I was saying before: The subscribers who are engaged will be so because they are truly interested. Try cross-promoting your newsletters instead. Provide information and sign-ups so that those interested can easily join your other lists.

4) Keep good documentation. If someone verbally tells you he wants to sign up for your email list or gives you a business card, that’s not enough to prove you have permission should you get a spam complaint. Instead, get good documentation: written, time-stamped, digital sign-ups. If you have customers coming into your place of business, you can provide a guest book for them to sign up right there.

5) Beware of outsourcing nightmares.
If you are too busy, you may just outsource your newsletter to some other person or firm. Make sure you check in with this third-party provider, frequently if possible, to see that it is following all the rules. If bad email marketing is being conducted in your name, you and your company will have to deal with the consequences.

The Can-Spam Act may sound big and scary, but it is not difficult to comply with if you want to maintain a good reputation as an email marketer. Follow these guidelines, and you should have smooth sailing to email marketing success.

Andy Shore is a marketing and social media expert at Benchmark Email, an email marketing service.

  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 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. 

  • Wednesday November 17th, 7:00PM.  Islanders vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

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 Insider Tips to Effective Direct Mail Campaigns

Mail Groups Feel Vindicated by PRC Rate Decision

Five Tips for Complying with the Can-Spam Act

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 Fun!

New Clients:

Talon welcomes the following new clients this month to our growing roster of customers:
  • DiamondJewelryNY.com

  • Promotional Solutions

  • 3 New Lists from Statlistics

Mike's Favorite Links:

Some interesting links...

giltcity.com - Get exclusive local deals and offers at insider prices. Free membership.

toolhaus.org - If you use ebay a lot like I do, this site has useful tools to learn more about sellers than ebay does.  I am amazed how good the tools are here.

ThanksgivingBlackFridayAds.com - monitors ad incentives from major retailers and lets shoppers know about the best sales.

babynamewizard.com - The name-hunter's paradise, from best-selling name expert Laura Wattenberg. Popularity graphs & maps, Name Finder, and
other tools to help choose the perfect name for your baby.

factmonster.com - Free reference site for students, teachers, and parents. Get homework help and find facts on thousands of subjects.

Regator - a selective blog directory and search engine. It's the easiest way to find, share, and read quality posts from hand-selected blogs.

Work Samples:

Did you know Talon offers the following services? 

Click on the links below to see samples.

Newsletters Archives:

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