Talon Mailing & Marketing

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Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing November 2011 Newsletter.

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7 Proven Techniques to Boost Direct Marketing Response

by Dean Rieck

As with all techniques, these proven winners can be modified to fit your particular needs.

My grandfather used to say, "There's more than one way to skin a cat!" And if you made the mistake of asking, he would describe each way in grisly detail.

As a direct response copywriter, designer, and consultant, I'm always discovering new and better ways to help my clients sell things. So I know there's more than one way to write a letter, design an order form, or phrase an offer. (And if you make the mistake of asking me, I'll describe each way in excruciating detail.)

But I also know from long experience that it's often the tried and true that leads to the best results. And while there are no sure things in our business, there are a handful of techniques that have a long history of raising response almost every time they are tested.

* Yes/No Offer — It usually pulls better than an offer without a "no" option. It's popular for subscriptions, but I've used it with other promotions, even fundraising. I like to use "yes" and "no" tokens, but you can use other techniques, such as check boxes, separate reply cards, or different return envelopes. Why does it work? It draws attention, adds urgency, increases involvement, and clarifies both the offer and what must be done to accept it.

* Credit Card Payment — You probably already allow customers to order with a credit card, but it bears repeating: A credit card option usually outpulls a cash-only option. But always allow payment by check or money order for those uncomfortable with giving a credit card number. Tip: On your order form, use icons for the credit cards you accept. They communicate instantly and may even add a little credibility (just as the "As Seen On TV" icon adds credibility).

* Time Limit — For many, a time limit seems counterintuitive. You might ask, "If I say customers have to respond by the 24th, won't I lose all orders after that?" Maybe, but you'll gain more orders before that. In fact, you'll usually get more orders overall and get them faster. A time limit fights inertia and forces people to make a decision now. A specific date is the most powerful, but you can fudge and ask for a reply in "the next 14 days" or "by the end of the month" or something similar.

* Free Gift — This usually outperforms a discount offer. And it provides the added benefit of maintaining the value of your product or service. (A discount can backfire, training customers to expect lower prices.) And it works so well, you should give away something free whenever you can.

* Sweepstakes — I have a love/hate relationship with sweepstakes. They usually increase order volume, but they torpedo customer loyalty. And many marketers get trapped in an endless cycle of sweepstakes offers to keep orders flowing. My advice? Think long and hard before committing to a sweepstakes strategy.

* Envelope Package — It usually performs better than a self-mailer. Why? You have more real estate to work with. It allows you to divide and conquer, separating the order form, letter, product information, guarantee, etc. And all the bits and pieces make for more involvement. The more involved you can get people and the more they read, the greater your chance for getting an order. But a self-mailer is cheaper, easier, and sometimes may even get a better response. So when in doubt, test.

* Bind-in Card — It usually increases response to a print ad. No mystery here. A bind-in card is easier to use than a coupon. Just pull it out and mail it. But a coupon has to be cut with scissors (could be hard to find) or ripped out by hand (which often results in a mess). Not all publications allow a bind-in, and it's often expensive. But when you can test it, test it, because it can sometimes double (or triple or quadruple) your response.

As with all techniques, these proven winners can be modified to fit your particular needs. For example, in a recent subscription package, I used a variation of the "Yes/No" offer in the form of "FREE" and "No Thanks" tokens.

The copy beside the "FREE" token read, "Return your invitation with this token, and we'll send your free issues immediately." The copy beside the "No Thanks" token read, "Return your invitation with this token, and we'll give your free issues to someone else." It's hard to say no and lose something free.

But what's the best, most proven way to skin a cat? Don't ask.

Copyright 2011 Dean Rieck. All rights reserved. Dean Rieck is an internationally respected direct response copywriter, designer, and consultant. He is president of Direct Creative, a direct marketing firm that provides creative services for direct mail, ads, e-mail, and more. Subscribe to Dean's FREE Newsletter at www.DirectCreative.com.

Pitney Bowes Survey Predicts Boost in Personalized Direct Mail

by David Ward, PrintWeek

According to the survey 80% said they plan to boost their database marketing spends in 2012 - and that's on top of the 5.6% boost in spending those programs are receiving this year.

Though it was based only an informal survey conducted among attendees at a recent Direct Marketing Association conference, a new study from Pitney Bowes found that companies will continue to boost their direct mail and email marketing budgets next year.

According to the survey of 231 conference attendees, 80% said they plan to boost their database marketing spends in 2012 - and that's on top of the 5.6% boost in spending those programs are receiving this year.

"Marketers today are investing in customer interactions by creating relevant personalized messages across digital and physical channels," Pitney Bowes executive vice president Leslie Abi Karam said in a release announcing the DMA survey results.

Right now there are no comprehensive statistics from Pitney Bowes - or anyone else for that matter - suggesting that personalized direct mail has higher response rates.

But Carol Wallace, Pitney Bowes director of external communications, explained to PrintWeek that many brands and direct marketers are already realizing these vast databases of customer information they've acquired can be effectively used to craft and deliver highly personalized messages.

"Many leading brands now have great data cleansing and data applications abilities that they may have been less comfortable with before," she said. "Brands for years have been reconciling their data and getting one view of the customer. But as the amount of data grows and as the software becomes a lot more flexible in what it can do, then marketers get more comfortable because they can use that data to be a lot more personal with their customers and become more experimental in the programs they use."

The other big trend, Wallace noted, was marketers' intent on using multiple direct marketing channels, adding, "Print needs the support of being able to drive someone to a website or to a retail store, another channel or call center."

While none of these guarantee that print will remain the major channel for direct marketing, Wallace cited a recent Pitney Bowes survey that noted when it comes to bills and financial information most people still prefer traditional mail. "Banks and insurance companies are having a hard time moving people off print and to electronic distribution," she added. "Consumers also want to receive catalogs by mail, so if you're a retailer and you have a lot of content or a more complex offer, print is still your channel of choice."

"It's up to the marketer now and some ad agencies and marketers are going to go with more out-of-the-box personalized direct mail campaigns," she continued. "Once other brands see those marketers winning with multi-channel two-way interactions based on personalized data, then all boats will rise."

Direct Marketing Drives Sales

by: Anna Papachristos, 1 to 1 Media

Research finds that direct marketing-driven sales continue to grow at a faster pace than the U.S. economy.

Marketing has the power to influence millions with a single message. But just as incorrect postage on a letter prevents a note from reaching its destination, the wrong channel can limit a campaign's spread and sales effectiveness.

One of the most effective channels today continues to be direct marketing. According to "The Power of Direct Marketing" report, direct marketing-driven sales are growing at a quicker pace than overall U.S. economic growth. The report, conducted biennially by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), explores direct marketing's economic impact on the U.S. economy, highlighting historic trends, current-year estimates, and one- and five-year projections for direct marketing (DM) expenditures, sales, ROI, and employment. The 2011 research reports that digital media is showing the greatest impact on our country's rebounding economy. Total spend on digital marketing has grown by $14.5 billion since 2006, much of which can be attributed to online media. Digital channels are expected to continue to increase their share of the marketing budget, from 19 percent in 2011 to 21 percent in 2012.

The DMA research also found that:

  • DM-driven sales are predicted to grow 7.1 percent this year, bordering on $2 trillion total, as opposed to overall sales in the U.S., which is set to grow only 5.1 percent.

  • DM spending grew 5.6 percent, reaching $163 billion as of MONTH 2011, accounting for 52.1 percent of total advertising spending in the U.S. Having increased steadily over the past five years, forecasters believe that the upward trend is set to continue through 2016.

  • Forecasters predict mobile marketing growth will lead all channels in 2011, with an annual growth rate exceeding 50 percent over the next five years. Social network marketing, search engine marketing, and "Internet other" will grow more than 20 percent. Search and display—the two largest Internet advertising components—are both predicted to grow more than 18 percent this year.

  • While spending on most traditional channels remain below their 2007 peak, direct mail and direct response television (DRTV) bounced back this year, with direct mail experiencing 4.6 percent growth and DRTV seeing 6.1 percent growth. DMA CEO Lawrence Kimmel attributes this rebound to the fact that these methods work. With most consumers and marketers wary of the economy, some marketers are shying away from methods that have yet to prove substantially effective, leading them to focus on tried-and-true methods they've used successfully in the past.
  • Key takeaway: Direct marketing works. Each year marketers adjust their approach based on what was successful, gaining clarity from their results and performance information, Kimmel says. Knowing where to spend and when means not only maximizing customer experience, but also improving marketing results. Even so, the U.S. economy's slowdown during the latter half of 2011 indicates a potential 2012 decrease in marketing performance across all channels. Currently, for example, direct marketing supports 9.2 million jobs in the U.S., but as companies continue to work to improve their productivity, forecasters predict only 66,000 new jobs will be created in 2012.

      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 23rd, 7:00PM.  Islanders vs. Philadelphia Flyers

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    In this Issue:

    7 Proven Techniques to Boost Direct Marketing Response

    Pitney Bowes Survey Predicts Boost in Personalized Direct Mail

    Direct Marketing Drives Sales

    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:
    • Children's Hospital Los Angeles

    • Coram Specialty Infusion Services

    • 2 New Lists from Statlistics

    Mike's Favorite Links:

    Some interesting links...

    Actionmethod.com - Capture tasks, collaborate, and get organized with Action Method.

    Openoffice.org - A free suite of office programs such as word processing, spreadsheets and a lot more. Compatible with Microsoft Office. The software is very powerful and offers many features

    Zapproved.com - Tracks your business proposals. Decision makers can visit the page, approve or reject the project and leave comments.

    Oobafit.com - Free online fitness programs and online nutrition planners from professional trainers and nutritionists.

    Forrst.com - A community of passionate developers and designers focused on helping themselves and others get better at their craft, providing thoughtful critiques, and sharing their knowledge to build better applications and websites.

    Work Samples:

    Did you know Talon offers the following services? 

    Click on the links below to see samples.

    Newsletter Archives:

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