Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing November 2011 Newsletter.
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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
* 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"
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
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.
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
"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."
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
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.
Talon has great seats for you to win.
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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.
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Talon Mailing & Marketing Newsletter please
7 Proven Techniques to Boost Direct Marketing Response
Pitney Bowes Survey Predicts Boost in Personalized Direct Mail
Direct Marketing Drives Sales
Mike Borkan's Links - Web sites you probably
View Samples of Our Work
Direct Mail Humor!
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
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.
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