Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing January 2020 Newsletter.
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Direct Mail Can Boost Multichannel Campaigns
By Nina Aghadjanian, Alistdaily.com
Surprisingly, paid search and online display
pale by comparison to direct mail for median ROI.
Today’s reliance on digital marketing has left a
once-popular channel largely forgotten: direct mail. However, contrary
to popular belief, direct mail isn’t dead. Instead, recent data suggest
it’s a powerful tool to reach target audiences with personalized
In a new survey from PFL, “2019 Multichannel Marketing Research Report:
Direct Mail in the Digital Age,” 83 percent of marketers reported good
or very good return on investment (ROI) when direct mail was fully
integrated into their multichannel campaign mix. Here we’re examining
how direct mail positively impacts ROI, how brands have successfully
used it and how consumers perceive it.
The role of direct mail in today’s multichannel campaigns to produce
higher ROI shouldn’t be underestimated. Over half of the PFL respondents
reported that ROI delivers a moderate to major improvement in overall
campaign performance. That figure jumps to 89 percent when direct mail
that is highly personalized and integrated into the channel mix is
The response rate for direct mail is equally impressive. Direct mail
sent to houses saw a 5.3 percent response rate, and for prospect lists,
the rate was 2.9 percent. Comparatively, the response rate for email is
a meager 0.6 percent. In 2016, direct mail’s customer response rate
increased by 43 percent, and its prospect response rate increased by 190
percent compared to 2015.
You’re probably wondering how direct mail measures up to social media
and email in terms of boosting. Surprisingly, paid search and online
display pale by comparison to direct mail for median ROI. Direct mail
has a median ROI of 29 percent, putting it third behind email (124
percent) and social media (30 percent). Third place may not sound
impressive, but when you consider median ROI was 23 percent for paid
search and 16 percent for online display, respectively, it’s easy to see
why direct mail is underutilized.
It’s important to note that brands currently favor certain forms of
direct mail over others. The majority of marketers are sending postcards
(55 percent) and letters (52 percent), but most agree that these forms
of direct mail fall short when it comes to demonstrating brand value.
The third most popular form of direct mail—dimensional mail—is the most
preferred. Today, 42 percent of marketers send this type of physical
mail with 35 percent of marketers saying it does “very well” at
representing their brand (versus 17 percent for postcards and 19 percent
for a letter).
The reasons for why direct mail can help brands stand out are many.
First, given its tangibility, direct mail feels more interactive than an
email or a digital video. When the right form of direct mail is used, it
can also spark an emotional response on some level, making it more
An added benefit direct mail offers is creativity. For example, for its
holiday campaign, a Utah-based marketing firm mailed out a card and a
$20 bill to encourage recipients to put it towards their preferred
charity. When they scanned the card’s code on the back, they were
directed to a YouTube video explaining the initiative as well as a
hashtag to use when posting about it on their social media.
Yet the greatest opportunity direct mail presents for marketers is less
competition in the mailbox. PFL’s findings show that most marketers
leverage three or four channels in a multichannel campaign, but only 56
percent are typically using direct mail. Despite this, 78 percent ranked
integrated, branded, personalized direct mail as the second most
effective channel for reaching their target audience. Personalized
direct mail came in at a close second next to events (83 percent).
CMO Council’s study, “Critical Channels of Choice,” confirms that
consumers have positive feelings toward direct mail. One out of every
three consumers surveyed said they expect direct mail to be part of
their ideal communications mix.
Perhaps that’s why Mailchimp decided to try its hand at tangible mail. A
few months ago, it introduced a feature letting users send printed
postcards to potential customers. Users can customize postcards via the
same email-style automation features currently offered for email
services. Before clicking “send,” companies have the option of sending
it to potential customers in the US in addition to 26 other countries.
On Mailchimp’s decision to integrate the postcard feature, the company’s
VP of product management, John Foreman said, “In interviewing customers,
we noticed they still do a lot of print marketing, they still do a lot
of direct mail.”
The postcard feature doesn’t come with the same click-and-open data that
come with email or web ads, but users can track postcards online through
the US Postal Service and note when recipients use coupon codes included
on postcards at online stores linked to Mailchimp.
To get the most out of a direct mail initiative, brands should determine
their desired target audience. Just as important is setting a
call-to-action, be it in the form of encouraging the recipient to use a
discount code, sign up for a newsletter or take a survey.
Five Things Every Great Marketing Story Needs
By Sonia Simone, Copyblogger.com
Tell the right story and you're response rates
Stories are fundamental to how we communicate as human
beings. Tell the right story and you can capture attention, entertain,
enlighten, and persuade … all in the course of just a few minutes.
Stories are memorable and shareable — and those are two of the most
important aspects of the very best content.
What, specifically, makes for a good marketing story? Here are
five critical components, and how they fit into your marketing and your
1. You need a hero: All good
stories are about someone (even if that someone is a professional
monster or a talking toy). The biggest mistake businesses make is
thinking that their business is the hero of the story.
This is prevalent among a lot of insecurity-based advertising (“buy our
toothpaste or you’ll die friendless and alone”), but it makes for a
selfish, easily ignored marketing message.
To tell a compelling content marketing story, your customer must be the
hero. And what defines a hero? The hero of the story is the one
who is transformed as the story progresses, from an ordinary person into
2. You need a goal: Good
businesses are about solving customer problems. To put it another
way, they’re about customer transformations.
You need to understand where your customer-hero is today, and where she
wants to go. What transformation is she seeking? Does she want a
health transformation, a relationship transformation, a wealth
transformation, a career transformation?
Until you understand your customer-hero’s goal, you don’t have a
marketing story, you just have a collection of anecdotes.
3. You need an obstacle: If
transformation was easy, your customer wouldn’t need your business.
Obstacles are what make stories interesting. The gap between where your
hero is today and where he wants to go is the meat of your compelling
There are often external obstacles to your customer’s eventual victory,
but the most interesting ones are nearly always internal. What’s
keeping your customer-hero from attaining his goal? What external
elements are standing in his way? More importantly, what emotional
and psychological roadblocks has he created himself? What inner
limitations must he overcome to achieve his prized goal?
4. You need a mentor: If your
customer is the hero, where does that leave you and your business?
If your customer is Luke Skywalker, you’re Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re the
wise mentor who can provide essential information and tools that allow
the hero to attain his goal.
As Jonah Sachs points out in his interesting book Winning the Story
Wars, one difference between an empowering marketing message and the
old-fashioned, insecurity-based toothpaste ads, is that you emphasize
that your hero’s journey results from her own effort and work.
Your business doesn’t exist to swoop down and solve all of her problems
for her. That would infantilize your customer, which is ultimately
unsatisfying all around. (Having a bunch of neurotic crybabies for
customers just isn’t that fun.) Your business exists to guide,
coach, mentor, and help.
5. You need a moral: When you’re
telling a marketing story, it’s always wise to explicitly spell out the
moral of your story. So yes, use stories to show people just like
your customer-hero overcoming obstacles and attaining their goals.
Show how your business can mentor and guide customers to become better
versions of themselves. Show how customers can overcome external
and internal obstacles to gain what they’re searching for. But
then circle back around and spell it out. Let the audience know what
they should do next, or what their main takeaway should be.
Bonus: You need the truth:
There’s one more element of your story marketing toolkit that’s more
useful than ever. In an age of unparalleled digital transparency,
you can make amazing wins just by telling the truth. It takes
courage, and finding that courage can be something of a hero’s journey
of your own.
The more honest you can be about your business, about who you serve and
the problems that you solve, the more loyalty you will find. Every
story needs a spark of something remarkable, so it can be remembered and
shared. And in the world we live in today, honesty can be one of
the most remarkable story elements of all.
Them an Offer They Won’t Confuse
By Jim Gilbert, Mytotalretail.com
Here are six tips on how to make better
offers and drive more conversions and sales:
Making offers. Those finicky little things marketers do
in order to generate an order. Free this, bogo that, buy now and we will
back up a semi-truck with all kind of freemiums to your home or office.
All kidding aside, the offer you make is designed for one purpose: to
reduce the friction between “should I buy?” and “yes, I will buy!”
So why do so many companies get it wrong? While I've written about this
in the past, based on what I see “out there” in retail and e-commerce
land, a refresher couldn’t hurt.
We all know that the most popular word in the marketing offer playbook
is “FREE.” But “free” has become so ubiquitous in the lexicon of retail
and digital marketing that it often cancels itself out. Free just ain’t
Here are six tips on how to make better offers and drive more
conversions and sales:
1. An offer is not just made up of a
discounted price and/or something free. Your offer is the sum total of your product, pricing,
presentation and reputation.
2. Part of your offer is how you back
your product. Is your warranty or guarantee clearly stated in an
obvious place? Are your guarantee terms easy to read and understand? Do
you make it easy to accept returns? I suggest doing an audit of your
policies right away and then frequently there after.
3. An offer is only as good as the
product that's being presented. Make sure your products are presented in the best
possible way. Your company’s unique selling proposition (USP, AKA value
prop) must be embedded in every product, package and, most importantly,
4. Reviews are king.
Make sure you have social proof associated with your product in plain
view on product pages.
5. Test, re-test and validate!
Don’t just make an offer without testing. There are enough options out
“there” that allow for split testing price and offer on product pages
(and elsewhere on your site) that it should be easy to test. Run the
numbers and see which offering drives the one-two punch of conversion
and average order value (AOV) profitability. Bonus tip: Also look at how
your offers affect customer lifetime value calculations as well. Do the
math. You may wind up being surprised in that one offer that might not
have converted as high as anticipated, but it drove better AOV and
profits. Surprises happen often!
6. Make sure your offer is
“merchandised” properly and isn't a confusing mess. It should be easy for the consumer to understand and
thus make a buying decision. Not sure you know what I mean?
Check out the picture above, which I took at Outback Steak House. I read
this waiting to pick up my takeout order.
I brought my credit card but I forgot my abacus to calculate this offer
and what it means to me. ’Nuff said (oh, believe me, I could say more).
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Direct Mail Can Boost Multichannel Campaigns
Five Things Every Great Marketing Story Needs
Make Them an Offer They Won't Confuse
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Some interesting things to check out...
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The easiest way to make a podcast. Everything you need, 100% free.
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Direct Mail Humor!
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