Talon Mailing & Marketing

561 Acorn Street
Deer Park, NY 11729

(631) 667-5500


Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing February 2018 Newsletter.

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Five Customer Service Must-Do’s For 2018

By Shep Hyken, Business2community.com

A business must keep up with the times. If they don’t, they will be disrupted and find themselves either playing catch up or worse, shutting down altogether.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been reading about predictions and trends for 2018. It got me thinking about the actions we must take to be competitive. Regardless of your industry, everything has changed about the way we do business. There are some businesses that claim they’ve done things the same way for years, decades, even a century. They claim they do business just as their fathers and grandfathers did. Nothing has changed. I disagree.

Take a taxidermist, for example. Things have been the same in this business for over 100 years, stuffing and mounting animals. The owner claims nothing has changed… Except for today, he has a website, a Facebook page, and a mobile phone. None of these were around when his great-grandfather started the business. Much has changed.

A business must keep up with the times. If they don’t, they will be disrupted and find themselves either playing catch up or worse, shutting down altogether. With that in mind, I’d like to share five customer service tips every business must do to stay competitive in 2018:

1. Embrace the changing expectations of your customer: This one I’ve touted every year. The customer expects more than ever. They no longer compare you to just your competitors. They compare you to any company they like doing business with. So, be prepared to keep up.

2. Personalize the experience: The concept of personalization has been around for a long time. Make recommendations that are specific to each customer. Whether you invest in sophisticated software that tracks and analyzes customer data, or you simply remember them when they walk through your doors, recognize your customers want and expect you to give them a personalized experience.

3. React quickly, especially on social media: When a customer needs support or a question answered and they email it to you, they don’t want to wait two days to get a response. They don’t want to call and be put on hold for an hour. They want a resolution now. If you don’t already offer good self-service solutions that will get customers their answers immediately, at least be able to respond to them in a reasonable amount of time, not hours or days.

4. Don’t let technology pass you by: Invest in the right technology to drive a better customer experience. High cost is no longer an excuse. Many software solutions have come so far down in cost that even the smallest businesses can afford them. Stay up-to-date with the solutions available to you that can help drive a better customer experience.

5. Be more convenient than you’ve ever been before: If you want to separate yourself from your competition, be more convenient. How easy are you to do business with? It could be extended business hours, more locations, or an easy-to-use website. The company that makes it easier and more convenient for the customer wins.

There you have it, five ways to deliver a better-than-ever customer service experience. Are there more ways? Sure, there are! I’ve written books on many, many more ideas, tactics, and strategies. But, these are what I’d call “keep-up-with-the-times” types of tips. So, go out there and take care of the customer like you never have before. That’s what it will take to make 2018 great for your business.

Looks Are Important in Direct Mail

By Steve Johnson, Piworld.com

The best way to increase your direct mail response rates is to make sure what you are mailing doesn’t look like junk or a mass mailing.

You’re reading this in February, but as I write this column the Christmas season is in full swing. Packages are arriving in the mail from grateful vendors to show their appreciation for our business this past year. Candy, cookies and snacks dominate.

An oversized bright green foil padded envelope arrives from Sebold Capital Wealth Management. I don’t know who they are, but I can guess. As a business owner I receive a steady year-round stream of solicitations from investment firms. The pitch pretty much follows the same formula: inviting me to a no-obligation seminar where I’ll be fed a meal if I listen to their experts tell me how to build incredible wealth from all the extra money that they think I have lying around doing nothing.

I get so many of these solicitations that my office staff doesn’t usually even pass them along to me when they come in the mail. Of course I delete them unopened when they come via email.

This one was different. Everyone knew what was probably inside, but the pretty packaging simply demanded that the envelope be opened. Even after the contents were revealed just to be a letter, a brochure and an invitation, no one could bear to throw it away. Instead of being placed in my inbox it was hand-delivered to me at my desk by the woman who opens the mail.

What differentiated this one bit of mail from the half dozen other (and hundreds of email) financial planning solicitations received recently? The envelope. By simply spending a few pennies on festive seasonal packaging and an extra buck in postage this mailing stood out enough to make it past the gatekeepers into the hands and in front of the eyes of the intended recipient.

The best way to overcome the “junk mail” moniker is to make sure what you are mailing doesn’t look like junk. In this case, it looked like a holiday package. Note that it didn’t pretend to be anything it wasn’t through the use of deceptive labeling. It merely looked important.

Another route to take is to look official. My daughter recently received an envelope from the Secretary of State, who in our home state handles corporations, notary publics and driver’s licenses. Any correspondence is assumed to be important and promptly opened.

In this case, though, it was an official birthday card ... with a weighty message:

“Congratulations on turning 21! As an adult, you have new opportunities and new responsibilities. You are now faced with serious choices that affect your life and the lives of others.

“Some of the most serious decisions you will make concern drinking and driving - a deadly mix. Even though it is now legal for you to drink, it is not legal for you to drink and drive.”

The letter is short and sweet, a gentle reminder targeted for a demographic specifically in need of a public service reminder.

An email would never have made it through. Besides, this age group doesn’t really use email. When the message is important, sometimes nothing but a good old-fashioned letter will do.

11 Ideas To Boost Your Mid-Winter Retail Sales

By Rieva Lesonsky, Smallbiztrends.com

The beginning of the year can be a slow time for retailers. Here's what you can do to increase sales during a quiet period.

January and February are typically slow sales months for most retail entrepreneurs. The credit card bills have come in for the holiday shopping sprees, consumers have made resolutions to save more money and blustery weather keeps people inside. Once you’ve enjoyed the well-earned break from November and December’s hectic shopping season, what can you do to get more customers into your store?

Here are 11 ideas How to Increase Retail Sales this Winter:

1. Tap into information about your existing customers. Use your customer loyalty software to tailor promotions to your best customers. For example, if a particular shopper tends to respond to discount offers, you can send them a discount; if another shopper loves checking out the latest merchandise, email them about a new shipment that’s arriving soon.

2. Reach out to new customers who purchased from you over the holidays. Get first-time holiday shoppers to come back to your store once, and you’re on the way to making them loyal customers. For those customers whose contact information you obtained, reach out with a thank-you email showing your appreciation for their purchases. Then entice them back in with an offer for a product that complements what they bought over the holidays.

3. Try direct mail. In addition to email marketing messages, a postcard or flyer mailing campaign can get customers’ attention. After the flood of holiday greeting cards, circulars and catalogs that many consumers get slows to its normal trickle in January, a piece of physical mail will stand out at this time.

4. Tap into the “new year, new you” mentality. You don’t have to sell workout clothing to benefit from customers’ New Year’s resolutions. Just about any type of retailer can position products to help customers keep their resolutions. According to Statista, “Eat healthier,” “Get more exercise,” and “Save more money” are the three most common resolutions for 2018. Can your products help shoppers stress less, be more efficient, be healthier or get ahead at work? With almost one-fourth of people resolved to “focus on self-care,” promoting the idea of treating oneself can work, too.

5. Test out deal sites. Many consumers tighten the purse strings in January, and look to deal sites such as Groupon or Living Social so they can shop, but spend less money. You can put a time limit on your deal that encourages shoppers to come in during the slow season—for example, have it expire mid-March or the beginning of April. When sales are slower in your store, you’ll have more time to ensure that any shoppers who do come in get the best treatment, making them more likely to return.

6. Get help from your suppliers. See if any of the brands you carry have co-marketing campaigns going on. Name brands sometimes offer retailers a marketing budget to promote their brands in the store.

7. Promote your most profitable products. Even if you make fewer sales during this time of year, selling higher-profit items will help to make up for that fact. Put extra effort into the items you carry that have a high profit margin; train salespeople to suggest them.

8. Book business ahead of time. Do you sell gift cards to your store? If so, offer a $25 gift card for $20, a $50 gift card for $40, etc. Getting paid for the cards now can help keep your cash flow strong during the slow months. Plus, when customers come into purchase using those gift cards, they typically spend more than the value of the card.

9. Celebrate a holiday. New Year’s resolutions can only last so long, and around the end of January, many consumers will be itching to get out and spend money again. Encourage shoppers to come out to your store by celebrating a wacky holiday. For example, how about National Spouses Day, National Love Your Pet Day or Random Act of Kindness Day? Plan an in-store event around an unusual holiday you find (or make up) and promote it via email, social media and your website.

10. Host a charity drive. Many of us vow to get organized, clean out our closets and pare down excess “stuff” in January. Why not host a charity drive to take donations of those discarded items? For example, a store that sells infants and children’s products could accept donations of used toys, baby and children’s clothing, and baby gear and give them to a facility for homeless mothers and children. Give your customers discounts for bringing in donations.

11. Get your staff in gear. Even if you don’t normally do so, this can be a good time of year to give your salespeople some extra motivation with bonuses tied to sales. Instead of making it a competition, however, build team spirit by giving the entire team bonuses based on exceeding the goals that you set.

Win Brooklyn Nets Tickets!

Enjoy a great day of Basketball!

We are giving away two tickets to see the Brooklyn Nets. 

All you have to do to win is be the first telephone caller (please don’t hit reply or send an email). Voice mail messages count so it's fine to leave a message.  Call Michael Borkan at (631) 667-5500 x 11.

  • Monday February 26, 2018.  Nets vs. Chicago 7:30 PM.

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-mailing.com or contact Michael Borkan at (631) 667-5500 x 11.

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In this Issue:

Five Customer Service Must-Do's For 2018

Looks Are Important in Direct Mail

11 Ideas to Boost Your Mid-Winter Retail Sales

Ticket Giveaway!

New Clients

Mike Borkan's Apps & Links - Apps & 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:
  • St. Mary's Elementary School

  • Sovereign Homestead

  • 3 New Lists From Statlistics

Mike's Favorite Apps & Links:

Some interesting things to check out...

Useloom.com - Loom is a free platform that allows you to make quick videos using a lightning-fast video recorder capable of capturing your screen, webcam, and microphone. These videos are currently being created and shared by over 300,000 people.

Descript.com - Text-based audio editor and automated transcription. ... Get fast, accurate transcriptions - and then edit audio by editing text.

Edison.tech - Intelligently manage your calendar, contacts and multiple email accounts.

Crunchet.com - Crunch all your personal and social media into one post! Combine your photos and videos, Instagram photos, Facebook posts, tweets, YouTube videos, web links and more.

Fin.com - Fin can call, email, text, schedule, research, book, and purchase for you. Talk to Fin using voice transcription that actually works. Add Fin to email chains. Fin understands context, learns your preferences, and handles nuanced requests.

Makemydrive.fun - Traveling from one city to another? Make the drive fun and funky by stopping at some groovy places along the way!

Work Samples:

Did you know Talon offers the following services? 

Click on the links below to see samples.

Direct Mail Humor!

Click on image below to enlarge.

Do you need help marketing to your clients?   Talon can help!  Call Michael Borkan at 631-667-5500 x 11 to learn how to increase revenue.

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