Talon Mailing & Marketing

561 Acorn Street
Deer Park, NY 11729

(631) 667-5500


Welcome to the Talon Mailing & Marketing February 2020 Newsletter.

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2020 U.S. Postal Promotions Will Help Your Bottom Line

By Kurt Ruppel, Adweek.com

Why should marketers care about USPS discounted promotions? Because direct mail is still effective.

Recent action by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) should whet the appetite of marketers that are looking for proven return on marketing investment for their 2020 omnichannel campaigns. The PRC has approved mailing promotions and incentives that encourage marketers to integrate direct mail with mobile technology. The first of six promotions will go into effect Feb.1, 2020, and marketers would be wise to take advantage of them.

Marketers drive omnichannel engagement: Savvy marketers know that direct mail plays an important role in creating customers for their products and services. Mail is a trusted, data-driven channel that motivates prospects to take action.

The appeal of direct mail spans all generations, with a recent USPS Mail Moments study showing millennials spend more time with their mail than other generations. Sixty-two percent of millennials reported reading through their direct mail, 49% prefer to shop stores that advertise through the mail and 40% regularly purchase items featured in marketing mail, all stronger responses than those received from Gen X or baby boomers.

And with the advances in mail tracking, it’s easier than ever to project when mail will arrive and coordinate it with the other channels in an omnichannel campaign.

Stretch your marketing budget with mailing promotions: USPS mailing promotions provide discounts to mailers for trying techniques that are proven to drive marketing success. Most promotions offer a 2% discount on eligible postage right at the time of mailing.

With postage costs often accounting for more than 50% of marketers direct mail spend, a 2% discount opens a range of opportunities to make your marketing budget do more. Here are three proven ways to make the most of your marketing budget:

Target more prospects: With the dollars you save in postage, you can dip deeper into your model to find customers you wouldn’t have otherwise been able to target.

Test new techniques while they’re on sale: Always wanted to try adding a tactile element to your mailpiece? What about incorporating an augmented reality experience or link to a mobile-enabled website? Taking advantage of promotional discounts can help offset the cost of using an additional printing technique or creating a digital experience. By taking advantage of these discounts, the USPS can help you pay for an option that may have seemed out of reach.

Supplement your campaign with an additional touch: Redirect your postage savings to upgrade the mailpiece going to your most likely prospects or simply include one more wave in your direct mail cadence.

The research is done, so take advantage: The Postal Service wants mailers to be successful and studies factors that drive direct mail success. They use this data when choosing behaviors to encourage through promotions, incentivizing practices that result in relevant mailpieces that engage recipients.

What makes mail irresistible to consumers, or at least makes them curious enough to open it? The Postal Service loves acronyms, so here’s one for the 2020 promotions: Tactile, emerging, mobile, personalized, informed delivery (TEMPID).

Tactile, sensory and interactive: Take advantage of mail’s tactile and tangible attributes by adding textured varnish or embossing to your mailpiece. Or try a Trailing Edge Die-Cut (TED-C) mailpiece to attract the attention of your recipients.

Emerging and advanced technology: Integrate your mail campaigns with digital channels like augmented or virtual reality, addressable TV, shoppable video and smart speakers (digital assistants). USPS studies show marketers achieved three times the return on their direct mail spend when the mail effort was paired with a digital element compared to direct mail alone.

Mobile shopping: Linking mail to a mobile-enabled website is a great way to remove friction from the purchasing process, making it easy for your prospects to become customers.

Personalized color transpromotional: Adding a personalized color element to statement mailings for up-sell or cross-sell efforts can be very productive. Recipients open and read billing statements, and using variable color personalization makes the offer much more relevant and compelling.

Informed delivery: Linking informed delivery to your direct mail campaign provides multiple touchpoints with your recipients—both physical and digital—from the same marketing effort. And more than 60% of informed delivery emails get opened.

Direct mail works. Digital marketing works. Combine them in an omnichannel campaign, take advantage of the opportunity to add a significant discount to the direct mail segment, and you’ll move from savvy marketer to marketing savant.

Five New Ways to Stuff That Envelope

By Craig Simpson, Simpson-Direct.com

Follow these tips and watch your response rates climb:

Postage costs make up one of the most expensive elements of your mailing budget. That being the case, it only makes sense for you to wring the most value out of every penny on postage you spend.

To conserve your money, it’s important to avoid over-paying on postage when you can. For example, there’s a pretty strict weight limit of just 1 ounce on First Class mail. So, when you mail First Class, you want to be very careful not to go over that 1-ounce weight limit. If you go over even a smidgeon, you will end up paying for an additional ounce.

But . . .

Most direct mail sales letters are sent “Standard Mail” (also known as Bulk Mail) – not First Class. And with Standard Mail, the weight picture is very different.

You can put up to 3.3 ounces into a Standard Mail envelope without paying even one cent in extra postage – that’s over 3 times the amount you can put into a First Class mailer. That’s 3 times the persuasion power, and you certainly don’t want it to go to waste. Why would you put one little letter that weighs under an ounce into a Standard Mail envelope and leave it at that?

I say, “Stuff that envelope for all it’s worth!”

So, what else can you put in your mailing package?

The possibilities are endless, but here are a few ideas ...

A “lift note”

This is a small note from someone at the company (or maybe even a celebrity) that gives the prospect extra encouragement to buy. It may offer personal encouragement, a reiteration of the offer, a further description of benefits, etc. The idea is that it looks like a personal note that’s been slipped into the envelope.

A sheet with testimonials

If you’ve received glowing comments from users of your product, print them out on a sheet with as much identifying information as you can (at least first name, last initial, and City and State, and photo, if possible).

Another sheet you can add is one with the most commonly asked Questions and Answers. Anticipate prospects’ questions and objections, and address them in a Q&A format.

Some kind of gift “keepsake”

Include a calendar, a card with helpful reminders, a refrigerator magnet . . . anything appropriate that people will want to save and that will serve as a constant reminder of you (of course, put your contact information on the item).

An order form

Even if you expect people to call to order, a physical order form is a subtle reminder to place the order. It’s also a great place to repeat your best sales points, your guarantee, etc.

A reply envelope

If you do expect people to mail in orders, a reply envelope is essential. Don’t expect people to find an envelope and address it. Make it easy on them. And if your budget allows, make it postage paid. You’ll only have to pay postage on the orders that come in, and you may pick up quite a few orders if people see they don’t have to find a stamp.

Any of these items will add extra printing cost as well as the cost to “insert” them into the envelope. But they won’t cost you one extra cent in postage, and they may significantly increase your response rate so that they pay for themselves many times over.

Craig Simpson has managed thousands of direct mail campaigns and grossed hundreds of millions in revenue for his clients. Simpson is the owner of Simpson Direct Inc. He blogs at: simpson-direct.com/blog/
Don’t Turn the Page on Catalogs

By David Sharp, Associated Press

Catalogs have stabilized and may be growing after a 40 percent decline since the Great Recession:

Catalogs, those glossy paper-and-ink offerings of outdoor apparel, kitchenware and fruit baskets, are not yet headed for the recycling bin of history.

Until recently, the future appeared grim for the mailbox-stuffers. A one-two punch of postal rate increases and the Great Recession had sharply cut their numbers. Common wisdom had everything retail-related moving online.

But a catalog-industry rebound appears in the works, fueled in part by what might seem an unlikely group: younger shoppers who find it’s sometimes easier, more satisfying and even nostalgic, flipping pages rather than clicking links.

Industry experts say that all those catalogs crammed into mailboxes this holiday season are a sign that mailings have stabilized – and may be growing – after a decline of about 40% since the Great Recession.

New companies are mailing catalogs. And even died-in-the-wool online retailers like Amazon and Bonobos are getting into the act.

“They’re tapping out on what they’re able to do digitally,” said Tim Curtis, president of CohereOne, a direct marketing agency in California. “They’ve got to find some new way to drive traffic to their websites.”

Catalog retailers slashed mailings, and some abandoned catalogs altogether, after a major U.S. Postal Service rate increase and the start of the recession in late 2007. Catalog numbers dropped from about 19 billion in 2016 to an estimated 11.5 billion in 2018, according to the American Catalog Mailers Association.

The industry still faces challenges, but there’s reason for some optimism, said Hamilton Davison, president of the mailers association.

Millennials who are nostalgic for vinyl records and all things vintage are thumbing through catalogs and dog-earing the pages. It’s a new demographic roughly from 22 to 38 that’s helping to breathe some new life into the sector, industry officials say.

In fact, millennials are more likely than baby boomers to visit a store based on mailings, according to the U.S. Postal Service inspector general.

Sarah Johnson says she loves flipping through catalogs at her convenience – but gets her hackles up when retailers fill her email inbox.

“Promotion emails drive me crazy,” said Johnson, 29, of Vernal, Utah. “When there’s a catalog lying on the table, it feels like it’s my choice to pick it up and flip through it. When it arrives in my inbox it feels like it’s imposing on me,” she said.

Angela Hamann, another millennial, says she prefers catalogs because it’s easier than scrolling through webpages to evaluate a retailer’s offering.

“It’s a great way to assess what a company has to offer without making a bunch of clicks,” said Hamann, 37, of New Gloucester, Maine.

During the downturn, catalog retailers reduced the size of the catalogs, slashed the number of pages and became selective about their mailings, said Jim Gibbs from The Dingley Press, in Lisbon, Maine, which prints and mails about 330 million catalogs a year.

But catalogs never died off, as some began predicting during the dot-com bubble. Catalog naysayers didn’t understand that a webpage is useless unless shoppers know about it, and catalogs are an important tool for driving customers online, Gibbs said.

These days, retailers like Amazon, Wayfair and Walmart are boosting their mailings, helping to offset companies that abandoned catalogs, and dozens of smaller companies are also getting into the act, Davison said. There’s also a trend toward postcard fliers being mailed by companies like Shutterfly, Curtis added.

The tactile feel of catalogs creates a more meaningful connection, Curtis said. Consumers, meanwhile, routinely delete emails or skim over online promotions without a second thought, he said.

For some, there’s no escaping the sentimental aspect.

In Austin, Texas, tech company worker Mike Trimborn described himself as a “nearly 100% online shopper” who sees catalogs as an “exercise in futility.” But he waxed nostalgic when he received a toy catalog from Amazon in the mail this holiday season.

Trimborn, 42, said his sons, ages 9 and 11, marked up the Amazon catalog just like he marked up the big Sears catalog as a kid.

“It was such a fun experience when I was a kid. To be able to give that to my kids was a surprise,” he said.

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:

2020 U.S. Postal Promotions Will Help Your Bottom Line

Five New Ways to Stuff That Envelope

Don't Turn the Page on Catalogs

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:
  • Newsmax Media

  • Strategic Investment Group

  • 2 New Lists From Statlistics

Mike's Favorite Apps & Links:

Some interesting things to check out...

Marketingexamples.com - A gallery of real world marketing examples from successful companies. Want to perfect your mailings, boost referrals or improve SEO? Start here.

Chartit.io - Create and share beautiful charts for free.

Freellustrations.com - A free collection of high-resolution vector or illustrations background images for modern websites and landing pages. Updated every week with new illustrations with different topics. You can contact us to suggest new topics for illustration background images as per your need.

Lazyjot.com - Take your writing and rhyming to the next level. A free site that will easily annotate where the beat lands. Get automatic highlighting of English rhymes, an overview of your syllable patterns, and find multi-syllabic rhymes.

Anyplaceamerica.com - An amazing site! AnyPlaceAmerica.com offers topographic maps and photos of over 1.25 million water, land and man-made landmarks in the United States.

Factourism.com - Factourism brings you the most fascinating facts of our world. It's both funny, horrible, and unbelievable facts about people, animals, science, history, and a lot more!

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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